Bob Dylan typed these words in 1975 in a suitably tragic song about mystical love, dubious opportunity, and human historical misadventure. This cynical musical association to the song Isis seemed most appropriate to me in the light of the current ISIS (or ISIL) adventure. Dylan aptly titled the album that Isis was on: Desire. This is as valid a narrative message today.
We do have things to consider that are larger and older than us.
The ISIS event is not new.
The Game of Thrones
Isis is the Greek version of the ancient Egyptian word for “Throne”. The pharaohs from about the time of the 5th dynasty literally sat on Aset’s head. That seems a most appropriate pun in our modern English. Her tears for the murder of her brother and husband Osiris are represented in the yearly Nile flood. In Egyptian religion she’s the mother of death and resurrection. She is the muse of musicians and the hope of slaves, sinners and the downtrodden too. Sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it.
Maybe the Christian Church managed to systematically get rid of her widespread pagan worship in the territories of the old Roman Empire in the first centuries of the modern age by simply usurping her symbolism into the Madonna and Child. I prefer to believe He is smarter than we are.
It is History.
Have We Seen This All Before?
Every American should read Empire by the best-selling author, Scottish historian, Niall Ferguson. Recognize that to begin your reading here you are starting in the middle of the works of this ground breaking “economic” historian who has crossed the Pond and now professes at Harvard. His early works on the House of Rothschild caught the attention of many and for good reason. I look forward to a used paperback copy of The Ascent of Money with bated breath. I covet my hardbound copy of Empire.
The ISIS events are not new.
One wonders if our current events will kindle another in the like of Winston Churchill who began as a newspaper man in a remarkably similar adventure in Lower Egypt and Sudan in another century. Did you know the young Winston played hooky from a military stationing in India to be there? Have you heard the name Gordon? Maybe vaguely. Do you know the place called Omdunman? Probably not unless you like old black and whites.
The Mahdi, the Khalifa, and the slaughter of dervishes at the close of the 1900’s tell us that we have more to deal with than imperialism, governmental and corporate greed, and technological superiority. There is jihad. This is a horror that humans do.
Me. I was raised by a history telling father who had been there and fought there - I mean in Egypt and for the British.
So as a kid with an early hard-bound edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune in my hand I had to ask,
“Pop? Where do these words (and I meant symbols) come from?”
Silly me. I got an earful and a love of history too. Later in life I had the honor to ask Frank Herbert himself the same question. That is another story full of many levels and subplots like Dune itself. I got a similar answer.
I hear speak of “generational challenges” from pundits and I have to shake my head. What generation are we talking about here? I’d argue that secular humanist solutions have demonstrably made the occurrence and frequency of jihad events more frequent and ferocious.
This is a tough pill to swallow.
The modern secular Humanists see jihad as a religious manifestations because that has become central to their philosophic argument and justification of the superiority of their belief structure which they claim is not religous. The central thought of human intention being of equal value with human action perpetrates this moral delusion no matter how we parse the philosophies.
In the real world this sinful thinking becomes a way to power over others without restraint.
Yes. Our Founding Fathers Knew
We must carefully consider that the avowed goals of all historical jihadists, based on many events and multiple religions including secular humanist ones, show a remarkable similarity of thought, self-justification, and eventual evil action.
The flood of Intention and her brother Accusation are not truly first causes in spite of the false assertion that this is fact. Human expressed intentions merely justify and reflect our expectations. The expecations are more central to each of us. This we know from many a study. We must deny this to maintain such illusionary philosophies of self.
More simply put: We obey simple commandments as persons or we don’t. This separates us as sheeps from goats or so the saying goes.
We Create Tragedy or Not
Most of the Commandments we can agree to and atest to. This brings us back to that central question of the Laws of Human Gravity…
I know people think differently.
Do I behave as though they do?
There are not so obscure references to civil engineering and flood control tossed into Dylan’s song Isis. These assets do make sense when we talk about forms of human endeavor and civilization.
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