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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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The Crusades

Does anybody know very much about the Crusades? I heard a great show about them on Ideas last night, but I've never really researched them before. The accounts of the Crusades that they read aloud last night sounded remarkably like the same sort of back-and-forth that's happening in the Middle East today. And it sounded like there was a point in the 11th century at which the situation could possibly have been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties in the immediate area, but external influences from the West pushed things past the boiling point before that solution could be tried.

The other readings of note from the program were quotes by officers on both sides of the armies after a particularly drawn-out battle. Each said that if it weren't for the atrocious religion of the other side, that they would be proud to call those men their brothers; such was the enormous respect that each side developed for the other due to their skill and valour in combat.

Geez. They could see through everything except that one, measly thing: their religion. What a strange irony that they were willing to slaughter so many men whom they understood and respected so much, simply because they prayed to a different version of God. I remember learning about St. Augustine's treatise on the notion of Just War (indeed, a God-sanctioned war) during a religious ethics course in my undergrad. Today, the propagandists have changed (and their message more efficiently distributed via the media), but the central message and techniques appear to have remain largely unchanged for the past 900 years. That's a fairly long time to be beating the same dead horse.

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hai_kah_uhk January 4th, 2002
Tolerance is wonderful. I recommend that everyone try it.

eatingart January 4th, 2002
I think it just goes to show how History repeats itself. Why should that be? I believe the great masses of people live their lives without trying, perhaps they can't try to improve their lot, perhaps their governments won't allow this to happen.

In this country in this day and age, we have a unique situation where we have developed a government that allows people to explore the world, outer and inner. Not that it hasn't been done before but perhaps not to the amount of people who have the opportunity to do it.

Meditation is one important step to get there.

I agree with everything you put in your journal.

iamom January 4th, 2002
Thanks for your support, T!

You raise an interesting point about the increased accessibility that people now have to explore their outer and inner worlds to a greater extent. I agree that meditation (including realization of the self and control of the emotions) is an important step, too, and I would expect that now we can all talk to each other instantly throughout the world, it's possible that our psychosocial evolution, so to speak, may start to speed up. Wouldn't that be nice? (Although, I suppose that depends on people actually wanting to speak to one another mindfully, etc.)

By the way, I really dug your website, too. Are all of those works made by you and your wife? I'm always happy to see people who are making a living from their art. Am I correct to assume that you do that?


eatingart January 5th, 2002
Yes, we make our living from the art work that we make.....The work that we make is all on the Sue and Terrance Gallerys......the other work we sell is in the Craft Gift Gallery.....

I've often thought that yes the information revolution would speed up that process....hopefully.....and make more people aware at the same time.

fireceremony January 6th, 2002

A few other things have changed since the Crusades though...

one side of the "conflict" (I hesitate to call it a conflict on par of the cold war for example, since I don't believe most Muslims do feel an animosity towards Christians and the western world enough to want a war, and the same goes for Christians and the western world) has a great techological and economic advantage... if my impression of the medieval technologies is correct, the Muslim side during the crusades were level with or in some instances above, the technological level of the Christians.

The technological level and war at a distance, will also ensure that the mutual respect that does develop between two sides in a war of attrition (where the two sides are almost equally matched, as happened b/n Russian and German forces in WW1 and WW2) will not develop. It is an old military maxim that a soldier hates his enemy stronger the farther he is from them, ie when the enemy image created by propaganda still seems to hold true and there is little actual physical contact with the other side, eg exchanging of prisoners or wounded that has happened in other wars though history.

There are a few other differences in social structure notwithstanding speed of communication of today between now and the world of the Crusades, but I won't blather more about that here.

Thanks for an interesting post though.

And why did you make the poll you did last week ? What did you want to find out with it ?

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