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The Second Coming of the Heartland
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© Samarkand. Photo by Pepe Escoba

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It’s tempting to visualize the overwhelming collective West debacle as a rocket, faster than free fall, plunging into the black void maelstrom of complete socio-political breakdown.

The End of (Their) History turns out to be a fast-forward historical process bearing staggering ramifications: way more profound than mere self-appointed “elites” – via their messenger boys/girls – dictating a Dystopia engineered by austerity and financialization: what they chose to brand as a Great Reset and then, major fail intervening, The Great Narrative.

Financialization of everything means total marketization of Life itself. In his latest book, No-Cosas: Quiebras del Mundo de Hoy (in Spanish, no English translation yet), the foremost German contemporary philosopher (Byung-Chul Han, who happens to be Korean), analyzes how Information Capitalism, unlike industrial capitalism, converts also the immaterial into merchandise: “Life itself acquires the form of merchandise (…) the difference between culture and commerce disappears. Institutions of culture are presented as profitable brands.”

The most toxic consequence is that “total commercialization and mercantilization of culture had the effect of destroying the community (…) Community as merchandise is the end of community.”

China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping proposes the idea of a community of shared future for mankind, essentially a geopolitical and geoeconomic project. Yet China still has not amassed enough soft power to translate that culturally, and seduce vast swathes of the world into it: that especially concerns the West, for which Chinese culture, history and philosophies are virtually incomprehensible.

In Inner Asia, where I am now, a revived glorious past may offer other instances of “shared community”. A glittering example is the Shaki Zinda necropolis in Samarkand.

Shahrisabz. The ruins of the immense 15th century Ak Saray. In the background, Badass Timur – who else? Photo by Pepe Escobar / https://t.me/rocknrollgeopolitics
Shahrisabz. The ruins of the immense 15th century Ak Saray. In the background, Badass Timur – who else? Photo by Pepe Escobar / https://t.me/rocknrollgeopolitics

Afrasiab – the ancient settlement, pre-Samarkand – had been destroyed by the Genghis Khan hordes in 1221. The only building that was preserved was the city’s main shrine: Shaki Zinda.

Much later, in the mid-15th century, star astronomer Ulugh Beg, himself the grandson of Turkic-Mongol “Conqueror of the World” Timur, unleashed no less than a Cultural Renaissance: he summoned architects and craftsmen from all corners of the Timurid empire and the Islamic world to work into what became a de facto creative artistic lab.

The Avenue of 44 Tombs at Shaki Zinda represents the masters of different schools harmoniously creating a unique synthesis of styles in Islamic architecture.

The most remarkable décor at Shaki Zinda are stalactites, hung in clusters in the upper parts of portal niches. An early 18th century traveler described them as “magnificent stalactites, hanging like stars above the mausoleum, make it clear about the eternity of the sky and our frailty.” Stalactites in the 15th century were called “muqarnas”: that means, figuratively, “starry sky”.

The Sheltering (Community) Sky

The Shaki Zinda complex is now at the center of a willful push by the Uzbekistan government to restore Samarkand to its former glory. The centerpiece, trans-historical concepts are “harmony” and “community” – and that reaches way beyond Islam.

As a sharp contrast, the inestimable Alastair Crooke has illustrated the death of Eurocentrism alluding to Lewis Carroll and Yeats: only through the looking glass we can see the full contours of the tawdry spectacle of narcissistic self-obsession and self-justification offered by “the worst”, still so “full of passionate intensity”, as depicted by Yeats.

And yet, unlike Yeats, the best now do not “lack all conviction”. They may be few, ostracized by cancel culture, but they do see the “rough beast, its hour come out at last, slouching towards…” Brussels (not Jerusalem) “to be born”.

This unelected gaggle of insufferable mediocrities – from von der Leyden and Borrell to that piece of Norwegian wood Stoltenberg – may dream they live in the pre-1914 era, when Europe was at the political center. Yet now not only “the center cannot hold” (Yeats) but Eurocrat-infested Europe has been definitely engulfed by the maelstrom, an irrelevant political backwater seriously flirting with reversion to 12th century status.

The physical aspects of the Fall – austerity, inflation, no hot showers, freezing to death to support neo-Nazis in Kiev – has been preceded, and no Christianized imagery need apply, by the fires of sulphur and brimstone of a Spiritual Fall. The transatlantic masters of those parrots posing as “elites” could never come up with any idea to sell to the Global South centered on harmony and much less “community”.

What they sell, via their Unanimous Narrative, actually their take on “We Are the World”, is variations of “you will own nothing and be happy”. Worse: you will have to pay for it – dearly. And you have no right to dream of any transcendence – irrespective if you’re a follower of Rumi, the Tao, shamanism or Prophet Muhammad.

The most visible shock troops of this reductionist Western neo-nihilism – obscured by the fog of “equality”, “human rights” and “democracy” – are the thugs being swiftly denazified in Ukraine, sporting their tattoos and pentagrams.

The dawn of a new Enlightenment

The Collective West Self-Justification Show staged to obliterate its ritualized suicide offers no hint of transcending sacrifice implied in a ceremonial seppuku. All they do is to wallow in the adamant refusal to admit they could be seriously mistaken.

How would anyone dare to deride the set of “values” derived from the Enlightenment? If you don’t prostrate yourself in front of this glittering cultural altar, you’re just a barbarian set to be slandered, law-fared, canceled, persecuted, sanctioned and – HIMARS to the rescue – bombed.

We still do not have a post-Tik Tok Tintoretto to depict the collective West’s multi-wallowing in Dante-esque chambers of pop Hell. What we do have, and must endure, day after day, is the kinetic battle between their “Great Narrative”, or narratives, and pure and simple reality. Their obsession with the need for virtual reality to always “win” is pathological: after all the only activity they excel in is manufacturing fake reality. Such a pity that Baudrillard and Umberto Eco are not among us anymore to unmask their tawdry shenanigans.

ORDER IT NOW

Does that make any difference across vast swathes of Eurasia? Of course not. We just need to keep up with the dizzying succession of bilateral meetings, deals, and progressive interaction of BRI, SCO, EAEU, BRICS+ and other multilateral organizations to get a glimpse of how the new world-system is being configured.

In Samarkand, surrounded by mesmerizing instances of Timurid art coupled with a development boom that brings to mind the East Asian miracle of the early 1990s, it’s plain to see how the heart of the Heartland is back with a vengeance – and is bound to dispatch the pleonexia-afflicted West to the swamp of Irrelevancy.

I leave you with a psychedelic sunset facing the Registan, at the razor’s edge of a new sort of Enlightenment that is leading the Heartland towards a reality-based version of Shangri-La, privileging harmony, tolerance and most of all, the sense of community.

(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: Central Asia, China, Eurasia 
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  1. Kali says:

    This could be your best yet, Pepe. Certainly it’s a beautiful picture you paint.

    We all know the west is finished – many of us are glad of that, given what the west has become. – It’s good to know that a community centered alternative to western domination possibly awaits. Though, for those of us who wish to come through this transition with our lives, health and freedom intact would do well to get to work creating our own, on the ground/in the ground alternatives for ourselves now,

    One thing is for sure: this nihilistic zio-cult sucking the life, the creativity and the divine spark out of the collective west has to go.

    It’s good to know that a viable geopolitical alternative is emerging from the chaos. If your faith and optimism are well founded, the the future will surely be brighter than the present. (It’s always darkest before dawn, as they say.)

    At the beginning of your article, you suggested that Chinese “culture, history and philosophies are virtually incomprehensible” to the west. Maybe that’s true, as broad generalities go, but many of us seekers of truth and meaning have read and imbibed Lau Tzu, Kung-Fu Tzu, Sun Tzu and even (if you’ll forgive me) Whinnie the Tzu (sorry). We may not have a full understanding of Chinese culture, but we at least have some positive insights.

    With love,,
    Kali.

    • Replies: @Notsofast
    , @exudd1
  2. Anon[216] • Disclaimer says:

    February 24, 2022 will be remembered as the day that more than 500 years of Western colonialism is given the “death blow”, 1,000 years old Russia will be remembered as the “Knights of Rebel force” that caused the dismantling of the Empire and thousands of years old Universal knowledge of the East will again be applied to the World based on quest for collective physical, psychological, spiritual health, fairness, justice and Truth based sharing of the Blessings of the Nature. New chapter in the World history has unmistakably started which will evolve over years, decades, centuries and millennia. I hope I’m right in this assessment.

    • Agree: Bro43rd
  3. I too celebrate the imminent destruction of ‘the West’ but I most certainly do not share Pepe’s faith in what’s going to replace it.

    • Agree: SteveK9
  4. SteveK9 says:

    The title could have referred to the United States, led by Texas and Florida.

  5. Notsofast says:
    @Kali

    sister mother kali,
    you are so correct that a positive mind constucts positive outcomes, we must realize that the true power comes from within. as the immortal lao tzu reminds us in chapter 38 of the tao te ching:

    the man of highest ‘power’ (te) does not reveal himself as a possessor of ‘power’. therefore he keeps his ‘power’.
    the man of inferior ‘power’ cannot rid it of the appearance of ‘ power’.
    therefore he is in truth without ‘power’. *

    let us now enjoy the show of the neocons discovering that in truth they are without power.

    *this translation is from arthur waley’s “the way and it’s power, a study of the tao te ching and it’s place in chinese thought”. best translation by far imho. highly recommend.

    • Replies: @Kali
    , @René Fries
  6. The foremost German contemporary philosopher (Byung-Chul Han, who happens to be Korean), analyzes how Information Capitalism, unlike industrial capitalism, converts also the immaterial into merchandise: “Life itself acquires the form of merchandise (…) the difference between culture and commerce disappears. Institutions of culture are presented as profitable brands.”

    There is a remedy for this: repeal copyright, patent and trademark laws as economically unjustifiable artificial scarcity. IP should be limited to what is enforceable via contracts and fraud claims.

  7. Miro23 says:

    The physical aspects of the Fall – austerity, inflation, no hot showers, freezing to death to support neo-Nazis in Kiev – has been preceded, and no Christianized imagery need apply, by the fires of sulphur and brimstone of a Spiritual Fall.

    It brings to mind a description of Weimar quoted in Bernd Widdig’s “Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany”:

    “Looking back at the years of inflation the crazy image of a hellish carnival comes to mind, … Plunderings and riots, … painful hunger and wild gluttony, rapid pauperization and sudden enrichment, excessive dancing and horrible misery of children, nude dancing, currency conjurers, hoarding of material assets, … occultism and psychics – gambling passion, speculation, a divorce epidemic, emancipation of women, early maturity of youth, Quaker food kitchen, …. police raids and racketeering, jazz and drugs”

    Hans Ostwald, Sittengeschichte der Inflation: Ein Kulturdokument aus den Jahren des Marktsturzes (Moral History of the Inflation Period).

    • Thanks: Kali
  8. Kali says:
    @Notsofast

    arthur waley’s “the way and it’s power, a study of the tao te ching and it’s place in chinese thought

    I will keep an eye out for it Bro’ Notsofast. Thank you.

    Please allow me to reciprocate and recommend Ray Grigg’s translation: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted For A New Age – a copy of which I’ve had with me since I was a young 22 year old some 33 years ago!
    (Numerologists could have a field day with that! Not to mention I’ll be 55 on the 23rd ___. – Have you heard of the Law of Fives? ( https://discordia.fandom.com/wiki/Law_of_Fives ) I read the Illnuminatus Trillogy long before I began to explore the JQ, which, to the best of my recolection, doesn’t mention the jews. Very dissappointing, but the Law of Five’s is undeniable!)

    😅

    Love,
    Kali.

  9. PJ London says:

    “Through Russia comes the hope of the world. Not in respect to what is sometimes termed Communism or Bolshevism — no! But freedom — freedom!
    That each man will live for his fellow man.
    The principle has been born there. It will take years for it to be crystallised; yet out of Russia comes again the hope of the world.” ~
    Edgar Cayce circa 1935

    Russia guaranteed the right to not have a “Colour Revolution” although unfortunately it took 6 or 7 of them before they realised what poison they were.
    Russia is showing that traditional orthodox Christianity can co-exist with Islam, indeed with any moral community.
    Xi is showing that Confucianism is still relevant today.
    Once the threat of the western materialism is removed as a guiding principle, perhaps individuals can be free and sovereign again.

  10. exudd1 says:
    @Kali

    Well said! Excellent comment on an insightful and scholarly article by the incomparable Pepe Escobar!

    Thanks.

    • Replies: @Kali
  11. Zumbuddi says:

    This is just a weak response/thought that crossed the mind while trying to absorb all the information packed into Pepe’s essay, and also, the responses from several of the highly-informed commenters:

    1. Uzbekistan was part of the Persian empire, and its architecture echoes much of that still found in Iran’s great cities. They are stunningly beautiful. Their beauty and the statements made by their elements and construction lift the soul.

    2. While Kali, and Pepe, urge Westerners to broaden their horizons to consider the wisdom that the Ancient “Heartland” has to offer, once again, I suggest that the West might do well to consider the Wisdom of its own Ancient forebear, the Romans: the destruction of the “Pagan” Roman Empire by Jewish-Christians in the early centuries of the, ahem, Christian Era, perhaps should be understood as a loss even more profound than the deeply lamentable destruction of Germany/Northern Europe in WWII (which might well be considered a kind of mopping-up operation to the destruction of the Roman Empire. Zionism declares: “THE Zionist movement dates from A.D. 70, the year of the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish State,” but it has no end-point, no level of satiation or completion, just ceaseless vengefulness as a core characteristic of its psycho-spiritual raison d’être.)

    In short, while I disdain many of the putative leaders of so-called white nationalism (to my knowledge, there was never such as thing as a “white” empire or “white” mythologies), I long for the re-vitalization of the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius, of Cicero, of the myths of the Pagan Romans that served that civilization, side-by-side with the great civilizations of Persia, of Alexander, of China, of India.

    • Replies: @Kali
    , @Kali
    , @René Fries
  12. Kali says:
    @Zumbuddi

    Dear Zumbuddi,

    Maybe you’ll be interested by this presentation by Micheal O Bernicia – The Fraud of “English” History – in which he traces the truly ancient roots of the British (and commonwealth, and USAian) system of Common Law.


    (from around the 12 minute mark, to 27 minutes).

    Wisdom can be found in many of our ancient histories, as you intemate, and I do love the wisdom (guidance) found in the Tao te Ching.

    The wisdom of the ancient Britons can be traced back way before the Roman or Saxon conquests and offers a social/political code (detailed in the video above between the time stamps indicated) which we may do well to concider, as we venture toward an unknown future.

    Fond regards,
    Kali.

  13. Kali says:
    @Zumbuddi

    I long for the re-vitalization of the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius, of Cicero, of the myths of the Pagan Romans that served that civilization, side-by-side with the great civilizations of Persia, of Alexander, of China, of India.

    Unfortunately, I know too little of the history to which you refer to fully concur, but certainly I concur with the spirit of your offering!

    Much love,
    Kali.

  14. Decoy says:

    One single sentence made the read worthwhile: “This unelected gaggle of insufferable mediocrities
    – from Von der Leyden and Borrell to that piece of Norwegian wood Stoltenberg” Perfect description of these 3 stiffs. All 3 are unimaginative bureaucrats and yet all 3 rose to positions of power. Makes one wonder about the abilities of their lieutenants.

  15. @Zumbuddi

    once again, I suggest that the West might do well to consider the Wisdom of its own Ancient forebear, the Romans

    I have more than once highlighted the essential role of the Catholic Church, without which nobody currently living would even exist, for instance in https://www.unz.com/aanglin/nancy-the-nuke-gives-speech-in-taiwan-parliament-gets-golden-medal/#comment-5482623 (“neither China nor India nor Persia nor any other civilization has been lucky enough to have had the chance of getting a Catholic Church”).

    The wisdom you speak of, is at the core of C. Schmitt’s thinking:

    However, Catholicism is also rationalism—not the narrow, blinkered rationalism of the natural sciences, but “a particular mode of thinking whose method of proof is a specific juridical logic and whose focus of interest is the normative guidance of human life.” The thinking of Catholicism is not limited in the way that economic-technical thinking is, yet contrary to what moderns would have us believe, it is highly rational, the result of absorption of Roman law and institutions. It is “essentially juridical,” which for Schmitt is the highest compliment. https://theworthyhouse.com/2022/05/18/roman-catholicism-and-political-form-carl-schmitt/

    • Replies: @Kurt Knispel
  16. “Financialization” is total “marketization” in as far as it unsatiable in owning everything and having produced nothing. The finance sector is 10 times the size of the real economy (e.g. 10 mio money spins for 1 mio in products and real (i.e. value adding) services). Judaism = Financialization; Judaism = inflation.

  17. @René Fries

    Oh boy oh boy; Vatica and its Roman Law means the destruction of man’s law, the natural law. Juda’s Christianity is the main root of evil and destruction of man & family. Read it in the Jew’s bible (or not).

    • Replies: @René Fries
  18. @Kurt Knispel

    One could agree with what you’re saying (I for that matter do not, but that’s of no importance). My point rather was to show the historic evidence that without the Catholic church, nobody currently living wouldn’t even exist.

    I mentioned Cusanus somewhere, but am not sure that I’ve spoken of the Idiota de mente (nothing to do with idiot, btw).

    • Replies: @Kurt Knispel
  19. @René Fries

    “… without the Catholic church, nobody currently living wouldn’t even exist…”
    That is beyond my comprehension.
    Just the opposite is true (in my personal experience). Without the Catholic Church the peoples would more than “exist”, people could live the go(o)d given life as peoples without having the existential threats regularly fabricated by The Church of the Anti-Christ together with the Synagogue of Satan; the arch enemies of natural man & family.
    God made man and later the ego-vultures (“evolution”) of the fallen angel created religions to keep people from religiousness. Bergoglio: “In every Christian is a Jew”.
    Christianity, like all Moses religions, is an enemy of the divine order of creation.
    Christianity is sick. All Moses (or some call them abrahamitic) religions are sick and actually evil, if you want to have a real close look. But(t) life is easier if you do not look to close at the brothers.
    “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35)
    In the Christian sense, “brother” does not mean the family member, not the clan member, not the tribal or national (Rolo: patriotic instead of national) comrade. Rather, Christianity typically invalidates reality in favor of fiction: true blood kinship (native) becomes a constructed abstract brotherhood with every wild stranger on the planet. In sum, Christianity does not hold the family as a sacred value; rather, according to its founder’s talers, kinship ties simply deserve hatred:
    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26; Luther translation 1912)
    He himself attests to this attitude by accosting his mother (the “Mother of God”) in front of others: “Woman, what have I to do with you?” (John 2:4). In general, there should be discord in family and clan:
    “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And man’s enemies will be his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:34-37)
    Finally, the individual believer is commanded to hate his own life – himself (self-denial is a Christian value, as evidenced not only by the monastic movement).
    “…nobody currently living wouldn’t even exist…”, had the CC its way only.

  20. “… without the Catholic church, nobody currently living wouldn’t even exist…”
    That is beyond my comprehension.

    I cannot command you to read all I’ve written about the subject. Here and now I’ll limit me to cardinal Cusanus’ Idiota de mente by which he put an end to that philosophical rigidity called “the ideal of Aristotelian exactitude”, because the definition of “mens/spirit”, via the etymology (true or false, this is not the purport of the debate) “mensurare = measure”, indeed points to the fundamental difference between godly spirit and human spirit. The “ideal of Aristotelian exactitude” must metaphysically correspond with the divine spirit – what, according to Nicolaus Cusanus, is not necessarily true of the human spirit [a position taken up and “modernised” by Leibniz, in Animadversiones in partem generalem Principorum Cartesianorum (Disputes on the general parts of the Cartesian principles): “(…) nam si voluisset differre theorematum aut problematum inventiones, dum omnia axiomata et postulata demonstrata fuissent, fortasse nullam hodie Geometriam haberemus // because if he would differ the treatment of the theorems or problems until the moment when all axioms and postulates would be proven, perhaps today we wouldn’t have any geometry” (Blumenberg, Wirklichkeiten in denen wir leben, Verlag Phil. Reclam, Stuttgart, Buch Nr. 7715, pp. 42-43)]. By doing this, he has made possible the evolution leading to the “Neuzeit” of which I’ve sufficiently spoken elsewhere, you may look at https://www.unz.com/article/clare-ellis-on-the-migrant-crisis-and-the-blackening-of-europe/#comment-5501217 and every link therein mentioned.

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