The reason the Turks, Mongols, and Normans were such successful conquerors and rulers was that they adapted to local customs. They were not attempting to destroy the indigenous culture, whether Muslim, Christian, or Chinese; they just wanted to rule, to be in charge.
While respecting the indigenous cultures, each of these ruling warrior classes, continually led their respective countries into war with their neighbors because of their love of war with continual battles that tested their courage. Indeed after the Seljuk Turks had conquered Iran and Iraq the leaders decided on more expansion so that their nomadic soldiers didn’t destroy the countryside that they were attempting to rule. This was similar to the Pope’s decision to send his knights on the Holy Crusade - out of the country - because they were causing too much trouble at home.
Coming from a warrior background they just wanted to fight and conquer. Art and culture was for women, while War was for real men. The excitement and thrill of risking death in every battle was invigorating. In each of these warrior cults, the thrill of risking life in battle was the highest joy. The warrior was given the opportunity to thumb his nose at death - Unafraid of dying.
This is very different from the merchant, artist, scholar, and agricultural class of the peasant or serf, bourgeois or proletariat classes, who values and treasures life with all its simple joys.
Indeed although the motivations behind the Crusades seemed to be based in religious differences, this was just a façade. Although seemingly important, the religious animosities just created an excuse for war. In actuality it was the warrior cult of the rulers on both sides that created this dynamic political situation. Remember that the Moslem world was very tolerant of Christianity as well as Judaism. The Muslims, Christians and Jews got along just fine, relatively speaking. It was the leaders who were warring amongst each other, more as a game than with any religious fervor.
An example: one of the dynamic Seljuk leaders captured the Emperor of Byzantium. Instead of beheading or even imprisoning him, he treated him as a royal guest. After a time the Muslim Turk released the Byzantine Emperor for a royal ransom. When this Byzantine Emperor was subsequently overthrown at home, the Turks then attacked the Byzantine Empire because usurpers had seized the throne – no respect for tradition. A similar phenomenon occurred in the 100 Year War in Europe between the French and English kings. They were playing a game called war. The French King lost and so his citizens had to pay a king’s ransom to get him back. There was no ideology at stake. It was a pure and simple power struggle by the warrior class. The Kings of both of these countries was not threatened by starvation or privation.
This was also true of the Crusades. While there were many religious overtones, once the surface was scratched it was almost pure power with very little religion, at least on the part of the leaders. Neither the Turkish leaders leading the Muslim world, nor the Normans leading the Christian world had much conviction. Both were just fighting each other in the power game named war. As warriors neither the Normans nor the Turks were afraid of death. They would rather die in battle trying to win than stay at home enjoying the comforts of family life, business and agriculture. Once they had the taste of war blood, it was hard to civilize them. They had become feral humans. Unfortunately they were the leaders, even as they are still today.
Warriors Love Battle & rear Living
The highest Warrior virtue is Courage in the face of Death. This has two features. First this courage will allow the warrior to survive to battle again, because he will fight more efficiently. The second is that it shows that the Warrior has seen through the illusory nature of this world. The religious man might talk about existence being an illusion, or that he will go to heaven after dying, but in the face of death, he is paralyzed with fear. The Warrior in Battle gets to test this fear over and over again. The Fit will survive.
Ironically while the Warrior is not afraid of Dying, by tempting Death so regularly, he shows that he is afraid of Living with all of the complexity that this entails. It is easy to go into Battle and Die - whether bravely or in a cowardly fashion - no one really knows. But to really live a productive and long Life takes real courage. Facing old age, with the degeneration and pain this entails, is real courage. Neither fearing Death, nor hastening it.
The Fear of Living is one fear exposed by the love of Battle. A second Fear that is exposed in a more subtle fashion by this love of war is the fear of Peer Pressure. The Warrior is so dominated by his Peers that he risks his very life to impress those around him. Such a shallow type of courage. Unfortunately the media continually glorifies this type of courage, although obsolete due to the advent of technological warfare.
The false courage of the Warrior to face Death in Battle bravely, is a great technique to avoid the real Courage, which is to bravely be your Self in the face of social pressure. Refusing to brutally dominate innocent civilians of other cultures, although pressured by your Government, takes more courage than to blindly give your life in Battle serving the faceless Corporate Masters.
While facing Battle fearlessly is an important virtue to cultivate when defending one’s homeland from attack, it becomes a barbaric virtue when extended into the moral code for an entire Culture. Unfortunately for humankind our Corporate Masters attempt to encourage this immature type of courage as the highest virtue.
Indeed the Establishment encourages virtues like patriotism, which is the courage to fight for the Group. They discourage the Courage to stand up to the Mob - to say no to atrocities committed in the name of the culture - to say yes to standing up compassionately for humans globally. The System wants to preserve itself, as all Systems do. Hence the courage to fight for the System is given positive reinforcement while the Courage to fight against any System, which exploits our fellow human beings is given negative reinforcement.
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