Al Andalus, aristotle, Averroes, Borges, Catholic Militia, Chango, Christian, Islamic, Luisa Aldea, Mahgreb, Mesta, Old San Juan, Santiago Apostal, Short Stories, Slave Traders, Vijigantes
Of course he is ignorant; ignorant of our inventions.
Time and space are the demarcations of our cultural borders and individual frontiers. From the archaeological to the historical records we have documented borders, frontiers and other dimensions of our mind (as if it were really possible to document the metaphysical).
Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina 1899 – 1986) refuted the concept of time, both past and future. He is not alone in these refutations. In his “Doctrine of Cycles” he reminds us that “the Pythagorians and Stoics argued that God’s knowledge is unable to comprehend infinite things and the eternal rotation of the worldly process serves to familiarize God with it.”
Singular events that occur in the past are joined together by our imaginations (logical and illogical); and the documentation is ubiquitous. These imaginings occur in a matter of split seconds, yet can result in conjunctions of events spread over millennia.
I apologize for using time as my first basis to abnegate time.
There are two documents which stand alone and are separated by almost three millennia. They are not joined by time; yet we have joined them together in our minds. The first document is Plato’s “Republic.” The second one is “Democracy in America” by Tocqueville. We can, without much difficulty and with sufficient perseverance, join them together by placing them in the category of political philosophy. They are stitched together with the writings of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. This series of writings (The Apology, The Crito, Politics, The Prince, Leviathan, Constitutional Government, Democracy and Participation) make up an intricate needlework.
Each author was a separate man, with separate thoughts modified by separate times. Only the human ability to think has linked them together . . . and then . . . linked them together with this thing we call time. As you can clearly see, time is not real, it is an imaginary thing that we have used to tie our thoughts into neat little packages. Space is likewise a tool that we use to identify where one object stands in relationship to another (or the cultural distance between nations and people). Space becomes even more nebulous when we consider the cosmogonies; experts say that our universe is expanding while subsets of it are collapsing.
Our language, “a system of grunts and squeals” (professes Chesterton), serves to assist us in linking unthinkable thoughts together. I have failed to mention one other writer who has played a major part in the crocheting (with the thread of the writings mentioned above) political philosophy. That man is Averroes, the physician and thinker of Cordoba, Islamic Spain (Andalusia), eleventh century A.D..
Averroes, through his mental dexterity and perseverance, translated Aristotle. This we know. What we do not know is the name of the adventurous fellow who spirited Averroes’ translations across the Pyrenees. We also know that these translations gave the Renaissance a head start on its way to pre-science.
Andalusia (al Andalus) brings me back to my original thought of a God who is ignorant of borders, frontiers, and their supersets; time and space. When considering al Andalus, or Southern Iberia if you prefer that nomenclature, I am forced to observe the originations of borders that have been long forgotten. I offer the following list of events that depict cultural borders.
- The purported vanishing of borders between Neanderthal and invading Homo Sapien through hybridization (Duarte, et al)
- The expansion of the Iberian Megalithic Culture northward to Stonehenge and Scandinavia
- The invasion of the Celts
- The control of the coastlands by the Phoenicians
- Cultural borders between the Lusitani, the Celitici, the Turditani and the Turdoli
- The invasion of the Romans (stymied for eight years by an Iberian herdsman named Variatus)
- The Visigothic crush of the Romans and establishment of Kingdoms
- Islamic Arabic and Berber force’s invasion of Iberia via the Straights of Gibraltar
- The establishment of an independent Islamic Emirate
- Averroes’ translations during the muddling of borders by the always changing Islamic Party Kingdoms (Tiafas)
- Christian Militias pushing back on Islamic borders until they no longer existed.
The confusion created by this blending, re-blending and folding back of borders and cultures may be shown with a more up-to-date example. Aristotelian logic was translated from Greek to Arabic and absorbed by the Renaissance; then translated to French and modified by European thought. This new Marxist Aristotle was finally translated back to Arabic and forced on the colonized Maghreb. Things that once appeared in a unique fragment of time were now blended to the point where only God knows what actually occurred.
This now offers me my intended opportunity to relate how God is ignorant of time and space; likewise the frontiers and borders that man invents. It also brings me to the point where I admit that time and borders blend into God; a truly spiritual yet unexpected outcome. This circular theme centers in the small village of Loiza Aldea, Puerto Rico. Prior to defining Loiza Aldea I am required to reference Iberia and Africa in pre-Loiza Aldea periods.
In Spain the defeat of the Islamic Moors was celebrated as the result of one main event; the miraculous appearance of St. James the Apostle (Santiago Apostel) to the embattled Catholic Militias. This appearance gave the militias the will to fight. Subsequently these militias became controllers of the Catholic sheep raising cartel (the Mesta). Spanish farmers were severely misused by the cartel. The Mesta was allowed to herd and drove its sheep wherever it wished. Farm crops were overrun and destroyed by the sheep. Compensation was not required to be paid for the damage. The famished and desperate people migrated from Spain by the thousands; many of them establishing their new homes in Puerto Rico.
In Africa, at the same time, Nigerian Yoruba Tribes were decimated by Islamic slave traders. Some of these slaves were brought to Puerto Rico to work the farms. Eventually the class gap between rich and poor grew wider. Many poor Spanish families squatted on the edges of the swampy lagoons of Carolinas east of Old San Juan. This squat village soon became known as El Fangito (the swamp). Over the years some of these families were joined by Yoruban families. The people of El Fangito were eventually forced to move (by their own government who destroyed their homes). Escaped slaves and freemen had previously migrated to Loiza Aldea where a Native Indian (Taino) compound existed.
The native Tiano had, as their queen, “Yuiza.” The Yorubans had, as their warrior god, “Chango.” The Spanish had, as their patron, “Santiago Apostel.”
Each July in Loiza Aldea a ten day festival is held to commemorate the victory of Santiago Apostel. But the borders and frontiers are in voluntary disarray. The Islamic Iberian Moors and slave traders have taken on the persona of “Vijigantes”; played by locals who are dressed in colorful and blousy costumes and frightful masks made of coconut shells. Multiple images of Santiago Apostle, Queen Yuiza and warrior Chango share the streets with each other. St. Peter, patron of the local church, also holds a prominent place. The flag of Loiza Aldea is flown with its multi-cultural simulacrums of the yellow Yoiza River, images of the bells of the local church, and shared colors of all inhabitants.
God remains ignorant of borders or cultural frontiers in Loiza Aldea. He remains unaffected by the time or space that their ancestors occupied. Yet their God (a trinity of Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures) is now One.
© Copyright – Waldo Tomosky