Filed under: CaNN Commentary
Alexander Of Arabia?
History embodies countless ‘What-If?’ moments. It’s a tribute to the power of individuals and circumstances that our choices can make and unmake and change worlds and people and situations yet to be. It’s also a comment on the imaginations of historians that we like to idly speculate on possible worlds. Call it mostly harmless academic chewing-gum for the mind.
Now, without wandering onto topics better considered by people like contemporary scholar Victor Davis Hanson, there’s a ‘What-If?’ of the classical world that I’d like to briefly consider.
Since I’ve been reading a wonderful biographical history of Alexander The Great (and watching Oliver Stone’s magisterial Alexander Revisited; The Final Cut), I’ve come across one ‘What-If?’ which speaks to the headlines of our current worldwide religious war.
In his restless quest to rule the world, Alexander had plans to turn his armies towards Arabia, to conquer, found cities, settle his veterans, build Greek institutions of learning, law, and education, all as part of his greater pan-Hellenic Empire. As it happened, his death in Babylon in BC 323 cut short his dreams for a great empire, a higher kingdom of freedom and the mind.
Oh, what might have been.
Imagine a Hellenized and civilized Arabia of culture and philosophy and order and connection to the greater world around it, and not a backwater of tribal war and pagan religion, 900 years later ripe for the flame of Muhammed and his Jihad, and all that ensued from that day to this.
A Hellenized Arabia would– like so much of the ancient world– have been ready, connected, ripe for the coming of Jesus Christ, in the fullness of time and the providence of God– taking up Hebrew faith and Greek thought into the faith of Christianity, transforming the mind and heart. Christ came to bring the true Kingdom of God, for all times and peoples and tongues.. a kingdom dimly glimpsed and deeply longed for in Alexander’s ever-Eastwards quest for the end of the world.
Then we might thankfully remember Saint Muhammed of Arabia, known for his prayerfulness and peace, for the holiness of his example, and the wisdom of his written spiritual reflections.
Ultimately, the solution to the promise and failings Capitalism or Socialism or Jihadism is not material or military, but philosophical, theological, and spiritual.
What-if? So may we ask for God’s wisdom and guiding hand to shape our choices and actions, to count ourselves as actors– however small the role– in what is and what is yet to be.
We all matter; it all matters.
P.S. Them what like thought-crimes will note the blatant hellenisticalism of the brief essay above; also the exclusivist Christianist bias; and the incorrect idea that living and thinking in certain ways are very much better than living and thinking in other particular ways. Deal with it.
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