Empire, Order, and the “Truth of History”

If this isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is:

“All of the early empires, Near Eastern as well as Far Eastern, understood themselves as representatives of a transcendent order, of the order of the cosmos; and some of them even understood this order as a ‘truth.’  Whether one turns to the earliest Chinese sources in the Shu King or to the inscriptions of Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, or Persia, one uniformly finds the order of the empire interpreted as a representation of cosmic order in the medium of human society.  The empire is a cosmic analogue, a little world reflecting the order of the great, comprehensive world.  Rulership becomes the task of securing the order of society in harmony with cosmic order; the territory of the empire is an analogical representation of the world with its four quarters; the great ceremonies of the empire represent the rhythm of the cosmos; festivals and sacrifices are a cosmic liturgy, a symbolic participation of the cosmion in the cosmos; and the ruler himself represents the society, because on earth he represents the transcendent power which maintains cosmic order. . . .

In so far as the order of society does not exist automatically but must be founded, preserved, and defended, those who are on the side of order represent the truth, while their enemies represent disorder and falsehood. . . . Read More