Saturday, September 29, 2012

History Will Give Us a Future

My personal motto is that Ancient Knowledge Will Give Us a Future. What stands between those two concepts, is often history – not the events themselves, but the way the story of history has been carefully molded and transformed into something it never was, but which somehow we are led to believe. Some of this is because of our natural appetite to believe we are superior to our ancestors and everyone else, but whereas this is the framework, the individual actions of rewriting history happen largely because there are forces that want us to think and especially behave in a certain way and the easiest method to get away with this – I mean: accomplish this – is by editing history.
In preparation for “The Atlas of Ancient Enigmas”, I was reading about the Chinese First Emperor and his adviser Li Si, in which the latter advised the Emperor about five vermin. Three of these were largely unimportant to me: speech-makers who propound false schemes and borrow influence from abroad; swordsmen who gather bands of followers; and draft-dodgers who bribe their way out of military service. One is of great interest for our reigning financial crisis: merchants and artisans who make articles of no practical use, accrue wealth and exploit farmers. It is the final vermin that is of greatest concern to my motto: scholars who praise the ways of former kings and speak in elegant phrases.
You might think this is not a problem of our times, and that science – represented by historians and archaeologists – fortunately is protecting us from this. But that is definitely not the case. Indeed, look at the recent saga of the Coptic papyrus that demonstrates Jesus was indeed married, the James Ossuary, the manner in which Tudor historians treat Anne Boleyn and thousands of other examples and the sad fact of the matter is that historians proclaim loud and wide that our history is indeed full of unworthy things, which they continue to serve us on platters that are meant to demonstrate there is nothing in our history that is worthy of our considerations, or can help us through our present times. Today, those fighting for a true understanding of events are shot down – Michael Moore specifically comes to mind – while the likes of Jon Stewart get away with it by playing the role of court jester, but as a result are not taken as seriously as they should.
Li Si proposed that the Emperor should give an order to burn all books, because there were those who disparaged the ruler by making claims on antiquity. They were only able to do this because they had access to the opinions of others and were even proud of it. Literature was therefore banned. The books were destroyed for the purpose of making the people ignorant, so that no one should use the past to discredit the present.
There is actually no evidence that the Emperor ever burnt books. In fact, after the rule of this Emperor, a more ingenious plan was devised by an unknown evil genius – a methodology that continues to be practiced to this very day. It is far more effective to introduce lies into the historical records – lies which will forever be quoted as proof, for they are, after all, part of the historical records, not? And it seems the First Emperor himself fell foul of this plan, as he was labeled an evil ruler who wiped out the past – even though it is now clear that he did not.
Editing can be the greatest of evils. Rather than ban books, create books that are filled with lies and have a media that will chew information for you and present it in delicious bites that are simply too good to be put aside. The best example of this is how our present generation has fallen victim to Wikipedia, which is ruled by a group of largely unknown – almost anonymous – editors, some of which are plainly ignorant of the facts they are deemed to govern, while others have major axes to grind with a topic, while in some cases, as has been revealed, the medium is blatantly abused by government agencies, political and religious parties and other interested parties who want the world to have a certain perspective on certain issues, countries and people. Philip Roth recently published an open letter to Wikipedia, in which he explained how Wikipedia refused to consider his input into how he had created a certain character. Wikipedia refused as he was not a credible source, begging the question who is a credible source when it comes to someone’s internal dialogue? Does Philip Roth need to hear voices in his head, who then speak to Wikipedia editors, before the information is deemed sufficient to Wikipedia? Roth is caught between being declared insane, or have incorrect information presented in Wikipedia.
We currently live in a time where we think that our present challenges and circumstances are unique – only because we are led to believe that there was no time in history where the same challenges presented themselves to our ancestors. “Back then, it was all different,” wasn’t it?
If we do not learn from the past, we will not have a future. And what we need to learn from the past, is far more than purely the historical truths that can help us shape our future. The manner in which history is taught, is a series of events, dates, without any true concept or detail as to why these events matter. If our children are not taught why aspects of history are truly important, I do not blame them for considering history to be unimportant.
Alas, these treasures of knowledge are currently in the hands of a group of people who care absolutely not at all about the truth, but about far more basic principles. The circus that has evolved after the revelation of the small papyrus that showed Jesus was married, is typical of the reigning paradigm of historians. As soon as a historical revelation is made, money and ego-hungry scientists who were left out of the initial scuffle make sure that they can raise bog-standard skeptical claims that they know will make for headline grabbing statements in the media that will make them part of the circus. And they pretend this is all in the interest of good scientific debate. Lone cries of reason, by the likes of James Tabor, are largely falling by the wayside and are of no interest in a media that thrives on controversy, rather than truth seeking. The circus must go on...
Tabor reminded his audience that in 2002, the so-called James Ossuary created major controversy. Most people who are aware of this topic will believe that this was proven to be a fake. Think again: there is no evidence to suggest the James Ossuary is a fake; it is more than likely absolutely true. Yet the opening sentence on Wikipedia continues to proclaim “if genuine”, before setting out evidence that is largely derisory of the subject matter – a typical Wikipedia procedure in dealing with material.
Our ancestors were not idiots. Where we come from is vitally important to define who we are. And for Mankind to create its future.

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