The most recent revision to history says that Marco Polo never actually went to China. The premise outlined by archaeologists is that the great explorer was really no more than a talented liar, and that his stories were cobbled together from stories passed along by his Persian trading partners.
How much of our view of the world is based on what we were taught as kids that, as we’ve grown older, has been shown at best shaky and at worst just plain wrong? There’s the obvious stuff, like the fact that Columbus might have “discovered” America but the Vikings beat him to it by half a millennium or so.
Both those factoids conveniently disregard the incredible native civilizations wiped away by the bloodthirsty “discoverers”.
For a long time it was presumed that the Maya and Incan people existed without a written language. Of course you might think that about us if an invading force burned almost EVERY. SINGLE. VOLUME of our written records, as Spanish conquerors did to the Mayan records. There are a precious few examples of pre-columbian books: the most famous surviving copy is the Dresden Codex. I find that name disgusting. Not the MAYAN codex, which would be accurate; but the DRESDEN codex, based on the spot in Europe where it was deposited.
The picture here is one tiny section of the codex. Click on it for an expanded version showing the panels unfolded, where it’s clearly a form of written communication rather than just beautiful images. The Inca and Maya people were violent, unquestionably; and to the Europeans the blood sacrifices doubtless made little or no sense. But then, the Europeans who hit South and Central America weren’t looking for civilization: they were looking for gold or – at best – as religion seeking to convert the “savages” to its way of thinking.
Centuries later we are still barely beginning to grasp the scope of the early American empire. Violent or not, these people who lacked the wheel were able to construct stone citadels and cities we can’t match with modern architectural abilities. They were able to perform brain surgery where the patient survived, and God knows what else.
My point is that we are still learning how much we truly don’t know about human history. For a long time science has expounded that human history – at least in civilized form – only reached back some 4000 years or so, around the time of the Egyptian pyramids. There was no doubt homo sapien sapien went back further as a species, but the average bunsen burner wrangler dismissed our earliest ancestors, allowing them no more credit for intellect than the Spaniards gave the natives they encountered in the Americas. (I find it ironic that their figures correspond closely with the Genesis account for timing.)
That, my darlings, is simply bullshit. Depending on who you ask, there are several CURRENT cities stretching back some 11,000 years in one general location. We’ve only recently uncovered Gobekli Tepe, a stone temple dating back 12,000 years. (It’s laughable that science is trying to one-off it as a standalone facility without an annexed city.) That’s literally back to the last Ice Age. That’s the age attributed to the fabled Atlantis, which when viewed in that context suddenly sounds a hell of a lot feasible. It’s not like devastating earthquakes and resultant tsunamis aren’t known today. Whether or not a big chunk of land slid below sea level as described or its seaport civilization fell to a combination of subsidence and tsunami, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility. We know there are places now undersea that were once inhabited by man, just as surely as we know there are land areas now which were once seabeds.
In fact, there’s a more than a few scientific expeditions out hunting for Atlantis. And there are some possible locations for it too – ranging from the western edge of Spain to the Caribbean region around Bimini. Underwater and ground readings in both areas have produced some very interesting indications. There appears to be a road running underwater near Bimini, for example; and on the coast of Span there’s a buried city originally built in concentric circles, precisely as Plato described the capital city of Atlantis.
Some future reverse action of earth and water could well uncover the society, much as the 2004 Indonesian quake uncovered the city of Seven Pagodas, off the eastern coast of India, near Mahabalipuram.
I’m not saying whether or not Atlantis existed, nor am I ready to jump onto the Ancient Aliens bandwagon and claim all this tech goodness back a few millennia was the doing of the grays (or the Martians or Venusians, come to think of it). Erich von Däniken’s book Chariots of the Gods, while raising some legitimate and interesting questions, doesn’t answer everything about human history.
It’s just plain arrogant to dismiss evidence that mankind has gone through a number of sophisticated revolutions long before the US, iPads and the walk on the moon – real or soundstage version.
Nor am I willing to dismiss the crazy, impossible-to-explain-fully things human beings can do which should be scientifically impossible. Over time, science and the church have been in a tug-of-war for power. Nowadays science has been forced to scratch its head and acknowledge – albeit grudgingly – that humankind can do some pretty crazy things with our minds. We know about the placebo effect with regard to medication. I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to hear that, when it comes down to brass tacks, the majority of medicines function on some variation of the placebo effect. Maybe all of them do. We just don’t know.
There are plenty of scientific proponents of the idea that our entire universe is a big fat lie, a holographic representation of a giant brain. (Mork from Ork would no doubt be genuflecting about now.) I’m good with that too. And there’s the reincarnation view, which could interlace with several other particulars, and so on, and so on.
I had an interesting hypnotic experience a while back. I did a past life hypnosis and saw my face reflected in a horse trough full of water. I was peering into my own eyes, squinty and all, staring back at me from the face of a red-headed, reddish-bearded man probably in his late twenties or early thirties. I was wearing a rudimentary leather apron of some kind, something like a blacksmith would’ve worn though I didn’t go beyond that glimpse. Real? Verisimilitude? Couldn’t tell you. I was a nobody and got the impression that other than being clean (which struck me as out of place) I was pretty unremarkable all the way around. Other than knowing I was somewhere in Europe in the middle ages, I couldn’t have told you much more about where I was. I was dumb as a box of rocks, for what it’s worth. And I was not particularly happy with my life then, either, if my expression was any indication.