ANCIENT AND MODERN

16 Sep

I’m a believer in progress. I adore the idea that we alone of all creatures on this planet can look back into history and learn from it.

But knowledge changes with time: it’s got to as understanding grasps new interpretations of old concepts and moulds them to today’s circumstances. How else could we progress from one age to another? How could the stone age of five and more thousand years ago have progressed into metal ages, first bronze and then iron? New skills were learned and added onto the tried and tested old ones, eventually replacing them.

Note: the stone age, when technology was limited to implements made solely from stone and sticks, lasted for many, many thousands of years. Mankind was in the stone age for considerably longer than he’s been in all the other ages put together. Very considerably longer.

Learning progressed as discoveries were made. Technology was given a feeble infancy two thousand years ago and remained in that state until quite recently.

Note: the ancient Greeks knew all about the power of steam but were unsure as to how to make a steam engine, and even used the power of the wind to make mechanical music. And that was before the nativity allegedly occurred.

So we come to the big question.

If there has been a phenomenal burst of knowledge and discovery since the bronze age and the enlightenment provided by forging artefacts out of metal, why have the minds of some of us remained trapped in the stone age?

Why do printing presses still churn out religious texts (bibles, qur’ans, any of them) and sell them as if they represented the height of modern thinking? We don’t make internal combustion engines out of sandstone or granite, so why do some of us linger in beliefs that were modern when flint-tipped spears were all the rage?

The truth, it seems, lies in the nature of progress. It seems that we believe that we as a species have moved from good times to worse times and that once upon a time our ancestors stumbled upon a great truth that we are ignorant of, unless we try to make sense of the dreams recorded in biblical texts.

It’s nonsense, of course. But it seems that we are genetically disposed to adore nonsense.

That’s why ISIS exists. That, and the bullies in its ranks.

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2 Responses to “ANCIENT AND MODERN”

  1. pambrittain September 17, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    I hear there’s a new terrorist group out there called ‘Ebola’.

  2. Peter Rogerson September 18, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    In Africa and made up of very small terrorists indeed!

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