visitors to England come over to see many things of all shapes and sizes, and from all era’s of modernity and antiquity, but should they have any interest in ancient history, the chances are they will end up, at some point or another, at Stonehenge.
Why not, it may be a little battered, and it certainly still is enigmatic, but standing all alone within a wide open landscape it certainly catches the imagination and the eye.
There is however a fly in the ointment, so to speak, and one which has recently landed with an exciting if bewildering slam.
Why so, well a recently broadcast documentary on Stonehenge, called Operation Stonehenge: what lies beneath, has just upset the apple cart with avengeance, by demonstrating how the monument is but one part of a much wider and more complex ancient Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze age adjusted landscape
For me, on so many levels, this has been fascinating, but watching the double documentary has led to a slightly disturbing thought growing in my mind
We claim that humans, en masse, have become more intelligent since the time we first walked upon the earth. We come to such a conclusion through our ever-increasing scientific knowledge, our medical advances which at times are nearly miraculous, and our philosophical, theological, and psychological evaluation of how we interact with other forces around us. Finally we back up our assertions of superiority and advanced intelligence by demonstrating how adaptable we are as a species.
All this is true, and on the face of it, such as assertion is signed, sealed, done and dusted; yet is it really so. After all..
Why are so so much at odds with the natural world around us?
Why, if we are so intelligent, do we so readily destroy and kill, and?
Why if we are so clever do we tie ourselves up in knots in the pursuance of vain understanding of impossible, or at the very least implausible dreams.?
Might it be that in our noble desires to understand the world, or worlds, around us, we have wandered down a blind and chaotically noisy alley of our own making, while the rest of the natural world passes by largely unseen?
Look at the picture of the man on the mountain top, and then the two quotes below. Think about how they might apply to the discussion at hand
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” Henry David Thoreau…Walden
I only know that I know nothing…Socrates
I’m no philosopher, apart from the odd dabble like this post, but such quotes as those above interest me, as they come from noble minds yet minds who seem to recognise the mess that we seem to have landed in.
When we look back at our ancient forbears how many of us regard them a simple folk with at best a rudimentary knowledge of the world around them?
As we tap into all our modern technology and lifestyles, do we not often regard them as mere primitives trotting around in animal skins, and apparently lacking the “sophistication” and advanced knowledge that we now “enjoy”?
It is true that we admire their skills as regards early weaponry development, and we accept their instinctive knowledge of the seasons and the stars, but where is there modern knowledge of the world?
Did they build the car and did they fly?
As regards weaponry where was there atomic bomb, and as regards medical knowledge, where were their hospitals, their drugs, and surgical skills and our miracle cures?
Finally, what did they know of philosophy, psychology, theology, and all the other “ologies” that now enrich our lives?
To certain extent all this is true, although they moved around pretty freely, they knew about trepanning of the skull, their weaponry is still admired to this day, and their awareness of seasonal change was spot on.
Maybe the only thing they “lacked” was our knowledge of how things work, but then is that such a problem. Might it be that our carving of such knowledge is problem, in the sense that by focusing on such values we have moved away from our natural selves, and thrown our instinctive awareness of the world we live in to one side?
So it is that now we stand at odd with nature, and at odds with ourselves. So it is that the whirligig of time brings in it’s revenges, and speaking William Shakespeare’s, or whoever’s, play, Twelth Night, what of the following quote?
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”
As regards the questions raised in this post, might he not have written the following
” Be very afraid of humanity: some are born fools, some are made fools off, but all have fools thrust upon them”
A sad revision, I grant you, and not in the best of all thespian or literary traditions, but looking at the evidence that lies all around us, it is possibly all to true?
Finally, to end this discussion, you might like to look at the three animations that end this post.
The first is a savage and sobering reminder of what we are doing to the world,
The second a tale of rebirth and understanding,
While the third is a wonderful if haunting animation of a life long journey
All three are good, all three have a valid message, yet all three have a different message to tell. As such, I will leave it up to you, the reader of this post, to chose which you think is more applicable.
You think about it, and you decide