[Note: It was necessary for me to split this article into two parts due to its length. I did so with the promise to self that I would not publish the first part until the second (which contains most of the detail) was almost completed. That is the case now. Please enjoy this first part. The second will be here within a couple of days]
I have always, well, for as long as I can remember, thought of destiny as being a wonderful and surprising thing. One of those hidden things that most of the time lies dormant or at least working silently in the background of our cognition (to me, not being afflicted with a scientific mind, the actual process is not important), but which occasionally, out of the blue, pops up to surprise us with something entirely new to our experience and knowledge. Such a thing happened to me today, actually yesterday as I write, and by the time I finish this piece – since I know not where it will end – perhaps quite a few yesterdays ago.
I have always (‘always’ being relative and of some unspecified duration, measured in years, and in this case stretching across large portions of my life from my youth onwards) been interested in ancient history. An interest which perhaps more than anything else has been the cause (again, not the actual ’cause’ but perhaps better stated as ‘the operational factor’ [alongside ‘destiny’ of course]) in my deliverance from the stranglehold of formal religion.
Why ‘ancient history’? Well, one of the great mottos I have grown to cherish, and one which drives much of my continuing education – yes, even now, in my twilight years – has been the sage saying, expressed here in my own way – “If you don’t know where you came from, how can you possibly know where you are now or where you are going?”
Of course, if you have no care for such things but exist entirely for the moment, wringing from that all it has to offer, with no thought of either yesterday or tomorrow – a rather shallow form of existence it seems to me, but one that many people appear to have chosen for themselves in the absence of and given the difficulty involved in any other more thoughtful way of living, faced by the growing complexity of modern life and the diminishing means of changing any of that – the struggle to find answers to the more impelling questions of life, will find little of your time dedicated to serious contemplation of those matters.
For myself, as someone whose self-assessment indicates I am not, in many ways, a shallow person (at least when measured by my own standards), but one of such incredible depths which I cannot hope to plumb or even to gain a barely adequate understanding of in this lifetime, these things really matter.
But, we are each individuals – though I am not sure many of us realise that (many trying to emulate each other into sterile ‘sameness’) – and I am not here to tell you how you should live. That is something for you alone to decide. Although I hope you have given serious thought to such things and do not simply accept this (what you see going on around you) is just how life is meant to be. Education, self-education, self-assessment, reading and thinking objectively as well as subjectively, these are the tools we have – if we seek to use them – more readily at our disposal right now (but not for ever) perhaps than at any other time in human history. Please seek those tools. Please use them.
I said ‘…perhaps than at any other time in human history‘ because it is also feasible that more knowledge has been lost to us in the dim past of pre-history than we currently have at our fingertips. Perhaps. And even the vast amount of knowledge garnered by ourselves and our pre-decessors over the past few thousand years, appears set to be entirely lost again, through our own human folly, to whomever inhabits this planet long after we are gone. The records we keep today are not cast in stone as those our ancient ancestors left behind. Little of any lasting or even interpretable value will remain of today’s culture and knowledge for more than a century or two following our demise. Is this how it has ever been? A starting afresh from a low base of intelligence, perhaps aided and seeded for a while by dying ‘gods’ from a prior age, working towards sufficient intelligence to enable self-destruction once again after an all too short period of civilisational flowering, eventually leading to further new beginnings followed by more untimely endings? Is this how it will always continue to be? And this time, in this context, I really mean ‘always’.
But I digress… and must return to what I was talking about.
I really wanted to give some background to my endeavours and the scope of my studies in ancient history but I am afraid that to do so now (in this piece) will prevent my presenting what is the main reason for my writing today. So I am just going to jump straight into that and will leave broader matters to some other time, or to explanatory notes within what I am about to say, as clarity dictates.
I am currently reading the book ‘Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation’ by Egyptologist David Rohl, of whom Wikipedia quotes the following :
David Michael Rohl (born 12 September 1950) is a British Egyptologist and former director of the Institute for the Study of Interdisciplinary Sciences (ISIS) who from the 1980s has put forward several unconventional theories revising the chronology of Ancient Egypt and Israel to form an alternative new chronology.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rohl
I suspect he might now wish he had chosen some other acronym for the important institute he directed, now dissolved (2005), than the letters forming the name of an Egyptian goddess but since assigned to a well known terrorist organisation known more for the destruction of historical objects than their study.
‘Legend’ is the second major work by Rohl, perhaps better known for ‘A Test of Time – The Bible From Myth to History’, published in 1995 and which I also own and have thoughtfully read a couple of times. David Rohl, like myself, is not a religious man (I think I read somewhere he is agnostic) and both ‘Legend’ and ‘A Test of Time’, begins with the premise that the Bible is purely and foremost a history book. Whilst not known as being such since no other history is in tune with that of the Bible record until, and then only briefly, that of the Babylonian and Persian empires between the 7th and 4th centuries of the prior era. That correspondence with which may be put down to the fact that for only a short period the nation of Israel was existed before it was overtaken, disbanded and dispersed to live among the peoples of the conquering empire, as captives. They later returned to re-occupy what they considered to be their own lands but from out of that prolonged captivity were now equipped with a historical record on which they could build backwards in time to their own origins. Origins which, incidentally, together with well known personages of their own lineage (including their founder), were intrinsically linked with those of their prior captors, and all of which were the people and descendants of Shem – the Shemites, or in modern parlance the Semites – a fact which gives the lie to any narrow-minded, modern mis-definition of the word ‘anti-semitism’.
This does not mean that prior to the 7th century Before the Current Era (BCE) the Bible version of history is wrong – although on occasion it does get itself into some twisted binds as the writers attempted to build a more favourablr ‘history’ for themselves than was perhaps warranted. It does also not mean that the recorded history of nations surrounding what are known as the Bible lands over the same period of history, or any subsequent period of history for that matter, is right, or has been recorded accurately by modern historians. All of these modern historical records were assembled by men, chiefly men, academics, with set agendas and few moral ethics with which to concoct some timeline record, loosely based but laced with a lot of conjecture, on discovered articles mostly buried in the sands of time. The only genuine truth in all of this is that which is contained within those historical records laid down in earlier times. And this despite the determined efforts of those lesser ethically defined characters who have sought to distort the true meaning of history in more modern times.
In recent years, no more than a few decades, these factors have been the driving force behind the efforts of a number of dedicated investigators to seek out that truth. A lot of them are still academics, but academics now with fewer set agendas, their ideas no longer religiously bound and with no prior discoveries of their own to relentlessly defend, even at the cost of the real truth. Others of these men are the ones that courageously publish the results of the works of those academic discoveries and build on them, joining together the strings of separate lines of enquiry and their own free-thinking ideas to give an alternative version of history, more in keeping with the ancient records than the long accepted one, to the point where we now have an accomplished (but not finished – while ever there are buried artifacts to be discovered) version of our human past, as far as it goes. There is much that remains to be discovered, and with our age of discovery now drawing to a close, and with the constant conflict affecting the main area of lands so closely connected to our past (chiefly the Middle East) – perhaps deliberately so by interests not wanting truth to be widely available. Should I accuse Israel, the USA and all other lands so deeply encrusted with Judaeo-Christian or Islamic traditions, all of which would be deeply traumatised by the effects of potentially destructive revelations of the falsehood of their beliefs. The basis of their perceived ‘destiny’, a monotheism based on a life of servitude to a single all-powerful diety, totally destroyed.
Oh dear, I have allowed myself to be diverted once again (I seem to continually err on that) from my stated goal. Such is the depth of feeling I attach to these things.
This time, however, I am not going to ‘end it here’, with promises to come back that never seem to get fulfilled. But I do need to end this part of the article, myself hating to read long and seemingly endless screeds – even on subjects that interest me – but I will not publish this part until I have the follow-up article almost finished, or I am far enough into it for me to have no alternative but to finish it.
In the meantime, let me share with you the following YouTube video of an interview with David Rohl late last year, covering some of his earlier work. Get a feel for the man if you don’t already know him.
Careful, the energy he brings is highly infectious, and his attitude to the subject is pure rock’n’roll (his words).
As usual with these things you will have to see past the interviewers who, having nothing much useful to say or at least are unable to clearly enunciate what they do say, add nothing to the discussion. If only interviewers would just get out of the way and allow the only person(s) in the room who people want to hear, say what they have to say. What’s so difficult about that?