Time takes us away too early to compute the codes of life, so we must learn from history to gather the codes to help grope our way into the future.
Without history, nothing in our time can be examined in proper context. Our present lenses to read even into our time are too convex or concave for proper analysis.
Nevertheless, our knowledge of the past is always incomplete, oversimplified or influence by our prejudices. It is never impartial. It often aims at justifying an idea. It is a painting of an artist; the historian.
Still, those subjective painting offers us the best instrument to form a higher perspective into our own times and to gather the codes of life.
Historiography is not a science, but it’s an old industry – a combination of art, a philosophy of a period, and the output of a man seeking perspective. History is a record of the peculiar, the exceptional and the anomaly, but never the whole truth and rarely captures the nuances of the precise time.
But like we do with science, ‘relatively’ rules! Let us indulge.
Henceforth, let us entertain each other’s delusions; for the world as we see it – is an optical illusion. That’s the final analysis of every discipline; from science, all the way to theology.
History teaches us that – the problems of life are too subtle to be resolved by our vague principles and the trifles of a single ideology. That a singular view or method never abides forever. That obedience to a single idea is too arduous. Even a broad spectrum of knowledge – followed to the extremes, turns into a squirrel path and into a tiny hole. That every ‘anchorage’ we hold to be absolute can easily turn to a quicksand. So let us keep the mind open, so it doesn’t end in a squirrel hole.
Everything is fluid in the grand history of our planet. It is subject to geology, for geology offers the very home to history, gives it form and shape it’s future.
From geology, we know throughout history, cities forever went under water; tornadoes have destroyed in one moment what took centuries to build. Comets cause the dinosaurs to go extinct, it is said. And we also know a fragment falling off the sun can erase life on earth in a single moment.
History is also a fraction of biology. Biological laws shape history. Competition is the essence of evolution and by extension – biology. Selection is its intrinsic method; making life a form of competition. Or to state it more emphatically; competition is the very trade of life and the entire substance of all history. Then the victor often writes the history.
The love of history brings me to the conclusion that all history revolves around competition. All its events can be reduced to two basic elements; a fight over resources or a fight over an idea.
Narratives of history have been greatly influenced by claims to civilization and a want to project superiority, so let us examine that a bit….
Civilization never dies, it changes frame, adjust form and move it’s centers; but the substance remains. For its cradle, we found singular solitary grandeur that remains unmatched!
History of the last 5000 years is a testament that Civilization is a single continuum. It is a single metamorphosis; where one ends, another begins. But much of its vitality we owe to the Ancient Egyptians.
Egypt has permanently captured our imagination – for it is the most sublime exhibition of the ‘impossibility’ that man is. The practical demonstration of all the scientific disciplines and mathematics through their architecture and the pyramids remains unmatched.
The grandeur of these pyramids, the heights they reached in the humanities, the magnificent artistry, the medical advances, the lofty altitudes of thought, are just few of the pieces we can pick up from the ruins of this most sublime civilization know to man.
Without doubt, they’re the greatest builders in history. Immensity so great a whole discipline was invented to stake a claim to this peak demonstration of man’s practical power. Mesmerized beyond comprehension, Napoleon commissioned the first badge of European scholars and archeologists to begin a new claim, which morphed into – Egyptology!
From trading with the ancient Egyptian civilization and its institutions, and also from the later conquest by the Persians, Greeks, the Romans and Arabs – so much of the world borrowed its civilization.
Civilizations always migrate and build themselves a new home. Aging cultures pass its own to posterity; across borders, rivers, oceans, mountains and deserts – to wherever the natural constitution is ready to embrace it.
Arguably, all civilizations begin in the south and east, the north and west eventually conquered them, destroyed some, borrowed from some, revitalize some and spread them again in our age. Then the last victor claim full ownership of all its triumphs.
Hindus say they invented philosophy, Chinese claim to perfect it – but we can’t hide its origin in Egypt. Two Millennia prior, PtahHotep laid out the fundamental precepts, which the Greeks pondered upon, perfected the dialectics, and later claim its full ownership in their turn.
PtahHotep was philosophical giant ages before Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the likes, from whom the later European renaissance thinkers also borrowed.
Now some claim the light never penetrated the ‘dark continent’. Forgetting that sunshine can send its beam into any part of the universe. It can break into a dungeon as well as into a king’s palace. Certainly, the rays of genius can penetrate any skull. At its peak radiance in history, it beamed brightly on Egypt – and poured its genius into the black skulls of Egypt.
Still we can say; civilization is a cooperative outcome. All the people produced it, but all its trails, followed backwards, points to Egypt, Africa.
Since every claim of ownership of civilization is only ‘relative’. Let us be tolerant to every claimant, but also be fearless in making own claim without malaise.
Like our memory preserves our sanity, the purpose of history is to preserve the collective sanity of the people through the ages. To extract its lessons, apply its wisdom and use it in our own time. It is mere vanity to be used to project superiority.
Humility, kindness and tolerance have always been fashionable throughout the ages. These virtues have been the ornaments of every age.
So while we cling to our own perspectives of history and claims civilization, let us carry with them these solemn ornaments.
Let us be modest and tolerant.