Updated: 28.5.2004; 13:53:40.
Civilization Pundit
We ARE what we were, genetically and culturally. Human civilization, art, technology, and events are all a function of things past, evolving in the present, while portending the future. Civilization Pundit ® comments on what was, is, and shall be.
        

Freitag, 28. Mai 2004

We have opened two new blogs at Blogger dealing with the history of civilization:

Ancient Egypt Blog CHEOPS

and

Ancient World Blog STONEHENGE


1:52:13 PM    

Radio Userland has come up with a new version of its blog software, but at $39.95 we can not recommend it at all, since we are already quite displeased with the old version.

For example, even though we post in English, the fact that we are located in Germany causes the blog posting dates to be written in German, automatically, which we do not want at all.

Essentially, anytime blog software is doing something the blog poster has not specifically approved - the blog software should not be doing it, especially NOT the change of languages for any visible part of a blog.

We also find that the Radio Userland server is extremely slow when we access the blog.

Lastly, we find that the features available and intuitive use of the software leave a lot to be desired when compared with other blog software, which is probably the reason that few bloggers use this software. We only maintain this blog at Radio Userland because we paid for it, otherwise we run everything through Blogger, and new competitors have surfaced - see e.g. our discussion at LawPundit.


1:49:01 PM    

Montag, 17. November 2003

Cats as our Human Ancestors (?)

Did you know?

Except for primates, cats are our closest relatives.

People who do not accept the idea that man evolved from the apes simply ignore the great mass of compelling scientific evidence which really leaves little doubt on this issue.

What I find to be the interesting question is - from which animals did the apes evolve from?

Some time ago I advanced the idea that cats were on the direct evolutionary line to humans, an idea which occurred to me seeing a neighbor cat spending a lot of its time in the neighborhood trees. Could it be that the monkeys derived from cats and that the smaller monkeys led to the primates, which led to man?

An article in the Smithsonian Magazine confirms my initial hypothesis that the cats are genetically in fact very close to humans.

In a September 2002 article there entitled Happening Cats, we find the following written: 

"But perhaps the most unexpected genome sweepstakes so far is the probe of the house cat. The impetus for the work is an underappreciated genetic similarity between people and cats. Not that its in our nature to chase mice or purr when scratched behind the ears, but scientists have found that when it comes to the arrangement of genes on our chromosomes, were closer to cats than to any other animal group studied so far except primates.

That turns out to be useful. Parallels between human and cat genes may lead to new understandings of and treatments for diseases and may also shed light on some of the steps that evolution has taken to shape the two species in the 90 million or so years since cats, people and other mammals had a common ancestor...."


2:34:18 PM    

Dienstag, 9. September 2003

CIVILIZATION PUNDIT

Look at Civilization as an "ongoing brew"

So that there is no misunderstanding or worry that Civilization Pundit ® will concentrate only on "heavy topics", let us point out here that the origins of civilization can be sought in many diverse and surprising ways.

The Weekend Pundit in the "Golden Elixir of Civilization" at

http://weekendpundit.blogmosis.com/lastweekend/005410.html

leads us to the following excellent link

http://www.coopsmaps.com/beer/brewfacts.html

which is a real treat for all beer lovers under the motto, "know what you are drinking (and we urge, in moderation)".

The Weekend Pundit thereby perspicaciously raises the compelling idea that civilization was just the result of the quest for the perfect brew ....

After all, if we look at our modern world through a clear mug, the most prolific beer drinking nations are also technologically among the most advanced, whereas those modern societies that openly reject this beverage, tend to be among the most primitive.

http://www.ephidrina.org/alcohol/history.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/britain/article/0,2763,915637,00.html

Beer - IN MODERATION - can even be healthy, as in Germany

http://www.germany-info.org/relaunch/culture/new/cul_biertag.html

And if you want to know more, here is the beer report to end all beer reports (but - based on the enormous price - you may have to create a consortium to buy it)

http://www.marketresearch.com/map/prod/751075.html

So, in isolating the "technology" that led to man's development, we have to be careful. The run-of-the-mill scholar always presumes that technological advances in "serious matters" forged the path of civilization, whereas our own modern age shows that exactly the reverse is true.

As in the development of computer technology, advances made for purposes of entertainment, comfort, food and drink, games and play may in fact have preceded the application of new technologies to everyday "serious" purposes.

In fact, compared to the technology already found in the various game consoles used by the YOUNGEST of us, for example, the desktop computers used by the ELDEST of us are already Model-T Fords. Frankly, your 5-year old playing his super game-console already has a more advanced technology at his fingertips than what Dad is using in his office.

 


11:28:56 PM    

Freitag, 5. September 2003

English Heritage and Civilization

CIVILIZATION PUNDIT

What is Destroyed... is Lost Forever.

     Civilization Pundit ® will not only concentrate on the history of civilization but will also touch upon important ancillary subjects such as the preservation and conservation of important historical artefacts, archaeological sites, important buildings, cultural legacies such as literature and music, languages, etc. We start here with English Heritage and Civilization.

THE THORNBOROUGH CIRCLES, YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND   

My (alleged) decipherment of the Thornborough Circles (also somewhat erroneously known as the Thornborough Henges )
see
http://www.megaliths.co.uk/thornbor.htm indicates that the land surrounding these circles is of special importance to an understanding of this ancient historical site.

ENGLISH HERITAGE

     In response to my letter voicing my concern about rumored future gravel extraction very near the Thornborough Circles north of Ripon, Yorkshire, England, I received the following e-mail response from John Hinchliffe, Acting Regional Director, English Heritage, Yorkshire Region. Since it is not a personal letter to me as such, but rather a statement of English Heritage policy, I am putting Hinchliffe's e-mail on the Civilization Pundit ® blog to make readers more aware of the English Heritage Society, its work and the problems they face. Frankly, MORE money should go to organizations such as this who are working to preserve mankind's history and LESS money should go to various greedy institutions working only for their own personal gain.
______________

[Response of English Heritage to the e-mail of Andis Kaulins of 1 September 2003, addressed to Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage, see
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/, whose job, as they themselves describe is: "It is our job at English Heritage to make sure that the historic environment of England is properly maintained and cared for. By employing some of the country's very best architects, archaeologists and historians, we aim to help people understand and appreciate why the historic buildings and landscapes around them matter. From the first traces of civilisation, to the most significant buildings of the 20th century, we want every important historic site to get the care and attention it deserves."]

LETTER OF JOHN HINCHLIFFE, ENGLISH HERITAGE

[start of the Hinchliffe letter]

Dear Andis

Thank you for your message of 1 September concerning Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire. Our Chief Executive Dr Simon Thurley has asked me to respond to your query.

As monuments of national importance all three of the Thornborough henges, the associated cursus and adjoining landscape are designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. Scheduling, or designation, allows the Government, with advice from English Heritage, to give legal protection to nationally important sites and monuments. The Secretary of State must be notified of any works which might affect a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and will not usually give consent for works which may damage or disturb the site. The henges can therefore be regarded as fully protected and not under threat.

The current mineral extractions at Thornborough, which are outside the scheduled monument area, are the subject of permissions granted to Tilcon-Tarmac by North Yorkshire County Council. At this stage English Heritage has no statutory authority to limit or prevent the extractions, which are within the remit of the local planning authority. The current extraction work has been the subject of archaeological sampling within a mitigation strategy agreed by North Yorkshire County Council's Heritage Unit as a condition of the existing planning consent.

English Heritage remains concerned about the wider landscape setting of the monuments and is currently funding Dr Jan Harding of Newcastle University to undertake extensive archaeological research, at a cost of over £145,000. Dr Harding's work has two principal components: firstly, he has produced an archaeological desktop assessment of the monument complex, clearly defining their significance and landscape setting, and assessing the archaeological
potential of the area. Secondly, he is undertaking a programme of extensive fieldwork to ascertain more fully the nature and preservation of the archaeological remains within the landscape around the henges. The results of Dr Harding's work will inform the future management of the henges and their landscape setting.

Until Dr Harding's work is completed, and the archaeological value of the landscape adjacent to the scheduled henges is better understood, English Heritage is firmly opposed to any further gravel extraction in the vicinity of the scheduled site.

In order to ensure the conservation and appropriate management of the henges and surrounding landscape, English Heritage has worked hard to develop effective partnerships with the owner of the central and southern henges and other relevant organisations. The owner has entered into a Countryside Stewardship agreement with DEFRA which has seen the reversion of the cursus, central henge and intervening landscape from arable cultivation to pasture. In addition, our Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the area has met with local groups (including the Friends of Thornborough) to listen to their concerns and discuss the problems and possible solutions with them, and English Heritage is committed to the continuation of this dialogue.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Please be assured that we aim to continue working in partnership with the owners, the local community and North Yorkshire County Council to ensure the survival and effective management of the henges and their landscape.

Yours sincerely

John Hinchliffe

Acting Regional Director
English Heritage Yorkshire Region

[end of the Hinchliffe letter]

WHAT ABOUT OTHER HISTORICAL SITES WORLDWIDE?

WHAT ABOUT THE HISTORICAL SITES IN YOUR COMMUNITY OR REGION?

Take a good look at the historical sites in your community or region. Are these being properly protected AND taken care of? It is useless to put sites under protection and then let them crumble to dust.

HOW ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO YOUR HISTORICAL SOCIETY?

So much money and so many resources on this Earth are spent for nonsense. Why not spend money for a preservation of history, which is a part of us all, a part of humanity? Contribute to your local historical society.

If you want roots, you have to acknowledge and save them.

HOW ABOUT SPONSORING PRESERVATION OF A MONUMENT?

So, if you do not know what to do with your money, think of "investing" it in a "memorial" that has a longer future, a historical site of importance. Affiliate yourself with the greatness of the past. Look at megalithic sites worldwide, for example, which, with the exception of more famous sites such as Stonehenge, are everywhere in a more or less disastrous condition. Why do communities and individuals not do more for their upkeep?

SAVE MANKIND'S IDENTITY

Yet, as our cities of glass and steel increase in girth, we will in the future appreciate more and more the few valuable things of the past that are saved, showing us where we once were and how things all started, way back when.

Mankind without history is like a man with amnesia. One loses one's identity. In fact, we already live in age of "identity theft", and anyone who has had their identity stolen digitally, knows what a loss this is. Spammers sending out garbage e-mail under your name is not a pleasant experience. The same is true if the essentials of history are garbled by later generations or forgotten.

Knowing where we were gives us perspective and helps us set priorities for the past and the future. A man without a past is a lost soul. And so is mankind.

 


12:10:16 PM    

Montag, 1. September 2003

CIVILIZATION PUNDIT

In the Beginning...

GENESIS - FROM "NOT KNOWING" TO "KNOWING"

     According to mankind's first book - which we today know as the Bible - God created Heaven and Earth, placing a Firmament of Stars above, together with the Sun, Moon and Planets. Thereafter, he populated the Earth with beasts, fish and fowl - and us.

     From that point on - and this is the sense of the story of Adam and Eve - if we define civilization as the "development" of mankind - then Man's path has been the road from "not knowing" to "knowing".  Eve bit into the apple of knowledge and Man became a "knowing" being.

COSMOLOGY - HOW THE WORLD CAME TO BE

     It is no coincidence that the Bible - in Genesis - begins with a "cosmology" of the universe - that is, an explanation - through the eyes of the ancients - of how the world came to be. We humans need to know where we are and how and why we are here, and this desire is one of the foundations of human civilization and technological advancement.

     A cosmology of some kind is at the bottom of all human behavior and is the - often subliminal - driving motive force for human action - even in our modern world, where believers from various religions compete with each other for the rightfulness of their view of "Creation". We require an understanding of our lives - of what the world is. We often think this is "philosophy", but philosophy is rightly the question of "how" one should live. Cosmology asks the question of what does it mean to live at all? Or, as Giordano Bruno wrote,

     "If the world has no beginning and no end, then WHERE are we?"

     That is a question of cosmology and not of philosophy.

WHAT DID MAN KNOW?

      At the beginning of man's sojourn on Earth, as also today, mankind's cosmology was limited by what Man knew - in his era, in his part of the world. He formed his cosmology in the image of the world around him. He included the heavens, the visible stars, the planets, the Sun and the Moon, and the manner of procreation he saw on Earth. 

     That was the hermetic principle: As on Earth, So in Heaven.

MAN'S ACCOUNT OF GOD's CREATION : CONTENT

     When the Bible speaks of God's creation of the "beasts", for example, we can presume that the modernly discovered dinosaurs - unknown in Biblical days - were not included in God's Biblical group of "beasts", nor is there any mention of dinosaurs in the human account of Noah's Ark.

     Man could only define the origin of his world from the perspective of his knowledge at any given time and place. His cosmology (and religion) was limited by his knowledge. The level of Man's civilization was thus always a question of knowing or not knowing. What did Man know?

     Hence, the beasts we find named in Bible are the beasts known to man in the corresponding Biblical era and region. Animals from other eras and other regions of the world were simply not included, and we will thus not find kangaroos from Australia or walruses from Scandinavia or penguins from Antarctica mentioned in ancient books from the ancient Near East. People in this region simply did not know of these animals.

     However, since God allegedly created all the beasts on Earth and thus knew of their existence, it is arguable that if the religious works claimed as God's work are actually HIS works, then HE would have mentioned such animals as well, but HE did not. In fact, all the alleged holy books that we know - which are written in "human language" - are demonstrably limited in scope by their writer's location and incomplete knowledge. We find time and again that the all-encompassing knowledge of God is missing from man's written religious works. Man does not know enough.

     The cosmology of our ancestors was thus "human" in its conception and presentation. Some believers claim their prophets were "divinely inspired" but their writing is human nevertheless.

MAN'S ACCOUNT OF GOD's CREATION : LANGUAGE

     Similarly - in ancient days - when men could speak only the language into which they were born, the God of THEIR creation - of course - spoke to them in THEIR tongue and THEIR prophets wrote only for and in the language of THEIR people. Men are still captives of their birth - rather than masters of their reason, which they often ignore.

     Thus, the God of the Jews spoke Hebrew and the origins of the Bible are to be found in Hebrew texts. Unsurprisingly, the God of the Muslims spoke to them in THEIR language, Arabic. Similarly, the Hindu religion of India is based on THEIR Sanskrit Vedic texts.

ALL PEOPLES HAVE THEIR OWN COSMOLOGY

         In fact, as we have discovered in cultural anthropological studies (ethnology) in our modern period, ALL of the peoples of the world did have and do have their OWN cosmology, whether this be the Manitou of the Algonkians, the Sons of God of the Sumerians and Latvians, or the Stars in the Sky of the megalith builders.  God has in fact apparently spoken in one way or the other to all men, in many places and in many eras.

     Yet, in spite of the fact that ALL human groups have had their own cosmology, and in spite of vast new modern knowledge and information about "Creation" gained through the sciences of astrophysics and genetics in recent years, the outdated dogmas of the prevailing religions are still with us - and are hampering civilization greatly.

     Major religions and their prophets or tenets are:  Christianity (monotheism, Jesus Christ), Judaism (monotheism, Hebrews), Islam (monotheism, Muhammad), Hinduism (world's oldest organized religion), Buddhism (Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha), Sikhism (alleges there is no Hindu, no Muslim), Shinto (ancient Japanese religion), Confucianism (Confucius, ethical system of religion), Jainism (astronomical, origin in East India), Taoism (Lao-Tse, "the path", in China), Vodun (African origin), and the Baha'i Faith (holds that ALL prophets of all religions are manifestations of God). There are many smaller religions and sects. Most men and women believe in something. But recall, belief is the absence of fact.

     Essentially, we have a world full of modern knowledge which is run in part by the contradictory motor of outdated and - by nature - primitive religions - whose basic outdated cosmological precepts are badly in need of modernization and reform. This does not mean we must do away with religion - for most of Mankind apparently needs religion - but our religions must keep pace with our knowledge, or they lose their credibility. Religion gives hope, and this hope must be believable. Otherwise, the hope becomes despair - and leads to futility and even war.

CONFLICT OF OUTDATED RELIGIONS WITH MODERN CIVILIZATION

     The daily news we see in our lifetime is marked by the chaos which has resulted from the conflict of modern knowledge with ancient belief and fantasy. Religious systems are simply out of phase with reality.

     Either the new scientific knowledge recently gained will have to give way, which is basically impossible, since knowledge seldom runs backward - or the religions will have to modernize their dogmas and their belief systems and adapt to the modern age. Otherwise, there will be no peace on this Earth in the near future.

RELIGIONS MUST BE MODERNIZED AND REFORMED

     The lesson of the history of civilization is that Man's cosmology must fit the times - and presently it does not do so. Historically seen, whenever religion has not kept pace with the march of civilization, religion has ultimately lost, being defeated by that very same new knowledge and the newer products of that knowledge, including weapons.

     As Voltaire stated - "God is on the side of the heaviest battalions" - and there is some truth to that statement. The heaviest battalions belong to the most modern nations - the peoples that insist on living in the past can not keep pace. Civilization also means "to keep up", "to stay in tune", "to be state of the art". Religion is no exception.

     In any case, cosmology is at the base of our world view and influences greatly what men do on this Earth. In fact, this was much more so in ancient days than today, and this entire subject matter of cosmology and astronomy will be a part of our future discussions on Civilization Pundit ®. After all, why do we think God is in heaven, and not elsewhere? There is in fact a historical reason for this belief - and we will discover what it is.

     We will investigate how ancient Man viewed his world and how those ancient views guided the development of human civilization.

 


6:34:59 PM    

© Copyright 2004 Andis Kaulins.
 
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