Ancient Alternatives

Modern people tend to underestimate the intellectual capabilities of ancient civilizations. They were operating with the same mental facilities that we have. The primary handicap that is presumed that they were plagued by was the ability to pass knowledge from person to person and generation to generation via some form of writing. I think it is presumptuous to think that they didn’t have some form of persistent communication that did not survive well.

There are plenty of examples in the modern world. Just try to find an eight inch floppy disk drive. Not only is the drive hard to find but chances are, the media has deteriorated and is no longer readable. That is less than a century ago and yet anything stored on eight inch floppies is virtually lost to us.

What’s more, who’s to say that, even if we make storage media that can survive millennia, anyone will be able to deduce how to make sense of it after all that time.  Similarly, ancient civilizations may have taken an entirely different approach to storing knowledge. Egyptian hieroglyphs are an example of knowledge that would still be lost to us if it weren’t for the Rosetta Stone. When the library at Alexandria burned who knows what knowledge was lost to the world.

My point is, information is ephemeral. It is more startling when it survives more than a couple of hundred years than it is that ancient civilizations knew more about the way the world works than we give them credit for. For that matter, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that there are a bunch of things that they knew about that we haven’t rediscovered.

Homo sapiens is a clever creature. We are able to figure out incredibly ingenious ways of solving problems that we are confronted with. We are eager to share these insights with our friends and family. It would surprise me more to find that our ancestors were the bumbling oafs that we stereotype them to be than it would to find that they had cobbled together some altogether unfamiliar way of passing these insights on to future generations.

Writing is a miracle. It is at the foundation of our modern civilization. But who is the only way to preserve knowledge. It does seem to be the preferred method that has been used since we’ve been recording history. There does seem to be some kind of gap between any previous means of storing knowledge and our writing, else we would have transcribed the older knowledge, not to mention the fact that we would still know how the older method worked.

This is of course speculation but it is at least as likely in my mind as it is that we have been visited by aliens from other stars. I’m not agreeing or arguing with either theory just asserting that it is not a foregone conclusion that it was Ancient Aliens that taught humanity any of the wondrous  things that we keep discovering that they accomplished.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.