Reading Phil Coppens’ The Lost Civilization Enigma brings up several key ideas relevant to the study of ancient civilizations.
There is much physical evidence that human history is far longer and more complex than is generally thought,
It is quite possible there have been human civilizations that had highly advanced cultures, particularly in the areas of spiritual beliefs, astronomy, mathematics, applied technology and maybe all of these,
And yet much of what has been discovered has been ignored or ridiculed, but in any case not taken seriously.
Coppens deals with this last point but, thankfully to my way of thinking, doesn’t overly dwell on it. Specifically, he points out several instances where entrenched academics or religious representatives ignored or undermined major finds and insights in order to protect their respective dogmas, careers, or whatever. Such tales are sadly amusing but in the end, don’t taken us very far down the road of discovery. So I intend to follow his example and not waste time re-hashing that theme. Granted it is a serious problem. Granted it doesn’t seem to be going away. But still, with what little time I have left to explore important ideas, I’m not going to get side-tracked.
Instead, we’ll focus on the findings themselves and their implications.
Pyramids in China and Eastern Europe. This was news to me. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, but I hadn’t as of the time I read Coppens’ book. As I now understand it, there are massive pyramids in several places in China with one of the largest located not far at all from the famous terra cotta warriors. These have been known for some time by the Chinese, but by only a few “outsiders.” For years, the Chinese government denied their existence. Yet over time, evidence mounted, satellite photos piled up, and an admission of the obvious finally came.
Why did the Chinese deny the pyramids’ existence for so long? Why did they actually try to cover them up by planting bushes and trees on their slopes? Unless I missed it in the book, no reason was forthcoming from the Chinese. Coppens states that today anyone visiting China is welcome to observe the pyramids, yet very little is known about them because none have been excavated! Why would the Chinese take this denial approach and drag their “excavational” feet?
Here’s my suggestion: From other things I’ve read, several Chinese Emperors burned history books during their reign in order that subsequent generations would be led to believe that history had actually started with that emperors’ reign. Perhaps the current Chinese government, which is clearly very focused on modernizing the country and joining the developed world not just as a late-comer but now as a leader, does not want to spend time focusing on the past. They may believe that if they want their masses to stay with the 5-year program, they can’t be dividing their time and attention and treasure resurrecting the past.
Moreover, if it were to come to light that previous Chinese cultures were highly advanced, it might take away from the continuous string of “firsts” the current regime can boast about. These “firsts” are powerful arguments in support of the current government’s legitimacy. After all, how different it would play if the current government couldn’t say they were the first Chinese civilization to send a rocket into space, or the first to harness the power of the atom or create nuclear weapons, the first to widely use airplanes and computers. How different if all they could say was that they had successfully re-achieved things that had been done by other Chinese back in the old days. I think this might make the Everyman Chinese think their current leaders were a little less special, and this—if you are one of the power elite—is not good.
But far more importantly, what about the pyramids themselves? As you realize that there are maybe dozens of Chinese pyramids all over the country, as you learn that eastern Europe (around Sarajeno, Bosnia) also has man-made pyramids, it really make you wonder why these things are all over the place.
Some of the reasons I’ve come across seem silly: that this is some kind of “perfect” structure that is an inevitable stage of man’s architectural progress. Other reasons seem wild, but perhaps possible: the structure has some inherent power that we don’t understand. Other reasons seem in the middle in terms of reasonableness: That the pyramid shape symbolizes something important…maybe in the sense of representing the hill where God or The Gods or someone came to Earth and started up everything…or maybe in the sense of symbolizing Man’s quest here on Earth, gathering many experiences, synthesizing them and slowly “rising” up toward the heavens and reunification with the Deity.
Who knows? But for me these have become burning and persistent questions: Why are there pyramids all over the Earth…in places and among culture that supposedly had no contact with one another? And even if they did have contact, why build pyramids? Did we make up the idea or did someone give us—all of us—the idea?
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