History and civilizations are not linear in their development…
Each time I look at remains of ancient civilizations like the Chinese, the Mayans, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians, I find it quite difficult to relegate the fact that a lot of what is evident in their artifacts and architecture points to a more developed culture in certain ways than what we are witnessing today. Despite the post-industrial revolution’s speedy advancements in technology, I find that comparing for example the pyramids, temples, artwork of the ancient Egyptians, today’s Egypt appears to be primitive in so many ways.
This leads me to wonder where the human race has gone wrong. Did we deviate in some way from the glory that could have been? Or is a world engrossed in wars, poverty, global warming, revolutions and failed leaderships the way of the future?
35 replies on “Day 16~ March 16th~ Egypt”
Beautiful picture, Mimo, and I very much like the toning – is that copper toning? It works very well. Adrian
Thanks Adrian, yes it is !
Certainly every great civilisation that has risen has fallen. On balance though I see neither development nor devolution. Technology is changing certainly, and as the new emerges that which falls out of use is frequently forgotten, only occasionally to be brought back to life again both scholars if not for practical use. Most importantly, the human psyche has not changed in any way that I can see for better or worse. Both ancients and moderns are capable of great self awareness and terrible barbarity. After spending a long time studying antiquity, I’m also certain that this was no utopian world by any stretch of the imagination. The other thing is, not only is development not linear, it takes many different routes at any one times – in different cultures, in different people.
Thank you for sharing your great experience and thoughts! Yes, I totally agree, but I cannot get myself to accept the idea that humans are unable to evolve to their full potential and that something has been hindering that process. We are amazing machines with so much untapped possibility and yet we somehow demonstrate an almost primitive obsession with the unimportant and the superficial… makes me thing and question where we are heading.
Well for what it’s worth, I believe we all evolve, one way or another. But it’s like a great forest in which trees have taken root continually over thousands of years. No two of them began life at the same moment with the same set of conditions, and so the journey taken by each is unique in form and timing, each finding its purest expression of grace in its own time.
They built as a testament to their gods and the grandeur of their civilizations. Although these past civilizations seem to be the ideals we must aspire to, we must remember that they too, like ours, were built on spilled blood. I don’t think we have ever been innocent. Even the smallest tribes in the deepest jungles had their little wars.
True, and we know so little of what has really gone on! Thank you for your comment!
I’m afraid we, as the human race, are still going wrong. In so many places and so many ways. Maybe, sometime in the future, another species will look at Earth, shake their head sadly and say “they had so much potential”. Just like we do when looking at our own ancient ruins.
Yes, I wonder what the future generations would make of what we are leaving behind… Thanks you Klaus
We have most definitely lost a lot of knowledge over the centuries, nothing compares to a lot of ancient city’s around the world, I always get the feeling these people of times lost knew a lot more than we do today.
It would seem so, right?
Of course we have lost knowledge. A lot can be traced to the confusion of the languages at Babylon.
Russel that’s a very interesting thought..
We are a strange lot. We have the “will to power” fighting the “will to survive.” We build, we fight, we destroy. We think, we build and the the “will to power” takes over again. I once wondered if our trajectory was downward. I finally came to the conclusion that it is cyclical with many ups and downs; all taking hundreds of years. We can’t run away from it. Maybe we can somehow minimize the damages to infrastructure and cultures.
There is definitely evidence to a cyclical nature to events on this planet, but I wonder if we allow ourselves to use our full potential as humans in our responsibility to this planet.
I feel that life in the far past produced more impressive advancements of today…namely because such “technology” was usually used to attain the simple necessities of life, such as food and water. Today, technology is too focused on producing the most deadliest weapons or fanciest luxury items.
So true, we seem to be going off into extremes in all of these aspects where greed is a major player. Thank you for that Frances.
Mimo, your picture is truly engaging. The landscape in the background is stark, while the “family”, clothesline and the dwelling evoke warm and inviting feelings. Regarding the glory of the ancient past, our “modern” cities and architecture are, IMO, plumb sterile.
Where did the “human race” go “wrong”? A good question, Mimo! 🙂
Thank you Ron, so many unanswerable questions and I thank you for the comment on the photo too. A very interesting and acute observation.
great questions, and surely ones that will come up more and more often as we move forward into the future.. i hope they’re never forgotten, sometimes I think their history is more delicate and reverent than our own.. but in all honesty, who really knows
You said it… who really knows.. the wonder is in the asking. I hope we never stop asking.
In regard to the writting topic, I agree and it’s amazing how many today seem to define “progress and development.” It’s a little ironic 🙂
Thank you Scott. Our human race history is a fertile ground for wonderment.
I too think often about this… I sometimes think that our ingenuity has transferred over to machines, which in turn create things for us in an efficient but uninspirational manner.
Yes, I wonder…
Lots of things to consider here – too much to put into this little box. 🙂 What I often wonder when I travel is how the structures of today will be treated 1000 years from now. Today cities like Rome e.g. are built on layer upon layer of city fragments from the past. It makes building a metro very complicated. Will architects and city planners have the same problems 1000 years from now? Will they treat today’s structures with the same reverence as we treat these ancient structures?
What interesting questions! I hope that we can raise our children in a way that guarantees the respect for the human story and what it leaves behind. Isn’t it about being able to plan for a better future for them knowing that we will not even be in it? Thank you for putting out these questions Bob.
Throwing away is where we have gone wrong. Instead of quality, it’s all about quantity; short term instead of forever… The Earth was not meant for massive consumption, yet people can’t seem to get that… Great thoughts, gorgeous image. I look forward to your posts everyday.
Yes, the greed that rule the world. I think the video in Mobius Faith’s last post :http://mobiusfaith.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/3024/ says it all!
Your question is both powerful and difficult … thus I’m at a loss for words.
as are most questions about the truth of life… Thank you Frank!
Stunning image. Has a very vintage feel to it. Well done. Beautiful capture.
Thank you! I shot this 15 years ago with film 🙂
I agree, especially in our architecture, imagine some of the ancient architects looking at the modern malls, or those dreadful high rise housing complexes. Also so much of the knowledge these ancients had has gone, no-one knows how to build like that anymore. Even recently knowledge has been lost. I look at a piece of machinery from 100 years ago and no-one ordinary can identify it for me. good piece mimo.. c
Yes, very true.. I saw recently some machinery in Xian, the home of the terra cotta army of the first emperor of China and it looked so advanced… mind boggling! Thank you Cecilia!