Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with greeks)
Glad you enjoyed it Lace, there's alot of stuff in here and part of it is based on some of the things you've discussed. The end of the trade post for instants channel's directly into your "ABC has you" thread. I'm looking foward to possibly reading some of the books you've cited too, the book I based my first post on was based on a fourty year old book that ended in the Korean war.
Your exactly right too "the empire never ended". It just carried on in different forms and fashions as I'm discovering well researching the religious part of the Empire thread. All these humanist religions interacted with one another and influenced each others development. As you can see I'm still tempering that post out as it's got out of hand up there but I particularly enjoyed learning about Buddhism and more about Greek philosophy.
That part I've just added but in particular the Eleusian mysteries are a dead ringer for the 'mother' of Jacob and MIB and the ritual she performed on Jacob harken back to the innitiation ritual in the mysteries where a potion is drunk that imparts immortality and enlightenment.
Things to note are the walking method of Aristotle to teach - very similar to how the lost folk, particularly Locke and MIB, use walking as a means to impart knowledge. The ritual involving the Eleusian mysteries and the potion. A note from Plato regarding the 'world soul' and the 'light' that shines from within oneself. The Dualist ideas found in Zoroastrianism and how there is a creating force and a destroying force.
The Greek philosophers and Hellenistic Culture:
Greek philosophy flourished in the time of the axle, emerging around about 700 AD as their society developed and coming into a golden age in the fourth century BC. During this period the founding of Western philosophy as we understand it is exemplified in the writings of the empirical philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (himself the teacher of such notables as Alexander the Great). The unifying nature of the empirical teachings was one of abstract humanism and an idea of the Universe that transcended the metaphysical realms with a very real physical observation. An observation that would persist and influence philosophical debate in ancient times until the rise of the Abrahamic Religion’s displace it and in many ways merge with it. In the Empirical world the God’s themselves become more and more an abstract symbolism of greater conceptual motifs, and their struggle is set as the back drop for a grand entrance of scientific debate, invention and reasoning.
Plato’s forms, Aristotle’s categories are just some of the ideas that have fathered modern philosophy as we know today as is the ‘scientific method’, as described by Plato, the development of a system of thought that didn’t pertain in some way to an abstract religious concept but rather an observational technique in order to define an inherent truth. The practice of thinking in certain logical ways in order to define a logical conclusion also formed the basis of much of the Socratic and platonic dialogues and that of other philosophers.
COME WALK WITH ME: The Peripatetic school was named after the method in which Aristotle preferred to teach and was popular in scholarly circles. It revolved around the principle of wondering, walking or meandering whilst teaching and using the surrounding landscape as an observation testing board for ideas. The peripatetic method was not all together uncommon and spiritual prophets, teachers and scholars use it in many religions from the traveling monks of Buddhism to the teachings of Jesus, who may have been using the peripatetic method himself. The Muslim philosopher Al-kindi was an advocate of the method and the school of thought.
Later, after Alexander, as Hellenistic culture emerges around the world Greek philosophy interacts, influences and is merged with other cultural understandings and developments. Hellenistic Judaism (and later extended into Greek Christianity), Egyptian, Hindu and the Persian Parthia’s are just some of the cultures and religions that interact with the Greeks creating a vibrant and international culture that transcended the boarders of nations, language and religious and cultural exclusion.
THE POWER TO CHOOSE: After Platonism and Aristotle’s categories a series of periods succeeded in Greek philosophy. In the century proceeding ‘the academy’’ was ascended by a group known as ‘the sceptics’ who believed that absolute truth could never be known. As they fell out of popular favour middle Platonism represented a return to some of the fundamental’s of Plato’s ideas with a form of ‘moral’ virtue known as stoicism that represented the virtuous man’s ‘power to choose’ through wisdom or ‘stoicism’ as an expression of good over evil. At the time this also began to merge with the existing mysticism found in Judaism prevalent in Greece toward the end of the first century BC as an extension of Neoplatonism.
In the third century, Plotinus recast Plato's system, establishing Neoplatonism, in which Middle Platonism was fused with oriental mysticism. At the summit of existence stands the One or the Good, as the source of all things. It generates from itself, as if from the reflection of its own being, reason, the nous, - wherein is contained the infinite store of ideas. The world-soul, the copy of the nous, is generated by and contained in it, as the nous is in the One, and, by informing matter in itself nonexistent, constitutes bodies whose existence is contained in the world-soul. Nature therefore is a whole, endowed with life and soul. Soul, being chained to matter, longs to escape from the bondage of the body and return to its original source. In virtue and philosophical thought it has the power to elevate itself above the reason into a state of ecstasy, where it can behold, or ascend up to, that one good primary Being whom reason cannot know. To attain this union with the Good, or God, is the true function of human beings. - wiki
At this time you can almost see the merging of converging philosophies into an evolved understanding within several such as zaroathustrianism, Indian meditations, Judaism and later Christianity. The ‘One’ is given a sense of metaphysical contemplation that will echo in future religious dialogues such as the ‘trinity’, Kabalistic teachings and esoteric understandings as found with the Gnostics and eastern traditions.
spiritual rituals performed by various cults in honor of a God or God's were performed all over the pagan world. Mystery cults came in to high fashion during the Hellenistic period and later during the Roman empire. The eleusian mysteries were a set of rituals that were practiced for over two thousand years in the ancient world and involved the consumption of a mystical potion (some believe the ancient brew kykeon mixed with some kind of ergot or psychedelic) at it's end that would bestow divine knowledge, power and in some cases longevity on the subject.
The Eleusinian Mysteries are believed to have begun about 1600 BC, during the Mycenean Age. One line of thought by modern scholars has been that these Mysteries were intended "to elevate man above the human sphere into the divine and to assure his redemption by making him a god and so conferring immortality upon him." Comparative study shows significant parallels between these Greek rituals and even older systems: Religions of the Ancient Near East.
The lesser mysteries were probably held every year; the greater mysteries only every five years. This cycle continued for about two millennia. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, King Celeus is said to have been one of the first people to learn the secret rites and mysteries of her cult. He was also one of her original priests, along with Diocles, Eumolpos, Polyxeinus and Triptolemus, Celeus' son, who had supposedly learned agriculture from Demeter.
Under Pisistratus of Athens, the Eleusinian Mysteries became pan-Hellenic and pilgrims flocked from Greece and beyond to participate. Around 300 BC, the state took over control of the Mysteries; they were specifically controlled by two families, the Eumolpidae and the Kerykes. This led to a vast increase in the number of initiates. The only requirements for membership were a lack of "blood guilt", meaning having never committed murder, and not being a "barbarian" (unable to speak Greek and sometimes latin). Men, women and even slaves were allowed initiation.
The rules and ethics emanating from Zoroaster's teachings were strictly followed by the Achaemenids who introduced and adopted policies based on human rights, equality and banning of slavery. Zoroastrianism spread unimposed during the time of the Achaemenids and through contacts with the exiled Jewish people in Babylon freed by Cyrus, Zoroastrian concepts further propagated and influenced the Abrahamic religions. The Golden Age of Athens marked by Aristotle, Plato and Socrates also came about during the Achaemenid period while their contacts with Persia and the Near East abounded. The peace, tranquility, security and prosperity that were afforded to the people of the Near East and Southeastern Europe proved to be a rare historical occurrence, an unparalleled period where commerce prospered, and the standard of living for all people of the region improved. wiki
An ancient religion that was practiced in the area of Iranian culture by ancient Persia from around 600 BC onwards. Based on the prophet Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism was an elemental religion which promoted the ‘creator’ Ahura Mazda as the supreme deity above all. A mystical cult that became the state religion of Persia, the Zoroastrian’s instituted many state reforms particularly in the Achaemenid empire of Cyrus the Great, himself heavily influenced by the religions moral dictates. Zoroatrinism and it’s mystic principles of human regulation and ritual had a strong influence on Judaic and Greek metaphysics. Particularly in regards to their concept of dualism, where Ahura Mazda being absolutely ‘good’ and representing creation and law must have a ‘dual’ opposite which is absolutely evil and representing destruction and chaos. This dualistic property would eventually form the archetype of the devil in Judaic and mostly later Christian understandings, freeing God from the constraints of an unjust and cruel creation. Because the Persian population was predominantly Zoroastrian ISLAM having defeated the Sassanid’s briefly gave the Zoroastrian’s the title ‘dhimmi’ or protected people. However as a sub-class to their Murlim rulers it was considered more profitable to convert to Islam and slowly Zoroastrian practices faded out.
From these historical ideas my deduction of MIB and Jacob's actual mother (if indeed she was speaking Latin) was that she was probably either a servant (not entirely justified from her wealthy atire) and possibly a Jew (she uses an old testament name 'Jacob'), she may have been a jew who was part of the trading class of Roman society, hence the reason she was on the ship. My own 'feeling' was that she was probably a Christian in the time of Constantine, around about the third century AD which would explain the biblicle references. The 'mother' or priestess of the island is probably part of the older Greek world, possibly from Helenistic times (so five hundred years apart) though if she was a reference to Eleusian culture and spirituality then she could very well be much older since the religion spanned about two thousand years all the way back to 1600 BC. If 'belief' is nessaccary then as her own religion in the real world waned with the coming of Constantine and the Christians in Rome and the closure of Eleusian cults, Jacob may have reperesented a 'Christian' hedgemony in the world and there is something very jesus about the actor/character.
Anyway I still have one last POST to go before I've finished my oddysey and I hope that will finaly explain where all this is leading. I just hope I can finish it time before the show ends.
"And all these moments... will be lost...in time...like tears, in the rain....."
Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with monkey magic)
Interesting story Hurlygurly, the painting sure does feel similar to the cave of light they encountered. I haven't really concentrated on mythological ideas much since it primarily history I was discussing - I'm not sure if this is the same sort of ritual that was involved with the Eleusian mysteries as it is specific to the temple of Diana (also the Goddess of hunting which rings true to hunting of boar on the island).
One last note on something I missed out in the religious post which I was meaning to discuss and I've seen the term bandied around on other threads. This is in regards to the island as a center of human and social evolution.
THE ISLAND IS.....
THE AXIS MUNDI:
The axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, columna cerului, center of the world) is a ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures. The image expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world's point of beginning.
The axis mundi image appears in every region of the world and takes many forms. The image is both feminine (an umbilical providing nourishment) and masculine (a phallus providing insemination into a uterus). It may have the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a product of human manufacture (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, church) or secular (obelisk, minaret, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced "urban centers." In Mircea Eliade's opinion "Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all."
As a 'locale' of worship it harkens back to early animism in which places, locations and 'things' become objects of worship and 'centres' of belief. As a metaphor for this type of human psychological motif the island certainly fits the bill. I'm sure I've read it before (probably in Lost vikings World tree thread) but the term seemed particularly sufficient to describe what the island IS. If you couple it with an idea like the 'world soul' found in middle and late platonism it invokes even more similarity....plus EM.
From science 101 thread....
Binary duality, the event horizon and singularity in mans pathological evolution.
Island has a dual nature.
This nature is represented psychologically as up and down, sky/earth pathological duality in mans evolution.
The simplest form of this idea represented in the ‘line’ of the horizon. Mans bridging the gap between evolutionary steps was formed by the understanding principle of the horizontal line. It is the formation of up and down duality – the distinction of this could be called the first monolithic ‘math’ so to speak and was corroborated by the cyclic nature of night and day.
Geological singularities in this basic bare essential equation created nexus points for mans evolutionary ‘focus’. A place, a moment found in the ‘line’ that represented a spiritual awakening or centering – thus both in a physical sense we found mountains, gardens, towers and islands amidst the desert of our wondering and also in a spiritual psychological sense we formed the ‘idea’ of such in our heads.
Spiritual gestalt. The place where ‘man’ becomes apart of the horizon. That heaven and earth become one. A place where elemental forces meet both physically and spiritually. Where the ‘event’ horizon is manifest and the singularity of moment becomes one with past and future…..
"And all these moments... will be lost...in time...like tears, in the rain....."
Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with Mozart, Romance, trekkies and Samoans)
And here we have something of a part 2 to the original post...... -
In many ways the rise of civilization, of human evolution itself, is really the development and aspiration of spirituality; the chief expression of this being Art. Art essentially seeks to tell people that life is meaningful, that there is something more then merely the physical world we exist at least as defining time, the spirit and the imagination. That something exists both inside us and has a connection to another metaphysical realm entirely.
The real ‘enlightenment’ of the ages is a simple homage to the role of the ‘craftsman’ or artist in civilization. Whether one is looking at the Taj Mahal, the Great pyramid or the statue of liberty one particular note is always over looked as opposed to the symbolic grandeur of what it stands for and who it was built for. That is who built it, or in many instances the ‘team work’ and the supported individual genius that went into its creation. The very existence of such structures automatically prove the ‘endeavour’ of their construction. This really was what the pyramids undeniably created, a de facto relationship between different craftsmen, different fields of knowledge, using various artistic means from hieroglyphic art, architectural drawings to the engraving that came after, each area helping to develop each others progress. Much like what goes on in a film set with modern day movies.
Cave paintings: The oldest discovered cave paintings of pre-history are found in the Aurignacian caves in Germany at 32'000 years, with similar discoveries in france and other ancient places such as Africa or Argentina. No one knows exactly why these early artists decided to paint on walls, many of which in remote locations, none the less these works stand as a testiment to time and the human narrative, and shows a deep humanistic qaulity that depicts a soul in thought as much as the animals and images observed. This is the begining of a narrative dialogue that has continued on through human history to this day and perhaps beyond...
The pyramids: No greater symbol of human co-operation exists perhaps then the monumental achievement of the pyramids as found in Egypt and in many other places around the world from Tailand to Mesoamerica. The more subtle expression of the pyramids is not that they are themselves grand which is no doubt, but rather as an expression of people working together as a symbol of civilized discourse. Artisans, architects, priests, nobles, labourers, stone masons, sailors, tradesmen, farmers all would have co-operated and interacted in their creation. Built perhaps on the backs of servitude, reverence and slavery they still represent a monumental achievement in the act of the great endeavour and social progress.
The Great Wall of China: as a symbol of national ‘boundaries’, protection and of identity the great wall is as much a colossal undertaking in lives as much as scale. It’s ability to protect against invasion is questionable though in the sense of defining the ‘possibility’ of a Unified China and what that represents on a grander scale shows a forward looking mindset at least in terms of social development. The fact that the great wall, in all its incantations still stands as a symbol of China 2000 years later is a testament to that prospective outlook.
The Library of Alexandria: The Library of Alexandria was the breadth of ancient knowledge collected under one roof in countless translations and records. The ideal of the Library was to hold the collective wisdom of the world unified under Alexander and as a symbol to the literary accomplishments and admiration of Ancient Greece toward written history.
The light house of Alexandria and the Colossus of Rhodes: The Library of Alexandria was built to guide sailors into the harbour and avoid the dangerous harbour terrain where many ships had previously run aground. As a beacon to guide sailors to the great metropolis, it brought commerce, cultures and people to Alexandria and inspired the ancient world with it’s ever prevailing vigilance. The Colossus of Rhodes equally was used as a sign post to guide people into the city of Rhodes and also represented the pride and prestige that Rhodes wanted to show to outsiders. It is impart a tribute to the Sun God Helios as a show of the economic and architectural genius of Rhodes as a centre of world commerce.
Rock cut temples of India: as an example of Buddhist and Hindu architecture the temples in Mamalapurum and the multi-religiious cave temples of Elora are amazing examples of spiritual perseverance as temples are slowly carved over a series of not just centuries but millennia. This ability to see outwardly even into future generations is exemplified with these magnificent temples which have been constructed with great awe inspiring persistence, tolerance, duty and discipline.
Roman Roads, aquaducts and Canals: the various transport systems of the Roman world were ingenious and showed great forward optimism of an empire that was looking to last. They established an order that promoted security, connection, boundaries and intimidation, for what better way to truly subdue a people then to build a road right through their village.
Xanado: Xanado was built by the Great Mongol Khan Kublai Kai to represent the grand and stable order that he was forging in a unified China and greater mongol empire. It stood to represent the ideals that Kublai wished to promote as an enlightened ruler and was a meeting place of many religious and philosophical ideas and cultures. The magnificence and heavenly nature of Xanado inspired Coleridge to write his opus the poem “Xanado”, which has been used to exemplify the poetic form of the Romantic movement, which Coleridge was a founder off.
The Illiad: The works of Homer have shone down through the ages as one of the first truly literary tales giving Greece and later civilizations the first literary ‘classic’. The tale itself is similar in vain to the ‘epic’ mythological journey, where men are set apart from the Gods and choose to seek their own destiny for better or worse.
Nazca Lines: Whatever the reason for the mysterious lines that sometimes form symbols or shapes of animals, or simply lines running for miles on end, are as yet still a mystery. Believed to have been made by the Nazca people, whatever the case maybe it represents an amazing display of ingenuity, foresight, group co-operation and probably spiritual reverence as the lines and their shapes can only be seen from the sky. Considering the Nazca were fairly land based over two thousand years past, the overall ability to ‘see’ from such an elevated angle and predict its outcome is a testament to the human perceptive mind.
Plato’s dialogues: The dialogues of Plato and his theory of forms and absolutisms created the first theory of 'observable facts' and 'logical conclusions' in which to base knowledge that was set apart from the realms of theological thinking. Following from this dialogue Aristotle's categories and scientific method would later pave the road to our modern world and sciences that men should live in a world of reason and inherant truths.
The works of Shakespeare: No greater autere exists as revered as 'the playwrite" in human history. William Shakespeare has transcended language, culture and nationhood in the eloquence of his near Universal tale's of love, romance, tradgedy and overwhelming humanity. His characters and stories dynamic enough to be translated by any culture and in seemingly any age, his writings are timeless.
The orchestral symphony:
Spoiler: The symphony
Deriving impart from a Greek word meaning 'harmonious', perhaps no greater crescendo of human achievement is more apparent in ‘action’ then the musical symphonies as played in the concerto performances of the 18th and 19th century.
The modern orchestra has its historical roots in Ancient Egypt. The first orchestras were made up of small groups of musicians that gathered for festivals, holidays or funerals. During the time of the Roman Empire, the government suppressed the musicians and informal ensembles were banned, but they reappeared after the collapse of the Empire.
Music in Europe had first been influenced by native folk music that often accompanied drum beats, the strum of an instrument and the singing voice of a bardic performer. Music was a ‘community’ affair which brought everyone together and was used to tell communal stories and mythology.
With the reintroduction of antiquity with Islamic culture into Europe the royal court changed to something similar to the majesty of the romanticized Moor’s, the spiritual residue of emerging church enclaves as much for a nostalgia for older more traditional folk ways of past traditions. In Al-Andalus the Syrene’s were a school of women, possibly concubines and eunuchs, who were taught to sing professionally to please their lords. Foreigners from other parts were influenced by these famous Syrene singers. A school of music appeared in medieval times that practiced wondering around and performing for various lords in a style that was part folk, part chivalric romance and part Christian/Latin hymn. These travelling bards were known as ‘troubadour’s’ and they were soon followed by groups all over Europe.
With the onset of the Renaissance and the re-introduction of Greek classical literature and 'Greek drama', the ‘operatic’ overture became fashionable in Italy and merged with past Troubadour traditions (which had stagnated due to the black plague) and theatre’s where plays and musical performances could be staged.
These ‘overtures’ and assemblies quickly developed a culturally elite; who performed grand symphonies for the aristocracy and a rising middle class of theatre patrons. The collaboration of the symphony is seen by many as representing the height of European artistic expression, and involved often hundreds of performers under the guidance of the conductor. As music became more and more written, the rise of the cultural gestalt, the Maestro’s who wrote these symphonies and less orchestrated pieces, became cultural heroes and were idolized by a receptive public.
Ludwig Van Beethoven, follwing in the shadow of Mozart he was a devotee of the humanist 'romantic' period of European thought and the result of which exploded as a synthesis of feeling, emotion and expression in his works.
Their ability to translate the time and moment through music was the pinnacle of Enlightenment thought and often Romantic expression (as with beethoven), with such luminaries as Mozart and Beethoven deeply committed to humanist values that sought ‘achievement’ and the celebration of humanity above all other standards.
The American Bill of rights/constitution:
The Olympic Games:
The renaissance – Mona Lisa:
The Sixteenth chapel:
The Theory of relativity and Newtonian physics:
[/B]The Theory of Evolution:[/B]
Citizen Kane - the CINEMATIC GESTALT:
The Emancipation movements:
Polynesians and the Enlightenment:
Spoiler: Polynesian origins
Aboriginal people arrive in the Australia’s about 60’000 years past when the sea levels were much lower and the distances between islands were smaller or bridged. At some point however the people who would become the ancient Aboriginal people of the Micronesian and Australasian areas would have to have had sailing vessel’s in order for the mass colonisation necessary of these areas to occur. This is the first evident existence of such technological advanced infrastructure and would have included a development of the social constructs necessary for such an endeavour to occur (such as trade, community, language and spirituality). It is the first clear marker of mans use and development of social skills, technology and imagination for the exploration of far horizons beyond the shores of our worlds.
Later this exploration comes full circle with later migratory patterns from asia, bringing new social advances, people and developments that instigate the colonization of the Pacific islands and the last true colonization of inhabitable lands untouched by man on the planet. Considering the distance covered (which is without doubt a ‘controlled’ migratory enterprise), this future endeavour is a remarkable feet by a people who used a lengthy experience of ancient sea fearing practices and observation to traverse and navigate the sea’s and build the right kind of wooden boats from native infrastructures and materials for the job.
Polynesians used an understanding of the stars, tidal patterns in waves and observational meteorology and other signs to navigate vast distances of the Pacific Ocean.
The migration of the Pacific is often an elusive puzzle that requires piecing together various periods in pre-history through long scientific and observational scrutiny. There are three current theories on Polynesian migration.
* The Express Train model (the current favourite) – A fast moving migration that interacted only partially with native populations and originated closely to an ancient fishing people of Taiwan and extended outwards from Melanesia as recent as 3000 years ago through southern Polynesia into the Polynesian triangle. Many of the islands were then colonised in succession from it’s central base 2000 years ago in ongoing migratory movements – this is strongly supported by DNA testing of people, agricultural relics and linguistics.
* The tangled bank model – States that there were several migratory movements within the pacific that may have come from several ‘root’ sources predominantly from the Melanesian and Micronesian areas not excluding Southern American migratory return voyages (which explain impart the sweet potato’s existence in the far southern America’s).
* The slow boat model – similar to the fast train model but with a slower rate of migration and more interaction with the Melanesian and Micronesian blood mix.
Generally speaking the Lapitapita people, or ‘pot makers’ are the closest migratory group to bridge the gap between the southern Melanesian region of Papa new guine around 3000 years ago and extending from there into Samoa, Fiji and Tonga around 2000 years past. The distinctive pottery of these people can be found as far east as Samoa on Upolu island. It is here that the distinct Polynesian culture is developed and central migration expands outwards to the distant islands such as Hawai in 500 AD, Easter Island in 300-500 AD and new Zealand around about a thousand years past. Debate argues for slightly older dates, but the migratory pattern is well established by DNA testing, archaeological digs and linguistic studies.
- Some samoan girls posing for a camera as they perform a traditional Ava Ceremony. Just one of the many rituals that have passed on in the central island regions of Tonga, Fiji and Samoa.
The vibrant and dynamic culture of the Pacific is testament to man’s ability to evolve and develop in whatever environment they pursue. Creating independent homes and social practices from their root origins, incorporating native materials and local foci’s into whatever mythological and societal practices they bring with them and endeavouring to ‘continue’ that journey by exploring and colonizing distant unknown islands beyond the horizon.
The inside of a Samoan fale or meeting house (1842).
When the Pacific Islands were first discovered by Europeans thousands of years later in the 18th century they were amazed to find people in these distant islands and struggled to answer how these seemingly primitive people were able to travel to such remote areas that comparatively modern European Boating methods were struggling to navigate.
In there struggle to find answers to this mystery European’s drew on several ideas that were prevalent in Europe’s prevailing ideologies of the time that were often ‘romantic’, imperial or Supremacist. After the Renaissance a prevailing religious dogma over ruled many emerging scientific ideas as nationhood warred politically and religiously in the time of sovereign states and the reformation. This meant that a biblical view of history and geography was often merged with scholarly understandings, thus with the discovery of new worlds – seemingly untouched by civilization and un-Christianised often led to theological debate as much as scientific.
The anti-poles. Similar to the Greek notion the further one travels from the centre of the civilization the more bizarre, uncivil and inhuman the world becomes. The anti-poles were a similar theory that devised that since the known world could never achieve the far distant lands of the South in ancient times, the people who might live there and the nature of the world would be ‘without God’ and thus would live in a ‘reverse’ state to the rules of the known world, or European mindset. It was peopled with strange denizens who had faces in their mid sections and walked backwards. Explorers would exacerbate this by coming home with tales of such bizarre monsters and people as past mariners had often done for countless millennia.
Biblical referencing of the Earth's age and that of mankind.
In a biblical sense and from what Europeans first conceived AS history the age of the world was very young with a biblical theologian having devised that the earth was about 6000 - 7000 years old, going on biblical references. The ages of civilized man were early biblical societies such as Egypt, Sumerian and Hebrew periods then Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman Civilizations. All other histories and people would have to fit into this general understanding of mans social development as they were ‘exclusive’ and original, meaning other civilizations were mere descendants often in a devolved form. Polynesians and all other peoples must have initially spurred from these developments in human society but the question was what period and when?
There were initial theories that postulated that the Polynesians arrived during the ‘great flood’ and the Diaspora of man through out this period. Others believed that they were in fact a missing tribe of Abraham who had left the Promised Land perhaps on Phoenician boats to arrive in this far distant location. Others thought that they may have been of a Indo-Aryan origin and this became a predominant idea after the discovery of Sanskrit and Vedic culture in Hindu India. A popular idea being that Aryan tribes had descended from upper India into the lower regions of the south and from there migrated, in a series of fabulous kingdoms, until reaching the South Pacific. The origins of this tribe were sometimes Persian most often Greek particularly after the discovery of Hellenic Greek kingdoms in India.
Les Sauvages De la Mer Pacifique - by jean Gabriel Charvet and depicting native realms from different islands such as tahiti and New Zealand. An example of the Romantic notion of various native populations of the Pacific, wearing greek garbs.
Some Europeans thought that these people were ‘early people’ who may even have survived untouched ‘before’ the fall and thus would be without ‘original sin’. Europe having gone through the religious massacres of the reformation and political conflict felt that civilization itself was the cause of sin. Thus several philosophies began to reflect on the nature of these new cultures and people in terms of ‘a state of nature’ and primitive romanticism coining the term ‘noble savage’ in popular literature. A long discussion in European discourse argued over the nature of these societies as more information returned of these Pacific realms and other parts of discovery such as the native American’s of the ‘new world’.
- John Locke. The Social Contract.
Coming into the ‘enlightenment’, European philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, David Hume and Hobb’s debated on the nature of society and man. Hobbe’s believed that the nature of man was essentially a product of his environment which was cruel and it was only with the development of civilization and strong moral laws through stages of sympathy that men became morally civilized. This was a fundamental basis of the ‘social contract’ which was championed by John Locke though he supposed that civilization could go both ways and the initial ‘contract’ would require strong moral grounds in subservience to the will of God and ‘absolute values’, as opposed to self interested motivations and that without a founding principle of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ the contract would lead to a sickness in social morals.
jean-jacques Rousseau - the state of nature and the noble savage.
Rousseau however challenged this initial premise on the nature of men by Hobbes suggesting that he was only imaging this cruel disposition in a primitive value, but rather that all men are born neither good or bad and that it is the founding of civilization that creates these aspects. This argument between ‘nurture’, that society nurtures the evil or goodness of a man, or nature, that rather evil and good is endemic to man’s nature and society is or can be reflective of either was the back drop for much of the thought that went into arguing the ‘origins’ of Pacific Islanders.
Two trains of thought which also were applied to ‘origin’ theories was one of Social decadence and Social progress. Accordingly society only ‘changes’ and develops from outside sources and rather is a slow ‘devolving’ series of stages arguing in turn against the idea that society has the ability to evolve and change most often in ‘synthesis’ to outside forces though in later ideas within developments found in itself. This argument later evolves into Social functionalism theories of the modern world.
Romanticism in 19th century Europe was a movement to oppose what was percieved as the rationalist and aristotarian views of the industrial revoluion. It promoted a synthesis of instinct, feeling and expression in it's natural outlook, glorifying the innate beauty found in nature and the human condition.
In one Romantic view then simple society was an ‘unchanged’ state in equilibrium unless in conflict with a new development such as the interaction or synthesis with outside forces. Because the Pacific Islands were so far away Europeans reasoned that these people must either be in a state of social regress (with particularly ‘savage’ societies representing this) or in a timeless state from their initial interactive origins (again demonstrated by particular Polynesian communities such as Tahiti) which because of their biblical canonized history led them to believe that they were remnant societies of ancient Greece, Persia or even the Hebrews. Indeed the further you travelled the further ‘back in time’ you were going and this is why many primitive societies were Romanticized as ‘Noble Savages’ but also in themes resembling ancient cultures such as Greece and Assyria, suggesting more ‘noble’ simpler ages before the ‘decadent’ conflicts are found within a struggling European civilization.
The romanticising of the Pacific peoples and then the Imperial supremacist dogma that followed (as Europe’s taste for the Pacific went from exploration to exploitation) including various realist movements was more about Europeans trying to discover their own identity and quest for origins then with the true nature of Polynesians. This creation of the ‘other’ as mirror to western society’s search for identity and moral definition would continue on in the ‘modern’ and global times of today as we question our role in an ever alienating and consumerist world.
Hegal on 'the other' - "Each consciousness pursues the death of the other" either by conflict, subjugation or through synthesis
This then is the back drop 2000 years after the first Polynesian migration for when Captain Cook arrives to explore the Oceanic region at the end of the 18th century and it was his voyages on the ship ‘the Endeavour’ into the Pacific that began the first real anthropological steps into discovering the true origins of who the Pacific Islanders were. The voyage itself was commissioned by the new Royal Society of science in a Europe that was dealing with the fundamental changes the industrial revolution had wrought on it’s political and social landscape foremost of which was the Imperial and industrial age and the Empirical one as found in the enlightenment and the ages of reason.
French Polynesia was originally named Society islands by captain Cook, arguebly named after the Royal Society of science that commisioned his voyages.
Captain Cook brought with him Johan Reinhold Forster and his son who were naturalists and who observed in depth the fauna and the agricultural plants including animals discovered on the islands. They saw very early on signs of a migratory pattern that seemed to suggest a slow push outwards from the western regions of the Pacific using plants and animals that were brought with the islanders from island to island. With their help Cook concluded from his own observations that the Pacific Islanders were all related despite the length of distance between each island community and that they originally derived from Asia. Much of his ‘observational’ technique came from making ‘first contact’ with the islanders and establishing expeditions onto various islands for study and replenishing his boat. Giving his extensive mapping of the region, his forays into experimenting with accurate latitude measurements and his daunting courage exemplified the voyages of Captain Cook as above all a scientific endeavour of great importance.
- a Maori warrior wearing tradional tribal tattoo's or 'moko'. The word tattoo originated from the Pacific practice along with the word 'taboo' which was a series of laws restraining certain actions particularly while tattooing was being performed.
I mention James Cook and his voyages on the HMS Endeavour because if anything they exemplified the end of the age of discovery and foremost the age of reason and scientific ‘discovery’. The Enlightenment was really a continuance of dialogue that had been going on since the very first social discourse and community in human existence. The early Hebrews, the grandeur of Egypt, the Persians, the philosophers of ancient Greece, the Buddhists of India, the rise of China and Confucianism, the Mongols and the Islamic golden age, the crusades and the age of discovery, the Renaissance in Europe, the reformation unto the age of reason and enlightenment, the ‘sublime’ age, the industrial revolution, the social dogma of ideology in modern times, a world at war and finally the Space Age and our own modern outlook.
Humanism is a broad scope of human endeavour and once again of coarse I alliterate the exploits of James Cook and his ‘endeavour’ as well as the ancient Polynesians because there is another name for endeavour and that is ‘enterprise’ which is precisely where all this is going and has always been going as a story of human unity and ‘progress’ from the dawn of mankind we have always been creatures of ‘curiosity’. And may I quote the words of Captain James Cook and his five year voyage of discovery, to introduce where the idea of ‘brotherhood’ and humanistic values may finally take us, hopefully all of us, into the future
"ambition leads me ... farther than any other man has been before me"
Spoiler: The future
The Apollo Missions:
"And all these moments... will be lost...in time...like tears, in the rain....."
Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with Beethoven, romance, trekkies and Samoans)
Ah well, Yung has his tesseracts, Bob has his dreams, and i have my historical significance. And apparently once had a lot of time on my hands. Even to this day I am thankful to LOST for teaching me about the Assyrian empire and the Portuguese. If anything. Bless you all!
"And all these moments... will be lost...in time...like tears, in the rain....."
Re: + The rise of civilization and our island...(with Beethoven, romance, trekkies and Samoans)
Hey Neil! The Bathroom door remains to this day my unseen nemesis. Mostly because it's a sliding door now and has the tendency to bounce open.
Yea man, the leftovers is awesome. Seeing as I'm returning to these forums I think if there's a area for that (I'm sure there is) I might join in. Its the first real show where I've genuinely felt a LOST connection with in terms of something more going on there - film wise in particularly - though I'm watching it more for the story/characters and entertainment rather then the mystery admittedly. Utopia is the other one I've watched that I'm enjoying. Penny Dreadful also some interesting stuff up and down wise. But Leftovers at least is not an HBO show which tries to draw you in by upping the amounts of graphic sex and violence and then leaving you with an adrenalin rush what happens next at least. And is really unsettling in that subtlety. I like it.
To keep this ancient thread on track I'm also enjoying Lost Treasures of the Ancient World - best ancient history doco's I've come across (strait forward too). If you ever want to have a general idea of a particular area of ancient history I fully recommend. Oh and Sex in the Ancient world series too. For obvious reasons (ah those Pompeii'ans!).