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Ancestor Worship in Fiction and Reality

We are sort of pessimistic...or realistic (if it do ya)...in these times, are we not?

I think that there was once a time when this might not have been the case and people looked to the future with a sense of progression rather than degeneration. This is generally reflected in fictions where, in one time period, the future was a place of wonders. Things improved. Mankind was happier and better off. In our current times, most people envision some sort of dystopia. The difference between the two seems to be that people of the past believed that technology would solve the problems of humanity. Today, people believe that humanities problems will persist despite technology or increase because of technology.

However, we also have pretty strange views of the past. There seems to be a cognitive dissonance on the matter. On one end, we tended to- at one time- believe that the ancients were generally less intelligent than we are today. That things like fire and lights in the sky would fill them with thoughts of supernatural absurdities to a greater degree than they do today. This is why some of the wonders of the world are so awe-inspiring. We wonder how could our intellectually primitive ancestors have done this with the limited means they had.

On the other hand, there seems to be a sort of worship of the ancients as being possessors of a particular insight or secret knowledge. At times, they are even believed to have possessed technology that rivals or surpassed our own. The past holds something golden...sacred...and lost to the present and it seems like we spend our future trying to move back toward that past. Most of the greatest religions of the world deal with a great loss to the human race in antiquity. A great, spiritual loss that we spend the present day trying to recover. Most fictions bestow great knowledge and power to ancient things. In reality, we worship our heritage and things like bloodlines- serving as some sort of connection to the potencies of some past figure or event. We keep charms and trinkets and objects that remind us of the past because they hold some power or force to us. King Arthur's sword, Excalibur, is an example of an icon from the past, connecting a person who possess it in the present to the potency of it's foundation and the events which took place. The city of Jerusalem is a modern day icon of great symbolic significance revering the past. All around us- on the individual or societal level- are physical examples of ancestor worship or ideological/spiritual ones where we venerate the past or things from the past as somewhat mystical, forceful, or sacred in some way. More so than today.

Comments

More and more we are learning that we understand little of what our ancient ancestors knew, believed or did. Based on recent findings and corrections of old beliefs, I think they were smarter than most give them credit for being.

But I think they had many of the same kinds of problems we have. Business owners endangering customers goes back to the 1700s, with millers adding lead to the flour to make it whiter so they could sell more. Based on that, I think Neanderthal man had to face similar folks.
 
They were definitely smart... I think it's not so much a matter of intelligence. For instance, some of the inventions that come out have nothing to do with how intelligent you are. Rather, it's about the way in which you look at a thing. Some things that we have invented could have been invented thousands of years ago- it's just- perhaps- those people didn't see it back then. They weren't aware.

That's my opinion, though...
 
You might be surprised by how long ago things were first created. The Romans had toilets; there were clocks that were complex and accurate; doors that opened when money was paid; and so much more.

There's ancient writings that refer to the world being round. The Forbidden City was built by sliding the blocks in on ice. Somewhere, I forget where, large stones were stood on end by using sand pits. I know there's more, but I can't think of them right now.

Bottom line, we create new by building on old. Until the prior layer is laid, the new layer can't be added.
 
Jack of all trades;bt11346 said:
You might be surprised by how long ago things were first created. The Romans had toilets; there were clocks that were complex and accurate; doors that opened when money was paid; and so much more.

There's ancient writings that refer to the world being round. The Forbidden City was built by sliding the blocks in on ice. Somewhere, I forget where, large stones were stood on end by using sand pits. I know there's more, but I can't think of them right now.

Bottom line, we create new by building on old. Until the prior layer is laid, the new layer can't be added.

Yeah, I think I know what you mean. Kind of like how nuclear power- in all it's complexity- is used just to make steam. And how an aircraft carrier is basically a steam-driven machine.
 

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