Archive for March 29th, 2010
Old London Bridge was finished about 1200 AD and stood until the early nineteenth century. To pay its cost, it was lined with shops and living spaces, eight on the bridge. These were destroyed a century before the Old Bridge, the one the song says is falling down, was taken down completely.
In an earlier history I read the writer made fun of those who postulate that a “real” bridge across the Thames existed before the Romans, inspired by the Greeks who were inspired by the Egyptians, built it. Fords, being natural, yes. Even some tenuous wooded walkway across the Thames at some points which the hairy barbarians might have tossed up before running back into the woods.
But a BRIDGE?
Everybody knew where BUILDING occurred. All the Historical, Earliest Buildings were right out there in the desert where we could find them. I wrote an article lately about how convenient it is that all the historical stuff happens to be right there where they can be easily found.
The latest book about London Bridge was written after a discovery a couple of miles downriver from the Old London Bridge.
It is a bridge. It is a HUGE bridge. It is dated to 1500 BC. The writer explains that was during the high bronze age, when there was lots of trade. But he still sticks to the thesis that there was nothing in the area of today’s LONDON at that time.
“They” would have found it, you see. Just like “They” would have found that bridge.
And that is the cement, the cement of pure faith, that holds together the entire accepted history on which Political Correctness, Modern History, Modern Thought, and Modern Archeology, are built.
History is not an area of study any more. History is an institution. You become a historian by being ordained by other historians. They don’t lay on hands but they still wear the robes. I keep repeating that one religious institution has more in common with other institutions than it does with the doctrine it claims to represent.
A conversation between Jesus and Buddha would have been entirely different from one between those representing Christianity and Buddhism today. These are institutions saying “Why cant we get along?“ not two men with their own rigid concepts of what is true.
It is hard to imagine two more opposite approaches than two men debating real truth and two institutions with vast resources to preserve trying to go along and get along.
But no one NOTICES this difference!
Each faith gets along with what it has, the remains of a vanished book called The Sayings of Our Lord written when some of those who saw Jesus were still alive, a set of Gospels each of which was written to be the ONLY Gospel, selected by a committee, and endless proven forgeries.
Behind all that is Christ.
Buddhists have the same sort of thing, shreds, institutions which are gone today.
The big difference is that Christianity, and I suppose Buddhism, can look to the Spirit of the Founder. But history just plods right on, ignoring the fact that it is an institution.
So what do historians DO? They dig among the shreds, just as religious institutions do, but, unlike religious institutions, they don’t ADMIT it.
It has often been remarked that Westerners are great at developing everything from Public Libraries and References of detailed information to the storage of literature.
At the same, any student of our actual history is puzzled by how, with our genius at storing and referencing knowledge, the same basic errors go on generation after generation. The classic example is how Galen’s Ancient Theory of Humors, which has no basis in fact at all, remained the basis of medicine and medical study right into the nineteenth century.
The answer is that an institution was built on it, an institution called The Medical Profession. To be an academic in that field, you had to be able to explain all things in Galen’s terms and in Galen’s Latin.
What the Medical Institution wanted was Latin and accumulated selected facts. Like any institution, it had no room for someone who was trying to invent the whole field again.
Who succeeded in Medicine when doctors killed as may as they cured? Those whose interest was not in cures, but in having Educated Doctors. If you could write in the right terms and in the right language, no one stopped to consider how many patients died or were cured.
A field of study steadily advances in KNOWLEDGE. But as it institutionalizes, everyone must FIT into the institution. It may or may not be that a major topic of debate at Universities in the Renaissance was how many angels could fit on the head of a pin, but there is no reason why it should not have been.
If you could use the accumulated doctrine and the correct language to discuss that point, you could easily have gotten a doctorate out of it before Occam came along.
What institutions routinely lost is not KNOWLEDGE but PERSPECTIVE. All the knowledge in the world means nothing if it looked at the world the wrong way.
But who can qualify for an INSTITUTION and make a correction in that Institution’s PERSPECTIVE?
BUGS demands a lot of knowledge. But in the new age, knowledge is handled by machines. Only perspective is now the exclusive talent of human beings.
Google is about knowledge.
BUGS is about perspective.