Monday, November 28, 2005

Quantum Resolution of Truth

Crossroads Of Religions: Quantum Resolution of Truth: Ancient Cultures
Dr. Chitta R. Goswami
Where does humanity stand at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first? Full-fledged man, Homo Sapiens, appeared on earth a little over one hundred thousand years ago. However, we get to know of man’s life, that also scantily, from what happened during the last cycle of his existence, that is, after the end of the last Ice Ace. In fact, our knowledge of human civilization does not go beyond eight thousand years.
The civilizations of Egypt and Sumeria are considered by many archaeologists as the most ancient. However, there is no agreement among the authorities with regard to the sequence of time among the contending ancient civilizations, namely, Cretan, Greek, Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Assirian, Iranian, Indus Valley, Aryan Indian, Chinese and so on. Certain institutions are found to be common to these ancient cultures. Political system was almost invariably Monarchy; religion was Polytheistic; relation between the political and religious institution was by and large harmonious, but not always so. Similarities in social laws are also found. Most of the ancient societies were dominated by the male; the position of women was rather subservient, polygamy being a common feature. War among neighboring states was common if not frequent. With regard to technology, Bronze Age was superseded by the Iron Age. As a result, advancement in agricultural and manufacturing tools and weaponry was manifest. Mining was known; but the main source of power were: domesticated animals, water, sunlight, different kinds of oil and wind. As for standard of living, a small number of people in every society enjoyed certain luxury, with labor coming from slaves or domestic servants; majority of the population lived a very modest life.
Through which preliminary steps civilizations reached the stage indicated above is difficult to delineate. In fact, it is well nigh impossible to establish a hierarchy of progress among the ancient civilizations noted above. On the other hand, we have specimen of truly primitive societies available in different continents. Aborigines of Australia, tribes of people living in distant jungles, hills and islands of India and many other Asian countries, Eskimos living near the North pole, American Indians available from the Northern tip of North America to the southern tip of South America, innumerable tribes spread over large areas of Black Africa are examples of primitive society. By and large these societies are egalitarian in character, monarchy being extremely rare. Technologically they are ill-developed; they have no written language or literature. They have, however, religion with a belief system in multiple divinities and a store of myths. The existence of these primitive societies is being threatened by the expansion of modern societies and the latter’s encroachment into the life and the society of the primitive people.
The big question is how did the most of the ancient civilizations die out? Actually, only the Chinese and the Vedic civilization of India have withstood death. The rest are dead for all practical purposes, though not without some relevance to modern life and thought. Causes of destruction could be either natural like, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, drought etc. or man-made, like, war. There were wars between Egypt and Greece, between Greece and Iran; this did not result in the ruination of any of these civilizations. Middle eastern civilizations of Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria etc. fought with one another, one defeated the other, one dynasty was replaced by another. These also cannot be made responsible for total elimination of any of these cultures. With regard to Indus Valley civilization, some scholars have conjectured that flood was the cause. Others guess that Indus Valley people did not know the use of horses; the Aryans came on horse back and could easily wipe out the Indus Valley people. There is hardly any proof that the Aryans came from the North as invaders. Some scholars draw attention to certain common elements connecting the Indus Valley with the Vedic culture; In the Indus Valley the head of a piece of sculpture looks like that of Shiva; another piece looks like a mother goddess. Indus Valley has two components: one is Mahenjo Daro and the other Harappa. Both are urban cultures and in that way somewhat different from the earlier pastoral Vedic culture. Some scholars think Indus Valley is truly Dravidian culture akin to that of South India. In any case, despite the disappearance of the Indus Valley, it remains in spirit a part of the Indian culture which has shown a remarkable continuity and vigor.

I have come up with an idea that the emergence of Monotheism as an aggressive religion has gone a long way in destroying most of the ancient civilizations.

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