It’s 3/20/22, Covid is wriggling, Russia is attacking Ukrainia with more than 4 million people having fled to neighboring countries. On Tuesday there will be a national election in Hungary with Orban, an authoritarian leader who is pro Putin now, running against a small city mayor who is pro NATO and the European Commission and democracy. No free press, the Judiciary in his control, the universities controlled by him, Orban is the favorite. We will see.
With this post I am trying to learn how to use WordPress to help me build this blog. Now I want to send all my readers to a different post/page. Let’s see if I can do that.
Yes, I can do that with a menu. I will create that now.
I created a menu and installed it on the blog. Now you will see CONSILIENCE listed on the home page because of that menu. Aha!!
You may have no idea what this word means, but all the homo sapiens on Earth are headed towards it.
It requires looking at our behavior through the windows of biology, neuroscience, chemistry, electrical signals and cultures. It requires that we look at the environment with historical truths of physical changes and their results.
If you want to get a good grounding in understanding CONSILIENCE, I recommend that you read Edward O. Wilson’s book CONSILIENCE. I have read it several times and it has helped my understanding of complexities.
We want to offer some REAL information into this blog, so here we go.
Here is a schematic of the homo sapien brain. This is the tool through which we view the cosmos.
We will have to USE our brains, with the brains of all the Homo Sapiens who share this Earth with us. To get to CONSILIENCE, we will have to AGREE that there is a Universal Reality that we can examine through Scientific research and through dialogues we can get to a consiliatory conclusion of what this Universe we live in MIGHT look like, if our Science is accurate.
We will NEED to understand that our decisions and our behavior are influenced by our INDIVIDUAL understanding of what kind of Universe we live in, what it’s history has been, how our individual cultures were formed and how our Global Universal understanding is being achieved through Global Scientific research.
Let’s take a look at what the world has so far uncovered, in studying the Universe that we live in.
This an image of the Universe’s Cosmic Background Radiation. There is an interesting story about the two scientists at the Bell Labs who discovered it 1n 1965, but that will have to wait, because in 1992, the Cosmic Background Explorer(COBE) satellite made the first detection analogous to seeing “mountains on the surface of the Earth”: it detected cosmological fluctuations in the microwave background temperature. That experimentation was aided by the (WMAP) Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe that was launched in 2001. When ALL the analysis was done, the scientists discovered a very SMALL difference in temperatures. The hot regions are 0.0002 degrees Kelvin hotter than the cold regions.
That caused Stephen Hawking to say it was the World’s most important discovery, because THAT was the reason we have galaxies in our Universe. WMAP wins the Fundamental Physics Award awarded to Charles L. Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David N. Spergel, and the 27 member WMAP Science Team.
Here we can see an image of the timeline of our Universe. Look at the left side and you can SEE the subatomic Flow and the Plank time that occurred immediately after the Big Bang. Notice that the afterglow LIGHT pattern emerged 400,000 yearsafter the BB. The green sliver is the Cosmic Background Radiation.
You can read about this in the Professor Loeb’s web site: https://lweb.cfa.harvard.edu/~loeb/sciam.pdf Professor Loeb wrote: “I look up into the sky at night, I often wonder whether we humans are too preoccupied with ourselves. There is much more to the universe than meets the eye on earth. As an astrophysicist I have the privilege of being paid to think about it, and it puts things in perspective for me. There are things that I would otherwise be bothered by—my own death, for example. Everyone will die sometime, but when I see the universe as a whole, it gives me a sense of longevity. I do not care so much about myself as I would otherwise, because of the big picture.”
Here is the big picture of the birth of the Universe.
That is my only answer. Start at the Quantum level and climb into the Universe. What other thought can rise to the level of axiology?
The philosopher asks whether something is of value because it is desired, as subjectivists such as Perry hold, or whether it is desired because it has value, as objectivists such as Moore and Nicolai Hartmann claim. In both approaches, value judgments are assumed to have a cognitive status, and the approaches differ only on whether a value exists as a property of something independently of human interest in it or desire for it. Noncognitivists, on the other hand, deny the cognitive status of value judgments, holding that their main function is either emotive, as the positivist A.J. Ayer maintains, or prescriptive, as the analyst R.M. Hare holds. Existentialists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, emphasizing freedom, decision, and choice of one’s values, also appear to reject any logical or ontological connection between value and fact.
In truth, Nothingness is, for the existentialists, possible existence, as the negation of the reality of fact. Sartre wrote: “The possible is the something which the For-itselflacks in order to be itself”; it is what the subject lacks in order to be an object; thus, it does not exist except as a lacking.
The same is true of value, which is such insofar as it does not exist. For even when value occurs or is perceived in certain acts, it lies beyond them and constitutes the limit or the goal toward which they aim. Analogously, knowledge, in which the object (the in-itself) presents itself to consciousness (the for-itself), is a relationship of nullification, because the object cannot be offered to consciousness except as that which is not consciousness. Furthermore, another existence is such insofar as it is not mine; thus, the negation is “the constitutive structure of the being-of-others.”
Here is a playlist to use in wondering! Copy it and go to it through your browser.
Today, 10 March 2021, there was an obituary for, Allan McDonald, one of the Morton Thiokol engineers, who worked so hard to keep the Challenger from being launched. There was a problem with the O ring design of the missile.
Here is an image of the missile they were using:
The solid-fuel booster rockets whose failure is a cause of the Jan. 28 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger were made by Morton Thiokol Inc. at a sprawling mountain production site a few miles east of Brigham City, and 10 miles from Promontory Point, where the western and eastern legs of the transcontinental railroad were joined in a historic ceremony May 10, 1869.
These solid fuel rockets were transported on railroad cars. And, the tunnels for these cars were built to cover the tracks that were built, the way the English built tracks. The English used the ox-cart tracks left by the Romans when they invaded England. Julius Cesar invaded in 55 BC and the Roman Empire was in England from 43 BC to 410 AD. So, the missiles were built to the width of ox-carts.
These missiles had O ring seals that could not be accurate when the launch occurred after an extended period of cold weather. These seals shrank too much to offer the protection that was needed to keep the missile together. The engineers and the scientists all knew that. NASA knew that.
The scientists and engineers could say what they wanted to say, but nobody was listening. It was like Trump with: “the pandemic will go away”. The politicians wanted that teacher in space so Reagan could show the world how COOL he was.
Because, the REAL cause of the disaster was that President Ronald Reagan intended to speak by radio to the teacher that NASA had placed on the astronaut’s crew, during his State of the Union speech that he intended to give on national TV on January 28th. I know that because WBAI reported it when this disaster struck. You can’t find it in the history of the disaster but the kids know how to do the hacking. They will find it!
The five astronauts and two payload specialists that made up the STS 51-L crew aboard the space shuttle Challenger in January of 1986. Crew members are (left to right, front row) astronauts Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee and Ronald E. McNair; and Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith A. Resnik.
Christa McAuliffe—Payload Specialist, Teacher
As the other payload specialist, McAuliffe was a social studies teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire when she was selected from more than 11,000 applicants to join NASA’s Teacher in Space Project in 1985. She received a bachelor’s degree in history and education from Framingham State College in 1970 and eventually received her master’s in education, supervision, and administration from Bowie University in 1978.
While in space, McAuliffe was planning lessons to teach her students from the shuttle. Among the lessons, she was slated to give a presentation about space travel titled “Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why.” After the explosion and her death, several honors were bestowed on her posthumously.
The most serious impact of Ronald Reagan on education was his failure to affirm public education as an essential need for strengthening the nation. He wanted to talk to Christa McAuliffe on national TV to boost his image.
We started out from McGuire and went to Scott AFB near Belleville, Illinois and from there we went to Forbes AFB near Topeka, Kansas. Then we went to Travis AFB. We punched out from Travis and we went to Hickam, in Honolulu and then to Wake and on to Guam.
From Guam we went to Mactan, in the Philippines. It was there at Mactan where Ferdinand Magellan was killed in a battle with the local chief, in April of 1521. From Mactan we flew to Cam Rhan Bay, in Vietnam. You can see incredible photography of what that war in Vietnam looked like in films like “Apocalypse Now” that was made by Francis Ford Coppola in 1979. But here is what Cam Rhan Bay pilots made into a film, in 1966.
From Cam Rhan, I took off with four soldiers who had some leave time, we were headed to Tachicawa AFB in Japan. We plowed threw a bunch of cloudy weather from Cam Rhan to Okinawa. When we got over Okinawa, they asked me what about Formosa. I said: “What about Formosa?” They said:”You were supposed to stop in Formosa on this trip.” I answered: “This is the first time I heard about Formosa, today.”
They said: “Hold over Okinawa, until we get you clearance to Formosa.” So, we started holding over Okinawa. I requested holding on the east side of the radio beacon, going into Okinawa on a westerly heading but that was not allowed. So, I held on the west side going into Okinawa on an easterly heading.
After 20 minutes of holding they gave me a frequency for Formosa. I called that frequency and I was talking to an American radio operator, He said: “Airman XXXX clears you to fly to the Taoyuan Air Base.” I rogered the message, and allowed the plane to continue flying to the east over the OK radio facility. In just a couple of minutes we flew into a clear sky. I looked at the heading and realized I was flying to the east. I said to my navigator:”Do you think we have enough fuel to fly to Formosa, on this heading?” He realized we would have to fly around the world on this easterly heading to get to Formosa, he said: “Turn around, I will make up an excuse.” He told the Japanese controller that he had had a compass problem and we flew back over the OK beacon and westerly towards Formosa.
It was a pitch black night when we made the approach into this base and we were flying in heavy rain. Finally we got my C-130 on the ground and taxied to a stop. After a couple of minutes, two guys in civilian clothes showed up. One of the two of them got VERY EXCITED that I had these four soldiers with me. I had NO IDEA who these guys were. But I told them that when I left from that airport the soldiers were going to be on my plane. It became clear to me in just a few minutes that these guys were from the CIA. I didn’t”t know anything about it at the time, but the CIA was running a squadron of Chinese pilots flying the TOP SECRET U2 airplane. Below is a quote from Wikipedia:
“In January 1961, the CIA provided the ROC with its first two U-2Cs, and in April the squadron flew its first mission over mainland China. Other countries were also covered from time to time by the 35th Squadron, such as North Korea, North Vietnam and Laos, but the main objective of the ROC 35th Squadron was to conduct reconnaissance missions assessing the PRC’s nuclear capabilities. For this purpose the ROC pilots flew as far as Gansu and other remote regions in northwest China. Some of the missions, due to mission requirements and range, plus to add some element of surprise, had the 35th Squadron’s U-2s flying from or recovered at other US air bases in Southeast Asia and Eastern Asia, such as K-8 (Kunsan) in South Korea, or Takhli in Thailand. All US airbases in the region were listed as emergency/ alternate recovery airfields and could be used besides the 35th Squadron’s home base at Taoyuan Air Base in Taiwan. Initially, all film taken by the Black Cat Squadron was flown to Okinawa or Guam for processing and development, and the US forces would not share any of the mission photos with Taiwan, but in late 1960s the USAF agreed to share complete sets of mission photos and help Taiwan set up a photo development and interpretation unit at Taoyuan.”
Well, after 30 minutes they came back with an engine on a roller trolley. It was all covered with blue plastic wrapped around it and the loadmaster fastened it to our cargo deck. These guys had papers in their hands. They wanted the soldiers to sign them. I told them that the soldiers had NO IDEA where they were and if they made them sign these papers it would be worse than doing nothing at all. In the end, they agreed with me and we soon left for Tachikawa, Japan.
When we got there, some other guys in civilian clothes came to our airplane. One of them asked me to forgive the kind of treatment we got in Formosa. I told him I realized that it was a high priority mission. I told him if I had known about if in Cam Rhan Bay, I would not have had the soldiers with me, but I only learned about this mission by radio over the OK beacon.
We left McGuire and flew to Goose Bay, Labrador. Then we flew up to Thule, Greenland.
It was our job to resupply various fields where people remained all winter. We had to go to Nord, Alert, and Eureka. In Thule, at this time of the year the sun is visible all night long. Outdoors all the buildings are connected by rope lines so you can find your way in a time of blowing snow. When we took off from Thule we had to worry about the weather at our destination, the weather at Thule and the weather at Sonderstom.
We had to bring a 35,000# Caterpillar tractor to Nord. The Headquarters for Military Air Transport gave a weight limit for takeoff from Thule. Nord was 765 miles from Thule. Our Alternate from Thule was Sonderstrom AFB and that was 660 miles away. With all that distance and the winds starting “white outs” at Thule and Nord, we had to cancel the delivery several times while we were airborne. Finally, we had to go to the Headquarters to allow lifting the takeoff weight to the C-130 limit.
When we got to Nord, on our third attempt, the sky below was perfectly clear and we started a penetration, went out to sea a little and turned back in to Nord. There was nothing we could see. The entire sky was covered in ice fog that was generated by our penetration. We came in at 50 feet and then thought of their large radio antennas. We held for about 30 minutes and the fog dissipated and we landed. Then we delivered the tractor.
At Eureka we went in and had lunch. The crowd was mostly Danish and we had a lot of fun with them. You can’t see Eureka on the map but you can fond Resolute. Eureka is across the bay.
It was very interesting to fly up here where the Magnetic North Pole is not really useable and we needed to use the True North Pole and Grid Navigation. It was wonderful to have a navigator to handle that, flying up there.
VR-3 wanted to have me check out as a C-130 Aircraft Commander but they did not want to have the Airlift Wing give them any grief. They arranged for the wing check airman, Commander Tufo, to give me the check ride and we left McGuire on September 23rd.
The next day we took off and headed east. Our destination was Topel. A Turkish Base where American soldiers were temporarily stationed. As we passed Athens, on our way into Turkey, they told us that the ceiling at Topel was 700 feet. It was still a bit of a flight to Topel and I said I would proceed and decide what to do when I got there.
Well, when we got up there, we spoke to planes coming out. They had stayed there overnight and they said the ceiling was 700 feet. If you look at this map you will find Yalova. That is a very small airport and I landed there several times. It had a radio navigational facility, an ADF Radio. When you wanted to make an approach to this field you could maneuver on the facility and lower yourself to 1100 feet. If you could SEE the runway from there, you could land.
Well, at 1100 feet, we would still be in the clouds. I briefed my crew. I said I would cross the ADF at 1100 feet. Then, I would fly north until we had water underneath us and I would lower myself to 500 feet. I would turn east to fly to Topelo. I said we would fly to the east end of the Sea of Marmara, cross the shore and look for the field. If we saw it, we would land and if we did not see it in three minutes after we reached the shore, we would execute a missed approach and return to Athens.
Well, that’s what we did. We saw the field, we landed, we picked up the troops and we left. I offered the check captain the leg back to Chateauroux and he said: “I’ll tell you when I want the leg.”
My copilot, Pete Simola, got really sick in Chateauroux, so I had the check pilot act as my copilot. We flew back to the States. We landed in Lages in the Azores and then went to Pope, to drop off the troops. Finally we went to McGuire. I never offered him a leg and he didn’t ask for a leg.
When we got to McGuire, he never said anything to me. It was late in the evening. My copilot and I went to the parking lot, he got in his car. It was a fancy Chevrolet that had a manual five speed transmission. He started yelling: “They’ve stolen my transmission.” So, I drove him home.
The next day, the Operations Officer called me and asked if I was qualified as an Aircraft Commander. I said: “I have no idea.” He said: “What happened.” I started to explain and he said: “Just come to my office.” So, I went into his office and explained what had happened. They called the Wing to find out what Commander Tufo had decided. They told us a letter was coming over to explain it.
Well, when the letter came the Commander opened it and read it. When they trained me as a pilot, they told me to do what I thought was the correct thing to do. That is what I did on the check ride. The Check Pilot praised me for having used the Navigation radio and adjusting the decent over water to 500 feet to enable completing the mission. He said he was pleased to elevate me to Aircraft Commander and hoped all the NEW pilots would do as well when they got checked. So, I was an Aircraft Commander.
Today, we learned that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States and that pleases me because he will bring some decency to the Presidential office that has been missing through the Trump years. It will be a rough go for the next several weeks until the installation but we will deal with it.
Today, we faced the closure of Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany. Having spent a lifetime as a pilot, I have seen many airports but not one of them was better designed for passengers. The architecture of Tegel enabled cars to come inside the Hexagonal building. The design had agents at each gate to check the passenger in and the passenger walked about 50 yards to the boarding door, No long corridors full of stores selling whatever, no separate security portal, a real pleasure for the passengers.
Pan Am was one of four carriers that were allowed to fly into Berlin when it was a divided city after WWII. We flew Boeing 727s and later Boeing 737s in and out of Tegel. We flew to Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart for the Internal German Service, IGS and we picked up passengers in Frankfurt and London and we flew them on our aircraft to the Scandinavian countries and to all the Iron Curtain countries. We also flew to Athens,Greece and to Zurich, Switzerland and we did Charters to Italy, the Canary Islands, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia and others I don’t remember now.
There were about 250 PanAm pilots based in Berlin. About a third of them lived in Berlin, as I did, but the others commuted back and forth to the States. The pilots that flew these routes often, in the three corridors that were agreed to during the war, would come back to Berlin at 10,000 feet, the maximum altitude the Air Force had agreed on during WWII. Then. in Berlin, we were cleared for an approach to Tegel. So, we determined which runway we were going to and how many miles we would have to fly, we would consider the wind and the local altimeter settings. Then, the pilot would decide where to pull back the thrust levers to idle, he would stay at altitude to slow down to 250 knots airspeed and then start a decent to the ILS altitude of about 2000 feet. At that altitude, he would level the aircraft and loose enough airspeed to get to his final cruising speed of 180 knots and would put out his flaps. He would hold that speed until he reached the decent beam of the ILS system and then would start desending. At seven hundred feet, he would put down the landing gear and slow to his landing speed, around 140 knots and THEN HE WOULD MOVE THE THROTTLES FOR THE FIRST TIME since he went to idle, at the top of decent.
When I joined Pan Am on February 13, 1967, I agreed to became a flight engineer because I was an Instructor Pilot and very experienced international Aircraft Commander in VR-3 and they paid flight engineers more money than co-pilots. Pan Am decided to send me to train in SFO. I went out there with my wife Joann and my daughter Alexis. We lived in Sausalito and I drove to the airport everyday.
Met a guy out there named Ray Anderson. Ray had gone to SFO State with Dan Stanland and Dan became a Navy pilot and we both served in VR-3. Dan was probably the smartest person I ever met and he was my friend. He flew a twin Beech full of top level grass from Mexico to the Utah deserts while he was a Pan Am pilot. He had some top level help from veterans.
When I got out of the Navy in December of 1966, Pan Am said they were going to send me to SFO for my training. Dan told me to look up his old friend Ray. Ray was a collector of records and had a massive collection in 1967 when I was out there. In June of that year, Bill Graham started to have a show every night in the Filmore and I helped Ray set up his projectors. We were in the balcony and Ray put on his light show: The Holy See.
The orchestra was empty and they had punch with acid and punch without acid on the stage. In 1967 acid was a legal substance. The Hell’s Angels did the security. Ray had a son named Randy. He was about 10 and by the time the music got to rocking, he would go to sleep under the tables holding the projectors. Having recently gotten out of the Navy, carrying kids to Vietnam and bodies back home in the C 130, I thought Randy could go to sleep in a fire fight.
I was at the Filmore for Janus Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding company and Jefferson Airplane with Grace Slick singing White Rabbit. That was a hell of a way to get through Pan Am training. San Francisco in 1967 was the place where kids came with flowers in their hair and I did my first hit of Owsley Sunshine.
140 Thousand years of foraging gave Homo sapiens some religious concepts. In the Altamura Cave in Spain, we have found paintings from 35,600 years ago.
In the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil, there are paintings that show human figures and animals in complex scenarios. These paintings show supernatural beings , hunting, dancing, sexual activity and battle. They depicted animals common to the forest area of the region. The dates of these paintings is in dispute because of the concepts about how soon Homo sapiens got to the Americas.
17,000 year old paintings have been located in the Lascaux Caves in south western France. One of the bulls is 17 feet in length.
Gobekli Tepe, in eastern Turkey, has two sets of art dating to 10,000 – 8,000 years before Christ. In the pre-pottery neolithic A art, 20 circles of 200 megaliths, up to 20 feet tall and weighing up to ten tons, were lifted and fitted into bedrock sockets. These are the earliest megaliths we know about.
In the pre-pottery neolithic B era smaller pillars were erected in rectangular rooms standing on a limestone floor.
These early structures existed before Homo sapiens learned to make pottery and pre dated the start of agriculture. It seems these structures were of importance to the foragers who lived in villages somewhere near this site at least part of the year. Archeologists assume it took 500 people to carve out these pillars and move them from the quarry to the site. By 8.000 BCE the site no longer had relevance to the new residences but they didn’t”t just abandon it to the weather but covered it over with refuse and dirt creating the tell that now exists.
The archeologists assume it was a central location for a cult of the dead and the animals carved on the pillars were there to protect the dead. It seems that the “temple was built before cities were built”. This site is within 20 miles (30 K) of Karaca Dag, where modern wheat was first domesticated.
275 miles to the east of Gobekli Tepe, the society we know as Sumer arose. This civilization began between 4500 – 4000 BCE. They kept their cosmology and mythology alive with aural transmission until the earliest historical records, dating to 2900 BC. The first leaders of Sumer were priests and religious figures and they lived in temples. They mediated with the gods and helped society develop it’s agriculture with irrigation.
This land between the TigrIs and Euphrates rivers is very dry and dusty and as agriculture got started, irrigation was necessary for it’s success.
The Sumerian creation myth believed the universe had come into being through a series of cosmic births. Nammu, the primeval waters, gave birth to Ki, the earth and An, the sky. They mated and Ki produced a son, Enlil, who was the god of air, winds and storms. He separated An and Ki, and carried of the earth as his domain.
An carried off the sky. Nammu and An produced a son Enki, who was the god of water, knowledge, mischief, crafts and creation.
Enki had a consort Ninhursag, the lady of the mountain, she was the mother goddess and made humans from lumps of clay.
They believed in 3 (7) domes in the sky covering a flat earth. These domes were heaven and reserved only for the gods. When a person died, their souls went to Kur, a dark shadowy underworld place, located deep below the earth’s surface. Here the inhabitants were believed to lead a shadowy version of life on earth. All souls went to Kur, and a person”s actions in life had no relationship to their afterlife. These souls ate nothing but dry dust and the family members poured water to the dead through clay pipes. The style of the burial took on some significance in these later years, when those well buried fared better in the afterlife and those poorly buried, haunted the living.
All of Sumer’s religion got extrapolated throughout Mesopotamia, among the Akkadians, to their north, through Assyria to the north west and later through Babylon. The female goddesses got new names, but they always had to do with the essence of mother, and sexuality.
It is possible that the Sumerians had lived along the east coast of the Persian Gulf before it was flooded at the end of the ice age. Their story of the flood seems to have been transmitted to the early parts of the Hebrew Bible.
Two thousand years after Sumer arose, around 2500 BC the temples were replaced as the cultural centers and palaces were built for their military kings, Lu-gals (“man”+ “big”). In Sumer these kings had to intercede with the gods to deliver benefits to the people.
An epic poem called Gilgamesh was written about a likely Lu-gal of Uruk between 2800 and 2500 BC. He was a brutal and oppressive ruler who made his subjects work in forced labor or sexually abused them. An creates a wild man Enkidu. After a prostitute, Shamhat, tames Enkidu, he goes to Uruk to confront Gilgamesh. They fight, but in the end they become friends and travel together all over Sumer.
They cross to the Cedar Forest, guarded by Humbaba. Gilgamesh prays to Shamash, a female goddess, who blows wind into Humbaba’s eyes. He begs for his life, but Gilgamesh kills him.
Gilgamesh comes back to Urdu and Ishtar, a female goddess, asks him to be her consort but Gilgamesh refuses. Ishtar asks An, her father, for the Bull of Heaven which she sends to kill Gilgamesh. Enkidu and Gilgamesh kill the Bull and celebrate but Ishtar is furious and demands one of them must die.
When Enkidu dies from a disease sent by the gods, Gilgamesh becomes afraid of his mortality and sets out to find Utnapishtim, the sole survivor of the flood and who is immortal. He travels over great distances and in the end he realizes that he has failed and cannot become immortal.
These tales must have travelled to Ancient Greece, for there are similarities in the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer that mirror Gilgamesh’s story.
Between 1500 and 1200 BC, the prophet Zoroaster is regarded as the founder of the Zoroastrianism, which is the worlds first monotheistic faith. He was born in northeastern Iran or southwestern Afghanistan. His tribe must have had a polytheistic culture similar to early Hinduism.
A look at the map shows the Persians spread the Zaroastrian religion over Asia from the Indus Valley, in India and Pakistan, across Afghanistan, all of Iran and Mesopotamia, across Turkey, to the Aegean Sea, up into Bulgaria and Romania, across Jordan, Palestine and Israel, in Africa, to the west as far as Benghazi, in Libya and up the Nile as far as Khartoum in the Sudan. Persepolis ruled over 50 million people, 44% of the worlds population. The Persian leaders did not force their religion on their subjects but they celebrated it themselves.
The Nile Valley was long used by the Homo Sapiens who left Africa on their way to Europe and the Far East. At the end of the Stone Age, there had been some semi nomadic people, who had started cultivating grain and domesticating animals. Archaeologists found some of their settlements, on the east side of the Nile. near Bandary.
The religion of Neolithic and predynastic Egypt appears to have been animistic nature worship, with each village or town with its own spirit in the form of an animal, bird, reptile, tree, plant or object. The spirit was always in something that played a prominent part in the life of the people of that locality. The spirits fell into two general groups – that which was friendly and helpful, such as cattle or hawks or baboons, or that which was menacing and powerful such as the crocodile, the hippopotamus or snakes. In both cases, the favour of the spirit had to be solicited with a set formula of words and action, and they had to have houses built for them and offerings made to them.
The original inhabitants, 5000-4400 BC, are called, the Badarians. In their cemeteries they buried the dead lying on their left sides, in a fetal position facing the west, covered in a matting. They had fine materials with them, beautiful ceramics, decorated plates and bowls, cosmetic utensils including makeup palettes, decorative combs, female goddesses made of ivory or clay. They had a myriad of naturalistic gods and idols.
The Badarians were overrun by the Amaratians (Naquadi I), who took over the area between 4500-3100 BC and they are credited as being the first Egyptians. They really started to cultivate the fertile land near the river and hunted for meat. They lived in villages and each village had it”s own animal deity which was identified with a clan emblem. From this came the Egyptian nomes with their own totems – the gods of the dynastic pantheon.
HIERAKONPOLIS …. NEKHEN
Here is where the first kings arose in ancient Egypt. These people seemed to wage a battle to control Chaos (ISFT) and tried to bring Order (Maat). This region was first settled about 4500 BCE.
The religion was interwoven into not only the ruling power, but into life itself. The deity of the town was who the people turned to, through the government, to prevent the everyday hazards of living – magic, spells, charms, folklore and amulets. They appealed to the deity for protection against hazards and to intercede on their behalf for anything from the Nile flooding to sowing and harvest to protection from poisonous animals to childbirth.
As the spirits became gods, in each town or village, the deity had its own temple staffed by priests, who dealt with the deity’s daily wants. In return for these services, the god was thought to protect its people, ensuring fertility and well-being. But if the needs weren’t met, the deity might call down wrath on the community in the form of plague or famine or other such natural disasters.
The totemic origin of the Egyptian religion is that of great antiquity. From spirits worshiped through animals, plants and even mountains to being the standard of the town itself, then to being the god of the town. The standard of the nome clearly showed which deity protected the town. And, as the town gained prominence, so too did the town’s standard.
The Amaratian art improved and they made pottery with animals and human figures hunting or praying. The first signs of papyrus bundle boats appeared. The female goddess appeared in multiple settings and bearded male figures were carved into “magic wands”.
Their graves held statuettes to keep them company in the afterlife. The dead were buried with food, weapons, amulets, ornaments, decorated vases and palettes.
By 3500BC, the Naqada II people superceded the Naqadan I. They had mastered the art of agriculture and had begun the use of man made irrigation. They no longer had to hunt for food and they started to live in towns, with a higher density of population than had existed in the villages.
These Gerzean people expanded the artwork that was done, new styles of pottery and copper metalwork was done and they used copper knives.
They traded with far distant peoples for copper and other goods (they traded much further than the previous two cultures) – silver, lapis lazuli, lead, cylinder seals were some goods traded for from Asia and Mesopotamia. Foreign influences through their trading began to show in their style of dress, ornaments and various implements. Radical changes in the design of knives, daggers and pottery were made by the Gerzeans.
They created cast-metal implements and weapons. They created a wide array of animal shaped ceremonial palettes and some shield shaped palettes that were the predecessors of the ceremonial palettes that were used in Dynastic Egypt. They created the images and totems of the Falcon, symbol of the Sun god Ra, and the cow, symbol of the love goddess Hathor.
The graves they created were larger, the dead were not buried in any particular orientation and there was some sign of ritual due to shattered pottery in the graves. The grave goods gave archeologists the sense that classes of people seem to have arisen by this time.
There was a Zoo in NEKHEM about 3400 BCE. The first rulers caught and captured animals that represented Chaos and animals that represented Order. They held them captive and demonstrated the rulers power to preserve order. They were killed when the ruler died. The first animal unearthed was a baboon. They found Hippopotamus and Crocodile and Elephants buried here. This occurred for several generations but later, they created a barricade and gathered the animals and paraded them and ritually killed them to feed the people in the center of Nekhem.
A ritual palace temple with postholes big enough for tree trunks was found in Nekhem, the cult center for Horus of Nekhem. It had a large oval courtyard, surrounded by various buildings and is the forerunner of the royal ritual precincts of the early Dynastic period. This is the root of Egyptian kingship.
The Naqada III had many territorial divisions, known as nomes. They had their own sacred animal or plant that became the totem, fetish or emblem of that territory. This fetish was depicted on the pottery of that nome. These nomes resulted in two states Upper and Lower Egypt. Each state had its own king. Later the Pharos unified Egypt into a national state. In Egypt the Pharaoh was the direct dispenser of all good fortune in the country.
Horus and Nekhbet, the vulture goddess of Al Kab, came to represent Upper Egypt. In Lower Egypt, Set and Udjo, the cobra goddess of Buto, were worshiped. In later Egyptian history, the vulture and cobra were united in the royal diadem, to represent dominion over both lands. So when Nekhem became the most powerful town, Horus became the god par excellence. The rulers started to identify themselves as the living embodiment of the hawk god.
The growth of the Egyptian religion is one of the reasons why Egypt ended up with such a complex and polythestic religious system. When a town grew in prominence, so did the god. When the town was deserted, the god disappeared. Only a few of the many deities ended up in the Egyptian pantheon, and even then their popularity waxed and waned through the thousands of years of Egyptian history. Another reason for complexity was when people moved, their god did, too. This meant that at the new town, there was sometimes a battle between the old and new gods – but the Egyptian gods were easily merged, with other gods taking over that god’s attributes and abilities! So it is that some of the ancient gods of Neolithic and Predynastic Egypt came to national prominence are considered to be some of the main gods in the Egyptian pantheon today: Amun of Thebes, Ptah of Hikuptah (Memphis), Horus (the Elder) of Nekhem, Set of Tukh (Ombos), Ra of Iunu (Heliopolis), Min of Gebtu (Koptos), Hathor of Dendra and Osiris of Abydos.
This situation remained through many centuries until some Egyptians became Christians and later the bulk of Egypt became Moslem.
In order to understand what happened in Greece from the Stone Age through to the palaces of the Minoans and the Mycenaeans you will have to do some research on your own, because I can’t do all of that here. A very good starting point is: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~prehistory/aegean/
For early humans living in Europe 35,000 years ago, the climate must have presented extreme hardship and been quite terrifying. Within a few years their climate transformed from one very much like our own to one more like Siberia, with brutally cold winters that eventually lasted through spring and summer. Freezing temperatures prevailed with very little respite. For years, endless snow and ice simply accumulated and deepened, covering Europe with glaciers, forcing many humans to flee, die out, and, thankfully for us, some to adapt. About 20,000 BCE the landscape was glacier-dominated. A mile-high polar ice cap enshrouded Scandinavia and most of northern Europe. Elsewhere harsh conditions favored grassland that provided fodder for large grazing mammals such as mammoth, bison, aurochs, horses, reindeer and elk. As the ice age started to fade, from glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, the sea level has risen by more than 125 metres (410 ft), with rates varying from less than a mm/year to 40+ mm/year, as a result of melting ice sheets over Canada and Eurasia. Rapid disintegration of ice sheets led to so called ‘meltwater pulses’, periods during which sea level rose rapidly and there was a massive flood in the Persian sea. The rate of rise started to slow down about 8,200 years before present; the sea level was almost constant in the last 2,500 years, before the recent rising trend that started at the end of the 19th century or in the beginning of the 20th.
Agriculture got started in Asia Minor. This start of agriculture came to Greece by migration of Greek speaking people. There were several tribes that entered Greece. The four major tribes described by the Classical Greeks were: the Achaeans, who inhabited the Argolis and Laconia in the Peloponnese, the Aeolians, who lived in Thessaly, the Ionians , who lived in Achaea and Laconia, in the Peloponnese and the Dorians, who lived in Epirus. The Dorians came down into the Peloponnese and drove out the Achaeans from the Argolis and Laconia. They went up to Achaea and the Ionians moved toward Attica and lived there and on many Aegean islands.
In the eastern section of the Peloponnese, there is the Franchthi Cave, near the village of Kolias. Human habitation for this cave exists from 20,000 BC to 3,000 BC. These inhabitants were seasonal hunter gatherers. There is no sign of plant food before 11,000 BC.
These Greek speaking tribes developed the Greek religion and it lasted for more than 1000 years. The Gods were anthropomorphic. They were the highest class of individuals and they lived forever. They had specific areas they controlled and they got involved in Human endeavors. They favored one side or another and they had a great deal to do on how things turned out. There was no church, just altars for the individual god. There was no holy book, like the Bible. People learned about this religion through the poems of the Iliad and the Odyssey from Homer and from Hesiod’s book, Theogony.
So these Gods led the Ionians who settled in Athens and the Aegean islands to a love for philosophy and rational thought that led to great public education in Greece and the rest of the world.
The Dorians were militaristic and that led to wars in Greece.
The Biblical patriarchs began with Adam and has 20 patriarchs who led to Abram, later called Abraham, then his son Isaac and Isaac’s son Jacob, also known as Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. The first ten patriarchs existed before the flood.
By the 21st century, archeologists have given up hope of recovering any contexts that would make Abraham, Isaac or Jacob credible historical figures. The Bible places their existence to the 2nd millennial BCE, but scholars have determined that the biblical texts were to Iron Age creations.
The Babylonians and Egypt fought back and forth for about 25 years around 609 BCE. There were 4 deportations of people from Jerusalem sent to Babylon. During this period, the Torah was written and scribes and sages arose in power. This was a shift in Jewish religion away from the tribal temple and into the familial service described by the Torah. Only the tribe of Levi returned to temple worship after the return.
In 539 BCE, the Persian emperor Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem. The story of Abraham was probably written at this time. In the Jewish tradition, Abraham was the most obedient server of God. The Jews who continued to live in Jerusalem during the exodus claimed Abraham as their father and those returning claimed that the Exodus was the start of the national Jewish religion, based on the Torah.
Meanwhile, the Christians claimed Abraham was a “Friend of God” because of his faith in God’s good will. He is celebrated by all Christian churches, but the essence of Christianity is Jesus, the son of God. I assume you know his story.
Islam regards Abraham as one of the prophets in the link between Adam and Muhammad. They see his life as a testament to the oneness of God. They see him as a hanif, a monotheist and as a muslim, one who submits. They see him as a reformer of the Kaabe in his life.