Historical Amnesia: Does the past exist as we know it?
History helps us understand people and societies. But what if we’ve been understanding it wrong? How much of the human history is true? Are the laws and theories derived from history just based on false recollections? What if the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and the sense of how societies function simply to run their own lives, is just a big misunderstanding of what we think happened?
Humans are a species with amnesia, we don’t correctly remember who or what we truly were or are. Many episodes in human history are just……….lost, through bias, translation, or misinformation. It is common knowledge that an individual’s past experiences shape who they are. It shapes their identity, principles, and moral understanding. This pattern of “becoming complex” is found in all consciousness: from plants and animals to the collective human species. It is the basis of all evolution and being skeptical about this makes you question everything. It makes you question the system we are inevitable to become a part of, that in a true sense, is doing more harm than good. I don’t mean to find a solution because I don’t see historical amnesia as a problem. I see it as a tool to help us understand ourselves better, to understand the universe better.
We have numerous theories about how we came to existence, how the universe began, and how the scientific breakthroughs made us what we are. All the archaeological evidence that explains the events of the past makes me wonder how future archaeologists might decipher us thousands of years from now? Will all the knowledge we have of science and technology be preserved or vanished?
One example of this abstraction of ‘lost knowledge’ is from the old burial grounds in Saqqara, Egypt. It was here, in 1891, that archaeologists unearthed an ancient tomb containing a small wooden model of what appeared to be a bird. But there is something very different about the Saqqara bird. On one hand, it should look like a bird because it has eyes and a typical beak of a bird. On the other hand, the wings are clearly not bird wings but rather a very modern aerodynamic design. Plus, there is a rudder at the end, which is not found in birds.
Therefore, there is a possibility that this model does not represent a bird but an aircraft. Does this mean that the ancient Egyptians possessed the power of flight? If ancient cultures were able to produce any flyable machine, then they were far more advanced than we believe today. It is a fact that our ancestors were far more intelligent and had technological superiority than our history books give them credit for. You begin to think are we missing a part of the story? Honestly, we most likely are. Where and when did this technology disappear? Was this gap in advanced technologies between ancient civilizations and 21st-century humans a mere consequence of historical amnesia?
We can begin to argue that since we have now acquired better documentation technologies, it is easier to record and preserve the present from all possible viewpoints, making historical amnesia falsifiable. But, there is no way to prove that it cannot get more complex. The universe is extremely complex. And everything that exists is constantly moving towards a state of ultimate complexity. We cannot prove that the universe came into existence 1 second ago. Hence, Historical amnesia is just not falsifiable. Any evidence that you bring up against it can be explained away as a part of everything that was created because of historical amnesia itself. Why even bother thinking about history and what must’ve been? The answer is that we virtually must gain access to the laboratory of human experience. There is so much room for wonder, so much to explore, Right?
Thanks for reading :)