A Conspiracy To Demonize History

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posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 06:28 AM
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When a governing body wants to glorify itself and instill contentment among its subjects, one method of doing so is to find fault among alternative nations, ideologies and ways of living. The flaws and failings of other countries, other regimes and other cultures may or may not be exaggerated, but they are nevertheless often emphasized by your leaders (and other patriots in positions of influence) in order to highlight your country's achievements. The desired message is that 'the grass isn't any greener on the other side'.

I don't think this would be much of a revelation to most of you. It's fairly natural, expected behaviour from anyone in a leadership position.

But what if we were to take the same concept and apply it to time!

Pretty much everyone I've ever met believes that our modern age is irrefutably the absolute pinnacle of human happiness and achievement. We are so dead certain that our current politics, our excess of technology and electonic entertainment, our food, our relationships, our healthcare and our spiritual understanding as it is NOW must be the best it's ever been. And even if we are discontent with one or two elements of our modern world, we are still usually pretty sure that overall we have it pretty damn good.

But why?

Could it be that our leaders, historians and media are using the same 'grass-isn't-greener-on-the-other-side' tactic on our history as they commonly do on our cultural/political divisions? We always hear about the horrors of the dark ages, the barbarism of Egypt, Meso-America, the Vikings and Mongolia. We hear about the ignorance of the Pagans (who were apparently too stupid to understand nature without the use of symbolism). And further back yet we're told that our pre-historic ancestors were dumb cavemen too stupid to even build shelters until several thousand years ago, let alone cure illness.

Now I'm not disputing that our ancestors had their shortcomings. I just can't help thinking that it's possible that those shortcoming have been dwelled upon and exaggerated to help make us - here in 2008 - feel totally content and happy with our current state of affairs. Such contentment is vital for those in authority to guide the human race in desired directions. For example, would widespread surveillance and other liberty-detracting developments be possible if we didn't believe it to be a necessary aspect of our superior modern way of life? If we, the average person, concluded that life was overall more satisfactory and prosperous say 2000 years ago, then CCTV, huge pharmaceutical mark-ups, corporate slavery and central power would be absolutely unacceptable... and consequently impossible to maintain.

So you see, it is very much in our leader's best interests to demonize the past.

As a final note, I'd like to mention that many cultural legacies tell of a 'golden age' - either at the beginning of our current 'age', or the end of the previous one, where peace was a given and where our biological and spiritual health were paramount. I can't help thinking it's a little unwise to blindly accept our modern world as superior for little more reason than 'because it must be'.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this.




posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:08 PM
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No thoughts? I know this is a little out there, and also a little philosophical but I'd really like to hear some opinions. Does this speculation have any merit at all or is it mere paranoia? Perhaps some ATS Historians can offer some insight to help me understand just how the realities of our history add up.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:36 PM
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I am sure there were happy people throughout human history, and what we know now is not exactly (or exactly not
) what had happened in reality.
However there are several things you can check:life expactancy, luxury level, legal punishment (in most countries), moral (or immoral...) values. According to this you can think for yourself - "Hmm, would i like to be a slave working for corporation X , living in a house with y rooms till i die at 70 ; or slave to greek/roman/X... and live in a single room with Y other slaves till i die at 30".
Plus, most important: Pal,toilet. Dude ,toilet paper. Or would you prefer using a rock?
So no question - now it is more comfortable and for longer. About happy- or unhappy, it's questionable.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:46 PM
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reply to post by Cythraul
 


There's also a second approach to this - The "gilded age" pseudohistorians.

While your "Dark age" pseudohistorian points out how fantastically far we've come, the "gilded age" pseudohistorian laments how far we've fallen. People like Zechariah Sitchen who try to tell people the Sumerians controlled atopic power are at the forefront in my mind, but there's also the sort of people who insist how everything was gumdrops and roses just a few decades ago. Other examples are the pulp works of Robert E. Howard, which teach us that Atlantis was a super-advanced magical society, and focuses on the "noble savage" as a tragic loss of hte civilized era. And then there's the European / Americna obsession with Rome and Ancient Greece and hte repeated need to paint these people as glorious, righteous, upstanding, super-smart and civilized.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:48 PM
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Well...this is spot on.
But "the truth" will not necessarily lead to long discussion threads. Controversy will


Its true that often an establishment thinks it can only further establish itself by making other things (the past, other countries) look bad.
This is more a method of those who are weak though. Strong people dont need to make others look bad in order to shine.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by Cythraul

So you see, it is very much in our leader's best interests to demonize the past.

As a final note, I'd like to mention that many cultural legacies tell of a 'golden age' - either at the beginning of our current 'age', or the end of the previous one, where peace was a given and where our biological and spiritual health were paramount.


Many would contest that the Age of Enlightenment was Humanity's so-called 'Golden Age'.

It did have a certain impact on freedom of religion, after all.

I have a point to make, and i'll get to it - but first i'm going to prattle on about how society is so damn pretentious for a few paragraphs, which could be seen as my backing up your claim.

Many people, even those whom seek to make the best of things (for themselves) even if they don't consider themselves to be in a good financial or social state - are in the process of making the problem cyclic; as in, by denying that society is the best it's ever been and yet not making any effort to make it so, we are essentially plotting our own demise.

A tad hypocritical, but that isn't important.

What's important is not to be negative about it - to 'know' the truth and to act on it positively, instead of acting like spoilt children who have just been told they have to climb a mountain before they can have any dinner.

Prattling over - on to the point;

I agree, there is a certain agenda here, but it might not be for such an obvious motive.





[edit on 14-2-2008 by Throbber]



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:53 PM
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I think things were so much more simple for past ages. But consider that unless you were extremely wealthy, most of your time was spent gathering or earning enough food and water to survive. I mean even 100 years ago this was true. Our economies were largely agricultural and most people were farmers. There were no refrigerators. Food had to be fresh or canned (which is work).
Our great technology now is a result of getting the "food thing" down. That freed up time to ponder and invent message boards, cell phones and video games. Maybe people had more joy from honest hard work -- but it was damn tough.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by TheWalkingFox
reply to post by Cythraul
 


There's also a second approach to this - The "gilded age" pseudohistorians.

While your "Dark age" pseudohistorian points out how fantastically far we've come, the "gilded age" pseudohistorian laments how far we've fallen. People like Zechariah Sitchen who try to tell people the Sumerians controlled atopic power are at the forefront in my mind, but there's also the sort of people who insist how everything was gumdrops and roses just a few decades ago. Other examples are the pulp works of Robert E. Howard, which teach us that Atlantis was a super-advanced magical society, and focuses on the "noble savage" as a tragic loss of hte civilized era. And then there's the European / Americna obsession with Rome and Ancient Greece and hte repeated need to paint these people as glorious, righteous, upstanding, super-smart and civilized.


Very true. However, as much as I respect your opinions - and they are nearly always well-informed and generally exemplary, by the way - I really don't think too many people would ever consider R.E. Howard as anything but a very good writer of heroic fiction - surely? Hell, I read everything he ever wrote as a child - but I never considered it 'history'


I agree however, that there is a considered bias on the behalf of modern western culture to glorify the ancient Greeks (as clever as thet were.) - when in fact much of their knowledge was derived from eastern sources of the day - ie. Egyptian/Babylonian etc..

Was there a 'Golden Age'??? Maybe - we'll probably never really know. Is THIS a new 'Golden Age'?? Whilst we destroy the planet and kill each other over such trifles as 'which ficticious 'GOD' we worship', I would catagorically say 'No'.

But hey, maybe that's just me.

Yohohoandabottleofrum!

J.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 04:24 PM
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Wow! What excellent replies. I'm very grateful. A few things to think about for sure.

I'm certainly not trying to argue that there has ever been a perfect age, or a perfect civilization. I'm not sure human nature can ever really allow for such tranquility. I think one of the reasons for my pondering such a possiblity as downplaying history is the number of times I've been accused of being blinded by a 'romantic' view of our past (both on a small scale within my generation and on a greater scale - thousands of years ago). Most elderly people lament the downfall of society across the span of their life. I wonder if there was ever a time when elderly people didn't identify a decline.

It just seems rather logical to me that history should be the victim of demonization as soon as other nations and cultures should. And for that reason I've always been skeptical when people try to tell me that the ancients were less developed than we are, culturally, spiritually, politically.

Thanks for the info WalkingFox. I've never come across the term 'gilded age'. Your mention of a magical Atlantis is basically what I was getting at when referring to the golden age - I believe it is related to Zep Tepi (the Ancient Egyptian 'First time').



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 05:39 PM
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This is one thread Im gonna flag,props to the OP for such an interesting conversation.
as always folks,History is written by the winners,that's one thing I keep in mind when discussing things like this,as has been sateted,TPTB have a vested interest in making us think this is the high point of human achivement.

[edit on 14-2-2008 by mike dangerously]



posted on Feb, 15 2008 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by Cythraul
 


very interesting on this topic you might be intersted in a book called "a peoples history of the united states" it was a very min opening read it disscusse much of what you just brought up and so much more



posted on Feb, 15 2008 @ 02:53 AM
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To mike dangerously:

Thank you. I've always very much believed in that phrase you mentioned - 'history is written by the winners'. I suppose my OP is pretty much just a longwinded reiteration of that. When we say 'history is written by the winners', we usually mean to say that the losing side is cast in a bad light. I suppose my point is slightly different in that I'm suggesting that the current world order(s) are going so far as to play down their own history too. Not only are we re-writing our opposition's history, we are re-writing our own, and doing so in a way that makes us certain that our current state of affairs is unequalled.

To salparadise:

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll try and pick that up at some point.





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