Friday, September 15, 2006

Why the pyramids survive

I was browsing through old stuff, and found this reference to what may be pyramids in Bosnia. Ace skewers the "experts":
I love the circular logic here: someone finds a big pyramid-shaped thing in Bosnia, but "experts" know there's no such thing as a pyramid in Bosnia, and therefore whatever is under those mounds (which we shouldn't bother excavating, because the experts have already told us what cannot possibly be there) is most certainly not a pyramid. Because Europeans never built pyramids. QED.
I have no trouble believing that pyramids are possible - Bosnia isn't so far away from Egypt that they couldn't have been influenced by them. Or, maybe the Bosnian ancestors were the ones that invented the structure? Or, maybe, the Eqyptians at one time ruled the area.

All of those are possible explanations for the presence of pyramids in Bosnia. But, I want to bring up another point about history.

Why are old buildings hanging around? I mean, why didn't someone look at the old stuff, say, "Hey, why don't we build something new and useful over this spot", and merrily start tearing it down?

The conventional answer is that these more cultured civilizations realized the enduring value in old structures. That they cherished their ancestors' accomplishments, values, and contribution to their cultural heritage.

Nuts.

They didn't tear them down because either their culture was hopelessly moribund, unable to revitalize themselves, or - more likely - just too broke to build something updated.

Think of the cultures that virtually worship their crumbling structures:
  • Greece



  • Rome



  • Egypt



  • England



  • France



  • New England



  • the part of the US formerly known as The Confederacy




In every place, the continued presence of old "stuff" indicates little cash, and little get-up-and-go. Only that last example, after a century of wallowing in old stuff, finally got up, stopped worshipping the dead past, and started a building boom that has transformed the South.

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