You Can Learn a Lot From the Eggheads

As I mentioned in the opening posting of this blog, once in a while I go to The Bookmill in Montague and purchase a book for ten or twelve dollars, which is about twenty or twenty-four times what I ever pay for a book.

Usually these are scholarly tomes which are over my head insofar as they talk about a lot of stuff I don’t understand. Archaeologists deal with pottery shards unearthed at such and such a level and they refer to other works which the reader may not have handy.

But I don’t worry much about the stuff that’s over my head, because I believe that the way to acquire knowledge is not to increase the energy that goes into searching for it, but to increase the soul’s ability to accept and use it. Instead of trying to increase the amount of rainfall in your region, I opine, it is better to increase your capacity to store rainwater.

It seems to me that once you increase you ability to store and use knowledge, the knowledge apppears, as if by a miracle. Okay, enough of that. It’s just a theory.

One of these twelve-dollar books that I acquired is one called Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times by Donald B. Redford. What I learned from this book is that we can greatly extend our knowledge of ancient history by considering the time it took, in those times, to formulate words and language.

In the modern age, and also in the post-modern age, words are coined and used, with mutual understanding — the only effective criterion for deciding when a word has become a word — lierally overnight. Think of radio and radar and later google and ethernet.

In the old days it took centuries for a word to become a word. Most people did not travel fifty miles in their lifetime. So that means, Redford explains, that learning a language gives us an insight that goes back several centuries or more.

He compares the most ancient languages in Egypt and in Palestine, using as an example the words for a town. In ancient Egyptian that could be a religious or tribal gathering place, a place on the high ground during the annual inundation, that is, a crop storage area, or a place where many people lived for much of the year.

In Palestine at the time, the fourth milennium (4,000 to 3,000 BCE (before the current era)), there was only one word for a town: a word that meant “a fortified place.” And the word did not mean ‘fortified against wild beasts’; it meant ‘fortified against marauding bands of humans.’

Because Jericho is the oldest recorded human settlement of its size, I belive this confirms what we know from the most profound work of literature in the history of the human race — no, not The Bible — I mean The Tale of The Three Little Pigs. Pigs One and Two are history. We are the descendants of Pig Number Three.

Palestine was the crossroads between mighty empires in Africa and in Asia, and when the people weren’t being oppressed by Asian and African empires, they were even more severely oppressed by the breakdown of civil order during “the time of no kings,” when no vestige of civilization survives.

So, for those seeking peace in Palestine, I have to point out that there has never been peace in Palestine in six thousand years of human history, and probably a thousand years before that. But you know, if the right person sees this blog, goddamit, he or she might see the answer.

My own idea is to put all of the Holy Land under the governance of the Dalai Lama, but nobody listens to me.

Mt friend Rick goes to Palestine every year trying to promote peace. He says that in eight years he thinks he might have things straightened out. I’m saying, “Geeze, if the guy got a little help, maybe we could whittle it down to four.”

We are talking about the birthplace of the guy that a lot of people call their saviour.

Considering what’s at stake, can you think of any reason not to try?