Hairbrained Theories

In class this week we have been learning about the myths and truths surrounding one of, if not the most famous archaeological discoveries of all time: Stonehenge. The amount of wonderment probably has to do with the fact that this grand stone structure is in plain view and incredibly hard to comprehend the meaning of, or even how it was put together in the first place. Massive carved stones, stacked on top of each other in a time when humans did not have access to cranes and advanced machinery that we have today. Discoveries and artifacts like this always beg the questions, “who, how, and why?”

Personally I am okay with taking it at face value and letting my imagination go to work due to the fact that this structure’s construction is nigh inconceivable to the average person. It is awesome to learn about the history surrounding it and the theories that people come up with. However, these theories only should be given credence if they are probable in any way, shape, or form. Many people can not accept that ancient wonders were built by ancient people, and tend to believe that ingenuity and engineering have not existed throughout human history. Because such structures as Stonehenge baffle people’s minds they feel the need to believe that there has to be some other-worldly or outlandish explanation for them.

For example is we backtrack to the pyramids of Giza, the amount of hair-brained ideas about the history and significance are amazing in just how far they will go to say that the humans of the ancient world were incapable, or not sophisticated enough to build them. The explanation has to be Atlantians, aliens, or some other highly sophisticated people just because they are too wonderful to wrap ones head around. Some other prime examples of this are the myths surrounding the North American mounds built by the Mississippians. They were said to be “too savage” or “not civilized enough” to come up with the ideas and engineer them.

I will never truly be able to understand why people will go so far just to disprove a theory and belittle people and societies that they have never met or experienced. We tend to maintain this idea that people were more stupid than they are today, or that since they held different belief systems or had different cultural values that somehow this negates the intelligence of their culture and what they left behind. Is it out of jealousy? a lack of understanding? The fact that they would go so far as to say that aliens must be responsible for Stonehenge and the Pyramids just shows a lack of critical thinking and the sensationalized propaganda that people will believe without even thinking twice about it. I am a firm believer in that there have always been intelligent and inventive people on this earth. How does one become a chief, priest, or other cultural leader without having the ability to multitask and lead by example? Even propaganda used throughout history and especially in the fertile crescent where civilization began shows the intelligence and resourcefulness that people have always held and maintained to this day.

3 thoughts on “Hairbrained Theories

  1. I completely agree with what you are saying. It is so sad that people cannot appreciate how smart ancient people actually were! Our current culture did not just arise all of a sudden and become more advanced. Cultures over time evolved and learned which lead to what we are today. Aliens or Atlantians are such an easy way out of the truth. It is so much easier to assume that some extremely advanced culture with infinite tools and skills built these monuments. Just because we are not sure how these ancient cultures found ways to transport large stones for example does not mean people should jump to the conclusion that the only way something so magnificent could be built was by aliens.
    I think the first assumption should be that the native people of the area built a monument and then through further research either prove or dispel that statement. We already have evidence that some ancient cultures were incredibly advanced and civilized. It is strange that even with that evidence that it would not be assumed by these people with wild theories that other cultures were as well. Shows like Ancient Aliens probably do not help with this either. I will admit that I watch it because I find their theories and “evidence” hilarious and extremely far-fetched. I just hope that other people who watch the show do not take what they are saying about aliens and ancient civilizations seriously. Unfortunately though there will always be those people who actually believe those theories.

  2. I completely agree with the points you have raised. The last blog post we have I actually brought up the point about how modern people seem to think our ancestors were savage and lacking almost all intelligence. This could not be more wrong however. Our ancestors have proven to be quite advanced for what we originally thought. Much of the cultural complexity seen in today’s society can be traced back to distant ancestors long before most would have thought these practices originated. We tend to overlook things that do not make sense to us, and I believe this is what has happened in this case. We do not wish to believe that our ancestors were just as capable as us, just with lesser technology. I think it stems from a need to feel superior to our ancestors to show we have grown, but now we need to accept the evidence that shows how they truly were so we can move on to learning more about them.

    I also cannot understand how people can choose to believe such ludicrous ideas when there is so much evidence out there that supports so many other theories and actually make sense in historical context. I think people like to believe in things that let their imaginations go to work as you said. However when an idea becomes too far-fetched and is founded on superstition, a leap of faith, or on any other kind of evidence-lacking source, it should be an idea that is easily dispelled and not even worth being mentioned. I think the only thing we can do is to continue to educate society with what we know or what seems logical at least and do this as best as we can. From there we can only hope that people will see the connections and the reasoning and will begin to accept fact over the enticing fiction they have grown comfortable with.

  3. I also find it amusing that people continue to believe ludicrous theories. It’s amazing that even when presented with the facts people refuse to believe what is actually true. They love to create stories that impose some creative view on not only Stonehenge, but on any great architectural construction. At the same time though, when you take a step back and actually take a look at the origins of these theories they start to make sense. Reaching back to the origin of man we have been doing the same thing, just in a different way, through religion. If you look at it, these far-out theories are backed my the same reason why some go to religion, for a higher purpose, or because they believe the world they live in is not as magical as they want. Some believe these theories hurt the overall integrity of a find, but I solidly disagree. We live in a world where everyone is free to believe what he or she wants, without restraint. If creating these theories help them cope with the real world then I say let them have them. Overall these theories only affect those that believe in them, and not those that do not. When a theory brings physical harm to a site, then I agree it should be shot down and the truth should be shown and educated, but if the theories doesn’t effect the site in any way than what somewhat believes, it should be let to stand. Theories allow people to find motivation in life, and some people quite literally have their live centered around them.

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