Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How Little We Know

Here is an aerial view of a place called Amghirar, in the hills of Southern Morocco, from Google Earth.  I just sort of found it by accident:
From the air, it appears like we could be looking back through time to 2,000 or 3,000 BC.  What could people think about in a place like this?  What do they feel?  Are they pretty much like us, or are they so foreign that we can't really understand them at all?

Looking at this really makes me feel like I am an isolated, very unusual (and not particularly interesting) sort of person, living in the Hollywood Hills, without a clue of the forces swirling around us every day.  I feel a sort of hopelessness at the idea that I can really understand anything.

Well, this is probably the most useless post I have ever made.  Sorry if it caused you to think I'm a little deranged.  Nice picture though, huh?

A little more:  I mentioned Catal Huyuk in the comments.  Catal Huyuk, in Turkey, dates from about 7,000 BC, and is the earliest settlement of any size of which we can be fairly certain about its nature.  I thought that people might like to see a reconstruction of Catal Huyuk:
Of course, there were no streets in Catal Huyuk; access to the buildings was from the roofs.  Still, the degree that things have not changed in 9,000 years is pretty spectacular to me.  What do people whose lives have remained so unchanged in all those millennia think when electricity (and TV) come to their homes, and they see what life looks like in New York or Los Angeles?


Magpie said...

Nothing wrong with a philosophical post, Green Eagle.

It’s not our burden to categorically define exactly and completely why this probably isn’t the best of all possible worlds, and deliver ultimate and indisputable proof – to people among whom there’d be some who’d just say.. ‘nah it’s just Obama wants to take our guns…’.

Nor do we get a completely clear picture.
Japan… as an example… is being edged dangerously by Right wing shitheads toward blood nationalism, again. And there are people there fighting it.
But you’d never hear about that from watching mainstream news… oh no… we instead are treated to articles by some dipshit about how fewer people there are interested in sex, or how some railway station is run by a cat. I happen to pay attention…. So what does that imply about all places that I don’t pay special attention to?
Someone in Bolivia could have invented a cure for the common cold and we’d never know.
Because Trump didn’t say something stupid about it. Or someone hasn’t bought it yet. Or someone hasn’t bombed the laboratory yet.

There is both more bullshit to get past and more genuine information than we can possibly digest.
It’s not possible to understand all the forces that make our world what it is, much less sum it up in a paragraph. It’s too complex.
That’s why so many people reduce things to one simple obsession, like God hates fags, liberals are evil, Allah is great, or it’s all down to the aliens in Area 51.

But we won the lottery of being born among mostly rational people and we have internet connections… so we get access to more information with less distortion than people born on a white supremacist compound.
And we aren’t scrabbling through rubbish tips in Bangladesh for our next meal so we also have the time.

Not that everyone else has it all bad…
There are many peoples and communities that we in our narrow bandwidth of political discussion never think about…
Pick one at random - the Moken water nomads of south Thailand and Burma. They probably don’t have a lot of time to think about the forces at work in our world but neither are they necessarily miserable. And they probably get more fresh air than you or I.

Infidel753 said...

Interesting question. Just going by the photo, Amghirar looks like a completely traditional Maghrib village. Windowless walls and internal courtyards instead of outside yards (for privacy), everything light and reflective to reduce heat, streets extremely narrow (for shade, and because houses are sometimes enlarged in ways that encroach on the street). No tall structures except the minaret near the center. Not a single modern-looking building.

I've been to a couple of villages in Syria that were this small and had more modern conveniences and were more connected with the world than you might think, and that was 36 years ago. On the other hand, those were near Damascus. Amghirar is 80 km from the nearest real city (Agadir -- I looked it up). The road you can see from the center-left across the bottom is doubtless the only connection with the outside world and it doesn't even look paved.

The name Amghirar doesn't sound Arabic (unless Moroccan dialect is even weirder than Algerian), so it's probably Berber, so this place might well date back to before the 7th century. Over half the people in Morocco speak French, but I'd guess almost no one in Amghirar does.

I'd guess the people there don't have much in common with us. Muslim, but not fanatical, just very traditional, including a lot of pre-Islamic traditional habits. Probably many of the younger people dream of Casablanca or Paris, or have already left. A lot depends on whether the place has internet access. It probably doesn't.

Interesting post, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, you are a stupid dumb fuck.

Green Eagle said...

I looked at a couple of street level pictures that I was able to find of this town and surrounding ones, and of course, there is far more evidence of what century it is in those. Still, I was stunned at how little had changed from the aerial view, since Catal Huyuk. And again, let me say that it's not what we know, but what we are even capable of understanding.

By the way, may I comment briefly on the three remarks above, two from essentially liberal people and one from a Conservative? Actually, I guess no comment is necessary- the conclusion is obvious.

Anonymous said...

You already stated your own conclusion about yourself, and I agreed, you are a dumb fuck.

Green Eagle said...

"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."


Anonymous said...

Typical idiot American! NO TV, OMG how primitive!! Proving yourself again to be a stupid idiot.