News

On Civilization 24

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll back to On Civilization 1)

A continuing project by Martin Gantman.

On Civilization 23

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll back to On Civilization 1)

The empire known in history as Rome had disintegrated as a result of its own entropy, internal flaws, and the infiltration of uneducated northern Europeans. The candles lit by Cleisthenes and Pericles and Aristotle and Socrates and Plato have painfully extinguished. The establishment of social division: royals/priests; farmer peasants; serfs/vassals/slaves, slowly became institutionalized into a structure that, today, we can begin to recognize and relate to. This all began approximately 1,500 years ago.

 

Mensch and Hohle Fels with Charlemagne

 

The areas of academic knowledge: research in science, philosophy, literature, and the arts were confined into the dominant church and ultimately became “Christianized.” Some say the church, at least, maintained progress in these areas of study; ideas that had begun in the middle east, developed in Greece, and continued by the Romans. Others might question why this activity was not shared outside the walls of the church.

 

Mensch and Hohle Fels with Justinian I

 

Mensch and Hohle Fels with Umar I

 

Mensch and Hohle Fels with Tai-Tsung

 

Meanwhile, Mensch and Hohle Fels maintained estates in Paris, Rome, Constantinople, and Baghdad. They partied across the continents: in the courts of Charlemagne, the Byzantine palace of Justinian the Great, with the Islamic Caliph Umar I, and the Emperor of China, Tai-Tsung. They took time to travel the various rural roads, admiring the beauty of their natural landscapes; taking little notice of the vassals and serfs cultivating these lands for others’ benefit. They had little memory of their dank and laborious lives in the dark caves of Bavaria and its relation to these workers. After all, that had occurred more than 30,000 years ago.

 

A continuing project by Martin Gantman.

On Civilization 22

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1)

It was nearing the end of that time that most of the world, for some reason, refers to as BCE (Before the Christian, or Common, Era), but that we are now labeling BP (before the present). The time I am relating to now is roughly 3,000 to 2,500 BP. Mensch and Hohle Fels were traveling along the eastern Mediterranean, taking time to muse about the changes they had seen since their coming together, some 25,000 to 35,000 years before – they had lost track by now.

One may wonder why Hohle Fels and Mensch are still on the scene of this disjointed narrative; but as we all have begun to discover, history is very much about what has been written (and by whom), and Hohle Fels and Mensch just happened to have found an author who is insistent about continuing to write them in. Ergo they endure – in addition to Bes, nee Leowen, and all their descendants.


As case in point, about the indeterminacy of the historical record, so much is made about Athens being the birth place of democracy, a loosely defined, or understood, term even now. But there is increasing evidence of deliberative assemblies elsewhere on the planet, before Athens took up arms and recreated itself. It occurred in towns and villages and cities throughout Mesopotamia; like Kish and Uruk and Babylon – and in the independent “republics” of India. The noble, and sometimes common, populace having voice in, and selecting, their leaders, including their kings and priests.

Yes, those kings and priests often assumed monarchical powers. They made laws and took decisions about bringing the populace to war (sometimes dependent upon voter consent) – and often recreated themselves as gods. But it is also true that there were village councils and voting mechanisms that set these leaders on course; an idea that may have later navigated its way toward Greece and helped switch on the lights inside the heads of Cleisthenes and Pericles.

 

A continuing project by Martin Gantman.

Exhibit at AC Institute, New York



On Civilization 21

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1)

By 1500 BP (before present) a total population of about 200 million people was spread around the Earth. The night, when it was clear, was lit only by the moon – and the infinity of stars that spread across the unfathomable black sky. There was fire by this time, but it took little to light a room or a pit. The fire had no effect on one’s ability to explore the evening cosmos.


What, when one was awake, did one do to pass the time during these dark hours? The food time was finished. There were yet no books – even for the few who were able to read. One could watch the moon, for hours, as it traversed its visible limits. They could peruse the stars – these flickering dots of light that spread above them in a panoply of sizes and colors. They could connect dots, imagine patterns; give names to those shapes, and create fables and narratives that they used to help model their lives.

As the villages grew into towns, then into small cities; evening social life increased, but the ability to view the omnipresent heavens was little diminished and no less fascinating. They learned to use the lights in the sky to tell time, to form calendars, and to guide themselves, in boats, across the oceans to other lands, where they began to form new civilizations.

 

A continuing project by Martin Gantman.

On Civilization 20

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1)

Hohle Fels and Mensch set themselves atop the party table as the Earth trembled and the world as they had known it broke apart.

It was about 2,000 to 2,500 years ago that people in disparate civilizations began slowly piecing together a process of thinking that was paradigmatically different from how they typically assessed the world. Even Bes, nee Leowen, standing at a distance overlooking the god’s daily party, couldn’t believe his eyes. The world had cracked, and logic had entered the domain of hominids.

Some like to say that the study of logic began in southern Europe, specifically Greece. But as we have seen with so many other societal changes, practically none of them occurred in isolation. There is evidence that similar thinking had also occurred and been shared by Mesopotamians and Indians and Egyptians – and even in the short-lived Moist school in China, though Chinese philosophers, primarily following Confucius, developed a sense of morality based on tradition rather than logic.

It is truly difficult to imagine the immensely threatening and cataclysmic change in approach to lives that this idea brought to civilizations immersed in the belief and faith that omnipotent beings and non-beings would provide appropriate answers for their critical situations. The conflict between faith in primarily utopian or chimerical entities, and decisions based on deductive logic, is one that still rages over 2,000 years along; and continues to instigate and engage civilizations and cultures, factions within cultures, and individuals in sometimes violent opposition.

 

A continuing project by Martin Gantman

On Civilization 19

The Ever-Unfolding Marriage of
Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1)

The subtext of this episode: Slaves, Followers, and Foot Soldiers, was seeded, once again, in that period 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, when villages began to form; when most citizens were content to farm and leave the administration of their village to others. Some, due to the circumstances of their business environment, became dependent upon their communities. They often sold their families, or themselves, to the service of others. Societal class structure began.

War became another creation of societal “evolution.” Some communities saw their neighbors with more of what they needed or wanted and attempted to obtain those resources by force. Defense forces were assembled for protection.

Citizens of defeated communities became Slaves without political or social rights, extracted to service their captors. The treatment of these Slaves was dependent upon the attitude of the society to which they were taken, as well as that of the individual owner of their personage. This varied from one civilization to another: from Egypt, to Mesopotamia, to southern Europe, to middle and eastern Asia. The practice of taking and holding Slaves continued, as a universal practice, until about 1,000 years ago (though we know that indenture in many forms continued to this day).

Why would individuals and cultures, immersed in the development of their homes and farms and businesses and communities – one would think focused on creating meaningful lives – a group that I am loosely labeling Followers, agree to become Footsoldiers, participating in the use of offensive military practices? After all, there were distinct dangers. One thought:

“war is so prevalent because of its positive psychological effects. It creates a sense of unity in the face of a collective threat. It binds people together – not just the army engaged in battle, but the whole community. It brings a sense of cohesion, with communal goals, and inspires individual citizens (not just soldiers) to behave honourably and unselfishly, in the service of a greater good. It supplies meaning and purpose, transcending the monotony of everyday life. Warfare also enables the expression of higher human qualities that often lie dormant in ordinary life, such as courage and self-sacrifice.”

William James

On Civilization 18

The Ever-Unfolding Marriage of 

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1


A continuing project by Martin Gantman.

On Civilization 17

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of 

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1)

They gathered in the Valley of the Gods, as they did in the late afternoon of every day. All the gods and goddesses who represented devotees of the major world cultures and civilizations. They discussed the demands and the problems, the tragedies and the controversies that were brought to them that day. And they partied, drank from their various nectars, relaxed, and loved. Sometimes they included friends from the human world. Mensch and Hohle Fels could be seen there from time to time.

 

 

In my opinion “religion” is a word that everyone thinks they understand, but for which there is no universally accepted definition. It’s a non-word – simply a space-filler for ideas that we cannot fully explain nor comprehend. Spiritual is another of these words. The use of such words implants exclusive codes within dialogs, as well as discourses, around religion – not just the esoteric ideas that have been embedded within various religious practices, but also the popular conversation around which religious practice revolves.

The interesting thing about religious practice in the second and first millenniums BC, was that people had a much closer relationship to their gods than generally do practitioners today. Their gods were less abstract and more defined – more approachable. They had human personalities and failings. I can imagine, for example, Greeks, gods and citizens alike, sitting around a long, very long (as there were many gods in those times) holiday table, celebrating their mutual merriment – with wine provided by Dionysus.

It seems that this period, roughly the last 2,500 years BC, was the time when our penchant for creating and relying on the unknown imaginable increasingly developed.

A continuing project by Martin Gantman.

On Civilization 16

The Ever-unfolding Marriage of 

Loewenmensch and Venus of Hohle Fels

(This is the latest element in a continuing project. If you would like to go to the beginning, go to HTTP://Gantman.com/News and scroll down to On Civilization 1)