‘TALK TO THE HAND …’
Mayor of L.A. Arnie Schwarzenegger in the film TERMINATOR 3
by Andrew Hennessey
The activity of a ‘Hidden Hand’ that intervenes and steers human history is a recurring complaint amongst hard done by humans.
John Robison (1739-1805) was a Scottish physicist and inventor. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.
Towards the end of his life, he became an enthusiastic conspiracy theorist, publishing Proofs of a Conspiracy ... in 1797, ‘Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the secret meetings of Freemasons, Illuminati and Reading Societies.’
One may find reference to it in modern conspiracy legends and myths penned by e.g. Trevor Ravenscroft in his ‘Spear of Destiny’, or Roberts and Gilbertson’s ‘The Dark Gods’, however, merely recycling historical rumour – often within the context of self-referential non-academic bibliographies is ultimately fruitless.
Having operated as an Ethnologist within the conspiracy community and having studied numerous amazing and difficult to substantiate events, it is refreshing to find that had I merely continued with a standard academic education at the UK’s OPEN UNIVERSITY, I would have discovered what the academics already knew – there’s nothing as strange as History.
OU COURSE AT308 provided two textbooks on ‘Pre-industrial Cities and Technologies’ edited by Chant and Goodman, 1999AD.
From these various academic works, the editors drew upon the efforts of Social historians, Technologists, Archaeologists and other Scientists to assemble a History of Technology.
The three examples cited here in this paper however, disown the other academic comment and course material supplied and deployed around these textbooks in other pamphlets etc. This other content was probably more intended to emphasise the Open Universities’ own distinctive agenda in the social sciences as opposed to some other UK Universities specialist leanings in e.g. Philosophy, which can compete in the same scientific publications market for shelf-room in bookshops.
The two course textbooks on ‘Pre-industrial Cities and Technology’ are definitive and sufficient enough to supply all the material that I needed to write very good course essays with.
Any material quoted is representative of the ideologies that are said therein by this teaching University to give shape and form to the dilemmas of history that retarded the evolution of science and technology on this planet.
This very popular Open University Course AT308 has been very thoroughly researched and discussed and has retained its rigorous framework for technological evolution on this planet throughout the 2001 CE deployment of the contradictory and refutational archaeological data of Michael Cremo, in his startling publication ‘The hidden history of the Human Race.’
This amazing compilation of archaeological finds presented without spin and with recourse to professional scientific method could not have left even the subscribers to Charles Fort with a sceptical overview of high technology history. Although Charles Fort’s collection of strange paranormal absurdities as witnessed can be dismissed as relative hear-say, the archaeological finds as presented by Cremo were thoroughly researched by the professional scientists who found them and carry the weight of scientific legitimacy and falsifiability.
The Open University does pay attention to such developments.
Recent AT308 Course updates in 2003 CE included the finding of a very large submersed agricultural settlement in the Indian Ocean. The alleged contradiction it provided to the paradigm supplied by V G Childe’s theory of ‘urban revolution’ – an expansion driven along a militaristic infrastructure from the Tigris and Euphrates basin, propagated by the continuity of trade and ideologies was dismissed.
Although the submerged buildings in the Indian Ocean were numerous and ordered, seasonal cultivation and pastoral needs did not particularly endear a fixed locality to inhabitants in need of food and water throughout the entire year in ancient times. This could also be deduced from the presence of tartan amongst red-haired mummies in Dolmens in northern China. People were prepared to ‘shop around’ for a good meal and beverage and place to chill in those days.
The alleged city in the Indian Ocean was downgraded by the OU to a mere agricultural settlement as the morphology of the settlement and therefore its implied functions, as deduced from the oceanographic scans did not immediately confer upon it the status of a specialised and diverse place of; trade, skills, manufacture and habitation. Presumably the restaurant and shipwright signage was a bit barnacled.
Open University Course AT308, therefore, is a source of technological history that can be defined as a tool for upwardly mobile education that is both stable, and able – a definition in common with the cruise-liner ‘Titanic’.
The three examples of academic breakage that illustrate an insufficiency in scientific reason to account for the total failure of reality come from 3 continents and civilised epochs.
3. SOUTH AMERICA
1. The slow boat from China.
China, from around the time that the Huns, Goths etc were finishing off Rome circa 500 AD although also experiencing the wrath of Kublai Khan in the north of China – began a tangential approach to Civilisation that incorporated a more spiritual cosmology within the approach of civilised values to community and society.
Drawing also on Indian mathematics and astrological expertise, many important cultural exchanges took place between India and China that included the import of; architectural idiom, gunpowder components such as saltpetre, decimalisation and absolute zero.
[Chant and Goodman 1999, p. 271]
India therefore, was an important supplier of religious values, images and ideas, of opulent religious ideologies, ostentatious displays of wealth and empire. i.e. a good place to borrow some gold from in the event of a crisis.
The industrialisation of China was fraught with destructive and recurring rebellion and war, but in the main, the vast country of 4.3 million square miles was well served by extensive use of river and canal navigation and a very large stock of boats and ships over a period of 1500 years from 500 AD.
Frequent wars amongst warlords with the resources and aspirations to build and rebuild and relocate huge capital cities would have created a frequent need to replenish treasure stocks for mercenary campaigns and the industries needed to supply them.
Although it could be said that the ‘silk road’ an 8000 kilometre road running from Chang’ an in west China to Baghdad and Persia through the central Asian city of Samarakand through the Gobi desert in northern Tibet was the domain of the Mongol Hordes and blocked the opportunity to trade in the Mediterranean by overland commerce, the same could not be said of the far easier journey south around the Malaysian Peninsula and into the Indian ocean.
Consider that from the comfort of one’s own expeditionary fleet, and borne south by favourable currents and winds, there would be no absence of supplies such as fresh water on the far shorter route to the places of known treasure.
It is strange therefore to consider that from e.g. the Sui and Tang Dynasties circa 479 AD right up to the Ming and Ch’ing Dynasties circa 1840 AD that this in fact, did not happen.
It may be that various aspects of the bad things from the east intimidated the ancient warlords of China e.g. Jesuit priests, Marco Polo (1271-1295 AD), or the Black Death 1347 AD but that the origins of rich Indian treasure would not have escaped any well-organised imperialist of those eras.
Whilst the Emperor Yong Le, in the early 15th century sent naval expeditions into the Indian Ocean to trade with India and explore east Africa, warmongering was rather restricted presumably because of the possibility of an Indian alliance with Mongols.
The practise of even politically correct Emperors and warlords outsourcing new resources stopped around 1433 AD.
[Chant and Goodman 1999, p. 289] relate, however, that ‘ some civil servants .. disgusted by alien .. government, withdrew from public life.’ [Chant and Goodman 1999, p. 291] continue by saying that ‘Historians have documented new Mongol threats from the north and steep increases in the cost of timber needed for shipbuilding to explain the end of naval exploration. They have noted political infighting associated with relocation of the capital…’ ‘It is hard to escape the view, however, that something deeper than politics and the price of timber was at issue. For the governing class to turn its back so abruptly on the rest of the world, and also to lose interest in science and mathematics, suggests a shift in values and a defensive, unadventurous outlook.’
[Chant and Goodman 1999, p. 282] The Chinese navy, founded in 1132 AD, had sailing ships and also paddle-powered and sail-less top armoured attack craft that could travel and manoeuvre independent of wind direction and also move in reverse. All naval vessels were equipped to catapult gunpowder bombs into the enemy. Cannonade was also in use against the Mongol hordes as early as the 12th and 13th centuries and would also have been available for military ships.
Although the Chinese navy failed the stop the 18th and 19th century European expeditions from e.g. the Dutch East India Company and then the English East India Company, there appears to be no reason whatsoever for the superior Chinese navy not to have over-ran the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the continent of Africa in its quest for the resources that could keep the empire defended, or some warlord in a mercenary campaign in the intervening 600 years after the founding of the navy and the recognition of its uses.
The only academic explanation for the non-conquest and non-exploitation of the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf and East Africa offered by leading academics is of a ‘defensive and unadventurous’ outlook to which [Mr Regis Huc in Chant C, 1999, p. 216] would add .. ‘patient and resigned shopkeeper mentality.’
The Chinese (warlords) in their quest for the gold and treasure etc that would fuel their ambitions of conquest, conspiracy and defence never thought about the possibilities for conquest that used the abundant surplus of powerful military shipping and the proven expertise available to use it.
The non-exploitation of a proven resource base in India over a period of 700 years for the financing of huge mercenary campaigns e.g. against the Tartar and Mongol hordes, or White Lotus rebellion, because a gold hungry warlord was too lazy to send one of many thousands of efficient war ships from this vast continent to re-explore the proven treasure centres of India is ludicrous.
2. ‘A Horse, a horse, my Kingdom for a Horse …’
[Shakespeare W, King Richard III, Act 5 Scene 4.]
From ancient Sumer c.a. 3500 BC, it took 4000 years into Europe to discover how to harness a horse for heavy loads and heavy plough by adapting an ox harness.
Getting a new take on the yoke harness used for Oxen such that a collar harness could be attached to another draft animal with less muscles in front of the windpipe appeared to be impossibly hard.
The sort of difficult discovery civilisation makes once it starts using very hot drinks in the cold jars it used to drink from.
Taking 4000 years to get a handle on a horse and how it breathes, however is a bit of a stretch of credibility.
The excuse of ‘unfamiliarity with horse anatomy’ by Burford doesn’t wear in any of those war zones whatsoever.
The introduction of the heavy plough in northern Europe in the 10th century AD created the agricultural surplus necessary for the beginnings of; trade, specialisation and urban revolution that became the European Renaissance in the 15th century.
This inability to comprehend a horse over 4000 years delayed intensive cultivation and intensive social and scientific urbanisation, industrialisation and scientific invention by at least 400 years in Middle Ages Europe.
It was approximately 400 years after the introduction of the use of draft horses on the heavy plough that the Renaissance took place in Europe. [Burford A, in Chant 1999 page 29] and [White L, in Chant 1999, p 99].
Warring nobles, Goths, Huns, Mongols, Kings, Queens etc from about the time of the fall of Rome c.a. 500 AD would have been requiring supplies and heavy transport to conduct their campaigns often in the most difficult of terrain that could not always be accessed by porter or river transport. In the absence of Oxen, siege engines such as; ballista, rams, trebuchets etc and other applications of woodland for military use would have needed use of much of the spare horses from the numerous fallen in those battles.
500 years of stupidity before someone effectively straps up a horse doesn’t seem credible.
Campaign after campaign, army after army, necessity after necessity, battle after battle, retreat after retreat, sagacious investigation of supply logistics from everyone who has ever seen, eaten, butchered, harnessed, shod, ridden and or collided with a horse later, and in 500 years cannot devise a contraption to allow it to pull a heavy load without choking it.
A bit much considering scorched earth warfare between petty nobles and highly organised armies probably required burger king ox steak cuisine and an overwhelming need to get half a ton of arrows etc. to point B from whatever stronghold it was required to over-winter in.
Regardless of who ate the local Oxen, with hundreds of years of recurrent necessity in anarchic Eurasia [e.g. 600 AD – 1400AD], and always plenty of unoccupied medium cavalry horses to use, in tens of thousands of combat dilemmas the military hierarchy were totally unable to harness a horse to a cart without strangling it or to invent a better harness to solve matters of large scale life and death than the Ox harness used in ancient Sumer and Rome.
There were 20th century schools of military thought that suggested that war and militarism was a driving factor in the evolution of human industry, and would cite the benefits of the cold war and the nuclear arms race as an influential factor in e.g. the electronics industry.
The arms race in the 20th century also became the space race and the subsequent development of super-light and super-tough alloys, plastics and fabrics and the process of miniaturisation could be seen to bring household benefits in; television technology, cold weather gear etc.
That however, does not take it away from the middle ages of Europe and their own early modern ways of thinking.
Burford in Chant 1999, p36, relates that oxen were sufficient for Rome, but had clearly forgotten that it was the sight of massed horseman using short composite horse bow that had seared its way across the static impediments to warfare created by Roman thinking all over northern Eurasia.
From then on, efficient mobilisation of arms and resources would be the best response to such threats, as hard-hitting light cavalry could get everywhere at short notice.
Whereas the era of the beef burger drive thru had clearly commenced – people in the dark ages clearly knew what a horse was and how it could be variously used.
In short, therefore, there is no true rational explanation for the several centuries of retarded thinking that allegedly held back a scientific revolution in Europe because horses could not be harnessed properly.
We are told in the same textbook that the Chinese created horse harnesses as soon as they came under attack from the Mongols – which in relative European terms, is instantaneous.
3. Getting stoned in South America.
The sites and structures of the ancient Mayan civilisation in South America are impressive indeed. As are the number of new age beliefs attributed to the accuracy of sunspot predictions, the mathematics of Mayan chaos theory and other aspects of astronomy and science that seem to show, according to irrational ‘hippy’ beliefs, a penchant for design that would have got them all jobs with the George Lucas Star wars films at Hollywood.
Much as I rather empathise with the sentiment of such imagery of perhaps a golden bee that looks like an aerodynamic 20th century jet fighter in a ‘Von Daniken’ book – the very thought that petroleum engines and considerations of atmospheric friction appeared to be touted as evidence of space faring beliefs, enabled me to ignore those crystal skulls and other such at least for the time being until I could discover what it was that the population of the Mayan Empire actually did for a living.
The impractical new age of the 20th century never actually did any meaningful work and seemed to assume that neither did their spaced out space brother counterparts from ancient but spacey south America.
Myself, obviously being more of a practical sort, reckoned that such a magnificent achievement as building walls on those mountainsides that had polygonal 50 - 100 tonne blocks with angular sides that could have made a very challenging Xmas party game by Ronco toys – would have been hard even with the tools, metals and technologies available to the concurrent pyramid and temple builders of; Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.
To assemble the; geometric, asymmetric, many sided, irregular, shapes and forms from which those massive walls at Cuzco and Sacsahuaman were made would take; cutting tools, hoists, ramps, pulleys, metal smelting and mining and a mathematical precision of such finesse that even today in the 3rd millennium of humanity on this planets surface, one still could not insert a razor blade between them.
Had I only but known - for the hardest edged tools that the Mayans possessed was allegedly obsidian – a volcanic glass that could be splintered to cut meat and textiles, and the bronze Aztec blades later used against Cortez, the Conquistador.
Neither bronze or obsidian are hard enough to provide an impact on the metamorphic volcanic rocks of the Andes mountain chain – and whereas there may be local and regional variation within the static and drift geology, no skills within the construction industry were cited in Chant and Goodman 1999, pps. 242-251 as being able to make the tools that could cut those rocks to such precise geometric shapes. Muscle power and earthen ramps by default were cited as the cause of these incredible and massive and precise and ornate structures.
Worse still, it was with the utmost horror that I came to a shuddering stop at p. 251 of Chant and Goodman 1999.
I can only quote verbatim what I saw there …..
‘There are strong similarities to the Egyptian pyramids. Like the Pharaohs, the Incas imposed a system of compulsory labour on tens of thousands of captives. They hauled huge boulders from quarries as in ancient Egypt, used log rollers, inclined planes and bronze crowbars to move them. The precise shaping and fitting is thought to have been achieved by the constant pounding of boulders by harder stones, a continuous action maintained by a force of thousands of labourers working in shifts (Gasparini and Margioles, 1980, p324:Hardoy,1973. p.465. )
I can buy the quarry stuff where-by banging wedges into sandstone and limestone in e.g. Egypt one could isolate and dislocate a large rough-hewn boulder for subsequent refinement and roll it away on rollers etc and haul it up a ramp. Also the geology of the Andean mountain chain, although predominately Igneous and metamorphic rock suggests that there was plenty of available materials to use of roughly equivalent hardness to make both tools and building materials out of.
However the organisation required to pound these massive and hard boulders into the precise polygonal shapes we today see as precisely fitting would have taken immense effort by the use of skills even if most of the civilian population worked along side the captives. [e.g. as in the Chinese canal system upgrade near 9th century Tang Dynasty, Chang’ an]
Given the hand tools used were of roughly equivalent hardness or even harder than the boulders, the rocks themselves would be in constant use and not much more than another factor of 10 or 20 % harder than the construction material. Not being diamonds, they would need constant replacement too if used ceaselessly by thousands and thousands of labourers, skilled and unskilled.
Given that there was no substance harder than this cutting tool and that the cutting tool was an arbitrary shaped rock of useful size, shape and weight for use in this sort of construction, it would mean that the supervisors on these projects would need a relative army of tool searchers to acquire tools of the right size and weight.
As the local stone tools got used up, gradually, the search would have to widen to keep an army of thousands and thousands of workers working efficiently in shifts and moderately supplied with food and water.
Not every stone found that was hard enough could be of use to deliver efficient craftsmanship.
The logistics of such an undertaking beggar belief. If the hand-tools sourced were too soft or too heavy or too bulky, then the project would slow down and the labour force would expire.
I am aware of the Scottish saying that ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’ but then at the same time – not everyone was born to cut surfaces in rock like they were brain surgeons.
Perhaps it was the jealous cynic in me – but that’s a lot of guys standing around with a sore arm for days on end being unable to eat. I suppose that they would not come to any ‘arm.
However, the crème de la crème of anaemic academic investigation still sticks with the heavy rock theory instead of taking the light sabre approach for the 21st century.
In conclusion it is my belief that the human academic paradigm cannot adequately explain or account for the distribution and assets of ancient civilisation on this planets surface.