“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…ourselves.” – With apologies to Sir Walter Scott.
If only life was as neat and orderly as my ancient history text book showed it to be. There it was on glossy paper, spread out across several sets of adjoining pages, maps of the ancient and modern world. Sometimes there were time lines top and bottom, along with countries helpfully outlined and identified. Underneath their modern English names were one or two older names in smaller stylized script, often including exact beginning and end dates. I remember one in particular caught my eye. “The United States of America” followed by the year 1776. But with no end date indicated, it looked like unfinished business to me. You’ve got to love those historians and their precise dates.
Of course, in reality there are no exact dates for the birth and death of city/states, other than in the historian’s mind. Children continue to be born, the old still die, and life goes on under ever changing circumstances. But you are rarely informed of the subjective nature of historical events when you’re young and impressionable, so they’re presented in the history books as cold hard facts. The last thing the reigning Imperial Empire wants is to appear uncertain about prior eons, epochs and echoes in time.
Long before we begin to read and comprehend on our own, we’re presented with the illusion of a specific beginning and end to everything, often accompanied with very clear lines of demarcation. This concept is continuously reinforced through our daily indoctrination via carefully scripted news stories, including political and social opinion presented as ironclad fact care of our modern corporate media saturated existence. Naturally, critical thinking is strictly optional and effectively discouraged.
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