Yahoo! News put out an interesting article about a new discovery at a Neolithic site near Damascus of a wall painting that seems curiously modern. The painting is an abstract series of rectangles, all done in red, white, and black, which looks exactly like certain strains of modern art- you can see it here:
The article goes on to discuss Neolithic life at this particular settlement. It says:
"This site is one of several Neolithic villages in modern day Syria and southern Turkey. They seem to have communicated with each other and had peaceful exchange," Coqueugniot said.
Syria's other Neolithic sites have yielded finds on display at the National Museum in Damascus, such as a 74 cm limestone obelisk of a bird, a colorful stone bracelet and a tiny statue of a mother goddess."
While I was reading this, I had to stop and ask myself: Do these archaeologists ever stop and wonder? Let's forget about ancient Bauhaus-looking art for a moment, and consider the vast amounts of artifacts of ancient life that we've pulled from the Earth- do the people who uncover these precious records of the ancients ever stop to consider the ancients for who they were, compared to who we have become?
As most everyone knows by now, I believe that monotheism is its own form of scourge, an intentional and harmful "turning away" from the spiritual wisdom of the past. I don't just believe in the Gods; I know them, and have known them in my life. I know them this very day. If I were digging up a neolithic settlement, and I uncovered statues of their mother Goddesses or their other Gods, I would feel an instant connection with these ancient people. I would respect them and their Gods, and smile to remember the last time I prayed to the Gods of my own people, and to the Goddess I consider mother to us all- the Earth Goddess herself. I feel connected to the great history that is the true story of us all.
But what of Christian, Muslim, or Jewish archaeologists? What of the monotheists who will read this article, and barely make a passing note of the discovery of the statues of the Mother Goddess there in Syria (or anywhere else on Earth)?
With few exceptions, and based on what we all know about the religious psychology of monotheism, they'd look at these religious images of the ancient world and scoff. They dig these things up, and the moment it registers on them that they may have a religious image, they immediately think just as they have been programmed- they think it's just an "idol", a cheap leftover of a "primitive" time when people were ignorantly worshiping "false" Gods.
In what has to be one of the greatest prideful tragedies of human history, large and aggressive religions have arisen that really and truly believe that they alone have the "truth" of things divine, where thousands and thousands of years of humans before them- including their own ancestors- were perilously wrong.
These people cannot look at the past for what it is: the sacred record of the human story. They cannot see the Gods of old, that so many of their own great grandparents prayed to and loved, and see anything other than "idols" and "false gods". These monotheists know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are far spiritually wiser than those poor deluded ancients ever could have been.
And that is a great tragedy. Do these people ever wonder? Do they see the vast sweep of history before them, and see that far, far more people have believed in the Gods, than ever believed in their lonely idea of God? Do they see how recent and young their monotheistic nonsense is, compared to the vast influence and presence of polytheism, which was natural to ever historical human tribe or nation at one time?
Do they ever wonder if their own religion is the falsehood, a radical and forced deviation from the true course of human spiritual history, a historically-captured political contrivance that destroyed countless other ancient religious groups and cultures in the name of power-hungry men and money?
Can they appreciate the difference between primordial organic religious traditions, themselves reflections of ages-old truths native to the souls of human beings evolved from eons of human contact with one another and the natural world, and the contrived, rigid developments of revealed religions?
The silent faces of those "Mother Goddess" statues stare at them from the sacred soil where they have lain undisturbed for thousands of years. The faces of Gods and ancestors stare mute at them from graves, paintings, and urns. They all say "See us; you cannot ignore us; we are real, we lived, and we are the seeds and roots to which you owe everything. You may believe that we were primitives or deluded, but it is not we who have succumbed to delusion. It is you. You are not our judges; we are yours."
But these words, heard clearly by those of us who have seen a larger and deeper picture of human history and spirituality, will never be heard by people who cannot have the basic humility and broader perspective that wisdom requires.
I can't help but ask if archaeologists particularly wonder at all of the many treasures of human culture that they unearth, and ever compare their own modern lives and ways of thinking to the great story of history. Do they ever wonder at how we have arrived where we have, considering how radically different we are from those in the past?
If ancient polytheists had unearthed neolithic ruins and found statues of the Gods, they would have respected those statues for what they are- direct evidence of other humans like themselves who experienced the reality of the Gods. They would have had an innate respect for the religious impulses in the people who made them. They probably would have religiously enshrined those ancient images. For them, it would have been a connection to the sacred realities of the past, a sacred tradition that for them was still a reality.
But what is it to us? Just artifacts of a past that seems alien, a "primitive" time, and the only enshrinement these ancient images will get (if they are lucky) is a museum shelf, where people (mostly monotheists) will look at them as though they were just stones, carved or painted by poor ignorants who never had a chance to "know Jesus", or poor ignorants who lived in the "days of wildness" before the Prophet restored the "truth" to the world. To be certain, some monotheists will take the art or the history they are seeing in ways that may resemble appreciation, but the deepest and most important appreciation will always be lost on them- the appreciation of spiritual power.
This is the dimming of wisdom from human hearts and eyes. In the world of monotheism, everything except what they want to believe is a waste, a sham, a ruin, a primitive remain, a wickedness, a foolishness. Even the wisdom of wise men (read: the men that their prophets couldn't defeat in debates) is minimized and excoriated. It is as if a great and formless darkness has settled over our world, and in it, humans have succumbed to a dullness from which there is no awakening.