The great works of the ancients ... with no Caterpillars

Posted On: Tuesday - April 24th 2018 9:17PM MST
In Topics: 
  History  Science  Poetic Stupidity

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

(well, they just shoulda used a better mix ...)

This post was brought up by some commenting I'd read a few days back about some pretty amazing Japanese skin divers that go down toward 200 ft. below the ocean surface and back with no equipment. It was pretty impressive and they were topless and possibly bottomless. [No, absolutely NOT - Peak Stupidity has plans to become a family site, dammit! - Ed] Still, while one can be impressed by the physical endurance involved, we have machines that can take people miles down called submarines, and equipment for the common man and (hopefully topless) women that allow us to stay down at those depths for hours at a time. It's called SCUBA. "Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus! By George, I think she's got it!"*

I'll bring up my point here early on (for a change!), and then some examples. All of the fascination and reverence modern Westerners have for the old native cultures and even the precursors to their own culture includes great awe for the old mighty works, your pyramids, your stonehenges, and your aqueducts (after all, what else have the Romans ever done for us?!) and such. People are impressed by these big monuments and other more useful structures were built by men without the help of modern day construction equipment, sometimes even without the use of the wheel which, well, they hadn't thought of yet. I'm not gonna give a lesson here in the antiquities, as the Peak Stupidity blog's purpose is to enlighten readers on types of stupidity, not to lecture.

You will hear from those who demean their own cultural roots and revere that of the ancients that "we couldn't do this today". That statement is almost always incorrect. We COULD do it today. We CHOOSE not to, firstly, because the projects may not have a positive pay-off - you know, things like huge pyramids in the desert and big piles of rocks aimed toward solstice points and all that aren't the kinds of projects that a lot of honest investors feel are sound, if they do their due diligence. Additionally, even the quite useful massive projects, such as the aqueducts, can be built using modern designs and modern methods. Yes, we COULD do it the old way. Why would we?

The construction of the various pyramids in Egypt went on for decades on each one of them. The labor was not just cheap but free, with no union representation, no health plan, and nothing but "go ahead and die" as a retirement plan (was that a "defined benefit" or "defined contribution" plan - I'll have to ask the Peak Stupidity HR lady first thing tomorrow). Whatever funds, what to feed and house the slaves, to buy the stones from Stones-R-Us, and to pay the engineers of the day, were necessary, were about as unlimited as the funds that emanate from the American Feral Gov't of today, with that great support from the FED. Did the ancient Egyptians have their own version of the FED, in fact? Maybe that's what some of that "linear-C" hieroglyphics, never deciphered (until possibly just now?) were about - the old one's version of quantitative easing. See, back to the first point again, why would our modern-day FED inscribe big stone tablets to create currency when they have a better way, called cntrl-P'ing?

How about that Stonehenge? Yeah, I know, it is proof that these ancestors of the English had the free time and inclination to know some astronomy. That part is cool. The hauling of those multi-ton rocks to the site and positioning of them (especially that top one, with neither a tracked-crane nor snorklifts), was that really necessary, though? It seems like overkill ... call it scope creep. It probably started as a wooden structure, but then some egotistical Druid reckoned his fellow hunter-gatherers seemed to have lots of time on their hands, and idle hands an all ... We couldn't build it today, really? I guess, like a straight-forward border barrier on a < 2,000 mile border, it's really a matter of "do people WANT it built?" We have observatories and apps on our phones that can tell us where the moon and stars are, or we could look up and shit ... Still, if we want to put together a few dozen 25-ton rocks in a pattern, it could be done in a morning, depending on the union break schedule.

Americans built > 50,000 miles of paved 4-lane limited access highway in a decade or so, and it didn't make a major dent in middle-class American's tax bills (keep in mind that this was during a time of much smaller government). Oh, no immigrant labor was necessary, just Americans working smarter with the American-designed/built dozers, back-hoes, front-loaders, dumpers, graders, scrapers, rollers, and pavers. Should we NOT be proud because we DIDN'T do it with our bare hands, wearing out our backs and costing 1000 times more money? Is the invention of all that hydraulic/IC-engine-powered construction equipment NOT something to be proud of? All you native-culture lovers would be singing a different tune, if it weren't for hundreds of years of Western science and engineering giving you the leisure to do so.

Oooh, "they built it with their bare hands" ... hell with that - get a Cat!

"But they built up with their bare hands what we still can't do today.... " Yeah, right ... whatever ... just jam, man.

As explained here on Peak Stupidity early on, we don't have to agree with the lyrics to enjoy a great song. It's only a disagreement with the line above, really, as Neil's words about the Spaniard's treatment of the natives were fairly true. The song's title is pretty appropriate, but again, here's the thing: This is the best of electric Neil Young - the lyrics could say any damn thing, and the song would still be great, with that long lead guitar solo. We have featured mostly acoustic Neil Young, also great stuff, such as Sail Away, Comin' Apart at Every Nail, and Comes a Time before. Electric Neil Young stuff is great too - listen to Powderfinger

*What, no Family Ties fans here?

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