Every few days another magazine article breathlessly
reports that the Chinese had invented printing long
before the West had it. Then someone else, for the
thousandth time, informs us that China had explosive
black powder long, long ago.
Apparently no matter how many times this is repeated
it is big news.
Another piece of history which is at least not repeated
so often that I cringe when I hear it is that the
Incas did not have the wheel for their everyday life,
but their children did have wheels on their toys.
All the stunning excitement that greets the zillionth
repetition of these facts helps us to ignore the real
Having the wheel is a big deal to us, but it obviously
meant nothing to the Incas. The Koreans had a phonetic
alphabet and moveable type long before we did, but
again, so what? The invention of printing was a big
deal in the West because the minute we got it we began
a revolution with it. In Asia, it just laid there.
When the West got the printing press it made a revolution.
When China got it they made some playing cards. That
is the difference that matters.
We have recently found huge clockworks on sunken
ships from the Mediterranean before the time of Christ,
and we know the Greeks had a little steam engine.
I just heard for the hundredth time that Babylonians
probably had electroplating and maybe even ground
a lens for a telescope.
All our pictures depicting the Cro-Magnon men who
made the cave paintings 30,000 years ago in Europe
show them in ragged caveman animal hides. It turns
out they probably dressed very well and neatly. A
form of textile weaving that was supposed to have
been invented two thousand years ago was being worn
by all the Caucasoid mummies found in China from over
twice that long ago.
The vast slave empires of the Egyptians and the Chinese
and other water empires built a lot of big stuff and
we find things left behind in the rotted corpses those
civilizations left behind that do not appear in living
lands. So history long assumed that since the oldest
wheels were in Egypt, the wheel must have been invented
there. Now we know that Egypt got the wheel very late
and built the pyramids without it.
Naturally we are going to find the oldest examples
of many inventions in the ruins of dead slave empires.
What is tragic about this is that it gives us the
idea that slave empires are therefore the places where
things are created.
Our accepted history literally thinks that the rotting-away
process is the creative process.