In life’s ambitions, treasure hunting is more common than you might think. It is just as popular today as it was centuries ago on the high seas, or the mountains of Shangri-La, or El Dorado on the banks of the Orinoco River. In fact, in some form or fashion and metaphor we all hunt for value, for meaning, the marrow for one or more “X Marks the Spots.” Every single human being has done this: seeking our fortunes, literally or supernaturally, or both. Whatever form this aspiration takes, it has certainly been human nature for over 300,000 years of evolution. Our desire to become less ignorant and/or less afraid through understanding. In so many ways our lives are stories, or as Shakespeare aptly described: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” We strive, we perform to somehow be of worth to self and others, worthy of life as well as at death. We love and hunt for some type of an astonishing, ageless story.
I stumbled across a business magazine article last week about a very well-known, fascinating trait we humans possess: worth-seeking. The article was What ‘The Curse Of Oak Island’ Teaches About Actually Finding Treasure. The article critiques the History Channel’s popular Tuesday night show. The article and hit TV show both reveal a lot about human nature and our obsession for extraordinary stories told in extraordinary ways, whether we are the audience or the actual treasure hunters. If anything, the two key components of a timeless “story” reveal our vulnerabilities and insatiable curiosities no matter what side of the story you are on.
Even if the Lagina-History Channel team already know the [final] answer, the ‘gold’ their mining from the franchise they’ve built around the whole undertaking promises to stretch out the timeline to when they decide to tell us. But as we wait for the imagined treasure, Rick [Lagina] has already given us the most valuable treasure of all: the reminder that there is no isolated ‘ah ha’ moment in which the value we seek just appears.
All human beings have this general trait to find the greatest payoff manifested during our lifetime in many different ways. To degrees we are all treasure hunters. However, history is replete with legends, stories, hoaxes, and myths of an ultimate, incomparable treasure yet to be realized. The hunt becomes bigger than the prize.
Most tangible, known hidden “treasures” have been found. But there are indeed hunts that lead either to an unexpected different treasure or a completely empty dead-end. Consequently, the latter can lead to more hunting, more conspiracy theories, or redefinition, retro-fitting, and modifications for the sake of hunting and hope which drives humans to no end, supernatural resolve or “faith,” and yet no tangible treasure!
You might assume otherwise, but Oak Island co-star Rick Lagina is just like the rest of us. As a treasure hunter and a cable show star, from the outside he may look different. But below the surface he’s surprisingly the same, something he proved last month in a season 7 episode of the show. In a crescendo moment of discovery for a show that already has 99 episodes in the books, Rick summed up the breakthrough saying this: “It was a truly aha! moment.” But it wasn’t.
I do recommend everyone read the entire Inc.com article by Larry Robertson. Why? Because it hints, perhaps demonstrates that if we are patient enough to allow this enormous Universe/Cosmos to reveal its answers. Allow its hints and clues of why and how it functions and at what speeds, sometimes beyond our measly, instant (impulsive?) attempts to understanding it all. Patiently allow the macro-Universe and subatomic/Quantum Physics, laws, and “spooky action at a distance” to reward our impartial, patient, persistent curiosity and scrutiny so we can indeed realize over time—not always in our own lifetime or within our grandchildren’s lifetime—but with cumulative, scholarly consensus this mindset generates higher accuracy and detail of those hows and whys.
When we cannot know or explain with any certainty or high plausibility, there is no loss, no embarrassment to tell others: “That is inconclusive. We need more time to determine for sure.”Or to say confidently “After 1,900 years and especially the last century and more so the last two decades, what was once believed and commonly, socially accepted as infallibly true, is in fact NOT true at all.”But how many are brave and willing to be undecided, unswayed by the norm, the vast majority, or even stand firmly against the falsely, ill-founded traditions and conventions of the crowd, of the antiquated systems of This is how it is, how it has always been for 2,000 years!?
Humans Are Obsessed with Aha Moments, Supernatural Feelings of Divine Profound Revelation and Treasures
Allow me to draw comparisons to the human addiction experience and the sheer lure and power of perpetual hope, commitment, and undying faith for an ultimate, undetermined, possible winning lotto-ticket IF you keep playing every day, every week for the remainder of your life. You can’t win the jackpot, however, if you don’t pray play and ask too many critical questions while playing. It begs the question, What makes people, a person, to wish upon hope even in the face of no proof, no guarantee of success and reward at the end, for the rest of their life?
The undeniable fascination with the intertwining of historical theories and possible treasure is what drives each season of The Curse of Oak Island. Because the speculation excites and entices, it’s likely that the show will not only see a Season 8, but a Season 9, and more. — Aiden Mason, “Why the Curse of Oak Island Will Live to See a Season 8,” TV over Mind.com, accessed Jan. 24, 2020
Like Speculators of America’s early 19th century westward expansion and economic development, and those today in the stock market and banking investments, analyzing and forecasting future prices and ROI’s, the Laginas brothers and their team must find and contract with investors to hedge risks and losses, not to mention their public image and reputations. This is smart business, right? Funds have to be raised in order to keep the treasure hunt alive! From the Showbiz Cheatsheet website:
The rewards of Oak Island’s supposed treasure might be bigger than Marty and Rick Lagina (and the rest of their The Curse of Oak Island team) ever imagined. But, the cost to dig on the mysterious… Money Pit is now in the millions. Which begs the question: Who is paying for the Oak Island treasure hunt? Up ahead, we deep dive into the Oak Island’s financial backing and reveal who might be covering a majority [or all] of the costs. — Jessie Quinn, “Who Is Paying for the Oak Island Treasure Hunt?” Showbiz CheatSheet.com, accessed Jan. 24, 2020
Before the TV show became #1 in cable TV-ratings with over 3.34 million viewers, Marty Lagina was already a very successful, wealthy energy mogul through the sale of his natural gas drilling company Terra Energy. That sale enabled the start of his two current companies Heritage Sustainable Energy (wind turbines) and his winery Mari Vineyards, both in Michigan. With his accumulation of capital, business experience, and past drilling experience Marty Lagina and his financial-business partner Craig Tester, along with other business-team partners, Oak Island Tours, Inc. was founded.
When the production company Prometheus Entertainment approached Marty, his brother Rick Lagina, and the Oak Island team in 2014 to create a reality TV-series and A&E Network’s History Channel as its distributor, Marty Lagina and Oak Island Tours, Inc. were diversified and firmly established for long-term financial backing and revenues. Seven years and seven television seasons later, with a probable eighth season pending, the hunt for the famed Money Pit, the underground vault/room rumored to hold unimaginable untold treasures, the insatiable hunt for the ultimate payoff continues… (long exhale, deep breath) again.
Does this legendary story remind you of any other riveting, extraordinary “stories” in history of immense value and wealth waiting to be discovered and owned? Do all hidden treasures, found or not, have to be strictly monetary in value? No. When they are never found they take on an almost Gnostic, metaphysical meaning, perhaps to save face. Consider these few popular tales still alive today:
Independent, credible confirmation of Jesus’ death-escape
Notice the consistent patterns? That is, the consistent human psychological patterns of Gold Fever or addictive greed or more precisely the constant need for external affirmation for one’s self-worth: polydependency versus codependency. Why are individuals, or groups, organizations willing to put everything on the line, change their entire lifestyle, risk even their own life for some cause, for a legend or unconfirmed story that has no guarantees of a payoff, much less that exists or has only half-truths… or worse? Why have over 3.34 million TV viewers become obsessed fans of the History Channel show The Curse of Oak Island for seven or eight years? Why is it that an unconfirmed existence of some future jackpot, treasure or worth can perpetuate 7-years, or 20, 100 or even 2,000 years of unyielding, unwavering belief by millions of television followers?
Empty tomb of Jesus/Yeshua bar Jebediah, tax collector
And if you really do feel/think the hidden treasure you seek probably, maybe exists, a better question would be: How could one raise the probabilities of verifying its existence then raise your chances of finding and claiming it?
Yet, millions upon millions of people go on blind treasure hunts daily, weekly, or over their lifetime with no such credible forensic or plausible confirmations and evidence that the “story” is factual or mythical. Why? Why would they make such life-changing decisions and take such drastic measures for something that isn’t there? Could they be suffering from psychological polydependency? Is it the gnawing need for pure wealth, or multiple affirmations and heightened self-worth by others? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting
to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.“ — Andre Gide
It was said a long, long time before in ancient times by a wise soothsayer, “Therefore the He-on-High will give you a sign, the brightest star in the night which lights the way: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a boy, and will call Him New-Man.“
OB-GYN Examination Room
A fiber optic camera observes a five-month-old male fetus as he gently floats, weightless, suspended in the amniotic fluid of his mother’s womb. We focus on the unborn’s hand, already a tiny, exquisite work of art, moving towards his newly formed lips. He sucks his thumb.
Hospital Delivery Room
The seconds old baby boy New-Man — umbilical cord still attached, smeared with blood and protective skin grease — is held up by an anonymous pair of latex gloves to the camera. Shocked by the unaccustomed light and cool of the delivery room, the newborn fights for his first, arduous breath. Following almost immediately… a cry.
From another angle we see the crying infant on a television screen, seen by expectant millions around the world! They had been waiting for this birth, this night, for a very long time. Other teachers known as Magi come from far, far away to pay New-Man homage. Why? New-Man is the highest of all leaders ever, here to show once and for all the Way to paradise through extraordinary miracles now and after death, forever!
Childhood Homes — Bethmayhem & Nazasporin, GE, Palestone County
New-Man the toddler was immediately in danger. Because He and his parents were incredibly popular, the highest Nielsen-ratings ever recorded! Commercial sponsors everywhere were paying top-dollar for direct or indirect slots on the show! Mr. Bigley, the local leader of the tri-county area including Gaylee (GE), Palestone County, could NOT STAND having his fame and limelight shared by some infant-toddler that could almost speak on the same intellectual level as Mr. Bigley! Following the long-standing Imperial Pax Romana tradition of self-protection and perpetuation, Mr. Bigley already had several family members and in-laws eliminated. For this new toddler-threat, Mr. Bigley ordered that all little boys throughout the tri-county area, including Bethmayhem and Nazasporin, be removed! No one was going to steal His Majesty’s throne!
Much Bigger Than A Throne
For decades since arriving in Palestone County, Mr. Bigley listened non-stop to stories and rumors about a coming Rescuer for all the oppressed citizens of Gaylee, Palestone and Joedaya counties and beyond the seas. This coming “Rescuer” called New-Man has been talked about among the subjugated Hipparues for at least 1,000 years! In fact, top Hipparue officials say at least ten principal ancient predictions were fulfilled/confirmed by New-Man’s birth. Four of those ten undeniably astronomical and specific:
Born in Bethmayhem
Born from a virgin woman
A massacre of hundreds or thousands of boys in and around Bethmayhem due to him
A galactic quasar would lead Magi from the distant east to him
These four astonishing fulfilled predictions from many centuries earlier, along with 40 more, possibly 300 more predictions, has never been remotely possible by any man past, present, and most likely ever in the future. The enormity of these fulfillments can never be overstated. This “New-Man” was like none other. Further still, not only did this infant boy have centuries of desperate expectations by his Hipparue people and THE MOST unique one-of-a-kind cosmic nights of birth, but some ten, eleven years later New-Man made an even wider impression as a boy upon his wisest adult leaders inside the capital of Joedaya in the Hipparue Auditorium #II. For about 3-days New-Man utterly amazed and astounded all the high-ranking auditorium officials with his questions and answers!
If his centuries long and foretold coming wasn’t enough, if his one-in-a-million cosmic birth by a quasar bringing Magi from afar wasn’t enough, if his designation as New-Man from the one on High along with all its meaning wasn’t enough, if the local Mr. Bigley’s hunt and slaughter of hundreds-to-thousands of innocent boys was not big enough, now over those three days in front of all those high-ranking leaders inside Auditorium #II surely made his young face, super-human wisdom, his name, and his family background known all throughout the region and across the seas! Some were already claiming his “divine” nature, as well they should. This sort of long expectant news and chatter spreads very fast! Everyone in the land would know who New-Man was the minute he walked into a room or entered town, no doubt about it. After all, those previous 12-years were Earth-shattering!
Then Nothing — Total Silence, Total Indifference by Everyone Everywhere!
Yes, this is indeed how the story goes. You are in the middle of your favorite dessert, not even one-third into it and it is yanked out from under your chin while you still hold your spoon in the air about to scoop-up another bite. Whoosh! It is truly the epitome of a “never saw that coming” moment! A plot-twist that fooled/fools every single person who ever met New-Man and/or his parents, or ever heard the remarkable prediction-fulfillments of centuries long expectant news. Vanishes, supposedly never to be heard from or seen again for seventeen years! Gone. Huh? Yes, poof… into total nothingness, silence, and indifference by all New-Man’s fanatics, admirers, enemy or allied leaders, Magi or scholars of the day. Suddenly, no one cares anymore! Seriously? Are you as baffled by and suspicious of this bombshell as I am?
Are you asking the same question(s) as I did? I’m very curious, what is it/are they?
Live Alive! — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
Should you have any further interest in additional incongruencies of folklored Christianity and its obscured origins and testaments, read these following op-eds:
Previously in Part II, methods of manufacturing uncertainty and five historical cases in which doubt was produced, the ignorance surrounding women’s bodies and pleasures both lost and suppressed, and the lost knowledge and worlds of West Indian abortifacients were briefly covered. Here in Part III I would like to cover cases of artful fabricated facts or conscious lying and how it might be recognized, how indigenous fossils have become lost worlds and knowledge, and finally how understanding the benefits and advantages of historical-interdisciplinary hindsight can improve one’s bull-shit detecting skills.
Once again, I apologize for the length. I realize this Part is over 5,400 words, but its content is critical, too vastly unknown today by the general American public, that again I just couldn’t reduce the word-count anymore than I have. I hope you’ll understand why when finished reading. Thank you in advance for your patience.
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Fabricating Facts (line break)
Profiling and discerning the who(m), what, where, when, and why of fabricators, their fabrications, infection, placebos and/or actual cures for individual or humanity’s honest betterment is not a Sherlock Holmes skill-set we are born with. It takes trial and error, often MANY trials and errors, over appropriate time, and hedged by just as many or more learners and teachers. Here are some uncinematic examples of prolific fabrication…
Secret Anecdotal History In 6th century CE Palaestina Prima, Byzantine historian and scholar Procopius secretly wrote a collection of abusive defamatory works about Emperor Justinian and other aristocratic elite whom he glorified in actual published works. After his death the writings became known as Anecdotal, which means a short obscure account of an event or events often for amusement and unsubstantiated. In our case here, truthy… maybe, possibly, probably fabricated. Political anecdotes are most suitable for casting degrees of public doubt.
Benjamin Franklin’s Boston Newspaper Hoax In 1782 a Boston, MA newspaper, the Independent Chronicle, reported a Native American tribe allied with the British had committed atrocities on American frontier settlers. The hoax-article written intentionally by Benjamin Franklin was to rouse pro-American and anti-British Crown sentiments. It was a significant propaganda success and proved very beneficial at later peace negotiations with the British Ministry.
Old French Canards 17th and 18th century French tabloids, known as canards, disseminated propaganda, one about a Chilean monster being discovered and shipped to Spain. This animal supposedly had “…the head of a Fury, wings like a bat, a gigantic body covered in scales, and a dragon-like tail.” The report was completely fictitious, but nonetheless became one of the best-selling broadsides in the streets of Paris—readers couldn’t get enough of the fake-news and ate it up.
Delmer’s “Black Propaganda” Radio Show From 1941 to 1943 in Nazi-occupied Europe, Sefton Delmer, known as Der Chef, regularly broadcasted what was thought to be actual news about the war and Nazi corruption to German listeners. The German High Command tried to block the radio signal, but unsuccessfully. As a result, Der Chef — who had a Berliner accent and came across as an old high-ranking Prussian officer — disclosed negative news such as German infantry receiving infectious blood-transfusions of syphilis from captured Poles and Slavs, two ethnic classes many Nazi-Germans despised. Delmer also gossiped on the airwaves that Italian diplomats in Berlin were bedding the wives of high-ranking officials and deployed officers. Through other radio stations, he introduced a youthful Nazi named “Vicki” that spread a mixture of real news taken from intercepted German intelligence sources and invented items like a nasty outbreak of diphtheria among German children. By most accounts of the radio broadcasts, as well as his Nachrichten für die Truppe (News for the Troops) air-dropped on the Western front, Delmer’s propaganda was insidiously effective and contributed at minimum to the disintegrating cohesiveness and morale of Nazi Germany.
The King Wizard of Fabrication One of the biggest, recent fabricated-facts scheme in American history was accomplished over a seventeen-year period by Bernie Madoff. The HBO film below summarizes the impact and ripple-effects well…
Bernard L. Madoff masterminded a multi-billion dollar Ponzi-scheme, defrauding thousands of wealthy investors, over 17-years until the Wall Street market began collapsing and imploding in 2008 from a Made-off-esque, unregulated, financial culture of greed, dishonesty, and severe lack of protective measures for common Americans wanting to trust and invest in the free-enterprise market.
Why Fabricate or Lie? (line break)
The June 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine writes specifically about this common, (natural? chronic?) human condition. According to the studies and researchers the article cites, “We all lie, but not all lies are the same. People [and assemblies of people] lie and tell the truth to achieve a goal: ‘We lie if honesty won’t work,’ says researcher Tim Levine.“ This graphic vividly illustrates the percentages of 11 reasons to fabricate, grouped under four general explanations:
The NatGeo article lists many other classic falsehoods, hoaxes, identity thefts, hoodwinks, scandals, and presidential untruths which infer the symptoms, behaviors, and mechanisms that manifest at certain rates from the cognitive psychology of one or a group. Hence, in this day and age an intimate familiarity with forensic psychology can be quite useful.
Be open as well as skeptical (to necessary degrees) to all sources of information and corroboration. “When you have eliminated the impossible,“ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth“ or highly plausible, as I like to quantify. This does assist one in profiling, impeding and/or countering fabrications. In my limited subjective experience and education, I’ve learned that the larger a collective database with interdisciplinary methodologies, i.e. verifications, comparisons, variance including reasonably opposed or contrasting perspectives, offer at the moment the best hedge against fraud(s). Presently, even technology must not be solely trusted because even it has proven vulnerable — e.g. internet phishing — and Yudhijit Bhattacharjee writes, “has opened up a new frontier for deceit.“
Lost Worlds and Knowledge of Indigenous Fossils
When the word “indigenous” is used here, it often indicates those peoples living on the continents other than Europe and Eurasia in the late prehistoric period, the ancient history period, and up until the Age of Exploration/Discovery (1400’s). Here specifically I will be referring mostly to the peoples of North America during those time-periods, also known as Native American Indians.
Secondly, it is probably important to quickly review modern techniques of fossil-dating before diving into this area, lost area of Indigenous Fossils Knowledge. How do modern archaeologists and paleontologists calculate the age of fossils? They have more than a dozen very reliable methods, all able to corroborate (or not) the others. Click here to learn more from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Adrienne Mayor is a research professor in the Classics-History and Philosophy of Science department at Stanford University. Her speciality is how “ancient “folk science” precursors, alternatives, and parallels [that of] modern scientific methods.“ She calls attention to five cases from Imperial Colonization to the Enlightenment where indigenous people’s knowledge of Miocene-Pleistocene fossils are completely missing in Euro-American paleo-histories. Of Mayor’s five cases, I wish to introduce these three: Mather’s Claverack Giant, Cuvier’s Mastodons, and Simpson’s Dismissals, with a very short mention of the Lakota’s Agate Springs Corkscrews.
Mather’s Claverack Giant Bear with me a moment while I state the obvious. Though the last of the Cretaceous dinosaurs went extinct over 65-million years ago, falling exactly where they were, then buried over several millenia under many levels of geology, erosion and/or excavation unearthed and still unearthed today all across the Americas. Native American Indians discovered these massive bones of giants long, long ago, countless centuries before the first Europeans set foot in the Americas. The bones became the oral traditions of the 800+ tribes (est. population of 50—100-million) on the N. American continent alone. When European settlers first heard of these bones from giants in 1705 from Iroquois, Delaware, Shawnee, Wyandot, and other tribes along the Hudson River, they had to see for themselves. Debates broke out between the Indians and European settlers over what the bones were and meant.
In 1712 Cotton Mather, a celebrated New England Puritan minister, wrote the Royal Society of London about the gigantic bones from Claverack, New York. What is a minister, a theologian doing interpreting archaeological finds? Dr. Mayor offers her expertise:
“Mather was a complex man: he demonized the “savages” as devil worshippers, but his writings show a keen interest in their knowledge of natural history, and Mather took the trouble to learn Algonquian. In his letter to the Royal Society, Mather argued that the bones belonged to a giant victim of the flood. This and similar finds in North and South America were “scientific proof” that giants had once inhabited the Americas and died when the flood inundated the whole world.”
Wanting to support his (and the world’s) Christian beliefs Mather used these Indian stories while at the same time asserting that the Albany Indian folklore was ridiculously unreliable. Though many Euro-American church ministers and theologians argued the massive bones legitimized native oral traditions of ancient giants. Adrienne Mayor:
“In contrast, Mather believed that all pagan mythology was inspired by Satan. Could the seemingly spontaneous interruptions in the letter [to the Royal Society of London] be an artifact of a collision between Mather’s faith-based belief system and his scientific impulse to be objective and inclusive by citing Indian giant legends as proof of Christian doctrine?”
Using contradiction for an end-game, Mather’s humoured dismissal of indigenous accounts further cloaked valid evidence to broader knowledge:
“With [his] decision to cancel out native fossil knowledge, Mather became the first authority on record in North America to deny Indians a role in interpreting fossil evidence. I suggest that Mather modeled his tactic on a similar strategy of the Roman historian Plutarch, whose reports of giant bones Mather cites in his letter. Plutarch described the amazing discovery of a gigantic skeleton in North Africa in the first century BC, but dismissed indigenous explanations as “fantastic legends” and scorned their language as “absolutely unpronounceable.””
Cuvier’s Mastodons Following the 18th century Euro-American indifference of indigenous explanations of enormous ancient fossils, the 19th century records and accrediting was hardly improved. In spite of Georges Cuvier‘s extensive use of both native South and North American Indian traditions of their non-whereabouts, he went against popular prejudices. Cuvier is considered the founding father of paleontology and due to his exhaustive work in comparative vertebrate anatomy, his theories of Earth’s extinction-events were often aggressively challenged by mainstream socialites claiming why God, having created all things and commanded them good, would only turn around and raze it to into the ground. Mayor explains…
“Cuvier was especially impressed with Shawnee and Delaware legends surround the “astonishing abundance” of fossils of mastodons and other mammals in the Ohio Valley. In 1762, five complete mastodon skeletons were described and measured by “les sauvages shawanais.”
The details that emerged from indigenous accounts were consistent. The giant beings had lived in the remote past but were wiped out by some violent destruction event before the era of present-day Indians: no one claimed to have seen them alive. These widespread extinction scenarios, from Peru to Canada, helped Cuvier to rule out migration and focus on catastrophic extinctions, and therefore were significant in developing the theories that established the new science of paleontology.”
Historians of paleontology today give no credit to Cuvier’s intimate deliberation over Greek and Native American fossil accounts and finds, nor any speculation of their impact on his theories. Only by reading Cuvier’s original memoirs and publications can one recognize the Native American sources. Cuvier’s modern translator, Martin J. S. Rudwick, does not disseminate any of the indigenous finds either. They’re simply ignored leading the audience to assume Euro-Americans found them.
Simpson’s Dismissals In the July 1935 issue of the Journal of Paleontology, E.M. Kindle, from Cornell and Yale Universities in geology and paleontology wrote that Native Americans deserve credit for their fossil discoveries. This was not to happen. Not then, and for the most part, not in the 21st century either. Why? In 1942 – 1943 renowned U.S. paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson vowed to keep out Native American compensation or recognition in their field of science. In two popular monographs Simpson all but blocked any exchanges between the tribes and Euro-American “finds and accounts.” G.G. Simpson maintained:
“The first vertebrate fossils to be seen by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere were mastodon bones collected by the Indians in Tlascala, and shown to Cortez’s army in 1519. A few casual finds were made in the next two centuries but these also had no sequel and cannot be called scientific discoveries.“ — Simpson, George Gaylord (1942 September). The Beginnings of Vertebrate Paleontology in North America. Abstract p. 130. Retrieved from: http://www.blc.arizona.edu/courses/schaffer/249/Ohio%20Animal/Simpson%20-%20Beginnings%20of%20VP%20in%20NA.pdf
Mayor continues about Simpson’s indifference toward indigenous involvement:
“Since there was no record of “continuous consciousness” of fossil knowledge in Indian culture, argued Simpson, their discoveries never resulted in scientific advancement and thus had “no real bearing on paleontological discovery.” Why would a towering figure like Simpson go to such lengths to deny Native Americans a role in the early history of paleontology?
Simpon’s drive to erase Indians from the story let to convoluted reasoning. In his descriptions of the historic 1739 discovery of mastodon fossils by Abenaki hunters in the French army, Simpson’s logic is torturous: “Even though Indians were probably involved in the real discovery” of the Ohio fossils, “they cannot fairly be called the discoverers.” Despite the Indians’ “absolute priority,” which has been acknowledged by French scientists since 1764, Simpson went so far as to create an ahistorical discovery scenario in order to give credit to the French commander of the expedition.”
This bias for Euro-American findings, procedures, and ingenuity Simpson ardently portrays can be further gleaned from the same web link above (Beginnings) pp. 132-138.
As in many cultures around the world, including the U.S., there are longstanding mythos of elusive, mystical spirits or angels of good, as well as evil. Have any been caught on modern video which support or prove their existence? The validity of tangible paranormal activity with the aid of advancing electronics and technology is still an emerging (scientific?) field. In the case of the Agate Fossil Beds in Nebraska, the Lakota Indians named the site “Animal Bones Brutally Scattered About” because their ancient oral traditions — like those of the desert nomadic tribes of Judean Hebrews pre-Old Testament — were legends of Unktehi, ‘evil water monsters killed by Thunder Beings‘ long ago. Lakota elders believed that disturbing the giant bones of the dead was “bad medicine.” Hence, on moral grounds, or virtuous ignorance, these details were kept not just from outsiders, but within the general tribe too.
[The silent-secret virtue] “evokes some aspects of the Puritan witch hunter Cotton Mather’s anxiety about the satanic influences of Indian fossil legends 300 years ago. Mather deliberately created ignorance as a strategic ploy borrowed from Plutarch.”
The fact that many modern place names originated from antiquity’s legends and continued into the 14th century New World and through today indicates people, no matter their continental ethnicity or methods of knowledge-preservation, observed and theorized sedimentary traces of Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene life-forms before “modern” Euro-American scientific investigations officially began.
These are a few cases of lost and/or dismissed knowledge. Would interdisciplinarity help lower or uncover cases of knowledge-ignorance? Would that have positive or negative consequences on humanity’s progress? (line break)
Advantages of Historical-interdisciplinary Hindsight (line break)
A Prelude — I feel it bears importance to mention or reiterate that with regard to all hindsights of history and science there are pervasive varying degrees of knowledge and ignorance inherent in their operations. Further still, there is no one extant human activity (e.g. religion; theology and their claims) that operates with complete impunity from interdisciplinary examination, verification, and universal collaboration. No one discipline of human activity should ever be above these jurisdictions, yes, including science and history. The concession to or theft of complete impunity, with its implicit power extensions, has too often had disastrous consequences for thousands-to-millions of souls. (line break)
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Ask yourself and answer this question, “Where will I be and doing what on July 15, 2023 at 12-noon?” Think about your answer for a minute before reading further.
Do you have a precise answer? Is your answer full proof and exhaustive? It might seem a silly exercise, but it does characterize several mechanisms involved in and constrained by ignorance. Dr. Alison Wylie of the University of Washington, USA, and Durham University, U.K., specializes in the epistemological unknowns of archaeology, its research ethics, and the social sciences relative specifically to feminism. It is her epistemic expertise in archaeology that I find useful in a broader spectrum. Allow me to summarize her archaeological approach to ignorance, in as few words possible, while also interjecting my own wider glimpses, then elaborate more the shadowing onto advantages of historical-interdisciplinary hindsight.
Intro: Mapping Archaeological Ignorance There are a number of factors and constraints to consider at archaeological sites when attempting to understand what is uncovered, unknown and why it might be unknown. Wylie examines several.
Epistemological Factors — a chief source of ignorance is the poverty of empirical data. For example, the scarce fossil evidence of hominid evolution compared to more plentiful prehistoric vertebrates of the Triassic through Cretaceous periods; the former strangely being significantly more recent! One might think most recent artifacts would be most plentiful. Another is technology which today can better locate, recover, analyze, and interpret data had not yet developed. Neurology and brain research are an obvious example. Epistemic deficiency isn’t the only factor; a noticeable inadequacy of theory also contributes. Observations without invigorating theoretical interpretations becomes mundane procedure. R. L. Gregory, Sir John C. Kendrew, and W. B. Webb, all contributors to the Encyclopedia of Ignorance (1977), elaborate:
[Mundane observations]“…are awash in detailed knowledge of form but not function, of correlations but not causal relations, of manifest pattern but not mechanism.”
Joined with historical-interdisciplinary hindsight, causal determinism, the language of precision, conjecture, and extraneous control, though always present everywhere, are further unpacked.
Ontological Constraints — levels of ignorance are often directly proportional to the expanding scope of knowledge, e.g. the more we know, the more we realize what we don’t know. R. W. Sperry explains this illusion of absolute certainty:
“A psychobiologist considers the implications of ongoing evolution: it “keeps complicating the universe by adding new phenomena that have new properties and new forces.” […] But the most daunting for these scientists is any phenomenon that is conditioned by human action and intention.” — Sperry, Roger W., “Problems Outstanding,” Encyclopedia of Ignorance, pp. 432-433
In gathering evidence we must factor in the projection or contamination, if you will, of the observer’s limitless ability to construct new frameworks, new twists, and new endings. From an intrinsic standpoint this is in essence theory and valuable. However, it also means exact science is impossible. That said, degrees of probabilities — the infinite divisibilities notwithstanding — can be, well, more exact when complimented with expansive historical-interdisciplinary hindsights.
Contextual & Normative Factors — standing opposed to the above factors and constraints are those doctors, scientists, and scholars who move their figurative microscopes away from ontological and epistemic ignorances, focusing instead on normative cultural, economic, and social factors. With chemical addiction general society has a complex and robust reaction to drug dependency, so much so that what defines addiction is less precise than the convictions about our knowledge of its causes. Geologists ask why is so much ignorance allowed right under our feet when scientists and engineers have been drilling in the deepest oceans with technology available for many decades? Considering epistemic, ontological, cultural, economic, and social factors within their contexts Dr. Wylie continues:
“…it is striking that these [geologists and addictionologists] do not chiefly blame biasing intrusions from outside science for the failures and limitations of inquiry they describe. […]
With the benefit of hindsight — specifically, thirty years of development in science studies — there is clearly considerable scope for asking why particular lines of evidence and theoretical insight had languished while others were avidly pursued, rebalancing the weight of the factors [above] in the direction of the political economy, the institutional structure, and the culture of the sciences in question, as well as the larger social contexts in which they operate.”
Dr. Wylie has begun inferring a symmetry thesis on ignorance she firmly believes: that contexts and factors which produce knowledge “…are quite relevant for understanding the production (and maintenance) of ignorance.” She insists that though these factors are symbiotic, we cannot always predict at any given time what all factors might be, their full impact, or the exact interactions.
How might these afflictions in archaeology or ignorance be minimized? Perhaps refining our powers of identification, a hearing the silence, if you will, can offer guidance.
Historical Silence Regarding the hazards of ignorance, the definition or composition of ignorance is inevitably sucked into battles of “objectivity” versus relativism and constructivism. The anxieties over error and ignorance, at least in archaeology admits Wylie, had created emergencies about every 30-years since these scientific disciplines began to professionalize as well as commercialize early in the 1900’s. It wasn’t until around the 1960’s that this fixation with ontological and empirical constraints on the depravity of insufficient theory shifted to political and sociocultural factors. Enter Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s study of “Silencing the Past.” Wylie finds Trouillot’s analysis of history very useful here:
“…there is no prospect, [Trouillot] argues, for eliminating the systematic ambiguities inherent in the way we use the term history to refer both to events in the past and to the narratives by which we understand the past in the present. History, the narrative, is produced at innumerable sites, few of them controlled by professional historians and all of them deeply structured by contemporary interests and power relations. What we do not know, as much as what we do know, tracks power as it operates in social contexts both past and present.”
Trouillot considers four stages of historical productions:
genesis of textual clues or traces
collection of these clues/traces into an archive
retrieval of clues/traces as facts for deposit into historical narratives
development of narratives with retrospective impact
At every juncture of the aforementioned epistemic and contextual-normative factors, coupled with the ontological constraints, these four stages symmetrically outline our knowledge and ignorance. Dr. Wylie probes these stages with three lenses.
Empirical & Ontological Factors — empirically speaking, the attrition or decay, displacement, or destruction of material traces and artifacts, as well as hyped optimism over the nature of garbage, are significant imprinting factors upon Trouillot’s first and second stages. Regarding a peoples garbage and artifacts, explains Wylie…
“…the production, consumption, circulation, and discard of material culture are as deeply structured by power relations as is the creation [and collection] of a textual record. […]
Here ontological constraints enter: what archaeologists can know (or know reliably) is conditioned by the differential survival of stone tools and metal artifacts, fired ceramics, and architectural features, by contrast, for example, [to biodegradable items].”
Further still, the seemingly egalitarian nature of a population’s waste or discarded items (which does provide a general theme of the people’s lives), is not represented equally from the rubble. Hence, this takes us to Trouillot’s third stage: retrieval of facts for entry into a narrative. “Here the entire spectrum of epistemic and sociopolitical factors are in play” says Wylie. What is understood about a subject is as dependent on visibility, the means to find it/study it, and manage it technologically, as it is to what the observer finds valuable. Retrieval and formation of usable facts of an archive or pool of data “…is very largely a function of what questions we know to ask and what material traces we know (how) to look for in attempting to answer them” for a narrative.
Given these considerations, factors, and constraints, archaeologists and historians alike must respect the reasonable parameters of evidence, taking care not to indulge too deeply in the forms and speculative practice of social configurations or religious dynamics, both with their hazards. Consider Diogenes of Sinope and his large wine cask—the researcher-observer may find his tub, but altogether miss its resident.
Theoretical Considerations — by the 1960’s and 70’s there was a strong reaction to the traditional skepticism of reliable archaeology. New modern archaeologists insisted the limitations of full understanding reflected, not ontological obscurity and empirical scarcity of extant clues/traces, but rather deficiencies of the valuable theories supplied to inquiry. As a result, the New-Era Archaeologists brought two strategies for redesigning Trouillot’s stages three and four to the skeptics:
reorientation of all retrieval modes: all evidence and artifacts (excavation, data analysis, survey) should be tested to problem-oriented questions, not (random?) open-ended exploration, i.e. theorem building on evidence/artifacts.
increased expansion of stage three and four: frame or rent independent background knowledge, “mid-range theory,” within and from the sociocultural contexts and norms.
Dr. Alison Wylie cram-packs her summary of these two strategies. Get your oxygen tank and mask, take a deep breath, and bear with me (and her):
“The contours of possible knowledge and probable ignorance are shaped by the resources—technical, empirical, theoretical, economic, and social—that archaeologists [and historians] recruit for the purpose of constituting facts of the past: identifying, recovering, recording material traces, and, crucially, interpreting them as evidence. What facts (of the record and of the past) archaeologists can establish has everything to do with what resources they have internally, or what connections they cultivate with the collateral fields that supply the crucial linking principles, and this is a function of institutional dynamics as much as of internal, problem, and theory-driven judgements of relevance; of conventions of authority and prestige, and the shifting availability of research funds, as well as accidents of personal interest and connection.”
As we continue analyzing the historical silences, a less-fuzzy picture is emerging. Compared to our pool of knowledge, we are finding ignorance to be atlantic! Indeed, the distant horizons where “dragons” lurk, recede and turn into minnows as we frequently embark. Not necessarily as authorities, but as explorers, finding other explorers in unchartered and newly charted seas. However, there has risen a new phenomena, a strengthening storm, if you will. It is loosely known as modernized scientific skepticism.
Sociopolitics — since the early 1980’s, with an increased fervor in the 2000’s, there has been a strengthening reaction to whether science can know and understand the past, particularly archaeology. This storm challenge is explicitly cast in sociopolitical terms, even with threads of religiosity mixed in—the Christopher Hawkes top-rung of his Inference Ladder (Evans, C. (1998). Historicism, chronology and straw men: Situating Hawkes’ ‘Ladder of inference’. Antiquity,72 (276), 398-404. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00086671). The eye of the storm is directly against Trouillot’s fourth stage, narrative construction.
These new warriors against archaeology, science, and history argue that stage-four narratives about the past are inescapable from contemporary bias and significance. Though this is a plausible, universal argument, it overlooks genre or discipline-specific credibility-tests designed to expose possible contemporary bias and significance. What exactly is meant by this?
One could characterize this modern reliability debate as Exclusion vs. Inclusion. Consider Ian Hacking’s counter-argument to these new warrior’s skepticism. In 1986 Dr. Hacking presented his lengthy essay-argument to the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, and I paraphrase:
In the field of lucrative high-stakes weapons-research, when boards and scientists target specific troubles, time and resources are not only rechanneled away from other equally bright lines of research, but future options of research are also revamped before given a chance of success. This diverting reshapes the “world of mind and technique” where science operates.
Accurate and reliable scientific research and development takes necessary time, sometimes years, and the ripple-effect of these redirections, refunding, and defunding has consequences, as Wylie explains:
“By extension, this canalization of inquiry in any one field has implications for what is or becomes possible in other fields, determining what technologies of investigation, what collateral knowledge, is available for application in the kinds of interdisciplinary exchanges that have enriched archaeology [and history] from its inception.”
The present-day skepticism and worries by new warrior-critics has formed and morphed into an implicitly uncompromising constructivism for which at its core assumes there is little archaeology, history, and sciences, perhaps even technology can exhaustively account for other than layered silences; “expansive ignorance and exuberant invention” says Wylie. Trouillot would certainly take exception to this new-age opposition and posture.
In his Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, Trouillot superbly uses the folklore, myths, and legends surrounding the battle of the Alamo in Texas — today and for almost two centuries a popular lucrative tourist-site and sociopolitical extension of Texas’ proud Anglo-American image, “history(?)” and heritage intensively taught throughout primary and secondary public school levels — to make the crucial point of just why strategies and credibility-tests are necessary for historical silences or ignorance. I am also inserting two pieces of embellished artwork highly treasured inside our Texas state capitol.
“The lesson of the [Alamo] debate is clear. At some stage, for reasons that are themselves historical, most often spurred by controversy, collectivities experience the need to impose a test of credibility on certain events and narratives because it matters to them whether these events are true or false, whether these stories are fact or fiction.
That it matters to them does not necessarily mean that it matters to us. But how far can we carry our isolationism [exclusionism]? Does it really not matter whether or not the dominant narrative of the Jewish Holocaust is true or false? Does it really not make a difference whether or not the leaders of Nazi Germany actually planned and supervised the death of six-million Jews? […]
But how much can we reduce [oversimplify, extrapolate, biasedly project] what happened? If six-million do not really matter, would two-million be enough, or would some of us settle for three-hundred thousand? If meaning is totally severed from a referent “out there,” if there is no cognitive purpose, nothing to be proved or disproved, what then is the point of the story? [Hayden] White’s answer is clear: to establish moral authority. But why bother with the Holocaust or plantation slavery, Pol Pot, or the French Revolution, when we already have Little Red Riding Hood?
Constructivism’s[anti-science warriors’]dilemma is that while it can point to hundreds of stories that illustrate its general claim, that narratives are produced, it cannot give a full account of the production of any single narrative.[his emphasis]For either we would all share the same stories of legitimation, or the reasons why a specific story matters to a specific population are themselves historical. To state that a particular narrative legitimates particular policies is to refer implicitly to a “true” account of these policies through time, an account which itself can take the form of another narrative. But to admit the possibility of this second narrative is, in turn, to admit that the historical process has some autonomy vis-à-vis the narrative. It is to admit that as ambiguous and contingent as it is, the boundary between what happened and that which is said to have happened is necessary.
It is not that some societies distinguish between fiction and history and others do not. Rather the difference is in the range of narratives that specific collectivities must put to their own tests of historical credibility because of the stakes involved in these narratives.” — Trouillot, Silencing the Past, pp. 11-14.
And personally I would add “…must put to their own tests disclosed and compared to those of interdisciplinary credibility tests as well for increased accuracy” because of the stakes involved between fact-or-fiction!
∞ ∞ ∞ § ∞ ∞ ∞
Given the hitherto three-part coverage and hopefully amplification of some of the intricacies and mechanisms constituting knowledge-ignorance, how it’s produced, and why it has silences, it becomes clear that a form of enlarged intellectualism is presently needed, especially in the U.S., and nurturing (versus uncompromising) in the general population, or at minimum a trustin those few credible experts who have obtained it, in order to better monitor and counter severe imbalances. Therefore, in Part IV, the conclusion, I will examine social theorems of ignorance, perhaps white (yes, Caucasian/Anglo) ignorance, should time permit and you readers/followers demand it in your comments below, and then finally ask Where are America’s Public Intellectuals?… to help in this imperative movement. I hope you will join me. Meanwhile, please leave your thoughts about Part III below and I will do my best to respond. (line break)
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always