Thinking Critically about Time: A Cyclical View of Knowledge and Civilization | Ancient Origins Members Site


Thinking Critically about Time: A Cyclical View of Knowledge and Civilization

Thinking Critically about Time: A Cyclical View of Knowledge and Civilization

Many people think of time as linear.  In other words, human beings begin ignorant, and as the ages progress, they become increasingly more advanced.  However, various cultures worldwide perceive time differently.  They think it is cyclical: human beings progress, they are wiped out by worldwide disasters such as floods or meteor strikes, and then the survivors begin again.  After enough time has gone by, their technological advancements compare to those of previous civilizations.  This might seem difficult to believe, but evidence to support this idea exists.  Besides proof of advanced technology used by ancient cultures, there are more than five hundred different stories that explain how people survived a massive worldwide flood.  In many cases, the stories are considered legends because they reference gods.  However, anytime something great or traumatic occurs, various cultures attribute it to divine intervention; just because a god is mentioned in a tale does not mean the event did not occur. 

Global Legends of Flood

According to the biblical account, Noah created an ark to save his family and the various plants and animals deemed worthy.  This story likely came from a much more ancient tale called the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which people entered tebitu (a ship that can tumble and turn) to escape the deluge.

The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian.

The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian. (Public Domain)


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