Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Jomon, the origins of the Japanese, and mankind's ancient past

Here's a link to a recent article from Past Horizons discussing research into the ancient history of Japan.

The article is interesting for several reasons. First, the research into the ancient cultures of any area is interesting in its own right. Additionally, the ancient history of Japan is extremely interesting, particularly the mysterious culture known as the Jomon, who left behind fascinating pottery, figurines, and stone circles. The questions surrounding the Jomon are discussed in some detail in Graham Hancock's Underworld, and they are questions with important implications for the mysteries of mankind's ancient past.

Further, the article touches on the fact that political and social prejudices in Japan have strongly influenced the conclusions drawn from evidence found in the past, and that they continue to have an impact today. This tendency is not unique to Japan, and in fact can be seen to have operated to steer the research that has been done and the conclusions that have been reached in many other places, including England and the United States, as discussed in this previous post.

While it may be relatively easy to spot the prejudices that skewed conclusions in previous generations (such as in England and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, or in Japan prior to 1950 as discussed in the above article), it is often more difficult to spot those that may be distorting the vision of academics today. For example, we have pointed out the way that a certain narrative about global warming and resource scarcity have led to new conclusions about the history of Easter Island which may be completely bogus.

The insistence by some groups that any historical narrative that threatens the idea that the Japanese have been isolated for over 20,000 years somehow diminishes their dignity or worth is also an example of another modern bias, which asserts the same thing about indigenous cultures in North and South America, or in New Zealand. Whatever we want to call this modern bias (perhaps "political correctness" is still the best term for it), it is a very narrow-minded view and one that tends towards the group politics and grievance-mongering that mars many institutions of higher learning today.

Thus, while the above article about the history of Japan may present some assertions about Japanese history as fact which may later turn out to be incorrect, it is valuable in that it reveals the topic of political and cultural pressures on scientific research and analysis, a subject that we often ignore or which we think only applies to the less-enlightened thinkers of previous centuries or decades.

We believe that the article's treatment of the Jomon culture as a somewhat primitive "hunter-gatherer culture" that was replaced by a more advanced culture "that could grow rice and forge both iron weapons and tools" may be incorrect. While the evidence that the Jomon were supplanted by a later influx of people very different from themselves may be correct, it is likely that the Jomon were not simply hunter-gatherers unable to grow crops or create advanced tools.

In fact, there is some evidence that the Jomon may be connected in some mysterious way to the ancient civilization that influenced cultures around the globe and which is discussed in the Mathisen Corollary and numerous books by other authors, including Graham Hancock.

Noteworthy in this regard is the Jomon figurine featured prominently in the Past Horizons article itself. In addition to the distinctive styling that is the hallmark of Jomon artifacts, the figurine features a very obvious example of the solar double spiral, discussed in some detail in this previous post. The direction of these spirals is no accident, and exactly parallels the double spiral found on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico which is pictured in the post discussing this ancient design. As discussed in that post, this double spiral is also found in the facial tattoos of the Maoris of New Zealand and those found on ancient mummies from the Tarim Basin, as well as in the very ancient carvings on megalithic mounds in Ireland which have a solar function.

While primitive hunter-gatherers would be aware of the sun's path throughout the year and its association with the changing of the seasons, the solar double spiral indicates a very advanced understanding of celestial mechanics, which even conventional scholarship associates with agricultural societies.

However, the entire conventional model of mankind's ancient past -- which assumes a very long period of hunter-gatherer activity followed by the discovery of agriculture and then the development of specialization and enough leisure time to pursue astronomy and other arts and architectural achievements such as pyramids and ziggurats -- is itself built upon political and social biases and beliefs which are held as dearly by most modern academics as the Japanese biases discussed in the article.

Many of these biases are related to a commitment to Darwinism, a commitment which reaches an absolutely religious fervor in some individuals. Suggestions that Darwin was wrong are as unwelcome in most schools and universities today as suggestions of ancient cultural pluralism appear to have been in Japan in the past.

There is extensive evidence that the entire conventional model of mankind's ancient past needs to be rethought, and probably discarded.