Humanism

This post is a summary of Chapter 7 of Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus.

Humanism is the dominant religion of the modern age. It underpins how we see the world, the stories we tell and our perceptions of goodness, beauty and truth. Rather than exalting a higher power, humanism places homo sapiens at the centre of the universe. By drawing their own purpose and sense of self, human beings can create meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. This world-view is predominates in western and secular societies today, even among the nominally religious.

In the past, humans believed in a world order governed by deities and spirits. Every man, woman and child had a role to play and laws to follow, but their destiny was not theirs to decide. While lacking in agency and power, humans believed life was worthwhile so long as they played their part. In traditional religious societies, laws and political power came not from people but from above. Reality was objective and priests and kings were its arbiters. The old view claims humans are unique but inherantly flawed therefore requiring guidance in their every action.

The Scientific Revolution uprooted the old belief systems. Discoveries in biology and physics revealed the world was random, and in effect purposeless. While most of the world was nominally religious, by the 1800s, many – in Europe particular – no longer let faith guide their lives as it had before, thus Nietzsche’s proclamation that ‘God is dead’.

Philosophers like Rosseau, Voltaire and Kant believed that human will gives meaning to an otherwise meaningless world. What you choose to do in life should not be God’s decision, or your parent’s, but yours. Our inner world is rich and alive – demons and angels exist not outside us, but within. People should be free to do as they please and love whom they please, so long as they do not harm others. Murder is a crime, not because holy texts say so, but because it infringes on another’s right to live. Art is what people agree it is. Legitimate power comes from the masses, not from above.

The 19th century saw three strains of humanism develop:

  • Liberal humanism: individual rights are paramount. History is a gradual progression of scientific knowledge and individual freedoms. Every human is unique. Voters know best. The customer is always right. Beauty is the in the eye of the beholder.
  • Socialist humanism: collective rights are paramount. History is a story of different groups oppressing others for their own gain. Humans are products of their environment. Politics, economics and art should serve the greater human good.
  • Evolutionary humanism: rights are irrelevant in the march of history. Humans are unique, but not all are equal. Politics, economics and war are engines of natural selection and human destiny is survival of the fittest. Art and beauty are objective.

The 20th century saw humanist ‘wars of religion’ fought worldwide. Socialism came close in the 1970s, but ultimately liberal humanism prevailed, and dominates the modern world.

Today’s world runs on the principles of democracy, human rights, individualism and a free market. Swathes of people may cling to older religions and worldviews, but liberal humanism dominates the world’s institutions. The greatest innovations of the past century, including modern medicine, computer science and feminism, stem from the liberal humanist tradition.

Sources: Yuval Noah Harari – Homo Deus

See Also:

Tonya the Machine Gun Girl

Antonina Makarova, known as ‘Tonya the Machine Gun Girl’, was a Soviet war criminal and Nazi collaborator. In her early twenties, she executed over 2,000 people with a Maxim machine gun and subsequently escaped capture for the next thirty years over a case of mistaken identity. Makarova was one of three women hung in the USSR.

Antonina Parfenova was born in Soviet Russia in 1920 in a village near Smolensk. She was the first in her family to attend school. When asked by her teacher on the first day, she could not remember her surname. Knowing her father was called Makar, the teacher noted her name as ‘Antonina Makarova’. 

When Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, Makarova joined the Red Army as a nurse. By January, the 21-year-old Makarova stranded behind enemy lines. Starving and distraught, she travelled from house to house looking for shelter. A month or two later, Nazi collaborators offered her a job. They needed an executioner, and Makarova accepted.

Bronislav Kaminski was a Russian anti-communist who offered his services to the Nazis when they took over his region. With Nazi support, Kaminski formed a brigade of anti-Soviet Russians under the SS around the town of Lokot. They assisted the Nazi occupiers by fighting the Soviet partisans operating in the woods.

Every day, the Kaminski Brigade captured partisans and their families and crowded them into a jailhouse which could fit 27 people. The following day, the collaborators led them to a ditch where Antonina Makarova mowed them down with a machine gun. She was allowed to chose clothes from the dead and spent her evenings with SS officers and local prostitutes. As Makarova killed up to 27 people a day, by 1942, her victims numbered over 15,000. Partisans called her ‘Tonya the Machine Gun Girl’.

Makarova later said:

I did not know who I killed. They did not know me. So I was not ashamed before them. Sometimes, you shoot, you come closer, and some people still move. Then I shot again in the head…. All those sentenced to death were the same for me. Only their number changed. Usually I was ordered to kill a group of 27 people–so many partisans fit into the room for execution…. At the command of the authorities, I knelt and shot at people until they fell to the ground.

By 1942, Makarova and the local prostitutes had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and were relocated to a hospital further behind the lines. When the Red Army reclaimed Lokot two years later, they could not locate the notorious executioner. 

When the war ended, Makarova slipped back into civilian life. The KGB, who were responsible for tracking down war criminals, were looking for an Antonina Makarova, not knowing her real name was Parfenova. 

Makarova married Victor Ginsburg, whose family had perished in the Holocaust. She lived the respectable life of a veteran for the next thirty years, built a good reputation in her village and had two daughters. Meanwhile the KGB assumed Makarova was already dead.

In 1977, a Soviet diplomat named Parfenov applied for a passport. As part of the process, he listed all his immediate family members. One name stood out to the officials processing his application – Antonina Ginsberg’s maiden name was not Parfenova like her siblings, but Makarova. Unwilling to try an innocent, the KGB spied on Makarova for the next year until eyewitnesses confirmed she was Tonya the Machine Gun Girl.

The KGB arrested Makarova on 1978 and tried her for murdering over 150 prisoners of war. She had killed more, but only 150 of the victims could be identified. Now 56, Makarova freely admitted to everything she had done but was surprised when the KGB sentenced her to death. She was executed, fittingly, by firing squad.

Sources: Pravda, War History Online

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King (1958) is a historical fantasy epic by TH White. The king is King Arthur. A collection of five books, it traces Arthur’s childhood as the orphan Wart to his old age and death. Beginning as a whimsical children’s fantasy, Once and Future King gets progressively darker and dramatic while maintaining steady humour and anachronisms. 

The Once and Future King includes five books individually published between 1938 and 1941:

  1. The Sword in the Stone (made into a 1963 Disney film)
  2. The Witch in the Wood
  3. The Ill-made Knight
  4. The Candle in the Wind
  5. The Book of Merlyn

The last book reads more like a philosophical treatise where, through Merlyn, White explores the morality of violence and war. Publishers originally rejected this book which is why White parts of it are in the Sword in the Stone. The Book of Merlyn did not reach shelves until 1977, 13 years after White’s death. 

White’s primary source was Le Morte D’Arthur (1485) by Thomas Malory. Once and Future King follows the same plot – the Round Table, Guinevere’s adultery and the final battle with Mordred – but gives greater insight into the minds and motivations of its principal characters. The Grail Quest is brushed over.

Arthur is a well-meaning and thoughtful but naive figure. He knows his wife is sleeping with his best friend but turns a blind eye because publically knowing would compel him to execute them both. He intends on bringing lasting peace to Britain by stifling the violent instincts of its lords and believes in following his own laws.

Merlyn is Arthur’s tutor. In this version of the Arthur story, Merlyn is an absent-minded, quirky magician who lives backwards. Merlyn knows the future – and references it often – but cannot understand where people come from. He tutors Arthur by transforming him into a series of animals to impart valuable lessons. His familiar is a talking owl called Archimedes. 

Guinevere is Arthur’s queen. She does not love Arthur but yearns for his knight Lancelot, with whom she shares a tempestuous relationship. Guinevere has a pride and is formidable when crossed. 

Lancelot, in this version of the story, is brilliant but ugly. He battles his insecurities and self-loathing by becoming the greatest knight alive. He loves both Arthur and Guinevere, but cannot stop himself from betraying his king. The strongest character in the book, Lancelot, is delightfully self-destructive. 

White places the Arthurian Myth in the 13th century. Arthur is a Norman King – his father Uther is an analogue to William the Conqueror. The real historical kings of England are referred to in this world as legends and myths.

TH White was a troubled soul who lived alone his whole life. He was a closet homosexual and a self-admitted sadist who spent his life repressing his violent urges. Rather than fight, he spent WW2 in a cabin in Ireland, where he wrote this book. White channels himself into the tortured figure of Lancelot and futile attempts at doing the right thing.

To this day, critics hail Once and Future King as the greatest adaptation of the Arthur myth. Contrary to fantasies of the time, character supersedes worldbuilding, making it read more like a drama than an adventure novel. 

The blurb of my version reads:

This is the tale of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlyn and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly; of knights, wizardry and war.

It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad; the masterpiece of fantasy by which all others are judged.

Wars of 2022

This is an ongoing list of wars fought in 2022. For clarity, I will use the definition from the Upsalla Conflict Data Programme, a leading authority on wars and conflicts.

A war must:

  1. Be an armed conflict between states and armed groups involving military and paramilitary units
  2. Have over 1,000+ battle-related casualties in a given calendar year.

The broader definition of ‘armed conflicts’ includes insurgencies and smaller-scale clashes. All wars are armed conflicts, but not all armed conflicts are wars.

This list does not include:

  • insurgencies spread across multiple countries whose casualties exceed 1,000.
  • wars whose casualties have not yet exceeded 1,000 in 2022. I will update, as these occur.

For a full list of ongoing wars, see Wikipedia or Worldpopulation Review.

Today, not all wars are as clear-cut as state conflicts were in the past, where one country fought another. Most are civil wars between governments and arrays of competing rebel groups. As most deaths go unreported, I have taken the highest average estimates. The casualties below are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

Burmese Civil War (Myanmar Conflict)

  • Since 1948. Civil war involving Burmese government and rebel groups. 2,000 + casualties.

Mexican Drug War

  • Since 2006. Drug war involving Mexican government and drug cartels. 1000+ casualties.

Syrian Civil War

  • Since 2011. Civil war involving Syrian government (with Russian and Iranian support) and rebel groups. 1,000 + casualties.

Yemeni Civil War

  • Since 2014. Civil war between Yemeni Government (with Saudi, US and UAE support) and Houthi Rebels (with Iranian support). 4,000 + casualties.

Russo-Ukrainean War

  • Since 2022. Inter-state war between Russia and Ukraine. 15,000 + casualties.

Likely to be Included:

Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky (1978-) is the current president of Ukraine. In a past life, he was an actor and comedian. Now he leads his country against a Russian invasion.

Zelensky was born in the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine to a Jewish family. Family members perished in the Holocaust and his grandfather fought in the Red Army in WW2. At age 20, Zelensky won a comedy competition and began a career in stand-up. He transitioned to acting and, by the 2000s, was a household name, starring in the Russian rom-com ‘Love in the Big City’ (2005) winning Dancing with the Stars and voicing Paddington Bear.

In 2015, Zelensky produced and starred in the political satire series ‘Servant of the People’. His role was a high school teacher who posts a video criticising his country’s corruption and the ineptitude of its politicians. The video goes so viral it gets him elected president.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. In 2018, the television network ‘Kvartal 95’ formed its own political party named after the show with Zelensky as its head. Servant of the People won the next election with 70%. Zelensky styled himself much like his character – an everyman outside of the establishment challenging the oligarch class. Some say he is just playing another role.

Since 2014, Ukraine has fought separatists in its Russian speaking eastern territories. Russia is concerned about Ukraine’s increasing closeness with the West and fears it will join NATO, an American led alliance. Zelensky sought dialogue with Russia and unity between his country’s Ukrainian and Russian speaking populations while pushing for closer ties with the west. His tenure was middling in its effectiveness to combat poverty and corruption and, like any politician, he had critics aplenty.

On February the 24th 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Harnessing his charisma and stage appeal, Zelensky emerged an unlikely hero, as he urged his people to come together and fight a near-impossible foe. Tens of thousands of everyday Ukrainians have taken up arms, and make Molotov cocktails in the streets.

When the USA offered to airlift Zelensky to safety, he refused, saying he would stay and fight. While critics may claim his move as foolish and impractical, one should not underestimate its effect on morale. These days, many world leaders hide in bunkers, when threatened by protest or riot. The historical memory of the Holodomor, Nazi invasion and communism are still strong in Ukraine. Its citizens do not take independence for granted. In this regard, Zelensky is no different from the millions who would rather give their lives than flee.

Sources: BBC, CBS, Chatham House, New York Times, Politico

Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

This video is of band Mazzy Star performing their most well-known hit – Fade Into You – in 1994.

Mazzy Star was founded in Santa Monica, California in 1988 by former Opal frontman David Roback and his friend Hope Sandoval.  Roback, who plays guitar, composed the band’s music while Sandoval wrote and sang the lyrics. Keith Mitchell played drums. Their music grew out of the neo-psychadelic scene of the Paisley Underground in 1980s Los Angeles, and combines elements of blues, pop, folk and alternative rock. Mazzy Star has echoes of the ‘LA Darkness’, often explored by Gen X artists from the area. Fade Into You was their only song to break the Billboard 100.

I find Sandoval mesmerising. Known for shyness, she performs as if the audience is not there. Coupled with the dreamy instrumentation, her voice is beautifully melancholic. I had never heard of Mazzy Star until this video showed up on my youtube homepage, after a spree of folk indulgence. Watching her for the first time, I all but fell in love.

Lyrics:

I want to hold the hand inside you
I want to take the breath that’s true
I look to you, and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth

You live your life, you go in shadows
You’ll come apart, and you’ll go black
Some kind of night into your darkness
Colors your eyes with what’s not there

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew

A stranger’s light comes on slowly
A stranger’s heart without a home
You put your hands into your head
And then smiles cover your heart

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew

I think it’s strange you never knew

 

Books I Read in 2021

Old Book Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave

Last January, I set out to read ten books in 2021. I did – but the extra two were work-related and I shan’t mention them here. Of those listed, three were translated. Regular reading does wonders, not only for learning but general concentration in our dopamine-saturated age. This year, I hope to read another ten – hopefully more.

January

  • Herodotus – The Histories (430 BC). The first book about history. All writings about the Greco-Persian Wars trace back to Herodotus. 5/5

April

  • Witi Ihimaera – Navigating the Stars (2020). A comprehensive book on Māori mythology. Well written and humorous. 4/5

July

  • Paolo Coelho – The Alchemist (1988). An Andalusian shepherd goes on an adventure to see the pyramids. Poignant but somewhat overrated. 4/5.
  • Miguel Cervantes – Don Quixote (1605). Spain’s best book. Hilarious but long. 5/5
  • Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea (1952). A Cuban fisherman goes out to sea one last time. Gripping. 5/5


August

  • Larry Mcmutry – Comanche Moon (1997). A horse thief kidnaps a Texas Ranger captain. Full of violence, adventure and melancholy. I devoured it. 5/5.

October

  • Stephen King – On Writing (2000). Part memoir and writer’s handbook. A useful aide. 5/5

See Also:

The Greenland Norse

The Greenland Norse were the Norwegian settlers who lived in Greenland from the 980s to c.1450. They scratched out a living on the island’s southern end, traded with Inuit and sold walrus ivory to Europe. By the 15th century, their society had collapsed – what became of it may never be known.

Greenland is the world’s second-largest ice sheet and largest island. It is an Arctic climate with only a few trees growing along its southern coast. Temperatures never surpass 10ºC, even in summer. 70% of Greenland is pack ice and its main inhabitants are seals, caribou, walrus and polar bears.

The name ‘Greenland’ comes from Erik the Red, a Viking explorer who wanted to attract settlers. To con them into thinking Greenland was anything but an Arctic waste, he gave it the ‘favourable name’ of Greenland. His native Iceland was, and is, far greener than Greenland has ever been.

Why did the last Vikings abandon their 500 year-old colony ...

The Norse built two colonies – the Western and Eastern Settlements. The Greenland colonies peaked at 2,000 people around the year 1250. They brought cows from Iceland to farm and grew barley in scarce ice-free soil along the coast. The journey from Iceland was perilous – of Eric the Red’s 24 ships, only 14 survived.

The Greenland colony was never self-sufficient. It relied on regular shipments of iron and other goods from Norway. The Norse killed walrus for their ivory. As the good was in high demand in Europe, the colonies could sustain themselves through trade with the Norwegian boats that visited every year. The royal crown of Austria, allegedly of unicorn horn, is actually narwhal.

Erik the Red’s father, Thorvald, left Norway for Iceland when he murdered his neighbour. Similar circumstances forced Eric to flee west, where he found Greenland. Erik’s son Leif sailed further west and landed in Newfoundland, Canada. He, not Colombus, was the first European to set foot in the Americas. The Norse clashed with the indigenous tribes, who drove them back to the sea. 

Inuit (Thule) whom Norse called Skraelings, settled Greenland in the 13th century from the north. They were better adapted for Arctic life – Inuit hunted instead of farmed, wore sealskins and burned blubber instead of wood. Norse and Inuit accounts record violence between the two peoples. The Norse also traded with their neighbours but never adapted to their way of life.

In the 1360s, the smaller ‘western settlement’ stopped sending tribute to Norway. When Ivar Bardsson investigated, he found abandoned houses and animals running free but no human bodies. Its people’s fate remains a mystery.

By 1400, the eastern settlement too, was in decline. The reasons are many:

  • The Medieval Warm Period ended in 1200, and the Little Ice Age (c.1350 – 1800) lowered world temperatures. Farming in Greenland was no longer sustainable. The Norse suffered while the Inuit prevailed. 
  • The Black Death wiped out 60% of Norway’s population. It did not spare Bergen – the port where merchants sailed for Greenland, and German pirates sacked it in 1393. Trade thus ended with Greenland.
  • As the Portuguese opened trade with Africa and India in the 1500s, demand for walrus ivory – and therefore the Greenland economy – plummeted.

The collapse of the Greenland Norse was not immediate. Younger people left, while the older remained and starved. When Norwegian missionary Hans Egede arrived in 1721, he met only Inuit hunters. Of the Norse, there were only ruins.

Sources: Fall of Civilizations Podcast, Pulitzer Centre, World History Encyclopedia

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The Irish Rebellion of 1798

The United Irish Rebellion of 1798 was Ireland’s first attempt at forming an independent republic. Both Protestants and Catholics rose against the British Crown and were crushed, though their struggle forever changed the nature of Irish nationalism.

Ireland was Britain’s first colony– the blueprint for its later empire. England conquered the island in 1171 and again in the 1680s. They dispossessed the natives and gave their land to settlers. By the 17th century, there were three populations:

  • Irish Catholics – native majority population, Irish and English speaking, Catholic.
  • Ulster-Scots – Scottish settlers and their descendants, concentrated in Northern Ireland, English speaking, Presbyterian.
  • Anglo-Irish – English settlers and their descendants based in Dublin. English speaking, Anglican.

Ireland had a parliament – but only landed Protestants could stand or vote, meaning the Anglo-Irish minority had control. Catholics could not purchase or inherit land.

The Irish supported the exiled King James II, a Catholic, at the Battle of the Boyne in 1691, but by the 1780s, a new ideology was afoot. Republicanism would be the dominant expression of Irish nationalism until the present day. Inspired by the American and French revolutions, activists promoted an Irish republic – independent, democratic and without a king.

The Society of United Irishmen was a republican movement founded in 1791. At first, they demanded greater autonomy for the Irish parliament and political rights for Presbyterians and Catholics but by 1794, they sought independence from Britain. Most of its leadership were Protestant, its rank and file Catholic.

Portrait of Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-98)

Wolfe Tone (above) allied Presbyterians and the Catholic majority against their common enemy. He was exiled and spent the 1790s lobbying support from France and the USA. Across the country, rebels formed cells and armed themselves with pikes.

In 1798, the ‘United Irishmen’ rose. Alerted ahead of time, British authorities arrested or murdered the rebellion’s leaders, leaving an uncoordinated uprising. The rebels’ only success was in Wexford and Ulster, where they captured a few towns, only to be defeated by the better-armed British forces. There were massacres on both sides. Wolfe Tone landed in County Mayo with 1,000 French troops, met defeat and cut his own throat before his hanging. After only a few months, British troops and Protestant militias had crushed the rebellion.

10,000 – 70,000 died – mainly rebels, while thousands more were exiled to Australian penal colonies. The Irish parliament dissolved itself, and until 1922, Ireland was ruled directly from London. Sectarian differences hardened: Ulster Presbyterians aligned with the British while republicanism became an increasingly Catholic movement. The seeds of later tensions were set in the aftermath of 1798.

Most of the rebels were poorly equipped. They fought with pikes and carried pocket sacks full of barley seeds to eat. After the battles, the British piled the dead into mass graves across the country, nicknamed ‘croppy holes’. At springtime, chutes of barley grew, fertilised by the bodies of the rebel dead. When cut down, they resurfaced the following spring. To the Irish, the barley symbolised the tenacity of their struggle – though beaten and cut down – they would rise again and again.

Sources: 1916 Walking Tours, Irish History, National Army Museum UK

Civilisation and Writing

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Not every human society is a civilisation. By scholarly definition, civilisation must meet particular criteria.  

V. Gordon Childe describes ten:

  1. trade
  2. urbanisation
  3. political organisation
  4. social hierarchy
  5. art
  6. specialised occupations
  7. science and engineering
  8. public works
  9. concentration of wealth
  10. writing

When civilisations grow in isolation, they are easy to distinguish. In our modern world, they are not. Of all the criteria, writing is the clearest way to separate one civilisation from another. Except for Japan, literate societies use only one writing system.

Writing has only been ‘invented’ five times. All other writing systems developed from five base systems invented in the Cradles of Civilisation:

  • Egyptian hieroglyphs (North Africa)
  • Sumerian cuneiform (Middle East)
  • Chinese characters (East Asia)
  • Indus script (South Asia)
  • Olmec script (Central America)

Europe and Southeast Asia only saw writing – and hence civilisation – develop because of their proximity to the five Cradles. The Roman script I write in grew out of Greek, which came from Phoenician, which, in turn, grew out of hieroglyphs. 

If we in the modern world trace our most-used scripts – Roman, Chinese, Arabic, Sanskrit, Cyrillic, and Japanese – to their origin, we trace all civilisation to its five crucibles. The original scripts have grown, mutated, cross-pollinated and diversified in the four thousand years since, but the fact remains: writing – and hence civilisation – was only born five times.

Modern scripts descend from only three of the ‘original writing systems’. The Semitic alphabets grew out of hieroglyphs, evolved into Arabic, Hebrew and Greek and supplanted cuneiform. Spanish colonisation drove Mesoamerican scripts extinct. Precluding cuneiform and the Olmec derived scripts, we can group the literate societies of today into three ‘civilisations’:

  • Egyptian derived – Africa, the Western and Islamic worlds, the Philippines, Latin America, the South Pacific.
  • Chinese derived – China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan
  • Indian derived – India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos
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There are distinct and varied divisions within each group, and the depth of these divisions generally correspond with how early their scripts branched off. Egyptian derived systems are the most salient case. Cyrillic (the Russian alphabet), Arabic and Latin were already distinct alphabets when literate Koreans wrote in Chinese. There is also a strong correlation between writing systems and religion. Most societies that use the Latin scripts today were historically Christian, while the spread of Arabic went hand in hand with Islam. Arabic and Latin script share a distant common origin, and so does Christianity and Islam. 

Over millennia, the base civilisations spread their influence through trade and conquest. They formed their varieties through fusion with indigenous societies like Aztec, Bantu, Celtic and Tai-Kadai. 

Some civilisations do not fit. Vietnam, for example, uses the Roman writing system but shares much more in common with its Chinese and Indic influenced neighbours. In cases like this, one can determine the civilisation through religious heritage. Modern Vietnam is largely atheist, but its heritage is Buddhist – a religion that grew from the Indian tradition. 

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The ancestor of the modern Indic scripts – Brahmi – may have itself derived from the Semitic alphabets, not the original Indus script. If true, this would put the Indic societies in the Egyptian-derived camp.

The laws, stories and histories which make civilisations have survived through writing. Writing, more than anything, shapes how the immaterial qualities of civilisation continue across time. All civilisation traces to the five Cradles and the clearest way to trace that line of descent is through written script.

See Also: