Historical Myopia, Part II: The Search for Alien Bricklayers

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A previous post of mine explored historical myopia- the idea that today is always worse than the past. An example I used was air travel; the common refrain today is that flying is as glamorous as a Greyhound bus, while air travel decades ago mirrors an episode of Mad Men.

We take the “good” part yet dismiss the context, the fact that only a tiny percentage of Americans could afford to fly decades ago. Along with other tropes such as the loss of family dinners, mom & pop stores, and the soaring costs of everything from soap to automobiles this form of historical myopia draws on our own experiences and those of no more than a generation or so before us.

There is another manifestation of this phenomenon and perhaps the best example is the current love affair people have with aliens and their supposed interventions with ancient civilizations. I realize this is a humorous and possibly trivial illustration but it is part of a broader idea that humans too often tend to view the past through the lens of the present.

Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of Ancient Aliens on History Channel

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