Saturday, 24 June 2017

Perception 3.0

Once you catch someone out in a lie, it is very difficult to believe anything else they say. Some things you know to be false aren't always a matter of deception, sometimes it is merely a flawed perception. Life is certainly strange enough for incredible things to happen but it is foolish to blindly believe everything people tell you.

From Inception and Deception we can pretty much be certain that Moses came up with the idea of monotheism. Whether he did in fact see God, E.T., or just had too much singing syrup is moot. Instead of arguing what can or cannot be proven, let's look at motive. Hammurabi introduced a code of laws in Mesopotamia - the ancestral home of Abraham's people - during his reign (1792-50 BC) which was around the time Joseph flourished in Egypt. Was Joseph and ergo his descendants, aware of Hammurabi's code of laws and was this what inspired the 10 Commandments. Of his intent with the code of laws Hammurabi states they were "to make justice visible in the land, to destroy the wicked person and the evil-doer, that the strong might not injure the weak". Leading a multitude through a desert for 4 years (yes 4, not 40) would not be without its challenges. Rules needed to be made but enforcement could be tricky.

You would think Moses could pretty much write his own ticket after the escape from Egypt, especially with the tsunami decimating the pursuing army. Unfortunately for him things weren't so simple. A lack of water made many of his followers regret leaving Egypt. Even when they found an oasis they had to battle a nomadic tribe (Amalekites) who frequented the area. Curiously a biblical account states Moses was worried his people would stone him to death if he didn't find water. Seems bloody ungrateful to me and it may have prompted the 10 Commandments (there were actually over 100 but most accounts just list the Top 10). The people clearly needed to be kept under control, if only for his own safety.

The Commandments themselves are very reasonable, basically they just say 'be nice to each other'. Taking that into consideration, what happened next seemed a little hypocritical. Moses sent spies into Canaan although the purpose is unclear. The Israelites had been absent from Canaan for a couple of centuries, if they thought the Canaanites - with whom they had failed to integrate before - were going to welcome them back with open arms they were mistaken. Not only that, given their previous position, the Israelites would expect to rule. After the death of Moses, Joshua led an army and rampaged through the land of Canaan.

Joshua led the destruction of Jericho, then moved on to Ai, a small neighboring city to the west. This time he was defeated and withdrew with thirty-six Israelite deaths. The defeat was attributed to Achan taking an 'accursed thing' from Jericho, resulting in Achan and his family and animals being stoned to death to restore God's favour. Joshua then went on to defeat Ai. The Israelites countrolled much of the land and divided it up amongst themselves. To further exacerbate the situation, the Israelites once again failed to integrate with the defeated Canaanites. Joshua stated the Israelites should 'have no fellowship with the native population, because it could lead them to be unfaithful to God'.

Fast forward 3,000 years and this war still simmers, frequently boiling over. The point to all this is perception. On an initial analysis it is pretty damning evidence that the Israelites were clearly the bad guys. Not just once either. Abraham first took his people to Canaan where he declared they would settle. It caused a few problems but they were quickly remedied when famine hit. Abraham then abandoned Canaan and moved on to Egypt.

On his return he ousted the weakened and over-extended Elamites and one might say earned the right to rule over Canaan. However, Abraham's great grandson Joseph found himself in Egypt and soon after the rest of the clan moved there. Many talk of Moses leading the children of Israel from slavery back to the promised land but it doesn't look that way to me. Abraham's descendants chose to go to Egypt and for a second time abandoned Canaan. They only became slaves when things soured a few hundred years down the line. I fail to see how they could still lay claim to the land of Canaan, and no doubt so too did the Canaanites.

Things are slightly more complicated. The Israelites were actually Sumerians and they were forced to leave their own land due to the Elamite invasion. The problem was that once the Elamites were forced back to their own territory (modern day Iran), the Sumerian refugees didn't return to their homeland. This is a problem that has persisted throughout time. History shows us many countries infiltrated by colonists or conquerors. A plethora of nations and creeds have fought for world domination. It needs to stop but how do you draw a line in the sand. At what point is the cut off.

Take New Zealand as an example. The Maoris will - with some justification - claim the white man stole their land. What is not quite so well known is the fact the Maoris weren't the first to colonise New Zealand, a tribe called the Mori Ori were and the Maoris pretty much ate them all. It seems hypocritical to say "give me back the land I stole". To a lesser degree, similar could be said about America. Once again the white man colonised land already settled by indigenous peoples, and mostly through war. I do wonder though how many indigenous tribes fought each other with a view to seizing territory.

These problems can never really be resolved until greed is eliminated. When greed and self-interest makes way for empathy and selflessness, it won't matter where the lines on a map are drawn. People need to change their perception on the true meaning of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment