We’re headed homeward to our mother port in the deep south of Minnesota at the time of the 2017 Solar Eclipse. A heavy rain is falling and we’ve had to pull over three times and stop on the interstate, the eclipse brought us moisture and dimness.
As people start to post incredible eclipse picture and appreciate the curiosity of this solar/lunar event. I ponder the previous generations that have witnessed such planetary awe. Being a student of History and Anthropology and Sociology, it has always made me wonder how past civilizations appreciated celestial events like the eclipse that just occurred.
As a civilization we have been some what organized for perhaps ten or twenty thousand years. That equates to perhaps 300 to 600 generations of people. About 300 generations ago we learned how to make beer, so surely we were becoming civilized.
Humanity has witnessed many celestial events. In 585 BC a solar eclipse was recorded and numerous others events were recorded throughout heathendom and Christendom. Our history is fraught with misdirected fears and during the middle ages people were burned at the stake for practicing witch craft which might have been the birth of herbalists or modern medicine. Imagine what might have happened when the eclipses occurred in different societies? When the day went dark….
Perhaps this was the origin of religions? Or magical thinking? Surely there were many places where sacrifices were made.
The Sun was a deity in numerous religions and there must have been people that were fascinated by the eclipse phenomena and did not flee in terror. Instead these people may well have stared at the eclipse in wonderment. Large populations would have suffered the wrath of their God by the ensuing blindness that occurred. A punishment so permanent nobody could consider doubting. The mass blindness burdened their struggling society for a generation or more.
I think there is some notion that within the last 300 generations many societies started sacrificing animals rather than humans. It seemed less personal and caused a bit less angst amongst family members. There are many things that could be better in this world and as the population increases exponentially we will surely be faced with continued trials and tribulations.
We should have paused for a moment as the Moon obstructed the Sun and we should have sighed a breath of relief.
We have finally become informed enough to know that this is a natural occurrence and not of some God wanting vengeance, blood or sacrifice. Alas, Sacrifices have diminished. Ten or fifteen generations ago the earth was flat. At about that same time we came to realize something called gravity. We also came to realize that we live on a heliocentric planet. We’ve come to understand many things by educated people working tirelessly in numerous fields.
I take a moment to thank the scientists in my life that have dedicated their lives to pursuing knowledge, answering questions that only lead to more questions. They are the ones that move our society forward creating greater understanding for all.
See you out on the trail!