The Unseen is Unknown

What if some ancient Orwellian 1984-style history filtering system had actually succeeded?  We would never know about what exactly it had filtered out.  Thus we would never discover any contradiction between its filtered version of history and the real one.  The unseen past is unknown, by definition.  This is the Unknown Unknown problem of history and archeology.

History filtering has been the standard operating procedure of many ancient civilizations.  The Persians appropriately refer to it as “striking out from the book of time”.  Archeologists have trouble finding material support even for events that are recorded as witnessed by multiple independent sources.  It would not be too difficult to destroy some already scarce historic evidence.  Especially in ancient times: just grind a few clay tablets and kill a few dozens literate enemies.

We cannot hear the mute.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s