About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Life's Highways and Byways

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus speaks about the choice between two paths. The broad and easy road leads to destruction, while the narrow and difficult path leads to life. On the surface it is a deceitfully simple saying which is based on well established ancient metaphors; "path" as an image of life and crossroads as a metaphor for decision making. I am certain that behind this superficial simplicity lies a biting cultural and political commentary and criticism.

Small roads and paths are made by people and communities;
       while broad roads are built by states and empires.
Small roads are winding and respect terrain and even trees;
       while big roads take the shortest direction and uproot everything in their way.
Small roads are made by people to get around and to their neighbors;
       while big roads are built to connect cities and capitals.
Small roads are made to help communication and commerce;
       while big roads are built to project power and wage wars.

       I am not making it up; ask any anthropologist, cartographer, or civil engineer. Broad roads have always been built primarily for armies. The American Interstate System was originally devised and developed with civil defense and the army in mind. (The original official name indeed remains: Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways). The famous German Autobahns were started just days after the Nazi took over in 1933. The ancient Roman road system was built by Roman engineers primarily for the Roman legions.
       The first known extensive highway system was built by the Assyrians to expand and dominate their empire (probably the first known superpower in history). 
When we hear about Jonah preaching in Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) it was a direct challenge to the Assyrian's “evil ways.” Archeologists and anthropologists know these ancient ways and roads. They survey and excavate them. We can all learn from those ancient roads (their surveys and excavations) and so understand whether the Assyrians truly and sincerely turned from their evil ways. And even more importantly, we can ourselves individually and collectively learn more about this divine cartography and about our own choices between the ways of life and the ways of destruction.
2012-03-21 One very efficient way of surveying ancient archeological sites and roads is through aerial or satellite mapping/pictures. Ancient abandoned sites and roads tend to show out with different colour of soil. Recently there was an interesting article in the BBC science section about the use of aerial archeology in the above mentioned part of the world (Northeast Syria and Iraq).    

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