We view the past with a microscope from the present,

city fuckers viewing the ‘primitives’ with disdain, as though our fat bellies and haute coiffures were the essence of civilization. Even worse would be to glorify the primmies, of course, as though their stargazing was somehow superior to Hubble’s simply on principle. At one point, it wasn’t even clear that the ‘Indians’ were real people, and that chimpanzees weren’t. Things that just seem so patently obvious now weren’t necessarily obvious at all in the past. It wasn’t even obvious that men should seek sexual pleasure in the arms of their wives until the Greeks experimented long and hard, and played both sides of the fence. Of course then the Romans cultivated the art. They’re so romantic. The subject-verb-object word order of modern English and all analytic, isolating languages is a system that is found to work, not something innate or obvious. In a mysterious world of supernatural events, things are acted upon without clear antecedents, yielding an O-V-S order with no apologies. If the S-V-O word order was obvious to the Chinese, then that may be as much to their credit as, and ultimately related to, movable print, paper, and sweet-and-sour pork. They never had a zero, of course, nor positional notation, until they got it from the Hindus via the Arabs just like the rest of us, all except for the Mayas, that is. The Mayas apparently even had something else that very few great civilizations ever had: an appreciation of great ceremonial centers as places to congregate and corresponding disdain for large cities as places to live. Apparently it doesn’t occur to most modern historians that mega-cities are not only not the archetype of civilization, but are downright unhealthy.

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