Since I was a child I have been fascinated with that nebulous period of time known as prehistory, the time before written records.
Originally published on LinkedIn — March 5, 2021
All right, I want you to listen up, you amazing sons and daughters of mothers. I want you to read this. Every dang word. Ya got that? I’ll want a written report from each of you, due Monday. I want five pages, typed on an old Underwood typewriter, without so much as one error. If you say anything contrary to what I think, you’ll flunk. Have a great weekend.
Here we go.
I was bored. Lord, I was bored. I wanted to run for the door. I was frustrated. I was burned out. I would not subject myself to this any longer. The man standing before me droned on and on about the demands required of me for the next three months. For seven years my time had not been my own, four in the Marine Corps, and three in school. Others controlled me. In three years I had completed four years of college, and had earned my bachelor’s degree. I immediately began work toward a masters. Today was the first day. My heart just wasn’t in it. I wanted to be free. At the end of class I made my way to the office, and dropped out. It was not to be the end of my education. It was the beginning.
I was tired of other people telling me what I had to read, and the imposed deadline when a written report would be due. I wanted to read at my own pace. I wanted to take time to reread, to close the book, shut my eyes, and ponder on what I had just read. I paid no attention to time. I didn’t care how long it took. I didn’t look at the page number I was on, or how many pages I still had left to read. The objective was to learn, not finish the book.
I couldn’t wait to get home. Three books called out to me I had been wanting to read, but time had not permitted due to my college obligations – WORLDS IN COLLISION, EARTH IN UPHEAVAL, and AGES IN CHAOS, all written by Immanuel Velikovsky. My real quest was to search out the wisdom of the ages with a passion. Velikovsky set my mind on fire, kicked me out of “the box” and set me free. Over the last fifty years I have come to question some of his conclusions, but am forever indebted to him. He was a man not afraid to have his own thoughts in a world where such a thing was frowned upon. He was vilified by all the smart people, but I embraced his spirit, and courage to take issue with the sacred cows of academia. He set my mind on fire, as I said, but he caused their heads to explode.
Since I was a child I have been fascinated with that nebulous period of time known as prehistory, the time before written records. What was going on during this time? My quest has led me to study more than just history. I have studied geography, geology, archeology, astronomy, anthropology, and paleontology, but always with an eye to understand the misty history of the most ancient of times. I have had no agenda, and nothing to prove. As I have learned I have changed, or modified, my thinking a thousand times. What a wonderful luxury that is.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have spent time reading numbers of books on the historical times as well. I just like knowing about what has happened in the past, be it recent or distant. I have taken care to give thought to the turning mill of history as it has churned in my own lifetime. We live in interesting times, times when ignorance doesn’t just prevail, but is celebrated. History is not taught. It is being erased.
Okay, let me get to my point. I’ll begin with another story. I recently had a conversation with a man, and somehow the conversation turned to my intellectual quest. As I briefly spoke of the book I was then reading, I could tell he had no interest whatsoever. He said something that has prompted this writing, “Well, I’m not a reader, I’m a doer.” I smiled, but was saddened someone could think they had to choose one or the other. I’ve been a heckuva doer all my life. I started working when I was 10 years old. I will roll over three quarters of a century in less than two weeks, and I’m still a doer. I intend to be a doer until the sweet chariot swings in low for me. However, when my time comes I hope the book I’m reading falls on my face.
We live in a time when few seek knowledge and wisdom for its own sake. The various scientific, historical, and religious disciplines seem to be filled with folks who are vested in a certain point of view, and look to anything contrary as heresy. They are incapable of learning anything.
Those who do not read cut themselves off from not just the wisdom of the ages, but from the knowledge that others have to share about life itself. When I started thinking about starting my own business I read books written by successful business people. I wanted to benefit from what they had learned. You should become an open minded student in whatever might be your endeavor, whether it be to understand the celestial mechanics that cause the equinoxes to precess, or how to run a business.
We now live in a post truth world where people seem to know nothing, but think they know everything. Our children are not being educated. They are being indoctrinated. They are not learning to think. They are being told what to think by people who blindly think what others told them to think. Few dare to voice a different point of view for fear of being ostracized. We can no longer be considered an educated people. We applaud the death of history, reason, wisdom, and knowledge. Ignorance prevails. Civilized society crumbles around us as a result.
Nothing is more precious to me than intellectual freedom, learning something I didn’t know, and the right to draw my own conclusions.
Oh, I’m a doer all right, but I’m also a reader.
Now, y’all git on outta here. Go on now, git! I ain’t got no more time for ya. I’m fixin’ to go out on the back porch for some rockin’ chair time. I’m gunna fire up a good smoke, have a sip or two of some good hooch, do some readin’, and keep an eye out for Thelma.