Eurocentrism, Ancient History, and Ancient Egypt

“….the line of ill-intentioned Egyptologists, equipped with a ferocious erudition, have committed their well known crime against science by becoming guilty of a deliberate falsification of the history of humanity.

Supported by the governing powers of all the Western countries , this ideology, based on a moral and intellectual swindle, easily won out over the true scientific current developed by a parallel group of Egyptologists of good will, whose intellectual uprightness and even courage cannot be stressed strongly enough.”

“Civilization or Barbarism”, Cheikh Anta Diop

In an intellectual landscape dominated by the Marxist scourges of Critical Race Theory and victimhood-centred decolonization movements, it can be easy to dismiss claims made against “Eurocentrism” as spurious or vengeful. Indeed, defenders of the Western tradition will cite their many scientific achievements, advancements in human rights, rich written tradition, and democratic governance structures as defences against the leftists’ alternative, which we are quickly realizing is a headlong race to self-destruction. They will also compare their achievements against more “primitive” lifestyles, marked by things like child mortality and tuberculosis, which in some ways has merit but in other ways is subjective.

However, it has been said in many different ways that all criticism has a grain of truth, and the relentless attacks on the foundations of Western society are no different. Although many of the things that leftist activists say are patently absurd, some of their points, particularly regarding the Western understanding of history, are quite valid. Put simply, the way that human history is taught in schools provides Westerners with an anemic and shallow understanding of the course of human life, which has not only had downstream effects on Western culture, but also on individual life satisfaction.

What is History?

The general definition of the word history is “the study of past events”. This, true to the Western aesthetic, implies a detached and objective approach that seeks to discern truth from falsehood. What happened? What did not happen? This is how court cases are conducted, for example, and encompasses a great deal of historical scholarship.

However, to define history in this way is to ignore the profound importance that historical narratives have on our lives, both individually and collectively. It is a generally-accepted fact in psychology that our minds create models of the world in order to plan action, and that these models include both self-narratives and world narratives. In order to know what we are going to do in the future, we need to know who we are now and, generally speaking, “where we are”. This includes historical information about our self and our environment.

Therefore, to engage in history is to define oneself and to place oneself in context. It is difficult to know who you are in isolation – you need to know your history, the history of your society, and to some degree the history of the species. Indeed, when viewed simply as “the study of past events”, history is quickly reduced to a list of dates and names to remember for a test, not as a process of wrestling with one’s own identity.

How We Learn History

For the most part, the study of history in Western society is left to state-sponsored education. Curriculums of “approved” and “authoritative” material are condensed into textbooks, regurgitated by teachers, and accepted unquestioningly by young minds. Both the political left and the political right have expressed dissatisfaction with the content of these lessons, but not with the overall structure and approach.

Yet, if the study of history is, in part, self-definition, then what exactly has been going on in classrooms? In the days when the right’s preferences dominated, one could reasonably expect to find nationalistic overtures in the learning material which extolled the virtues of the country’s founders, the military exploits of its veterans, and so on. The obvious criticism of this is that it encourages mindless conformity and stunts the development of a cosmopolitan worldview. These days, where education is almost entirely dominated by the far left, history is cast as something to be ashamed of and rejected, as in the case of the Canadian residential school system or American slavery. Instead, mindless individualism is on offer.

Both approaches rely on the same mechanisms – textbooks, “authoritative” material, and teachers with ulterior motives. Neither serve as a platform to help the individual contextualize themselves within society, and therefore both are deficient to some extent. But how else could history possibly be transmitted?

An alternative method, very different from “history class” and with its own strengths and weaknesses, is oral history. For people who grew up within diaspora communities, “oral history” encompasses the stories, folklore, songs, dances, foods, and memories that are passed from elder to child through informal settings. Such historical information comes loaded with meaning, personal and interpersonal significance, and even guidance for behaviour that is often lacking in textbooks.

Think, for example, of learning to cook a recipe from a relative. There is a lot more that goes into cooking than simply following directions in a cookbook – even from simple tips on how to hold the utensils, family methods of checking the “doneness” of food, and variations on recipes that extend back through the family line. The same is true for the perspectives, stories, and most importantly context that is transmitted in these interactions. Such things never make it into history books, and academically fall under the purview of “folklore”.

The Limits of Oral History

There are two incredible feats of oral knowledge transmission that must be seriously considered by anyone who thinks that the game of “Telephone” is relevant in historical discussion. The first is what seems to be a thirty-thousand-year chain of transmission relating eyewitness accounts of a volcano erupting and forming into a mountain. The second is an actual game of “Telephone” played by Jewish teenagers.

THE STORY OF BUDJ-BIM

The Gunditjmara people, who live on the Australian continent, have passed down a story about a volcano they call Budj Bim:

Four giant beings arrived in southeast Australia long ago. Three strode out to other parts of the continent, but one crouched in place. His body transformed into a volcano called Budj Bim, and his teeth became the lava the volcano spat out. This lava formed the land that the Gunditjmara people have lived on since that event.”

For many years, the oldest recorded evidence of human settlement on the island was from 13,000 years ago. Then archaeological findings proved that the Gunditjmaran people – and nobody else – had been on the island for tens of thousands of years, even predating the volcano’s eruption. Where else would this story have come from?

This strongly suggests that when an indigenous person of any land says that their knowledge comes from long ago, that this should be given serious consideration. At the moment, many discard this kind of knowledge outright.

HIGH-STAKES TELEPHONE

In a test of the limits of oral tradition, a group of Jewish students played a game of telephone using complicated material as the “message”. This game was played in public, and passed flawlessly. More information is available here and takes about twenty minutes to watch.

African History

Although the problems mentioned above could be elaborated on at length, one of the most egregious and ongoing crimes of history are those committed by the Eurocentric West against continental Africa as well as the members of its North American diasporas. For centuries, the history of Africans has been written by people of other continents, and then repackaged and sold back to them in state-sponsored education facilities. In many ways, the Western interpretations of African history are grievously erroneous.

For example, it was long assumed by anthropologists and historians that the origins of modern human behavior, such as cave art, laid in Europe. However, the archaeological evidence, particularly more recent evidence, clearly shows that Africans were doing plenty of so-called “modern” things tens of thousands before humans ventured into Europe.

The Lascaux Caves (France)

“Proponents of the model known as the ‘human revolution’ claim that modern human behaviors arose suddenly, and nearly simultaneously, throughout the Old World ca. 40–50 ka. This fundamental behavioral shift is purported to signal a cognitive advance, a possible reorganization of the brain, and the origin of language. Because the earliest modern human fossils, Homo sapiens sensu stricto, are found in Africa and the adjacent region of the Levant at >100 ka, the human revolution model creates a time lag between the appearance of anatomical modernity and perceived behavioral modernity, and creates the impression that the earliest modern Africans were behaviorally primitive. This view of events stems from a profound Eurocentric bias and a failure to appreciate the depth and breadth of the African archaeological record. In fact, many of the components of the “human revolution” claimed to appear at 40–50 ka are found in the African Middle Stone Age tens of thousands of years earlier.”

“The revolution that wasn’t”, Sally Mcbrearty, Alison S. Brooks

The pinnacle of this type of thinking was the “Dynastic Race Theory“, developed by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, perhaps the founder of modern Egyptology. Based on some archaeological remains, Petrie concluded that a more sophisticated non-African group of people essentially subdued and reigned over the indigenous Africans, thus founding the first dynasties of Ancient Egypt. This theory, although it has been discarded by the mainstream, was prevalent for decades and made life much more difficult for African scholars attempting to have their perspectives heard fairly.

In effect, the advancements, achievements, and victories of Ancient Egypt were stolen from continental Africans, and handed over to Mesopotamian ramblers of no fixed address. African children grew up with no knowledge of what they were capable of, and what their heritage includes. Phrenology was also popular during this time.

The “Old Testament”

Not only have Eurocentric scholars dismissed many African thinkers for decades, they have also chosen to classify pretty much anything about Judaism as “holy writings” and therefore inadmissible as historical evidence. One may be interested to learn that Judaism has its own calendar, and that documents such as Seder Olam provide chronologies for many Biblical events, including the time leading up to, including, and following the Biblical Exodus from Egypt.

Additionally, some rabbis are able (although maybe not on the spot) to provide the chain of rabbinical succession that links the traditions they practice today to the Biblical Moses, who received those laws and traditions thousands of years ago. In an age where indigenous oral tradition is enjoying unprecedented interest and acclaim, it is curious that both Jewish oral and written tradition, with unique systems specifically designed for preservation, have been ignored.

Ancient Egypt & The Bible

One of the reasons for the West’s fascination with Ancient Egypt is its prominent appearance in the book of Exodus in the Bible. For those not familiar, it is written that the Jews spent over a century in slavery under Egyptian pharaohs, only to be rescued by ten plagues sent by G-d to destroy their captors. These plagues included a plague of boils, which killed many Egyptians, as well as the deaths of all Egyptian firstborn children. The river also turned to blood.

Naturally, these claims have been met with skepticism by both Eurocentric scholars, who can find no clear evidence for such events in the history of Egypt. But if Egyptologists have been wrong about so much before, is it possible they could be wrong again?

Indeed, there are a few issues that I cover in my new book (free chapter here):

  • The “Sothic System”, one of the primary dating methods in Egyptology, has been shown to be off by almost two hundred years. Correcting for this issue compresses the history of Ancient Egypt and makes the dynastic chronology impossible.
  • Multiple lines of evidence, including the Karnak King List, indicate that there may have been two pharaohs at certain times in Egypt’s history, one ruling Upper Egypt from Thebes, and the other ruling Lower Egypt, from Memphis. This fixes the Sothic compression problem, but makes the history of Ancient Egypt look very different.
  • There are geological differences between Upper and Lower Egypt that would make radiocarbon samples taken from Lower Egypt appear older than they actually are, further confusing the mainstream timeline.

When these errors are corrected for, there are in fact dynastic upheavals and evidence of the Biblical plagues in Egypt’s history at the time the Jews say the Exodus happened, as well as historical documentation of this miraculous exit. The implications of this, both for Egyptology and more generally for followers of the Abrahamic religions, are profound.

All of these insights, of course, have been developed, carried, and shared primarily by African and Jewish scholars working diligently for decades – even centuries – with no respect or support from the academic mainstream.

Video Recommendations

For those interested in African history and Egyptian history, these videos are highly recommended: