Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Vox Popoli: The foundation of civilization

The Dark Herald explains why the cultural war places so much focus on what otherwise appears to be a fairly insignificant aspect of the entertainment industry at Arkhaven:

Comics are the foundation of civilization. No, seriously, they are.  Comics were how the whole business of moving out of caves, growing crops, and building cities got started. 

Without comics we would never have had a means of passing on our personal experiences to our descendants, or keep records, or count to a number that was higher than twenty. They are that important.

The Altamira cave paintings are nearly the oldest in the world at 35,000 years of age.  These images tell tales of mighty hunts, dangerous beasts, and swift-footed prey. When the paintings were first discovered in 1879, the quality of the art was so good that its discoverer was immediately accused of fraud.  Understandably so.

The Altamira drawings are clearly the end result of a long tradition of artwork.  Using only charcoal, iron ore, and ochre these artists of proto-Spain created images that used shading, contrast, and various intensities of color to create a rough three-dimensional effect.  

The cave paintings at Lascaux in France are even more impressive, having been painted over the course of several generations. And given the level of sophistication of the works, it couldn’t have been a first attempt.  This was an established school of art.

These frescoes gave us, their remote posterity the only images we will ever have extinct Steppe Bison in magnificent herds or the towering Megaloceros deer or the European Rhinoceros in all its power.

The artists even signed their work.

This was art acting as (among other things) a means of communication, and it still works.  We were meant to understand the tales these earliest of comics were meant to convey. And we do.

A few thousand years later, art became not just a means of not only of storytelling but also record keeping.... The first system of Egyptian writing was found at Abydos.  Now I am using the term “writing” very loosely here. The proto-hieroglyphs found on tags there, were more like heraldry than a real attempt at formal communication.  It was just a series of pictures declaring that (for example) these twenty urns of grains were sent in tribute by the people who live in “the place with still water, rushes and Ibis birds,” or these forty urns of Beer are from the people who live on “the mountain with falcon birds.”

Read the whole thing there. You'll understand the particular significance of his choice of topics soon enough.