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October 20, 2002
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Photos taken from the space shuttle have revealed what is believed to be a 1.75 million b.p. human-made bridge from India to Sri Lanka. Incredibly, legend says the army of Vanaras (monkeys) built a bridge across the ocean to enable Rama (a Hindu Moses) to conquer Sri Lanka, possibly makeing it a 1.75 million year oral tradition. It is proposed to be a land bridge again.
posted by stbalbach (57 comments total)

 
Nice, spine-chill-inducing idea a la Arthur Clarke, but I have a very hard time believing *any*thing on the planet was speaking longer than, oh, 40,000 years ago or so...
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:27 AM on October 20, 2002


And, sigh, that third link is an ISKCON site...yep, the Hare Krishnas. Where'd you first hear about this?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:31 AM on October 20, 2002


Of course its not true. I think stbalbach is recounting a legend for us and tying it into a recent business proposal. The Hare Krishna's are dragging poor NASA into it to give their legend some credibility.

A quick search on Sri Lanka will reveal that that bridge is made up of coral islands. Maybe monkeys farmed coral for a million or so years :)
posted by malphigian at 7:47 AM on October 20, 2002


Wait'll Art Bell hears about this!
posted by y2karl at 7:53 AM on October 20, 2002


The source article is from the second link. The Krishna link is there because they have some good NASA pics. NASA is the one who says its man made based on physical evidence (I think). As for the legend of a man-made bridge connected to an ancient legend, you be the judge its a question of archaelogy and religion its like saying Noah's flood is true or not.
posted by stbalbach at 7:54 AM on October 20, 2002


Even more amazing is the land-bridge they made to Mars, where they erected huge deific tributes including a human faced mask a half-mile long, and a volcano, cleverly disguised as a natural penomenon, five times larger than Mt. Everest.
posted by kfury at 7:56 AM on October 20, 2002


And that second link is from Rense.com - where you can find such recent beauties as the blaming of the Bali bombing on the Mossad or the the USA. That photo may well indeed be a man-made land bridge, but I wouldn't trust Rense to sort it out for me.
posted by schlyer at 8:00 AM on October 20, 2002


NASA is the one who says its man made based on physical evidence (I think).
Don't just "think" - find and link to a quote from a reliable source ( NASA will do ).
Until then I think most people will file "bridges made by monkeys" stories in the appropriate receptacle.
posted by godidog at 8:01 AM on October 20, 2002


There are other examples of supposed man made bridges. In Ireland, a giant named Finn McCool supposedly built a bridge, called the Giants Causeway, from Ulster to Staffa, and island in the Herbides, using hexagonal stone posts.

The remains of the "bridge" are still there but they are in actual fact basalt columns caused by volcanic eruptions. The hexagonal shape is due to the crystalline structure of the basalt.
posted by PenDevil at 8:06 AM on October 20, 2002


NASA doesn't say it's manmade, and it certainly isn't. This is on a par with "The pyramids are three million years old and built by aliens!" Please, let's use our heads, shall we? There's all kinds of nonsense out there on the internet.
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on October 20, 2002


though NASA will deny this, george bush was constructed in the middle ages by sentient grasshoppers from antares who arrived in pyramid-shaped craft hewn of stone by the master mason monkeys they kept in galactic sex trade. this long dormant golem was reanimated by a rare combination of planetary alignment, barbara bush's date rape by drunken skull and bones alumni, and the milky excrement of a single gull dropping into the waters of the bermuda triangle at midnight on friday the thirteenth. and baby, you don't even want to know about cheney and ashcroft. doesn't anybody watch FOX news anymore?
posted by quonsar at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2002


Looks like the man-made bridge is a bunch of BS. Sorry. Humans were not doing much heavy earth moving 1.7 million years ago.

Traceing it back Rense.com is a repost from The Hindustan Times where the article is no longer online which got the feed from Press Trust of India (an India UPI) which the search engine is down. Given both these sources are mainstream it seems others were duped as well. I originally picked this story up from Exporator which is usually pretty factual and they ran it as the headline piece.

The real mystery is why the story was started. Perhaps the company building the new bridge is looking for justification to reshape a natural feature.

Anyway, learned somthing about a land bridge and Hindu myths and a future bridge proposal.
posted by stbalbach at 9:15 AM on October 20, 2002


More interesting, I think, than suggesting a pre-historic bridge (what's that? 1,750,013 years, 3 months and 6 days old), would be the evaluation of modern engineers as to the possibility of making a bridge there today.
That is, of course, assuming that you could get the Tamils to quit resisting outsiders and peacefully submit...
posted by kablam at 9:17 AM on October 20, 2002


There were no human beings 1.75 million years ago.

Next you'll be telling us about Xenu & Operational Thetans...
posted by Argyle at 9:34 AM on October 20, 2002


Those monkeys sure didn't build their bridge in the best place... I mean honestly, are we to believe super-monkeys wouldn't build the shortest possible bridge? That's not very super.
posted by rhyax at 9:57 AM on October 20, 2002


That certainly was a long time ago. Are we on schedule for the return of MtZylpl1x and his/her Golden Triangle Army from Sirius?
posted by four panels at 10:01 AM on October 20, 2002


monkeys built bridges? now the best thing we can find is the bathroom monkey
posted by birdherder at 10:10 AM on October 20, 2002


The real mystery is why the story was started. Perhaps the company building the new bridge is looking for justification to reshape a natural feature.

No mystery...Indian culture allows a more tolerant approach to legend and myth that allows for different truths from different perspectives to simultaneously exist, unlike the fetish for debunking that is typical of western culture and exemplified by this thread.

Another example is Ayurvedan medical practices which are dismissed by the ADA but will someday be accepted, much like acupuncture.
posted by goethean at 10:25 AM on October 20, 2002


oops. ADA -> AMA
posted by goethean at 10:30 AM on October 20, 2002


different truths from different perspectives

goethean, what do you mean by "truth"? The "bridge" was not built by humans 1.75 million years ago, end of story. Is anything anyone says some kind of "truth"? Read quonsar's delightful creation myth about Bush above; is that equally "true"? Western culture has made the progress it has by "debunking" things that aren't true. It's one thing to say "Well, X isn't true, but it's a nice story and has led to some impressive art/music/whatever"; to say "hey, it's all true, man!" is to abandon the capacity for rational thought that differentiates us from lower primates.
posted by languagehat at 10:37 AM on October 20, 2002


It must be true!! After all, we all know that if you give an infinite amount of monkeys an infinite amount of stones to throw into the ocean, eventually they'll build a bridge.
posted by pyramid termite at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2002


I agree goethean rather than debunk it how about some possible explanations. Granted its pretty far out but still fun to think about, mythology is entertainment.

Perhaps the bridge really is recent like the myths say about 5000 years ago and was man-made or enhanced from an existing natural structure.

One explanation might be the story is a misprint and it could be 175,000 years in which case it's possible a human ancestor like Neandrathal could have been around. The bridge formed over thousands of years due to human activities such as oyster beds or perhaps the ocean was lower and formed a natural bridge and human activity built it up somehow.

BTW just checked out Ayurveda looks cool.
posted by stbalbach at 11:15 AM on October 20, 2002


Thanks for the vote of confidence, stbalbach, but in my opinion, myth is not just entertainment...for millions, myth is truth.

A philosophical view that tries for wholeness and attempts to integrate perspectives rather than to merely show one is right and all the others wrong, would admit myth as different than scientific truth but not therefore less true.

Languagehat, there are other things that separate us from the primates, including language and morality. And, unsurprisingly, there is also much that we have in common with primates.

Another example from India. Many Indians, even very westernized ones, consult Vedic horoscopes when deciding on a mate. Undoubtedly, debunkers would say that they are being scammed by con artists. A more careful philosophy of knowledge would not want to invalidate the widespread, fruitful practices and beliefs of millions as irrelevant, false self-deceit..

In the west, our mania to debunk has led to a disenfranchised fundamentalism who fear Darwinism as nihilism and cling to a creation myth. In India, even many of the most westernized and scientifically-minded would shrink from calling the legends of Rama and Shiva "false". Compared to that, our belief in science uber alles above everything looks like nothing more than a fundamentalism.
posted by goethean at 11:40 AM on October 20, 2002


boogyman lives.
posted by quonsar at 12:02 PM on October 20, 2002


Hmm, next you'll be telling me that the world is going to end...
posted by Stauf at 12:05 PM on October 20, 2002


The bridge (Sethu Bandanam) was created by the army of monkeys for Lord Ram (not the Moses, but an avtar of Lord Vishnu), so that he could go to Lanka and rescue his wife Sita who was kidnapped by Ravan (the ruler of Lanka). If you go to Rameswaram, you fill find the stones from the bridge there. This incident is part of the epic known as Ramayan.
posted by riffola at 12:10 PM on October 20, 2002


Indian culture allows a more tolerant approach to legend and myth that allows for different truths from different perspectives to simultaneously exist

In other words, they tolerate ignorance and utilize falsehoods in constructing their worldviews? That's certainly not my take on Indian culture.

Myth is metaphor. On that level, it may frequently represent "truth." All those who fail to comprehend this and seek to imbue it with an authenticity it doesn't have (that, indeed, is antithetical to its nature) in an attempt to justify a different kind of "truth" are dunces, pure and simple.

A more careful philosophy of knowledge would not want to invalidate the widespread, fruitful practices and beliefs of millions as irrelevant, false self-deceit..

Nonsense. The number of participants in a fraud or a fiction is irrelevant. Millions of people are ill-informed or mistaken about a broad variety of things every day; that doesn't somehow make those things more valid.
posted by rushmc at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2002


A quick search on Sri Lanka will reveal that that bridge is made up of coral islands.

Maybe the monkeys or alien visitors or prehistoric humans (that we didn't know existed) built their bridge on top of the coral? I certainly want to believe these things. No, really.

But the "justification for a new man-made bridge project " theory is probably more in line with boring, profit-based reality. **Siiigh**

Finn McCool supposedly built a bridge...

Okay, now that's going to far, saying Finn didn't build the Causeway...
posted by Shane at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2002


quonsar is god. he built YOU. yes, you.
posted by Hackworth at 12:27 PM on October 20, 2002


I'm under the belief that either monkeys got stupider (could be, I mean we,re getting stupider even in this thread) or the smart monkeys all left for the center of the earth (ala Simmes) or the bridge is really made of dead monkey skeletons, (now that would be cool)
posted by Elim at 1:23 PM on October 20, 2002


The bridge across the Palk Strait is not new to the people of India & Sri Lanka. As for the monkeys, they probably were one of the Dravidian tribes, they were simpler than the then urban folks from Northern India, so therefore due to their lifestyles they were referred to as monkeys.
posted by riffola at 2:07 PM on October 20, 2002


Even assuming we take the myth as absolute fact, which is a dumb thing to do, why are they calling it Adam's bridge and not, say, Rama's bridge? Is it THAT Adam they're referring to, or some scientist or cartographer or something? Cuz if they've co-opted a hindu myth with a christian name for no reason, I'll be peeved.
posted by Hildago at 2:19 PM on October 20, 2002


I was picturing, well... monkeys.
posted by eddydamascene at 2:22 PM on October 20, 2002


I for one welcome the return of our coral-farming, bridge-engineering ancient monkey overlords.
posted by agentfresh at 2:41 PM on October 20, 2002


Hildago: Your question was raised on a fascinating thread on DialogNow ("civil & thoughtful dialog about India & Pakistan"); here's the exchange:

#8 Dumbo that I am: I still ask the same question: if this is really a NASA certified picture,if what is seen is true,irrespective of whether it is a man made or Nature misbegotten structure who the @#$% gave authority to call it Adam"s Bridge & NOT Sita's. I am not even talking of male chavanistic Rama.My greatest horror of Adam Eve Story is it makes me a product of Divinely approved & Macaulay disapproved (as per IPC )offense of Incest.Pl someone talk to me,on this.
by KABIR on Fri Oct 11th, 2002 at 08:27:57 AM PST

#9 adam's bridge????:
Kabir, by now you should know that in this world only white men are wise and rational. they have every right to name things as they want. they discovered (is discover the right word, or did they find it), hence they can name it Adams's bridge or even Christs bridge, and the brown man dare not question their divine right
there are people (in this forum ),who think that only the white man's version is correct, neutral and un-biased, and they will accept only such sources in support of any argument.
anything written by us brown men is bigoted, biased, superstitious etc etc
by paramnsp on Fri Oct 11th, 2002 at 11:32:30 AM PST nsp


There's also a DialogNow equivalent of goethean (note that Indians punctuate numbers differently, so that our 1,700,000 is their 17,50,000):

Ramayana was supposed to have taken place in Treta Yuga. Thus the age of the bridge shown (approx 17,50,000 years) is very very feasible and realistic. This means that during the 4,15,000th year of Treta Yuga this bridge was there. This is possible.
Here is another link Yugas and Vimanas which talks of Vimanas mentioned in many Indian epics
If one were to have an open mind not prejudiced against anything connected with Hinduism/vedas/epics/sastras etc, then a serious research into these and many other startling things mentioned in many Hindu scriptures will open up untold secrets and wealth. Unfortunately currently anything related to Hindu scriptures is looked upon to as obscurantist/fundamentalist/regressive etc etc
once we get out of this myopic mindset a lot of closed doors will open
by paramnsp on Fri Oct 11th, 2002 at 04:57:26 AM PST nsp

posted by languagehat at 4:04 PM on October 20, 2002


"In the Strait is a series of coral islands and reefs that form almost a land bridge between the two countries." - Inside India

"The land bridge proposed, is to be built by connecting the offshore islands found across this ridge either with land fills, causeways and/or bridges..." - Land Bridge Proposal


So, this proposal involves paving over a coral reef?
posted by eddydamascene at 5:07 PM on October 20, 2002


rense.com is the source of many strange things, and this is not the least of them. Here's a helpful google.com search.
posted by astrogirl at 5:55 PM on October 20, 2002


If you're driving a flying saucer, why would you need a bridge?
posted by gimonca at 7:21 PM on October 20, 2002


languagehat, you may speak 13 languages, but you have trouble reading my posts. What I said is nothing like what you quoted.

My point was that the myths and legends are true as myths and legends. What you quoted is somebody interpreting the myths as factual, which is simply fundamentalism.
posted by goethean at 8:44 PM on October 20, 2002


This is a pretty nifty idea. "Fixed links" -- which may combine causeways, bridges, tunnels, and even man-made islands -- are all the rage, and they get longer all the time. 48km is fairly long, but if indeed the shoal is only 4m deep most of the way, this isn't necessarily a major engineering challenge. Denmark built several fixed links to connect the mainland to Copenhagen and Copenhagen to Sweden (16km). Lake Pontchartrain causeway bridge is ~36km and first opened in 1956. China is embarking on a 36km bridge linking Hong Kong with industrial and port areas on the west of Hangzhou.

This project will be especially easy if a major bridge crossing is not required to allow ship traffic.

It does not appear, eddy, that the entire shoal of Adam's Bridge is a living coral reef. Rather, much of it appears to be sand and silt. There are many Pacific islands "built" on coral; the Florida Keys are another example of islands with an underyling structure of ancient coral. Much of the shoal may be coral that lived -- and died -- thousands of years ago.

I'm something of a fixed link fanatic (the engineering challenges fascinate me), and I'd idly wondered whether one were possible here -- expecting that the strait was largely too deep and the shoal too discontinuous for a practical near-term project. I'm happy to be wrong.

It's also interesting that the political situation has progressed to where this is being discussed. It's much more essential to Sri Lanka's economy than to India's, and in the past there has been tension because of the ethnic rebellion (the Tamil Tigers seem to do much of their logistics and funding in India). But the Sri Lankan government has the upper hand lately. The timeline I'd place on this project is for around 2008-2010 at the earliest.
posted by dhartung at 10:00 PM on October 20, 2002


It does not appear, eddy, that the entire shoal of Adam's Bridge is a living coral reef. Rather, much of it appears to be sand and silt.

thanks for the information, dhartung, that seemed improbable -- I guess 'coral islands and reefs' was picked as the more lively description, even if said reefs are long-dead and covered in silt.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:46 PM on October 20, 2002


Dolphins built the bridge.
posted by Ron at 11:36 PM on October 20, 2002


Some Indians are quite rationalist. BTW: I found this interesting encounter between Uri Geller and Richard Feynman on their pages...
posted by talos at 2:19 AM on October 21, 2002


in my opinion, myth is not just entertainment...for millions, myth is truth. ...myth as different than scientific truth but not therefore less true... In India, even many of the most westernized and scientifically-minded would shrink from calling the legends of Rama and Shiva "false".

the myths and legends are true as myths and legends.

Aside from the obvious tautologism, goethan, just what the hell are you trying to say? Can myth be truth, or is it "truth as myth"? Or are you just saying there are many feeble-minded people in the world who need to hold onto these myths as truths in order to cope with reality? Isn't it possible the reason some people can't handle the real world stems from teaching ridiculous myths as truth, then sending these uneducated innocents loose in a non-mythical world?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:53 AM on October 21, 2002


dhartung:

First, I'd like to start by thanking you for the often amazingly detailed and in-depth information you often provide in discussions here at Metafilter.

Now, I have to take issue with the following sentence of yours:

China is embarking on a 36km bridge linking Hong Kong with industrial and port areas on the west of Hangzhou.

According to this map (and memories of my own travels in China, which first set off my alarm bells), a 36 km bridge between Hong Kong and Hangzhou is a physical impossibility:

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/china_pol01.jpg
posted by syzygy at 5:28 AM on October 21, 2002


languagehat, you may speak 13 languages, but you have trouble reading my posts. What I said is nothing like what you quoted.

Come on, goethean. Both you and "paramsnp" suggested that getting out of the narrow Western mindset will allow you to see the truth of the monkey-bridge legend. If languagehat is mistaken in his interpretation (and given your history of statements like electrons don't exist and cognitive dissonance is a virtue, I think it's a reasonable interpretation to make) why not make your argument clearer without insulting him?

You seem incapable of disagreement without relying on ad hominem attacks. When someone disagrees with you, you typically accuse that person of going against the mainstream of Western thought, being poorly read, being immature, and being ignorant. (Even if that person is, like Popper, a major philosopher not on your favorites list.) In this thread, one could have even invoked Godwin for the science/Nazi dig. And then, of course, you show your vast grasp of rhetoric when someone displays know-nothing smugness.

Express your ideas -- such that they are -- but you'll be much more convincing if you take that chip off your shoulder.
posted by ptermit at 5:47 AM on October 21, 2002


One reason it may be called Adam's Bridge is that according to legend, the original Adam set foot on Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka after being sent out from the Garden. He then traveled into India and from there westward to reunite with Eve. I forget where Eve came down, but it was somewhere in the Levant.

Adam's Bridge is only one of numerous occurrences of sacred geography in Lanka. See more here. How to reconcile ancient memory with modern discovery? That's not easy. I don't know philosophy, but I know what I like.

the myths and legends are true as myths and legends.

Believing is seeing; you find what you look for. Myth informs where we look and the questions we ask. It is very powerful. When myth has the power to affect people's lives, it could be said to have truth. For those interested in a scholarly defense of myth (not simply as metaphor a la Joe Campbell, though that's a good start), but something more profound and far-reaching than that, try the Unanimous Tradition, the Foundation for Traditional Studies, or the writings of Ananda Coomaraswamy. An essay on the Relevance of Ananda Coomaraswamy in the 21st Century is here: "To know the tradition, live the tradition."
posted by BinGregory at 6:20 AM on October 21, 2002


36 km bridge between Hong Kong and Hangzhou is a physical impossibility

He means Shanghai. At least, that's what the story he's linked to says.
posted by moonbiter at 7:45 AM on October 21, 2002


moonbiter: He means Shanghai. At least, that's what the story he's linked to says.

Shanghai is even farther away from Hong Kong than Hangzhou (making a 36km bridge between Hong Kong and Shanghai even less likely than a 36 km bridge between Hong Kong and Hangzhou)...

He actually means across the Hangzhou Bay. The bridge, however, won't touch the city of Hangzhou, the city of Hong Kong, or the city of Shanghai...
posted by syzygy at 8:40 AM on October 21, 2002


I goofed. There are two bridge projects. One 36km bridge will cross the Hangzhou Bay, providing access between the ports of Shanghai and Hangzhou. The other 30km bridge will cross the Pearl River Estuary (Ling Ding Yang). There are quite a few different names for the bodies of water around Hong Kong in both Chinese and English (leaving aside transliteration), and I confused Hangzhou with Guangzhou (Canton). The Pearl River Delta was formerly known as the Canton Delta. I don't know whether it's translation, change in usage, or just one of those multiple-meanings things, but the "Delta" in this case seems to sometimes mean the estuary which will be crossed, and the wider delta region with cities and industrial areas. I'm talking about the body of water, of course. I plead legitimate confusion, especially since I hadn't heard of the Shanghai project.
posted by dhartung at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2002


Ghost, ptermit: Thanks for the excellent juxtapositions and citations, respectively. I'd forgotten about goethean's charming "Fuck you and your know-nothing smugness." Ah, the Lincoln-Douglas debates reborn on MeFi!

BinGregory: Myth informs where we look and the questions we ask. It is very powerful. When myth has the power to affect people's lives, it could be said to have truth.

Yes, myth is very powerful -- and can be very destructive. When you say "myth," I imagine you're thinking of pleasant ones involving Adam and the like, but what about the myths of Nazism, Communism, and other hateful belief systems? We simply can't afford to say "myth is truth" -- we have to think critically about all alleged truths, and if they don't survive the scrutiny, remove the "truth" label.
posted by languagehat at 12:43 PM on October 21, 2002


Languagehat, I think you've been unhelpful and combative in this thread. I'm trying to say that myth, including Hindu myth, may be a key to something more significant than what it appears on the surface, that there is a path between blind acceptance that an army of monkeys built a bridge and blanket dismissal of thousands of years of accummulated wisdom. You are talking about Nazis. That tells me I should just stop, but I'll leave you with a few more links:

Parabola: Myth, Tradition and the Search for Meaning

Entheos: What does possessing a tradition mean?

Esoterica: The scholarly investigation of esoteric spiritual traditions

Stbalbach, thanks for an interesting post.
posted by BinGregory at 5:02 PM on October 21, 2002


We simply can't afford to say "myth is truth" -- we have to think critically about all alleged truths, and if they don't survive the scrutiny, remove the "truth" label.

Well, then you are examining myth scientifically, so of course it doesn't hold up.

To gain the insights that myth affords, it must be approached at the psychological state in which it was formed. You are not interested in investigating the existence of those insights, therefore this conversation is over.
posted by goethean at 5:45 PM on October 21, 2002


ptermit (referencing goethean): "When someone disagrees with you, you typically accuse that person of going against the mainstream of Western thought, being poorly read, being immature, and being ignorant."

goethean: "You are not interested in investigating the existence of those insights, therefore this conversation is over."

(true to form, oh so true to form...)

I'm still waiting for goethean to explain "myth as truth"... I really don't get what you're trying to say, unless you're using "truth" in some non-literal sense, a meta-experience for instance. If this is a discussion of the literal vs. figurative, well, then yes it's pointless. Let's just back away slowly.

BinG: Myth as an insight into human behaviour I can accept. Myth has long played an important role in our history, as a guide and reference. But calling bridge-building monkeys "accumulated wisdom" is a little too strong for my taste. Myth has value in understanding where we came from, but continued belief in myth, or equating myth with truth or wisdom, is a hindrance.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:01 AM on October 22, 2002


BinGregory: I'm sorry you feel that way. I was talking to you because you, unlike goethean, seemed to be interested in a reasonable discussion, and I was trying to engage with your views. I'm having a hard time understanding there is a path between blind acceptance that an army of monkeys built a bridge and blanket dismissal of thousands of years of accummulated wisdom; could you elucidate? Just to make my position clear: I have nothing against myth as myth; I think mankind would be much the poorer without the Homeric poems, the Mahabharata, and all the other complex, fascinating tales that have so much to say about our human condition. All I am objecting to is placing them on the same plane as the scientific truths we use to navigate the physical world. If the reference to Nazism and Communism offends you, I withdraw it; substitute whatever harmful myths you prefer. But surely you will agree that not all myths are beneficial?
posted by languagehat at 7:44 AM on October 22, 2002


OK, no hard feelings.

could you elucidate?
Well, I'm not sure that I can. That's why I've linked to smarter people than myself. But: Traditional wisdom, mythology, does more than comment on the human condition. Living a wisdom tradition is the key to unlocking the secrets of the human condition, which is the only truth that is truly worth seeking. The scientific truths that we use to navigate the physical world are not on the same plane; they are of secondary importance. Of course, where things get sticky is where the wisdom tradition touches down on the physical world, creating sacred space. These are places where the divine mysteries are the most enshrouded. How do we reconcile what secular science tells us with what traditional wisdom tells us? I can't answer that. But I think it is as unwise to scoff at the myth of Adam's Bridge as it is to use the Ramayana to engineer a causeway.

Related good stuff here:
"This hierarchy is also based on the belief that scientia -- human knowledge -- is to be regarded as legitimate and noble only so long as it is subordinated to sapientia -- Divine wisdom. " -- Nasr
posted by BinGregory at 9:50 AM on October 22, 2002


Looking at the thread from top to bottom again, I'm thinking I jumped in half-cocked. Shane already solved the problem: Maybe the monkeys or alien visitors or prehistoric humans (that we didn't know existed) built their bridge on top of the coral? End of conflict. (Adam crossed on what was already there without building a bridge anyway.) Certainly I stand by what I wrote above; the validity of myth argument was just way unnecessary for this thread. What can I say - when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
posted by BinGregory at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2002


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