Previous: Paleolithic globalization
With their clearly drawn lines, the cemeteries follow a different order. Provided that order is understood in an all-encompassing way, i.e. as something that, like dolmen, is interpreted quasi as an archive, which finally supplies and disposes of everything that has served its time; like a mountain of files that no longer serves anyone; or as something that is brought into order; like the corpses in the fields of the dead, which clearly arrange the graves in straight lines. What is the purpose of this order of lines?
The order of rounding and the order of the line cannot be put on the same level of the planes of thought. The round is a point, a stone. The line is already thought a little further than the point. The line, which aligns and shapes the order of the cemetery, can certainly be interpreted as corresponding to the effort to give death an order, to wrestle off. Trying to tame it in a certain way and, like a wild, trapped animal, making it tangible in order to take away its terror, even if man cannot dispose of the death.
The lines of the cemetery still convey the feeling that death is under control. This creates something reassuring. Orderly death almost seems as if it is something close to the human being, this lover of order. Clear lines create references and relationships. To give death an order means nothing else than to control him, even if this intention corresponds to the realization of a complete illusion. Man, however, likes to indulge in his ideals. They make life more livable than the horrors that lead to death. In his imagination, man is master of himself of the death.
The lines of the cemetery, the rows of graves give death a clearly defined face; which says nothing other than that man also has his hand in the matter. He has an effect on death. Man forms, determines, pretends, shapes, also with regard to death.
Man is a force that consumes itself again and again, after a lost fight against death.
An error! Man, a force that stands in the way of death? Man is rather a force that consumes itself again and again, after having once more taken up new momentum to live on after a lost fight against death, which takes what it wants, which mercilessly demands its high toll of blood. Perhaps Carnac will give an answer.
Do the world-famous Alignements of Carnac, these endless rows of parallel stone slabs, erected vertically as a sign of peaceful order, constitute protection against death? Do they represent the attempt to defy death in its omnipotence by clear order? To give it a line?
Do these rows of stones symbolically want to lift the finiteness, which death brings to earth with a coarse fist, out of its fixed joints and open the gate to an infinity promising mercy with all the possibilities it promises?
These hasty interpretations were made without having read the signs of Carnac.
Do these alignments give a face to death, which seems invisible but leaves irreversible traces, to give it a more human face?
These hasty, overbearing interpretations were made without having read the signs of Carnac.
The people of Carnac at the time created horizontal and vertical lines. Whoever approached the beach, which today leads to the Alignements, from the south over the sea, saw at today’s location Locmariaquer on the bank on an elevation a mighty menhir and perhaps others, of which, however, we have no knowledge today.
The menhir of Locmariaquer still wins admiring silence from the observer. The fallen stone represents a mighty chunk.
According to the previously mentioned interpretations, the horizontal stood for death. The vertical stood for life.
In the historical time of instinctive action, before the time of metals, before the time of organizing, when man began to cover his dead with stones to protect them from the animals, then, did the man think in our present sense?
Like all animals, he was afraid of lightning and thunder and did not make a god out of it.
To what extent man at that time already thought according to our ideas, should remain an open question, forever. Like all animals, he was afraid of lightning and thunder and did not make a god out of it. To hunt, he organized himself like wolves and lions as a pack. The stone age Carnac lies historically in a time when man hunted with fish traps, stone-tipped spears and cudgel as percussion instruments and ensured his survival.
The stone offered him shelter, just as the cave offered him protection, which he created for himself by building the dolmens. It is very difficult for us humans of today to understand the conditions under which people lived in those days. Money economy might have been alien to them, not to mention supermarkets, shopping avenue, medical center and retirement pension.
A very special achievement was already the creation of the stone circles that carried the slabs over the dead and the Cairns with their partly highly piled up stone walls. But the stone, which did not lie in the positions of a fish over the dead, but stood for itself, stretched up in the air, that was a different thing than what the cave offered.
After all this theory, let’s go back to Carnac! There the viewer is captivated by the still kilometers long and several lines wide stone rows, which remain visible over long distances.
A guide who accompanies the group of tourists through the fields will answer the corresponding question, that one could assume that the Alignements were not between trees. The dragging, transport and erection of the stones required space and will have affected the soil in such a way that for some time no larger vegetation grew there. The rows of stones were, one could assume, visible from afar.
The setting up of a stone to make a menhir, the idea behind it, was a considerable intellectual achievement for the people of that time, who knew neither multiplication tables nor the alphabet.
The people of that time first had to acquire the knowledge of the alphabet and multiplication tables.
This lack of knowledge had nothing to do with stupidity, back then. Today the lack of knowledge punishes those people who voluntarily or involuntarily dispose of it.
The people of that time first had to acquire the knowledge of the alphabet and multiplication tables. They first had to create both. Letters. Numbers that went beyond the ten fingers. Man had to think strongly beyond what made him equal to the animal. What must have been going on in the mind of the primitive man when he first set up a second menhir next to an existing one?
Across the menhirs, man has taken the step from sandbox to head birth.
Basically, he was creating a mathematical context for the first time. In other words, he realized something abstract, thought abstractly. Abstract thinking that differs from that when he decides to put stones together into a heap in which he can hide his dead to protect them from the scavenging animals. Across the menhirs, man has taken the step from sandbox to thinking, from belly to head, from termite burrow to head birth.
A what time he lifted the second stone into the vertical in order to place it next to the first one will remain unknown forever. This may have been the product of chance, as observers suspect in the case of the monolith of Bhimpul: The mighty block in that North Indian area was not transported to this place by humans, but fell, by a lucky coincidence, exactly on this spot and thus formed a welcome bridge over the rather handsome gorge.
Any analysis can be contradicted, even if the result is correct.
Also, the first two menhirs standing next to each other may have been the result of an unintentional action, which was triggered by an instinctive reaction. But what followed was what happened at Carnac, at this prehistoric site. Chance no longer had its hands in the matter. Rather, what developed is worth an analysis. Any analysis can be contradicted, even if the result is correct.
The shortest distance between two points is known to be the straight line. Every primary school pupil learns this today. The line has a different pictorial quality than the circle, which is closed in itself. Whoever stands in the circle looks at the others who form the circle with him. The circle forms a closed meeting room in which everyone can have a say.
Whoever stands in the circle belongs to it, belongs to the assembled community. The ring stands for this form of closed community; so the ring that is on the fingers of two people who want to belong together, who belong together. If they go apart, the ring breaks away.
For the larger community, the Northern European, prehistoric society invented the Thing, where justice was spoken and problems were discussed in a circle. That was the case with the Cromlech, for example, this former meeting place.
The line differs clearly from this original but still valid model of thought, which today is often played out in group meetings, be it at the campfire or during meditations. The line does not close itself like a dog biting its own tail, but can be continued.
The invention of the wheel belongs to the same category of great discoveries.
As absurd as it sounds: this logical conclusion must have been found out by the man of yesteryear, without him thinking profoundly. A banal realization, which however proved to be extremely lasting. Man first had to come up with this idea. The invention of the wheel belongs to the same category of great discoveries.
At some point, man will have added a third stone to the two vertically standing stones, not to form a circle, but to open up a line that led into the distance. In what intention did he do this? That is the interesting question.
In Carnac was realized quasi three-dimensional, what people left behind as the first beginnings of creative art, presumably 75000 years ago, in the form of dots and strokes carved into a stone. The structure was found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa. This stone, which is now prominently displayed in one of the world’s most important museums, is considered the first proof of a structural thinking of mankind.
Only 70000 years later, people were using stone tools to carve hollows in a coarser boulder that can be called an errant block. Today the rock stands at the foot of hills in Switzerland. The message fills the viewer with amazement. What is carved in that place in stone endures, even if nobody understands the message these days.
We stand in front of the stone abashed and above all mute.
The accumulation of points is strange. It contains a statement. But we lack the words, the letters, the signs to be able to approach what has been written. The people of that time kept their knowledge to themselves. All the pent-up linguistic and scientific equipment from several thousand years does not help us any further. We stand in front of the stone We stand in front of the stone abashed and above all mute.
The man of yesteryear, who lived at a time when a first, special way of thinking was slowly manifesting itself in Blombos, will certainly not have thought about the meaning of the line he drew on the stone and the dots he carved, just as the people of Carnac, when they began to conquer the vertical with menhirs, did not think about what the people of today express as conclusion and interpretation. The thinking of today does not correspond to the thinking of then. The premises were different at the time of the Menhirs and even earlier. The child who draws a line in the sand does not do so on the basis of considerations that the atomic physicist makes.
Next: The art
Back to Carnac