Think of the long time-body of humanity. Think of the many individuals that have ever lived as microscopic cells of that body. Think of their collective wisdom as a thread running through that time-body. In each age, people have lived and suffered and learned. By the time they have learned to live, it is time for them to depart.
How can they bequeath their wisdom to a new generation? How can they spare their children the need of reinventing the wheel? They write books and create works of art that encapsulate their life experience. They tie their works to those created before them in hope to affect continuity. They create a tradition to be followed by their descendants.
The Thread of Ancient Wisdom
A long thread of ancient wisdom is formed, a thread running uninterruptedly from the dawn of mankind till our day. Each age learns from it and adds to it. The thread is accessible at all times – and in each age, some individuals tap into it while most ignore it. based on the needs of the times, it expresses itself differently, but always with the same aim: to inspire and instruct man to fulfill his potential as a human being.
This portal is a contemporary attempt to tap into that thread. It presents the story of an author who, by chance or luck or fate – was brought into contact with the long tradition of mankind’s ancient wisdom. In his book, he documents the dramatic sequence of events that brought him in touch with that thread, and the consequences of that contact.
Ancient Wisdom through Time
The Ark of Ancient Wisdom Metaphor
Think of an ancient ship plowing through a stormy sea. Envision its ancient beams, its canvas sails and wooden oars. Think of its cargo swaying dangerously at the mercy of each giant wave. Large as it may be, the ship is still minute compared to the vast ocean that engulfs it. With every perilous wave, its canvas stretches and its timbers strain, but the vessel remains afloat.
Ancient Vessel of Mankind’s Creations
The ship represents the time-body of civilization. It is formed out of the cultural legacies of each age. It is a collage of literature, art, architecture and ritual. These inheritances are handed down from one generation to the next in the hope that ancient wisdom will persevere through Time. So is a time0body of civilization created, like a primeval ark that that journeys through time.
Ocean of Time
The vast ocean represents Time. Time drowns man’s creations in flood, encroaches them in jungle or covers them in desert. Time sullies the man’s finest teachings, misinterpreting understanding into belief and inspiration into politics. Although mankind will struggle to delay the corruption of its efforts, it can never fully exempt them from the overpowering shadow of time.
Vessel’s Payload of Ancient Wisdom
The vessel’s contents represent an age-old message. They are formed by the collective ancient wisdom expressed by each individual in history. Anyone who has created anything of historical value, who has perceived a lofty inspiration and has consequently given birth to artistic creations, has added to the Ark’s precious contents. Together, these contents have been carefully loaded into the vessel’s hold, to be preserved through the floods of Time.
So has the ancient wisdom of mankind traveled through time like a message in a bottle. Each wave has forced it to resurface under a new guise. Now it manifests in the form of Egyptian tombs, then it emerges as Greek temples; now it appears as Hindu cosmology, then as Jain philosophy; now it rises as Islamic geometry and then as Sumerian astronomy–all the while circumventing the perilous waves of time that would drown its meaning.
Universal Ancient Wisdom
Ark Metaphor in Man
The image of an Ark journeying through the floods of Time is universal. It is true for the time-body of mankind and holds just as true for the time-body of a single individual. Just as mankind is formed of many individuals, man is formed of a multitude of thoughts and emotions which together comprise his being. The struggle of mankind and the struggle of man thus reflect each other.
Man against Time
Man seeks to dedicate his life to a higher end, a meaning that will justify it and outlive it. This yearning for the profound is the one thing that sets him above the animal kingdom – animals being content with leading a biological existence. History has repeatedly borne proof of how an individual may create works of art that outlive him, but these are always executed at a great price.
Time against Man
Time poses the same challenge to man as it does to the Ark of ancient wisdom. It drowns his aims in forgetfulness, encroaches them in distraction or covers them in lethargy. Time saps man’s determination and muddies his inner clarity. As soon as he harnesses his powers towards the execution of a noble cause, he is overwhelmed by a flood of deviations, all stemming from the branch of time.
The Inner Ark
To fulfill his lofty aims, man must confront the challenge of Time. He must follow the example of the long body of civilization and form an internal Ark; he must crystallize within himself a permanent tendency that will persevere through the fluctuations of time. In so doing, he will be swimming against the current of his biological tendencies, and at the same time plowing upstream with those individuals who fought the same struggle in preceding ages.
Ancient Wisdom as an Ark in Time
If mans succeed in transcending himself and keeps his lofty aim, he bequeathes a lasting inheritance for posterity. His life-long work adds a beam to the great Ark of ancient wisdom. He becomes an inseparable part of the time-body of humanity, his being forged with the cosmos above him.
So are the realms of man and civilization intimately intermarried: the great Ark of ancient wisdom plows on, driven by the works of inspired individuals, and inspired individuals continue appearing, instructed and inspired by the great Ark of ancient wisdom. Each supports the other through the challenging floods of Time.
In this spirit, I have chosen to title my book “Ark in Time”. It serves as a contemporary expression of ancient wisdom, the great Ark of mankind once again peeling out its old familiar cry, continuing its ancient journey through the ages…
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools;
Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it, to another not having it;
Wisdom is of the Soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities, and is content… – Walt Whitman