Time is of the essence.
I dedicate this post to Martin who made an interesting suggestion, on his blog, about the Antikythera Mechanism. Martin along with many scientists and researchers, have wondered why has there only been one such device found, and such a long gap between this mechanism and clockmaking a thousand years later.
Above is what the mechanism looks like now, after being lost at an ocean floor for 2000 years. Below is a reproduction of the device after x-rays and after the mechanism broke and it was discovered that under the wooden wheels were bronze mechanisms and gears.
A question arises, if we had manufactured this device, surely there must have been more of them, and why haven't we found others?
Here is what Martin suggests, "I'd like to submit an idea. The reason that the Ancient Greek clockwork devices didn't catch on may have been that they weren't open source. A proprietary technology, guarded jealously among a small philosophical community, and useless to anyone lacking a solid astronomical education -- it would in fact have been highly surprising if it had started a wave of cultural diffusion. The specimen from the Antikythera wreck wouldn't have been travelling alone: it must have belonged to a philosopher bound for Rome, a man who could maintain the device and use it for astronomical demonstrations and predictions. To anyone else, the mechanism would just have been incomprehensible. And it lay in the best interests of its owner that the world at large remained in the dark about such arcana."
I think Martin has a good idea here. I would look at his idea and tweak it just a bit. No, we didn't have many of these objects, and yes, they may have belonged to a few chosen people...but the reason for this is because the object wasn't important.
People already knew what time it was. Bob Dylan said, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." These mechanisms weren't needed by the masses because we already had timepieces and complex astronomical devices.
Hilariously, I find that the best way to demonstrate my point is by referencing athiests. Most of us have argued about whether or not there is a god, or gods, sometimes the discussion goes that faith and religion are opiates for the masses. One argument puts forth since there are so many religions and mythologies, an atheist view is that all these histories of gods disprove each faith. Often an athiest will suggest that since Khrisna and Buddha and Christ all have similar plots, themes and life work, they are fabricated stories and cancel each other out. Often the rational mind will say something along the lines, "See, ancient peoples who were ignorant made up stories to help them cope with their lives. It's all superstition."
Ironically, so called rationalists and athiests are the most backward minds alive right now. They have seen the comparative themes in world mythology and then dismiss it. Click here and I'll let some athiests do all the hard work for me by noticing the thread of commonality within Sacred men stories. This linked article immediately notices the thematic parallels between Khrisna and Christ. (it's no coincidence their names sound similar, Latin came from Sanskrit)
I see the similarities in world Mythologies and religions and realize...these stories are CLOCKS.
The common plot lines and details of the characters of gods do not cancel each other out. They enforce a mechanism for memory and celestial events. Khrishna had a virgin mother (Isis also was a virgin god), Mithras had twelve diciples, and all gods came from heavens to help people on earth. Dying and reborn gods are part of stories to memorize the stars travel in "heaven and the underworld/cave/tomb" throughout the seasons. The underworld is under the night horizon.
The biggest mistake many rationalists and scientists make is by believing in the supernatural. Too often, atheists and scientists think mythology lives in some "other" realm, like superstion or imagination.
Actually, when it comes to mythology and religion...there is no difference between the supernatural and the material.
It is a mistake of modern minds, especially since the notion of empirical study, that ancient and older cultures were ignorant and suffering and "mystified" by the universe.
We don't need computers to live or have a perfectly fine life. You can go to the library or an internet cafe to use a computer and check your e-mail, or write a blog. We lived for millenia without home computers. I know many people who it would be an utter waste of time and money and space for them to own a computer. If I suggested that my boyfriends parents buy a computer, for example, they would ask why? Well, you could do e-mail. They would say, why I can walk across the street to talk to my friends, or phone you and Anthony if we want to talk.
In this same way, the potential mass use of a device like the antithera mechanism is redundant at the time of it's development.
People already knew the movement of the stars and their sense of time was much more profound and integrated in their lives than the universe is in most of our lives. How often do we even go outside and observe the night sky? Not only have people before empirical science and invention of the clock studied astronomy, it was deeply rooted in their every day belief system and culture. They knew more about the movements of the heavens and it's importance to everyday life than a grad student in astronomy does today.
They didn't need no stinking clocks, or mechanisms. They already had them: in their heads and hearts.
Time was the essence of every belief, precession was recorded in their stories of gods and seasons were also memorized. They knew when to hunt and which way the wind blows. After all, Jesus was born with the coming of a star, and his constellation was Pieces...his entire life story was the record of the seasons, hunting and survival, and the map of the milky way.
As above so below.
(An afterthought...I like watches and clocks. I have several watches from various trends in fashion. I keep them in a jewelry box and look at them every now and then and remember bands I saw, or other memories associated with their fashion statement back in the day. I think watches are beautiful. I love old clocks in European towns or churches. Ever notice how older clocks have the sun and moon? Linked to the Antithera Mechansim...evidence it was a mass concept...the sun moon and planets moved with these first clocks. I have a clock on my Personal Digital Recording for tv shows. I have clocks everywhere. On my computer, in every room in our apartment. I usually can guess the time without any watch, it entertains my boyfriend. I use the light of the seasons and my activities to measure the time sort of intuitively and naturally. I may sound a little tough on scientists and empirical research, but I read and study a lot of astronomy and natural history. I just think that watches are a symbol or metaphor of Mytholgy. I think science has an imperative to test and approach knowledge as if we don't know anything...and that is it's tragic flaw. Scientific "discoveries" are always the last place you should look if you want proof of human knowledge and natural history, heh heh. Science is always playing catch up to human knowledge and preagricultural people. Poetry and literature is a record of preliterate information being recorded and memorized since we have ever been primates. I just give people more credit than modern societies. It's all there already. Beowulf, Hamlet, Khrisna and Kabalah have already memorized the night sky. We have been seduced by science and technology and agricultural economy and forgotten that we already understand how the world and humans function.)