My Irish Up: Where we went wrong (Part 1)

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

Let’s start with the Sea Peoples. Nobody ever starts with the Sea Peoples.

The Sea Peoples came out of the Mediterranean four thousand years ago and fell upon the Hittites. They fell on the Hittites and refused to get off. That was it for the Hittites.

The Hittites were at that time important allies of the Egyptians, serving as buffers, a role similar to that of the states of Eastern Europe in relation to the old USSR. But the Hittites failed as shields, getting flattened in no time (thus more or less becoming the Ironed Curtain of their day.) Now, this Sea Peoples incursion happened just a few years after the last Rameses died, when Egypt seemed at the height of its ancient and considerable power. But soon enough, the Sea Peoples and others had defeated the Hittites and had worn away Egypt to a shadow of its former strength.

All this really happened. History goes on, even when stories don’t. Next, Greece became big and then Rome and then the Land Peoples came Hunning over to Europe showing lots of spunk and a complete lack of mercy, and then the Dark Ages ended and Columbus sailed the ocean blue and then there were several thousand more wars and finally we arrived at today, when democratic capitalism has been perfected and nothing bad will ever happen again because, you know, we’ve got this? (You left out China, India, Africa and Mesoamerica, but hey, it's not your fault that no one ever told you that other cultures existed.)

How can we ever arrive at the future if we don’t understand the past? Listen: The Sea Peoples came out of the sea, where the Hittites would have preferred they had stayed, frankly, and the man in the lead ship said to the first Hittite leader in the first Hittite city he came to (The City of Hit, now present-day Beirut): “Lollapalooza! Colona?” (We come in peace! Want to be our colony?) And the Hittite leader, not speaking Sea Peoples, said right back, in Hit: Grishja myanak? Peristalsis vigyalaj. (What just came out of your mouth? I hope to heck you come in peace!) And then, realizing the Hittite ruler was such a barbarian he couldn’t even speak Sea Peoples, the Sea Peoples fellow took out his spear and stabbed the Hittite king in the groin. “Yashaka muchachos!” (Ow! Ow! OW!) said the Hittite ruler. And so it began. Or continued. Human history.

See? The first mistake is to embrace the delusion that language is going to solve anything. (“I tried explain Oog wrong, but he not listen! He dead now.”) Sociologists and even some real scientists, who should know better, try to distinguish Man as some kind of genius animal, since Man communicates by using spoken language. Though not Hit, you’ll notice. Anymore.

We use language to negotiate all difficult situations, but it is a snare and a delusion. We write contracts and then use language to weasel out of them, make excuses when we bollix things up, deceive our enemies, sweet talk the opposite sex (or in some cases, these days, the unopposite sex) and write newspaper columns, to name only a few of the more honorable uses of language. Civilized people consider themselves civilized in the first place because they can talk things out, arriving at some mutual version of reality from which they can determine their relative positions of power and influence. And then they make war on each other, anyway. Kumbayah! Sucker!

Even logic fails, because it must be explained in words. Psychologists have shown that humans decide what is right before they even know the facts; we make up their minds first, and then go to find facts to fit our arguments. (Search your heart, Luke — you know it’s true!) If there aren’t enough satisfying facts, we’ll make some up. What does this mean? It means history is bunk, as Henry Ford contended. There is only a bunch of people saying things, and then lying about what other people said about the same things, and forgetting that there ever were Sea Peoples to ruin perfectly famous civilizations. And whoever gets to say the most recent things the most times, usually speaking over mounds of enemy dead, is declared more or less immortal. Then somebody else wins the next war and the latest winners declare eternal peace, as long as they get to rule forever.

So, language is used primarily for not communicating clearly. In short, for lying. For lying! To what end? Observe:

• “…the party of the first part, having departed the party of the party of the second part, herewith, forthwith, habeus corpus… Yashaka muchachos!”

Next week, in Part II, Mike explains how Man should not be in charge. Woman should be in charge! For starters, she is a far more proficient liar. (“Not tonight, I’m having a cerebral hemorrhage… Not tonight,” I said!)

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