They had a show on not long ago, about some mysterious ancient civilization. I forget the exact claims, but it was something to do with how they had all this magical, mystical power and they could predict the future and duplicate all our technology. I think they could even save me 50% on my car insurance, but that might have been the commercial break.
I guess my biggest problem with these claims is the fact none of these ancient civilizations are still around. They all died out in some prehistoric time, noble races destroyed by the savages around them. Well, no offense, but if their powers were so great, how come they got wiped out? It wasn’t as if they had to conjure up a missile defense shield for the hydrogen bomb; most of these cultures were Bronze age at best. How good could their magic have been when they couldn’t even defeat a bunch of hairy characters wielding swords and sharp sticks?
There are plenty of actual ancient civilizations to study. The Egyptians and Romans came up with a lot of basic engineering principles. The Mayans had a pretty accurate calendar. The Greeks gave us a lot of good ideas on a lot of subjects from government to the rules of drama. As far as archaeologists can determine, they did it all without the help of aliens from outer space or helpful artisans from Atlantis.
While the ancient civilizations came up with some pretty impressive stuff, I’m afraid that we – in the here and now – are at the pinnacle of science and technology. There are no ancient runes to decipher that will give us some magical power. I can understand the longing, but there are no short cuts for us to take to gain a greater understanding of the world around us.
We don’t have too many flamboyant wizards running around except at science fiction conventions. There seems to be a distinct lack of priestesses carrying out complex rituals to gain magical powers. Instead we have guys in sport shirts and khaki Dockers, who puzzle out the mysteries of the universe with microscope and satellite, camera and computer. In other words, they’re boring old regular people… just like us.