Opinion by Helge Nome
People seem to get quite excited about pyramids. Some believe that they focus to a point below their tops where great energy is believed to be present, while others hold that all the talk about pyramids is pure nonsense. For whatever reason, emotionally charged ideas about this subject abounds.
And, to add to the mystery, there are a lot of pyramids in existence, most notably in Egypt where a lot of digging has taken place over the years, and mummies of Pharaohs unearthed. Other very large pyramidical structures are also present in the Americas.
Other kinds of massive earthen structures were also created, notably the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, some four thousand years ago. In 1961, as a teenager, I walked in the streets of that ancient city shortly after excavations began in earnest, and the base of the hanging gardens was still there after blowing sand had worn the rest down to ground level over the years. Actually, what had happened was that the streets of Babylon had filled up with sand and grit driven by windstorms over the years, so that the bottom 8 feet or so of the city had been perfectly preserved.
Emotions aside, why would the people of yesteryear put so much time and energy into building huge earthen structures, when the struggle for survival itself would seem to be enough of a challenge? What might be the practical reasons for going to all this work?
We know that mighty castles were constructed in order to give defenders an advantage over would-be attackers, the very sight of them was a deterrent. But pyramids?
Yes, indeed, their main purpose was essentially the same as that of a castle, but by way of a slightly different route: The task of constructing such a colossus required the presence of a highly organized work force. One can imagine that, working together in groups, relationships were formed between individuals and teams of various sizes, and with a variety of specializations. A hierarchy of authority was established and activities coordinated to achieve the goal of constructing the pyramid, likely with the use of earthen “scaffolding” that was just as bulky as the final structure. A massive task indeed, but not impossible.
We now arrive at the practical goal of this whole exercise. In Egypt the Nile river, a very substantial water course regularly flooded huge alluvial plains, leaving behind a fertile sludge of debris collected by the flood water during its journey from the highlands of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. In order to secure a bumper grain crop, a lot of people had to work very fast to plant and harvest the crop, ensuring prosperity for all. But imagine, all the hungry eyes watching from the hills. However, what deterred them from coming down to collect the riches of the plains was the Pharaoh's army of pyramid builders that had just harvested the crop. That’s because they could change from shovels to spears and swords in an instant. And who would argue with that organized machine?
So, perhaps in an era of increasing unemployment and organized crime, we should pick up on the wisdom of the Pharaohs and provide rewarding tasks for all, even if pyramids are not the end result?