Does History Repeat Itself?
W.T.P. It is useful now and then to consider the extent to which the study of past human history can prove of benefit to us in what we call our “modern world”.
That similarities can be traced between events that have happened, often many centuries apart from one another, is an undoubted fact. However, so far as I am aware, no serious study of this phenomenon has yet been undertaken.
It is probable also that truths, often of a cautionary character, are handed down from one generation to another through the symbolical contents of legends, fables, traditions and (so called) fairy stories.
Recently I was looking in to some of the historical and legendary records that have come down to us (often in mutilated form), from the time of the Pharaoh, Akenaton (The Sun God), who reigned in Egypt some 3,50o years ago during the XVIII Dynasty of the Royal Houses of that strange and potent land.
In so far as our historical records extend into the past, it would seem right to infer that Akenaton was the first great Ruler and Prophet known to us, who proclaimed the Oneness of the Creator and the Unity of Mind.
It is still natural for primative peoples to perceive Gods in Nature and to worship those beings who appear to rule the Elements, as represented by the kingdoms of the air, the waters of the clouds of Heaven, and of the forests and the great animals of the jungle. In Akenaton’s time the people of his realm were not primitive in this sense, yet the multiplicity of the Gods they worshipped had already passed beyond the bounds of reason. It is evident that the priestly class (a very tight and powerful clan) encouraged and promoted the veneration and worship of life through the creation of myths which depended for their existence on belief in innumerable Gods, and also in the divine attributes of the Pharaohs, as traced back and back, from Dynasty to Dynasty, into the mists of time.
Akenaton set himself the herculean task of breaking this tradition.
He proclaimed the Unity of the one God, a God of Light, whose symbol was the Sun. In his time the priestly clan had become corrupt, and true religion had departed from the land.
We know very few details of the struggle through which Akenaton set himself to break the stranglehold of the priests over the common people, and even over those who were cultured and belonged to the aristocracy.
What a formidable battle he must have waged!
He himself was delicate from birth, the result, no doubt, of centuries of inbreeding. It is believed that he was subject throughout his short life to epileptic fits. Yet his energy and vision were remarkable. Temporariliy he won his fight against the priests and curbed their power, and cleansed the temples of much vice, ignorance and corruption.
The supreme Creator of the Universe became the ONE GOD to whom, through the Light of the Sun, all eyes and hearts and minds must be directed.
What an achievement this was indeed!
His whole life was spent in countering intrigues against his person and his rule. No wonder that he had little time to devote to foreign affairs, with the result that his empire shrank and his generals suffered many defeats both within the state and in foreign lands as well. Akenaton’s great legacy to destiny and to the future was in the propagation of one Idea, the unity and omnipotence of the Godhead. Even though, following his tragic death, the priests regained control and the worship of many gods returned, nothing could altogether obliterate the immense value of the seed that he had sown.
The popularity of Akenaton among the common people, the fellaheen, was said to have been remarkable. He was approachable in a way that no previous Pharaoh had ever been. Also, he was credited with possession of the “healing touch”, both in regard to diseases and to sin.
This royal and hereditary prerogative is said to have been also owned by the English Plantagenet and Tudor Kings and to be traceable back to King David himself. Doubtless this gift is still in the possession of our royal line. Perhaps it will be brought into use again some day?
History does not tell us clearly how Akenaton met his earthly end. My own belief is that he was murdered at the instigation of the High Priest of Upper Egypt whom he had removed from power and office. A nest of scorpions was inserted beneath the pillows of his couch and his death came slowly but surely, following this dastardly act of evil.
It is no doubt true that history never repeats itself in quite the same way. Jesus the Christ was not the ruler of an earthly empire, although he came, in a hereditary and bodily sense, of a royal line of leaders and of prophets.
He came to proclaim the ONE GOD, the Father of all men, and his Father, too. He met the fury of the priests, far more deadly than the anger of the Roman rulers of the time.
He attempted to cleanse the Temple and to bring the true spirit back into religion. And he met his earthly end through the malice of the priestly class who, humanly speaking, were not aliens but of the same Hebrew stock as himself.
What steps can be taken now and in our own age for preventing the repetition of history, as outlined by the earthly fate both of Akenaton and of Jesus? As we look around, are we so certain that the fate of the next Messenger from God will not be similar? During the Christian dispensation is it not true to say that more wars and cruelties have been inflicted in the name of religion, than from any other single cause?
Can humanity at long last begin to learn and profit from the lessons of the religious history of past ages? If so, there is hope for the destiny and welfare of those who are to follow us. Otherwise there can be little.
In comparing the fate of Jesus with that of Akenaton, it must not be thought that I presume to place them on the same spiritual level, or, in fact, to suggest that these two beings were “equal” or to be regarded from the same stance. Let this be made very clear; having said this, let us seek to learn the important lesson that can come from a study of how human history can repeat itself, even if such repetitions are never completely identical, either in procedure or in outcome.
Does History Repeat Itself? is an extract from Writing on the Ground by Wellesley Tudor Pole, published by White Crow Books.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published March 2016
Size: 203 x 133 mm