We can function in many “centric” ways: gender centric (aka sexist), ethnocentric (aka racist), worldview centric (dismissing the validity/value of other views), species centric (anthropocentric), earth centric (not so much an issue until we meet non-earth beings), and time centric.
I was reminded of this when I watched a documentary about Chaco Canyon yesterday.
The buildings of Chaco Canyon were constructed around thousand years ago, and appear to be systematically aligned with solar and moon paths. It seemed that the approach of the movie was to induce a sense of surprise and astonishment in the viewer – how amazing that they could figure it out and pull it off!
But this would only surprise us if we hold one or both of two centric views: ethnocentric (westerners are smarter than natives) or time centric (we are smarter than people were in the past).
Of course, both of those views are based on an illusion. People from all ethnic groups are about equally smart. And people way back in time – at least several hundred thousands years back – were equally smart as we are today. People in any culture and far back in time were as smart as anyone we know in our own lives.
When it comes to the builders in Chaco Canyon, we can have deep appreciation for their insights, skills and dedication. But surprise is not needed.