But instead of giving the people their knowledge of the calendar and giving up total control over them, the first and last intellectual leaders in each Great Civilization became shamans. They wrapped up their knowledge in a cloak of mystery and mythology.

Historians marvel at the fact that Aztec priests developed a calendar which was endlessly complicated and gave dates for many millennia to come. As usual, historians are lost in awe at a trick that any country huckster would see through in a New York minute. One way to make basic knowledge seem mysterious is to make it seem that only a superspecialist can deal with it. So the only people allowed to dictate the calendar were those who devoted full time to it.

If any of the peasants supporting these full time priests thought he might be able to do the same thing, they brought out that hideously complicated "Aztec calendar" as one of the proofs that a full-time shaman class was essential.

Other shamans in Great Civilizations used other methods of making the facts they had learned mysterious. Since they were the experts on the seasons, Egyptian priests told the people that if they and the Pharaoh didn't spend full time performing the right ceremonies, the sun would stop coming up.

We all know the First Rule when it comes to discussing Ancient Civilizations. That First Rule is Show Respect For Ancient Wisdom. When we are told that ancient Egyptians actually believed they needed to support their shamans in grand style or the sun wouldn't come up in the morning we must Understand that behind this there was a Deep Wisdom.

What no decent person would ever do when he is told that the shamans maintained their life style by saying they wouldn't make the sun come up in the morning would be to laugh out loud. To find someone who would do that you would need a truly evil and uncouth person.

Which, dear reader, is exactly what makes me so useful to you.

The moment that the first and last intellectual leaders any Great Civilization ever had turned into fakes and shaman the pursuit of knowledge ended. All mental effort was wasted in inventing endless complications that all the young shaman had to learn.

There is nothing sillier than the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It absorbed all of everybody's intellectual life. You can only see it realistically if you see it as the shaman's trick it was. But we are not allowed to see it for what it really was.

It is literally true that no one can begin to understand history until they abandon the First Rule in dealing with Ancient Civilizations. A huckster and a fraud is a huckster and a fraud no matter how many priestly offices or PhDs he has. You cannot be realistic about history if you are not realistic about the world in general.