Trippy Tuesday: The Ancient Future

EWF Triptych

Do you remember Earth Wind and Fire album covers? As a girl I would sit in my parents room and listen to Earth Wind and Fire while staring at the album cover art and being totally fascinated and freaked out by the ones above. My mother had been studying the history of Egypt since I was a baby so I guess I was drawn to the graphic illustrations of Ancient Egypt because they were all over the house. Plus we made regular trips to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Ancient tombs and ruins and pieces that were excavated from tombs. My imagination was often inundated with images of hieroglyphs, sphinxes with smashed noses and the cat, Bastet the Cat Goddess.  It all makes sense now. Egyptians worshiped cats and so do I. LOL!

But these EWF album cover illustrations depicted a very strange version of Ancient Egypt by showing ships taking off from pyramids that looked like launch pads or spaceships, statues with Afrocentric features and a Goddess who is part stone, part sound system that fused the “futuristic” with the ancient in a seamless and disorienting way that did something wacky to my brain. Something wacky that I liked but did not understand. I think what threw me was the audacious certainty of the illustrations, as if transforming and re-interpreting familiar Egyptian imagery to suit a kind of space age vision was perfectly normal. My mind was blown. It was like tripping without drugs. It took me years to be able to accept that this is just what people ahead of their time do.

Thinking about these covers recently has given rise to my own theory about the nature of the Ancient past with regards to the Egyptians who were clearly way ahead of their time. I have this feeling sometimes that as a race, we are not actually headed towards any traditional sense of the “future” as we have come to understand it. Perhaps the most amazing things technology can offer have already been conceived by beings who existed long before “civilization.” Who knows?

I mean can anyone really explain how the pyramids were made? This was over 3000 years ago and technology has still not been able to duplicate the structures of the Ancient Pyramids in Egypt. So how far have we really come? What did they know that we didn’t? And why did EWF choose Ancient Egyptian images to make a statement about time, technology, sound, exploration and mystery? Maybe we’re actually living in the past. Maybe ancient times were the future and we’re going backwards. Or maybe all these films based on scientific theory about how the nature of time is not linear but cyclical are really onto something.

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