Let’s Stop Angering the Gods

Since ancient times, the ocean has been pilfering our glorious land. Since the last real Ice Age 20,000 years ago, average sea-levels have risen by 120 metres.

Now this may not seem hugely meaningful, but don’t you worry your little head, it is. People fucking adore the sea, and living by it. Culture thrives with foreigners from afar bringing trade by boats, and open oceans provide plenty from fishing.

If sea levels have risen 120m in 20,000 years, and modern humans have been around at least that long, then millennia of our most culturally advanced civilisations are lost under the sea.

It is no huge gasp then that culturally, humans are drowning in flood myths: Atlantis, Noah, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Chinese myths, even the Inuit have a variation.

The meme typically unfolds as a tipping point of human decadence leading to divine retribution in the form of a world-devouring deluge, only survived by the pure of heart. Not hugely surprising, considering who originally told these tales.

There’s even the historical fact of Doggerland, a large, amusingly-named stretch of land between South-East England and Denmark that would have been entirely above water 9000 years ago.

Finally, there’s Cantre’r Gwaelod. The Black Book of Carmarthen – the oldest known text written in Welsh – writes of an ancient kingdom north-west of Aberystwyth, that was kept above water by a series of gates and walls, ruled by a dude named Gwyddno Garanhir. The tale tells that it was lost to the sea after the gatekeeper – a prince of the land – got drunk and left the seagates open.

To me, these stories are not just fun tales, they’re warnings. Stay humble or you will be humbled.

Perhaps today’s society is the careless gatekeeper, inebriated by greenhouse gases and pieces of paper, angering the Gods and bringing ruin upon ourselves.