Elizabeth Lindsey: Curating humanity's heritage | Video on TED.com
Among the books on my parents shelves, were the works of Thor Heyerdahl. Kon Tiki, The Ra Expeditions, and one on Easter Island. I was struck by the concept of using ancient, ancient technology to cross the oceans. Struck by the "Star Trek"-style international and interfaith composition of the crews of the expeditions. Struck by the faraway places.
Once, in college, I was browsing the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education (HSSE) library at Purdue when I came across another Thor Heyerdahl book, with maps of ocean currents, showing ways that ancient peoples could have traveled the seas in simple canoes.
Alas, I don't have the name of the book. And as an engineering student, I didn't have the luxury of time to check it out and peruse it as I would have liked. It feels strange, that this missed opportunity still stands out to me, 12+ years later.
The video also reminds me of something I read once in the Society of Women Engineers magazine, about water-priests. This book
indicates they were Hindu water-priests in Bali. I encourage you to read pages 48-51 of the linked Google book in their entirety.
As an engineer, I am trained and dependent on the scientific method. There are many people who believe that science and religion are incompatible. My brother, Kawphy, is an atheist who scoffs at all religion as useless superstition.
I see a middle ground. As the TED video on Polynesian waveriders, and the Google Book on Bali's Hindu water-priests show, I believe that religion is one of the ways in which traditional knowledge of seasons, weather, plants, animals, migratory patterns, waves, and many other scientific patterns come to us.