originally published April 5, 2012
Depending on whom you ask, history’s starting date is up for discussion. First off, you have your scientific-minded people who will tell you that the universe is billions and billions of years old. I’m just going to discard that nonsense right away, because it doesn’t fit in with today’s topic, which is 4000BC, or right around the beginning of the world. Maybe. Depending on whom you ask.
Alright, we’ll get this going four years prior, in the year 4004 BC. According to the Ussher chronology, which is a 17th century history of the world, everything got rolling in that year. This number was picked by an Irish Archbishop who read the bible and, of course, took everything quite literally. 4004 BC is fairly close to a few other creationist guesstimates from the same time period, which follow the belief that our planet’s lifespan is 6000 years, with the expectation that Jesus would wrap up the show in 2000.
Ussher felt a need to be specific, which I respect, so he pinned the earth’s creation to a Saturday night, October 22, 4004 BC, right near the autumnal equinox in the proleptic Julian calendar. Without getting into a lengthy explanation of this, let’s just say that this has to do with leap years in the BC time period, and it probably requires some charts and sketches to understand fully. Rather than make sense of it, here’s a picture of a cute puppy:
4004 BC was not an arbitrary guess. Ussher was a devoted researcher, correlating the events described in the bible with known historical events from other cultural texts in order to derive his timeline. It was all very scientific, that is until actual science came along and suggested that rocks and trees and stars and stuff might be a tad older than 6000 years. Ussher’s calculations state that Jesus would have been born in the year 4 BC.
The popularity of the King James edition of the bible incorporated Ussher’s chronology in its notes and annotations, so that meant that competing chronologies were discarded in favor of this one. Until, you know… science.
Meanwhile, over in Korea, the son of a god had some hot god/bear sex with a she-bear, and the first human was born, establishing the initial Korean civilization. Now that is a fantastic origin story – much cooler than a radioactive spider-bite and almost as awesome as getting launched from Krypton as it explodes. Well done, Korean folklore.
In Japan, people had been kicking around since the days when an ice bridge would have connected the island nation to mainland Asia. Around 4000 BC is the beginning of a period of significant growth in the Jomon people, the island’s pre-Japanese inhabitants. The Jomon were the hunter-gatherer type, now known for their pottery, mucky-looking pit houses, and wow – this is completely uninteresting. No God-sparked sweeps of life-creation, no hot bear-on-god-son sex acts… you’ve disappointed me, Japan. 4000 BC in your country is not nearly wacky enough.
How about the Egyptians? In 4000 BC they saw the beginning of the Naqada culture, a hilarious rag-tag bunch who developed painted pottery and traded with the Nubian kids, as well as a myriad of other roaming cliques around the eastern Mediterranean area. Archeologists have found cedar from Lebanon and obsidian from Ethiopia in Egypt, all dating from around this time.
The Freemasons, that secret society who controls our entire universe, and is solely responsible for the extended lifespan of According To Jim, have declared that 4000 BC is “Year Zero.” This is an approximation based on the Hebrew calendar (which actually kicks in after 4000 BC). In Freemason-speak, they tack on 4000 years to the current year and refer to it as the year “After the Year of Light”, so 2012 AD would, in fact, be 6012 AL.
Confused? Me too.
4000 BC was the year that horses were first tamed for domestic use – somehow we know this information. It was also when the first known plough was used. Maybe the two are related. Were I a horse, I’d be suspicious about this.
So what about the other end of the spectrum? What about 4000 AD?
In and around our fortieth century – and I hesitate to make predictions, because you know some schmuck is going to pull up this page in 4000 and laugh at how inaccurate I was – we will probably still be waiting for the damn flying car. Also, disco may be back in style. I don’t know… let’s have a look at what brighter minds than mine have predicted.
Barbarella takes place in the 40th century. So I guess it’s comforting to know that there will be people who look like this:
According to the 1960s comic book Magnus, Robot Fighter, humanity will be dependent on robots by 4000 AD, and North America will be one large city known as North Am. Our future will depend on Magnus, a human trained to defend humanity against rogue robots and humans who would use robots for nefarious purposes. Glancing at the cover, this all seems quite reasonable.
Of course it’s also possible that we’ll blow it up, damn you all to hell! Yes, Planet of the Apes takes place in 3978. So it might not be robots we’ll have to worry about, but super-intelligent apes. I’m suddenly not feeling optimistic about our future. Isn’t it bad enough that even popular music suspects that we’ll be halfway toward being blind and being fed through tubes?
The Superfriends may be the ones who save us in 4000 AD. According to the Conquers Of The Future episode, the Legion of Doom will have formed an alliance with a Morlocks rip-off called the Barlocks, and we’ll be fighting for our very survival. I want to see who saves us, Aquaman or Apache Chief.
It seems that, four thousand years on either side of 0 (or 1 AD, if you want to be picky), nothing can really be told with any accuracy. The past is filled with conjecture, estimation, and religious beliefs that aren’t shared by the entire population, and the future contains super-robots and mega-apes.
So what can we learn from all of this? First of all, the Koreans have fantastic tales involving weird beastial sex. Second, 4000 BC is incredibly important to Freemasons, and since they can make my head explode just by willing it to happen, I’m not going to make fun of it. And lastly, don’t trust robots or talking apes. For the record, I already knew that one.