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…But this is equally true with the State of France as a whole. The philosophy of enlightenment is the one that prevails in French research, and the scientism that unfolds forbids researchers from stepping aside from the conventional thinking “approved by the Republic”. If you get off the beaten track, grants necessary to fulfil your studies will be taken away from you. You become instantly ostracized. And this is true for all fields, not just archeology. You must conform. It is extremely frustrating and disheartening to realize that even though you might have made a revolutionary discovery, if it doesn’t fit the established theories, it will be left apart in favor of other non-threatening discoveries.
What are the internal reactions to that? What is the general level of frustration?
The most convincing instance is the one of one of my acquaintances, studying archeology at the beginning of 2010’s when she raised the possibility of a civilization much older than those commonly accepted. She got cut off on the spot. There was no way anyone would mention this topic. This brilliant young woman decided to give up on the sensitive topic of archeology and turned herself to the studies of History of Art, more contemporary and less controversial.
It is still forbidden to mention certain topics. It feels like the Inquisition. A mere sentence, although fully and carefully argued and reasoned gets you the fires of hell in a blink of an eye.
Once upon a time, Universities were places of subversion, shaking the Bourgeois state of mind. Today, because of the globalization of human societies, they are nothing more than museum of ancient thinking. Conservatism prevails over subversion. The “right thinking” prevails over intellectual innovation. Universities became a place of certainties where anything new has to fit pre-established boxes. The Bourgeois took over
Does that mean that the legitimacy of « renowned » researchers can be questioned as well?
The high profile researchers, praised by the media, are the bishops of this one way street of thinking. Those who are considered to be the best students today are those who are the most capable to copy paste the doings of their masters and apply what they have been taught. Even if do not deny the qualities of some of our masters, our task today is to climb on the shoulders of these giants to further than we do today.
Forgive us this raw question. Therefore, isn’t archeology just a sham as no field work is helping going forward?
These men and women built their career on a theory. This theory, due to a lack of courage and honesty from all others involved, will not be, even partially, challenged. I wish we could see what Galileo has to say about our current times! Instead of proper argumentation, anyone coming up with a new theory will be treated as a fool and sent home. Whenever you tend to think for yourself, i.e outside the box, you become a fascist, a revisionist, creationist, worshiper of Satan, or the best way to avoid any debate with you: a fan of conspiracy theories!
This is indeed the antithesis of innovation and scientific research. Does that leave an open door for more passionate people to evolve outside of academic fields?
Independent researchers, heretical, can now work outside of any ideology, establishing new theories based of facts harvested in the fields. Of course they will lose the mental comfort that is belonging to a community which all members are thinking the same way, but they will gain the certainty to foresee the uncanny without the fear of being put back into his original place.