The temples of the Mayans and the Inca,
The Aztecs: these might well be similar.
But compare those ruins of Cambodia,
The Borobudur, of Indonesia,
And questions are quarried from the very stone,
Hewn in rock: the similarity
Surpasses coincidence. That they would own
That same resemblance, that parity,
Is uncanny in an ancient, fearful way.
Is it divine or supernatural,
The hand that held the compass in its sway,
Designing faith: or counterfactual,
To see gods in the temple, when in fact
Only those structures built that way would last,
With stones set out with gravity and tact
To keep them there as relicts of the past;
Or is this shape the castle of the mind,
The very palace of all human hearts?
Perhaps wherever we look we’re doomed to find
This shape for worship in the mason’s art,
The place for power, for every race of man,
Innate as fear and faith, built in our bones.
The temple waits within us, inherent plan
Which reconstructs itself outside, in stones.
I make no conclusions: but it is truly fascinating, the concepts shared by humanity across cultures, even in centuries when they could not possibly be communicating ideas across continents. Demons, dragons, incubi; fairies, angels and “those who came from the sky”. The human experience of faith is universal. One remarkable archeological example, frequently cited (but often misunderstood), is the similarity often observed across certain ancient temples. I do not hold much for the “ancient aliens” theories, myself (that is, that a superhuman intelligence brought the idea to us). The principle that they must have been built this way to last, and that those temples which did not have that robust structural integrity are of course no longer around to buck the trend, is an attractive one on a rationalist level.
Another comparison, perhaps: evil, as a concept, is just as universal as divinity. We often externalise this: a devil or demon possesses us, or inspired wickedness. But that overlooks another fundamental truth, which is that human behaviour is, definitionally for some, innate. Evil lurks in the hearts of us all. Perhaps, just as gods and devils are part of us, so too are designs for their worship.