Origins: Rapa Nui

If we transported someone from Ancient Greece to 2013, they would believe they were on Mount Olympus.  The marvels of our technology and our cities would be too much for their minds to comprehend.

Perhaps, in a thousand years we will be overwhelmed by the state of the earth.  Could we grasp the reality of 3013?

On a remote island separated by the ocean and time a race of people lived, farmed, and altered their environment with cataclysmic results.  In a previous post Origins: Home, I discussed the film HOME.  In this film it touched on Rapa Nui, Easter Island.

2500 years ago a brave group of people sailed the ocean in search of a new home.  They found an island after many days and probably loss of life.

Photo  Nathan Nelson.
Photo Nathan Nelson.

The island is famous for the Moai, rock images of the early settlers.  The Moai watch the ocean because at the time of creating these giants the Rapa Nui people were facing an ecological disaster.

These gods of a people lost from their civilization gave a hope that someday help would come to save them.  Overpopulation and destruction of their forests as the need for farm lands increased left them without the means to survive or escape from their paradise of misery.

Overpopulation led to starvation and war.  Their ancestors had come looking for a new land, a new opportunity to live.

Perhaps, Rapa Nui is a tragic object lesson for the global community to ponder.  What happened on Rapa Nui centuries ago is happening now in many places on this planet traversing the cosmos.

Unfortunately, the Moai could not save their children.  They could only stand on the shore and offer no assistance.


Perhaps, the Moai stood watching the ocean because they could not bear to watch the death of their children.  Giant images of rock display the skills of a people talented and resourceful, but who chose a path of devastation generation after generation.  They lost who they were and where they came from across the ocean.  Their origins became mysterious and the creation of the Moai were an attempt to catch the starlight of their past.

I am sure that many of them stood by the Moai or alone on their beach and look as far as the horizon and wondered where did I come from?  Why am I here?  Is this all there is to life—living on this island of rock?

How many individuals over the course of human history have stood on their shore and gazed across the waters or the night sky and wondered the same?  On the shores of eternity, humans hover for answers to the fundamental questions of existence.

For many, science has explained the origins of life and they are content with the answers and the finitude of their threescore plus years of mortal existence.  For many others science is cold and sterile.  It offers no hope for life after this one ends in the shadows of death. It offers no purpose except that we were lucky to be born at this time and make the most of the time that you have left because you have no future after this life ends.

Perhaps, the Rapa Nui people felt the same way.  Their Moai, science and religion, had no answers except to watch the ocean.

Science and religion both tackle the queries of origins.  However, the path of each is as divergent as a road in a pristine forest.  The road less traveled is not always the road to the answers.  Answers about the mysteries of the cosmos are always difficult to find.


How is it with you today?  Is your Moai sufficient for your existence? Or do you look beyond the horizon for a future?  Or is the cosmic song of eons ago just a whisper of a song lost in the mists of time and belief?

G. D. Williams       © 2013

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