There is a small possibility that the current civilization can face a complete destruction or annihilation either from a great deluge due to global warming or earth quake, or a nuclear war or even by an appointment with some asteroid. It is possible that everything we created, everything we invented may totally get lost and annihilated. So, many of us might think on how we can preserve and pass on knowledge to the nascent civilization of future generations which can help them. However, a whole lot of us might think that their is no good and let them format their own life and let civilization grow on its on.
I am not discussing the content of such knowledge which needs to be passed – it can be anything from foods to medicines to health, sharing, basic sciences, agriculture. irrigation, astronomy etc. Lets not debate on the content and whether to pass on or not. Do we ever stop advising our siblings on what is good or bad , what is moral and immoral or what can help lead a peaceful life and so on ? Do we ever stop worrying for them? – no! Even in our deathbed we try advising our near and dear ones – if the opportunity exists. Just because we are talking about an imaginary group of people we cannot simply become philosophical.
As of now, we cannot imagine any single method by which we can preserve any form of data and be sure that they will not be destroyed or lost in face of any deluge or other form of devastation. As also the fact that even if we manage to preserve it there is no way we can be sure that it will be retrieved, decoded or decrypted and reach the proper target.
Let us for once assume that there was indeed an advanced civilization much before us which has attained great heights as compared to today and lets not assign any geo-political, racial or religious character on this group! This is simply to avoid a debate which can generate from our tendencies to connect or find a linkage to any superior group.
This group must have faced the same problem which I am discussing on how to store and pass on data and maybe they also could not come up with a practical solution. However when they reached a stage when deluge / devastation was eminent then they must have found out not only practical but an intelligent way to pass on ‘selective’ knowledge. The form as we know today as distributed database – not as in servers but in collective human memories. The problem was limitation of memorizing and manpower. So the selection of data was strictly restricted to only a few areas which may have been agreed in common. So the data was divided in parts and each was to memorize only one part and pass on to next generation. Bullshit ? Then how do you explain the classification/identification/characters of 6000 plants and their benefits to us in the form of Ayurveda ? Someone must be well aware that its impossible for a nascent civilization to research/refine/trial/develop even the simplest of the medicines and it might take 1000 years. Only now we know the benefits of the plants and the herbs and that they can cure almost 100% diseases leaving aside the diseases born out of our social, technological and other actions.
Also important is the propagation of Rice which most probably (as per scientific finds) originated from Himalayas – (a higher up safe place away from deluge, radiation etc.) The rice we see today is a product of 10000 years of evolution and is a prime component in building societies, trading, communities and civilizations. 97% of the white rice we eat today are derived from a single mutation in wild rice (normally red in color) In absence of any other data it is speculated that this happened due to selective breeding by primitive farmers as this variety was easy to boil (low fuel), easy to remove husk and the white color helped in detecting insects. But the single protein in the DNA thread responsible for this change was only identified in 2006. These protein is entirely deleted in the white variety DNA – call it genetic engg whatever.
Apart from these – the all important part is spirituality which must have reached such a level where religion took an advanced shape without strictures, scripts, conversions, rigid rules, rituals, and other things which bind the spirit or mind. So high a level that its still beyond the means of not only us but the entire world to grasp its true essence. So high a level, that they themselves must have realized the limitations of the forthcoming generation and tried to propagate their thoughts thru symbolism whereas we are still busy with the symbols more than the underlying essence. A primitive religion is normally expected to be based on farming, fertility, hunting, wealth and natural forces whereas we dont see any of these in the basic definitions. Pashupati (hunter god) etc are all later additions and fusions like adaptation of Pagan rituals in Christianity to propagate the original concepts.
There may have been a few who also tried to use the same technique in preserving their knowledge in the field of chemistry, economy, aviation (including interstellar travel), surgery, and more. Many of these has diluted over the period of propagation and lost most of the originality. But an overall analysis will show that someone tried to pass on beneficial knowledge and knowledge which was much advanced than today.