A Case for Kon-tiki
‘It is rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch.’
– Thor Heyerdahl
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer, set about upon a bold voyage across the Pacific Ocean on a small wooden pae-pae raft, christened the Kon-tiki after the Incan Sun God. It was Thor’s intention to provide evidence for his anthropological theory – that Polynesia was originally settled by South Americans in pre-Columbian times.
Thor’s theory was largely dismissed by the scientific community, partly because it was believed that such a long voyage would have been impossible without modern technology.
After 101 days at sea, and travelling nearly 5000 miles, the kon-tiki raft crashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands. And while the expedition didn’t reach its original destination, the incredible feat proved that the ancient Incan tribes could have traversed the South Seas without the aid of modern technology.
In a miraculous feat of bravery, Thor and his crew were willing to put their lives on the line in the spirit of adventure and scientific discovery.
Recently, Thor’s theory has gained more credence with new genetic evidence showing that the Easter Island inhabitants have South American DNA.
The kon-tiki team’s journey reminds us to visualize the impossible, to remember that we don’t need anything (modern technology included!) other than a resolute spirit in order to realize the unrealizable.
S+ suggested viewing: KON-TIKI The Academy Award winning 1951 documentary about the voyage.
Published: July 8th, 2014