For more than a million sunrises, the Egyptian sphinx has guarded the Pharaohs' mysteries with implacable calm. Nothing has shattered its unblinking meditation; a cannonball fired by Napoleon's army only broke its nose.
Recently two limestone chunks weighing about 700 pounds between them fell from the sphinx's shoulder. The damage has prompted international accusations of neglect. Concern focuses on the power of wind, water and pollution to erode the sphinx's leonine body, which was excavated in the last century and left fully exposed to the elements.
But why reach for such mundane explanations when the real one is so obvious: After staring at human folly for four and a half millennia, the sphinx simply shrugged.