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kisma Johnson's blog: "Atlantis"

created on 03/26/2008  |  http://fubar.com/atlantis/b201431
The Bermuda Triangle is a triangular area of water going north up the US eastern seaboard, south west into the Caribbean and east as far as the Azores. It is alleged that ships and planes disappear mysteriously in this area. It was first mentioned in articles in the early 1950s, with Fate Magazine joining in. It became world famous following books by Vincent Gaddis and Charles Berlitz. seaplane The area is the busiest shipping area in the world. So is it expected that 1,000+ ships and planes could disappear? Lawrence David Kusche argued, in 1975, that disappearances are not greater, the numbers exaggerated by sloppy research. Well publicized disappearances - such as Flight 19, where a training wing of fighters disappeared in Dec 1945, followed by the plane sent to find them - added to the mystery. The USS Cyclops disappeared in 1918, taking 300 crew with her. There are many theories. They include UFO activity, leftover tech from Atlantis and the tormented souls of black slaves thrown overboard. Ivan Sanderson suggested magnetic vortices around the world where warm and cold air meet. Gas hydrates on the seabed could also play a part, releasing methane in large quantities. Rising to the surface, water would go frothy, buoyancy would fail and a boat would sink. Rising into the air, methane could ignite a plane engine. Wreckage hits the bottom, water disturbance eases and silt covers the evidence. There are survivors. They speak of faulty compasses, equipment malfunction, loss of horizon, banks of fog and more. But all these events are common. What could be unusual is congregation leading to a single event. We all experience such congregations. They are called coincidence. They have inevitability, and coincidences build upon coincidence. So could it be possible that such coincidences could coincidentally happen in a specific location? ship-bow1 The Bermuda Triangle could be statistically inevitable to occur. But coincidences often have a helping hand from the human mind. Consider: the triangle is a media creation. Disappearances may have happened before the 1950s, but they had no meaning in terms of a mystery. Now they do. And like a curse, knowing you are in the area could have an effect upon behavior. Innocuously, it makes you give meaning to a normal event and relate it to the mystery. And in deadly ways, it could affect your reaction to such an event, making disaster inevitable. The Bermuda Triangle could be vital to understanding the nature of disaster. Often, we describe disasters through human error or congregation of events leading to the disaster. But as in the above idea, it could be coincidence and feelings of inevitability they produce that lead to disaster. In chaos theory we know of the butterfly’s wings causing a hurricane. A tiny event can build up to cataclysm. Maybe it is time to forget ridiculing the Bermuda Triangle and see it as an opportunity to study processes that could lie behind ALL disasters. © Anthony North, March 2009
Most religions have the belief that there was once a more perfect world, from which man has been banished. This has often been interpreted as meaning a real previous civilization used to exist, populated by beings we now see as gods. Outside religion, central to such ideas is Atlantis, a mythical island deep in our past with a perfect, but powerful society, finally destroyed by the gods when they were corrupted. Could such a lost world have actually existed? Well, perhaps not a single island of Atlantis. But the idea of a lost civilization is something quite different – and something I think can be explained rationally. Of course, many ideas for such a civilization have been put forward, mostly of a spurious or sensational nature. Hence, academe is loath to even consider such a possibility. But I think they are mistaken. Does evidence exist for a lost civilization? No. Not of a definite kind - but there are plenty of indicators around the world that could fit into the concept, if, that is, they were properly researched. These concern the myriad myths of sunken cities, and structures off-shore that could be man-made. From the Bimini Road in the Caribbean, to Yonaguni in the Far East, tantalizing glimpses of possible human endeavour exist under the sea, not far from the coast. How do we make sense of the implications? By providing a theory that allows them to be, at least, man-manipulated, and tying that theory with known or reasoned elements from the past. The predominant theory of man’s proliferation around the planet is the Out of Africa hypothesis. In this model, modern man moved out of Africa in prehistory and populated the globe. However, this would only have been achieveable by the crossing of large expanses of water. Boats, it seems, would have been needed some 40,000 years ago. How else would we explain this proliferation? These boats would have been rudimentary, but is it feasible to suggest that the boat builders then abandoned their boats and continued Stone Age existence? I think this is unlikely. Rather, I suggest a split in humanity between a maritime culture, and the inland hunter-gatherer. Boats, of course, would require harbours. These would be static, and as happened in the later Agricultural Revolution, I suggest these static societies produced all the advances in organization and engineering that seemed to come later. In effect, I’d argue that a Fisheries Revolution occurred, thousands of years in the past, in isolated coastal communities around the world. Advancing possibly up to a stage equal to the ancient Egyptians, they eventually learnt navigation and linked up into a global cosmopolitan civilization. From 12,000 to 8,000 years ago, the last Ice Age ended, raising water levels. Hence, these communities were wiped out, leaving only enigmatic structures poking up from the sea bed, the survivors going inland and using their expertise to kickstart the Agricultural Revolution. These survivors are remembered only as gods. And the first global society rose to greatness, and was finally wiped off the face of the Earth.
Let me make it clear from the beginning that I accept a lost civilization could once have existed, but I do not believe it is Atlantis. Rather, Atlantis is a metaphor. But this said, there is a great deal of importance attached to Atlantis. We are used to all forms of theories concerning Atlantis, but could it be that it holds a vital force within our intelligentsia and academic advancement itself? Indeed, could it fuel our idea of who we think we are? ATLANTIS BAD Intellectuals go out of their way to ridicule Atlantology. And indeed, much of it cannot be classed as ‘academic’. Ignatius Donnelly is credited with beginning the modern interest in Atlantis. This was furthered by the likes of Madame Blavatsky, placing a whole mystical tradition upon the subject. And when Adolf Hitler used Atlantis to further his maniac aims, Atlantis seemed to be discredited forever. These elements aside, the reality of Atlantis is that it sparks the human mind at certain times in our past. And by narrating the history of the interest in Atlantis, another story emerges out of the myth of its insanity. FRANCIS BACON One of the seminal figures behind the scientific revolution and the spirit of liberal democracy that rose hand in hand with it was the English philosopher and statesman, Francis Bacon. In his ‘The Advancement of Learning’ in 1605, he laid down the scientific method of experimentation above belief. However, towards his death he wrote his unfinished ‘The New Atlantis’, published posthumously in 1626. This, above all else, was his legacy to the spirit of enquiry he had helped to birth. An allegorical romance, ‘The New Atlantis’ begins with a voyage in the Pacific. Near Peru the ship is blown off course and it comes upon the fantastic island of Bensalem. A native tells the crew about King Solamona who ruled 1900 years before. The king had set up a series of laboratories, forming a research institute with the task of discovering: ‘ … the knowledge of causes and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible’. An entire society was built around this research institute, complete with a distinct social hierarchy, including collectors, experimenters, theorists and philosophers. The argument of the work was that knowledge and advancement could not come in isolation, but must be a collective pursuit. Hence, through reference to an Atlantis-style image, Bacon fantasised upon the future of scientific research. SIR THOMAS MORE AND MORE Around the same time as Bacon’s work, a further treatise appeared by the Dominican Friar Campanella, using similar symbolism to rationalise the ideal Republic for the future. Expressing the political side of the new rationalism, its main forebear was Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’. Written in 1516, More wrote of an imaginary island where laws, morals and politics were perfect, using this symbolism to draw analogies with the system of his day. This tradition, reinvented by More, was, infact, quite ancient. It seems that whenever society can be seen as on the point of change, some political philosopher comes along to offer an allegory of an imaginary ‘ideal republic.’ Always it is alluded to as a ‘utopia’, which is itself suggestive of an Atlantian spirit, for utopia means ‘nowhere’. From Cicero’s ‘De Republica’, through St Augustine’s ‘The City of God’, to Dante’s ‘De Monarchia’, a fantasy civilization is invented to guide us along our path to civilization and reason. IGNATIUS DONNELLY Ignatius Donnelly himself can be seen as part of this on-going political tradition. The father of modern Atlantology, he was a writer and US Republican congressman. An extreme radical, he worked in America’s seminal years following the American Civil War, which saw the country develop into the Superpower it is today. A prophet of reform, Donnelly’s fiction carried a simple theme that American society was descending into oppression and tyranny. Thus we have the political incentive for Donnelly to create his own fantastic, Atlantian literature as a metaphor and warning, just like More, Bacon and others before him. But is there any proof that this was his motive? It cannot be just coincidence that Donnelly fuelled another controversy other than Atlantis. For Donnelly was one of the leading figures who tried to prove that Francis Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays. Donnelly wanted nothing more than to raise the author of ‘The New Atlantis’ to the status of a prophet. From the Nazi fascination with Atlantis, to Blavatsky attempting to use Atlantis as a new spirituality to counter materialism, the entire Atlantis controversy has but one primary motivation. Whenever a new strand of Atlantology is created, political change lies behind it, with Donnelly being no exception. And guess who was also a political activist intent on creating a new republic. The creator of the Atlantis metaphor himself. Plato. By Anthony North, March 2008
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