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An Open Letter to all the Very Serious People who spent last week talking about Weiners of the capitalized and non-capitalized varieties instead of Governor Christie's abuses, the petering out of the Khmer Rouge trials, or the deadly-serious game of chicken the Republicans are playing with our nation's economy:

You guys win.  I capitulate.  I was wrong to ever believe that arresting our nation's perilous experiment with totalitarianism was more important than the next election cycle. After all, who am I, a mere citizen, to question your focus groups, your polls, your Kurtzs?  

I have now come around to your way of thinking, and along with you will firmly attest to the following: the writ of habeus corpus is stupid and old, the Constitution really is pretty vague about defining whether or not we're supposed to be a theocracy, and Andrew Breitbart is a truth-wielding pillar of your profession.  I, like you, have come to appreciate the streamlining of our hoary, ancient laws started by The Decider and carried forward by his socialist-Marxist-fascist-Hitler-Kenyan-Stalinist-birth certificateless successor.  From now on, I'll follow your lead and won't adopt any viewpoint not approved by legal scholars like Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers.

In celebration of my newfound ability to stick my fingers in my ears and shout "nahnahnah," please enjoy this diary about a civilization that may have been nothing more than the product of a philosopher's imagination, but has gone on to make great fame and fortune for a few folks.  Don't worry – there's not a single analogy or metaphor to be found anywhere within.

This diary was originally published on August 12, 2007, under the same title in the exact same (albeit four years older) spirit of frustration with our national "news" outfits. – u.m.

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Historiorant:  Is it a Conspiracy Theory to say that Atlantis existed?  Is it a Conspiracy Theory to say that it didn't?  Will (and should) I be banned for talking crazy talk about gods so angry they sink continents and hubris of a magnitude so great that it destroys civilizations?

I don't know about any of that (though fwiw, I don't think initiating conversations about Atlantis, Sasquatch, Nessie, et. al., should be grounds for banning, if ever they were)  –what I do know is that I am frustrated past of the point of being able to talk rationally about current affairs.  Accordingly,   I'm going to take a short break from the tough stuff, and flitter off to the fringes of relevance.

Though now that I think about it, I don't know where any of the Republican candidates stand in the existence-of-Atlantis debate – maybe if I get lucky, CNN will include a question in their debate tomorrow night.


Plausible Deniability

If one is an anti-Atlantean, there's certainly plenty of skepticism to be found in the first written mentions of the lost continent "beyond the Pillars of Heracles" – the story is as full of holes as videotape from James O'Keefe, the documentation as skimpy as a Breitbart expose.  It was none other than Plato himself who scribed humanity's initial inkling of Atlantis, writing in a Dialogue called Timaeus, and as part of the tale, he ensures that he covers the history of why no one had ever heard of the place before.  Still, the crypticness of the story's origin is nearly Rovian in its obfuscation and unverifiability:

…listen, Socrates, to a tale which, though strange, is certainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest of the seven sages. He was a relative and a dear friend of my great-grandfather, Dropides, as he himself says in many passages of his poems; and he told the story to Critias, my grandfather, who remembered and repeated it to us. There were of old, he said, great and marvelous actions of the Athenian city…

Timaeus

Historiorant:  Coupla notes on this: first, given the birth and death dates of the names dropped, Critias the Elder would have had to have been a child in order to have heard the tale from Solon himself – if so, his memory was suspiciously good, or the tale suspiciously embellished.  Secondly, I should point out that this is one of those issues that can be side-stepped by Republican candidates willing to get in bed with ultraconservative Christians (ew) – Atlantis could not have existed, because Plato was describing a kingdom that would predate the Creation of the Earth by about 5000 years.

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Plato wrote Timaeus as part of what some scholars think may have been intended as a trilogy, though he was only able to partially complete the second volume, Critias (which also mentions Atlantis), before his death in 347 BCE.  The books were Dialogues, in which Plato records the ostensible wisdom of Socrates as the great teacher inflicts his famed method of annoying questioning upon three other thinkers: fellow philosopher Timaeus and the politicians Critias and Hermocrates (these could be composite characters or semi-biographical depictions of Plato's buddies; it's hard to say).  They are gathered to speak of the "perfect society" – see Plato's The Republic - and Socrates gets the conversation started by asking if anybody knows of an historical example of such a place.  That's when Critias (the only character who mentions the Atlantean example) pipes up with his conveniently-hidden-until-now lost kingdom of 9000 years before.

Plato's story of Atlantis – through Critias, he claimed that the Athenian leader Solon, who lived two centuries earlier, had heard it from a trustworthy Egyptian priest of the city of Sais, whose temple had kept the secret down through the millennia – enters the literary lexicon without a great deal of corroborating evidence.  There are (debatably) no ruins to study, no primary documents written by an Atlantean hand, and no more than oblique references in even the most ancient of folktales and legends.  This has led some scholars of Plato to pooh-pooh the notion of Atlantis entirely; the Wikipedia article quotes Dr. Julia Annas of the University of Arizona:

The continuing industry of discovering Atlantis illustrates the dangers of reading Plato. For he is clearly using what has become a standard device of fiction — stressing the historicity of an event (and the discovery of hitherto unknown authorities) as an indication that what follows is fiction. The idea is that we should use the story to examine our ideas of government and power. We have missed the point if instead of thinking about these issues we go off exploring the sea bed. The continuing misunderstanding of Plato as historian here enables us to see why his distrust of imaginative writing is sometimes justified.

…and even the priests of Sais seemed a little dubious of Solon's worth in hearing the tale, at least at first, but they relented because both Sais and Athens were dedicated to different versions of basically the same goddess.  They chided his ignorance the way William Kristol patiently explains the complexities of the world to us ignerint nutrooters:

In the first place you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; in the next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word.

Timaeus

But those ghostly ancestors of ours did, of course, leave enough blank pages in the history books that storytellers, prophets, and archaeologists have ever since been compelled to try to fill them.  I'm not going to try to find it for him, but the Democrats might be able to learn a lesson about selling a vision from Plato; fictional or not, Atlantis has fired the imaginations of generations of people, all over the world, and inspired everything from grand scientific endeavors to nothing less than the founding of religions.  Something tells me the "Global War on Terra" and the "Bush Doctrine" aren't going to have quite that kind of staying power.


I Want to Believe

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Okay, so let's say you make the leap of faith (at least for the time it takes to finish reading this diary) and placed yourself in the hands of Plato's sourcing.  In the absence of independent, corroborating records from antiquity, we have to accept the fact that virtually all Atlantis-speak is Plato-derivative.  Even so, we can start seeing that he might've been on to something.  After all, inexplicable similarities between widely-dispersed civilizations (e.g., the proclivity of both ancient Mexicans and ancient Egyptians to build pyramids) could point to a Neolithic super-culture, which somehow binds us together and gives our own modern societies a kind of shared subconscious history.  Likewise, the universality of Atlantean metaphors are something that strike the Joseph Campbell chord in many of we modern types - it's nice to think there might've once been an Eden where more than two people got to live, and gratifying to know that the gods really do sometimes intervene and visit their wrath upon the haughty and tyrannous.

Speaking of gods, the continent belonged to Poseidon, though it was named for his son Atlas (not the titan you're thinking of; this Atlas was mortal and didn't have to shoulder the weight of the world).  Atlas and his twin brother, Eumelus – the first of five sets of twins born to Poseidon and a native woman named Cleito, who lived on a mountain "not very high on any side" a little ways in from the Atlantean coast – were given dominion over the continent, with Atlas (the eldest) getting the choicest terrain.

From the descriptions of the priests, Atlantis lay in what's now the middle of the ocean which bears its name:

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there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent.

ibid.

Further descriptions place the bulk of the continent in temperate climes with abundant rainfall, though mountains lay along the northern coast.  It was about 700 kilometers long; south of the mountains lay an oblong plain of special verdant-ness that ran predominantly east-west and was about 600 kilometers in length, 400 in breadth.  (the map was published in the 17th century in Amsterdam; note that it's oriented with south toward the top – u.m.

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(another cool artist's conception of Atlantis is under copyright here)

Poseidon carved his mate's mountain into a mighty palace, which was later improved upon by Atlantean kings trying to outdo one another's contributions to what became the Temple of Poseidon and Cleito.  Eventually, the city at the heart of the Atlantean Empire was connected to the sea by a long channel, which brought ships inland to a series of three wide, concentric moats and walls, and by bridges to the Temple and between the rings.  Docks were carved into the rock sides of the moats, and enormous tunnels allowed for seagoing craft to circumnavigate the mountain.  The walls which protected the rings of city, palace, and the awesome, three-walled Temple of Poseidon and Cleito were red, white, and black, and were made of rock quarried from the moats.  The walls were decorated, too, with brass, tin, and orichalcum, a mysterious metal that was, even by Critias' time, "only a name."

Weird Historical Sidenote:  Orichalcum ("mountain metal" or "mountain copper") might have been a gold/copper alloy, or it might have simply been a finite resource that got mined out; either way, it doesn't exist any more.  It was apparently a reddish-gold color, and was second only to gold in value.  It found its way into some unusual places, too – the Roman historian Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI, states that some of the vessels in the Temple of Solomon were of orichalcum, and the Golden Plates of Mormon were described by Joseph Smith's brother, William, as being a mixture of copper and gold, and having "the appearance of gold," though he never used the term "orichalcum" to describe their composition.

Poseidon's ten sons established the royal houses of ten kingdoms around the island, with Atlas' line being the preeminent one.  For many generations, Atlantis had the benefit of wise leadership:

as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another…

Critias

But even so, the seeds were planted for Atlantis' later decline into decadence.  The land was so bountiful that the 10 kingdoms were self-sufficient – trade was gravy, and there was lots of it.  Like certain Apprentice-drivers we know, functional beauty in architecture gave way to gaudy ostentation.  Critias spares no expense in describing what the mountain/palace/temple at the heart of the Empire came to look like:

a stadium in length, and half a stadium in width, and of a proportionate height, having a strange barbaric appearance. All the outside of the temple, with the exception of the pinnacles, they covered with silver, and the pinnacles with gold. In the interior of the temple the roof was of ivory, curiously wrought everywhere with gold and silver and orichalcum; and all the other parts, the walls and pillars and floor, they coated with orichalcum. In the temple they placed statues of gold: there was the god himself standing in a chariot-the charioteer of six winged horses-and of such a size that he touched the roof of the building with his head; around him there were a hundred Nereids riding on dolphins, for such was thought to be the number of them by the men of those days.

ibid.

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The move toward Paleolithic Neo-Garish artistic styles seems to have been reflective of a general decay of the moral fiber of the once-noble Atlanteans.  The height of their power represented the nadir of their morality; they might have been cladding their city and temple in precious metals, but they were doing so at the expense of the folks living inside the Pillars of Heracles.  Atlantis had conquered North Africa as far as the borders of Egypt, and Europe from Iberia to Tyrrhenia (a/k/a Etruria, homeland of the Etruscans of Roman origins fame); they had then enslaved the populations and begun oppressing them.  Even Zeus, when he starts looking into the possibility of divinely intervening, admits the Atlanteans were an "honorable race [in] a woeful plight,"

but when the divine portion began to fade away, and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture, and the human nature got the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly, and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts; but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness, they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power.

ibid. (that last line is a better description of a post-Katrina Bush supporter than any I've heard in the…ahem…drive-by media – u.m.)

Now here's where things get tantalizing.  Elsewhere in Timaeus and Critias, the narrator indicates that Atlantis had launched an ill-advised invasion of Athens (or, rather, Proto-Athens), which the Athenians had beaten back at great cost.  They had assembled a mighty alliance to rise up against the Stone Age Atlantic superpower, and apparently kept fighting even as their allies dropped away or were crushed in a Mediterranean fight to the death.  The men of Proto-Athens may have even gotten the worst of it – the priests had said there were few Athenian survivors to carry forth the culture of the Hellenes – because we're treated at one point to that most evocative of throwaway lines:

"But later there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea."
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket…which may indicate the subtle influence of the Olympian Thunderbolt strategy – shock and awe on a tectonic scale.  Zeus certainly did seem about through playing nice with the arrogant Atlanteans:
wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things. And when he had called them together, he spake as follows:

ibid.

And that's it.  The rest of Critias has been lost, so we can't really know what Zeus may or may not have advocated.  It's one of history's greatest cliffhangers – rather like what's going to happen when earnest researchers actually wait out the Bush sealings of documents related to his and his father's presidencies, only to find that everything was shredded and burned way back in the days when a simple assertion of Congressional oversight could have brought the Cheney Administration to its knees.


Fill-In-The-Blank

Whether or not Plato was relating a true tale has been the subject of centuries of historical debate, and it began not long after the philosopher's death.  His student, Aristotle, thought Atlantis fiction, but a grand-student of his, Crantor (by way of Xenocrates), went so far as to travel to Egypt seeking proof that it had been real.  Though he returned claiming to have read hieroglyphs on a column which verified the tale, the fact that he couldn't produce the column worked against him.  Still, his belief helped to convince other historians in antiquity, among them Proclus, Strabo, and Posidinius (but that last one has an obvious name-bias, so we might have to toss him out).

Plato's work on Atlantis inspired everything from satire – one author had a 10-million-man army invading Hyperborea, only to call off the attack when they realized the Hyperboreans were the luckiest people on Earth – to epic poems by Neoplatonists, to similar utopias (Panchaea) being set up in the Indian Ocean, to a theory on the origin of the Gaulish Druids that some had been refugees from a sinking Atlantis (theory debunked a century later).  Debate about the continent seemed to languish after the Fall of Rome; the story doesn't really pick up again until the publication of Francis Bacon's novel The New Atlantis in 1626.  In it, the philosopher/scientist describes Bensalem, a utopian society off the western coast of America (unclear whether North or South) which promotes "conversion" to secularism and describes what we would later come to know as the scientific method.

The Victorian Era saw a surge in interest in all things related to (or hinted at in) antiquity, and Atlantis was no exception.  Scholars of ancient Mesoamerica (there weren't many then, still aren't now) couldn't help but notice the linguistic and pyramidical similarities between a few Aztec and Ancient Mediterranean words; to this day, some folks ("scholar" doesn't seem to apply) still base entire theories upon this somewhat flimsy base:

Matlock, in his defence of the Yucatan Straits as the site of
              Atlantis, cites place names as one of his compelling proofs. He
              points to:
           

Atlán, Autlán, Mazatlán, Cihuatlán, Cacatlán, Tecaltitlán,
              Tihuatlán, Atitlán, Zapotlán, Minititlán, Ocotlán, Miahuatlán, Tecaltitlán,
              Tepatitlán, Tihuatlán, Texiutlán, and the like.

            Notice that the Nahuatl Tlán root of these place names is exactly
            like the Tlan in "Atlantis."
           

Atlas - or his substitute - is also encountered in diverse places
              performing his function of holding up the world. Quetzalcoatl is
              shown in paintings and in an engraving holding up the world.

(regrettably, this linguist failed to explore some of the world's other great verbal mysteries, like why "Spiro Agnew" anagrams to "Grow a Penis," or how it came to be that the Koreans use the same word for both "snow" and "eyeball."  He also got his Atlases mixed up. – u.m.)
Atlantis - above the waves




The Postbellum, Antediluvian World

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It fell to an old-school Plains Progressive from Minnesota named Ignatius Donnelly to vastly expand upon Plato's sketchy report, and he did so with the zeal of Dick Cheney uncovering the hidden knowledge of the heretofore-only-rumored Fourth Branch.  Donnelly assembled a massive tome entitled ATLANTIS THE ANTEDILUVIAN WORLD (the entire text, which resides in the public domain, is available through the link), in which he postulated that Atlantis had not only existed, but had been the culture hearth for most of the civilizations of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Weird Historical Sidenote:  Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901) left his native Pennsylvania for Minnesota in 1856, and there helped to found a utopian community called Nininger City a few miles south of St. Paul.  The exploding real estate bubble of 1857 shut down the dream, left him in debt, and forced him to take up politics, eventually resulting in stints as Minnesota's first lieutenant governor, a Radical Republican representative to Reconstruction-era Congresses (he was an early supporter of abolition and of the enfranchisement of women), and as Vice Presidential nominee for the Populist Party in the election of 1900.  In addition to his Atlantis studies – which scholarship did not, it must be said, further his career much – Donnelly also wrote extensively on Shakespeare and penned the preamble to the Populist Party's Omaha Platform in the 1892 elections.  He died on January 1, 1901, and is buried in St. Paul.

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Donnelly's ambitious work proposed to connect dots (and conveniently ignore others) based on reasoning that occasionally approaches Rush "how can there be global warming when it's cold outside today" Limbaugh levels of absurdity, but one has to remember that this was the same era in which an English preacher was able to amend the very Bible with the notion of a Rapture that nearly two thousand years' worth of theologians had missed.  Though disputed by historians and other enthusiasts of a documentable past, the public, ever prone to arguments that make the science seem based upon common sense, responded well to the new research on Atlantis.  Donnelly thus established in the modern era many of society's baseline ideas about the lost continent.  From "Chapter 1 – The Purpose of the Book":

3. That Atlantis was the region where man first rose from a state of barbarism to civilization.

4. That it became, in the course of ages, a populous and mighty nation, from whose overflowings the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, the Amazon, the Pacific coast of South America, the Mediterranean, the west coast of Europe and Africa, the Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Caspian were populated by civilized nations.

5. That it was the true Antediluvian world; the Garden of Eden; the Gardens of the Hesperides; the Elysian Fields; the Gardens of Alcinous; the Mesomphalos; the Olympos; the Asgard of the traditions of the ancient nations; representing a universal memory of a great land, where early mankind dwelt for ages in peace and happiness.

6. That the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greeks, the Phœnicians, the Hindoos, and the Scandinavians were simply the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis; and the acts attributed to them in mythology are a confused recollection of real historical events.

…et cetera (oh, and incidentally, Latin was derived from the language of Atlantis).  It's a good read, if you're a fan of van Daniken-style reasoning (I am); especially poignant is Donnelly's last paragraph, in which he issues something of an unanswered challenge to those of us who lived in the late 20th century:

We are but beginning to understand the past: one hundred years ago the world knew nothing of Pompeii or Herculaneum; nothing of the lingual tie that binds together the Indo-European nations; nothing of the significance of the vast volume of inscriptions upon the tombs and temples of Egypt; nothing of the meaning of the arrow-headed inscriptions of Babylon; nothing of the marvellous civilizations revealed in the remains of Yucatan, Mexico, and Peru. We are on the threshold. Scientific investigation is advancing with giant strides. Who shall say that one hundred years from now the great museums of the world may not be adorned with gems, statues, arms, and implements from Atlantis, while the libraries of the world shall contain translations of its inscriptions, throwing new light upon all the past history of the human race, and all the great problems which now perplex the thinkers of our day?

Well, Ignatius, my brother, since I come from more than a hundred years in your future, I shall say: No museum floors are threatening to collapse due to an overstock of Atlantean artifacts, and the libraries contain about as many Atlantean translations as the ones you knew.  Further, if great problems perplexed the thinkers of your day, they positively stymie the ones in mine.  We have taken to examining our would-be leaders on the basis of boob and haircut, and you will never, ever, hear one of them say anything about being crucified upon a cross of gold.


The Paleo New Age

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Helena Petrovna Hahn, better known as Madame Blavatsky, was an Industrial Age woman with a decidedly Aquarian outlook.  Born in the Ukraine, she fled an early arranged marriage and became a world traveler (in the mid-1800s, this was not a common thing for a woman in her 20s to do), and converted to Buddhism while visiting India, Tibet, and Indonesia.  Later adventures landed her in New York, where she explored spiritualism and became a founding member of the Theosophical Society.  She also wrote two volumes of The Secret Doctrine, which – outside of its extraordinarily casual racism – contained many themes that would be recognizable to a shopper in a Sedona crystal emporium.

One of these was at Atlantis, which Madame Blavatsky said was inhabited by the fourth of seven "Root Races."  Her Atlanteans were a people of high culture; gone was the militarily threatening empire of Plato.  She also mentioned the Lemurians of the Indian (or maybe Pacific) Ocean as a Root Race – Lemuria being the name of a theoretical continent meant to explain why there were lemurs in Madagascar and India, but not in Egypt and Southwest Asia.  Though rendered wrong by modern understanding of plate tectonics, the "sunken continent" theory was used as a convenient crutch by many a 19th-century naturalist trying to explain species distribution.

Weird Historical Sidenote:  Madame Blavatsky's Lemurians were reptilian, about seven feet tall, hermaphroditic, mentally undeveloped, and spiritually more pure than the following "Root Races," though these "dragon-men" eventually succumbed to the temptations of the Dark Side.  They were sunk and supplanted by the Atlanteans, who were endowed with intellect.  In 1894, Lemurian survivors (who presumably didn't look like Blavatsky's) were outed as living in or on Mount Shasta in California; this belief is perpetuated by some New Age churches today.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Another Weird Historical Sidenote:  Lemuria often gets tied up with the idea of Mu, a kind of Pacific counterpart to Atlantis.  Mu was "discovered" when one of those previously-mentioned Mesoamericanists prematurely announced that he had deciphered the hieroglyphs of the Maya, and that they told him the Maya thought they were descendents of refugees from a sunken island to the west.  Like Atlantis, however, the idea of Mu is persistent: H.P. Lovecraft referred to the place in a Cthulu context, and more recently, a submerged ruin – or weird, naturally occurring geologic formation – off Yonagumi, Okinawa, has been controversially identified as Mu.

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The Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce, mentioned Atlantis on more than a few occasions, and added even more grist for the New Age mill: his Atlanteans had airplanes and ships that were powered by some kind of crystal.  This, of course, neatly explains the Bermuda Triangle, as well: a malfunctioning Atlantean power crystal occasionally creates some kind of geomagnetic trans-dimensional vortex, or something like that.  In one of the more famous prophecies of the 20th century, Cayce said:

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"A portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages and sea water near Bimini... Expect it in '68 or '69 - not so far away."

He died in 1945, but 23 years later, a mysterious road-like formation was indeed spotted off the coast of Bimini, and believers in all things prophetic and Atlantean thought they had found the lost city.  Alas, the Bimini Road turned out to be many things to many people – geologists say it's a natural formation called tessellated pavement, and (even though some of my favorite people at the old Progressive Historians would probably take me to task for even mentioning the guy's name) Gavin Menzies claims it's an emergency slipway built by Chinese explorers who needed a drydock after their round-the-world-sailing junks were damaged by a hurricane.  The debate still rages on the Bimini Road, but undeniable is the influence upon the Atlantis story (and the New Age movement in general) of Edgar Cayce and the idea of guided-tour-by-channeling.


I Know That Enormous, Powerful City Is Around Here Somewhere…

Scholarship on Atlantis in the 20th century has been a little less guess-based than Ignatius Donnelly's early work, even as nationalists in several countries went off the deep end trying to prove their people's descent from the god-kings of yore.  Like most stuff, the Nazis found an evil purpose for Atlantis, claiming it had been the home of the Aryan supermen from whom the Nazis themselves were descended.  Similarly, some British nationalists, seeking to justify ruling a third of the world's population, said their people's mandate extended back to the mists of prehistory.

By altering one or two components of the Atlantis story, the lost continent can be made to appear in any number of locations in the Mediterranean Basin and around the world.  Candidates have included Sardinia, Santorini, Cyprus, Malta, Ponza, Troy, Tartessos, Tantalus, and possibly even Canaan in the Med; outside-the-Pillars sites include Sweden, the North Sea, Ireland, a couple of places around the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, Cuba, Bermuda, Indonesia, Bolivia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and – in a theory that relies on concurrent belief in cataclysmic magnetic pole shifts that precipitate very fast tectonic changes – Antarctica.  Some of the more plausible of these, in no particular order:

  • Canary Islands – once inhabited by a fair-skinned group of tribesmen called the Guanches who, upon meeting the first Spanish explorers to reach their islands, asked the newcomers to translate the weird writing on an ancient stone of theirs.  The Spaniards slaughtered them and destroyed the demonic writings, instead.
  • Azores - perhaps the mountaintops of Atlantis' fabled ranges?  The Golden Age Project seems to think so, and even has computer-generated reconstructions of Plato's island.
  • Minoans - flourished on Crete around the 17th century BCE; destroyed by tsunami created when the nearby island of Thera/Santorini (also a candidate for Atlantishood) exploded.  Interesting note: if you divide all of Plato's numbers by ten – like what might happen if a careless translator missed some math in going from Egyptian to Greek and back – the dimensions of the island and time frames involved (the volcano blew up 900 years before Solon, etc.) start to make sense.
  • Spartel Bank - is a submerged island in the Strait of Gibraltar, in places only 56 meters below the surface.  It sank around the right time – 12,000 years ago – but the cause seems more like ice cap melting than sudden tsunamification (though a theorized magnitude 9 earthquake may have contributed to the island's demise).

And the search goes on in the astral realm, as well – there is no shortage of websites and New Age periodicals and books in which one can find the teachings of an Atlantean who's been channeled through a medium.  In most of these visions, Atlantis is a blessed, alien-influenced Eden whose end is brought about by dreaming too big, or by outright ascension to a higher plane of existence (a great place to start looking into this is Crystalinks, a compendium of New Age knowledge and lore).  

In that sense, perhaps the makers of Stargate: Atlantis, a show which includes both lost cities and ascended beings, have been right all along.  Or perhaps those who say the Atlanteans chose a darker path and went the way of Icarus are correct; it's hard to know.  With input coming from sources as diverse as L. Sprague de Camp and the Walt Disney Corporation, it's difficult to say anything with certainty about the Lost Continent, except, perhaps, for one's personal feelings about it.


Historiorant:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Which brings us full circle, and thus (to mix metaphors once again) back to the matter at hand:  Where do you, Republican would-be leadership-people, stand on the existence of Atlantis, and more importantly, explain how and why you arrived at the conclusion you did?

Answer me that, and I'll be happy.  I've given up on hearing your excuses as to why these damn wars aren't over, why a cadre of criminals is still in charge of our banking and financial systems, and why we Dems should keep our powder dry for some mythic showdown that none of them is ever going to have the cajones to force.  Just tell me, Mittens and Newt and the Herminator and that Ambassador Guy Who's Running against the President Who Appointed Him and Michelle and Crazy Sarah and all the rest: tell me, in the same way you'd answer a high school essay question: Did Atlantis exist?  Why or why not?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Perhaps the most enduring legacy of Atlantis (22+ / 0-)

    is that it inspired much of the backstory behind JRR Tolkien's writings, particularly The Lord of the Rings. (He made it completely explicit in the Akallabeth section of The Silmarillion: Numenor "was" Atlantis.)

    If it's
    Not your body
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    AND it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:54:55 PM PDT

  •  The Thera/Crete story has always (11+ / 0-)

    made the most sense to me.  Why would people all the way out by the Straits of Gibraltar happen to pick on the Athenians? why not 1st stop at ancient France, Italy, Egypt,  Libya, etc. and leave traces of passage?

    The rest of Atlantis makes about as much sense as Republican noise, i.e., not much :)

    Join/follow Climate Hawks and Public Lands; @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:56:27 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary (7+ / 0-)

    i believe in Atlantis- wonderful theory!

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:02:36 PM PDT

  •  It's been pretty well established (8+ / 0-)

    that Atlantis has ties with al-Qaida.  And weapons of mass destruction related program activities.

    apparently being disappointed and saying so is itself a hrable offense. I am disappointed in what Democrats have achieved since 2009. Trollrate away.

    by happymisanthropy on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:18:03 PM PDT

  •  Antediluvian Exploits (5+ / 0-)

    I had a roommate in college who owned a copy of Atlantis: The Antediluvian World.  I never got around to reading it, though.

    I have read L. Sprague de Camps book about Atlantisology, Lost Continents, which is a very good overview of the various interpretations of Atlantis.

    I wrote a short pieceof my own for a RPG Resource website.

    Oh, and regarding fictional Atlantises, let me recommend the anime series Nadia: Secret of Blue Water.  It seriously rocks.  It has neo-Atlanteans, ancient techno-magic Steampunk science and Captain Nemo!  Who could ask for more?

    (And I like saying the word "Antediluvian."  Hee!)

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:21:52 PM PDT

  •  Wasn't there a penis in Atlantis? (3+ / 0-)

    I'll go ask over at Big Government.  Maybe they've got a picture.  

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:27:05 PM PDT

  •  A Conspiracy Theory is Any Suggestion With the (5+ / 0-)

    potential to drive significant sponsorship from a commercial enterprise that distributes popular speech.

    ....searching....

    .Not. CT.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:29:02 PM PDT

  •  It Occurs to Me That the Irish Were Trading In (8+ / 0-)

    the Mediterranean from beyond the Pillars of Hercules thousands of years ago.

    The odds that 100% of Irish sailors and traders relaxing on downtime in Mediterranean ports refrained from describing their home island as a continent are left to the student.

    Or did I hear this over pints?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:33:26 PM PDT

  •  clearly a myth to serve the purpose of... (8+ / 0-)

    .... postulating a society similar to one's own in certain ways, for purposes of illustrating a past golden age followed by a period of corruption and then downfall.  Myths of that type are common throughout human societies worldwide.  Often they arise as a means of discussing ideas that would be unacceptable if applied directly to one's own society.  

    As for the universality of pyramids, just pour some sand in a pile and you'll see where that concept comes from: the most stable shape for a large tall structure that has to rely solely on the compressive strength of materials.  It's highly likely that this is exactly where the idea came from in each place where these things were built.

    There is some indication that the Egyptians discovered how to produce a kind of primitive concrete similar to that which was used by the Romans, and used it to build the uppermost courses of their own pyramids.  Thus the mystery of how those "huge pieces of stone" were "lifted" to the top of the structure is easily solved: they were poured in place by large numbers of people carrying the concrete up in small quantities, in whatever containers were convenient at the time.  

    Never underestimate the engineering smarts of ancient humans when it comes to using whatever materials and techniques were at hand.  

    •  Chariots of the Atlanteans (7+ / 0-)

      That's what bugs me the most about Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods; he assumes that no one is capable of any type of invention without the intervention of space aliens.

      He even goes as far as to suggest that Neils Bohr got his idea for the structure of the hydrogen atom from space aliens using telepathy on the grounds that Bohr once said the inspiration for his theory came from a dream he had.

      Gah.  Wotta yitz.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:50:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  plenty of scientists have gotten inspiration from (4+ / 0-)

        .... dreams and other altered states.

        Kekule got his idea for the structure of the benzene ring during the hypnagogic state that precedes sleep: he visualized a snake grabbing hold of its tail and rolling down a hill.

        Crick was said to have figured out the double-helix structure of DNA while on an LSD trip during the period when LSD was legally available from psychiatrists.  

        The key to this entire domain is that altered states provide access to different orderings of information than our baseline state provides: different perspectives that enable finding different patterns in the information.  

        ETs have become the mythic angels and similar entities of our time.  Every culture has myths about wise beings that fly freely through the sky; ours is no different in that regard.  This is not to dismiss the idea that some small percentage of UFOs might be (might be: no hard evidence yet) ET spacecraft of whatever kind.  But there's a large gap between the idea that an occasional sighting represents someone out there's ambitious space program, and the idea that "they" take any particular interest in our cultures, much less intervene at conveniently critical moments.  

        •  I can understand the need for angels, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Unitary Moonbat, millwood

          it just annoys me when some people understate the innovation of human beings.

          But there's a large gap between the idea that an occasional sighting represents someone out there's ambitious space program, and the idea that "they" take any particular interest in our cultures, much less intervene at conveniently critical moments.  

          lol. I can't imagine an alien govt. that would pay for their astronauts to hover around and freak us out or help us build stuff. Why didn't the aliens just give the ancient Egyptians some engines and fuel? If they can travel all the way here...???

          I agree about there being a difference in UFO enthusiasts or witnesses. All of them aren't saying the aliens built Machu Picchu or claiming encounters of the fourth kind. Some are just saying they saw something in the sky.

          "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

          by GenXangster on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 11:11:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  if humans got their shit together.... (3+ / 0-)

            Years ago someone around here with connections to NASA said that for the price of doing Iraq, we could have sent a live-crewed mission to Mars, and for a little more, established an ongoing Mars program.  

            So think about what we could do if humanity got its shit together.  

            Permanent base on the Moon.  Beginnings of a Mars colony.  Space stations orbiting Earth and Mars.  And large numbers of robotic probes dispatched to the outer planets, using mesh network technology to relay data back to Earth.  In another fifty years or so, live-crewed missions to the outer planets and back.  In another century or so, the beginnings of space stations orbiting the outer planets, and possible missions to their most promising satellites.  

            If we were thinking long-term we would also be launching robotic swarm missions to other star systems, leaving a trail of mesh-network relay devices in their wake to get signals back from there to here.  At 1% of light speed, the nearby neighborhood of about 50 light years is about 5,000 years away: not a problem for a sustainable civilization with time on its hands to wait for the probes to send back their findings.  

            As it happens, that's what I think a tiny percentage of UFOs are: robotic probes checking out our solar system and relaying data back to wherever-they-came-from.  No hard proof of course, but even one captured object would be a paradigm changer.   The reason UFOs are important is that even one instance of hard proof (a captured object) would demonstrate that someone else, somewhere, had achieved the degree of sustainability needed to conduct an ambitious space program that included research in other star systems.  

            And as with Sputnik, if someone else can do it, we damn well ought to aim for that goal.  

            if humans can colonize Mars, we will have achieved "off-site backup" to preserve Earth life and Earth memes in the event Earth was partly or wholly destroyed by a large-object impact or a caldera explosion.  If humans can go to the stars (5,000 year trip in a colony ship created by hollowing out a large space rock and outfitting it with thrusters and life support), we will have achieved "off-site backup" to preserve Earth-originated life and memes against the time when our Sun begins to expand and then goes red giant and wipes out the inner planets entirely.  

            We will thereby have achieved a permanent place in the galaxy until the last usable star winks out.

            And while the death of any particular star spells the death of those who live within its system, the point is not to save every individual, but to preserve the continuity of Earth-originated life and memes as a whole.

            I believe that natural selection operates beyond the scale of  single planets.   Natural selection also operates on the cosmic scale whereby intelligent life succeeds at spreading beyond a single star system to continue to evolve during the lifespan of the entire galaxy.  This is no different to any other case of a species moving beyond its original ecological niche.

            The question for our times is whether we're willing to take the steps needed to pass the cosmic Darwin test, or whether we're content to overpopulate and overconsume ourselves into a planetary crash-and-burn that will lead to our extinction as yet another failed species.  

            •  I remember discussing this vs (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Unitary Moonbat, millwood

              the Kardashev Scale with you. It's a compelling topic for me. I would love to see diaries about it. I think I asked you before but you weren't into doing that at the time.

              I share the same view as you about the importance of UFOs. The only thing missing is some really hard core evidence of a robotic probe object or something like that.

              I wonder if there's a connection between dry and non conspiratorial views about UFOs and the desire to write fantastical (yet somewhat mathematically accurate and possible or it's not fun) science fiction. You'd think it would be the other way around.

              You're one of my favorite people on DKos. If you were a mad scientist, I'd be your Igor. :-P

              "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

              by GenXangster on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 07:35:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  thanks!, and it was also that discussion.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Unitary Moonbat

                .... of the Kardashev scale, that got me to come up with what I think is an improved version: not based on energy capture, but based on spread through the cosmos.

                This ties into a much bigger thesis I have, which as it turns out, is much the same as that of astronomer Eric Chaisson at Tufts.  He got there first, as in, starting in the late 1970s.  The degree of convergence is interesting.  Keyphrase "cosmic evolution."

                I want to start publishing that stuff at some point but I'm looking for an appropriate forum and a way to do it under my own name without creating one of those privacy-killing trails through cyberspace.  

                There's probably a mild correlation between non-conspiratorial view of UFOs and interest in "hard" science fiction, and also general interest in space exploration.  There's a set of philosophical attitudes that covers a range from approximately Aldous Huxley (scientific rationalism blended with Asian philosophy: themes he developed in Island) at one end, to the Extropians and suchlike at the other end.  I'm much closer to the Huxley end of the spectrum: the idea that an enlightened outlook can produce optimistic outcomes for humanity, based on the use of scientific and technical means as well as the integration of "perennial" wisdom from a range of traditions.  Huxley didn't touch space exploration as such, but it fits within his outlook.  

                If I was rich I'd be a mad scientist.  Cognitive science & experimental psych.  I have a whole research program on communication in altered states that would be very interesting to do, but requires a psych lab and assistants and lots of time.  One of the key topics is "contagious" communication, that occurs so rapidly that even a trained observer has difficulty ascertaining how it happens.  In a properly outfitted psych lab, one could parse out each element of nonverbal communication (tone of voice, inflection, rhythm, gesture, facial expression, etc.) to examine its effects.  Some day....

    •  Amen! (9+ / 0-)

      The Great Pyramid was the tallest building on Earth from the time of its construction until it was finally surpassed by the Eiffel Tower in the late 1800s - and all because of exactly what you said: there's nothing more stable than a pile of rocks.

      Hadn't heard about concrete being used for the upper courses - interesting idea!  And I totally agree with what you're saying about the intelligence of ancient peoples - they were in tune with their respective environments in ways that we'll never be able to comprehend.

      •  they also figured out practical solutions from.... (3+ / 0-)

        ... the base of their existing knowledge.

        For example there's another ancient culture that erected large stone statues at some distance from where the stone was quarried.  They didn't have the wheel, so naturally it became another New Age myth that they somehow levitated the statues into place.

        As it turned out, they did have the lever, and this they appear to have made great use of, levering the statues along at a slow pace, possibly on beds of rolling logs (not quite wheels of course but suitable for the purpose).  

        We wouldn't have figured out how to do that ourselves, because we would be thinking in terms of wheels.  

        Similarly, the Nazis in WW2 didn't have access to Einsteinian relativity ("Jewish science") but they did have access to another thread of modern physics, and attempted to build an atomic bomb from that starting point.  There's some evidence they were tinkering with other ways of producing fission reactions, but never got beyond the stage of producing enough ambient radiation to damage biological samples placed near it.  Thankfully they didn't get any further than that or we might be saluting a different flag today.  

        The key to the longevity of Roman (and presumably Egyptian) concrete was that it was mixed with minimal water, because it had to be carried in containers that would not have worked with sloppy wet concrete.  Minimal water content is always the key to strong concrete, a fact that was not rediscovered until about 1910.  The cement used in Roman concrete was volcanic ash that happened to contain the right balance of minerals.  I'm not certain what the cementitious material was that was used in Egypt, but it would probably have been something similar.  

        Now think of large numbers of workers each carrying a load of about 1/2 cubic foot (75 lbs.) in a tightly woven basket, and dumping the stuff into place at the top courses of the pyramids, where other workers packed it into place in the correct shape to appear to be more of the same kinds of rocks used for the rest of the structure.  

  •  Madame Blavatsky! (5+ / 0-)

    Always great to see her mentioned

    Speaking of reptiles, there's also the theory that those of us without RH factor came from that source, rather than primates.

  •  Dude. Where the hell have you been? (9+ / 0-)

    That hibernaculum must be very deep.

    Live for friendship, live for love, For truth's and harmony's behoof; The state may follow how it can

    by SpamNunn on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 07:53:25 PM PDT

  •  . (5+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Live for friendship, live for love, For truth's and harmony's behoof; The state may follow how it can

    by SpamNunn on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 08:01:30 PM PDT

  •  Atlantis' Evil Alien Twin..... (5+ / 0-)

    R'lyeh; H.P. Lovecraft's sunken city located deep under the Pacific Ocean, and the resting place of Cthulhu.

    The nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh…was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults.
    •  Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn (5+ / 0-)

      I loves me some Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness was probably my favorite, if only for the descriptions of impossibly ancient, totally slimy civilizations:

      With the upheaval of new land in the South Pacific tremendous events began.... Another race—a land race of beings shaped like octopi and probably corresponding to the fabulous pre-human spawn of Cthulhu—soon began filtering down from cosmic infinity and precipitated a monstrous war which for a time drove the Old Ones wholly back to the sea.... Later peace was made, and the new lands were given to the Cthulhu spawn whilst the Old Ones held the sea and the older lands.... [T]he antarctic remained the centre of the Old Ones' civilization, and all the discoverable cities built there by the Cthulhu spawn were blotted out. Then suddenly the lands of the Pacific sank again, taking with them the frightful stone city of R'lyeh and all the cosmic octopi, so that the Old Ones were once again supreme on the planet....
      •  "Nightmare Fuel" (5+ / 0-)

        Tangential to the conversation, there is a weird little something called "The Bloop."

        The Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) was originally designed to detect Soviet submarines, and consists of bottom mounted hydrophone arrays at strategic points. It's now used to track & study ocean life, earthquakes, ocean currents, volcanic activity, and the shifting of Antarctic ice. In the Summer of 1997, researchers using the SOSUS network detected ultra-low frequency sound for which the source remains unknown to this day. What is known is that, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sound originated near 50° S, 100° W (far off the western coast of Chile), and the sound was strong enough that it was able to travel thousands of miles across a noisy ocean.

        The sound rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km.

        You can hear it for yourself here, and the image below is a spectrogram of the "Bloop."
        According to scientists, the sound "bears the varying frequency hallmark of marine animals," but is far more powerful than the calls made by any known animal on the planet. In fact, if it was made by an animal, it would have to be one that is several times larger than a Blue Whale (the largest animal on Earth). So is it a giant squid-like Kraken of naval lore?
        Phil Lobel, a marine biologist at Boston University, Massachusetts, doubts that giant squid are the source of Bloop. "Cephalopods have no gas-filled sac, so they have no way to make that type of noise," he said. "Though you can never rule anything out completely, I doubt it."

        The sound has't been heard again since 1997, but the location of the sound is very near the latitude & longitude given by H. P. Lovecraft for the location of R'lyeh in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America. (Cue the spooky music) :-)
    •  R'lyeh is part-based on Poe's (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, Rimjob, semiot, Unitary Moonbat

      Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and its batshit crazy finale...  Before the South Pole was accessed it was a popular spot for speculative fiction.  

      Actually it was popular even after that, too.  There's a sadly neglected novella from 1907 called "Republic of the Southern Cross" that takes place in a utopian society founded at the Pole, before it all goes to hell.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 02:11:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fun diary, thanks (4+ / 0-)

    Who knows what might still one day be discovered? There's still so much unknown about Alexandria, and that was only a couple of thousand years ago.

    And how much does Western education acknowledge the existence of a Chinese navy capable of circumnavigation in the 14th and 15th centuries? Nah, they waste all their energy on that Genoese-come-lately, Columbus.

    There may still be entire civilizations long gone in places less traveled, like Africa and Asia.

    Amount of federal money to National Public Radio in 2010: $2,700,000 / Amount to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University: $446,000,000 / Source -- Harper's Index, June 2011

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 09:07:51 PM PDT

  •  Atlantis never gets old, always gets richer. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat, keikekaze

    Thanks for the historiorant!

  •  I heard it was the Greek Island of Thira (3+ / 0-)

    where the town of Santorini is located. Most of the original Island was destroyed in a titanic eruption. The Aegean Sea now fills the huge crater of the caldera.

    Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder ~ Bill Moyers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 10:56:57 PM PDT

  •  did someone say "kurtz"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat, millwood

  •  Oh, Blavatsky. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat, millwood

    What a nutcase.  I'm sad to say I've had to read her work (for my own work), and it's just... awful.

    By the way, I'm not sure if you're a fan of Thomas Pynchon, but he's had a lot of fun with the Mu/Lemurian stuff, most recently in Inherent Vice.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 02:13:15 AM PDT

    •  I should read more Pynchon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, millwood

      He's kind of like Vonnegut or Tom Robbins for me - I love reading them, but notice a distinctly derivative tone in everything I write for weeks afterward.

      I agree about the good Madame's writing ability, but I stand by my assertion above that somebody oughta make a movie about her - I gotta think her kind of deluded self-promotion would sell with today's audiences.

  •  I know all about ATLANTIS from George Pal (3+ / 0-)

    Their evul leader was a fey blonde who talked a lot about the master race, but dressed like a 60s era drag queen, and wore a yarmulke too.

    Possibly related to the above, the only woman in Atlantis, apparently, was the Princess. Hence their need to sublimate a whole lot of pent up energy into a quest for global domination.

    They were big into solar energy. They had, like, cool death rays and stuff that could turn you into a plastic model skeleton.

    They were tolerant of other religions. Their temple was filled with idols and bric a brac left over from every 50s Bible epic and Roman toga movie.

    They invented genetic engineering, turning people into human-animal hybrids 9000 years before Dr Moreau.

    •  Pal's worst movie evah; but helps keep (0+ / 0-)

      European/West Asia traditions starting from the Neolithic? 10K years ago?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...
      ".....Çatalhöyük (Turkish pronunciation: [tʃaˈtaɫhøjyc]; also Çatal Höyük and Çatal Hüyük, or any of the three without diacritics; çatal is Turkish for "fork", höyük for "mound") was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date....."

      Great Diary (once again)

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