3 years ago
Even in 1995, the notion of a lost civilization was not a new idea. That notion has been around for a very long time. We can take that notion actually back thousands and thousands of years. The most famous example is Plato, the Greek philosopher Plato, who gave us the story of Atlantis. From Plato comes the story of Atlantis, a great advanced civilization which had navigating and seafaring skills which could explore the world, which built gigantic buildings, which had advanced knowledge in every area, which was prosperous and powerful. But then Plato says that corruption crept into the society, that it became cruel and avaricious, it became greedy, it began to impose its power around the world. And he has a very ringing phrase. He said that Atlantis ceased to wear its prosperity with moderation. And the suggestion is that it's this hubris, this conceit of Atlantis that had become so sure of itself that somehow the universe struck it down and we have the cataclysm of flood and disaster and Atlantis has submerged beneath the waves. Now, of course, the view of historians and academics is that Plato's story is just made up. Plato made it up to make some political or philosophical point. But this cannot be so. That view can't be right. I was very suspicious of that view the first time I heard it from a mainstream historian. Why are they saying that Plato made this up? Plato repeatedly states that it is a true story. And as we look into it further, we find something else, that Plato puts a date on the destruction of Atlantis. He says Atlantis was submerged beneath the waves in a huge global cataclysm 9,000 years before the time of Solon. We know Solon. We know who he was. Solon was a famous Greek lawmaker. He was an ancestor of Plato, as a matter of fact, about 200 years before Plato. And around 600 B.C., Solon, the great Greek lawmaker, made a visit to Egypt. And in Egypt, the priests at a temple of size in the delta told him the story of Atlantis and they said that it was written on the walls of the temple. And he said, when did this happen? When was this great civilization destroyed? And they said 9,000 years ago. And that was in 600 B.C. So that's 9,600 B.C. in our calendar. That's 11,600 years ago. Plato is telling us a great civilization was destroyed in a global cataclysm of flood 11,600 years ago. He's laughed at by all academics and historians. But then geology comes along. And lo and behold, what do we find? 11,600 years ago is a truly cataclysmic episode in geological history. It's called Meltwater Pulse 1B. We have a massive rise in sea level as the ice sheets on North America and Northern Europe just crumble and collapse into the ocean. If Plato made the whole thing up, he was just astonishingly on the money with the latest geology. And I think that we really have to reconsider our attitudes to these stories that have come down to us from the past. Academics have been too quick to dismiss them, too quick to say, oh, we figured the whole story out. There's no mystery there. Maybe there's a huge mystery there. Maybe we should listen to these clues and hints from the past that speak of a great civilization. So when I published Fingerprints of the Gods in 1995, it was at the end of a long lineage going back to Plato and before. And of course, famously Ignatius Donnelly in the 1900s, the early 1900s and late 1800s wrote Atlantis, the Anti-Diluvian World, which was a huge investigation of Atlantis. So this subject has been tackled again and again and again. And again, mainstream academia has said, no, it's impossible. There could be no lost civilization. We know everything about the past. And it's been dismissed. But the problem is that new evidence keeps coming out, which can't be explained by the existing historical model. New evidence that just doesn't fit the picture. And my sense is that this evidence is now becoming overwhelming and that we're reaching a tipping point. Maybe not this year, maybe not next year. But within our lifetimes, we are going to see a complete, the new understanding of the past, a radical revisioning of the past and therefore of our place in the world as well. We talked at the beginning of this discussion about Plato's Atlantis story and how he said that Atlantis went down 11,600 years ago. That's the date of the foundation of Gobekli Tepe. Very set, very clear, absolutely founded 11,600 years ago, exactly the date that Plato gives for the ending of Atlantis. And Gobekli Tepe doesn't fit. It just comes out of nowhere, out of nowhere. We understand a site like Stonehenge. Makes perfect sense. About four and a half thousand years old Stonehenge. We know that it was centered in an agricultural community which generated surpluses. Those surpluses allowed labor to be freed. You could fund people to become astronomers or architects or engineers. They need to be producing all the time. So we can understand the social and economic context in which a huge megalithic site like Stonehenge emerged. Go to Gobekli Tepe, you're 7,000 years earlier. The entire area prior to the appearance of Gobekli Tepe is inhabited only by hunter-gatherers. There's no agriculture whatsoever. They haven't built anything ever. And then suddenly, without any background or any preparation, appears this huge megalithic site which is incredibly sophisticated. Turns out, because a large part of it is still under the ground, seen with ground-penetrating radar, that the whole site is actually 50 times bigger than Stonehenge and 7,000 years older. So how do we account for this? Did a group of hunter-gatherers in Turkey wake up one morning magically inspired that they suddenly knew how to cut and quarry stone, move blocks weighing in some cases up to 50 tons? Create gigantic stone circles in an area with no water, involving bringing a labor force and organizing that labor force and feeding and watering them to create the world's first perfectly north-south aligned building, which involves accurate astronomy, to do all of that and at the same time to invent agriculture? Because at the same moment that Gobekli Tepe pops up, suddenly agriculture appears in that same region of Turkey. It's obvious to me that that wasn't a group of hunter-gatherers who woke up one morning suddenly equipped with the skills. What we're looking at is a transfer of technology. This was the survivors of a lost civilization. They already knew how to create megaliths. They already knew how to do agriculture. They settled amongst a hunter-gatherer people who they may have reached out to before. They settled amongst them and they created this project. And this project was to restart their civilization. It didn't quite work. But they got somewhere. They created this huge site. They invented agriculture. We are all the descendants of that. All of the agriculture in the world today began around Gobekli Tepe 11,600 years ago. First of all, it's important to understand that the earth changes that took place between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago were utterly cataclysmic, beyond all imagining. The science is now in. It's very clear. We had an interaction with the fragments of a very large comet, a giant comet, which originally may have been as much as 100 miles in diameter. It was drawn into the inner solar system about 20,000 years ago. These things come from very far away. They come from a place called the Oot cloud, which is almost light year away. It's so far away. It's so far away. A huge sphere of trillions of comets in the very outer solar system. But disturbances, gravitational disturbances can send comets out of those safe orbits, winging in towards the inner solar system. It happens from time to time. The evidence now is that we got one of those, a big one, about 100 miles in diameter, about 20,000 years ago. It entered an orbit that crosses the orbit of the earth. For the next 8,000 years, nothing bad happened. They missed each other. But 12,800 years ago, at least eight pieces of this large comet, some of them up to a mile in diameter, hit the earth. Fifty million square kilometers of the earth's surface was devastated by this comet impact. Sea levels rose rapidly, and the earth's climate plunged into a dreadful deep freeze that lasted 1,200 years. This event was of a scale of a magnitude that is quite capable of having wiped out almost all traces of a form of civilization. That's why I think again about what Plato had to say, and I think also about our civilization. Because we feel that we've got it all sorted out. We are very proud of our technology, and it is a stunning technology. There's no doubt about it. We're very proud of it. But we have not created a strong society. Those technologies work through interactions, through networks, through connections. Nobody has all the pieces of the puzzle. Everybody has a little bit of the puzzle. We cooperate together, and we pool our skills, and we've created this world. But if you were to have a massive cataclysmic event occurring, if for example we were to face another comet impact, as we did 12,800 years ago, then all the fragile networks that tie our society together would fall apart. And I don't believe that our civilization would survive such a cataclysm. Human beings would definitely survive, but our civilization would not survive, because contrary to its surface appearances, it's actually very fragile and very easily broken. Those who would survive the cataclysm would be hunter-gatherers, people like the Kalahari Bushmen or the hunter-gatherers of the Amazon basin. They would hardly notice it, as a matter of fact. Hunter-gatherers are in the business of survival in very difficult circumstances, and they would get through it. We would not. Very few people in modern Western technological society know how to survive at all. We have no survival skills whatsoever. Food supply into our cities is on a just-in-time basis, two, three days maximum food supply in a city. Then you have people starving. How rapidly and radically this civilization would fall apart faced by a gigantic cataclysm, it's almost impossible to describe. The people who would carry the human story forward would be the hunter-gatherers. And ten thousand years from now, their descendants might tell a story about how there had been a time when there was a great civilization on this earth. So advanced its powers were almost miraculous. Do you know, they could send people to the moon, they could fly around the world, they could speak to each other on other sides of the planet. But something went wrong. They became cruel. They became arrogant. They began to impose their will on others. They ceased to wear their prosperity with moderation, and the universe struck them down. I think there's a message in the Atlantis story for our civilization. We should stop being so fucking arrogant and proud in our achievements. We should show some humility, and we should learn the lessons of the past.