Are we the first civilization or were there others before us 10000 or more years ago?
Ever since Plato’s Timaeus and Critias dialogues, Atlantis has been the source of heated debate between commentators. Was it just a parable? Or was it a factual recount of a lost civilization. You’d think that the scientific method, once introduced, would finally settle this question. But far from it. The sheer number of books, opinions, research, archeological digs, underwater searches, etc – has never been greater. And neither has the level of disagreement as well as the heated disagreements.
Traditional historians and archeologists write Atlantis off as pure myth. They reject any anomalous finds and insist that the axiomatic linear development of civilization would have to be untrue for even the possibility of “an Atlantis” to be considered – and as we all know, it isn’t untrue. Additionally, taking direct cue from Plato, they point out there there simply is NO WAY that a landmass the (estimated) size of Atlantis could ever have existed anywhere in the Atlantic or outside of the Pilars of Hercules (The rock of Gibraltar and either Monte Hacho in Ceuta or Jebel Musa in Morocco, with the latter having the majority consensus).
The available theories (and there are hundreds, if not thousands of them) range from the implausible to very tempting and rational. There’s at least 10 different ones, starting with (1) it was a myth through and through – don’t look for it!, (2) it was indeed in the Atlantic and the Carribean is the most likely location, (3) there was no Atlantis, but there was a flood, hence a tiny part of the story is true, (4) Atlantis was in Southeast Asia, (5) it was somewhere in the mid Atlantic, (6) it was actually in the Pacific – the mythological land of Mu, (7) it was in the Mediterranean and Plato was really referring to the Minoans and the island of Thera, (8) It was the mythical place called Lemuria in the Indian Ocean, (9) It was a reference to the Black Sea Flood, and (10), it was in fact Antarctica, when it was in a more temperate zone.
Needless to say, each of the above theories is backed by findings and their interpretations – some actually quite compelling. The numerous anomalous discoveries and out-of-place-artifacts (a.k.a. “OOPArts”) definitely lend some credence if not to “Atlantis” as such – then at least to an altogether different history of civilization than what we’re prepared to accept today.
- Determining whether Plato’s story was merely a parable or a true account is difficult. Parables were always a popular way of teaching, so it’s possible. But Plato wasn’t really known for his story-telling as much as for his philosophy. It is entirely possible that his account was a bit of both. A true story used to illustrate a point. As for the numerous details he gave about the structure and position of Atlantis – it doesn’t make sense for him to have done that if all he wanted to do is tell a moralizing story.
- The actual geographical location of the would-be-Atlantis is not nearly as important as the POSSIBILITY of a civilization predating our historical record as well as the possibility of it having “disappeared” nearly without a trace. As archeology continues to show, both are indeed plausible if not actually certain. Anomalous structures and artifacts which stretch the limits of current dating techniques as well as steadily unearthed remnants of ultra-ancient constructions, where there has been no record of anything ever having existed there before (for example Gobekli Tepe, currently “the nearly-official” oldest civilization in the world).
- At the root of almost any archeological and historical disagreements is the accepted paradigm: we started as ape-men, gradually evolved, started growing our own food, then built settlements, then villages, then cities, then civilizations. And it’s been up and up ever since. Linear progression. Whether this hypothesis is true, is secondary to the dogmaticism with which it is force-fed to the public. The seemingly impregnable resistance of the “mainstream view” to any counter-arguments adds fuel to the fire – and the “alternative” researchers aren’t going anywhere!
Personally, I have no problem with the REALITY of an ancient civilization. I’ve studied enough anomalous evidence to be able to conclude that there exists a DISTINCT POSSIBILITY of a civilization older than 9000-12000 years. Perhaps much more. I have also critically evaluated the counter-arguments made by the mainstream – and I remain unconvinced, though I DO appreciate their conservatism and reasoning. So, while I’m not dismissing the “consensus” view on this – I’m much more in favor of some of the alternative theories.
- Fingerprints of the Gods, by Graham Hancock
- From Atlantis to the Sphinx, by Colin Wilson