The Struggle to Recover Lost Knowledge

When this writer and a few friends launched Atlantis Rising Magazine in 1994, we wanted to do something about what we saw as a near universal amnesia regarding humanity’s ancient past. A few years earlier I had written a screenplay called The Atlantis Dimension about how ancient human actions could have set forces in motion that continue to operate, even now. The movie was never produced, but the idea took root to look at civilization like a psychoanalyst considering negative adult behavior as a consequence of forgotten childhood experience. Just because events are no longer consciously recalled, does not mean they do not affect the way we now act. As with individuals, the psychological healing of the human race may require the painful recollection of experiences from long ago.

In writing that screenplay, and starting this magazine (in which we published a serialized graphic-novel version of the story), I was very much influenced by Immanuel Velikovsky’s 1982 book Mankind in Amnesia (published after Velikovsky’s 1979 death). “The psychological condition and case history of the human race,” he wrote, “was amnesia” resulting from ancient catastrophic events. A highly trained scientist, as well as professional psychiatrist, he had, I thought, made a very strong case, even if it was not the consensus of mainstream science. He was, in fact, vilified by academia and virtually banished from its ranks.

Widely considered the founder of the ‘catastrophist school’ of planetary history, Velikovsky caused a sensation in the 1950s with his best-selling books Worlds in Collision, Ages in Chaos, and Earth in Upheaval claiming that, within the scope of human history, Earth had collided with some immense interplanetary object—a comet or possibly a planet. The mere suggestion that such a cataclysmic event could have occurred within the relatively recent past, and could have played an important part in our development, was vehemently rejected by an orthodoxy fanatically committed to the ‘gradualist’/Darwinian view of natural history. Were deeper psychological insecurities at work in the ferocity of their reaction? You be the judge.

Velikovsky, however, wherever he is, may be having the last laugh. Over the years, a great deal of research has validated many of his ideas; and now a major new academic study published in January, 2018, in the Journal of Geology presents detailed and extensive evidence that just 12,800 years ago, fragments of a comet hit Earth, causing vast firestorms covering a tenth of the planet’s surface and setting in motion the causes of a mini ice age. For more on this, see the story on page 10.

Civilization, it is clear, may very well date to ‘prediluvian’ times—before the end of the last ice age. A major purpose for Atlantis Rising has been to report on repressed evidence for lost and forgotten advancements of civilization, as in Egypt or Turkey. One of the great heroes of this fight has been our friend, the maverick Egyptologist John Anthony West, himself a serious catastrophist. It was West who, along with regular Atlantis Rising contributor and geologist, Dr. Robert Schoch, launched, in the 1990s, the celebrated but maligned effort to re-date the great Sphinx of Egypt, which West firmly believed was created before the end of the ice age. The story of that effort was featured in Atlantis Rising‘s first issue.

John West played a very important role in the launch of Atlantis Rising, providing his extensive mailing list, interviews, and moral support. We regret to report that on February 6, 2018, after an extended bout with cancer, he passed away. He will be deeply missed by all of us and by the growing movement for the recovery of ancient wisdom, which he did so much to create and to lead. On page 23, you will find Dr. Robert Schoch’s moving final tribute to his colleague and friend.

By J. Douglas Kenyon