I Want to Believe: Species with Amnesia

I think we are quite lost, in many ways. 

-Graham Hancock, on humankind and our history.

What would you do if everything you’ve ever learned was proven false? If everything you’ve ever thought to be true turned out to be a bastardized lie, invented by a society that invests vast amounts of energy in ensuring we stay lost?

Graham Hancock is a British writer and journalist, specializing in unconventional theories surrounding ancient civilizations, altered states of consciousness, and stone monuments, among other things. I’ve listened to lectures and interviews he’s given, and he has expressed his thoughts on us—that is, humankind— being a species with amnesia. He claims that we have forgotten our roots and origins, starting anew every century in a delusional avoidance of our past.

Hancock studies pseudoarchaeology, which by definition, “refers to interpretations of the past from outside of the archaeological science community.” Hancock utilizes this route of exploration in several of his books, and most of which share a related main theme: they discuss the concept of a “mother culture” which provided a global connection, and from which “all ancient civilizations sprang,” in his belief.

In layman’s terms, he thinks there was an “original culture” that had a widespread influence on later cultures and peoples. Connected to this, Hancock also believes there was a former golden age, a great civilization that at one time was very spiritually wise and perhaps, technologically advanced. There is a distant memory of it: seen in mythologies around the world, underwater structures, and our philosophy books.

Hancock often highlights Greek philosopher Plato and the lost city of Atlantis. I know, “crazy,” right? But before you get too skeptical, hear him out:

“I’m not saying that the alternative view I’ve presented is right, but I think it’s healthy to present an alternative because we have a completely monolithic grip on history by the academic establishment. There’s no encouragement for open-minded inquiry to extraordinary possibilities.”

Could there have been a major forgotten episode in human history?

Think about it. We trace our beginnings through evolution, back to single-celled organisms—but somehow, in between, huge chunks of history have vanished, sucked into a metaphorical black hole. What ancient knowledge might we have lost during that time?

Take the Indus Valley Civilization; ever heard of them? Plenty of people haven’t. They reigned in South Asia during the Bronze Age (3300 BCE-1700 BCE). It’s theorized that they were the first to develop an advanced, city-wide plumbing system— technology that wasn’t rediscovered until 1596 CE in England.

Of course, they, as many great civilizations do, met their untimely demise, supposedly due to a reduced water supply. Tragedies were no stranger to the ancient world—the ice age; the meltdown of said age; great floods; volcanic eruptions; it’s not only possible but likely that some archaic knowledge was washed away by one such event.

Maybe this was knowledge about the respective civilization’s architecture or their religion; maybe it could provide us with some solutions to modern problems, such as how to stop global warming, why Apple phone chargers are so shitty, or how to cope with the concept of a President Trump.

But I digress… And this isn’t about politics.

This theory is complex, a little strange, and, well, highly theoretical. Graham explains to us just how Earth once had larger land masses—i.e., Pangea, but we’re talking much later than that— and how parts of which were covered by water following global flooding.

For example, Sri Lanka was once connected to the coastline of India. The concept of landmasses separating is not foreign, but some of these events aren’t always caused by shifting tectonic plates.

Truly global flooding could only happen after the meltdown of the most recent ice age when ice sheets as thick as two miles covered Europe and North America. Before the last ice age ended, sea level was 400 feet lower, and there was no Red Sea, among other major bodies of water. It occurred slowly, during a period of approximately 10,000 years, but during that period, there were cataclysmic episodes of radical flooding; sea level could rise 30 feet within two weeks. To put that in perspective, a rise that dramatic in today’s world would wipe out every coastal city.

Graham suggests that the reason why sea level rose so dramatically during these periods was because of melting within glacial ice caps before the outside of the ice was breached—that is to say that the inside melted first, and when the meltwater finally burst its boundaries, it flushed out into the ocean. This water would have also torn across land masses, bringing devastation that is still somewhat traceable today.

So why does this matter?

The earliest reference to a lost continent came from Plato, who dated the disappearance of—okay, I’ll say it—Atlantis to approximately 11,500  years ago. Coincidentally, this is the same time at which scientists date the peak of the meltdown of the last ice age.

Conspiracy, or not?

Plato claimed at around 360 B.C. that Atlantis fell 9,000 years prior. He (supposedly) heard the story from Solon (Athenian statesman, lawmaker, poet), who had learned of it from Egyptian priests reading hieroglyphs on the walls of their temples. The history on their walls alone dated back 9,000 years, before the time of Solon. If you do the math, it adds up, I promise.

According to Plato, Atlantis was once a wondrous civilization. Eventually, though, it fell from grace; the nation became greedy and arrogant, “fell out of harmony with the universe,” and was ultimately struck down. By what (or whom, if you explore a more spiritual take on the story) we don’t know. It’s said that it was destroyed in a single day and night, and after that, mankind had to begin again with no memory of what had happened before. That said, our modern world seems to fit these traits quite well, raising the possibility that if there’s to be another lost civilization, we’re undoubtedly next; the next Atlantis if you will.

Now, nobody is suggesting the entire ancient world was destroyed by a massive flood post-ice age (that would be a bold-faced lie). It seemed a massive endeavor to try and cover every aspect of the ancient world that we don’t know about, and that would pretty much destroy the purpose of this article anyway—to discuss what we, as a species, have forgotten. Atlantis happens to be an excellent example of the disappearance of not just knowledge (Library of Alexandria, anyone?), but of an entire society.

Of course, there’s more to Hancock’s theory than Atlantis, and there’s more to discuss about why we’ve forgotten who we are, as beings. There’s a certain thrill that comes with the discovery of something, but in our case, we may just be rediscovering. What could ancient civilizations have left us? Are there any mystical keys to the mysteries of life that are floating just below the surface of our oceans? I mean, come on, people. We’ve only explored 5% of Earth’s oceans. FIVE PERCENT.

I think the whole state of human civilization on planet Earth right now, in the early years of the 21st century, has a message for us.

Yet, we are hopelessly distracted. The sick and the hungry seek help from the Western world, and we cannot collectively acknowledge their struggle for even a moment. Cell phones keep us occupied with their glowing screens. Natural disasters destroy the very countries around us, but we turn our backs in a cycle of “endless production and endless consumption.” Can we fight this disconnect with the world? Hancock has expressed his belief that we are, in fact, brainwashed.

That’s right, brainwashed. We’re talking MK-ULTRA, governed psychosis.

Believable or not, we live in a society that practices incredibly sophisticated mind-control: through the education system; through politics; through mass communications and advertising; we fall into habitual patterns, and accept the cycle of production and consumption. We are satisfied without knowing just what exactly we left in our past. “It’s obvious that we’re not fulfilling our purpose here on this planet,” Hancock says, but insists we have to remain positive and exploratory in our nature, to discover what we might’ve already known.

Following my viewing of his lecture, I enjoyed this particular YouTube comment:


What are your thoughts on humanity’s incapability to remember?

Big thanks to Gabriel D. Roberts at Reality Sandwich for the interview with Hancock himself, and if you’re interested in Hancock’s theories, you can view his full lecture from Megalithomania in 2009 here.

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