One of the most entertaining shows on Cable TV for me at the moment is the American series “Ancient Aliens”. When I first started watching it I was howling with laughter at the enormity of some of the theories put forward until I started looking at it from a different perspective.
As a teenager my hungry imagination lapped up Asimov, Clarke (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) and Michael Moorcock. I must have read everything they wrote and asked for more, and that hasn’t changed much since, so after the laughter died down I realized that this was actually amazing science fiction/fantasy material and should be viewed as such.
Before any of the adepts react I’ll qualify my previous statement. Some of the theories advanced sound at best, harebrained and at worst preposterous until you look at them a bit closer. I will also quickly add that some of the experts involved have good backgrounds, PhDs and NASA physicists from The JPL as well as successful authors, such as Erich von Däniken*. It all adds a certain credibility to the presentation and distinguishes it from “ Oh, no, not another conspiracy theory concept” show.
(* In 1968 von Däniken wrote the bestselling book “Chariots of the Gods?…” which I read in the 1970s, along with Charles Berlitz’s “The Bermuda Triangle” and probably explains why I watch “Ancient Aliens” today rather than some brain numbing TV reality show.)
Let’s look at some of the theories discussed, for example the Nazca lines. Were they created by a group of bored individuals with nothing better to do with their Sundays than to drag their feet in the dust? Did the autochthones create the lines according to very specific plans to appease the gods and if so how could they draw animals that never existed on their continent? Or, last but not least, where they, as some ancient astronaut theorists believe, an elaborate guidance system or homing device for extra-terrestrial visitors, a bit like the control tower talk-down procedure and runway lights of modern-day airports?
Giorgio A. Tsoukalos and acolytes offer explanations on this and other topics such as the reason for the Kofun structures, which in the Sino-Japanese culture are historical tomb structures dating back to the period between 300 and 600 AD. The fact that the structures have a keyhole form has since provided Ancient Astronaut Theorists with a lot of material for speculation… why a keyhole format that could only be seen from the sky?
The story would have ended there had not conspiracy theorists stumbled elsewhere upon photos from various NASA Mars missions showing not only the famous face structure but also a Japanese culture Kofun like keyhole formation.
Take another example, the ancient Egyptian civilization. It’s full of references to gods, extra-terrestrials, advanced technology, hybrid mutants, half-man, half-animal beings, biblical plagues that may not be as biblical as that and even transcontinental power grids! Had I not watched the 1994 film “Stargate”, then the spin-off SG1 TV series (with Richard Dean Anderson, of MacGyver fame, and the adorable Amanda Tapping) I would have scoffed at the thought that extraterrestrials specifically helped progress the ancient Egyptian civilization.
While we are in the same period of time, phenomena concerning biblical angels, prophets and even the mystical Zarathustra all get closely scrutinized and objectively analyzed. In an attempt to help support the facts, and convince the viewers, pastors and rabbis are invited to the show. Subjects are broken down and conditional conclusions drawn (that sounds like an oxymora if ever there was one) so that finally you’re almost convinced that angels could never have flown, simply because the wings, such as romantic style painters depict them, would anatomically never have supported the body mass weight, the way wings on birds do, so they must have been something else!
Still not convinced? Then take some of the fantastic legends in the Hindu culture. Legends of celestial wars, using nuclear type weapons that nearly destroyed the planet tens of thousands of years ago and complex ancient Indian aircraft that would fly off into the sky so quickly they looked liked comets. Or the 02nd century Buddhist Pagoda style illustration from Mount Meru that, according to one specialist, looks strangely like modern-day particle accelerator.
Preposterous, ludicrous, ridiculous!? Had I not read Michael Moorcock and other of the same class I would have agreed but where do you think Moorcock drew his inspiration for some of his tales from the Multiverse? Far from being a scholar in Hinduism I do however, have a certain interest for such well told legends, as well as a great deal of respect for the ancient storytellers. (And if you ask me my favourite Hindu deity I will tell you its Ganesh, the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. Ganesh is worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.)
I know what’s being said about conspiracy theorists and those who believe them, but apparently they fullfil a role in modern society as much as ancient market place gossipers did. I tend to steer clear of conspiracy theories but I do believe a lot more happened in ancient times than appears in the bible and if I find some of the theories 10% plausible I’ll go off and do some research, eliminating illico the “silver paper hat” ones. Where I do find their theories debatable is with their prioritization of the “Little Grey men” theory over the “visitors from the future” theory. Seriously, what remains undeniable is that we are slowly beginning to understand that civilizations existed long before the Pyramids or even Stonehenge was built. Ancient civilizations dating back more than ten or even twenty thousand years ago, before even the Chinese civilization had come into being. Civilizations that had the technological know-how to build constructions with a precision that we, in Western civilization, didn’t think of using much before Leonardo da Vinci’s time.
What the protagonists maintain, with some adroitly conditional phrasing, is that everything has a plausible if not scientifically supportable explanation. Where the risk of shooting themselves in the foot exists is that the proponents insist on suggesting that the gods, angels and other sub-deities are in fact extraterrestrials from other planets. Guys, come on! They may just be visitors from our own future coming back to right some wrongs before we do them. You know, like some T-800 coming back for John Connor. I must admit its a theory (I mean time travel) I would have dismissed outright had I not read quite a few Sci-Fi books on the subject, such as Michael Crichton’s book “Timeline” and of course… Jules Verne.
I hope you enjoyed the post and I’ll leave you to decide whether to take it in the 01st or 02nd degree. The most important thing to remember is to keep an open mind, avoid dogma and read, there are so many fantastic myths and legends from all cultures that are really worth reading about.