Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cataclysms and the Periodic Disappearance of Advanced Technologies

One of the most compelling categories of evidence in support of the Planet X theory are the historical gaps in technology which indicate that very abruptly, highly advanced civilizations lost their access to technologies: writing, architecture, medicine, so many areas of advanced skill appear to have suddenly disappeared from the scene. Some reappeared later, while others did not.

What follows is an interesting passage written by Sadaputa dasa (Dr. Richard L. Thompson) about several historically documented dark ages, including a 'dark period' in India that may correspond with the last estimated passage of Planet X, around 1588 B.C.


"In the case of the Antikythera computer, the great decline in knowledge that occurred with the fall of the Roman Empire may have been more than sufficient to wipe out nearly all traces of the science behind its construction. Of course, we can easily imagine knowledge being lost even without a period of social disruption. But it is nonetheless interesting that a "dark age" apparently prevailed well after the time of the great pyramid and just before the rise of Babylonia astronomy.

Peter James has assembled evidence for coordinated dark ages in Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilizations in roughly the first quarter of the first millennium B.C. (James, 1991). His thesis is that this period represents a gap in chronology that should be filled in by reducing the age of everything before 1000 B.C.

The more general view of his data is that the gap is a real period, in which civilized life was greatly disrupted. In Greece, the gap is the famous Greek Dark Age, spanning roughly 1200 to 700 B.C. (James 1991, pp. 68-94). Vincent Desborough, an expert on this period, wrote that when it began,

"The craftsmen and artists seem to vanish almost without a trace: there is very little new stone construction of any sort, far less any massive evidences; the metal-worker's technique reverts to the primitive and the potter, except in the early stages, loses his purpose and inspiration; and the art of writing is forgotten. But the outstanding feature is that by the end of the twelfth century the population appears to have dwindled to about one-tenth of what it had been little over a century before (James, 1991, p. 72)."

The corresponding dark ages in the Near East appear to have been particularly severe. Thus no Babylonian buildings date with certainty between 1046-722 B.C. (James, 1991, p. 280). Fewer than sixty texts from Babylon date to 1000-750 B.C., even though there were some 12,000 from the previous 500-year Kassite period. According to John Brinkman, a leading authority on the post-Kassite period, "Babylonia history during the first quarter of the first millennium B.C. may be characterized as a period of obscurity or 'dark age', with the land frequently overrun by foreign invaders and with the central government often unable to assert its jurisdiction in many areas" (James, 1991, p. 279).

A strange feature of Babylonian prehistory is that there are records of quite sophisticated Babylonian mathematics dating to about 1700 B.C. Records of similar mathematics appear in roughly 300 B.C., but in the intervening period of some 1300 years there are no mathematical texts from Babylonia (Seidenberg, 1978, p. 310). Since the mathematical tradition was somehow kept alive, this simply shows how easy it is for records of scientific knowledge to disappear.

The record suggests that the Babylonians began their program of systematic astronomical research shortly after the end of their dark age. One may ask: Did this represent a fresh start in a new era of optimism, after a period of cultural decline? Whether this is so or not, the rise of Greek and Babylonian astronomy set the standard of ancient science until the time of the Renaissance at the end of the post-Roman dark age.


In India there is a parallel to the dark age of the first millennium B.C., but in this case the period of apparent cultural decline seems to have been much longer. Based on radiocarbon dating, the mature phase of the Harappan or Indus Valley, civilization extended from about 2600 to 1900 B.C., and the late phase persisted for a couple hundred years after 1900 B.C. (Lal, 1998, p. 114). This is called the first South Asian urbanization.

According to anthropologist Jim Shaffer, many scholars accept that the period between 1900 and 700 B.C. was marked by the disappearance of cultural traits such as "large-scale public architecture, writing, a system of weights, and the many other material artifacts that are used to characterize the Indus Valley civilization" (Shaffer, 1993, pp. 53-54). This was followed by a second urbanization that took place in the Ganges Valley beginning about 700 B.C. and continues to the present. Some authorities have argued that a clean cultural break separates the two urban periods. However, Shaffer emphasizes that there is substantial evidence for a community of single Indo-Gangetic cultural tradition bridging the gap.

Indus Valley sites such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro are famous for advanced city planning and for realistic sculpture reminiscent of the classical Greeks. Stone weights have been recovered from Mohenjo-daro, and archeologist A.S. Hemmy remarked that their low ratio of scatter to mean weight may indicate a stricter regulation of commerce than in other countries of that era (Hemmy, 1935, p. 603).

Harappan society seems to have been advanced and well-organized. But, unfortunately, the Harappan script has not been successfully deciphered, and we do not even know what language the people spoke. We have very little knowledge of their intellectual life.

In the period of the second urbanization, astronomical developments in India appear to have paralleled those of Babylon and Greece, either through direct cultural borrowing or through parallel creation inspired by the diffusion of ideas. The early phase of communication with Mesopotamia may be represented by the Jyotisavedanga, which is dated by David Pingree to the fourth or fifth century B.C., mainly on linguistic grounds (Pingree, 1973, pp. 3-4). The later Jyotisa Sastras may represent a phase in which indigenous developments were influenced by ideas introduced from Greek as well as from Babylonian astronomy.

In Indian astronomy and in Indian culture in general, the idea is always prominent that knowledge dates back to a very remote era. Thus the sixth-century astronomer Aryabhata wrote, "This work, Aryabhatiya by name, is the same as the ancient Svayambhava (which was revealed by Svayambhu) and as such it is true for all time" (Kak, 1987, P. 216). At the same time, he said that "By the grace of Brahma the previous sunken jewel of true knowledge has been brought up by me from the ocean of true and false knowledge by means of the boat of my own intellect" (van der Waerden 1983, p. 213). Taken together, these statements suggest that Aryabhata saw himself as reconstructing ancient truth from fragments of knowledge that were available to him.

We have seen that Indian astronomical and cosmological works may contain precessional references pointing back to periods much earlier than those accepted for the texts in question. We have also seen evidence of the advanced astronomical knowledge in the Surya-siddhanta and in the Bhagavatam. A hypothesis to explain this is that advanced astronomical knowledge may have existed in India in the period of the first Indian urbanization. At this time, as in later eras, there was diffusion of knowledge and inspiration along trade routes linking East and West. Thus there may have existed an international scientific elite pursuing similar ideas in countries ranging from India to Egypt during this period. Subsequently, knowledge declined throughout this area in a period of darkness, only to increase again after about 700 B.C. At present, of course, this hypothesis is very tentative and much additional research is needed to give it a solid foundation."

Mysteries of the Sacred Universe: the Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana by Dr. Richard L. Thompson (Sadaputa dasa)

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