From ancient Chaldean and Hebrew sources (Gen. iv and part of x), we learn of a mythic age of giants and heroes — before the deluge. Today we eschew this prehistory. We do not believe in a lost Golden Age or the deluge that swept it away. We do not believe in Plato’s Timaeus and Critias, or in Polybius’ fragment on cosmic catastrophes that periodically annihilate civilization. We do not believe the Chaldean and Hebrew accounts of a great flood.

We moderns prefer to believe that the past was entirely primitive, that progress has been gradual and “evolutionary.” We prefer to believe there was no Golden Age, no giants or heroes, no deluge, no antideluvian world. We believe that time runs in a straight line. The further back you go, the more backward the men. The further forward, the more knowledgeable and advanced. (A self-flattering conceit if there ever was one.)

The ancient Chaldeans, Egyptians, Hebrews and Greeks would be shocked at our disregard of oral and written traditions. They would have disliked our view of history as “one damn thing after another.” Surely, history has meaning. Surely, there is a pattern — the hint of something larger and grander at work.

Ask yourself: Why did prehistory last so long, with so little accomplished? Our Stone Age ancestors had brains as big as ours, and supposedly failed to discover anything — to build anything — for 180,000 years.

More than a hundred years ago, the orientalist William Saint Chad Boscawen referred to the deluge as “a dividing line between the mythic age of gods and the beginnings of history….” Being mythic, however, did not mean it wasn’t real. If we find metaphor, parable and symbol in our myths — all the better.

Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend attempted to elucidate the profundity of ancient myth in their little book, “Hamlet’s Mill.” They denied that myths were a garbled kind of history. Instead, they suggested that mythology contains coded messages for posterity. Here is something to baffle the literal-minded scientist, to confound our latter-day plunderers of the unconscious (i.e., psychologists). Santillana and Dechend suggest that myth represents something higher than history and more profound than science. It is even suggested that myth represents something that makes these latter outcroppings possible; for myth doesn’t tell us what happened in as much as it tells us why. Here is the ground of meaning which has been drained out of our science, out of our history, drop by drop.

Could it be, all along, that the edges of our world have advanced or receded, not by the explorations of Columbus and Magellan, but by the beneficial or deleterious effects of mythological understandings — or the lack thereof? Could it be that dragons and sea serpents are not only depicted on the margins of ancient maps, but are also depicted at the margins of time as well?

The Greek-Chaldean, Berosus, wrote:

A great multitude of men of various tribes inhabited Chaldea, but they lived without any order, like the animals…. Then there appeared to them from the sea, on the shore of Babylonia, a fearful animal of the name of Oan. Its body was that of a fish, but under the fish’s head another head was attached, and on the fins were feet like those of a man, and it had a man’s voice. Its image is still preserved. The animal came at morning and passed the day with men; but it took no nourishment, and at sunset went again into the sea, and remained there for the night. This animal taught men language and science, the harvesting of seeds and fruits, the rules for the boundaries of land, the mode of building cities and temples, arts and writing, and all that relates to the civilization of human life.

The intrinsic absurdity of the text should be no objection. It is a story which is found, in altered form, among the Dogon people of Mali, thousands of miles from Mesopotamia. The Dogon people have retained their oral traditions up to modern times. They tell of the Nummo, an amphibian creature comparable to a lizard or chameleon. This creature was also described as a fish who stood upright — and also as a serpent!

Curiously, it was a serpent that talked to Eve in the Garden of Eden; and so talking, talked the first man and woman out of Eden — into the rigors of civilized toil. A reptile, a snake, a “dragon” — with feet! And this reptile appears again, in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 12.

A great sign appeared in Heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the women who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.

Is this woman Eve, the mother of mankind? Is our aversion to reptiles, in this event, reciprocated? And here is the most terrible reptile of all, gathering a third of the stars as a means of bombardment — to kill mankind in its cradle. If the snake lured us out of Eden with the forbidden fruit (containing the knowledge of good and evil), promising that we would be “as gods” — then that snake was an enemy whose strategy was to destroy us with a dangerous conceit.

Could the latter-day re-invigoration of this conceit be a coincidence?

The thing about mythologies — from all over the world — is the subtle ways in which they connect (even if they do not fully agree). There is the palpable absurdity of a walking fish, or a serpent that talks to women, or a chameleon that teaches the arts of civilization, or a dragon bombarding the earth with a third of the stars of heaven to “devour” a newborn. But the witnesses are everywhere in agreement. The fish, the serpent and the dragon are integral to our story. And however metaphoric, or symbolic, or even cryptic, these archaic creatures are, as Santillana and Dechend maintain, “cosmological from first to last.”

It was understood only by a very few, it appealed to many, and it is forever intractable to those who approach it through ‘mathematics for the million’ or by speculation on the unconscious. In other words, this is a selective and difficult approach, employing the means at hand and much thought, limited surely, but resistant to falsification.

This latter point deserves our attention. While we laugh at our ancestors’ ignorance of science, their mythology yet resonates. While we falsify reality with our “facts” — while we are lost in “facts” — we imagine that “scientific” discoveries speak for themselves. This is more absurd than a talking and walking amphibian; for the empty “scientistic” notions of modernity must prove to be inherently falsifying. We talk about facts all the time, and pretend to respect them. But we use facts as a puppeteer uses his puppets. We make them say, in the depths of our corruption, what we wish them to say.

Whereas a myth esoterically relates what is forbidden to captives and hostages, “facts” taken out of context can be used to ensure continued captivity. Likewise, to descend into triviality is the fate of those imprisoned in a false reality, absorbing the light of an ersatz sun, fighting for an ersatz liberty, adhering to an ersatz science.

The question may be: What has captured us? What is the evil thing that yet holds us hostage? — with a serpent’s promise still ringing in our ears?

14 thoughts on “Myth and Apocalypse

  1. Excellent essay!

    We’ve abandoned the wisdom of old, in its entirety. And so we are bound to live a miserable – and shameful! – two-dimensional existence in which asking for meaning already amounts to a sacrilege against the modern god of “rationalism”. The infinite wonders of the universe and of the human soul don’t count any more. God has been pronounced dead; man is an ape; or a little wheel in a giant machine (still in need of massive conditioning). Who cares about dignity or eternal truths or God-given rights? It’s now a new eon, in which we have become (so we think) the architects of our own destiny.

  2. As a true student of ancient philosophies – a perennialist – this is an excellent article. One must follow Mr. Nyquist’s questions by also asking “How?” then “Why?”
    In Philosophia!

  3. There’s much to meditate on here.

    Yes, one of the conceits of the Progressives is that humanity is inexorably growing in knowledge. But of course it’s not true. One need only read the ancient authors to marvel at how brilliant and insightful they were.

    Contrast that with the shallow nonsense that has swept the nation over the recent Minneapolis death. No one pauses to reflect on whether racism was in any way involved in this tragedy, versus just bad policing. Or the tremendous benefit that good policing brings to inner city communities every day. There is simply no critical thinking whatsoever. And it’s scary to see the younger generation swept away with empty virtue signaling.

    In the 19th century, concepts like wisdom and honor were preeminent. Are these pillars of good character even mentioned anymore?

    Buckle your seatbelts folks for the violent winds on the way.

  4. Jeff, not sure if I can have your opinion Curtis Ellis of America First was on One America News Network talking about the Hong Kong Protests last year and the Protests that is now happening around the US:

  5. Bizarre coincidence, or maybe we have similar interests. The other day, I was actually watching a video on this same subject–about an hour long video–by Robert Sepehr on YouTube.

  6. There is an excellent book documenting post flood dragons: “After the Flood” Bill Cooper, 1995 ISBN: 1-874367-40-X

  7. The ancients were much more intelligent than us… just look at all the HUGE astronomically aligned structures in the world that we can’t possibly replicate. Their balance, precision, and beauty astound us, yet we think these people “primitive” and intellectually inferior to us. Hint… they had a way to make 200 million ton stones weightless in order to move them from quarries (we still don’t know how they cut them so precisely) to exacting locations high above the ground. Our view of the ancients has been poisoned by the teaching of Darwinism… we see them as little more advanced than apes… TOTALLY WRONG ASSUMPTION!

  8. On other news, odd series of events shaping up for the White House this weekend.

    Number one, “some” top military brass apparently in mutiny against Trump, per sources to Don Bongino:

    Trump’s decision to have troops stationed outside of DC also appears to have been overridden after that general stated their presence there was “unconstitutional”. The troops departed sometime yesterday, leaving the White House to be guarded by the secret service and an already overwhelmed DC Police under the command of a leftist who recently removed curfews. John Kelly also calling Trump “nasty” and “wrong” and is set to do an interview with a Trump-hater.

    Meanwhile, officials expect the biggest “protests” yet this weekend:

    Seems like a recipe to put the White House in physical danger.

    1. A FReeper’s recollection of an interview that occurred on Fox today, discussing the planned large protests/riots in DC:

      “I caught an interesting interview with Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) this morning on fox. (what follows is a recount of the interview to the best of my memory & notes)
      pete led kinzinger into a discussion of DC mayor evicting the utah NG.

      adam also serves as a LTC/ pilot in the Air NG & has flown a reconnaissance RC-26 aircraft. This plan provides an “eye in the sky” view for use by troops on the ground.

      the interview went into a discussion of preparation for the riot, troops wanted a second RC-26 added to saturday’s riot coverage.

      prior to this weekend’s riot, DC mayor bowser put pressure on US Sen chris murphy (D-CT) to ground the support mission of the RC-26 surveillance aircraft for today’s riot.

      Murphy strong armed Air National Guard director Lt Gen L. Scott Rice to stand down on today’s RC-26 surveillance support mission.

      according to Kinziner, Lt Gen Rice pulled the support flight due to pressure from sen murphy.

      my question is how vulnerable does scrubbing this mission leave the troops & LEO on the ground today???

      28 posted on 6/6/2020, 7:21:38 AM by thinden”;page=1

      I have also heard that Esper disarmed the National Guard on the scene. They have no weapons. Previously, only 10 had weapons in any case, the ones positioned in front of monuments. Now all are disarmed and seem to be fulfilling some sort of support role only.

      1. If the guard are disarmed, why are they there? If they have no recon, why are they there? Let’s just surrender to these folks and shoot ourselves with our last bullet. Right? Isn’t they what they want? Or maybe there’s another plan….

  9. There are two main ways of organized thinking about reality: the more common and shared by almost all religions is based on ahistorical, formal thinking, and the one that is found in the Bible is based on historical, functional thinking. Or another way of saying it, in most religions the present is the key to the past, while in Biblical thinking, the past is the key to the present. As a result, while the Bible’s history is more like an outline with deliberate gaps than a detailed history, it is still accurate and the facts that it recounts are there to teach us, not only about our past, but also our morality.

    There’s a third way of thinking, that is disorganized, based on emotions, that is probably the most common way of thinking today because of our dysfunctional education system.

    The theories of evolution and long times of pre-history, are pseudo-history based on the dual presuppositions of the present is the key to the past, and that humans are constantly advancing. Both presuppositions are contradicted by the Bible.

    The Bible sometimes speaks in fanciful language, but every time it does so, it lets it be known that it is a vision, dream, parable with its meaning given, understood or explained in another portion of the Bible. For example, almost all the pictures given in the Book of Revelation (a vision) have explanations given in the Old Testament.

    Among most religions and philosophies, where the present is the key to the past, an accurate recounting of history is not important, with details that can be changed to impart a moral, aggrandize a hero, improve entertainment value, make it fit a theorized past, or whatever reason to “adjust” the story.

    Yes, we can learn much from history, but the best lessons are from those histories that are accurate.

  10. Great point. The root on one level seems to be the worship of Time itself, which thus ignores a God outside of Time, ultimately leading to a false perception of history, and misapprehending the events thereof. Seeing and believing in a God outside of time, according to the Biblical narrative and it’s account of the past, anchors history to solid, and even holy ground, dethroning the Serpent from the throne of the kosmos.

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