John Anthony West, Author of the Month for March 2008
Consider the Kali Yuga: Prelude to a new book
By John Anthony West
John Anthony West, who needs no introduction here, is without a doubt the world's most eminent and controversial alternative Egyptologist. His work on the antiquity and geological weathering of the Sphinx, and his unique perspective on the mysteries and prehistory of ancient Egyptian civilisation, have made possible an entirely new and more radical approach to the study of the past. John West has his own page at this site where further information on his DVD's, study tours and books can be found.
John will be available to join in discussion and respond to comments and queries from posters on our Author-of-the-Month Message Board throughout March 2008.
Academics abhor a mystery the way nature abhors a vacuum, but in nature there are no vacuums, while in academia there are many mysteries. In no field of science or scholarship are there more (or more glaring) mysteries than in Egyptology. Yet, at the same time, there is no field in which mysteries are more systematically denied.
Pick up a book, any book, written by a credentialed Egyptologist and you will find nothing but agreement - about everything but the most insignificant details. In his gloriously mis-titled volume THE COMPLETE PYRAMIDS, Egyptologist Mark Lehner does not bother to even mention the controversies that have swirled (and continue to swirl) about these extraordinary structures for two centuries. Nothing; not a word. It's all been solved by the experts: the pyramids were built as tombs by powerful but deluded pharaohs desperately trying to ensure their own immortality (wink, wink, nod, nod). No matter that there is no evidence, not a shred, that these pyramids -of Giza and Dahshur- were used as tombs originally...and much cogent argument strongly suggesting they were not. The huge stones were hauled up ramps by gangs of laborers and just wafted into place with lapidary precision. No matter that engineers, quarrymen and masons, people accustomed to moving large blocks of stone around, insist it could not be done in this fashion, while toolmakers and machinists study the precision and cannot fathom how it could possibly have been achieved with hand tools. The acknowledged mathematical properties exhibited by the Great Pyramid are mere accidents of design, etc., etc, etc…
No zephyr of doubt ruffles the calm, smooth, viscous surface of Lake Consensus, that bottomless pool where Church of Progress (un)faithful go for solace, baptism, and to pledge undying allegiance to the Great God Status Quo (this act of ritual intellectual servitude is called, in the quaint terminology peculiar to their cult, 'Critical Thinking' and sometimes even 'Reason'.)
Nevertheless, despite the near-total control exercised by the Church of Progress over the educational systems of the world (especially the Western World) heresy abounds. A vast public simply refuses to acknowledge the infallibility of 'experts' and, indeed, exults in their discomfiture when unwelcome facts breach the walls of their fortified ivory towers.
The Churchmen fume about 'ignorance and superstition', they try to get laws passed outlawing what they don't approve of (e.g. astrology, homeopathy), organized debunkers pressure the media to display to the public only that which carries a Church imprimatur upon it. To no avail. While the mainstream press remains largely obedient to C. of P. directives, television and Hollywood are less docile. They are interested in dollars, not dogma, and in their corporate amorality they will not hesitate to present heretical material. They don't even care if it is both good and true. In other words, as long as it brings in dollars and ratings, academic directives go unheeded. The merely intellectual inquisition mounted by this Church lacks the effective dissuasive powers of the Church that preceded it - since it is no longer considered politically correct to subject heretics to physical torture. And it's now illegal - sort of. Churches are not what they used to be.
The moral: people are less stupid than our arrogant academics assume. However, people are also undiscriminating. Wildly speculative, even loony work gets accepted as readily, indeed, much more readily, than anything based upon rigorous scholarship. Erich von Danikin is far more popular than R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (which is probably unavoidable except in some ideal world going through its Golden Age) and of course, given the goals of Hollywood and TV, it is always the ratings-and-dollar producing mysteries/heresies/alternatives that get the bulk of screen and air time.
Re: Egypt, most of the heretical attention is focused on the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx - which is legitimate enough since the establishment answers to virtually every question raised about these structures are so manifestly inadequate that the fires of controversy never run short of fuel. But the Giza Plateau has no monopoly on Egyptian mysteries and some of these, unrecognized for what they are, have serious implications, not only for a better understanding of the ancient world, but also for contemplating and understanding the huge, slow processes of history and our own present position within that process.
The founding, establishment and breathtaking rise of Dynastic Egypt (beginning around 3200 BC) is one such mystery. In the space of just a few centuries, Egypt (apparently) went from primitive Neolithic beginnings to a complex, utterly assured command of a spectrum of disciplines. In little more than a blink of the historical eye Egypt somehow developed a sophisticated hieroglyphic system, a complex theology and cosmology, astronomy and mathematics, advanced medicine and a total mastery of architectural construction and artistic form.
Egyptologists sometimes find this mildly remarkable, but by insisting that despite appearances to the contrary (and the careful work of a dozen scholars categorically proving the contrary) Egypt was 'really' still a 'primitive' society, devoid of 'real' science and 'real' philosophy, (and therefore 'real' civilization). The world would have to wait for Greece for 'real' civilization to begin. And therefore, however remarkable, the flowering of Egypt presents them with no mysteries and few problems. Though this is an evasion of great magnitude, it will not be my focus here.
If Egypt attained such unacknowledged heights so early, what then accounts for the long decline? Egyptologists have no problem responding to this question, and the conventional explanation, while not illogical, is unsatisfactory once you stop to question it.
Plotted on a graph, Egypt's history does not show a long, steady, gradual descent (from the glories of the Pyramid Age to Ptolemaic moral and artistic decadence and ultimately to the dissolution of Egypt as a coherent entity under Roman domination). Rather the graph shows a series of waves, with troughs more or less equal, and each peak generally lower than the preceding peak - like waves on a beach after a storm. But it is unarguably at its height very nearly at its beginning (a bit like starting off automobile technology with the first horselss carriage, proceeding in a couple of years to the 2008 Ferrari and then gradually working backward to the Model T Ford).