The Sacred Science of the Ancients: A Conversation With John Anthony West (cont.)
The question is, what’s the importance of this dating in terms of our collective worldview, our sense of our history?
What it means for civilization in general, this is a big question. It’s not just a quibble about dating or about chronology. Who really cares if it’s 10,000 BC E or 3,000 BCE? How does that affect our daily lives? What’s at stake actually is the story of civilization itself and what civilization actually entails. Because now, every time you turn on the television, or every time you read the front page of the newspaper, it’s clear that we’re living at the end of a civilization— certainly the end of something.
Now, our educational system inculcates in us the notion that we are the most advanced human beings that ever existed on the face of the Earth. No one has ever learned anything different at any contemporary Western school. We’re at the top of the evolutionary totem pole, with our hydrogen bombs and our Disneyland and our striped toothpaste and our Wal-Marts—this is the best we’ve ever done. That notion is the central dogma of what may be the silliest and most sinister religion yet invented: I call it the Church of Progress
Actually, we don’t even need Goebekli Tepe or the Sphinx to know better. You only have to walk into the cathedral at Chartres, for example, to know that this is not the case. There were periods in human history when somebody knew something that, from an emotional point of view and also actually from a technological point of view, is pretty staggering.
John Anthony West at Goebekli Tepe in Turkey.
If the prevailing paradigm is this notion of a linear development that started slowly, then accelerated, all in one direction, what does it mean if that is not true?
When this is pushed back into ancient Egypt and it’s understood through the symbolist interpretation for what it actually is, this whole scenario of everything going from primitive cavemen to hunter-gatherers to smart old us has to be thrown out the window. We see that extremely advanced beings lived way, way, way back when, and if we again extrapolate—we can’t do this yet with Goebekli Tepe—but if it’s fair to assume that whatever the spiritual doctrine that prevailed in Egypt and in China and in India, and all of these other places, was also prevalent when Goebekli Tepe went up in 10,000 BCE, then we take an entirely different view of our own human existence, of our past and also potentially of our future. So that instead of it being just a scholarly quibble, it is actually something that profoundly challenges the reigning philosophical view, which is solidly materialistic and rationalistic. In other words, you talk to a Darwinian devotee about the meaning of life, and they will laugh at you. But when you can point to these extraordinary civilizations, and realize that they go way, way back—that their bizarre gods and irrational legends actually represent the interplay of cosmic principles, that they enshrine exact science, and that it all dates from almost unimaginable antiquity—we realize that history is not what we’ve been taught. This can be a major element, at least potentially, for positive change. Everything can be changed, individually and collectively.
So there’s more than superstition here, there’s lost knowledge relating to both the cosmos and the psyche, and we need to find it.
Oh, yeah, but it’s actually already been done. It’s there. It’s there through the work of Schwaller de Lubicz, through Gurdjieff, through Hindu and Vedic philosophy, ancient China. It’s all there for us. It’s just not taught in schools, or in universities for that matter. These ancient great civilizations stand as models for us, actually. And in fact, apart from its incorrect chronology, our Church of Progress has grievously misrepresented history. In order to understand it, you can ignore most of the historians, all of whom have their own agendas, and simply look at what these ancient civilizations have produced. You can say, as a rule of thumb, that a civilization can be judged very objectively by what it does with its creative energies.