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The Beauty of Science vs. the Ugliness of Ego

The Beauty of Science

Beauty of Science: A lab scientist investigating nature.
Scientists investigate the beauty of science by studying nature in intricate detail. Photo: National Eye Institute (CC BY 2.0). >>

Do you love science as much as I do? I love the patterns in nature that make certain types of events predictable. The truly good scientists are the ones who discover those patterns and make sense of them. Those patterns reveal to us the more meaningful, cause-and-effect coincidences of nature.

I’ve been an artist, a mathematician, a computer scientist and an astronomer. I’ve studied history, geology, archaeology, genetics, paleoclimate, oceanography and volcanology. And, as a former, professional artist, I’ve developed quite a skill at detecting patterns. For instance, when I was studying electronic engineering in the mid- to late-70s, I came across something called a tank circuit. This is basically a tuning or LC circuit for sending and receiving broadcast signals—a coil and capacitor in parallel.

Suddenly, some of my high school lessons in physics and astronomy came back to me. I remembered how certain gaseous elements, when stimulated, could emit patterns of electromagnetic frequencies that were unique to each element. I also remembered how stars, like our own sun, absorb light in their upper atmospheres, but most strongly at certain specific frequencies which tell us the elements in that atmosphere. Suddenly, I realized that I was surrounded by trillions of tank circuits. You see, every atom is both a coil and a capacitor—electrons orbiting their nuclei (coil), and negative electrons separated by a space from positive nuclei (capacitor). I was seeing part of the beauty of science.

I suspect that none of my fellow students ever had this realization. When I would mention this discovery, I would receive only blank stares or confused nods. Alas! They could not see the beauty of science that I had seen.

The Ugliness of Ego

 Beauty of Science: Angry man pointing finger.
An angry man points his finger at the “enemy.” The beauty of science does not involve this kind of egoism. Photo: David Shankbone (CC-BY-SA).

We humans are a strange lot. We value the discoveries of science and the humble sacrifice of heroes, but when it comes to our own, personal vulnerability, most of us will protect ourselves with an unreasonable passion. This is ego speaking—the heart of selfishness.
It should not come as a surprise, but scientists are also human with fragile egos. Scientists can, at times, protect their own frailties with vicious energy.
In North American anthropology, for instance, scientists were, for decades, warned against digging below the Clovis horizon. “There’s nothing there,” some might say. “Clovis is first! You don’t want to jeopardize your career, sticking your nose and spade where it shouldn’t be going.”
Science by ridicule and harassment? Regrettably, anthropology is not the only field to suffer the brutal heavy-handedness of ego. More recently, climate scientists have been attacked for being “climate change deniers.” Why? Because they don’t tow the currently popular political line of human caused dangerous global warming. Why such harsh language? Why the inaccurate ridicule? All climate scientists know, in their bones, that climate always changes and always has—4.5 Billion years of changes, ever since Earth gained an atmosphere. There is no denial of climate change on their part.
The reason is political. Someone is trying to “sell” an idea and those who don’t go along are the enemy. Ironically, “evil” global warming made civilization possible 12,000 years ago. And for those who claim the modern rate of warming is bad, that same warming 12,000 years ago was nearly eight times more rapid than the UN’s as yet unrealized horror story. That long ago warming bless our world with +7°C in 30 years. And the biggest disconnect with those scientists who proclaim global warming to be dangerous comes from the fact that we still live in an Ice Age. Our current Holocene interglacial is only one of dozens of interglacials experienced in our current, 2.6-million-year-old Ice Age. Melting ice in an Ice Age is a good thing for life, because life dies in the ice and thrives in the warmth. This should be painfully obvious. If it weren’t the case, then the poles would be crowded and the tropics starkly empty.

Protecting the Beauty of Science

 Beauty of Science: Observatory laser shoots toward the Milky Way center.
An observatory’s laser shoots into the sky toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The beauty of science covers everything from the very tiny, to the immensely huge. Photo: Yuri Beletsky (CC BY 4.0).

When I wrote the pair of novels, Edge of Remembrance, I had this one ideal in mind: protecting the beauty of science against the ravages of egoistic scientists, self-proclaimed “skeptics” and those who merely have delusions of logical grandeur. I had hoped, through science fiction, that I could reveal the delicate nature of science and how scientists, with their egos, can abuse and even trash that institution.
The novel is about Plato’s lost island empire, Atlantis. While we don’t yet have proof it ever existed, we do have a growing mountain of evidence in support of its past existence. The fact that scientists dismiss the idea of Atlantis without investigating is troubling at the very least. They are ignoring the beauty of science in favor of their own ugly egos. Their “know-it-all” attitude is making them blind. Their sense of smug superiority is crippling them at the verge of discovery. This is not science, but some form of new religion, where tradition is held over evidence and discovery—where cordial debate is lost to unsupported dismissiveness and self-indulgent ridicule. I’ve even had some friends do this. I trampled their turf and they reacted, rather than discussed.
In the novels, American archaeologist Gunter Jürgens makes the discovery of a lifetime. In a newly exposed pyramid in Nicaragua, his team uncovers a time capsule with a map of Old Atlantis embossed in gold on the outside. But Jürgens is wise. He knows that his fellow scientists are not above self-indulgent ridicule when the evidence is still fresh. He bides his time and waits before stating the obvious: everything about the Nicaraguan time capsule points to the fact that Atlantis was a very real place.
But that’s the novel and its sequel. Was Atlantis real? We don’t know, yet. The beauty of science is not “skepticism,” for that paradigm is fraught with bias, particularly the potent bias of “doubt.” Just look up the definition! The true paradigm of science is one of restraint and humility—humility to truth, whatever that truth turns out to be. Too many scientists get in their own way and trample the beauty of science. They say things in all arrogance and haughty ego that should not have been said. They condemn that which their “precious” tradition has taught them is impossible. Yet, no one truly knows everything. There really are more things to be discovered and they cannot be discovered if we put on blinders or pretend that we do know.

Beauty of Science: Galaxy NGC 3810.
Part of the beauty of science includes being able to see that which cannot be seen with the unaided eye alone. This view of galaxy NGC 3810 was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (CC BY 3.0).

Ethical Questions of a Publisher — To Sell or Not to Sell

Ethical Questions: Favorable Incompetence cover
Ethical Questions: Should I sell a controversial book? Cover of the book, Favorable Incompetence: Shining a Light on 9/11. Click on cover to find out more.

Sometimes, ethical questions come upon us suddenly. A few weeks ago, I promoted two new books I had written, Dirt Ordinary (conspiracies), and Favorable Incompetence (9/11). I’m still attempting to get the hang of this marketing game.

I knew that sales comes with its own measure of bumps and bruises. As a writer, I’ve experienced my own share of rejections. I learned in college to thrive on it. Learning only comes by exposure, and frequently that exposure includes rejection. Marketing is no different.

On Twitter a couple of different individuals made a big deal about selling a book on 9/11. “Evil! How dare you!” And, “You’re no better than the perpetrators.” Slam! Suddenly, I was facing an ethical question that took me by surprise. Should I sell my book or give it away?

Charging money for a book? Sacrilege! Well, not exactly. Charging money about a recent tragedy—that’s the apparent sacrilege.

Naturally, writing a book about some distant and ancient war would not be sacrilege. “Sure, you can charge anything you want for that tragedy, but don’t you dare touch my tragedy.”

Am I reading this correctly?

One Twitter member said that he knew the truth of 9/11 and that I should give away the book for free. I’ve given away lots of my writing. In some respects, I’ve spread myself pretty thin, writing for nearly twenty of my own websites, on topics from education to astronomy, and the Atlantis myth to computer programming.

I asked that Twitter member who knew the 9/11 truth if he had written a book on the subject, but he did not reply. I wanted his free book to see what truths he really knew. But apparently he did not take the time to write a book. So, he hoards his “truths,” keeps them to himself and deprives us of his knowledge. I suppose he thinks his time is too valuable to work for weeks or months on a book and then to give it away.

Yet, I knew before writing the book that I would not become rich by writing and selling it.

Ethical Questions versus a Perception of Value

Ethical Questions: bookstore where books are sold
Ethical Questions: How many books sold here should be given away for free? Bookshop in Much Wenlock, UK Photo: MichaelMaggs (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikipedia.org. Contrast and brightness enhanced.

All too often, people treat free things with disdain. It’s almost as if those free items are worthless. Even if those free items satisfy a specific need, the sense remains that it didn’t cost anything, so why worry about maintenance or other care.

I’ve heard examples of products or services that were repackaged (renamed with new descriptions) and given a hefty price, that sold as if they were wildly popular. Free quite often means “worthless;” and something with a price tag can be “valuable.”

When an entrepreneur wants to sell something, sometimes they will give away items to sweeten the deal. They fix a price tag on those items, and make the freebie seem more valuable. Now, you don’t have to pay for this, and this, and this; you get them all free, when you purchase this item at a heavily discounted price. Wow! What a value.

But it’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s all in the perception induced by words and opinion.

In order to keep the lights on, pay for the web host, keep the body alive with food and shelter, money is needed. If a book that tells valuable truths about a tragedy can help make people more wise, would not that be something of value? Would not the author of such wisdom deserve a small reward for their work and care? Among the ethical questions we could ask, is it fair for someone to demand that such a work be given to them for free?

Beyond Ethical Questions

Ethical Questions: Produce market in Barcelona
Ethical Questions: Should this produce be given away for free? Produce market, La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Dungodung (PD) via Wikipedia.org.

Ethical questions would disappear in a perfect world. It would be nice to live in a world where money didn’t exist. That is the ideal. Everyone makes products and services available and always gives them away. No one hoards products or resources. They take what they require and give away what they don’t need. How could this ever happen? Everyone would need to eliminate self-concern and to live by a code of unconditional love, requiring nothing in return for their generosity.

The result of such an altruistic society would be an end to all wars, crimes and evil. No one would ever steal, because they don’t think of themselves, but only of the needs of others. No one would lust for power. No one would ever murder, because they value the lives of others, including those of their enemies, if such ever existed.

But we live in a me-me-me world that is reaching a critical mass of selfishness or separation. Psychopaths rise to positions of power and turn murder into conquest, and turn theft into “divine right.”

Should I sell a book of insights and wisdom, even if it concerns a tragedy many of us witnessed? For me, if the price tag offends anyone, I would recommend to them not buying it. But if anyone remains curious to learn, then any price might not be too high, so long as we have the ability to pay that price.

If you’re intrigued about books on controversial topics and fiction that makes you think, check out my publishing website.

This article was originally published 2015:1214 on RodMartinJr.com.

Famous Quotes — Verifying the Wisdom Upon Which We Rely

Famous Quotes: Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, 1921. Photo: F. Schmutzer (PD

The world of social media seems full of famous quotes these days. A pretty picture with a famous quote by someone of whom we may or may not have heard, can create a lasting impression—at least long enough to inspire our day.

Quite often though, these famous quotes were never spoken or written by the famous person to which they are attributed. Yet, the famous quote is to be found all over the Internet. This kind of makes you wonder how many lies there are on the Internet that are believed by the masses. Too many who repeat the quotes are too lazy to check. Could it be also that some are too trusting—believing in everything they find on the Internet?

Verifying Famous Quotes

There is no single source with every possible quote listed along with their sources. For many of the famous quotes you may find on the Internet, WikiQuote.org remains a relatively good source for verification. It’s not perfect. Like Wikipedia, it relies on volunteers to add its content. Much of the material added is referenced, so you have a way to double-check their verification of quotes. Many misattributed quotes are included in some of their articles so you can know that some of popular sayings were found by Wiki volunteers, but found to belong to someone else. Other famous quotes have been found, through exhaustive searches, not to have been included in any of the famous person’s writings or speeches.

Some Famous Quotes Destroyed by Misquoting

Famous Quotes: Norman Vincent Peale
Norman Vincent Peale. Photo: Roger Higgins, World Telegraph (PD).

One famous quote I looked up today, from Norman Vincent Peale, I found on a popular quote site called BrainyQuote.com. The problem with this site is that they have no verification of quotes, their attributions or their sources. And, in today’s instance, they got the quote wrong. The difference, at first glance, appears to be subtle and insignificant, but upon closer inspection, is shown to be both profound and important.

Here is the incorrect quote from BrainyQuote.com:

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

The correct quote, with documented source in WikiQuote.org, is as follows:

“Change your thoughts and you can change the world.”

According to WikiQuote.org, this wording is, “As quoted in Back on Track : How to Straighten Out Your Life When It Throws You a Curve (1997) by Deborah Norville, p. 201.”

But notice the differences. On the popular website, “you change your world.” This is small-minded and weak. Of course you change your own world—your mind—by changing your thoughts. That doesn’t say much. That’s pretty worthless compared to the real quote. What Mr. Peale really said talks about one individual—you—having the ability to change the entire world by changing your thoughts. With the misquote, a change in thought has no stated change on anything except the person’s own internal world—”your world.” With Norman Vincent Peale’s intended statement, each one of us has far more power to affect all of civilization and history. See the difference?

So, if you ever use some website like BrainyQuote.com to find cool, famous quotes, take the extra step to verify that the person actually said it. Verify the wording, too.

If you find a false quote that sounds better than the original, then feel free to use it, but don’t tack the person’s name on it, if they didn’t say it. You might add something like, “Sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein, but this is a paraphrase of a much longer quotation,” or something like this, depending on the special circumstances.

If we all do our part, we can help raise the quality of material on the Internet, including the use of famous quotes.

This article was originally published 2016:0125 on RodMartinJr.com.

New Novel — Edge of Remembrance: Tales of Atlantis Lost

eortoal_coverMerla Velzna had saved thousands when her homeland was destroyed, but the future of civilization was still at risk.

Over the next several thousand years, a great many legends were born. This sequel to EoR: Gods and Dragons reveals what really happened during each of those events and several others, including,

  • The original Two Towers of the Middle Earth Sea.
  • When Helle and Phrixus fled their homeland toward the East, carrying with them the Golden Fleece.
  • Cecrops and his men founded Athens and struggled to come up with a worthy name.
  • Cadmus and his men attacked a golden dragon and soldiers sprang out of nowhere only to fight each other.
  • Jason and his Argonauts stole the Golden Fleece and Medea controlled her own golden dragon.
  • Odysseus and his men were sent home by Aeolus and his magical control over the wind.
  • When ice man, Ötzi, died in the Alps after being shot in the back with an arrow.
  • The ancients traveled to a distant land, 55 million kilometers to the East.
  • Cain killed Abel.

A sinister group, called the Order of Seth, ramps up their attacks on Gunter Jürgens and his crew, to destroy the evidence of Atlantis and of humanity’s far larger heritage. Gunter discovers a far deeper connection to Merla across the gulf of 12,000 years.

Now Available for Pre-Order

The novel will be released on March 15, 2017. Why pre-order this novel? There are several reasons:

  • Be one of the first to get the novel.
  • Receive a FREE Resource Kit.
    • Color maps,
    • Glossary of terms used in the novel,
    • Detailed timelines,
    • Character sketches (descriptions).
  • Buy at a discount. For now, the price is $3.99. That’s a 20% discount off of the post-release price.

Several Outlets from Which to Choose

To Retrieve Your Free Resource Kit…

eor-toal_resource_kit_x300To get your free Tales of Atlantis Lost Resource Kit, simply contact us with the following information:

  • Your name.
  • Your email address.
  • The date of your purchase.
  • The name of the book: Edge of Remembrance: Tales of Atlantis Lost or code, EoR:ToAL.
  • The transaction number.
  • The name of the outlet (Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo).

Resource Kits will be sent within 7 days of the release date.

Dragons: ‘Gods and Dragons’ Backstory

Guest blog by Carl Martin, author of Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons

Dragon emblem and fairy tale castle
Dragons and fairy tale castles are a common theme in fantasy fiction. Photo of Castle Neuschwanstein: Softeis (CC BY-SA-3.0); Dragon on Medieval tapestry, 1907: Nordisk Familjebok (PD).

Dragons! What are they? Bare mention of the word conjures up images of fairy tale castles, princesses in distress, and brave heroes wearing armor and wielding a hefty sword. But how accurate is that image? Germany’s Neuschwanstein castle, near the Bavarian Alps, remains the quintessential palace for dragon fantasies. But such castles are the product of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. If dragons were ever real, they existed long before such architectural eye candy was ever built.

The word “dragon”comes from the Greek word for snake—drakon. So, it means a snake-like creature. In dragon folklore, there are flying dragons, non-flying dragons, water dragons and numerous other varieties based on colors, shapes, preferred locales, disposition and other traits. In some legends, dragon scales are said to be extremely tough, thus the creatures are difficult to kill. Some dragons were grumpy, some selfish and some were quite friendly.

Golden dragons were found in Egyptian, Greek and Georgian myth. The founder of Athens was said to have been half-man, half-snake. And the dragons of Mesoamerica were said to have been feathered serpents.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of dragon lore, besides their ability to fly, was their ability to breathe fire. This usually means that dragons exhaled or spat out fire, like a flamethrower.

Most scientists dismiss the notion that living, breathing dragons ever lived. What they seem to forget is that a lack of corroborating evidence never disproves an idea. Evidence could still exist, waiting to be found. But even if all evidence has been destroyed, our inability to find it still does not disprove the idea. This fact can make some scientists quite uncomfortable. They like some degree of certainty, despite their penchant for skepticism. Dismissing an idea without rigorous study and thorough documentation is one of the fallacies of skepticism and its misuse. Scientists need to learn how to say, “I don’t know.” It’s okay to have unsolved mysteries. It’s okay to have some humility about things of which you have never studied.

Possible Solution to the Dragon Mystery

While researching background information for this novel, I noticed several patterns and other clues that may help explain what dragons were and why we haven’t been able to find dragon eggs or skeletons.

In the Egyptian myth of the dragon and merchant prince, a wealthy Egyptian was traveling by ship with his precious cargo. A sudden storm damaged the ship, losing the cargo and killing everyone on board except the prince. A dragon saved the wealthy merchant and nursed him back to health, speaking to the injured man in his own language. In the story, the dragon sometimes appeared to the recovering prince as a dragon and sometimes as a man. Was the dragon a shapeshifter? How else can we explain such a strange occurrence?

Centaur fountain sculpture
Centaur statue. The creature can be easily explained as a primitive misunderstanding. Photo: Jurgen Howaldt (CC BY-SA-2.0-DE).

For decades, cultural anthropologists have suggested that at least one mythical creature was merely a misunderstanding in the mind of primitive hunter-gatherers. The creature was the centaur—half-man, half-horse. Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve never seen anyone riding a horse. The mere idea that such a creature as a wild horse could be used in such a manner might have seemed entirely unreal. Wild horses are dangerous. To an uneducated mind, horse = deadly danger. Upon seeing such a wild, new creature, the primitive would have been too shocked to see important details like two heads and six legs. They would likely not have understood things like leggings, pants or boots. They would have seen the horse and rider as one creature.

How does this help us understand dragons? Consider for a moment what a primitive would think of a modern automobile with a driver behind the wheel. A great, shiny monster with round legs has swallowed a man and made him its slave. The monster has eyes all around and looking into those eyes, you can see the slave inside. When one of the eyes on the side opens, the slave speaks for the monster, yelling out something like, “Hey, you. Move out of the way!”

The founder of Athens was named Cecrops—half-man, half-snake. Like the centaur, imagine for a moment that a dragon was merely a method of travel for the man named Cecrops. Instead of a living, breathing creature, his snake was artificial. It was a mechanical ship with a hatch on top through which the captain could rise to address his men or to survey a battlefield. His soldiers understood what was really going on, but the natives surrounding them were sorely amazed that this huge, golden snake could have the head and arms of a human.

If this hypothesis is correct, then the golden dragon of the Egyptian myth might merely have been the airship’s captain and his serpent ship. Sometimes the captain would have talked to his patient from inside the ship, and sometimes from outside the ship. To the delirious and injured Egyptian, the transition from human to beast would have seemed quite magical and confusing.

Cadmus and the Dragon

In the myth of Cadmus and the golden dragon, the Phoenician prince attacked the beast after it had killed all of his men. Cadmus knocked out the dragon’s teeth, whereupon several warriors appeared and started fighting amongst themselves. When most of them had killed one another, those remaining agreed to help the young prince build a new city to be called Thebes. Where had the men come from? Could they have been disgruntled soldiers from within the serpent ship? After the fighting was done, the golden dragon lifted silently into the sky and flew away.

Medea’s Dragon

Dragon sculpture
Dragon sculpture Font de la Cascada, Barcelona. Photo: Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA-3.0).

Georgia, at the eastern end of the Black Sea, was once called Colchis—the land of the Golden Fleece, guarded by a golden dragon. Jason and his Argonauts traveled to Colchis in order to steal the Golden Fleece.

A clever theft was seen by the Greeks to have been heroic, despite the problems such unsavory behavior created.

Princess Medea immediately fell in love with Jason and helped him steal the Golden Fleece from her own people. She helped him put the dragon to sleep and then traveled with him back to Greece. Later, when Jason betrayed her for another, Medea supposedly killed her children fathered by Jason and then left him to marry King Aegeus of Athens. There she had two other children. When Aegeus’s illegitimate son, Theseus, came to Athens to claim his birthright, Medea felt that her own son would be cheated, so she attempted to poison the young man. Outraged, Aegeus banished Medea, and she left Athens with her two children, flying away on a golden dragon.

But wait a second! Where did Medea suddenly get a golden dragon? Is this the same dragon which once protected the Golden Fleece in her homeland of Colchis? What if Jason didn’t mind sleeping with Medea, but never wanted to marry her? What if Medea didn’t travel on the Argo with Jason and his men, but merely tagged along, flying in the golden dragon airship? Medea may well have been Jason’s convenient “girlfriend,”until he needed to marry up in Greek society. Oops!

Imagine Medea flying into Athens in her golden dragon airship. What king of prehistory would not be impressed by such a woman? So, Medea may have had the golden dragon in her possession ever since she helped Jason steal the Golden Fleece. She may have been the only one in Greece who knew how to fly the serpent ship, especially if the ship which had once been associated with Cecrops was no longer in Athens or Greece.

Other Dragons

Dragon coat of arms
Dragon coat of arms for Heide family. Photo: Willy “Horsa” Lippert, Brunsbuttel (PD).

The feathered serpents of Mesoamerica may have been the same serpent ships found in the other myths. Consider for a moment the possibility that golden snakes were flying through the sky. Feathers are found on birds and birds fly. Perhaps the airship never truly had feathers, but in the simple understanding of the primitive Americans, a snake with feathers is symbolically equivalent to snakes that fly.

Dragons in other cultures did not fly, particularly those in China. What if the serpent ships had lost their ability to fly after six thousand years of dedicated use? Merely having such an impressive structure would have seemed quite magical to those who had never seen anything artificial larger than a handheld tool.

Breathing Fire and Tough Scales

Dragon fountain
Chinese dragon in fountain, Sentosa Garden, Singapore. Photo: Anand (CC BY-SA-3.0).

Did serpent ships have flamethrowers in their snouts? Or did they have something more high tech? Pulsed lasers?

The dragon’s reputation for its super tough scales may have come from having gold plated metal scales, or scales made from a gold-colored alloy. Gold itself is soft. What if the scales were made of a copper alloy, like brass or bronze? That would have been gold colored. While researching this topic, I discovered that one metal has a melting point very close to that of copper. That metal is the ultra-dense, super tough uranium. Could Plato’s enigmatic metal, orichalcum, be a uranium-copper alloy? This would qualify as sufficiently “tough.” It would also be compatible with the etymology of the word—”mountain copper.” What alloy could possibly be as tough as uranium mixed with some other element to make it gold colored? What land would have had lots of copper and uranium in its mountains?

Source of Dragons

Atlantis Backstory: Chichen Itza pyramid
Central American pyramid, Chichen Itza, similar to the one found by Gunter Jürgens in the novel, with its Atlantis time capsule. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC-BY-SA-4.0).

So, where did dragon airships come from? In the novel, Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons, the serpent ships were handcrafted works originating in Atlantis. A consumer economy would have to wait for the likes of Henry Ford and his manufacturing assembly line. Planned obsolescence was never a part of the manufacturing process in Atlantis. Everything was built to last for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

If you are one of those who thinks there’s no evidence that Atlantis ever existed, think again. Though we don’t yet have proof of Atlantis, that lack of proof does not prove it never existed. Such thinking would remain an argument to ignorance type logical fallacy. Beyond that logical foundation, however, we actually do have quite a bit of evidence in support of the past existence of Atlantis. For more on this aspect of the novel’s backstory, see “Atlantis: ‘Gods and Dragons’ Backstory.”

In the next article, I discuss the somewhat controversial notion that scientists are merely human with very real, human frailties.

Available Now for Pre-Order

Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons - coverEdge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons is now available for pre-order. Check out the announcement.

Sample Chapters — ‘Gods and Dragons’

Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons - coverChapter 1

“And Zeus, fearful of his offspring by Metis, swallowed her to prevent their birth. The son, who would have become king of the gods, was never conceived, but Athena was born, fully grown and armed, from her father’s head. She thus became goddess of wisdom and of war to protect the homeland.”

“The Gods of Olympus”
Pithias of Melaneis, Euboea
c. 1170 BC
translated by Agatha Webberley, AD 2039

EPOCH 405, LEO 1066
(Summer 39, 9620 BC)
Pos, Atlan

Merla Velzna had earned the right not to kill. No one else born into the Military Class had ever gained her advantage—the freedom to choose her own destiny. For eight years, digging for artifacts had given her peace. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, her military training was once again active in mind and body. Someone was following her.

Foot traffic along the boulevard leading toward the government rings was thick with workers and slaves, on their way to start a new day’s work. Merla had always enjoyed the walk. It helped her to stay trim. It also gave her time to think.

Today, her thoughts had been crowded to the side. She did not understand the feeling which came with the awareness. Her physical senses had no reason for the deep foreboding she now felt.

Bright warmth covered the early morning city. Everyone moved at a modest rate—pacing themselves in the growing heat. She did not know how long the man had been following her. He had blended into the crowd with great skill.

She had always been aware of her surroundings. When the man with the dark hood and cloak had made the same turns that she had, her suspicions had been confirmed.

But who would have her followed? Could it be the Empress? In the fourteen years since receiving the imperial dispensation to leave the Military Class, Merla had not thought about the royal family. Why would there be interest in her now? But if not them, then who?

Or had she created enemies within the Science Class? Moving from the class of one’s birth was almost unheard of. Merla was still an outsider to most of her scientific peers, despite her proven skills as an archaeologist. Her current rank as a scientist exceeded her equivalent military rank before she had left the class of her birth. Was this jealousy for her rapid advancement?

Whatever the reason, she had to find out who was behind this person following her.

Before crossing the first bridge to the outer ring, she turned onto a residential side street with few others nearby. Next she entered a narrow alley. Because of what the man wore, she could not tell much about the his build, or what weapons he might be carrying. Yet, Merla could now hear his footsteps behind her, and that told her something. He was not heavily built, but she would not have been concerned had he been. She had the skills to disarm far more formidable opponents.

After about ten meters, she turned to face the man. He staggered for a moment, seemed to collect himself, then dropped to the pavement, sitting upright. The man then revealed scrawny hands dotted with age. Those hands threw back his hood. The face he revealed carried pale, soft wrinkles. Thin strands of white hair fluttered in a slight breeze.

“Thank you for agreeing to speak with me,” he said. His voice was high pitched, but his tone was kind.

Merla paused before responding, choosing her words with care. “I didn’t agree to anything.”

The old man blinked and frowned. The expression seemed to tire him. “You’re here.” He nodded. “I’ve come to warn you.”

“Warn?”

“Our world is about to end, and there are those!…” His eyes went wide, his mouth stretched thin—lips apart, but teeth clenched. He sat upright for a moment, his body rigid, then he collapsed forward.

Merla rushed toward him, still tense with caution. She knelt beside him and lifted his light frame onto her lap.

His face had gone slack. Drool spilled from his mouth onto his dark cloak. His chest heaved in gentle, rapid puffs. He whispered something and Merla bent over to hear him more clearly.

“They’ve found me,” he said. His voice was halting and faint. He winced in agony for a moment, then seemed to wilt from the exertion.

“What do you mean? What’s your name?” Merla shook her head. “And who are they?” She found that the man had clutched her hand with his, and she felt him trembling as if the muscles were giving way to exhaustion.

“Not important.” He gasped for breath.

Suddenly, she felt his entire body go rigid again. For a moment, his face seemed stronger, filled with a fierceness to regain what vigor he could muster. With teeth clenched anew, he pushed out the words a few at a time. “You hold future of Atlan in your hands, dear lady. Hero of Kundelé will find even greater call to heroism.”

A moment later, his eyes went wide with pain and fear, then stayed wide but now lifeless. His limp body told her that the old man was no longer conscious. But she knew the look and feel of death.

Merla had heard legends and rumors of mystics who could do magical things, like telling the future. The conviction in this man’s voice made him seem to be one with that rare talent, or to be someone entirely crazy. She hoped, for her sake, it was the latter. Her prior heroism had involved too much bloodshed. She wanted nothing more to do with the military.

Politics would not treat her with kindness if others knew she had been found with this dead body. With gentle care, she laid the man’s head on the pavement and closed his eyes. The soul had already departed and no longer needed the opening. She knew that such was, for some, only superstition, but it felt wrong to leave his eyes naked to the sky.

She stood and made her way back to the busier thoroughfare. Moments later, she spotted a priest and told him of the old man lying dead in the nearby alley. The priest nodded and went off to notify the appropriate authorities to arrange for a burial.

That done, Merla made her way back to her office in the science building of the capital’s government sector.

She had already acquired her supplies and personnel. Now, all she needed was a ship to take her crew to the dig site.

Before she had her assistant, Chendar, make the call, she sat looking out her window at the gradual arc of the circular canal. What the old man had said came back to her. More than his words, the possibility of what he had been in life filled her thoughts. Could there be more like him? Is that what he meant when he said that they had found him? Had he died from their sinister power?

Merla swallowed with difficulty. As a military officer, she had been familiar only with an enemy she could see. This portent of a different kind of enemy troubled her. Yet, if these magicians were real, she had no clue of where to start looking for them, or what to do once they were found.

She nodded to herself. Yes, my military days are long over. I don’t need to find new battles. Perhaps they did not want the old man to talk to me, but that is done. They did not attempt to stop me afterward. So, it is over.

She had decided there was nothing more about the incident to concern her, but it was more than a few minutes before she turned to Chendar to have him call for the transport.

~~~<>~~~

Military Minister Pelna stroked her narrow chin and squinted at the young woman kneeling before her. “You work for Imperial Chamberlain Grelth, do you not?”

The girl nodded in quick, short movements, eyes wide, mouth open but mute.

“Good.” Pelna nodded with more thoughtful precision, then winked at young Hringe Moditsa, a senatorial page who had been learning the secrets of the Order of Kelgani. The Order had been named for the first king of Atlan, Kelgani the Great, known for his decisiveness and pragmatic approach to the problems of rule.

The minister motioned to them both. “Follow me.”

Seria Pelna led the way from her well lit office, down a long hall, lined with military guards on duty, and down a narrow stairway into relative darkness. The stones of the walls were increasingly damp and musty. At the bottom, the windowless room was lit by several torches. A thin layer of smoke gathered at the ceiling, quietly siphoned off by near-invisible exhaust ducts. In the middle stood a table with all manner of iron tools—wicked, twisted forms of metal that seemed to have only one purpose: torture.

“Young Cressa, here, is a telepath,” the minister said to Hringe.

The girl froze, eyes wide, then fell to her knees, bruising them on the wet, stone floor.

“Yes, we know your secret.” Minister Pelna offered a pleasant smile, like that of a mother to her young daughter. “But now you will spy for us.” She nodded toward a dark figure in the corner. The heavyset man stepped forward into the dim light. He covered his chest with crossed arms, thick muscles rippling underneath indulgent flab.

“Ker Balkonen is a biokinet. Do you know what that means? No? Well, I’ll tell you. A biokinet is one who can shape flesh. A good one can do this without killing their subject. A better one can shape the flesh permanently in a matter of minutes or hours. The connective tissue is somehow dissolved and reset. Muscles are strengthened, bone made sturdier. Some of our best workers have been enhanced under Ker Balkonen’s skillful gaze. And he is the best. In fact, better than most biokinets, he can shape the mind—giving us the perfect work slave, sex slave, assassin, or whatever.”

Minister Pelna squatted and looked up into Cressa’s eyes. “Your betrothed?” The minister’s nod was torture to the young woman. “We have him, or,… more accurately, the Worker Class has him. He is not as handsome as he used to be, though he is stronger. He is more dull-witted. You really wouldn’t like him, now. You wouldn’t recognize him, and neither would he recognize you. But we can change that. Change him back. Would you like that?”

Cressa started to sob. “What… what do you want me… me to do?”

“Very good. Very good.” The minister stood and turned toward Hringe. “My dear boy. Not many know of the Sorcerer Class. Only the most powerful. The sorcerers help those in power find new sorcerer candidates and to steal them away from their current classes. And only the power brokers have the talents of the Sorcerer Class to help them keep their positions of power.

“Now, Cressa Brezna is not a very talented telepath. She’s still learning. Her current position, assisting in the management of the imperial household, does not require great skill.

“Even the imperial household does not have a biokinet with the skills of Ker Balkonen. He will help you, Cressa.” The minister turned her eyes away from Hringe, back to the young woman. “You will have greater power with your telepathy. Ker knows how. He also knows how to help you hide your telepathy—to shield it from the prying thoughts of other, more powerful telepaths.”

Cressa looked up at the minister, eyes still wide, her face now frozen with an empty expression.

“You will tell us what the Empress is thinking. You do want to get your betrothed back, don’t you.” She nodded with encouragement. “Yes, you do.”

“I—I will do as you command,” said Cressa.

“Good.” The minister turned back to Hringe. “Take Ms. Brezna back to the imperial hub.”

After the senatorial page and Cressa had left, Minister Pelna spoke again to her biokinet. “What happened earlier with old Kotornen?”

“I found him, minister. When I caught up with him, he was talking with someone. I don’t know who, but I gained a good imprint of her. I will recognize her if I feel her presence again.”

“But what did the old fool tell her?”

“The encounter was too brief for me to gain an entry. Kotornen seemed to have learned a few tricks to block my entrance into his mind. I thought it best to stop him before he could say too much.”

Pelna nodded and turned toward the stairs. At the first step, she hesitated. “Ker, let me know the moment you discover the identity of the woman he talked to.”

Chapter 2

EPOCH 406, PISCES 1977
(AD 2037:0929)
Several kilometers inland from Puerta de Cráneos, Nicaragua
Atlantis Backstory: Chichen Itza pyramid
Central American pyramid, Chichen Itza, similar to the one found by Gunter Jürgens in the novel, with its Atlantis time capsule. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC-BY-SA-4.0).

Gunter Jürgens took off his hat and wiped his brow. Almost nothing stayed dry in the rain forest. Jungle humidity made dryness near impossible, and the light drizzle made it worse.

The mound on which he stood rose six meters from the surrounding terrain. Layer upon layer had been peeled away until the pyramid top had been revealed. Now, a somewhat level circle of mud, twenty meters across, marked the end of phase one. After weeks of careful work, they now had a vertical channel opened to the ancient structure’s heart. The entire mound was sixty meters across, and stood to one side of a larger, circular island of mud carved out of the Nicaraguan jungle.

Musty smells of wet earth and decaying vegetation filled the air. Only an occasional squawk or shriek pierced the muted, gray noise of heavy mist settling against a sea of broad, tropical leaves.

Gunter looked up at the sky just as the Roanhorse shuttle appeared below the cloud cover. He knew that the shuttles were fast, but seconds to travel from Scotland still seemed impossibly short.

As the shuttle settled toward the ground near the center of camp, Gunter made his way down the muddy slope.

He looked back over his shoulder and yelled to his foreman. “Al, get the rope ladder. We’re going in.”

At the mound top, Al Montoya and half a dozen workers stood gaping into the pyramid opening. One of the workers aimed a large flashlight down the throat of the ancient building. Several large stones and dozens of smaller ones decorated the mound’s upper slope just beyond the hole that held their attention.

Of the stones they had removed, all were a medium gray granite. Each had been square cut with remarkable precision. Interior surfaces were smooth, but exterior surfaces had retained a high polish, all the more remarkable because of their great age.

Gunter’s foreman, Al, was a burly mestizo, with a square face and aquiline nose that spoke of ancient Mayan heritage. The foreman looked away from the pyramid’s hole, in Gunter’s direction. “Sí, jefe.” He took the flashlight from the worker and ordered him in Spanish to retrieve the ladder.

Gunter Jürgens was a second-generation American, on his Dad’s side. This was his dig, though he did not look the part. Boyish and handsome face, and light brown crew cut made him appear immature. He stood only 177 centimeters high—medium height for a gringo—but he carried himself with authority. However, it was more important to him that he went out of his way to treat each worker with respect.

As he continued toward the shuttle, his glance met that of Lieutenant Rodriguez. The officer had just given an order to one of his privates who now trotted off toward the clearing’s outer edge where the other guards on duty stood. Gunter gave the officer a warm, open smile. The lieutenant looked away, and turned his gaze to the site’s jungle perimeter.

Gunter chuckled. All this activity probably woke them up.

The Nicaraguan government had assigned close to two dozen soldiers to oversee camp security. Treasure hunters were always a threat at a fresh antiquities site, especially in the last few years, and almost always they were armed. Nicaragua’s poor economy had become even weaker in the new interstellar marketplace. That had given birth to a new breed of criminals, more desperate and ruthless than anything Central America had seen in decades.

The dig was under the joint sponsorship of the Nicaraguan government, the British Academy’s archaeological branch, and Roanhorse Aerospace. The aerospace company had supplied the high-tech devices used to discover the site. A warpfield sensor scan of Nicaragua’s eastern hills had revealed many interesting structures hidden beneath the forests and farmland—small villages, solitary buildings of unknown purpose, and the buried ruins of an aqueduct.

The pyramid being investigated had set off nearly all of the sophate* detection algorithms. Within a very small space was an unnatural level of complex, inorganic structure and rare elements. A special survey marker had tagged the spot several weeks before. Gunter glanced toward the marker. It now lay on a tarp protecting a stack of provisions next to the main tent.

“The proverbial ‘X,’” he told himself softly. “The treasure is almost ours. And just a short distance from a town called Gate of Skulls. How poetic.” In his mind’s eye, he pictured pirates standing around an unearthed treasure chest. The image brought a brief smile to his face.

As Gunter neared the shuttle, Jack Gillenwater was stepping off into the mud, wearing a light gray slicker and black rain boots. Jack’s rain cap made him look a bit comical, but Gunter was not feeling the humor of it.

The representative from Roanhorse Aerospace was here to oversee the treasure chest’s opening, and that made the archaeologist a little anxious. Gunter wanted to think he was in control of the dig and its findings, but with three sponsors, reality differed. So far, they had given him nothing about which to complain. Each group had left him alone, accepting daily progress reports, for the most part without any questions. This was the first sponsor visit.

Jack Gillenwater stood a tall, 191 centimeters. He had a pleasant, oval face with strong, well-defined features. There was an easy power from his movements that suggested this mid-thirties executive worked out regularly. He turned at the sound of Gunter’s approach.

“Mister Jürgens,” said Jack. “So good to see you again.”

The two shook hands. Gunter made it a short formality. Pleasantries and politics were two of his least favorite activities.

“Gus. Please call me Gus.”

“Certainly. Of course. Then, by all means, call me Jack.” The Roanhorse representative propped his hands on his hips and nodded toward the mound, with its scatter of huge, cut stones, and large flank of displaced earth. “The hill looks a great deal shorter, what with four meters shaved off the top.”

Gunter nodded, pursing his lips, then glanced upward to see the shuttle hover for a moment before vanishing into the gray sky.

Jack hesitated, studying the archaeologist for a moment.

“Please.” Jack pointed with his open hand toward the buried pyramid. “Let’s see this treasure chest of yours.”

Gunter offered a weak smile at the statement of ownership, and led the way toward the pyramid. He knew the artifact was not his, but appreciated the man’s attempt at breaking the moment’s awkwardness. Ownership had never been his aim. The opportunity to work with such a find—that was what drove him.

Now, if only the rain would stop. Again, Gunter glanced at the sky. Too many problems with the slippery mud—minor injuries, mudslides—all making the work harder, and slower. And now that the pyramid is open, we’re going to have to pitch a tent over the opening to keep the interior from flooding.

The past decade had given Nicaragua’s eastern coast a series of record rains. At times, the mud would liquefy. The frame they had constructed for lifting the upper level stones from the pyramid had been apt to sink into the mud, especially with stones weighing more than a metric ton.

Injuries had been relatively minor, except for a broken arm when the lifting frame had slipped. Thankfully, there had been no fatalities.

Fifteen trabajadores from Managua did most of the manual labor. Of the locals, only Al, their supervisor, spoke fluent English and Spanish. Amongst the soldiers, only the lieutenant spoke a little English, but he usually deferred to Al for translations.

Gunter scanned the camp’s periphery, a rough circle two hundred and fifty meters across. He noticed two soldiers talking to one another, looking in his direction. He glanced at the other guards around the perimeter. As usual, they were paired and evenly spaced along the jungle wall and several meters from the clearing’s edge.

Gunter’s cellular phone chimed and he answered. “Gus here. Hi, Toshi. We’re about to go into the pyramid.” He listened while he and Jack continued toward the mound. “Good work, Toshi. See you shortly.”

Gunter chuckled as he holstered his phone, then muttered to himself. “This is the best darn day of my life.”

“So?” asked Jack.

Gunter sobered a bit. “Lab results. We found organic material at the top of the pyramid, and under nearly three meters of soil. Dated, it comes in at a little over eight thousand years old. That’s six thousand BC.”

“And?”

“That makes the pyramid very old. It was already here when the organic material was deposited. The pyramid had to have been built sometime before that—hundreds, maybe even thousands of years earlier.” He pointed toward the mound ahead of them. “What we’re about to enter might just be the oldest pyramid on the planet.”

Jack took the lead as they started up the mound, and Gunter sped his pace to keep up.

On the mound’s top, the workers had already staked out the load lines of the rope ladder. Despite the soft mud, the load lines were long enough and there were enough stakes in place to support one large man on the ladder, possibly two. Even so, Al had four men stand on each rope extension, next to the stakes to give the ladder extra stability.

At the pyramid opening, Gunter introduced Al. “Jack, I believe you’ve met Alberto Montoya, my foreman.”

“Señor Gillenwater,” said Al. “Mucho gusto.” The two men shook hands. “It is a pleasure to meet you again. Would you like to see our treasure chest?”

“The pleasure is mine, Señor Montoya.” Jack glanced down the dark hole next to them, then back to Gunter. “Is it entirely safe?”

“No booby traps, if that’s what you mean.” Gunter laughed. “But I’ll go down first.” He received the large flashlight from Al and thanked his foreman. Clipping it to his belt, Gunter then started down.

Jack watched the archaeologist descend into the darkness. In moments, all he could see was the mist-like rain that entered the pyramid’s throat.

After about ten meters, Gunter stepped away from the ladder and yelled. “I’ll steady it for you. Come on down.”

As Jack neared the bottom, Gunter spoke again. “Careful. The floor is another two meters down.”

Gunter removed the flashlight from his belt and aimed it at the platform on which he stood. Jack could see the platform’s edge give way to blackness, marking off a space little better than two meters by one.

“This is the treasure chest we’re standing on.”

With the flashlight, Gunter guided their way off the platform. A quick scan showed an empty chamber—no other artifacts or markings. One wall opened to a short corridor blocked on the other end by the small pyramid’s outer wall.

Gunter turned the flashlight back to their treasure. A simple, rectangular, gray stone box stood on a pedestal that elevated the box a little over half a meter off the chamber floor. A stone lid, nearly ten centimeters thick, covered the top of the box. Notches on the corners and halfway along the lengths of the box kept the lid in place.

For the moment, all thought of Roanhorse intrusion left Gunter. Here in the midst of such an ancient artifact, he could not stop smiling. He fidgeted like a young school boy on a first date, switching the flashlight between hands. Several times, he attempted to dry his hands on his pants.

In his imagination, he saw men and women, in a solemn ceremony, placing the box onto its stone pedestal. He was puzzled at how effortlessly they moved the massive artifact. He was also puzzled that his imagination had chosen to clothe them in modern dress.

“Doesn’t look like much,” said Jack, “at least on the outside.”

“Hmm-m-m, yep.” Gunter hesitated a moment, not sure he should say what was on his mind. Finally, he said, “Jack, I meant to thank you and Roanhorse Aerospace for sponsoring this dig. I might never have found this without—”

“Gus, don’t worry about it.” Jack held up a hand where it would show in the reflected light. “Listen. I know this is awkward having me here, but it’s not what you think. I’m giddy as hell over your discovery. But I’m also here to help in any way I can.”

Gunter nodded.

“And,” Jack added, taking a deep breath, “I’m not here to interfere. You’re the expert. This is your show.”

Puffed cheeks made Gunter look silly in the dim light. He let out the air slowly. “Thanks, Jack. I appreciate that.”

Jack looked away and stroked his jaw. Then he put a hand on one of the corners of their stone treasure chest and faced Gunter more fully. “When you came to RAS Scotland, four months ago, you suspected we had technology—the kind that could help you find prime dig sites. And you were right. Yeah, but we didn’t tell you half the stuff we have in our arsenal.”

Gunter tilted his head and furrowed his brow. “I hope something to solve another problem we have. We know there’s a gold box inside this stone one. We know there’s a lot of detail inside that. But in order to get to the detail, we’re going to have to remove both lids and take the items out piecemeal. I’d like to open them in a more controlled environment.”

Jack chuckled. “Is the opening above big enough?”

“For the box to fit through? Sure, but this thing weighs several tons. There’s a lot of solid gold inside. And the stone itself—got to be heavy.”

“We can levitate out the entire stone box with all its contents. The same warpfield that drives our ships. Then take it anywhere you want.”

“That’s got to take a lot of energy.”

“Not really. It takes surprisingly little to maintain the warpfield. And, with the field’s inertial and gravitational attenuation, there’s effectively no weight to lift.” Jack nodded. “Really. It’s no problem.”

Gunter felt suddenly free of any emotional restraint. “Well, damn, Sam. That’s great!” He threw back his head and laughed. “Jack, we’re going to get along just fine. That’s a promise.”

Jack reached up for the rope ladder and started to lift himself onto the stone box lid.

“Question, Jack.” Gunter clipped the flashlight back onto his belt. “If you can have this levitated out, how long would it take to get it to Managua—to the warehouse lab?” Gunter joined Jack on the stone box.

Jack laughed. “Minutes, if not seconds.” He was still chuckling as he started back up.

Gunter’s smile was broad and relaxed as he held the ladder steady. While waiting for the okay from Jack, he looked down.

His attention moved into the object beneath his feet, and the hairs on his arms began to rise.

Everything in his life seemed to have prepared him for this trophy, yet he felt insignificant next to it. Until now, his life’s work had been supported by known history. The culture of five thousand years had always cushioned him from the unknown’s abyss. Within the stone box, time dropped away as a chasm. Now, he saw the six thousand years between the bottom of history and this object—this end to someone else’s history. He felt naked above it. Nothing lay between him and the ancient of ancients.

Closing his eyes, Gunter felt suddenly dizzy. He blinked for a moment, took a slow, uneasy breath, and exhaled raggedly. Then he looked up and saw Jack wave to him.

Glancing again at the artifact, he imagined opening its secrets. “Soon,” he whispered.

Gunter nodded and started up.

* sophateadj. Derived from or made by intelligent beings. [sophos, skilled, clever; -ate, derived from. A word coined by Professor Max Wollenslagel, Cambridge, during the 2025 Edinburgh Conference on “Ethical Conduct in Space Exploration and Colonization,” from which the Edinburgh Accords were developed.]

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Matriarchy: ‘Gods and Dragons’ Backstory

Guest Blog by Carl Martin, author of Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons

Matriarchy: Athena's Acropolis
Acropolis and Parthenon with its large statue of Athena, patron goddess of Athens. Painting: Leo von Klenze, 1846 (PD).

Was Atlantis a matriarchy? In our modern, patriarchal society, the notion of women ruling a nation is something out of the ordinary. There are exceptions, like Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, but for the most part, presidents, prime ministers and royal heads of state have been male. Was there ever a time when women in power was the rule rather than the exception? There may have been.

When I first had the idea for Edge of Remembrance, I had been doing research on the past possible existence of Atlantis, combing through hundreds of pages of scientific literature, myth and legend, studying geology, climate science, oceanography, history, anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, genetics and more. During months of research, I came across an unexpected clue—a myth that sounded a lot like Plato’s story of Atlantis, though it never mentioned the “A” word.

I’ve been writing about this topic matriarchy and Atlantis for some time. Check out my article, “Atlantis Quest — Uncovering the Secrets that Prove Plato Right.”

Matriarchy: Temple of Athena Nike.
Reconstructed Temple of Athena Nike (Athena victory). Could the goddess have been symbol for a matriarchal society? Photo: Dimboukas (CC BY-SA-3.0).

If Atlantis was a matriarchy, why didn’t Plato mention it? Do people ever leave out uncomfortable details? We have to remember that the story of Atlantis went through several people before it came to Plato. If Plato’s story was true (and he claims it was), he lived in a society which treated women as second class citizens. Both the Greeks and the Romans despised the Etruscans (Tuscany) for the power they gave their women. The Etruscans had stone buildings and roads hundreds of years before the Romans stopped being merely dirt farmers. They were the powerful, older “step-brother” on the Italian peninsula.

The Atlantis story was supposedly passed down through thousands of years of Egyptian priests. Then, about 600 BC, one priest mentioned the story to Solon, the great law giver from Athens. Solon told the story to his family members and they passed it down from one generation to the next, until it reached Plato’s ears.

Atlantis Legend and the Story of Athena’s Birth

Matriarchy: Temple of Athena
Temple of Athena close-up, Parthenon, Athens. Photo: Thermos (CC BY-SA-2.5).

The critical details for our comparison are these:

  • Atlantis was the most advanced nation of all time (until Plato’s life).
  • Atlantis threatened to conquer the world.
  • Atlantis was swallowed whole by the sea, in a day and a night.
  • Refugees who may have fled the capital (head) city took with them fully mature knowledge of civilization.
  • Refugees carried with them the military might and weapons to protect themselves.

There is one other Greek myth which has these same elements. It is the story of Metis and the birth of Athena.

  • Metis was the wisest individual of all time.
  • The children of Zeus by Metis would one day overthrow him as king of the gods.
  • Metis was swallowed whole to prevent the birth of those children.
  • Athena was born from Zeus’s head, fully grown.
  • Athena wore armor and carried weapons upon her birth.

The myth of Metis, Zeus and Athena has some bizarre elements that don’t make much sense. But as symbols for the Atlantis story, they make perfect sense. Try to picture a man swallowing his wife whole. Gulp! And try to imagine a full grown woman wearing armor and carrying pointy things while still residing in her father’s head. Ouch!

But picture Metis as a symbol for matriarchal Atlantis being swallowed whole by the sea (a vast part of nature), and the myth starts to sound far more reasonable. Zeus was the king of all nature and the children of Atlantis threatened to take over the entire world. And now, picture Athena as a symbol for the refugees of Atlantis, being fully mature in their knowledge of civilization. They possessed a mature society. They held the weapons and technology to protect themselves from the chaos of an uncivilized, primitive world.

The fact that Metis and Athena were both women should tell us that they represent the nature of their society—one ruled by women—a matriarchy.

Egyptian Myth

Matriarchy: Egyptian goddess, Asett
Egyptian goddess, Asett (Isis). Could Asett have been another symbol of a matriarchal group? Painting in tomb of Seti I (PD).

Some of the Egyptian myths are equally bizarre until we look at them as stories told by people with an inadequate vocabulary. There is one story of Asett (Isis), Sett (Seth) and Heru (Horus) battling each other. It starts out with Asett and her son, Heru, against the invading Sett. But when Asett shows leniency to her brother, Sett, Heru is outraged. He cuts off Asett’s head and hides it from her in the mountains. Later Ra, the sun god, restores Asett’s head to her and gives her a crown to protect her.

How can a person live without their head? Impossible! But a group can live without their leader. If the head of a group is kidnapped, and later the leader is rescued, then the story starts to make more sense. Those who came afterward may not have had the vocabulary for “empire,” “faction,” and similar concepts.

In the novel, a renegade group of the Military Class attacks Egypt and Merla Velzna responds. In the Atlantean language, the Military Class is “setitsa.” The Egyptians call them Sett. When Merla comes to their aid with he own military forces, the Egyptians call her Asett—opposition of Sett.

While studying the Egyptian culture, I discovered that gods with a “T” ending were female, like Bast and Asett. (Note: the double-T ending is my own invention to help distinguish the name “Set” from the common word “set.”) But in the Egyptian myth, Sett was male. Could it be that the Sett military group came from a matriarchy, but was led by a male? That would explain the male god having a female ending.

Comparative Linguistics and Gender Equality

Matriarchy: Basques in costume
Basques in traditional costume, in Gipuzkoa province, Spain. Photo: Izurutuza (CC BY-SA-3.0).

A number of cultures through history have been closer to gender neutral than purely patriarchal. For instance, the Egyptians seem to have been matrilineal—the power to rule passing through the female. This is not exactly a matriarchy, but it’s closer. In other words, the new king (pharaoh) was not the eldest son as in strictly patriarchal societies. The new king was whomever the eldest daughter of the pharaoh decided to marry. If she didn’t marry, she became the new pharaoh. This happened at least twice in Egyptian history.

Societies with strong women who shared power abound throughout history. Some of the references for these remain scarce. Some require more corroboration, but they’re worth looking into.

The Etruscans were a far more gender neutral society and both the Romans and Greeks hated them for it. The Basques of Northern Spain and Southern France have long had strong women and men who did things other cultures would categorize as feminine. Basques have a strong tradition of the men cooking. They have the couvade, where the man curls up in birth pains while the woman goes into labor. The Georgians of the Black Sea have their Queen Tamara in their Golden Age and their strong princess, Medea in their myth of the Golden Fleece.

Matriarchy: Saint Sebastien, Basque Country
Saint Sebastien, Basque Country. Photo: Monster1000 (CC-BY-SA-3.0).

But the languages also offer some clues to a possible, matriarchal past. Across Eurasia, we find a number of languages of the agglutinative type. This by itself remains weak as evidence. Agglutinative merely means the structure of words includes “gluing” word parts together without any change in form or meaning in order to form other words. This linguistic behavior gives us little evidence that any of the languages are related. But it doesn’t disprove a relationship, either. Skeptics need to remember this fact: a lack of evidence does not disprove a hypothesis.

Linguists of the 19th century found a great deal of affinity between Basque (Euskara) and Georgian (Kartuli). Both regions were called Iberia, something Soviet leader, Josef Stalin (a Georgian), tried to outlaw. Modern linguists tend to dismiss any link, because there’s not enough evidence to prove a link. But that’s the point: a lack of evidence does not disprove a link. There still may be one; we may merely need to find more evidence, if it still exists.

The following are agglutinative languages that may be related to the children of Atlantis in one fashion or another. That’s a bold claim, I know. But it has some supporting data.

  • Basque (Euskara)
  • Etruscan (Rasena)
  • Georgian (Kartuli)
  • Sumerian
  • Finnish (Suomi)
  • Hungarian (Magyar)
  • Dravidian

One fascinating clue involves what are perhaps the two most sentimentally favorite words in any language—“mother” and “father.” These would have a tendency to persist over time, more than any other words. Here are “mother” and “father” in some of these agglutinative languages:

  • Basque—ama, aita
  • Etruscan—ati, apa
  • Etruscan gods—Ana, Aita
  • Sumerian—ama, ada
  • Finnish—äiti, isä
  • Hungarian—anya, apa or atya
  • Dravidian—amma, appa(n)
  • Georgian—deda, mama

If any or all of these societies switched from matriarchy to patriarchy at some time in the past, they had two key choices:

  • Keep the words with the roles, or
  • Keep the words with the gender.
Matriarchy: Tbilisi sidewalk cafes
Tbilisi sidewalk cafes in Georgia, land of the Golden Fleece and golden dragon. Photo: Copyright © Marko Petrovic.

Notice the difference between Basque and Etruscan. Basque for mother looks a little like Etruscan for father. Both use the letter “a” to surround a labial sound—“m” or “p.” Basque for father is similar to Etruscan for mother, with the letter “t” in the middle of the word—“aita” vs. “ati.” When I first found this, it remained a minor curiosity. But while digging into the Etruscan pantheon, I discovered two gods that revealed a startling clue to the Etruscan past. Their goddess of beginnings was named Ana and their god of endings was named Aita. While the words for mother and father appear to be gender-swapped between the two languages, the names of the Etruscan gods match the gender of their equivalent words in Basque: Ana = ama, Aita = aita.

Think about this for a moment. Both cultures once were matriarchies, born from the children of Atlantis. The Basques kept the words with the gender, so mothers remained “ama” and fathers remained “aita.” On the other hand, the Etruscans kept the words with the roles, so while mothers used to rule, men became the new “mothers” or “rulers.”

Perhaps the strangest discovery during my research was to find that the Georgians may have done a similar gender swap when they went patriarchal. Their word for mother is “deda,” while their word for father is “mama.” This is not proof that they were matriarchal, but it remains a significant clue in support of that possibility.

More Clues to the Children of Atlantis

Digging through history made me feel a bit like Indiana Jones. None of the discoveries gave me proof, but much of it made the story of Atlantis seem that much more plausible. While researching dragon myths, I found an interesting pattern that added to the sense of reality. More on that in my next blog.

Available Now for Pre-Order

Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons - coverEdge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons is now available for pre-order. Check out the announcement.

Author’s Favorite Quotes ‘Gods and Dragons’

Merla Velzna from Edge of Remembrance: Gods and DragonsThe author of our latest book, Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons, told us about some of his favorite quotes from the novel. We thought they gave some unique insights into the story without revealing too much.

Merla Velzna

Merla Velzna had earned the right not to kill. No one else born into the Military Class had ever gained her advantage—the freedom to choose her own destiny. For eight years, digging for artifacts had given her peace. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, her military training was once again active in mind and body. Someone was following her.

Gunter Jürgens

Everything in his life seemed to have prepared him for this trophy, yet he felt insignificant next to it. Until now, his life’s work had been supported by known history. The culture of five thousand years had always cushioned him from the unknown’s abyss. Within the stone box, time dropped away as a chasm. Now, he saw the six thousand years between the bottom of history and this object—this end to someone else’s history. He felt naked above it. Nothing lay between him and the ancient of ancients.

Merla Velzna

As an imperial archaeologist, Merla’s only concern should have been the safe retrieval of ancient technology, but she could not help being curious about the ancestors behind these artifacts. She wondered what their lives must have been like before their civilization suddenly ended. Long before history began, a powerful force of nature had caused that abrupt ending, and had laid these remains to rest. No one yet knew that the same force would soon return.

Merla Velzna

Lessons came back to her from one of her military instructors when she was still a teenager. He had drilled into her the need to commit to an action or not to do that action at all. How did he talk about it? “A lack of commitment is the corrupter of the mind, turning reason into reasonableness. Half-measures are the vacation of the confused.”

Merla Velzna

Merla unfolded the bulletin, looked at it again, then turned her attention to gaze out at the small stretch of circular canal, warmed by late-afternoon sun. The familiar beauty of it now seemed unreal, like a picture projected onto thin gauze.

Merla Velzna

“Damn them!” Merla crushed the bulletin into a wad and threw it across her desk, widely missing the wastebasket. “Damn their secrets!”

Merla Velzna

So much needed to be done to save lives, and if possible, to save civilization. What an impossible task! It loomed in her mind as if it were a mountain on her path. But Merla would do everything in her power to attempt that task. Again, she looked at the bulletin and then glanced at the clock on her desk.

Ker Balkonen

Ker Balkonen straightened in his chair and blinked several times. Like a faint whiff of something familiar, he had sensed the presence of someone who had eluded him for nearly two months. It was as if the mysterious woman old Kotornen had talked to had suddenly come back from a great distance.

Tegrit Arkonen

The emblem [imperial fasces] dominated the room, stretching nearly five meters across the center of the broad, front wall. By design, though, it did not dwarf the slender old woman. Quite the contrary, its forced perspective made her appear to be the source of its power. Her simple hand motion to the young senator carried the weight of the entire Empire, and even the most senior senators responded with reverence.

With the Chief Arbiter’s gesture, the whispers gave way to silence, and young Arkonen let the burden of that quiet linger a moment before he spoke.

Professor Ganni Morzna

Her old professor raised a cautionary finger. “The edge of history is fragile. It is a time following myth and legend where the seeds of memory are planted. Such memory does more than prove a people existed. It proves they thought about more than mere survival. But that memory is itself fragile. One discovery could push the edge of history back hundreds of years, while one massive disaster could move it forward, in limbo, until a new history might start.”

Merla Velzna

Her gaze drifted upward, taking in the broad expanse of sky, decorated with only a handful of clouds. In her mind, she could see the black of space, beyond the blue sky, and the candle-like stars flickering amongst all that emptiness.

A part of her did not want to be here now. She felt smothered by the hidden shroud of blackness—the truth behind the pleasant façade of blue sky. The blackness of the inevitable was larger than she could fathom. Her heart could not ache enough to hold the enormity of what was about to happen—to her friends, to all the little things that made life bearable, to all the pieces of art and literature, and to the memories of these things. All the candles might be going out at once, leaving darkness and forgotten dreams.

Gunter Jürgens

Gunter returned with two more beers and two baskets. He sat down and continued, “In southern Spain, there’s a city called ‘Cádiz.’ Earlier it was called ‘Gadir’ by the Phoenicians who supposedly founded the community. Later, ‘Gades,’ by the Romans. The region was also known by the names ‘Gadirus’ or ‘Gadira.’ The reference in Plato’s ‘Critias’ was quite clear. Atlantis faced Gadira.”

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Atlantis: ‘Gods and Dragons’ Backstory

Atlantis Backstory: Chichen Itza pyramid
Central American pyramid, Chichen Itza, similar to the one found by Gunter Jürgens in the novel, with its Atlantis time capsule. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC-BY-SA-4.0).

Guest Blog by Carl Martin, author of Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons

If you were a scientist and you discovered something which went against prevailing tradition, would you ignore it? Would you destroy the evidence? Most scientists avoid the subject of Atlantis like the plague. Ironically, there’s more emotion and peer pressure involved than science and logic.

When a PhD in history discovered ruins in the waters of the Bahamas, not far from the “Bimini Road,” he asked an academic in Florida to investigate. The archaeology professor refused, citing that any involvement with such an underwater dig could ruin his career. Why? Because it could be associated with the Atlantis myth.

Dabbling in Atlantis without solid proof in peer reviewed journals is as good as professional suicide. Getting solid evidence of Atlantis published is impossible because no one is brave enough to look for evidence. If Atlantis did exist, investigating that past existence has become taboo to all but the fringe of science—the “nut jobs.” Thank goodness science has been blessed with “nut jobs” like Galileo and Einstein—going where timid scientists would not dare, despite the inevitable ridicule and hardships.

This novel—Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons—is about two archaeologists faced with unpopular discoveries. But the realm of the unpopular is where things sometimes get exciting in science—on the verge of a breakthrough.

Merla Velzna discovers a pattern that spells doom for her homeland. A similar pattern had destroyed an earlier civilization—the Gereti Republic. Her career in the Science Class has been one of digging up the remains of that republic—ancient high-tech which makes her own land of Atlan the most advanced nation on the planet. Massive earthquakes had destroyed that earlier civilization. How could she know that the next such event would also destroy the land itself?

Gunter Jürgens discovers a pyramid in the jungles of Nicaragua. In that pyramid, he finds a time capsule which has lain dormant for nearly 12,000 years. Privately, he recognizes the evidence of Atlantis, but publicly he knows better than to mention the “A” word until he has far more evidence.

Proof of Atlantis?

Atlantis Backstory: Palenque Temple Pyramid
Did refugees of Atlantis build any of the pyramids in the Americas? Palenque temple pyramid. Photo: Jan Harenburg (CC-BY-3.0).

Do we have proof of Atlantis? No, not yet. But we have strong evidence of an Atlantis-like event happening at the same time that Plato’s Atlantis supposedly collapsed into the ocean. Four pieces of evidence coincide. Though correlation does not always mean causation, sometimes it does. Otherwise science would never work. If causation did not coincide with effect, then technology would be impossible. Science is always looking for cause-and-effect coincidences; ignoring accidental coincidences. It’s the type of correlation, here, that matters.

But evidence? Yes! While researching the background for this novel, I found some powerful confirmation. Here are the four scraps of evidence which support one another in corroborating the Atlantis-like event:

  • Plato’s mention of Atlantis sinking about 9600 BC. His documentation of the event in his Timaeus and Critias dialogues is pretty thin as evidence goes. It needs far more support. But a lack of evidence never disproves an idea. Those who claim that it does are dabbling in logical fallacies of the “argument to ignorance” type.
  • The abrupt end to the Younger Dryas about 9620 BC. Our current Ice Age switched from glacial to interglacial mode about 9620 BC. Within something like 30 years, global average climate warmed up a whopping +7°C. A similar warming spike had occurred nearly 3,000 years earlier, but that warming melted a massive lake of cold, fresh water. When that pulse of water spilled into the Atlantic, it shut down the planet’s warmth redistribution system—the thermohaline circulation. That plunged the planet back into Ice Age conditions for an additional 1,300 years—a period called the “Big Freeze” or “Younger Dryas.” Something happened about 9620 BC to break through the cold, freshwater cap on the thermohaline circulation. Something stirred up the Atlantic Ocean with sufficient force to restore the redistribution of warm water to the arctic region. A massive tectonic collapse could produce sufficient ocean turbulence to do this.
  • The appearance of volcanic debris in Greenland ice cores dated 9620.77 BC. A moderately large volcanic eruption took place at 9620.77 BC and a slightly smaller event record occurred two years later. The smaller “event” could also merely be a tapering off of the primary eruption. Based on the amount of debris, the volcanic eruption could have been either a VEI (volcanic explosivity index) 5 for a nearby eruption (North Atlantic), or a VEI 7 eruption on the other side of the planet. This was not a minor eruption. In the region Plato gave us for Atlantis, today we find the volcanic archipelago of the Azores. Could a massive tectonic collapse give us erupting volcanoes?
  • The sudden drop of sea levels worldwide at about 9620 BC. This evidence needs corroboration as a proxy for a real event. In a study by Fairbanks published in Nature magazine in 1989, seventeen thousand years of sea level rise are documented. Right at the end of the Younger Dryas, Fairbanks’ data shows a 2-meter drop in sea levels worldwide. Only two things could naturally cause sea level to drop—evaporation and precipitation as snow or ice, or a tectonic collapse of a landform somewhere in the world that created a void filled by that water. Snow fall, however, would take years to accumulate enough snow to account for 2 meters of sea level fall. The data itself may not be real. It could be from an error in measurement, from noise in the data or from some other anomaly. That’s why more research on this one point is needed. But if the sudden drop is indeed a proxy for a real event, then we have a smoking gun in the catastrophic collapse of a Texas or Greenland sized plot of land sinking at least 1 kilometer into the oceans somewhere in the world.

Individually, each fact is interesting, but not compelling. Taken together, however, these four pieces of evidence prove that something big happened right when Plato said that the seas swallowed Atlantis.

But these items of physical evidence are not the only things which support the reality that Atlantis once existed. We also have other items in myth, we have blood types and DNA, we have linguistic clues, and we have social clues that suggest Atlantis may have been real. In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss one of the social clues—matriarchy. This is critical for understanding the novel’s main character—Merla Velzna. She lived in a society dominated by women.

Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons - coverAvailable Now for Pre-Order

Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons is now available for pre-order. Check out the announcement.

New Novel — Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons

Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons - coverNearly 12,000 years ago, one woman saved the future of civilization. Her name was Merla Velzna and she was no ordinary woman. She was born into the Military Class, fought many battles, and led thousands of soldiers into the fray. After becoming the Hero of Kundelé, saving thousands of lives and capturing thousands more of the enemy, she was awarded an imperial dispensation. She chose to leave the military and to take up archaeological science—digging up ancient technology. Finally, she had earned the right not to kill.

Gunter Jürgens was also an archaeologist. He ignored the modern scientific taboos. He did all he could to prove that Merla existed. What he found in Nicaragua was supposed to make it easy, but some people wanted to keep Merla’s homeland a secret.

Now Available for Pre-Order

The novel will be released on February 14, 2017. Why pre-order this novel? There are several reasons:

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New Book Cover: Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons Resource KitTo get your free Gods and Dragons Resource Kit, simply contact us with the following information:

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