By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
On The Paranormal Network on YouTube
Atlantis is not the only lost civilization thought to exist. Whether it’s a product of one philosopher’s imagination or not—or was part of an epoch of Earth’s past—this topic always needs many points of view and ongoing debate to find where it may exist. Jessica Dwyer’s latest Mytheries episode on The Paranormal Network nicely explores all the possibilities. Everything that’s covered on the Wiki is also covered here. Her approach, which mixes in academics and pop culture, is ideal for those who are who are curious in where the fictional depictions got their inspirations from.
Keeping up with anthropological digests about the search for the ‘real version’ is tough. Also, there’s little progress since the last big documentary. I’m very interested in the quest and subscribe to Ancient Origins for my updates instead of relying on media reports to get my information.
The comparisons to other lost worlds like Mu or Lemuria are nearly nonexistent but I feel explaining why Atlantis is number one on many explorers lists is a must. I don’t hear that in her discourse about root races. I’d love to get her take on why are we wanting to find that Shangri-La? I’m betting it’s not as simple as in hoping there’s a better world out there, where all diseases can be cured and there’s no war. We’re not living in Eternia. Plus, we can’t simply go through all the literature from the past and produce an alphabetical listing of bygone civilizations. The academic world recognizes Zeelandia as a land mass rather than a nation of people before ocean levels rose to cover it up.
Fantasy writers and mass media have ideas on where it may lay. It’s impossible to reference every single publication, piece of art or motion video without offering a website to list it all. Dwyer doesn’t try. She instead talks about the memorable works from pop culture since the 70s. Perhaps the most well known is Stargate: Atlantis. Not mentioned are my favourites: Nadia, Secret of Blue Water and Mists of Avalon–where Marion Zimmer Bradley suggests the druids of Briton are survivors from Atlantis.
The only notes missed is that in comicdom, Namor and Aquaman are the rulers in their respective universes. Atlantis is rarely referenced in horror. If we’re to accept that greed from the oligarchy caused the downfall of the city, then why don’t we have a film or story about the horrors of a coming apocalypse? Its disappearance is not because of a natural disaster. I’d love to have a horror story about a civilization trying to course correct itself only to realize they are doomed. Fate has determined its erasure from written history. Although not directly named, Godzilla: King of Monsters reference a civilization which worshipped the beast that’s now underwater.
On LiveScience, contributor Benjamin Radford wrote, “‘Atlantis is the embodiment of a materially wealthy, technologically advanced, and militarily powerful nation that has become corrupted by its wealth, sophistication, and might.’ As propaganda in Plato’s morality tale, the Atlantis legend is more about the city’s heroic rival Athens than a sunken civilization; if Atlantis really existed today and was found intact and inhabited, its residents would probably try to kill and enslave us all.
It’s clear that Plato made up Atlantis as a plot device for his stories, because there are no other records of it anywhere else in the world.”
Dyer is great by saying that unlike the Flood myth, the legend of Atlantis was never mentioned by other philosophers, poets or writers living in the same time as Plato. If only time travel was possible, I’d visit him and simply ask him where it is on a map. I’d then visit this nation at its height and look for clues if they developed space-faring technology. She doesn’t name Ancient Aliens, but I figure her tongue-in-cheek tone is just that. These other documentaries (podcasts or not) have to recognize other works without saying their ideas are laughable.