So many people have sent me this story over the last few days, that it would be hazardous to ignore it, and impossible to thank everyone. It's easy to see why it has caught people's attention, for the story - in various versions - has been appearing in the lamestream corporate controlled media and their approved organs; major magazines have run some version of it. What really caught my eye was when it finally made the pages of Scientific American. Of course, the idea of a very ancient high civilization - human or otherwise - based on this planet in the mists of prehistory is usually derided and even lampooned by contemporary academic orthodoxy. That's not saying much, in an age when the academy is busily transforming itself into the quackademy.
Such ideas are fantasy, "Atlantis theories," and so on. We were always told that there's no evidence of anything in pre-history resembling either an industrial or other sort of technological civilization. To be sure, there was the odd "factoid" or two in Sir Flinders Petrie's Pyramids and Monuments of Giza, or a transatlantic anomaly in Ignatius Donnelly or Hapgood's Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, there might even - as some alleged - be weird connections between Cydonia on Mars and Silbury Hill in England(!). It was all dismissed as "coincidence", if it was given even that dignity.
Something has therefore changed, if lamestream corporate media sources - or journals like Scientific American - are willing even to talk about the theory. The questions are: what changed, and why? We'll get back to that, because it forms today's high octane speculation.
Here's the article, shared by so many people I cannot thank you all:
Now, of course, the paper is not admitting of the actual existence of such a civilization, but merely suggesting a way to find out. The bets are still being hedged, in other words. What intrigued me here was that two new proposals are being advanced. The article begins with a stunning paragraph whose implications are immediately apparent if one wants to entertain the premise as being true for the sake of argument:
One of the creepier conclusions drawn by scientists studying the Anthropocene—the proposed epoch of Earth’s geologic history in which humankind’s (sic.) activities dominate the globe—is how closely today’s industrially induced climate change resembles conditions seen in past periods of rapid temperature rise. (Emphasis added)
The implicit presuppositions here are (1) previous eras of climate change resemble the current era (2) some of the current era's change is industrially driven, with the unstated conclusion hovering in the spaces between the lines: (3) therefore, previous eras of such change might be a potential indicator of some prior industrial civilization. The hidden premise here is that such prior civilizations had a similar physics, technology, and energy-financial system to our own. I've written a great deal of speculation to the contrary, but at least the overall basic idea is now being seriously entertained.
That, folks, in and of itself, is a revolution.
The article goes on to explain how, in this case, the openness to the question even occurred:
The canonical example of a hyperthermal is the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a 200,000-year period that occurred some 55.5 million years ago when global average temperatures rose by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (about 9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit). Schmidt has pondered the PETM for his entire career, and it was on his mind one day in his office last year when the University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank paid him a visit.
Frank was there to discuss the idea of studying global warming from an “astrobiological perspective”—that is, investigating whether the rise of an alien industrial civilization on an exoplanet might necessarily trigger climate changes similar to those we see during Earth’s own Anthropocene. But almost before Frank could describe how one might search for the climatic effects of industrial “exocivilizations” on newly discovered planets, Schmidt caught him up short with a surprising question: “How do you know we’re the only time there’s been a civilization on our own planet?”
Frank considered a moment before responding with a question of his own: “Could we even tell if there had been an industrial civilization [long before this one]?”
"Would such traces even be detectable today?" becomes the central question. And here's where it gets even more intriguing, for it turns out that the ability of artifacts of such a civilization to survive in the geological record is...well...small:
Today, less than 1 percent of Earth’s surface is urbanized, and the chance that any of our great cities would remain over tens of millions of years is vanishingly low, says Jan Zalasiewicz, a geologist at the University of Leicester in England. A metropolis’s ultimate fate, he notes, mostly depends on whether the surrounding surface is subsiding (to be locked in rock) or rising (to be eroded away by rain and wind). “New Orleans is sinking; San Francisco is rising,” he says. The French Quarter, it seems, has much better chances of entering the geologic record than Haight–Ashbury.
“To estimate the odds of finding artifacts,” Schmidt says, “The back-of-the-envelope calculation for dinosaur fossils says that one fossil emerges every 10,000 years.” Dinosaur footprints are rarer still.
“After a couple of million years,” Frank says, “the chances are that any physical reminder of your civilization has vanished, so you have to search for things like sedimentary anomalies or isotopic ratios that look off.” The shadows of many prehuman civilizations could, in principle, lurk hidden in such subtleties.
Or to put this point country simple and with the elegant observation of Stanton Friedman regarding UFOs: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Indeed, the article even cites this statement of Mr. Friedman without noting that he has made it many times over the course of many years and many UFO-related investigations, but seems unaware of its origin and the context in which it was originally made (or, perhaps, does know, but simply is unwilling to "go there").
In this respect, the article goes on to point out that if such a civilization had energy requirements similar to our own, and had developed a similar technology reliant upon so-called fossil fuels, then its likely longevity would be very short relative to the long periods of the geological record - just as ours is - and would leave a very small footprint there. (And of course, I and others would argue, and have argued, that this ancient civilization shows all the signs of having a very different physics and understanding of energy, and hence its footprint might be very different.)
Of course, all of this falls far short of admitting the existence of such a civilization; it merely raises questions of how one might go about looking for it.
So what and why is this apparent change happening? I suspect that, in one sense, the pressures to entertain the idea are becoming - if not overwhelming - then at least heavy enough to be dealt with. After all, if one really has followed the stories from space and the rich lore of anomalies and anomalous "structure" on nearby celestial bodies, and couples that with the growing body of literature and evidence of similar anomalies on this planet, that maintaining the simple "academic" and "scientific" dismissal and denial of such possibilities is becoming increasingly difficult.
That's only part of the "why", however, for I strongly suspect that the other question at work here is "how do we reassert control over the narrative"? For that is what I suspect may be going on here. What we might be seeing emerge, in other words, is a limited hangout, a fall-back position, a "marketing scheme," to keep the narrative firmly in the hands of the scientific priesthoods and orthodoxies and gatekeepers, for notably, the template by which the whole hypothesis is to be examined and entertained is that of our own current civilization. This provides a tight control on the types of data to be admitted and discussed: current alleged climate change, and earlier periods, current paradigms of energy, "fossil fuels" and so one; what is carefully excluded on such an approach is any viewpoint that looks at the past and its monuments as possibly embodying very different paradigms of energy and technology.
And another thought - the most highly end-of-the-twig-no-extant-evidence-speculation of them all - occurs to me in connection with the question "why now?" I cannot resist the thought that perhaps maybe someone learned something in their private and hidden translations of some of those old looted and recovered cuneiform tablets.
There... I said it.
See you on the flip side...