The following little discourse comes with two large caveats:
One is that, while I and others believe the thesis to be correct, we view it as a theory and nobody is jumping up and down demanding that any of this be taught as a fact in public schools at public expense (like evolutionism); the time machine you'd need to PROVE any sort of a thesis like this one does not exist.
The second caveat is for the benefit of certain kinds of simple-minded individuals (democrats, evolutionists etc. ) who would no sooner read about such a thesis, than they would think to themselves "GEE! If I just had enough ELECTRICITY, why, I could do nifty things like Joan of Arc or them prophet guys in the bible used to do; why I could go to the racetracks and really clean up!"
My advice: DON'T DO IT!!! I am not aware of any kind of a story like that which ends happily for the protagonist.
Everybody who follows the evolution debate knows by now that evolution doesn't work for animals; it turns out that it doesn't work any better for human languages.
There is in fact a natural disconnect between certain groups of linguists and what is known about anthropology. The sci.lang FAQ and similar literature make it clear that many if not most language scholars have major problems with the methodologies used in reconstructing the so-called super-families of languages such as Nostratic or "proto-world", nonetheless the people who do propose such super-families, working from what is known about the rates at which languages disperse, place them anywhere from 25,000 to 150,000 years back. There is, of course, no realistic evidence of modern man being on the planet more than 25,000 or 30,000 years.
For somebody who believes that human languages have to have evolved, life is
full of such unpleasant little enigmas. For instance, when Europeans first came
There is no meaningful racial difference between IndoEuropean and Semitic peoples and you'd not figure that more than 5,000 or 6,000 years or so had passed since the two groups split up. The two language groups should be strongly related but, in real life, other than for a few borrowed words, they are not related at all.
Moreover, amongst the few borrowed words, there are a sizable number of what are called "reversals". In other words, when IndoEuropean, Semitic, and other peoples met in the Mediterranean basin, since some of them wrote from right to left and others wrote from left to right and since vowel sounds were not written at first, when one nation borrowed a word from another, the order of consonents frequently got reversed.
These reversals included names of gods and godesses (Anath/Athene, Hermes/Mercurius etc.), and any number of common conceptions:
Now, according to standard theories, these languages should have been reasonably complete at the fairly recent time during which such borrowing took place; in other words, these nations should not have needed to be going to such lengths to be filling in gaps in their languages for such common words. What we see is what we might expect if these languages were still in the process of being invented.
In fact, what we see in general, particularly in the case of the IndoEuropean/Semitic non-relation, is what we would expect if human communications had been of some entirely different type or nature until some very recent point in time at which, in a single day, whatever humans had been doing for communications broke down forever, and humans were forced by dire necessity to invent our present kinds of spoken languages, starting from scratch.
Given that kind of hypothesis, the only thing necessary to explain the IndoEuropean/Semitic disconnect is the fact that the two groups were separated by the Caucassus mountains for the critical 100 - 200 year period during which spoken language was being developed. Likewise, Lithuanians and old Prussians can be seen to have been living in some isolated area during the same time with enough contact with IE groups to pick up a few early IE root words, but nothing more, while the Basques were on their own.
The tale of the tower of Babel and of the fragmentation of the original human language is universal and not something found only in Jewish and Christian holy books. The Czech scholar Jan Sammer massively documents the reality of this tradition:
The King James version of the tale reads:
GEN 10:32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
GEN 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
GEN 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
GEN 11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
GEN 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
GEN 11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
GEN 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
GEN 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
GEN 11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
GEN 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
"...of one language, and of one speech..."
Probably not the worst possible translation of the original text, but not the best either. Lisa Beth Liel, an acknowledged expert in Hebrew language, assures us that:
What the verse means to anyone with the slightest familiarity with the Hebrew language is that at the time in question, there was but one language, with a very small vocabulary. Safah achat = one language, devarim achadim = few words.
In other words, what is being described is not a transition from one language such as ours to many languages such as ours; what is being described is a total change in the manner in which humans communicate, going from some fairly recent point, to the present.
Is there any other body of evidence or theory describing any such massive change in human behavior in the recent past?
Ancient literature described a number of things which we do not see in our present world, including:
JOS 10:11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
etc. In other words, the kinds of things Velikovsky wrote about.
Hypnotism and schizophrenia, which still exist, are also remnants of the antique paradigm for the use of the human mind.
Prophesy originally involved a trance state, and the prophet attempting to join his mind to that of God in order to know God's intentions, or what he would have us do. The OT prophets speak of "visions", and prophets of a somewhat later time came to be like the Greek oracles in that they did not recall what they had said during the trance. Seeing into the future was a fringe benefit of joining ones mind to the mind of God, presumably since God exists outside our notion of time, but was not the main point of the whole deal.
There are two starting points for understanding this ancient paradigm of the human mind. One is a curious book titled "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by a psychology professor at Princeton named Julian Jaynes. Nobody can easily remember a title like that but if you tell the folks at Borders or Barnes/Noble that you need a copy of Jaynes' "Origin of Consciousness", they'll get one for you. The second starting point is a series of pamphlets written by Al DeGrazia and Hugh Crossthwaite on the general topic of electrostatic phenomena in ancient times, and the role they played in antique religious practices. Those works I have in PDF form on my own site Click here to download from Bearfabrique. The two, taken together, tell a story.
Jaynes was a classicist and, reading through numerous ancient sources, began to notice the curious absence of decision making which you observe in the Illiad and in basically everything prior to it, i.e. the fact that at every point at which you or I would have to stop to consider how to proceed, the people in these ancient narratives are being told precisely what to do by inner voices, which are described as Gods and godesses.
It began to dawn on Jaynes that what we would call schizophrenia today, hearing voices, was the normal state of affairs in ancient times. He also noticed, in odd places such as Assyrian bass reliefs, references to a particular point in time at which these voices ceased, people were left to their own devices, and the gods and godesses which had formerly guided humanity vanished, so that an Assyrian sculpture might show a king pointing to an empty throne which his god had vacated:
There are two kinds of crime in the Old Testament, i.e. minor crime such as rape, robbery, and murder, and then your really bad, serious crime such as making up little dolls and idols to worship. Jaynes noted the big, hypnotic eyes which these idols seem to have more often than not:
and it occurred to him that something a lot more serious than just some sort of archaic pop culture was going on. Could it possibly be that these people were really hearing voices emanating from these idols? Not only does that turn out to be the case, but it also turns out that a voice which is inside somebody's head cannot easily be disobeyed, hence such primordial formulations as "to hear and obey" in English, or the verb to obey being a reflexive form of the verb to hear in Russian (slushats/slushatcya).
Now, fighting wars and sacraficing children at the behest of wooden idols is not a formula for success in life and, it is for this reason, i.e. the fact that the tendency to idolatry turned the world into an insane assylum for the thousand or so year period between the flood and the time of the Trojan war, that idolatry is viewed as the ultimate crime in the Old Testament, and the first commandment reads as it does.
I assume that at this point, Jaynes, working at a large university, went to the people in neurophysiology and asked them what, if anything could there be in the human brain which would cause people to hear voices.
What they told him was that there is an area on the right side of the human brain which appears to be an analog to the speech center (Wernicke area) on the left side, and a bridge cropssover between the two. This right side analog appears to be like the human appendix and serves no known purpose; nonetheless, when this right side analog to the Wernicke area is stimulated with electrical probes in experiments, subjects more often than not claim to be hearing voices, as real as if you or I were speaking to them.
Jaynes naturally enough surmised that this right side analog area had been in regular use during biblical times, hence his use of the word 'bicameral' to represent the "two chambered" nature of the human mind in antique times.
Now, Jaynes assumed a purely evolutionary model and assumed that all of the phenomena which he described were "auditory hallucinations", and that mankind had simply evolved into a state in which human societies were governed by a well-ordered system of such auditory hallucinations. That is clearly unworkable, since 200 people in a village heeding inner voices would amount to 200 Sons of Sam walking around. To the extent that evolution ever works at all (microevolution) it works by favoring progressively greater levels of functionality. You cannot evolve INTO a disfunctional state, and the world of the Old Testament was intensely disfunctional. Jaynes did not investigate the following possibility:
that in an age just prior to the age he studied, i.e. the true antediluvian age, the kinds of phenomena he describes might have amounted to a normal and functional means of communication, and that what we note in most of the OT descriptions are vestiges of a system in an ongoing state of breakdown.
That is one problem with Jaynes' analysis. The other is that he does not offer any sort of a believable rationale for the breakdwn of the bicameral system, and the development of the individualized consciousness which we experience today. He vaguely ascribes these massive changes to changing social and cultural conditions, which is not credible simply because the change he describes is an overwhelming biological change. He is claiming that the entire manner in which the human mind and brain are used has totally changed over a period of just a few thousand years and he backs that claim up with massive scholarship.
This is where the works of DeGrazia and Crossthwaite which I mentioned above come in. DeGrazia and Crossthwaite heavily document the fact that many of these phenomena which Jaynes describes as bicameral were also electrostatic phenomena, and you don't really need to be Albert Einstein to put two and two together for four. The basic reality is that the electrostatic nature of the planet itself, vastly stronger just a few thousand years ago than it is now, ENABLED the bicameral phenomena and that, as this archaic electrostatic field broke down, the bicameral phenomena broke down with it and died out.
DeGrazia and Crossthwaite note that the pyramids were basically huge lightning rods, the conductive golden tips of which glowed eternally, the root of the Greek word 'pyramid' being the same 'pyr' which we note in 'pyrotechnics' or 'pyromania', i.e. 'fire'. The ark of the covenant amounted to an exercise in miniaturization of such religious electrotechnics, i.e. a leydon bottle or primitive capacitor, the two golden "cherubims" being electrical conductors:
EXO 37:7 And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat;
EXO 37:8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
And then we read things like:
2SA 6:2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
from which it is pretty obvious what these people were looking at (i.e. what do you see between the two terminals of a capacitor?).
This doe not mean that Moses, Joshua, Solomon, David and all those people were a bunch of ignorant rednecks worshipping an electrical arc; it DOES mean that communication with the spirit world at that time was getting harder. Again, there is no mention of anything like this in Genesis because there was no need for it, particularly before the flood, when communication with the spirit world was believed to be natural and freely available to any and all.
All of these phenomena in fact were associated with static electricity. Hugh Crossthwaite documents the manner in which Greek oracles were located in areas of heightened electrostatic charge (making the job of oracle a somewhat dangerous one):
"Good electrical effects could be obtained on high ground, e.g. Parnassus, Cithaeron, Mount Sinai, etc.. Cithaeron, as well as being the scene of The Bacchae, had below it the town of Erythrae. There is another Erythrae in Asia Minor. Clefts in rock if possible combined with water, as at Delphi, would be helpful. Homer speaks of "rocky Pytho." Such places, together with oak groves, as at Dodona, were likely to be enelysioi, containing Zeus Kataibates, Zeus the sky god who descends in a thunderbolt. One may compare the mysterious flame that burned in Thebes on the tomb of Semele, mother of Dionysus, killed by a thunderbolt from Zeus, and also the fire round the head which did not burn ."
Starting around page 300 or so of Origins, Julian Jaynes documents the manner in which all of these kinds of phenomena became progressively more difficult to accomplish and finally broke down. The inner voices first became inconsistent from person to person, and then inconsistent in the mind of the same person, the information obtained from such practices became totally unreliable, and finally people who kept on trying to use their minds this way began to be viewed as we view the occassional throwback like Son of Sam now, i.e. as lunatics, so that the Old Testament is replete with stories of some judge or king driving large numbers of them out of the country or killing them:
SA1 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
1KI 18:4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)
1KI 18:40 And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
and, at long last, we read Zechariah describing prophets as unclean spirits, categorizing them as part and parcel of the same thing as idolatry, and advocating that parents kill children who use their minds this way:
ZEC 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
ZEC 13:3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.
ZEC 13:4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
Lisa Beth Liel (the Hebrew language expert mentioned also above) informs me that at the time of Zechariah, the Jewish council asked the Lord to lift the curse of idolatry from the world and that he did, but that they lost prophecy at the same time. I interpret this to mean that, with the final breakdown of the antique electrostatic fields, all such phenomena finally vanished.
Like I noted at the beginning of this discourse, everything you see here is basically a theory and not anything which anybody could easily prove. That being said, the most expansive and liberal interpretation one could make of the things noted above would be as follows:
Communications amongst humans before the flood were telepathic in nature, other than for a small vocabulary of spoken words used by priests for ritualistic purposes. This was enabled by the electrostatic charge near the Earths surface and by the plasma of the antique solar system in general, and involved the use of the right side of the human brain as Julian Jaynes notes. When this system of communication broke down after the flood due to electrostatic collapse, humans were forced to very quickly develop the kinds of speech we use now. There never were super-families of languages; the main language families are unrelated.
This subordination of consciousness to groups and possibly to a planetary mind provided the raw compute power needed for the genetic engineering and re-engineering which we observe in the fossil record.
After the flood and the event described in the story of the tower of Babel, continued attempts to use the human mind and brain as mankind once had led to the disfunctional state of which we read in the main books of the Old Testament and to the gradual breakdown of the "bicameral system" which Julian Jaynes described, until the very capability of using the human mind that way was, in all but the rarest cases, ground out of the human race by a process of attrition.
The words "prophet" and "prophesy" which permeate the later books of the Old Testament are missing in Genesis other than for the one vague reference to Abraham as God's prophet. This is likely because communication with the spirit world was natural and easy prior to the flood and no such contrivance as prophecy was needed.
The clear references in antique literature (e.g. Plato's "Statesman") to humans being able to communicate with animals prior to the flood indicate that telepathic communications were not limited to humans. Other animals today can deal with human speech only with great difficulty.
Naturally, the evolutionist who is left with the question as to how such an immensely complex capability could feasibly evolve, is FUBAR. But then, we KNEW that all along.
Other telepathy/paranormal links:
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