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"The recognition of our high cosmic mission . . ." -- Alvin Boyd Kuhn on evolution

In the past, this blog has tackled aspects of the creation vs evolution debate, and explored some of the major problems with the Darwinian mechanism of evolution which (in its various permutations) is by far the predominant evolutionary mechanism accepted by conventional academia, and which is taught as if it is proven fact by its defenders.

Among the previous posts which have ventured into this hotly contested and battled-scarred landscape are:
Some of those posts discuss the fact that there have been very serious proponents of evolution who have rejected the Darwinian mechanism as simply the wrong mechanism.  Among these were eminent botanist J. C. Willis who noted that the abundant evidence in botany poses irreconcilable problems for the Darwinian hypothesis, and who proposed a completely different mechanism of evolution which he called "Differentiation," and which proposed that some force caused very large new mutations or differentiations which diverged tremendously from previous forms, and which then went on to branch out into various sub-species and sub-genera, without the extinction of the parent that began the "family" (almost a complete inversion of the Darwinian mechanism).  

Others of those posts, such as those discussing the work and research of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, who also believes in evolution but by a mechanism different from the conventional Darwinian mechanism, have noted that evidence of "psi" phenomena and other "paranormal" activity pose some serious difficulties for the Darwinian model as well.  Posts which discuss this aspect of human existence, and the evidence for consciousness that can survive the death of the body (something Darwinian evolution would not predict and which most conventional defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy would vehemently deny) include:
All of this "review" is pertinent, because today we will very briefly examine another theory put forward by someone who believed in evolution, but again by a very different mechanism than that propounded by almost any of the modern Darwinists.  Moreover, it is a theory which seems to be able to incorporate the evidence for psychic, paranormal, and afterlife experiences discussed in the posts found in the second group of links, as well as having some points of harmony with the evidence discussed by J. C. Willis and his "Differentiation" theory, as well as some of the other evidence discussed in the posts from the first group of links.

In his 1940 text Lost Light: An Interpretation of Ancient Scriptures, Alvin Boyd Kuhn makes this assertion, speaking of the ancient religion of the Egyptians and of many other ancient cultures:
It was designed to prevent the utter loss of purpose and failure of effort in the cosmical task to which man, as a celestial intelligent spirit, had pledged himself under the Old Testament covenant and "the broad oaths fast sealed" of Greek theology.  In coming to earth to help turn the tide of evolution past one of its most critical passages, he bound himself to do the work and return without sinking into the mire of animal sensuality.  We must henceforth approach religion with the realization that it is the psychic instrumentality designed for the use of humanity in charting its way through the shoals of the particular [. . .] evolutionary crisis in which it was involved.  91.
In these few sentences is contained a radical and revolutionary proposition: that evolution in the physical species is guided along by the incarnation of "celestial intelligent spirit" -- that we are spirits inhabiting human bodies as part of the task of helping evolution.  

In other words, Kuhn is here articulating his theory that the ancient sacred texts all dealt with the incarnation of spirit in matter (something discussed in this previous post), and that in fact they taught the doctrine of multiple reincarnations (evidence for reincarnation is discussed extensively in Chris Carter's Science and the Afterlife Experience, among other books).  One very interesting aspect of Kuhn's discussion of the idea of incarnation and reincarnation is his view of its purpose: he asserts in the passage above that the purpose of incarnation is to move evolution forward.*

In the passage above, he hints at the difficulty of this task.  One of the dangers of the business of incarnating, is that the spirit would become entangled in the snares inherent in the physical world, "sinking into the mire of animal sensuality."  For this reason (among others), Kuhn argues that the ancient wisdom was designed to remind us of our origin "as a celestial intelligent spirit," so we would not forget where we came from and why we are here. 

However, because of what Kuhn saw as a horrendous loss of the true light of the ancient scriptures, he believed that this vitally important mission is in grave jeopardy.  He writes:
All the stupendous knowledge relating to the entire cosmic chapter was once available, given by the gods to the sages.  We have nearly lost it beyond all recovery because the ignorance of an early age closed the Academies and crushed every attempt to revive the teaching.  [. . .]  We must work again to the recognition of our high cosmic mission, and revivify the decadent forms of a once potent religious practique, based knowledge.  For spiritual cultism was once vitally related to our evolutionary security, which stands jeopardized by present religious desuetude.  91.
Every reader must of course decide for himself or herself where to come down on this important subject.  The question, however, is far from settled, despite what some would have you believe.  There are many strident voices which would attempt to drown out any further examination of the subject of creation vs evolution, and would use all kinds of ridicule, ostracism, marginalization, and other forms of pressure to cause people to simply accept that evolution is the only possible answer, and that within the camp of evolution only certain strictly-materialistic forms of Darwinism may ever be discussed.  

If Alvin Boyd Kuhn is even partially right, the dangers of this kind of close-minded thinking may be enormous, and the damage that it is doing may be most grievous.  

We should encourage those around us to be unafraid in diving into this field, and not simply abandon it to those who would try to silence all opposition (and who, by their rigid intolerance, may be doing "evolution" in the sense that Kuhn is talking about a tremendous disservice).  Most importantly, each of us individually should be unafraid to examine openly all the possibilities.


* And, for the record, I personally do not believe that by "moving evolution forward" Kuhn was talking about the "transhumanist" idea of physically modifying the human body (or even human mind-body) using implantable or bio-electronic biometric silicon-based microchips which appear to be well suited for surveillance, enslavement, and the massive restriction of higher consciousness whatever else they may be good for.  Kuhn talks extensively about the "fourfold soul," the "sevenfold soul," and other subjects which lead one to conclude that the advancement he was talking about was not based upon some form of biological enhancement.

Incredible new spider with an absolutely astonishing skill

Here's a link to a recently-released video which, if it is confirmed, is pretty incredible.  It shows the actual footage in the rainforest at night of the discovery of a new spider, and one with an amazing talent. 

The discovery of this new spider and its incredible sculpting ability was reported last month in Wired magazine, in an article entitled "Spider That Builds Its Own Spider Decoys Discovered."  That article describes how this tiny spider, believed to be a member of the species Cyclosa, uses leaves, debris and bits of dead insects to fashion a much larger spider-shaped "sculpture" in the middle of its web.  As the video above shows, the image crafted by these spiders actually has the correct number of spider-legs, and the tiny builders even go so far as to give their artistic creations distinguishable abdomen and cephalothorax body sections.

But that's not all: the tiny spider artists will then pluck the strands of the web in order to cause their creation to jiggle and dance as if alive.  More information on the discovery of this tiny (5mm) spider in the Peruvian Amazon can be found on the blog of Phil Torres, a biologist and one of the discoverers in the video.

This behavior is completely astounding.  

Although biologists are already speculating that the spiders build these incredible decoys as a defensive measure, perhaps to scare off or divert predators, they really do not know yet what these spiders are really up to. While some may attribute this incredible "effigy-building" ability to natural selection, and call it an "adaptation" (implying that some web-building spiders who could not create self-portraits existed in some long-distant past, and then they "adapted" their web-building to include the construction of large spider sculptures in the middle of their webs), this discovery may one day come to rank as one of the most challenging pieces of evidence in the natural world for the theory of natural selection, if examined impartially.

Is it really plausible to argue that the existence of spiders building accurate spider-effigies in the middle of their orbs came about by random mutations in the genes of this line of spiders, resulting in spiders which now are born with the ability to gather dead leaves and bits of insect carcasses and bind them together into large spider shapes complete with the correct number of legs and a definable abdomen and cephalothorax?

Are we to believe that the ancestors of these spiders were the ones who built their effigies with eight legs, while the line of genes representing orb-spinners who built sculptures with only five, six, or seven legs (or nine, ten or eleven legs) all died out?  Did some ancient spiders get genetic mutations which caused them to construct effigies depicting elephants or dolphins, but because those shapes were not as effective at scaring off predators, those hapless arachnid artists were eaten before their genes could come down to the present day?

Although the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection is triumphant among conventional academicians today, this does not mean that it is correct.  In fact, previous posts have explored the extensive evidence which suggests that natural selection may be entirely wrong.  While some believe that supernatural creation is the only alternative to acceptance of the Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) theory of natural selection, this is not entirely true (although it is of course one possible alternative).

It is at least as possible to believe that aliens or other advanced beings capable of genetic engineering tampered with these spiders to impart this ability to them (for some reason we can hardly fathom, perhaps just for fun) as it is to believe that natural selection gave them such a trait.  In fact, we have already discussed the fact that genetic engineering by beings with advanced abilities (whether human beings or alien beings) is at least as plausible an explanation for the existence of domesticated animals and grain crops as is the unlikely idea that a bunch of hunter-gatherers selected the right species to try to domesticate and then embarked on a project that would take dozens of generations (at least) of selective breeding (and even dozens of generations of selective breeding probably would not be able to do the trick: does anyone think that humans could simply breed the mighty American bison aka buffalo into something akin to domestic cattle?  It cannot be done that way).

There have also been respected scientists who have believed in some sort of evolution while rejecting the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection, such as botanist J.C. Willis (1868 - 1958).  He pointed out numerous reasons, mainly using his field of botany, that natural selection is an unsatisfactory model for explaining the evidence that we find in nature.  He proposed a very different model of evolution, propelled forward by the general laws of the universe, and speculated that the law which created new species was "probably electrical" (and in doing so, he can be seen to have anticipated the importance of electricity in the universe, the centrality of which is only now beginning to be fully appreciated by cutting-edge research in the field of plasma science and related subjects).

The building of astonishingly accurate effigies by this species of spider in the Peruvian Amazon may also be interpreted as a piece of evidence that seems to support the idea that there is "consciousness" that exists separately from the physical bodies of the beings on this planet (including the human beings) and which "works its way out" through us, much in the way that a radio or television signal can be received or displayed by a radio or a television, even though it is not produced by the radio or the television.

One could argue that these spiders are manifesting "spider consciousness" in a way that has never been seen before, but that might now start popping up in other spiders around the world!  If it does, that would be a powerful piece of evidence supporting Rupert Sheldrake's "morphic resonance" theory.  Even if these Amazonian effigy-builders are the only spiders that ever are observed to build such detailed spider sculptures in their webs, they can still be seen as a piece of evidence which may support the "transmission" or "manifestation" of consciousness theory.

We might also offer the possibility that these spiders are watching one another and learning how to do it, although that doesn't explain where the behavior came from in the first place, and it is also probably quite easy to disprove by isolating a spider from birth and seeing if it builds these types of web designs (it probably will).  There is already plenty of evidence that spiders build the distinctive web of their species by instinct, not by observing the webs of other spiders.

All of these possibilities are certainly worth pursuing.  The only reason they seem to be "on the fringe" is that the establishment has fully bought into the Darwinian theory, and refuses to countenance any alternatives.  This is both unfortunate and unscientific. 

All that discussion aside, the discoverers of this new and incredible spider are to be congratulated, and we should all be grateful that they were so observant while trekking through the Amazon in the dark!

An almost-entirely-positive review of the film Hungry for Change

I recently watched a popular documentary called Hungry for Change, which powerfully presents the evidence that the modern "Western diet" systematically destroys the human body.   This is an argument that has been explored in numerous previous posts on this blog, such as:
Hungry for Change contrasts the beneficial impact on the body of a healthy diet with the superficial and often temporary changes brought about by the usual attempts to counteract the impact of the modern diet.  
It also reveals the fact that the processed foods, often loaded with sugar as filler and more recently with high fructose corn syrup (which is in an astonishingly high percentage of foods and is almost entirely made from genetically-modified corn in the United States, as discussed in this previous post and this previous post), which were introduced into the American diet on a large scale during and after World War II (and from there spread to much of the rest of the world) appear to be almost deliberately engineered to wreak havoc upon the body's systems.  

We have already seen in yet another previous post a detailed discussion of what sugar and corn syrup do to the liver and the systems in the body that feed the cells through the blood stream in this previous post on the work of Dr. Robert Lustig.  Hungry for Change goes beyond that and reveals the extent to which other deleterious substances are inserted into a dizzying array of the foods we find for sale at our local grocery stores, substances such as monosodium glutamate (or MSG), another substance that entered common use in the US as a result of World War II.

While food industry literature declares that MSG has been found to be "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) with only a few minor ill effects on a small percentage of the population that is overly sensitive to the substance, some doctors -- including Dr. Mercola, who is in Hungry for Change as one of the speakers -- argue that MSG may adversely affect the brain and nervous system, as well as the glutamate receptors "found both within your heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself ."

The Hungry for Change video alleges that MSG can be legally included in food under an astonishing fifty different names, which implies that most consumers are not even aware when a food product they are purchasing or consuming contains MSG.  This website provides a comprehensive list of ingredients that always contain the free glutamic acid that is one of the main distinguishing components of MSG, ingredients with innocuous-sounding names such as: "yeast extract," "yeast food," "yeast nutrient," "autolyzed yeast," "textured protein," "soy protein," "whey protein," "gelatin," and others.

It lists many other ingredient names which often contain free glutamic acid, including "carageenan," "maltodextrin," "pectin," and "malt extract."

Information like this is enough to make the movie worthwhile, but it touches on many other important subjects as well.  It can currently be watched via "watch instantly" (streaming) on Netflix, as well as rented from a variety of outlets or purchased from the Hungry for Change website.  

But, what does a blog concerned with the evidence for ancient civilizations have to do with a movie such as Hungry for Change, however interesting and informative and even potentially life-saving such a movie might be?  Well, if you followed any of the links above to previous posts on the subject of "diet and food," you will notice that I believe that erroneous theories can be very dangerous, and that many people mistakenly believe we are living in a "modern, scientific era" in which our level of knowledge about many important subjects is at a level that has far surpassed anything that the human race knew in the past.

Many people unquestioningly accept the fundamental paradigms that authority figures such as doctors or university professors declare with such confidence, and that our peers tell us that "everyone knows" or "everyone believes."  These paradigms include the diet paradigm, but they also include paradigms about geology (the current conventional paradigm is plate tectonics, which is almost certainly incorrect), paradigms about biology (including the almost certainly incorrect Darwinian paradigm), and paradigms about ancient human history (that mankind evolved from millennia as primitive hunter-gatherers, and in short order began creating enormous pyramids using seventy-ton blocks positioned hundreds of feet above ground level and aligned with incredible accuracy to the cardinal directions north, south, east and west).

Just as Hungry for Change shows that the conventional "modern western diet" paradigm is shockingly hazardous to our health, I believe that the other incorrect paradigms mentioned above are just as potentially unhealthy and dangerous.  In fact, my major criticism of Hungry for Change is that it overwhelmingly portrays the modern dietary disaster as a product of our supposed "hunter-gatherer instincts" all run amok in a modern wonderland of plenty!  The various experts interviewed in the documentary -- all of whom make excellent points and provide valuable insights, except when they start talking about the ancient history of the human race -- universally take this tack.  For example, beginning at about the four-minute mark in the film (in fact, at 4:06), five different quotations are presented to the viewer in machine-gun fashion, hammering home this view of ancient history and our primitive past as the cause of our modern diet dilemma:
speaker one: All through our history, as a species, the big challenge is to find calories.  And so, our bodies are biologically adapted to this, we seek calorie sources.  When I say that, I particularly -- what I’m talking about are fats, and sugars.   If we taste something fatty or something sweet, we get an immediate signal saying "Yes!  I want more of this!" because, for our hunter-gatherer ancestors – and that goes right up to a few hundred years ago – anywhere they could find fat or sugar meant survival for those people.  It meant carrying forth their genetics.

speaker two:  It’s not your fault – this is how we are as mammals.  I mean we’ve lived on the earth for millennia where there was a food shortage – you’re programmed to put on fat whenever there is food available.  But now, there’s a lot of food available, but it’s the wrong kind.  And so we’ve been programmed for millennia to store up for the winter, but the winter doesn’t come.

speaker three:  Thousands of years ago when we lived outdoors and we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from, if there was a famine because it was a cold winter, or whatever reason, your body is going to want to hold extra weight to protect you from that.  And a famine is a stress, and if you go through that stress, your body's going to say, "We need an extra ten pounds, to protect us against famines.”

speaker one again:  But, one of the really interesting things about hunter-gatherer people, a people who do a very moderate amount of agriculture – we could call them hunter-gatherer-gardiners – what we see in those people is that they have an extremely high amount of nutrition and an extremely low amount of calories in their food, compared to people in modern civilization which have a very high amount of calories and a very low amount of nutrition available to them.  Today we have a so many calorie sources, but we still have the same signal.  So somebody bites into a burger or they take a sip off a milkshake, and they get those fats and those sugars, and their body says "Yes, more!" because it’s used to behaving in an environment where there’s feast and there’s famine.  The problem is, we’ve got feast like it’s nobody’s business – we just don’t have any famine.

This is troubling on a couple of levels.  First, notice that the final speaker just said, essentially, that "The problem is [. . .] we just don't have any famine," as if famines are somehow a good thing (this is false).  Speaker two seems to imply the same general line of thinking.

More troubling is the idea that civilization and the benefits it provides are the problem.  This is also false.  In fact, it can be demonstrated with ample evidence that the ancients -- going all the way back to ancient Egypt -- had excellent knowledge of the best diet for the human being, and wrote about it in the teachings of the great philosophers, for example (many of the previous blog posts cited above discuss this fact).  

In fact, this previous post on the Essenes and their studious avoidance of the expression of anger also touches on the ancient writings that suggest that the Essenes and other communities of philosophers understood not only the importance of healthy eating but also the importance of healthy breathing and of getting access to healthy air, and understood it to a degree no longer widely understood or taught in the "modern western world." 

Santos Bonacci, whose incredible and prolific teaching about the ancient Hermetic wisdom is available in numerous videos on the internet and whose astrotheology was discussed in this previous post, has discussed numerous aspects of diet known by the ancient Hermeticists or Hermetists which, if followed, would accord perfectly with most of the recommendations given by the experts in the Hungry for Change video, and in fact which go well beyond them because in addition to having a physical component for human health those ancient teachings added the spiritual component relating to consciousness and the chakra system and the fact that as human being we are composed of energy as well as matter.

The presence of such knowledge stretching all the way back to the beginnings of the most ancient Egyptian dynasties (and beyond it, as demonstrated by the research and analysis of John Anthony West and others) pretty much upends the argument that our "modern western diet" problem, and all its attendant ills including obesity and diabetes and the rest, are the result of a bunch of former hunter-gatherers who still haven't gotten the hang of this civilization thing.

It might be more appropriate to ask whether the problem isn't the end result of an abandonment of the ancient wisdom those philosophers seemed to know thousands of years ago.

Finally, any discussion of the transition of mankind from primitive hunter-gatherers (or "hunter-gatherer-gardiners," as one of the speakers in the film talks about) to agricultural civilizations of any sort (let alone high civilizations like ancient Egypt) almost always overlook the incredible problems with the idea that mankind somehow tamed herd animals such as the wild bovines or bred existing wild grains into domestic grains while they were continuing their hunter-gatherer lifestyles.  As this previous post discusses, that transition needs much more than the "hand-wave" explanation that it usually gets.

It is at least as likely that mankind started out with "millennia of advanced civilization," civilizations which sometimes destroyed one another and ended up as hunter-gatherers, than it is to assume that the hunter-gatherers came first and then figured out how to breed wild aurochs into cows and wild grasses into useful cereal grains.

However, setting this glaring historical failure aside (which we can hardly hold against the speakers in the video, since they have no doubt been indoctrinated like the rest of us to believe in these historical paradigms since childhood), Hungry for Change is an excellent video on food and health, and an excellent expose of the dangers of uncritically following a false paradigm.

John Anthony West on the meaning of human existence

Many previous posts have discussed various aspects of John Anthony West's vitally important book,  Serpent in the Sky, which builds on the incredible work of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz and on Schwaller's observation that the Sphinx showed signs of rainfall erosion -- indicating the incredible antiquity of its construction and completely undermining the conventional historical paradigm.  Some of those previous posts include "Mild but persistent torture,"  "The Pythagorean '3' in Egypt and Lao Tzu," and "The high science of ancient Egypt," among many others.

Above is a YouTube clip containing a 2008 program with John Anthony West on Red Ice Radio, in which he is interviewed by the remarkable Henrik Palmgren, and in which he explains in his own words many of the concepts underlying his work.  Listening to Mr. West's explanation in his own voice provides an excellent complement to reading his Serpent in the Sky text, and enables the listener to pick up on the central idea that animates and connects all the wide-ranging topics covered in the book.

That central idea, I believe, is put forward beginning at about 8:45 in the above video, in which Mr. West says:
And the doctrines are all basically the same -- I mean they take it as a premise, as a given, that we human beings are not accidental glitches in an accidental universe, but that rather we have a specific role to play, which is the acquisition of a level of consciousness that we are not born with, but that we have the potential to reach, and this is what in Egypt is called the "Doctrine of Immortality" and what in other civilizations is called Samadhi or Nirvana or whatever -- I mean, different names for it -- but basically it's the same doctrine: that we're here for a reason, and that if we don't pursue that path, then we do so at our peril.
Later in the interview, he points to Darwinism as the doctrine that leads to the opposite of this ancient belief, in that it teaches that there is not real purpose to human existence, and can thus lead to a pursuit of materialism and a neglect of the true goal of human existence, the acquisition of consciousness.

Thus, Mr. West argues that ancient Egypt is so important because its temples and monuments and art and hieroglyphs reveal a culture which was completely and single-mindedly focused on the acquisition of higher consciousness.  Even its common laborers, he argues, were immersed in the art of taking one material and bringing it to a higher level -- the essence of alchemy.

Further, he argues that Egypt is important because the demonstrably advanced level of its knowledge in its very earliest stages upends the typical anthropological timeline of the arrival of mankind that has been enforced in academia since Darwin.  The advanced knowledge inherent in some of the monuments of the earliest dynasties is enough to upend this conventional paradigm, but when the evidence for the far greater antiquity of the Sphinx is taken into account, the conventional framework must tumble down.

Thus ancient Egypt is also crucially important by virtue of its ability to defy the modern Darwin-based anthropological paradigm -- the materialist paradigm which has been used for over a hundred years to oppose the pursuit of "the acquisition of consciousness" that Mr. West describes in the quotation above.

This battle between the forces which oppose human consciousness (accidentally or deliberately, it does not much matter) and the imperative of every human being to pursue that "level of consciousness that we are not born with, but that we have the potential to reach" is the central theme of the above interview, I believe, and the central theme of John Anthony West's excellent and eye-opening book.

The entire interview is well worth studying, and can be downloaded for listening on a mobile device by members of the Red Ice Creations website (membership enables access to archived interviews, and to the second hour of all interviews as well -- from the Red Ice website these interviews can be downloaded to iTunes etc. for transfer to a portable music device).

Also, listening to this interview should make you want to participate in one of John Anthony West's actual tours of the sacred sites of Egypt itself, which he memorably describes in the interview as being something that cannot be appreciated merely by reading or seeing photographs or movies, but only in person, where the sacred and harmonic proportions of the monuments resonate with the cosmic proportions that manifest themselves in the human body.  Mr. West is leading another tour that departs New York City for Egypt on March 20, 2013 -- details can be found here on his website.

Of course, we can all pray that the violence currently wracking the country will have subsided by then, and that it does not escalate before it subsides.

Jellyfish fossils and the hydroplate theory

Here's an image of something quite astonishing: the fossilized remains of a jellyfish, preserved in fine-grained sedimentary rock in Utah, in the southwest of the United States.  

It is one of a number of exceptionally well-preserved fossil jellyfish which display trailing tentacles, radial muscles, subumbrellar and exumbrellar surfaces, and even possibly gonads -- enough soft-tissue features to definitively categorize them as jellyfish fossils.  

There have been other instances of extensive preservation of numerous jellyfish fossils, such as the amazing discovery of numerous large jellyfish imprints (or "trace fossils") in Wisconsin, but those fossils were found in sedimentary rock created from much coarser sand, and thus they do not preserve the same exquisitely-preserved features of the more-recent Utah find.  Some skeptical paleontologists have even speculated that the Wisconsin jellyfish impressions could have been made by something other than jellyfish (see this article about the Wisconsin jellyfish fossils for some discussion).

These particular jellyfish fossils found in Utah were first described in a peer-reviewed article published in PLOS One in October, 2007, written by scientists Paulyn Cartwright, Susan L. Halgedahl, Jonathan R. Hendricks, Richard D. Jarrard, Antonio C. Marques, Allen G. Collins, and Bruce S. Lieberman and entitled "Exceptionally Preserved Jellyfishes from the Middle Cambrian."  It makes for fascinating reading.

The authors believe, based on widely-held assumptions about the formation mechanisms that created the stratigraphic layers of sedimentary rock on our planet, that these jellyfish are between 501 million and 507 million years old, and date them to about 505 million years ago.

We have already discussed in several past blog posts, such as this one, the possibility that these widely-held assumptions about the strata may be incorrect.  According to hydroplate theory originator and author Dr. Walt Brown, the strata were created over a relatively short period of time, during a world-wide flood event, in which a known process called liquefaction would have sorted the sediments into the layers we see today.  Dr. Brown provides extensive geological evidence from around the globe to support this alternative explanation for the layered strata.  

In fact, the existence of jellyfish fossils such as these Utah fossils and those found in Wisconsin provides powerful supporting evidence for Dr. Brown's theory -- and they are quite difficult to explain under conventional theories.

It should be fairly obvious with a little reflection that creating a jellyfish fossil would require some unusual circumstances.  Jellyfish that die today do not normally turn into fossils -- they are usually eaten by marine scavengers if at sea, and by shorebirds or crabs and other shore scavengers if washed up on shore.  

Those trying to explain the formation of jellyfish fossils from long ago often propose that the fact that they were not eaten by scavengers shows that these jellyfish must have evolved before any scavengers existed.  However, even if a jellyfish dies and is not devoured by relatively large scavengers, microbial decay would generally be expected to reduce them to particles long before the sand could turn into sandstone around their carcass.  In order for fossils of any sort to be preserved, they usually must be smothered somehow in thick wet mud that seals out bacteria, and even then the soft tissues are generally not preserved but only the bones. 

For more discussion on the origin of fossils, and on the few scenarios in which some soft tissues of animals such as dinosaurs have in fact been preserved, see this previous post entitled "The origin of fossils" and this previous post entitled "Soft tissue in T.Rex fossils."

The problem with such scenarios for the preservation of jellyfish, however, is the fact that jellyfish are very soft and delicate, and even if buried rapidly under tons of wet sediments (to preserve them from bacteria) they might not be expected to leave much of a trace.  Even the famous Burgess Shale, which contains fossils of worms and of soft tissues from segmented arthropods and molluscs, does not seem to preserve many jellies, if any.

Thus, for jellyfish to be preserved at all, those who hold to the conventional non-catastrophic theories of geology must posit extremely unusual circumstances including "anoxic conditions" (proposed in the article discussing the Utah jellyfish) and mass strandings of jellyfish on shallow shorelines, followed by rapid burial (proposed by paleontologists discussing the Wisconsin jellyfish fossils and quoted in this article). 

Incredibly, the Wisconsin sandstone containing the numerous jellyfish fossils (some of which are two and even three feet in diameter) has multiple layers of sandstone containing other jellyfish fossils -- at least six different layers!  According to the conventional theory, then, these amazingly unique conditions for preserving jellies took place numerous times in the exact same spot, so many thousands or millions of years apart that the fossils were preserved in successive layers in the sedimentary stack!  

"It's a spectacular find," says one paleontologist quoted in the article linked above, and that article's author continues: "More so, he adds, because the hapless jellies are found in several different layers of fossilized beach. 'It's not just a one-off event, it happened at least six times.'"

The exact mechanism by which these ideal conditions preserved the jellyfish are not precisely described, either.  We are left with a kind of vague "hand-wave" and the assurance that the right conditions would preserve a jellyfish for millions of years in stone.  This type of vague but confident description is not unusual or uncommon when describing hard-to-explain marine fossils (I remarked on it in the post entitled "Crinoids on Mount Everest?" here as well).

While it is possible that such ideal conditions somehow cropped up once, it is difficult to believe that they did so over and over again.  In light of this improbability, it would certainly seem to be advisable to seek a better explanation, and Dr. Brown supplies one in his book, which is available to study online in its entirety for free at this location (hardbound versions can be ordered from the same site).  

In this page of his book discussing the principles of liquefaction, and the way that liquefaction would have created sedimentary layers during a catastrophic global flood, Dr. Brown explains how the formation of these layers of jellyfish fossils could have been created:
Multiple liquefaction lenses, vertically aligned during the last liquefaction cycle, trapped delicate animals such as jellyfish and preserved them, as the roof of each water lens gently settled onto its floor.  [See section 8 on the page indicated].
Dr. Brown gives more detail about these "water lenses" and how they are supported by geological evidence and are consistent with the principles of liquefaction and physics on this page of his book.  A previous post discussed this aspect of Dr. Brown's theory in light of the fossil record at the so-called "Dinosaur Dance-Floors" which have been found in sites in both North and South America.

Dr. Brown's theory would also help to explain another aspect of the mysterious jellyfish fossils which is not mentioned as a "problem" in any of the conventional articles about jellyfish, and that is the fact that these jellyfish -- supposed to have perished over 500 million years ago -- are almost identical to modern jellyfish.  In fact, the authors of the paper about the jellyfish in Utah note that the features of the fossil jellyfish pictured above suggest that it may be a narcomedusa.  A modern narcomedusa is pictured below.

They do not go so far as to definitively categorize the fossils as belonging to a specific taxon of jellyfish, saying:
Still, even with the level of detail preserved, we hesitate to definitively assign any of these fossils to a specific taxon because taphonomic factors can conspire to make particular features of specimens difficult to interpret and even modern jellyfish possess few diagnostic features. We do, however, discuss distinctive features exhibited by these specimens that indicate they share affinities with certain modern cnidarian clades.
They do point out strong similarities to modern narcomedusae and to modern box jellies.  

The lack of transformation of these jellyfish over a period of many hundreds of millions of years would seem to be somewhat problematic for conventional theories, and particularly for supporters of Darwinian evolution.  However, if the fossils were created all at once during a catastrophic flood event, then it is no longer necessary to maintain that they were created five hundred million years ago and that jellyfish have stubbornly refused to change over the intervening millenia (even as dinosaurs supposedly evolved out of some predecessor species and then evolved into birds or something else in the interim).  

Thus Dr. Brown's theory solves that difficulty of explaining these jellyfish fossils, just as it solves the problem of having to posit incredibly rare (and vaguely understood) conditions arising over and over to preserve jellyfish in successive layers of sediments over long periods of time in the same location in Wisconsin (and then again in Utah). 

Of course, any theory which undermines Darwinism will be vigorously resisted by conventional academia.  Thus we can expect that the sensible and precisely-described mechanism Dr. Brown offers for the creation of jellyfish fossils will be ignored by most paleontologists, who will instead offer speculative, vaguely-described, and highly-improbable scenarios (with great confidence and certainty).  This is regrettable, because the presence of these jellyfish fossils seems to invite reconsideration of the conventional theories, and should certainly undermine the easy confidence with which ancient fossil-forming mechanisms are often described.

It is important that the general public be made aware of the amazing discovery of thousands of jellyfish fossils in recent years.  These fossils would appear to be yet another strong piece of evidence which supports the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.

The Lesula

Yesterday in the journal PLOS ONE -- part of the Public Library of Science, a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization dedicated to open access sharing of information that can help spread knowledge  to raise awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity and treating overlooked diseases -- a team of biologists comprised of John A. Hart, Kate M. Detwiler, Christopher C. Gilbert, Andrew S. Burrell, James L. Fuller, Maurice Emetshu, Terese B. Hart, Ashley Vosper, Eric J. Sargis, and Anthony J. Tosi published a stunning article that has captured the hearts and imagination of all who have seen it (or the photographs contained in it).

The study, entitled "Lesula: A New Species of Cercopithecus Monkey Endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Implications for Conservation of Congo's Central Basin," details the discovery of a new species of guenon, a genus of monkey found in sub-Saharan Africa designated Cercopithecus by Linnaeus (a Latinized word composed of two Greek roots, cerco- [from Greek kerkos] meaning "tail" and -pithecus [from Greek pithekos] meaning "monkey," hence: "tailed monkey").  The genus Cercopithecus is extremely speciated (it is a genus with a huge number of different species) -- "the most speciose clade of extant African primates," according to the report.  The piece reports the discovery of a distinctive species of Cercopithecus living in the remote Lomami Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo and then presents arguments for ruling that it forms its own species, distinct from another guenon found nearby and designated Cercopithecus hamlyni.  The new species is known in the local vernacular as the lesula, and has been designated Cercopithecus lomamiensis, after the river that dominates the region in which it is found.

The entire article can be found online at the link above, and it makes for fascinating reading as the authors explain the features of C. lomamiensis that argue for its designation as a separate species.  The article provides touching stories of the first scientific discovery of a lesula -- a captive juvenile female which was being raised  by the director of a primary school in Opala, DRC (near the banks of the Lomami River):
The scientific discovery of Cercopithecus lomamiensis was made in June 2007 when field teams saw a captive juvenile female of an unknown species at the residence of the primary school director in the town of Opala (S 0.50721°, E 24.22713°). The school director identified the animal as a “lesula” a vernacular name we had not recorded before, and said that it is well known by local hunters. He reported that he acquired the infant about two months earlier from a family member who had killed its mother in the forest near Yawende, south of Opala and west of the Lomami River (S 0.99772°, E 24.29810°). We took photographs of the animal and made arrangements for its care. We observed and photographed this animal regularly over the next 18 months.
But what really seems to capture the imagination of those who have commented on the various news stories that have reported on this important discovery are the photographs of the lesula monkeys included in the report, particularly their expressive eyes and haunting facial features. Their wistful eyes seem to provide evidence to support the theory that spiritual consciousness inhabits the different beings (animals and plants etc) and takes on different shapes depending on the "shape" or features characteristic to their different forms.  See for example the discussion in Schwaller de Lubicz's Esoterism & Symbol, chapter 13:
Innate consciousness is inscribed in matter and is subject to all its transformations, birth and death, while preserving its essential characteristics, which are transmitted. [. . .]

Let us take an example from the following illustration.  Directly or indirectly, solar radiation is what makes the plant.  This radiation makes a pine tree or an ear of wheat.  The radiation is impartial and universal, but through the seed it is specified as pine tree or wheat.  

From this moment on, it is characterized by the particular innate consciousness of one of these plants.  

When this same radiation returns to its source, after passing through its material form, it bears this innate consciousness.  53.
Or again, the passage from Ross Hamilton cited in this previous post, in which he says of the human consciousness:  "In the body, however, the spiritual currents of the little soul become plastic in order to fit the mold of the human being by way of the nerve fibers" (26).  

Looking into the faces of the lesula monkeys found in the recently-published report, it is hard to deny the possibility that these "spiritual currents" might "mold themselves" into the different nerve fibers and brain matter of the other animals that inhabit this planet with us, projecting their consciousness in a way that is necessarily different from ours (since their nervous systems and brains are different in shape and "wiring"), but also in a way that is akin to ours (one can get the same feeling when gazing into the eyes of a well-known pet dog or cat).

Beyond that, the discovery of this new and amazing species of monkey demonstrates that -- even in this modern decade, at a time when most people might think that every species that can be discovered has been discovered, at least for the larger and more obvious animals such as monkeys -- there are creatures in this world that have yet to be brought to the attention of biologists.  

Just yesterday, in a blog post about the discovery of a species of (presumably extinct) ancient lobe-finned fish designated Laccognathus embryi, reference was made to the coelacanth, a type of lobe-finned fish long declared to have become extinct about 70 million years ago, but which astonished scientists by swimming into a fisherman's net in 1938 (numerous other living specimens have been found in the decades since).  Those who confidently assert that nothing of this sort will ever be discovered again should realize the need to be more cautious in making such pronouncements, when they observe new species such as C. lomamiensis (the lesula) being discovered for the first time, in our very own twenty-first century.

Further, the extremely high speciation of Cercopithecus monkeys -- between 23 and 36 species, according to The Guenons: Diversity and Taxonomy in African Monkeys, by Mary E. Glenn and Marina Cords (2003), with 55 subspecies as of that publication's date (see page 10) -- should remind longtime readers of this blog of the arguments of the eminent 20th-century botanist J. C. Willis, who believed in evolution but argued that Darwin's proposed mechanism was incorrect and that the distribution of speciation within a genus was powerful evidence for a very different mechanism.

Dr. Willis argued that Darwin's theory, in which species slowly changed through mutations and that the new and more successful variations survived (due to natural selection) while the previous and less successful variations died out, was wrong.  He argued that what we find in nature is the evidence of an entirely new genus arising by some force (possibly mutations of a much less gradual type than those proposed by Darwin), which then begins to branch out into a wide variety of species, some very closely related to one another and barely distinguishable.  

If one takes the time to read the careful and extensive arguments of Dr. Willis on this subject (found for instance on pages 65 to 73 of his 1940 text The Course of Evolution by Differentiation or Divergent Mutation rather than by Selection), one might conclude that the diversity and taxonomy of Cercopithicus -- and the new arguments that C. lomamiensis represents a new species, distinct from its "nearest cogenor and sister species, Cercopithecus hamlyni" seem to support the arguments of Willis and not those of Darwin.

Clearly, the discovery of the lesula is an extremely important and significant event in the annals of science, and one fraught with ramifications for our understanding of the world we live in.

If you are moved by these amazing and shy fellow denizens of our planet, and want to learn more about them, be sure to read the entire report linked above, and in particular be sure to listen to the audio files in which their amazing "booms" are recorded (the males apparently issue these echoing calls around dawn each day).  You may even want to change your telephone's ringer to a lesula boom!

We should all be grateful to the work of the authors of this study, and do what we can to protect and preserve these amazing newly-discovered primates.

The importance of reading the Pyramid Texts (death and rebirth -- during life -- in ancient Egypt)

In the previous post, we saw that Jeremy Naydler's revolutionary thesis in his 2005 publication Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt asserts that much of the language interpreted by conventional Egyptology as describing the journey of the soul after death should actually be understood to describe the shamanic journey of the consciousness while still alive, undertaken during a deliberate ritual in which the participant symbolically died and experienced realities beyond the ordinary material realm.

That post discussed the fact that such a thesis completely upends the conventional paradigm, and also threatens the Darwinian "cult of progress" which undergirds so much of modern academia and has for the past century or more.  It also noted that the shamanic connections that Dr. Naydler finds in the ancient Pyramid Texts which he believes are describing this mystical initiatory experience correspond to assertions made by de Santillana and von Dechend in their seminal 1969 examination of the evidence that ancient mythology preserves and transmits advanced and sophisticated scientific and esoteric knowledge, entitled Hamlet's Mill: an essay on myth and the frame of time (for previous posts on Hamlet's Mill see here and here).

Dr. Naydler's book provides readers with a detailed tour of the texts in the Pyramid of Unas, who reigned from 2375 BC through 2345 BC, and whose pyramid not only contains the first and oldest known collection of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts inscribed on the inner walls of a pyramid, but also the best preserved corpus of texts.  As Dr. Naydler explains:
Of the nine pyramids at Saqqara, four are so badly damaged that whole sections of text are missing from certain walls.  These four are the pyramids of Teti, Pepi I, Merenre, and Iby.  The pyramids of the three queens of Pepi II are also not in the best state of preservation, and they suffer, along with that of Iby, from the added disadvantage of being single-chamber pyramids and therefore lacking an inscribed antechamber.  Their texts are thus not as representative as the other pyramids, which all have antechamber texts.  this leaves the greatest body of extant texts in the pyramid of Unas and the pyramid of Pepi II.  Pepi II's pyramid is the largest and has by far the most utterances on its walls.  But it has also sustained some damage, so the texts of this pyramid are incomplete.  One might think that this is more than made up for by the greater amount of texts.  The impression one gets, however, is that Pepi somewhat indiscriminately crammed as many texts as possible into his pyramid, often overriding earlier conventions as to the placement of utterances on walls oriented to one or another of the cardinal directions.
We are left, then, with the pyramid of Unas, which is not only the best preserved but also the one pyramid for which we have a complete set of utterances. 152-153.
Fortunately for those of us born at a time that enables us to see a tremendous amount of information via the web that was more difficult to find in previous decades and centuries, the entire corpus of texts from the pyramid of Unas is available online at  sites such as Vincent Brown's outstanding Pyramid Texts Online.  Here, visitors can read the utterances of the pyramid of Unas as they were intended to be read -- as a sort of "three-dimensional book" in which the location of various utterances is extremely significant (as Dr. Naydler explains: "Unlike a modern printed book that can be more or less read anywhere on the planet, the Pyramid Texts are wedded both to the chambers and to the walls on which they are inscribed.  A north-wall sarcophagus-chamber text could not be transposed to the east wall of the antechamber without losing a whole dimension of significance" [165]).

Visitors can see a diagram of the layout of the chambers in the interior of the pyramid, and click on the different walls of the chambers to read the utterances that are found in each area.  As one goes through the pyramid of Unas, the text of Dr. Naydler is an essential guide, and his book contains excellent 3-D representations of the chambers as well as diagrams of each wall showing the partitioning of various utterances and their locations on each wall.  However, the Pyramid Texts Online site is also an essential supplement to Dr. Naydler's book, as it allows readers to peruse every single utterance in its entirety.

Further, the online tour of the pyramid of Unas contains viewable photographic plates of each inscribed surface of the interior chambers, allowing visitors to see the hieroglyphs themselves in full color -- Dr. Naydler describes the first view the visitor to the actual temple has of the texts themselves: 
At the end of the corridor, the first chamber of the pyramid to be entered is the antechamber.  The antechamber is right at the center of the pyramid.  The exact center of the pyramid is the center point of the antechamber ceiling.  Here it is possible to stand up, and to have the experience of being encompassed on all sides by the blue-tinted hieroglyphs, which seem almost tangibly to emanate a magical power and to saturate the chamber with a mysterious potency. 160-161.
The Pyramid Texts Online site enables the viewer to see a glimpse of this magical blue color of these earliest extant human texts.  The hieroglyphs themselves are beautiful -- a writing system that is a masterpiece of design.  As John Anthony West explains in his groundbreaking 1979 work, Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt :
The hieroglphyic system was complete at the time of the earliest dynasties of Egypt.  It continued in use for sacred and religious texts throughout the millennia of Egyptian history, and even beyond: the last recorded discovered hieroglyphs come from the island of Philae, just below the first Nile cataract, and date from the fourth century AD.  147.
Describing hieroglyphs carved into wood from the tomb of Hesire, vizier to the Third Dynasty pharaoh Zoser at Seqqara, he says: 
The hieroglyphs are already complete,and later Egypt will never succeed in carving them with more power or purity.  Still earlier hieroglyphs are no less complete, but in general less well executed.  nothing supports a postulated 'period of development.'  But it is possible that guardians of the ancient tradition required a number of generations in which to bring artists and artisans up to this standard.  14.
The beauty of the hieroglyphs in the Pyramid Texts of Unas is undeniable, and some measure of this beauty can be appreciated through the color photographic plates of the online site. 

Reading the texts of the pyramid of Unas online in their entirety helps one to grasp the power of Dr. Naydler's argument that these utterances describe a mystical experience undergone by the king during his life -- most likely during the very important Sed festival which was traditionally held during the thirtieth year of the reign of a pharaoh but which Dr. Naydler demonstrates could be held before that and could be held multiple times (it was not limited to once every thirty years).  For the celestial significance of the thirty-year cycle, see this previous post (among others).

For an example from the texts of the Unas pyramid which support the arguments of Dr. Naydler in his book, see utterances 223 and 224, from the east wall of the sarcophagus chamber.  Here, the king is urgently commanded to awake, to turn himself about, to stand up, and to "put on" the body again.  

Reading them in the Pyramid Texts Online site, the translations contain bracketed attempts to explain these commands in terms of speculation that they may refer to some kind of "courtyard circular procession (?)," because the conventional approach that these texts address the spirit of the dead king makes them somewhat confusing to the traditional translator.  

However, under Dr. Naydler's theory, they make perfect sense: the king (still very much alive) has undergone a profound and dangerous mystical experience in which his consciousness has taken leave of the body and journeyed into astral realms beyond the boundaries of ordinary human experience.  Now, the attendant priests are urgently requesting that he return, and again "clothe himself" with the body.

As Dr. Naydler writes on page 219 in discussion of these utterances:
Instructions to the soul to "put on" its body, or equally clothe itself, may have had a place in mummification rituals, but  in the present context they make considerably more sense if we assume that the king is not in a mummified state.  [. . .]  If the sequence of twelve utterances appears to end where it began, there may be a very good reason for this.  And that could be because the "return" at the end of the series of mystical and ritual episodes is to the very same place as that from which the "departure" began.  
All of this discussion has extremely important ramifications, not only for our understanding of ancient history, but also for our understanding of human consciousness.  If the consciousness can depart from the physical body, this has implications which suggest that the material world is not all that there is (contrary to the modern materialistic faith underpinning almost all of conventional scholarship today).  

Extensive evidence gathered from those who have undergone near-death experiences appears to bear this out, as Chris Carter asserts in his authoritative examination of the subject in his book Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death.

Further, this pattern of ritual mystical death and rebirth infuses the patterns of many ancient writings and traditions (including esoterism, Gnosticism, and Christianity, among others).  One of the experiences testified to within the Pyramid Texts is that of rebirth during the voluntary death-like experience within the sarcophagus, during which the pharaoh was baptized, suckled by divine goddesses such as Hathor or Iat.

All of these themes have powerful implications for us today. Although they are among the earliest texts in existence, they speak to us at the cutting edge of the present in the twenty-first century, "precisely because," as Dr. Naydler writes, "in the prevailing culture of the West (and increasingly the modern world), we suffer from chronic amnesia concerning spiritual realities with which the ancients were relating on a daily basis" (144).  

He concludes that, "Insofar as we are able to acknowledge cultures of the past, not only as part of our own history but -- as Eliade says -- as part of what lies buried within the modern psyche, and insofar as we are able to incorporate and integrate them into our understanding of who we are today, we may open the way to reconnecting with that lost part of ourselves and that lost dimension of existence that was so present to the Egyptians and has become so absent from our modern awareness" (144).