Is An Ancient Civilization Sunk Below the Azores?
To answer the question in the title, no. It isn’t. But hear me out because I’ve got an even weirder theory for you. I think that when Jesus Christ returns, he’s gonna do so in Atlantis. We are such an incredibly stupid species. Our hardware has such unbelievable processing power and yet our software is so full of bugs. I didn’t really want to make this episode. Because why disprove Atlantis? Who is that for?
Nobody is really believing in a fantasy right up until they hear the hard facts. Honestly, all you end up doing is spreading it. But that said, I do think that this is a myth worth understanding. Because if you can understand Atlantis, I feel like you learn more about humanity than we ever would raising some sunken island. So, ok. Atlantis. Let me take you back to the start. The first mention of Atlantis that we know of comes from ancient Greece, from the writings of Plato.
Which is important to this myth because he’s a name that everyone associates with deep wisdom. Even people with absolutely no awareness of the world, no education beyond what they’ve seen on tv, they kinda know about Plato. He’s one of those smart guys from way back in the day. If there was some secret knowledge lost to the sands of time, he seems like a reasonable type source for it.
He’s the type of guy who a time traveling dog in a whimsical 1980’s cartoon might visit to learn about history. Strong personal brand, you might say. Which is kind of funny, really, because that’s pretty much exactly what Plato was doing, too.
Well, not the whole cartoon dog part. But the mystical foreigner thing. To us it’s him, but to him it was Egypt. To the Greeks of his time, Egypt meant science. Wisdom. Plato’s Plato. If an ancient Greek wanted to root something in the past, they’d definitely chose Egypt.
And since there’s no corroborating story ever recorded and no archaeological evidence found anywhere on earth, ever, you can safely assume that when Plato says “ask any Egyptian and they’ll tell you what I say is true”, he was relying a bit on the fact that the room contained no Egyptians. But sourcing aside, let’s see what his texts actually claim: According to Plato, in 10,000 BC, at least 4,000 years before any archaeological evidence suggests that there was a settlement at all, the thriving city of Athens was facing a technologically-advanced competitor who was about to destroy them. This enemy was far larger than the continent of Europe entirely. And according to Plato, it was located just outside the mouth of the Mediterranean, just past where the Greek maps ended. He claimed it was a perfectly terra-formed continent with a concentrically-ringed island centre, somewhat similar to the world islands of Dubai today, except on an unbelievably massive scale.
He claimed it was the size of both North Africa and the Middle East combined, or as he called them, Libya and Asia. He said it was so close to Gibraltar that when it sank, a sandbar blocked the strait and from then on, the Mediterranean could no longer access the Atlantic ocean. What’s more, according to Plato’s Egyptians, the island continent was created by the Greek God Poseidon as a cave to have sex in, and its kingdom was ruled by his son, the world-carrying Atlas. Hence, Atlantis. Atlas’ island. He was also a titan, by the way. Their king was a literal demigod giant. Yet, according to this supposedly factual story, the only thing that the Egyptians remembered about these divine imperialists who conquered all of Europe and North Africa was their relation to the city of Athens.
A city that would face an army the size of the known world combined and defeat it, alone, due to the sheer political purity of their republican ideology. So according to Plato, quoting his Egyptians, the reason that the Athenians had succeeded in their war against Atlantis was that they had achieved political purity. Which, you might not be surprised to hear, meant that they agreed with Plato on everything.
His views, his way of life, his politics, that’s what made them pure. That’s why Athens won. And those ancient Egyptians said that if you'd agreed with Plato again, now, in his time, Athens could win again. They could defeat the Persians just as they had their mirror image all those thousands of years before. Believe my words, said Plato, heed my politics, do what I say and we can return to utopia. But they didn't. Fast forward to the 19th century. All of a sudden God is dead. Everybody shoots the messenger but it wasn’t Nietzsche’s fault. It was mostly erosion.
Well, I suppose the scientific method in general. But regardless of who did it, exactly, it wasn’t just killing God it was kind of killing everything. It was a scientific dawn uprooting the history of the entire universe, the worldview of all humanity throughout time. To put it another way they were taking away our magic
and giving us a void. After all, science isn’t a religion, it’s a method. And what’s more, it’s a method that can only disprove. The only thing that science can ever truly tell you is no. Which… sucks. But whether we could answer them or not once we started down that road of erosion questions just would not stop coming: How old was the earth? What makes a volcano explode? What are stars? Is there a God? Yet for all those questions nervously asked, it all seemed to boil down to one thing: did this all happen fast or slow? If this world has mountains and rivers, and lakes and snow, then how did it get like this? Did god snap his fingers or did this all take time? Is it erosion or a miracle? And for many, saying erosion felt like heresy. It was heresy. To many it feels like heresy to this day.
But that doesn’t mean that those who saw the erosion were atheists. This was the 1800s. They believed in God just as much as their opponents did. The grip of religion might have been looser than ever, but both sides of this debate would have still been Christians.
It’s just that the fast side was far less excited about digging any deeper into that void. Presumably, because they were losing. And perhaps that was because what they saw in science was not a method, but a religion. A new way of proving that their old God was real. So as its method eroded away their theories, as those meteors and earthquakes and cataclysms that they’d used as proof of fast all collapsed into another form of slow. As Darwin showed slow in evolution,
As Wegener showed slow in plate tectonics, as Hubble showed slow in the sky, they all simply turned away. There are no answers, they’d say to each other. There is no truth in a void. Which I suppose I understand. This wasn’t just some little facts melting, this was more than just their worldview. This was the universe that allowed their God to exist at all.
If gradualism was true, their lives were a lie. So it couldn’t be true. Even as the facts melted away and it became clear that the continents were riding the magma like surfboards they simply couldn't accept what the data was telling them. As that cataclysm drove through their truth uprose new forms of belief. But while God might be dead all corpses feed fungus, and in his ripe night soil stepped out a new order of believer.
Men and women who painted themselves as having secret knowledge of the pagans while still containing hints of their Lord’s grace. Supernatural heretics with enough of a Judeo-Christian root to claim that throne of cataclysm. Thomas Edison inventing a phone to speak to the dead. Doctors who said they could see your past lives.
Archaeologists who said they could prove the great flood and everything else alongside. These newly minted evangelists promising a truth deeper than science. Older than God. And by the dawn of the 20th century hundreds of competing sources would claim that they alone knew how to stop the erosion, you just had to buy their book. Today we call them the occult. It makes them sound cooler I suppose. More mystical. But for the most part,
they were just conmen on the newly-sprouted branches of a dying Christian core. Theirs was an inverted reflection of the rot happening at the centre of God. And from their tendrils came forth the new religions of Theosophism and Spiritualism. Those who would incorporate just enough science to hint that the magic was still real and not a study more. If fast couldn’t be proven in the West, they said, then surely it was time to turn to the mysticism of the east. These new prophet-historians picking and choosing at the religions of the colonies to piece out what sounded the most supportive.
They would blend Tibetan and Chinese myths, Indian traditions, South American drugs and of course, our boy Plato to create a series of worldviews that meant nothing but hinted at everything. Never a full explanation, just a wisp, a theory, enough to reject what they’d heard from those believers of science without ever having to actually face the method itself. Because true believers or not they all still understood that you can’t build a house on a void. So naturally, they built it on Atlantis instead. How could erosion be real if God sank Atlantis? How could magic be fake if Atlanteans were magicians? By the 20th century the island had risen to be the centrepiece of dozens of competing narratives. New age religions clashing and fighting, and competing for followers, all the while tethered to that same island myth.
A decentralized cult with no formal authority except who could sell the most books. They proposed dozens of different spots that it might have existed. All different sizes, all different shapes. They brought in new names like Lemuria and Mu so that they could turn their search worldwide.
Make it even more mystical. Even harder to disprove. Some, like Russian Helena Blavatsky, would truly change the world with their lies. Her incorporation of Eastern religions into 19th century Western Philosophy would go on to create a worldview that would cause the deaths of tens of millions of people.
From her beliefs sprung forth race science, specifically the idea that our species originated from six original perfect races. Six separate gardens of Eden. One of which, naturally, was Atlantis. You’ve probably even heard of of one of the others, as well. She called them Aryan.
Blavatsky was a firm believer in fast. And like with the other occultists, this magical island was her lynchpin. She proposed that Atlas ruled it not 10,000 years ago, but a million. And that the people there had telekinetic powers. They were supernatural beings just like Poseidon. Plus, it was a utopia. Plato was wrong. Athens wasn’t the perfect republic, Atlantis was. And what’s more, they didn’t have the problems of the 1800s like her readers. They didn’t have the smog of London.
There was no industrial revolution. No factories. No crime. No poverty. These were pure beings. Pure races. And if we could all just agree to the spiritual awakening of Helena Blavatsky, that we were all once supermen, we could have that utopia again. Atlantis could be reborn. But we didn’t. Well, I suppose some of us did.
In the 1930s a new era of occultists took up that mantle and began to turn Blavatsky’s pseudoscience into a genuine national religion. Occultists we now deem as Nazis. In Germany, Hitler’s scientists might not have actually believed Blavatsky, but they certainly promoted her ideas as fact. Because just like those before them, they were trying to prove something that wasn't true. And just like those before them, they’d do it with Atlantis. Only for them, the myth they aimed to factualize
was that their people were descended from superior beings. Blavatsky was right. There were the Aryans. Supermen were real, a million years ago, that telekinetic whatever, it was all true. It’s just she didn't realize that they were Germans. Find Atlantis, those Nazis would say, and you’ll find the truth. And what’s more, they knew exactly where to find it: the Azores. Nevermind that their submarines kept proving that wrong. How would the public find out?
It wasn't like the Nazi papers told the truth. But truth or not, those wartime occultists promised that if you believed Adolf Hitler, his views, his politics, his way of life, he’d bring back the Übermensch. A thousand-year utopia. Atlantis könnte wieder auftauchen. But they didn't. In steps the 1960s. The space race. The moon landing. Atlantis is now in the hands of a man named Erich von Däniken,
and the new thing to sell is aliens. It isn't just a reaction to the Star Trek zeitgeist, it also let you promote fast again without being, well, a nazi. And of course, as ever, people believe him. People always do. Plus, this is was the era of Vietnam, and rejectionism was becoming a religion all its own. Science was a tool of the man. Science made the bombs, man. Therefore science must be wrong. Maybe they didn’t know if Atlantis truly existed, but young Americans were pretty sure if it did their government would send them there to die.
It’s just that with plate tectonics now as common in the average mind as psychedelic drugs, it was getting harder to prop up those old lies. So with a little holy water and a sprinkle of starshine that rotted stump of occultism began growing new branches again. Those who voted for Nixon returned to Christianity and started a movement we now call Creationism. On the other side the hippies were manifesting a new era of Blavatskian Orientalism. Gurus. Crystals. Psychics. Zodiacs. A form of racism that they deemed as fine, because this time it was positive. But then you blink and it’s the 1990s.
There’s a thousand theories now. It’s kinda like inflation. If the guy in 1978 said aliens, then the guy in 1988 has got to say something else or how is he going to sell any books. Kinda like improv, every yes and has to escalate. And so just like everything else soon enough Atlantis is post-modern. A little piece of from here, a little piece from there. You combine them all together and it almost sounds new.
Modern Atlantis proponents still say that Plato was right, it’s just that they are surgeon out half of a sentence like some donated liver of a motorcyclist. As if they can just place it in some new body and it won't be rejected. They snip a tiny piece from plate tectonics, from sublimation, from glaciation, just enough to hint that they’re supported by the science. But never enough to check if it's true. They point repeatedly to the fact that during the last ice age the water level was lower, implying that the Azores were therefore much larger. A full continent, even. They don’t mention that we know exactly how far the water dropped, 380 or so feet, or that the closest Azorean sea floor is over 1200 feet deep. They have other explanations for that, of course. Well, not so much explanations. Just hints. Snippets. They tend not to mention that the same glacial science
that they’re using to sound educated openly disagrees with their hypotheses. They don’t mention that even if you drained over half the earth’s water you still wouldn’t have a continent form around the Azores. Or that sublimation, a meteor, and the weight of the glaciers would not have created the geology we see in that region. Because really, how are you supposed to sell books about a void? Marching forward into the 2020s and archaeo-prophet Randall Carlson is on Joe Rogan with nautical charts from the 40s. He's hinting that maybe the Azorean subsea mount might provide clues to a greater landmass.
As if that wasn’t known. As if there was some secret there that only he had touched upon that no scientist had ever seen or ever thought of. Well, except the ones he was quoting, of course. He never mentions that the entire subsea mount he’s talking about isn’t even the size of a city. And that there is no reason to suspect it was ever any bigger. After all, why would he? That's not what his believers want to hear.
But for all the power that Rogan gave his church, Carlson is not the central prophet of Atlantis today. That honour falls on a man named Graham Hancock. Who in my opinion is probably the smartest viper currently in this nest. Hancock doesn’t just sell a New Atlantis like it’s some strip of Bacon, he provides the whole hog. His book sells you an explosion that happened 10,000 years ago.
A meteor that, hear me out, proves everything. It even proves fast. It’s the cataclysm that only seems to have affected the places he uses as evidence and not a single one more. Just enough for his disciples to say that it caused everything you needed it to: The biblical flood, the sinking of Atlantis, the hiding of earth’s ancient civilizations, everything. If you need it, this meteor did it. A grand unifying theory deeper than anything than that have ever come before.
And I suppose for his flock it’s easy to ignore that by proposing this he’s become the most powerful name in pseudoscience. That future theories now all have to stem from media he’s paid to produce. It’s far more fun to believe that he’s not a multi-millionaire prophet centralizing a new age religion, but a renegade scientist on the cusp of proving everything you want to be true. Nevermind that the scientific method has already started to push his meteor back into that void.
Once the facts don’t work he’ll just move on to new ones. And if not, someone else will. Because nothing in this world is static. Even the occult. Supermen don’t really fly anymore. Aliens have somewhat come and gone. And there’s no doubt that Hancock will eventually go too. But that said, no matter what happens, I suspect that Atlantis will always come rising back eventually. Because that’s the beauty of a myth. And now that we’re at the end of this road, I have to remind myself that it doesn’t really matter what I say here.
The reality of fighting for erosion is that you are always pushing back against a tide. And I’d be lucky to get a hundred thousand views on this video, while at the same time Graham Hancock has been given a Netflix series that will no doubt be seen by millions. Which I’m sure it’s because it will make money, there is no doubt that myths sell. But his son also happens to be the head of Unscripted Originals at Netflix. And I think it’s funny how that works. Not that I’m one to talk. But either way, a fraction of the people who go see that will ever come see a video like this. Because the reality of fantasy is that it sells.
Myths work. Our software is full of bugs. The cold hard truth that people don’t want to face is that there will never be a utopia and there never was. There was no past civilization with technology like that of an alien being. No hole drilled to the centre of a hollow world. These things aren't real. They’re just ideas that help us avoid the terrifying truth that all we can ever do is disprove. God wasn’t dead. There was no God. The only echoes a void ever sends back are those that we shout into it. It doesn’t matter the era.
The race. The religion. That echo is the only truth that we will ever know. Myths survive because they let us feel that magic is real. That if we achieve a perfection in ourselves and our societies that we can live in a utopia again. That we can return God to Poseidon’s throne and become the supermen that our Vaterland demands. But we won’t. Because the truth about myths is, no matter how fun they are, not one has ever stopped erosion.
This is Rare Earth. Got that one.