Ancient Apocalypse & Graham Hancock’s ‘Dangerous Ideas’ – Why has the popular Netflix documentary ignited the ire of the media?
JR Leach, Off Guardian
It never ceases to amaze me what seemingly innocuous ideas the establishment media find ‘dangerous’ or ‘controversial’.
Netflix recently released an eight-part documentary series titled Ancient Apocalypse, where Graham Hancock (who has a been a household name for “alternative archeology” since the release of his book ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ in 1995), introduces us to his central theory that human civilisation is considerably older than current archeological orthodoxy believes, but that most evidence for this was wiped out by a colossal natural disaster around 12,000 years ago.
He supports this theory with physical evidence for such a natural disaster, curious geological anomalies and seemingly ancient megalithic structures.
He points out that the mainstream view of pre-history insists civilisation did not and had never existed before the year 4000BC, but that recent discoveries such as the Temple at Gobekli Tepe, which dates back to 9600BC call that mainstream view into question.
He also collates mythic stories and old legends from over around the world that all reference some massive, global catastrophe. (Floods, earthquakes, giant snakes in the sky, strange visitors from across the sea etc.) And then emphasises their many eerie similarities.
Through the collation of this research, Hancock then asks some questions of the mainstream view of our ancient history and posits a theory of his own – that ‘we are a species with amnesia’, who have forgotten our own past.
These are not new ideas, solely from Hancock’s imagination. Immanuel Velikovsy said something very similar half a century ago, in fact his last book, published posthumously, was titled “Mankind in Amnesia”, and explored the psychological impact of us, as a species, repressing the memories and forgetting the stories that echo from a distant, traumatised past.
These questions might sound intriguing to you, or you may be indifferent to them, or you may even vehemently disagree with them, but I bet you didn’t know they were racist, did you?
That’s right. Racist. Don’t believe me, you conspiracy theorist? Just ask the Guardian.
Yes, the Graun has spoiled us with not just one hit-piece, but two! All in the space of one week.
Robin McKie writes his from an archaeological standpoint, while Stuart Heritage speaks as an entertainment critic. However, one is very much like the other. They both agree the Netflix series is wholly unacceptable. All of it. These are ‘dangerous ideas’ that shouldn’t be ‘allowed’.
McKie alleges Hancock’s claims reinforce ‘white supremacist ideas’, because questioning the age of human civilisation
…strip[s] indigenous people of their rich heritage and instead gives credit to aliens or white people”
McKie further explains:
Then there were the Nazis. Many swore by the idea that a white Nordic superior race – people of “the purest blood” – had come from Atlantis. As a result, Himmler set up an SS unit, the Ahnenerbe – or Bureau of Ancestral Heritage – in 1935 to find out where people from Atlantis had ended up after the deluge had destroyed their homeland.”
There we have it, you see! Don’t even bother linking to any sources, Robin (which he doesn’t). I hear you, loud and clear. The idea of Atlantis is inherently racist, because the Nazis believed in it.
The fact Hancock never mentions race, or white people (or aliens) in the series, nor (to the best of my knowledge) in any of his books, makes no difference to this.
So, what are you going to do now? Keep researching the Atlantis myth?
Like a Nazi would?
Of course, going by this logic, we should really do away with Christianity as well. God in general, in fact. Perhaps we should cancel Volkswagen and Wagner too. Nazis also brushed their teeth and wore shoes, I believe, neither of which shall I be taking part in from this day onwards, just to be sure.
So, there we have it – Ancient Apocalypse is racist, even though it never mentions race.
The remainder of their twin critiques are no better argued or supported by reality. Here is a typical example of the intellectual level they work on:
For a story that was first told 2,300 years ago, the myth of Atlantis has demonstrated a remarkable persistence over the millennia. Originally outlined by Plato, the tale of the rise of a great, ancient civilisation followed by its cataclysmic destruction has since generated myriad interpretations.”
It was this opening paragraph alone that prompted my response. As it is so uniquely meaningless.
What does he mean by ‘For a story 2,300 years old it has demonstrated remarkable persistence’? As opposed to what? All those other stories that we don’t know about? How is that measurable, exactly?
Besides, we have a plethora of stories and mythologies dating back two and half thousand years, and even much further into the past than that. Including all the Greco-Roman myths, plays by Sophocles and Aesop’s Fables. We have detailed legends and lore passed down from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Old Testament fits the bill as well.
And of course, Homer’s Iliad, which describes the fabled Trojan War.
Let us remember that the City of Troy was also believed to have been just a myth until we discovered that it wasn’t. And I’m sure before 1870, when it was first discovered, that there was no shortage of academics decrying the search for Troy as a heretical waste of time.
What is the essential attraction of the tale? For answers we only have to look at the works of Tolkien, CS Lewis, HP Lovecraft, Conan Doyle, Brecht and a host of science fiction writers who have all found the myth an irresistible inspiration.”
Simplicity itself! The reason the Atlantis myth is so popular is because it’s so popular!
Robin then asserts as fact that Plato intended the tale of Atlantis to be little more than an allegory. There is no way of knowing that, of course, he merely asserts it and then goes into a Gish Gallop.
“As to the likely site of the original Atlantis, the serious money goes on the destruction of the Greek island of Santorini and its impact on Crete and puts the blame on volcanic eruptions – not errant comets, as Hancock argues”
Whoa there, Robin. Firstly, Graham Hancock never ‘argues’ that the Greek island of Santorini was struck by an errant comet. That is misleading. He argues that a comet struck somewhere in North America and rising sea levels may have obliterated an island civilisation (that Plato calls Atlantis) in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s only you, Robin, who is conflating this Atlantis myth with Santorini.
[NB – Robin also fails to mention the physical evidence for just such an impact at the beginning of the Younger Dryas.]
Secondly, should we not give credit where credit is due, and assume that Plato (and Solon, from whom Plato got the story, and the Dynastic Egyptians, from whom Solon got the story), most likely knew the difference between ‘inside the Mediterranean’ and ‘outside the Mediterranean’?
If they place Atlantis beyond the Pillars of Hercules, should we not at least consider it possible that this is indeed where “the original Atlantis” was? (I invite readers to listen to Plato’s accounting yourselves and see what you make of it, here is an unabridged and well-produced reading.)
The history of Santorini’s volcanic eruption was probably, by contrast, relatively well known. Santorini didn’t actually sink, after all, as Atlantis is said to have done. It’s still there. The Ancient Greeks called it ‘Thera’ and they were perfectly well aware of its existence. It shares no cultural, historical or technological similarities to Plato’s description of Atlantis at all, short of ‘being an island’.
But none of that bothers McKie who at this point, and without ceremony, just sort of stops writing. Job Done. Atlantis debunked. What’s for lunch?
Moving on to Stuart Heritage’s piece, which is thankfully briefer but in no way less smug. In his subheading he boldly asks:
“Why has this been allowed?”
I’m not sure which authority he’s calling on here. Netflix execs? Local, national or perhaps global government? Or maybe it’s rhetorical, and he’s beseeching the Lord God himself how such evil could come into the world.
Beyond this, Stuart seems even less interested in debunking or debating these ‘dangerous ideas’ than McKie was, and far more focused on analysing and ridiculing its (presumed) target audience.
Fortunately, Stuart, with his view unbiased and his mind wide open, has discerned exactly who that is in the first five minutes – because he saw (or thinks he saw) Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson flash up in the pre-show reel.
Joe Rogan appears in one quick interview, which is used in the first episode and the last.
Jordan Peterson does not appear in this documentary at all.
And I’m really not sure why Stuart thought he did. Perhaps he just didn’t watch closely enough to realise this before rushing his five-hundred words off to be published in one of the largest news outlets in the world.
More notably when Heritage later amended the change, he just removed the ‘Jordan Peterson’ reference and neither he nor the editors or sub-eds even bothered to correct the syntax:
“Fortunately, you don’t have to watch for long to find out. In quick succession, during the pre-show sizzle reel, we are treated to a clip of the show’s host Graham Hancock being interviewed by Joe Rogan.”
The laziness is staggering.
Just ‘a different person’. It’s not important who anymore. He’s not on the Guardian’s ‘naughty list.’
Equally strangely, both McKie and Heritage seem to think ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ makes claims of ‘super intelligent beings’ and ‘aliens’, when it simply does not.
Hancock’s argument – whether you accept it or not – is that human beings were more advanced than academia admits. Not robots with flying cars, but more advanced than we currently give them credit for, and he cites evidence for this which both Stuart & Robin ignore in favour of critiquing Hancock for things he does not say.
They cite no sources and debate no actual claims. They use buzzwords and identity politics in place of analysis and between the two of them couldn’t fill one page of A4. It’s as if even they (and their editors) had no faith or interest in what they were doing.
Although Stuart does rather give the game away in his closing statement.
“That’s the danger of a show like this. It whispers to the conspiracy theorist in all of us. And Hancock is such a compelling host that he’s bound to create a few more in his wake. Believing that ultra-intelligent creatures helped to build the pyramids is one thing, but where does it end? Believing that election fraud is real? Believing 9/11 was an inside job? Worse?”
He’s got me stumped there. Because, for the life of me, I literally can’t think of anything worse than ‘believing in election fraud’, which is obviously as fanciful as believing in the Loch Ness Monster. What next? Believing in tax evasion!?
Presumably he’s referring to the 2020 US election. Because the Guardian has claimed fraud is very real in some elections. Russia, Syria, Bolivia, Brazil, Libya, Afghanistan, Iran and Venezuela to name a few.
And they were pretty darn adamant that it was Russian collusion that got Trump into office in 2016.
Stuart presumably believes election fraud is only a ‘conspiracy theory’ when it happens here, in the UK. Either that or he believes it has literally never happened. Ever. In the whole history of the world.
Or perhaps he’s simply typing up any old nonsense just to get that word count a little higher. Sense and consistency be damned.
Who’s to say?
However, the fragile honesty underlying this is quite telling. He is essentially saying:
“If people become sceptical of one thing, they may become sceptical of another.”
Which is to be expected, but what I can’t understand is how anybody could think this is a bad thing.
People should be sceptical. Scepticism in all things but cynicism in none. People should ask questions, and they should expect answers, especially from those who profess to know them. One should be open-minded and always pursue the truth. And to better decipher what that may be, we need people sharing new ideas, questioning the mainstream view and challenging the established narrative as new evidence presents itself. We need that. Science, progress and discovery all depend on it. Even if the ideas turn out to be false. Prove them false.
In short: No one should be the gatekeepers of our history. Least of all those who laud their certitude in the face of the unknowable.
The mystery is exciting. The evidence is compelling. The series is engaging. Even if none of it turns out to be true, the questions are still worth asking.
These ideas are only ‘dangerous’ if you fear what they question.
And those who fear questions fear the truth.
About the Author
JR Leach is a fantasy author and graphic designer whose debut novel The Farmer and the Fald was published earlier this year. You can follow him on Twitter or Substack and see more of his work on his website