March 13, 2006 | 6 comments
Image Credit: Lloyd K. Townsend
When we think of the civilization of Atlantis, as described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, a brilliant playwright and storyteller, we immediately think of an isolated island with a cultivated people so in tune with nature and their surroundings that it borders on a psychic synchronization with the planet itself. But the ideal of Atlantis is much more than a simple story told and retold by a group of men one night and discussed philosophically. It’s a symbol of what mankind can accomplish if we set aside our greed and hatred and look towards the betterment and improving our quality of life. This is why I think we are on a path of annihilation that if unchecked and unchanged will eventually lead us to our ultimate destruction! Over the years the search for Atlantis has lead scientists to hundreds of possible locations as its final resting site, however what they fall to realize is that Atlantis isn’t merely in one place - it’s in many.
Plato placed the island of Atlantis outside the Pillars of Heracles, or using today’s geographical map is known as the Straits of Gibraltar, in the Atlantic Ocean, outside the Greeks comprehensive knowledge of the world. Most historians of that time tended to place the location of story locations outside their known world. If you couldn’t reach it, how could it be disbelieved? The Timeaus and Critias, which describe the tail of Atlantis hold a certain truth about the story as a whole, I think. The story of Atlantis, as many historians claim, was merely a story used for unification, a means for the Greek people to come together during some sort of hardship or perhaps a plague that was ravishing the time period. But I think he was describing a real place.Thousands of years of speculation and stories passed down from generation to generation about an ancient advanced civilization is a way for a story to be remembered and the story of Atlantis holds an underline theme of how corrupt humanity can become; however, there just seems to be more than just the Atlanteans failing, their fall from grace and how it destroyed their civilization. In Plato’s story, he was trying to relate a lesson, but at the same time tell of a lost people, lost in time and to time.
But nothing vanishes without a trace.Humanity has a lesson to learn from its storytellers and every story has a lesson to be learned if only you can see it. Not all lessons are clear cut, but they are there between the lines. And even if we can’t see it, we know what it is by the story we engulf ourselves in. Most stories are elongated and stretched out to make better storytelling and sometimes the lesson can be lost in the pages, but despite the masking of a lesson behind computer graphics, death defying aero stunts or futuristic weapons and technology - it’s there. And Atlantis is humanity’s one true lesson of hope. A story to be remembered so we don’t make the same mistakes. Time is a series of moments intertwined together as one long, unending story. Characters are born and revised as the story carries on, events are defined, and sacrifices are made for better story telling. What a book humanity has created. We have created the ultimate novel no one can undermine. We are the best storytellers our world has ever produced. But alas, we soon forget our mistakes and tend to repeat them. Thus the book gets repetitive and boring, it lags like a horrible plot from a daytime soap opera.
So what do we do, we start to create plot twists that keep the reader interested. Was this what Plato was trying to do?We have it in our minds that Atlantis is much more than an ideal, that an island or a plateau lies out there that will explain our place in the universe and how our civilization came to be. And for the sake of argument we found Atlantis, how would we define what we have found? I’m not sure we could. Because the idea of Atlantis is bigger and more prominent than an actual place. We have the notion Atlantis began our world, that they were the forefathers of all civilization and all tales of Creation sprouted from its ideal. How would we feel if we knew another truth? Would the ideal Atlantis stands for be as pronounced? I don’t think so.
The essence of the story is what holds us together. It’s the story that brings us back to our roots that humanity can be a better species than what we are now. Society today is corrupt and with the advent of more technology, we are becoming the Atlantis if old, in the third age of its destruction, and will share the same fate, sinking into a sea of destruction due to our instinctive horde for materialistic goods and self-gratification unless we change. So, the ideal of Atlantis plays a much bigger role in our lives than just being another long-gone ancient civilization. Plato’s story is our storybook and how we react to his telling of it will ultimately describe our end. Plato never wrote an ending to the story, so… should we?
I like happy endings, don’t you?