When Velikovsky shattered the fragile glass bowl of uniformitarianism (that all change on, or affecting, Earth are gradual in occurrence), self-selected protectors of this bowl apparently went ballistic. Defending reigning scientific ‘theology’ is understandable; but how explain the ferocity of the personal attacks?
To recapitulate: allegedly, in the 1800s, agreement had been reached that Earth and its passengers had never been exposed to catastrophes. ‘In the case of the “Velikovsky affair,” the organised frantic defence of entrenched belief produced one of the most pathological episodes in the history of science. Had Immanuel Velikovsky penetrated the veil of “planetary amnesia”?’ (Steve Parsons in The perils of planetary amnesia in Forbidden history, edited by Douglas Kenyon.
Velikovsky, a qualified psychoanalyst, in his Mankind in Amnesia, claimed that ‘the ancient sages exhibited a frightened state of mind, haunted by a particular fear based on terrible events their ancestors had experienced when their world had been ripped apart by monstrous natural forces. He described the means by which this deepest of collective trauma was gradually buried and forgotten over the years, but not eliminated.’ (Parsons). But had he relied on more than Jewish writings?
Like Carl Jung’s collective unconscious, a collective amnesia, affecting all mankind, for all time, is now offered to explain the behaviour of humanity. Thus, Velikovsky’s planetary amnesia is now being claimed to explain human violence. However, does our tendency to violence merely reflect our origins – part animal (refer ‘the Adam’ created by extraterrestrials, thus injecting the 223 foreign genes not found in the animal kingdom – so says Sitchin), or as a wholly terrestrial being (evolved, without external interference, from a faunal predecessor).
Parsons says that ‘Velikovsky understood our tendency to suppress trauma but also to express and repeat trauma in peculiar ways. … we barely recognise our own violence, and certainly don’t associate it with ancient roots.’ Certainly not!
How credible is all this? Should we blame our foreign genes (if Sitchin is acceptable); or our own ‘animal’ genes; or our own moral immaturity; or an unpredictable imbalance in our limbic (emotional) responses?
As for planetary amnesia, while everything in existence in the Universe is seemingly linked to everything else, and in an etheric manner; and if some of us have difficulty in overcoming personal trauma; why assume that it is an inheritable propensity? Perhaps ‘planetary amnesia’ is just another myth.
And not all myths have relevance for understanding the human psyche, while some history may be explicable through a sensible interpretation of folklore.