America: The New Atlantis

Some thoughts on the connection between spiritual awakening and the American mytheme.

Jim Garrison interviewed by Jim Shapiro of Lightworks:

I asked the question, who was the first person in history in Europe to really understand the magnitude of what was going to happen in North America? There’ve been thousands of nations. There’ve been maybe 20 or 25 empires and there’s two that have emerged to the front rank of empire. That was Rome 2000 years ago and America today. The aggregation of power is so immense, that you’ve got to ask some deeper questions about how it happened here. Why did it happen here as opposed to Russia or China or Brazil? So I went back to the history books and asked the question, “Who was it? What was the original visionary imprint of what became the United States of America?” It came actually from Francis Bacon, who was one of the great mystics of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He wrote a book right before he died that was unpublished because he died very soon thereafter, called New Atlantis. He believed and asserted that the North American Indians were the survivors and descendants of the original Atlantean civilization, and he called to mind that Atlantis had risen to global power and then been destroyed because of its hubris. So whatever was going to be built in North America would be Atlantean in its basic archetypal pattern and destiny path, and at some point it was going to rise to the level global dominion. Then it would, like ancient Atlantis, have to make a choice between power for the sake of service and power for the sake of more power, and as it decided, the fate of the world would be determined.

It’s also worth remembering that the founding fathers of the United States, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, etc., were all Masons and Rosicrucians. They were all students of Bacon. They believed that what they were creating was the new Atlantis, the new Israel, the new Rome, the new Athens, and they consciously set forth to build a nation around light and power. Look on the back of a dollar bill and see the pyramid and the all-seeing Eye of Horus. It’s important for Americans to understand that we were born out of a mystical vision of human perfection that was basically Atlantean in its impulse. So the challenge today is to reconnect with the Wisdom Tradition that gave rise to Atlantis, that gave rise to the United States of America, and that is ultimately an esoteric pursuit.


This reading is controversial, so I’ll just put that out up front.

This reading of the American Revolution and Founding involves concepts ususally foreign to historical/political analysis: e.g. mystical states and consciousness development. I don’t believe everything is reduced to Spirit, states, etc, but I do not believe that the creative moment that was the US Constitution could have come into being without some connection to the deeper Source of the Universe.

Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis–which you can read in its entirety here–equated America with the Atlanteans. The issue is not whether there was a real Atlantis or not, the issue is the mythic force and worldview behind that claim. America was to be Atlantean. By that Garrison means, imperial, global, beyond imagination in scope and power.

And so the US is. The greatest power in the history of the human race; I mean in terms of sheer power not necessarily qualitatively the greatest. And more importantly the lone country founded on a political theology–with a Sacred contract as Caroline Myss says. Read Bush’s second inaugural address. The policy of the US is to found a new order for the ages (novus ordo seclorum, or as his father put it “A New World Order”, see the back of any US $1 bill). It is the policy of this country to promote democracy at all times in all places.

Take China for example. A rising world-power, so to be more or less co-equal power to the US, but it has no such mission to the world. It is not going about trying to create Chinese style capitalism and one party rule the world over.

The US is meant to be the last imperial power in history–the transition between imperialism and post-imperial reality (a new order of the ages). That is why FDR and Truman spent so much time establishing US dominance (imperial) through institutions like WTO, UN, NATO, etc.
Bush II’s main failure has been to think America was now at a point where it could do whatever it pleased to achieve that mythic agenda without the institutions. He did not see that people to be on board with this need to feel that it serves them. Hence as in Rome, citizenry extended through force of arms. Citizenry in this case meaning economic citizenry in the global oikos.

Atlantis was built on light. On the capturing of light (consciousness as power). The picture on the back of the dollar of the pyramid with the All-Seeing Eye of Horus is a Masonic image. Bacon was read by the Fathers. America became Atlantean because they saw Bacon as correct and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Founding Fathers/Brothers were as Charles Beard said “self-interested men”. As I put it, they were both revolutionaries/visionaries as well as self-interested men. Self-interested meaning that they had a certain social agenda of supporting their own gentry class.

David Noble’s Religion of Technology placed the Fathers within the line of technology as a way of restoring the image of God in fallen man–from John Scotus Eriugena through the original stone-cutting masons of the Medieval period to the Fathers to engineers of today. Again this piece placed with Beard signifies the ways in which the more mystico-esoteric side of the Fathers (read an account of George Washington’s mystical vision at Valley Forge here)–in which their mysticism/emergent depth of consciousness was translated.

Now the translation was perhaps inevitable given the life conditions they existed in. But it is worth asking I think whether they are still valid and if so how far? And are there dark sides to the vision–for any light there must be shadow. What would these be?

The vision of human perfection (restoration of Godly image within fallen man) is perhaps the most controversial. Because is the perfection brought about by human effort, divine providence, a combination of the two? Were Americans specially chosen–did that mean others were not? Was this chosenness, if that is what it is, to be for service or domination (or both)?

And will we ever actually get there–the pyramid is cleaved with the apex separated from the body. This could be construed to mean an elite at the top are forever split from the population who will serve their bidding. Remember pyramids were built by slaves. Is the image then a symbol of slavery to the ideal of perfection (which can never be reached anyway)?

And correlative to the issue of human perfection going along with this theme of elite egalitarianism is the fear that this system will prescribe social engineering. Conspiracy theorists play off this fear. What happens when the egalitarianism is not embraced, when the people do not want freedom (as in Free-Mason)? [Insert your own Iraq reference here].

The Fathers were part of a strange movement. They were pioneers of a new depth which allowed for a greater embrace (worldcentric in nature) but which saw itself as undoing all hierarchies. It was I call “elite egalitarianism”. The elite elements come in the self-interest, gentry class, Atlantean vision. The egalitarian elements: human rights, political freedoms, and the republic.

The modern worldview the fathers held to existed prior the realization of the co-construction of human consciousness through biology, linguistic upbringing, social-economic-cultural heritage. John Locke, another influential philosopher on the FFathers believed the human mind was a blank slate that society could write upon. This view translates today into, among other things, neuro-pharmacology and the rise of psychotropic drugs for children.

Locke and the modern empiricists did not understand that human nature is not blank and malleable. Humans evolve in worldspaces through lines of development with multiple stages–determined to greater or lesser degrees to the edge of conscious evolution at any time on the curve.

So there are definite downsides, but I see Myss’ point as that those who are born American [minus indigenous population or brought into/attacted to the American vision are sourced in this myth. We can’t get around it. We have to learn how to make ourselves aware of it, come back as Garrison says into the space, the power source of their vision for the future.

Because the Republic has gone astray–and I’m not just blaming George Bush although he certainly has his part to play. Of course this kind of discussion is verboten and the best that likely can be hoped for is a politician who can bring a measure of pragmatism, general sense of unity and bridge political divides to the country.

This kind of reading is radical; it cuts through and across party and political lines. It will be considered spooky or mystical (in a very bad sense) and certainly in no way is meant to be the final and all consuming reading of the events.

Just that I think, as radical, it goes to the root–it is the deepest in my mind.

Published in: on December 25, 2006 at 9:14 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. Provocative post Chris. One difference that strikes me between us (even if I am writing from Oz) and the US’ founding fathers is that they had, or seem from this distance to have had, quite clear ideas as to how their vision could be manifested as a change to human political circumstance (the economic and other quadrant changes were already pretty much in place).

    Government of, for and by the people (yes, I know that formulation is a century later) was the radical transformation which embodied their vision of what you call “elite egalitarianism”.

    To look thru one side of the prism, we are the benficiaries of the hypertrophy of the egalitarianism end of that continuum and have yet to establish a set of constructs through which the “elite” end can achieve some redress while, of course, maintaining at least the necessary aspects of egalitarianism.

    IMO, were still hunting. In an allusion to the history of physics in the last 150 years, we’ve had our Michelson-Morley and Maxwellian experimental results and are scratching our heads as to how to put the mess together. 🙂

  2. Simon,

    Thanks for the post. Sorry to awhile in responding.

    I’m interested in what your thinking around redress for the elites.

    In US, (don’t know about Oz) I’m less concerned about wage gaps inc’ing (although that does matter some), then I am cultural-educational-social gaps.

    As an American that really grinds my gears. There is a definite shift towards blue-bloodism which I think is deeply un-American. Even if practice it has always been there (from Washington on), it was never accepted in formal discourse. Some of that self-serving of course, but it did serve a function as a kinda meme in society.

    The US is losing that everyman-ness. Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Summers is a great piece that explores and critiques this elite inherited mentality.

    As Rick Warren says, “it’s not a sin to be rich. It’s a sin to die rich.” Warren Buffett got that message.

    The elites–as engineers particularly biotech ones–are still sourced in this vision of perfection. They however have lost their own connection, in most cases, to the consciousness-spiritual context of that wisdom (like a Bacon). Again I’m not sure about redress, but if I had a suggestion to them, it would be to get back into that world.

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