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Marie Jones & Larry Flaxman on 'Viral Mythology'

Viral Mythology
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Interview with the authors of "Viral Mythology: How the Truth of the Ancients was Encoded and Passed Down through Legend, Art, and Architecture."

1. What is “viral mythology” and why is it important to us?

Viral mythology explains how ideas and information spread and become "contagious" from one person to another, even across cultural lines, and down through generations. Think of the flu, the way it spreads from person to person, possibly becoming epidemic, even pandemic, as more people are infected. Ideas travel much the same way, which is evident if you spend any time on social networking sites, watching the news or getting chain emails from people…One piece of information can go global in minutes with today's technology. Our ancestors had their own viral mythology as well, which is really our history, our past. Often ideas and information were embedded within the stories, art and architecture of a culture and help us to understand what was important and what mattered to that culture. If we truly want to know our real past, and not just the history we've been taught in school, we must realize that fact, detail and truth often is encoded in ways that are not obvious and must be properly gleaned and interpreted by future generations…such as us. Yesterday's viral mythology is our past, but we are creating our own viral mythology for future generations to look back on and try to understand who we are as a populace today.

2. How did information spread in ancient times without the aid of technology?

There are a number of different theories: Word of mouth, of course, is the most natural and organic. People used oral traditions of imparting news and telling stories before the written word, so nomadic peoples carried with them new ideas and information to introduce to other tribes and peoples they encountered, thus spreading those ideas and taking them "viral." It happened a lot slower than it does today, with our technology, but it is highly possible information simply spread via people traveling to different regions. Another popular theory: ancient aliens/astronauts, which suggests that we were given information and ideas from extraterrestrials who helped us achieve great leaps in scientific and technological advancement throughout history that may be difficult to ascribe to just normal rates of progress. Another cool theory: The Grid, or the Collective - the idea that there is a hidden order of reality that contains all ideas and information, sort of a field of information, that people can tap into through various means in for new ideas, inventions and innovations. This equates to Carl Jung's collective unconscious, and might explain how an idea can pop up at the same time in various regions throughout the world, despite actual physical contact between people living in those regions.

3. What makes an idea worthy of going viral in the first place?

There have been numerous studies, especially in the marketing field, of what makes an idea go viral. The reasons are pretty understandable, and apply to ideas thousands of years ago as much as they do today. Ideas, or information, that spread fast are often practical and useful. They offer a way to make life easier, better, nicer, more fun. Ideas that evoke strong emotion go viral faster. Emotions such as joy, happiness, love, anger, rage, hatred…any strong feeling moves a message further. Ideas that make us laugh go farther than boring ideas. Ideas that are sold with flair and persuasion go viral quicker…in other words, it might be the talent of the person selling the idea that helps it go viral! Ideas and information that are newsworthy and keep us updated on actual events go farther then just small ideas of what the neighbors did. These seem to be the "rules" behind making an idea travel as far as it can. An idea can be really stupid, but if it makes us laugh or makes us angry, we will pass it on to a friend, and so on and so on...

4. How did primitive humans communicate important information via cave and rock
art and crude carvings?

Primitive art was usually carvings and scratchings of shapes and lines in cave walls or the sides of rocks, with crude tools. But soon, our primitive ancestors were using ochre based paints and other tools to create more advanced imagery, usually animals, scenes of hunting and war, pregnant women, and ritual scenes. Humans weren't often portrayed in early cave art, perhaps because the art itself was meant to convey information about local food sources, or mark a reverence for the cycle of life and the power of nature, outside of our own experience. Shamans often painted visual images that were very archetypal and symbolic of a deep connection to the natural world we do not engage in today.

5. As art advanced, do we also see an advanced of the sophistication of the symbolism the art conveys?

Absolutely. We moved away from crude etchings and drawings to more sophisticated forms of expression, including pottery and ceramic art, statues, mosaic scenes, paintings, figurines, jewelry and even mural art. As we evolved, the tools we used did as well, and we were able to find new canvases to express ourselves on. Art took on a complexity and may have been simply for entertainment purposes, but even if it was, it still gives us numerous clues as to the mindset and worldview of the culture itself.

6. How did the advent of writing change the face of humanity forever in terms of the transmission of knowledge and ideas?

Everything changed when ancient civilizations began to develop their own alphabet system, many of which merged into the prototypes of today's most widely accepted and used alphabets, and of course a writing system wasn't long in the mix after that, which then allowed for a much more detailed form of expression and recording of information. Where before, we had to use drawings, pictures and symbols to convey meaning, now we had words…lots of words, and we could now express ideas in all their intricacy and complexity. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, the more you could say about an idea, the less likely it was that the idea would be misinterpreted…a problem often met with when trying to decipher the meaning behind an image or symbol. Words could give us a more direct way of passing knowledge and ideas to other people with minimal loss of detail in the process. But…the flipside of that is now we had the ability to overwrite, overexplain and overthink! We had the ability to embellish, exaggerate and fictionalize. Thus, the advent of writing gave us the ability to communicate more and more and more information, but it also gave us the problem of then trying to discern what information was truly important, and what was added on for entertainment.

7. How do buildings, whether pyramids or churches, pass on information and knowledge in their structures?

Just as the walls of a cave or the flat side of a rock, or a canvas or empty wall may provide the perfect means of artistic expression, early humans often used architecture itself as a mode of expression and a way of encoding knowledge, wisdom and truth into a building they revered and often worshipped in. There are pyramid structures all over the world, and they are made with a sophistication to detail that boggles the mind. Think of edifices and ruins like Puma Punku, Stonehenge, Easter Island…all involving huge blocks of stone that appear to have been arranged intricately, and for a purpose we are only beginning to discern. Even more modern temples, churches and monuments included symbolism and imagery that spoke to hidden wisdom, and secret knowledge, such as Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, and Rennes-Le-Chateau in Southern France, both of which are rampant with Masonic and Templar symbolism. Often architecture of the past was based upon sacred geometric measurements and ratios that mirrored the cosmos, and were meant to align the power of the earth with that of the heavens. As above, so below. Buildings might be erected upon ground considered sacred or aligned with earthly energies to empower those who worshipped within. Today, we don't think at all of our buildings beyond the profit they can bring to the builders. The only thing we have in common today in terms of sacred architecture are churches and other houses of worship, and monuments we build in reverence to certain historical events and figures, which mirror those built thousands of years ago to honor the Gods and Goddesses of the times.

8. What are some examples of archeoenigmas, objects out of place and time?

Archeoenigmas are objects that are way too old to be found where they are found, or don't belong where they are discovered, and turn the tables on our fixed image of the past. Whenever someone digs up an object that is far older than its surroundings, or speak of a technology that we thought of as much more modern, we tend to brush it under the rug because it shakes the foundation of our understanding of how old humans are, and how little we really know about our own historical development. Some of the most known archeoenigmas are:
The Antikythera Mechanism - discovered in 1901, this clocklike mechanism found by divers is thought to be over 2,000 years old…and possibly the first known "analog" computer! It is a sophisticated object that resembles a fine 18th century watch, with gears and mechanisms that are far more sophisticated than its age should allow. When utilized, this object provided intricate astronomical information and positions of stars, planets, etc…just as a calendar would.
The Dendera Light Bulb - another amazing discovery, this time the image of a light bulb in a stone relief beneath the Temple of Hathor at Dendera in Egypt. This image literally shows a bulb icon with a connected length or wire of cable going into a box object. Did the ancients use light bulbs to power the lights of their temples, which would explain the lack of soot and other carbon deposits that would have been left behind from torches?
The Coso Artifact - In 1961, in a small California town, three prospectors found a geode specimen that was quite unusual, in fact, when they cut it open, they found what appeared to have been a modern day spark plug! Or at lest what looked like a spark plug, because the geode itself was dated as possibly being 500,000 years old! Yet inside was a ceramic substrate that contained a 2-millimeter shaft of material that responded to a magnet and appeared to be similar to an actual line of modern spark plugs called "Champion"and the object was thought to be a hoax, although no one ever explained how the modern plug got into a half million year old geode!

9. What do ancient aliens have to do with viral mythology?

One of the most popular theories as to the means by which ideas and information was spread across vast regions in ancient times is the ancient astronaut/alien theory, that suggests we had some extraterrestrial assistance! Did we have a little help from our friends from above in not just spreading ideas, but did aliens actually IMPART their own ideas to us for our use and advancement? Many researchers believe that we did, and that we even interbred with these visitors and our DNA is the stuff of hybridization of two species. There is a lot of amazing imagery of what appear to be helmeted beings and hovering craft in ancient art, glyphs, symbols...even some more primitive art, too, on cave walls seems to depict "space" people. Written stories that suggest visitation with otherworldly beings can be found in many myths, legends and even religious writings, including the Old Testament of the Bible. Were these images and stories meant to be taken literally, and suggest that we had advanced civilizations coming to assist us along when we needed to evolve and make bigger leaps in technology, medicine, science and even wisdom? From this theory we have a whole line of books, TV shows, and movies that add to the excitement by positing that we are, and never were, alone. "Ancient Aliens" on the History Channel alone has exploded this theory into the mainstream, which some say had its origin in Erich von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods," published back in the 1960s, a book many say opened the floodgates for more ancient alien ideas to go viral in our culture.

10. Any word on your next book or any links you'd like to share? Thanks for this interview.

We have a new book out now called "The Grid: Exploring the Hidden Infrastructure of Reality," that looks at parallel universes, alternate dimensions and the multiverse as an intersecting Gridlike structure of realities, many of which we can and are experiencing when we have paranormal experiences, altered states of consciousness, dreams, deja vu… Our websites are www.paraexplorers.com, www.mariedjones.com and www.larryflaxman.com and we are always up to something new!