Paranormal Yakker with your host Stan Mallow

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Season 2 Episode 3

Ancient Cosmology
Laird Scranton has written a series of engaging and informative books on ancient cosmology and language. It includes The Science of the Dogon and Point of Origin. In his interview with Stan Mallow, the Paranormal Yakker, Laird discusses his latest book, Primal Wisdom of the Ancients. The Cosmological Plan for Humanity. He explores the mystery of why so many ancient cultures share similar cosmological philosophies and religious symbolism. He also talks about how ancient civilizations viewed the universe, the creation of our world, and man’s role in it. How ancient civilizations viewed natural occurrences such as the spring and autumn equinox and the summer and winter solstice are also covered.
Also, Laird explains the commonality of symbolic elements found in many ancient cultures and the similarity between various religions, their belief systems, and the structures that they worshiped in. Laird’s research found symbolism in early cosmological architecture. Regarding that, he gives examples of how that symbolism showed itself in architecture. Laird also explains how ancient symbols and the written word interconnect with each other. Further, he talks about the shared cosmological knowledge of many ancient cultures. It includes the Maori and Dogon cultures, ancient Egypt, Vedic India, Buddhism, the Hebrews kabbalistic tradition, and the Tibetan Bon religion. In his book, Primal Wisdom of the Ancients, Laird shows the interconnected wisdom of the ancients. He points out the forgotten instructional tradition at the source of this knowledge was deliberately encoded to survive for generations. Addressing this, Laird gives his suggestions on how humankind today can put it together so we can discover the ancient plan for guiding humanity forward toward greater enlightenment.

Transcript of video Interview

Stan Mallow
Hi everyone, I'm Stan Mallow, and welcome to Paranormal Yakker. My guest on today's show is Laird Scranton. I'll be discussing with him his book, "Primal Wisdom of the Ancients: The Cosmological Plan for Humanity." Laird Scranton, welcome to Paranormal Yakker.
Laird Scranton
Thank you very much for inviting me on, I've been looking forward to this talk.
Stan Mallow
Now, your book, Laird, explores the mystery of why so many ancient cultures share similar cosmological philosophies and religious symbolism. For those in the audience who may not be familiar with the term, could you please explain what exactly is the science of cosmology.
Laird Scranton
Cosmology is the way that ancient, when we talk about it in terms of ancient cultures, is the way that ancient cultures understood how processes of creation happen, where material forms come from, where the universe came from, where biological life comes from. And in the ancient view, there's parallelism between those three processes. So much so that one of the primary sources I work with for comparative understanding of how these ancient cultures, what they believed about these processes, one of the primary sources simultaneously describes all three of those processes using a single progression of symbols. They're describing how the universe forms, how matter forms, and how biological life happens.
Stan Mallow
How did ancient civilizations view the universe, the creation of our world, and man's role in it?
Laird Scranton
This perspective begins with a philosophy called Samkhya out of India. Samkhya is a companion to yoga, and it's the foundation for all the classic, or many of the classic religious traditions in India. For my purposes, it's the foundation of the Dogon religion in northwest Africa. Samkhya says universes form in pairs and that there is a cycle of energy between the universes that is as essential to life in the universe as the flow of water is on a planet, to life on the planet. So they compare this cycle of energy to water evaporating to form clouds that rise up over the mountains, produce rain that flows back to the sea. Without that cycle of water, there would be no life on Earth. The Dogon are saying and Samkhya is saying, without that cycle of energy, there'd be no life in the universe.
Stan Mallow
How did ancient cultures view natural occurrences such as the spring and autumn equinox and the summer and winter solstice?
Laird Scranton
If we imagine that cycle that I was talking about, the cycle of energy, as being comparable to the annual cycle of a year, then this flow of energy back and forth between the universes equalizes at the point of what would be the equinox of, of this imaginary year. The, in India it's referred to as the great year. The solstices compare to a point in the cycle when one universe is totally, as massive as it's going to get, and the other universe is as the least mass it's going to have. And so those points of the cycle are very pertinent to the concepts we're talking about, and so they become important symbolically in the ancient cultures.
Stan Mallow
What, in your opinion, Laird, explains the commonality of symbolic elements found in many ancient cultures?
Laird Scranton
Okay, we're talking about Jung's archetype, his archetype symbols and mythical themes, these are the elements that he noticed were present in widespread cultures around the planet, cultures that were not thought to have had direct contact with each other in ancient times. Now, the perspective of Buddhism is that knowledge was deliberately instructed it to humanity in ancient times. The perspective of the Dogon is the same, that the archetype theme of eight bringers of civilizing skills to society, this is a theme that we see reflected in many different ancient cultures was the consequence of this deliberate instruction that someone who understood far more than we did tried to give us a leg up. They tried to instruct us in skills of agriculture, they tried to help us establish a framework for human society, and at the same time, they were explaining concepts of creation. Their hope was that by encouraging us to understand our true place in relation to the larger processes of creation, that we would be likely to make better choices for ourselves.
Stan Mallow
What is the similarity between various religions and belief systems and the structures that they worshiped in?
Laird Scranton
For the Dogon and the Buddhists, the concept of an aligned shrine, like a Buddhist Stupa, becomes a central icon for the concepts of, these concepts of creation that are, at heart, scientific. There is geometry used to align these shrines that pertains, according to Buddhism, it replicates how, how space emerges. If we understand that a little more deeply, we come to see that it also recreates a dynamic of how time functions. Material time as we experience it, which is linear, and an oscillation of time that happens non-material, that persists non-materially. So the shrine represented a place where non-materiality and materiality came together. The first example of such a shrine we have, or sanctuary, is the Gobekli Tepe site in Southeast Turkey that is around 12,000 years old. But we see similar concepts reflected down through history in other ancient cultures. We see it in ancient Egypt, we see it in India, we see it in Northern Scotland, we see it in Polynesia with the Maori in New Zealand. it's a pervasive idea.
Stan Mallow
In ancient civilizations, schooling, how was it decided the leadership would be, and where did those leaders believe their wisdom or ideas came from?
Laird Scranton
Well, I'm in the fortunate position that I have two symbolic traditions that seem to have independently retained the details of, of the symbolism. One is Buddhism, where concepts are expressed in Sanskrit, and the other is the Dogon culture, where the words are expressed largely, largely in ancient Egyptian words. Some of the words are also Hebrew words. Because those two traditions match each other in the modern day to the extent that a modern authority on Buddhism agrees, largely, with a modern authority on Dogon religion in terms of the meanings of symbols, the meanings of words, the purposes of rituals, and so on. Buddhists flatly claim that their most sacred symbols were gifted to humanity by a non-human source. The Dogon take it a step further, they say not only was the source non-human, but originally the source was non-material, that somehow that this non-material group of teachers was able to take material form and take action in a material frame interacting in normal, everyday ways with us.
Stan Mallow
Well don't, they may have been called by a different name. In ancient religions and cultures, identities, or to who they attributed similar functions or purposes.
Laird Scranton
Again, I'm in a fortunate position because Dogon, the Dogon system is dedicated, Dogon society is dedicated to preserving original forms and they have preserved, in addition to that, original forms of words, original forms of meanings of syllables that were treated as in the same way that symbols are treated in ancient Egypt. In the Dogon system, what we see are discrete, scientifically reasonable stages of the formation of matter, formation of the universe. And the names that are assigned to those stages, we can tell based on the phonetics of the words, what they were meant to represent. We go to ancient Egypt and we find the same concepts represented by similar words. Where the Dogon had discrete scientific stages described, the ancient Egyptians represented deities. There's an anthropomorphism that goes on. There are actually certain circumstances under which we witness the Dogon anthropomorphize the concept. They explain the concept to us scientifically, and then they explain to us how and why they anthropomorphize that. There are certain concepts that are easier to explain through a narrative than through us, through an image. For trying to describe a concept, a symbol, a symbolic image is appropriate to that, it's up to the task of doing that. If we're trying to describe a process, it's helpful to have characters in an narrative act out the process and that's what I see the original purpose of this anthropomorphizing was, was to provide them with characters who represented such things as the concept of light, or the concept of the formation of material structures, and allow those characters to act out the scientific dynamics that they represent.
Stan Mallow
In your research, where you found symbolism in early cosmological architecture, can you give some examples of how that symbolism showed itself in architecture?
Laird Scranton
Probably the clearest and most familiar example of that happens about midway through the era at around 3,200 BC on Orkney Island. One of the metaphors, whoever put this, this system of symbolism and knowledge together was trying to express things in terms of metaphors that they hoped would resonate with a technological audience. This is technological information that would not be recognized by a society that did not have access to microscopes or telescopes, so on. They're representing such things as the shapes of electron orbits. They're representing such things as the interaction of virtual particles. Without technology, a culture wouldn't understand that. But 10,000 years ago, trying to frame a metaphor that would resonate with a future technological audience was a trick because they had no idea what our frame of reference would be. So one of the metaphors that was created to talk about the processes of material creation is that non-materiality was represented as if it were a sleeping woman or a sleeping goddess. The processes of material creation were represented as her awakening. And so we go to such places as the book of the Genesis and we see a god of light, Jah, represented as, at first, a glow of light that hovers over the, the waters. Water's representative of this sleeping goddess. That induce her to open her eyes and see the light, and by seeing and perceiving the light, she initiates stages of material creation. So on Orkney Island at 3,200 BC, we find the first farming village in northern Scotland, the first farming village in the UK, where every house is built to a plan that, from a Dogon perspective, represents the shape of a sleeping goddess. It has a round room on one end that represents her head, has two side rooms that represent her arms, it has a central room that represents her body cavity with a hearth where the heart should be, doorways and openings in the bottom portion of the house that represent her sexual parts. That symbolism is explicit with the Dogon who still build houses to that plan. The relationship between that architecture, the architecture of the Orkney Island Skara Brae houses and the Dogan house is one of the links that validates interpreting Scottish, ancient scat, Scottish forms in terms of African and an Egyptian cosmological symbolism and language.
Stan Mallow
Thank you so much for making a thing that could be complicated into terms that everybody could understand. I think this was great, I thank you for that. Now, how do ancient symbols and the written world interconnect to each other?
Laird Scranton
The Dogan, by choice, never adopted a written language. Their outlook was the same as what's, Plato tells us Socrates believes. Socrates saw written language as a degradation of knowledge. And we can, that might seem counterintuitive to us, but we can understand it in that, for many generations, the way professional skills were transmitted from generation to generation was by apprenticeship, that an apprentice would link themselves with a master of a skill and learn it directly at the, at the feet of that master. The Dogan are saying that that's the way you want to learn a complicated subject is from someone who thoroughly understands it. You don't want to learn it by reading textual references and off the internet. If I was trying to learn to bind leather-bound books I would want to learn it from a book binder, not from the internet. Well, the Dogan and Socrates saw written language as a way to misrepresent, for a person to misrepresent that they understood a subject when they didn't. They also saw written language as a kind of security breach waiting to happen. If I'm in possess of certain important knowledge, I have control over who I tell that to and who overhears me telling it to them. With a written text, you lose that control, and so you end up with a, a security breach. So the symbolic language and oral language was key in the early eras of this tradition to transmitting knowledge. The entire system is expressed in terms of symbols that are formulated in particular ways that reflect the hand of intention. These are not haphazard symbols, these are symbols where meaning is expressed in predictable ways.
Stan Mallow
Do you find in your research of ancient civilizations things that many have thought to be the myth or legend didn't really have merit and there was some element of truth in them?
Laird Scranton
I find that all the time. My entry point to this process was realizing that the Dogan were in possession, the Dogan are a modern day, primitive African tribe. They live in mud huts and villages, they, they grow onions, they carve wooden art objects, they paint cliff paintings. This is a culture that is not possessed oftechnology, but they know certain scientific facts that they shouldn't reasonably know. They know facts about astronomy, they know facts about creational science, about matter and so forth. I could see that they had a correct definition of what an atom was. They understood what protons, electrons, and neutrons were, and they even included a drawing that correctly described the motion of electron within an atom. This is a shape that has been actually pictured through electron microscope studies, they, they can actually see what this shape looks like, scientists can. So the Dogan had that shape right. But the Dogan also had a descending series of stages of, of matter that I wondered at the time, could, is it possible that those could also be scientific? I, at the time, I didn't know. I didn't have enough of an overview, myself, of the science to be able to say whether this was scientifically reasonable or not. As it turns out, it consistently is, all the way from, from matter in its wave-like state to matter in its state as an atom. Frankly, even deeper than that, it goes down to root energies of the universes, why non-materiality differentiates from materiality, how dimensions form, how time and space emerge, even to some, some of the more perplexing problems that astronomers are facing right now. Astronomers can't figure out how it is that the universe seems to be expanding at an ever-quicker rate, having to postulate concepts of dark energy, some mysterious force that's out there pushing the universe, accelerating it faster and faster and faster. The Dogan perspective is different than that. The Dogan say what's actually happening is that increased mass in our universe is causing our frame of reference of time to slow down. And so when we look out into the distance with our telescopes, we're seeing the effect of that. Just as it looked to us, like, originally that the sun was orbiting the Earth, and it took some introspection to figure out that wasn't true, we have the same kind of a conundrum with the expansion of the universe. The Dogan see it one way, the astronomers see it another. And there are many different cases like that where what looked like intractable mysteries of astronomy just evaporate if you look at a different way.
Stan Mallow
Now in your book, Laird, you show the interconnected wisdom of the ancients and the forgotten instructional position at the source of this knowledge was deliberately encoded to survive for generations. Do you have any suggestions, I mean, do you have any thought how, how mankind today can put it together so we can discover that ancient plan for guiding humanity forward to a greater enlightenment?
Laird Scranton
All it really takes is to seriously entertain the idea that there might be something worth studying there and actively pursuing it. We need to make certain rules for ourselves in order to do that in a coherent way. Probably the greatest threat to the kind of study that I do comes, arises out of what I call wishful interpretation. It's understanding that the human brain is wired to see patterns even when they might not really exist or might not really be valid. Any of us have says, can remember as a child picturing animals out of cloud forms, as we looked up in the sky. This is our brain actively working to make sense of what we're seeing. Prevent that from happening, we make a simple rule for ourselves, which is that interpretations have to begin with what, one of the, one or more of the ancient cultures flatly claim to be true. Every interpretation should begin there with the Buddhist or the Dogan or the Hindus or the Kabbalahs or some group flatly making a claim to say, "By the way, this symbol represents such and such." Then my job as a researcher is to test that, to compare how other ancient cultures who share the same element understood it and make sure that they all understood it reasonably in the same way to learn what I can learn from words they used to describe it, drawings they use to associate with the idea and so forth, and kind of triangulate in on an original sense of meaning for each symbolic element, that's, that's the work I do.
Stan Mallow
And you do a great job of it, I mean, in short, I could not put down your book, reading it completely through. You bring up so many things, makes one question a lot of things, and realizing that maybe there is nothing, no, under the sun, I mean, no adages or saying, are true, that there is a validity in them, and so you're giving people a lot of thought. And I think in today's world that we're living in today, I hope people read your book and it gives them food for thought, maybe gonna go back to go forward. I'd like to ask you this, should my viewers, and I'm sure there'll be a lot of them, want to order Primal Wisdom of the Ancients or any other works you have offered. Today you have a great series of books on ancient cosmology and language. How or where do they go about doing it?
Laird Scranton
Well, all of my books are available for order through any bookstore, or you can find them on Amazon.com. You can order them through my publisher, Inner Traditions at InnerTraditions.com, or you can order them through SimonAndSchuster.com. They're pretty available out there.
Stan Mallow
Thanks, Scranton, I just wanted to thank you for being my guest on Paranormal Yakker. On behalf of myself and my viewers, I want you to know that your willingness to share so freely, your knowledge of the primal wisdom of the ancients has been illuminating, it's been very much appreciated. I thank you for that. We hope you have fun vibes. Hi everyone, I'm Stan Mallow, host of Paranormal Yakker, an exciting free YouTube series that explores everything from ghosts to UFOs. To view this series just click on any of the photo thumbnails below. I would greatly appreciate it if you subscribe to my free YouTube channel. All you have to do is click on the subscribe for free button at the top of this page. Thanks.