Was Atlantis real?
- A 2017 Chapman University poll revealed that over 50% of Americans believe that Atlantis existed.
- According to Edgar Cayce, American Christian mystic and clairvoyant, Atlantis “located from the Gulf of Mexico to Gibraltar—was destroyed in a final catastrophic event circa 10,000 BC.”
- Ignatius Donnelly, a 19th-century politician, wrote Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, published in 1882, in which he related that Plato’s stories about Atlantis were “largely factual and suggested that all known ancient civilizations were descended from this lost land.”
- Legend says that Atlantis was built by the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, “when he fell in love with a mortal woman Cleito. He made this city on top of a hill, on an isolated island in the sea, to protect her and named it Atlantis.”
It is almost a complete certainty that Atlantis existed at some point in our history. However, it's important to note that many researchers believe that Atlantis isn't a single place but rather a 'mosaic' of countless lost cities that fell prey to the rising sea levels and great deluges of our past. There's a reason that the story of Atlantis has special meaning to people around the world. Our cultural subconscious gravitates towards this tale because of our collective memory of terrible environmental disasters that completely destroyed humanity's greatest past civilizations.
Examining the science behind the 'myth' of Atlantis, researchers agree that the Earth has experienced massive flooding in the past, as is evidenced in geological data. Deserts were once oceans, and oceans were once mountain ranges--the Earth is constantly changing.
Just look at our cities today, the majority of which are situated along the coastline. What would happen to these great cities if we suddenly faced a massive deluge? What about the documented rise in sea levels? How can we be sure that the building materials we use today, like wood and plaster, would even stand the test of time? In 1000 or 5000 years, would anyone be able to find our greatest coastal cities if they were submerged hundreds of meters below the surface? Or would they simply fade into the idea of 'myth?'
This is precisely what happened to advanced civilizations in our past--and what could still happen. Atlantis is real because even with our own modern innovations, we could be the next Atlantis.
The idea of a sophisticated society lost to the sea in the distant past is a fantastic tale and no more. While the hunt for and belief in the existence of Atlantis has grown in past decades, it’s important to remember the origin of the tale. Atlantis was first mentioned in Plato’s dialogue with Critias, in which the people of Athens prove the power of statehood by defeating an attack from Atlantis, sending it sinking into the sea. It’s a wonderful tale, but it never happened. Atlantis has come to represent many things; a spiritual calling, a long-lost utopia, perhaps hope for an idealistic society. It’s easy to see why many have the desire to connect with such ideals. Unfortunately, these beliefs are based on fantasy; the city of Atlantis was an allegorical device, not a historical civilization.
The main reason that we can all rest assured that Atlantis never existed is that there simply is no proof. Researchers have looked far and wide; they’ve found many interesting things, but none of them are Atlantis. Technologies like underwater sonar and carbon dating have allowed researchers to locate and study incredibly old artifacts. It is frankly impossible that a vast underwater continent with remnants of a sophisticated society would go overlooked by those mapping the ocean floor, laying transatlantic cables, mining and drilling, or those ensuring shipping channels are safe to navigate. Ironically, NOAA’s mapping of the seafloor with Google Earth briefly increased speculation in the existence of Atlantis, that is, until supposed artifacts were found to be computer errors. It’s no coincidence that Atlantis hasn’t been found; it doesn’t exist.