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This site author knows David Talbott very well, and considers him to be the foremost mythologist in the world, if not the foremost scholar. He is a polymath of extremely high intelligence and integration capability. More importantly, in scholarship his integrity and valuation of the truth is at the highest level. The genius of David Talbott as a mythologist is that he has made a science out of the comparative method to winnow out identifications and historical realities, and he has identified the acid tests to support or falsify the proposals.

Patterns of Human Memory
By David Talbott & Michel Tavir

Michel Tavir wrote:
Human remembrance, forgetfulness and the good old days: every single person living in coastal Western Europe "knows" that the weather has changed in the past few decades. Every single person "knows" that when they were children, there was always snow at Christmas. Well, sort of. Meteorological records tell us another story: two white Xmas's in the past 50 years or so. Memory and the use humans make of it are very fascinating things indeed.

David Talbott Replied:
Gotta disagree with you here concerning the meaning of the "exemplary" epoch, since I believe you are referring to my comments on the Golden Age. Comparative analysis will show that the memory of the Golden Age is much more than a recollection of "the good old days". It is a global idea with very specific content: passage from timelessness to time; rule of the universal sovereign as first king "on earth", a superior, motionless sun in the sky; identification of this "sun" with the first king; paradisal garden divided by four rivers of life; identity of the garden with the turning "wheel" of the sun; identification of the "hub" or "nave" of the wheel with the mother goddess; identification of the "axle" of the wheel with the unborn warrior- hero; placement of a crescent on this same wheel; location of paradise on the summit of a mountain reaching to the center of the sky; identity of the original sovereign with Saturn; identification of the goddess with Venus; identification of the warrior-hero with Mars; violent collapse of the paradisal condition; exile or displacement of the original sovereign; subsequent wars of the gods; subsequent regeneration of the world– to name only the most elementary components of the idea.

All of this relates to the matter of memory "and the use humans make of it", which I do see as the key, though not quite in the sense I think you are implying.

When investigating events witnessed around the world, the patterns of human memory enable us to draw conclusions of a far more specific and dependable sort than could be obtained through physical evidence or physical theory in the absence of human testimony. Initially, almost no one will realize this. But to discover that this is indeed true, it is only necessary to follow the appropriate groundrules. The groundrules are designed to expose the substratum of memory beneath all of the regional fragments, enabling one to speak for the substratum with the highest level of confidence.

Quite frankly, this has been the most difficult point for a few of our readers to grasp, and we continue to hear references to "Saturnist's subjective interpretation of myth" and the like (c.f., Lynn Rose's and Peter James' comments at the recent SIS conference). But the purpose of pattern identification is to REMOVE all subjective interpretation, to assure that the reconstruction rests on cross-cultural points of agreement, where the patterns cannot be disputed. For example, no one can dispute that ancient words translated as "the sun" were words for Saturn in ancient astronomies. That's all we need to know, and the fact that one critic or another can guess at an alternative "explanation" to the one offered by the Saturn model is utterly irrelevant to the validity or non-validity of the Saturn model. All anomalies have prompted proposed "explanations" and that includes hundreds of recurring themes. If we had to separate out every theme and base a defense of the Saturn model on our ability to prove our interpretation WITH RESPECT TO THAT THEME ALONE, we would indeed be in trouble!

The only issue logically is the predictive power of the Saturn model in relation to the substructure as a whole. Taken as a whole, the global patterns do not just suggest certain external events, they REQUIRE them. To see that this is so, however, one must consider the patterns with sufficient specificity and completeness, eliminating all selective perception. Considered in isolation from the larger patterns, all we can expect is a madhouse of guesses and interpretations. But when it comes to the full substratum, no fundamentally false "explanation" could possibly work. This truth, however, will be recognized only AFTER enough of the substratum has become sufficiently clear to the researcher to eliminate any doubt concerning the underlying coherence of the patterns

Once one is willing to consider ALL verifiable patterns, it will become clear that they are all connected to each other, that they are entirely consistent with each other, and that, from top to bottom, they explicitly and flagrantly contradict all patterns in our sky today. Had the planetary forms not appeared in the ancient sky, such detailed and coherent patterns simply could not be there.

[The comment which follows is not directed at Michel, who has shown a sincere interest in these issues]

When I think about it, I'd have to say that we Saturnists have been remarkably tolerant of the more extreme abuses of logic and common sense by certain critics :-) At the SIS conference, AFTER Ev had presented numerous illustrations of global imagery showing Venus smack in the center of the ancient and universal "sun" pictograph, Peter James stood up and drew a picture of a circle with rays, telling the audience that children naturally draw the Sun that way, end of mystery. Did he not HEAR Ev's presentation? :-) Did he not SEE the pictures Ev showed? :-) Did he not wonder why Venus was drawn as a SPHERE in the center of the depicted "sun"? Or why the streamers of Venus were shown reaching across the entire face of the larger body? Did he not wonder why the images are identical to ancient pictures of "Saturn's wheel"? Or wonder if there is any connection between such images and the ancient language of Saturn as "sun"?

Peter James is a scholar commanding great respect. But after viewing his SIS comments, I am prompted to ask: If a critic will not even engage the first scratches on the surface in our presentation of acknowledged patterns, are we not permitted to doubt the sincerity of his interest?

Michel wrote:
Sacrifice is a fairly vast notion. I wonder whether sacrifice of animals (found in its "purest" form in clan initiation rituals) and human sacrifice (found in its uttermost form in holy wars - but aren't all wars "holy"?) can be equated. Some hints as to the mythical significance of the former (initiation consisting in the intake of the clan's animal's spirit by sacrificing it) might be found, if I remember well, in Carlos Castaneda's later books.

Dave replied:
Sacrifice does indeed take many different ritual forms, and these collective practices certainly do reflect memories of planetary upheaval. But they also draw our attention to a deeper human tendency, and this tendency, I believe, must be confronted as a pre-condition to any healing deserving of the name. If we peel away the respective ritual forms of sacrifice, we will eventually confront a root idea more fundamental than any collective practice. By the "sacrifice principle" I mean the idea that something (be it yours or mine, a thing, a possession, or life itself) must be given up in order for ME to gain an advantage. How did this idea arise? There is nothing inherent in planetary catastrophe to make ritual sacrifice "logical", unless an underlying premise had already been accepted. (I do realize that more needs to be said to make the point clear.)

"The principle of sacrifice involves an obstruction of human awareness, a barrier to the innate sense of the unity of life". this does not seem - repeat seem - to apply to the cannibalistic sacrifice of war prisoners among pre-Portuguese Brazilian Indians - where prisoners received the best and most honourable treatment before they were sacrificed and eaten (hearts first). I would associate this kind of sacrifice with the type of animal sacrifice mentioned above, whereas animal sacrifice in the ancient religions of the Mediterranean (including Judaism) resembles Amerindian human sacrifices, for instance.

But keep in mind that the "honorable treatment" you refer to above cannot be separated from the honor being paid to the sacrifice principle itself. The distinctions you make between ritual practices are surely valid, but all forms of sacrifice do express an underlying, uniquely human conflict, or a contradiction in human motivation and perception, if you will. Rather than address the point here, which would unfairly imply that I'm directing the comments toward something you have said, Michel I will post some further notes on the sacrifice principle separately.

Not sure I can formulate where the line should be drawn, if a line has to be drawn, that is. Cruelty, maybe? The birth and the success of Christianity reflecting times when people felt pretty sure that the planetary gods had stopped "acting" (or had forgotten that they had been acting) and that they no longer had to be appeased with sacrifices? Nonetheless, the abolition of ritualistic sacrifice didn't keep cruelty away from Christianity, until very recently at least. Incidentally, it seems that ancient Greece, as opposed to most of the cultures and time periods we can turn our eyes to, shunned the practice of cruelty towards fellow humans (not that it was unheard of: the gods of the Pantheon made a generous use of it).

I would suggest that when thinking philosophically, no "lines" be drawn in response to the sacrifice principle, since the distinctions between different expressions of the principle are only matters of degree and of variations in the form of projection involved. But an acknowledgment of the sacrifice principle and its effects is, I believe, essential both to constructive self-inquiry and to cultural healing. The value of penetrating to the taproot principle is that, once we discover that the idea is contradicted by another principle we know to be true and do not wish to violate, then only one correction is necessary. On the other hand, if we do not confront the taproot, we will tend to treat some forms of the error as advantageous, some as harmless, and some as unforgivable. And that pretty well encompasses the human condition in all its variations.

"Guilt" is a concept extremely peculiar to Judaism and Christianity. As such, I believe, its "bandwidth" is too narrow to be useful when considering events on a planetary scale over such a time range as implied since the Saturn configuration.

I do not believe that it is correct to limit the influence of "guilt"-concepts to Judaic-Christian influences. If there is no sense of SOMEBODY'S guilt, there can be no sense of "deserved punishment", and wherever actions or events are seen as deserved punishment, some idea of guilt (either "mine" or "yours") must be present. In fact many instances could be given from around the world in which the "guilty" party is a god. Much of Egyptian and Mesopotamian magic can be seen as early variations on the theme of "casting out the devil". Accordingly, various rites were designed to continue indefinitely the "punishment" of a guilty god or goddess, the male or female form of the chaos monster (witch- burning being the most familiar instance). This is only one variation on the scapegoat principle and that, too, is a form of sacrifice and certainly does involve the projection of guilt.

All of this requires something more than a natural event. It requires that human imagination see events in a particular way. I simply do not believe that any experience of "guilt" is possible apart from a prior attraction to the sacrifice principle. (But again, I realize that what I mean by the "sacrifice principle" needs further explanation, and I'll try to get to that.)

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