Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Son of Mystery of the Sphinx, part 2.

When I began this Son of Mystery of the Sphinx program I knew that there were considerable mnemonic funds squirreled away in the Long Term Memory Bank but I had never really tried to tally up the balance sheet. As it turned out there is a treasure trove of detail there, a saga Hollywoodian in its complexity, with embittered opposing scholarly factions, academic, journalistic and financial skullduggery aplenty, a bizarre tapestry of interwoven plot threads, a cast of improbable characters Central Casting would be proud of …

What was intended as a single program has now stretched to two … with, I now realize to my own astonishment, still more to come.

In this thrilling episode we enlist the services of the NYPD’s chief forensic detective Frank Domingo, to question a highly questionable but hitherto largely unquestioned Egyptological assertion; our presentation at the Geological Society of America’s Annual Meeting produces media fireworks, international headlines and academic sparks that quickly fan into flames…and more…


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Debunking the debunkers

Adrastus writes in Thothweb

>I remember in a class I took with Kent Weeks, back in the early 90's (before he spent all his time on KV5) someone asked him about John Anthony West. Without missing a beat, Doc Weeks said "John Anthony West? What can I say? He's not a real Egyptologist...His methods are sloppy, his ideas are ludicrous, and his mother dresses him funny."
We all had a great laugh about that.<

Jaw responds

>Without missing a beat, Doc Weeks said "John Anthony West? What can I say? He's not a real Egyptologist..<

Correct; I am not a ‘real’ Egyptologist. That is why I know something.

The ‘real’ Egyptologists (with a very few exceptions, Weeks not among them) spend their time arguing over how many asps killed Cleopatra* or, like Doc Weeks, scrabble around on their knees (apposite position) in the dust of yet another meaningless tomb, sifting rubble and eventually publishing a meaningless book or meaningless paper of zero interest or significance to anyone. **

*Serpent in the Sky, p.9, margin note.
**cf., a list of abstracts of any Egyptological conference anywhere in the world.

>His methods are sloppy, his ideas are ludicrous,<

Without examples or citations it is impossible to address the charge of sloppiness, but no examples are needed to address ‘ludicrous’.

If Doc Weeks is talking about my work on the water-weathering of the Sphinx and the need to drastically redate it, it should be enough to say that at two separate Annual Meetings of the Geological Society of America (1991, 2000) the overwhelming, indeed, near unanimous reaction of hundreds of professional geologists was that our evidence looked very convincing indeed. The word ‘sloppy’ was never used, nor did anyone shout ‘ludicrous’.

I should also like to point out here, or re-point out (as George Bernard Shaw liked to say, ‘I always quote myself. It adds spice to the conversation.’) the argument about the Sphinx is based upon weathering patterns in rock, plain and simple, and when it comes to opinions about weathering patterns in rocks, an Egyptologist’s opinion is no better than a proctologist’s.

If ‘ludicrous’ refers to the ‘Symbolist’ interpretation of Egypt that I champion, as developed by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, well, that is another matter; one not to be solved by ‘hard’ science as such but rather supported by a corpus of meticulously accumulated and detailed factual documentation.

Thereafter, what is required is an ability to accurately interpret those facts. This is where ‘real’ Egyptologists like Doc Weeks find themselves in uncharted and, for them, scary territory. Their reaction to this work is, however, perfectly understandable.

The Tao Te Ching (google it up, Adrastus) summarizes the situation well.

‘When the best student is taught the Tao, he practices it assiduously.

When the average student is taught the Tao it seems to him there one moment and gone the next.

When the worst student is taught the Tao, he laughs out loud; if he did not laugh, it would be unworthy of being the Tao.’

Or put another way; it is futile to talk moonbeams to the blind, or music to the deaf, and dangerous to talk sex to eunuchs, they just get angry, sometimes violent.

BTW, I note that the career of the legendary Adrastus was marked chiefly by a succession of failures; certainly a well-chosen pseudonym.

>‘…and his mother dresses him funny ‘ We all had a great laugh about that’<

I trust you’re still laughing.

John Anthony West

Monday, February 5, 2007


Son of Mystery of the Sphinx, part 1. The Geo-panel and the quest to rewrite history.

The true age of the Great Sphinx of Giza may seem like an academic question, to be discussed among academics. The answer would seem to have little to do with the price of eggs, or of gasoline, for that matter. Why should we care?

Central to our reigning and entrenched Church of Progress is the unshakeable conviction that we of the 21st Century, represent the highest (read ‘most evolved’) specimens of humanity ever to have accidentally mutated through 'a series of lucky coincidences' (in the immortal words of Daniel Dennett) on this planet.

But the Great Sphinx is beyond doubt the most spectacular single sculpture ever produced by human beings and the temples adjacent to it are the result of an astounding technology that we cannot emulate today, not even with the most advanced moving equipment at our disposal. In other words, we don’t know how they did it – a fact carefully avoided in the hallowed Groves of Quackademe.

Even in its standard chronology (supposedly carved around 2500BC) the Great Sphinx stands (or rather rests magnificently recumbent) as an enigma –maybe that’s why the much later Greeks had the idea to use the Sphinx (in a variant of their own) as the embodiment of mysteriousness and inscrutability: in their famous Riddle of the Sphinx.

But if the Sphinx is much older, by untold thousands of years, than its accepted attribution, that in and of itself throws the whole notion of Progress (as a perhaps disorderly but nevertheless inevitable linear process leading from the primitives of the past to our advanced technological selves) into serious, perhaps terminal disarray.

In PhoenixFire 3, I tell the tale of the quest, now some 40 years in the making. Through a set of odd coincidences I'm put in touch with Boston Geologist Robert M. Schoch. Initially skeptical, Schoch eventually becomes convinced the water weathering theory is correct, and puts his tenured neck on the block to promote it. Between us we set out to unriddle the Sphinx and in the process eventually force a drastic revision of all of very ancient history and with it - perhaps even more importantly - of the standard and accepted account of the development and evolution of human civilization . We are not who or what we think we are and it may be a matter of critical consequence to understand who we really are, and who we really once were.

While even this will not directly affect the price of eggs or gasoline, it might, with luck, oblige us to look upon such merely economic matters in a new and very different qualitative light.