Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Machiavelli Journal

I did a module on Machiavelli's 'The Prince' this term. Having nothing better to write for this week, I have decided to put up my journal:

Initial Impressions (Chapters 1-4)

Perhaps the first thing that truly struck me about Machiavelli is his detached and clinical approach to the political problem. As Cassirer puts it, Machiavelli describes the laws of politics as if they were ‘lines, planes or solids’ or perhaps the rules of a ‘chess game’. He displays equal detachment during mundane political observations about the different types of states (chapter 1), and during times when he counsels the reader to extinguish the line of the old prince and the stronger nobles within a conquered land, or that ‘there is no sure way’ to hold onto a former republic except to destroy it. In his discussion of Louis XII’s actions, he too makes no other judgments than that of effectiveness.

Strikingly when compared to moral-political philosophers like Plato or Aristotle, or even his Florentine predecessor, Dante (in his Monarchia), Machiavelli does not appear to question the ‘why’ of the political game, but mainly the ‘how’. No mention of ‘just wars’ and exceptional measures in exceptional circumstances here, merely a rational description of effective means to secure power. Cassirer has a point when he writes that ‘the political world has lost its connection not only with religion or metaphysics but also with all the other forms of man’s ethical and cultural life.’

It is no wonder that Bacon calls Machiavelli a political scientist. For in most ways before the final exhortation to the Prince, Machiavelli does appear to be engaged in a strict and detached study of the nature of politics, its properties and laws, in almost sterile isolation from mere human qualms and emotions—perhaps even his own. Certainly the idea of Baconian science as a study to extract empirical knowledge of Nature so as to create effective means to achieve our aims (‘knowledge is power’) is analogous to Machiavelli’s political science.

Post-Seminar Discussion

The discussion centers primarily on Machiavelli’s view of the Roman Catholic Church of his day and the relation to his politics. The idea of ‘acquisition’ (as in the 2nd chapter) is central to both the modus operandi of the Church and of the State. There is some lively discussion on this issue. In Machiavelli’s thought, I personally would want to distinguish clearly between religion and the Church. In terms of political efficacy especially, I do not think Machiavelli is anti-religious at all, so far as he sees religion as an effective tool of social control and political manipulation:

It is therefore the duty of princes and heads of republics to uphold the foundations of the religion of their countries, for then it is easy to keep their people religious, and consequently well conducted and united. And therefore everything that tends to favor religion (even though it were believed to be false) should be received and availed of to strengthen it; (Discourses, I:12)

Clearly then, Machiavelli understands the priceless power of faith (whether intellectual or emotional) and dogma in mobilizing social forces. This is of course a rather ‘modern’ and secular view of religion, for the modern state does not generally commit to any creed, but permits religions for purposes of social harmony and psychological peace (and these may by and by contribute to economic development). Should religion teach anything contrary to the interests of the State, the State will not hesitate to come down hard (witness the banning of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Singapore).

The Church is of course a different matter in Machiavelli’s opinion. In many places, especially in Discourses I:12, he points out how the Roman Church has been instrumental in the division of Italy (and therefore perhaps a prime target of destruction in any Italian political project) , and strikingly that ‘the nearer people are to the Church of Rome, which is the head of our religion, the less religious are they’. Here it is actually unclear what this true religion or true religious behavior actually is, though Machiavelli did point out that ‘if the Christian religion had from the beginning been maintained according to the principles of its founder, the Christian states and republics would be much more united and happy’ (Discourses, I:12). Presumably then he is talking about the usual ‘religion’ of the Christian Italian people (meaning commitment to the normal ethics of non-violence, trust, love, peace and so on)

Yet, in this interesting statement, one may detect a central contradiction in Machiavelli’s work. For in neither the Prince nor the Discourses does Machiavelli recommend Christian ethics as an effective basis for political action. Indeed, if we analyze the precepts in his works carefully, it may well be that Isaiah Berlin is right in demonstrating Machiavelli’s allegiance to basically a classical set of values, i.e. that of ‘Sparta or Periclean Athens or the Rome of the Republic or even of the Antonines’

It would be interesting in future seminars to see how far this ‘pagan’ orientation of Machiavelli is true.

First Impressions (Chapter 4-12)

As a Christian, perhaps the most striking thing to me was Machiavelli’s view of Moses as an ‘armed prophet’—as if attributing his success to his ‘virtu’ and skill in deploying political forces and arms, than his empowerment by God. It is also odd enough that Moses is lumped together with secular and pagan rulers like Romulus or Theseus. While I have definitely read such secular, and one would say, almost cynical interpretations of Moses as a mere political leader (albeit a very effective one), these are generally relatively recent accounts. Machiavelli is definitely the earliest writer I have ever read who proposes this audacious thing. But my knowledge of the period is insufficient to establish whether Machiavelli is truly the first such writer.

Since the 4 great leaders named in the chapter—Moses, Theseus, Cyrus and Romulus—are united in their success in imposing their own institutions on their peoples, we might enquire whether this is actually one of Machiavelli’s main goals in his political action: that is, the creation of a novel and unified Italian political entity through ‘virtu’ and skill? As I asked in the earlier reflection, I remain quite unclear whether we can view Machiavelli as simply one who is proposing a science of politics without view to the ends of his methods, or does he, like the other political writers, have the creation of a more perfect polity in mind?

If we relate this to the final chapter of the Prince, with the exhortation to the reader to free Italy and so on, then is Machiavelli proposing these 4 as the models for an Italian liberator? Again, it is often unclear how far to take all these at face value. Where has the republican Machiavelli of the Discourses gone then? Is he seriously thinking that an Italian Moses will found a republican Italy, or does the ideal of unification override that of republicanism? Or does he see a republic evolving naturally from a despotic state? These are all questions I would definitely keep in mind as the seminars proceed.

Post Seminar:

The seminar did discuss the question of Moses at length. I personally think Ben’s interpretation is a little too extreme. I do not think we need to interpret the plagues and Passover event as a cover for Moses’ use of force against his people or his identity as an armed prophet. There are plentiful enough direct evidence for that in the Bible. In any case, the basic issue stands; I would think my first reflection about the pagan Machiavelli probably is correct. His is a definite exercise in self-reliance, in which human beings rise or fall, according to skill and fortune, with no reference to Divine Providence.

Linked to this is Machiavelli’s conception of a good or bad use of cruelty. Here Machiavelli describes cruelty as being ‘evil in itself’ (though one wonders what he means by that). Sheldon Wolin has written an enlightening article on ‘the economy of violence’ in Machiavelli, describing how he highlights without euphemism the need for the political leader to ‘dispense violence’, and Machiavelli’s contribution to ‘a science of the controlled application of force’. And in the situation of the new prince, Wolin describes how Machiavelli especially recommends the necessary use of violence to ‘organize everything in that state afresh’ (Discourses, I, 26).

Here we again come to the question of Machiavelli’s political ends. Does Machiavelli view controlled and economic use of violence as being justified because of the ‘good’ (however defined) implicit in the founding of a glorious new political order? Or is that irrelevant to the question? Personally, I cannot deny that violence and arms are key foundations of the power government. No governance is possible without some form of coercion. But most governments today at least, will seek for the application of violence via the controlled and open guidance of laws. And these laws must in some way be shown and manifested to be for the common good (however defined). This is the key for the perceived ‘justice’ enforced and executed by the government. Granted of course this is the ideal situation and it does not always happen that way, yet the legitimacy of governments must rest on this. Or else, if the state is merely an enlarged version of the Ego of the ruler, why in the world should the populace obey him? And why is it wrong to disobey or exterminate such a government?

I wonder why Machiavelli does not deal with this all-important question of political legitimacy. Or does he feel that the ruler could always use the persuasions of religion or ideology to simply brainwash the people? But are the masses truly so stupid that one cannot eventually penetrate such things? And I truly wonder where the compact of trust between ruler and ruled can come into such a political picture. It seems more like a recipe for anarchy (or a totalitarian state) than a political commonwealth.

First Impressions: Chapter 13-19

Given Machiavelli’s great interest in force as the main sustenance of political life, it is no wonder that he spends 3 chapters analyzing in detail the military wing of the state. For someone who has actually trained a militia in his native Florence, it is no surprise that his preference is for an army raised from the subjects, citizens or dependents of the Prince. One cannot dispute that an army who fights for the love of money is inherently less effective than an army who has the further incentive of loyalty or patriotism (obviously even a home army needs to be paid, rewarded and supplied). Again we see the usual Machiavellian motif of how physical force must be backed with mental force (ideology etc.) for the greatest effectiveness.

However I find it glaring that Machiavelli does not elaborate much on the question of winning loyalty or building patriotism among the populace (a question linked of course to political legitimacy). After all, a native army without allegiances is as bad as any mercenaries—if not worst, due to their probable inferiority of experience. Thus although Machiavelli counsels the Prince to pay attention to the art of war in times of peace and heavily emphasize the superiority of ‘one’s own forces’, he does not really advice much about the actual means of building up a home force. All in all, it is ironic that Machiavelli, who has helped to build up a native force that has in fact failed to stand up to a Spanish army (events that allowed the Medicis to return) is now counseling a Medici to attempt what he has failed in.

Post Seminar Discussion

The seminar discusses whether it is a contradiction that Machiavelli, who after all is teaching the art of politics, counsels the Prince to have ‘no other object’ in mind but the study of the art of war. Is the art of the Prince reducible to that of war? Is politics therefore in some way equivalent to warfare? I myself see some plausibility in that interpretation. As Von Clausewitz has written, ‘War is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means’. Certainly the picture painted in Machiavelli of self-interested players jostling with fraud and force (the two means of warfare) in the chess game of power fits the interpretation of politics as war.

In this chess game, the Lion and the Fox both have their place, and none more so, according to Machiavelli, than Pope Alexander VI. And it is to Machiavelli’s credit that he gives such a powerful and realistic portrayal of a corrupted and evil Pope in action:

Alexander VI never did anything else, never had another thought, except to deceive men, and he always found fresh material to work on. Never was there a man more convincing in his assertions, who sealed his promises with more solemn oaths, and who observed them less. Yet his deceptions were always successful, because he knew exactly how to manage this sort of business.

Whatever Machiavelli’s actual beliefs, I personally think he has done religion a service by showing how far mankind’s spiritual ideals can fall when religious leaders start to use their ideological influence to secure political and economic power. In any case, the tone of contempt is very obvious. To me, passages like this reveal a different Machiavelli from the normal clinical political analyst. Here the gall of bitterness and hatred for the hypocritical and supposed Guardians of Truth and Faith truly stain the words. One cannot help but reflect on Machiavelli’s disillusion with contemporary religion, politics and ethics.

Indeed how can Machiavelli not have a greater admiration for the stern and austere ideals of the pagan Romans and Greeks (made even more wonderful by their distance), when all that is held up to him by contrast is the sordid picture of contemporary Christendom? Perhaps Benedetto Croce goes too far in calling Machiavelli ’an anguished humanist’, but well, for whatever cause, anguish is certainly there in both The Prince and The Discourses. As mentioned many times in this reflection, Machiavelli is gutted with disgust with the practices of the Church and also, to some degree, with the foolish wrangling of contemporary Italian leaders. Certainly the tirade against mercenary armies is an intense criticism of current Italian practices. The contrast of the modern with the Roman Italians are simply too glaring to be missed.

This widespread disgust and disillusionment no doubt carries over to Machiavelli’s appraisal of conventional ethics. As the seminar has discussed, Machiavelli make short shrift of Christian virtues like mercy, love, and trustworthiness. Appearance is all that matters. While I agree generally that Machiavelli is certainly cynical (or realistic) about human nature, yet I will not be too quick to equate Machiavelli’s attack on ‘trustworthiness’ with an attack on ‘faith’. Yes, Machiavelli indicates how many are duped by their trust in appearances. But trusting in appearances in never a moral or Christian virtue. Trustworthiness is the virtue, not credulousness--the gospel has after all counseled the wisdom of the serpent and the innocence of the dove.

However Machiavelli staunchly realistic appraisal of ‘virtue’ in political players is radical and refreshing. Like a skilled and ruthlessly honest physician he points out the sheer rot and hypocrisy that is universally present, and perhaps shockingly necessary in political life. Again the haunting dilemma pointed out by Isaiah Berlin is present: Can the ultimate ideals of a Christian life by reconciled with the ultimate ideals of political life? Yet again, whatever Machiavelli’s beliefs, he has done humanity a great service by his ferociously realistic exploration of evil in the political realm. As Francis Bacon has written:

We are much beholden to Machiavelli and other writers of that class, who openly and unfeignedly declare or describe what men do, and not what they ought to do. For it is not possible to join the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence of the dove, except men by perfectly acquainted with the nature of evil itself.

Initial Impressions (Chapter 20-26):

In chapter 25, Machiavelli engages in an important discussion about the relation of ‘virtu’ with ‘fortuna’—virtue with fortune. As Felix Gilbert has pointed out in his article on ‘Fortune, Necessity and Virtu’, Machiavelli’s view of fortune is very different from that of many of his contemporaries, in that these usually view Fortune as smiling upon her elect, who receive this grace passively. Machiavelli on the other hand wrote:

So with Fortune, who exerts all her power where there is no virtu prepared to oppose her, and turns to smashing things up whenever there are no dikes and restraining dams.

Fortune is a woman, and it is necessary, if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force, and it can be seen that she lets herself be overcome by the bold rather than by those who proceed coldly

In other words, Machiavelli basically pits the bold decisive man of ‘virtu’ against the caprices of Fortune—which is depicted as a form or type of Nature. I would agree with Gilbert that this image of a continuous struggle with Fortune is much in line with Machiavelli’s emphasis on force and struggle as the fundamental condition of the political life. And in Machiavelli’s subtle political analysis, he takes full account of the shifting circumstances of the world, which allows the bold man of virtu who seizes those precious, few moments of optimal coincidence and fortune to undertake lightning actions of explosive effects.

Finally, the image of a sexual assault on Fortune also recalls Machiavelli’s emphasis on the need for the Prince to utilize both the man and the beast. This insistence on the instinctual side of man as a key ingredient in successful political action is of course very radical and much in line with the anti-Christian emphasis of his political ethos. In the shifting sands of the world, it is instinct and not reason that best help man to exploit the ‘incalculable forces’ of political action.

Post Seminar discussion:

The seminar basically discusses Machiavelli’s contribution to the foundations of modernity. As someone who is deeply interested in the history of science, I am much engaged by Machiavelli’s possible contributions. I would think it is correct that Machiavelli’s idea of the world as a clash of struggling and power hungry forces, where man is called upon to use both his reason and instinct to boldly grapple with the forces of society, Fortune and Nature, does contribute to the formation of the present scientific worldview.

I would emphasis ‘present’ because if we do look at the scientific thinkers working closer to Machiavelli’s time, men like Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon and especially Newton, their viewpoint were in fact basically theistic, i.e. God is far from being out of the picture. Newton, whose Principia Mathematica basically shaped science for the next 300 years, openly wanted his work to prove the existence of an intelligent Maker, through revealing the precise and beautiful laws that govern the physical universe. In other words, the early scientists typically seek to gaze on the ‘firmament of the heavens’ in search of the glory of God.

Of course the untended consequences of Newton’s work was basically that scientists, focusing on the ‘clockwork universe’, began to wonder why God is needed at all. Perhaps the Aristotelian ‘Unmoved Mover’, the ‘First Cause’ simply set everything on automatic till the Last Day. Eventually, the scientific world began to move from the absence of God’s providential action, to his non-existence. But the clinching blow did not come till the mid 19th century, from Darwin’s The Origin of Species, where Machiavelli and Hobbes’ view of a war of all against all appear to be inscribed in the very tablets of Nature. Better yet, humans are shown to descend from apes and are indeed, no more basically than a superior animal. Machiavelli again stands vindicated in his emphasis on the ‘beast’ in man.

From this point onwards, the scientific consensus moves closer and closer to that of the perspectives of Machiavelli and Hobbes. Hobbes’ view of man as automata and as a purely physical machine began to move from a credible hypothesis to practically the accepted truth in biology. Even then, many biologists held out against this materialistic tide by positing the ‘elan vital’, the life force that supposedly makes life special, self-replicating and conscious. But even this was eventually overthrown, and in fact not till the mid 20th century, with the discovery of DNA, a purely physical mechanism for reproduction.

Thus if we trace the development of science, we can see it moving more and more in the direction of the Hobbesian man. And if we trace some of the interesting developments in science today, I would think the 21st century is likely to carry this further. Perhaps the most pressing question in biology today is the mystery of consciousness. For if man is truly a fully materialistic entity, where does consciousness come from? The field of artificial intelligence in particular is based on the premise that the minds of human beings are basically algorithmic phenomena and that the brain is a computational device. Humans are merely biological computers, and therefore, it is possible to not just build computers with human level intelligence, but indeed, conscious computers. To AI researchers, the conscious computer will be the final vindication of the materialistic conception of man. To prove that man is indeed a machine, we must build a machine that is a man.

So is the world becoming more Machiavellian? In the realms of science, it is unfortunately so. And thinkers like Machiavelli, Hobbes and Nietzsche do us a valuable service by painting a clear, brutal and yet strangely attractive picture of a world where men and indeed, supermen who are both beast and automata hold sway. Is that the world we want? Ignoring the lessons of the Nazi experiment, many scientists who are committed to a fully materialistic conception of men, are talking of the ‘transhumanist revolution’, the possible confluence of nanotechnology, genetic engineering, cybernetics and artificial intelligence, to raise the physical beings of men to mythic heights—and to perhaps annihilate death itself. Yet instead of believing in this utopian vision, perhaps we might do better to read Machiavelli and envisage what such a world might really look like.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Translated and edited by Robert M. Adams. New York: Norton Critical Edition, 1992.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Atlantean Origins

Foundation Center for Antediluvian Research: Archive CXI

In the depths of the Ice Age more than 20,000 years ago, there were seven tribes who lived in the old Nile valley of northern Africa. The old Nile was not the Nile of today, but an even mightier river that flowed westward across the present Sahara desert into what is now known as the Atlantic Ocean. The Sahara itself was not a desert but a vast temperate grassland bounded by the ice of the North and filled with flowing streams and diverse plants and animals. The seven tribes were nomads and traders, and over their millennia of wanderings, they had created an exceptionally rich culture with well-developed literature, science and religion. And unique among the peoples of the age, the seven tribes were united by their pacifistic philosophy and their beautiful hymns and ideals of Sacrifice to an unseen and infinite One. And also unlike their primitive neighbors, the seven tribes enjoyed a sophisticated political system that approximated the modern federal republic.

Because of their pacifism, they were driven from place to place, always refusing to fight with their growing and powerful competitors. For a long time the vast expanse of the old Sahara permitted such expediency, but fierce tribes from the north were a particular problem, and so was a large migration of peoples from central Africa and the Middle East. The seven tribes will use cultural conquest, commerce, diplomacy and on occasion, tribute to fend off these neighbors, but the increasing population of northern Africa had begun to exert an inexorable pressure on them. The seven tribes had a large population, advanced metallurgical skills and were indeed far better organized and richer than any of their neighbors. In addition, they had managed to domesticate a relative of the lion, and could field a fearsome force with these beasts as offensive mounts. In a great conference organized by the Council of Seven--their supreme elected leaders--and the great advisory council of the Melchi, the prophetic priest-sages of their religion, the tribes conferred and discussed whether they should build up an army, destroy their enemies and carve up a secure homeland.

There were many vehement debates, but the head Melchi of the time had received a strange series of dreams and visions instructing them to do an astounding thing. In these visions, they had seen a lush continent across the ocean to the northwest, and that land was totally uninhabited by human beings. If they will eschew bloodshed and have faith in this guiding Hand, they will claim this land as their own for all generations to come. Such was the authority and power of the Melchi in those days that they managed to inspire the desperate tribes to stick firm to their pacifistic ideals and travel to the Nile delta at the Atlantic Ocean.

Thus transpired the Atlantean Exodus. Guided by the Melchi who were skilled in the scientific arts, the gifted artisans of the tribes constructed a huge fleet of sea-worthy ships, and at an unknown but momentous date, they set sail for the continent that later generations will know as Atlantis. Guided by the visions of the Melchi and the stars, they landed at Atlantis months after they set sail. The first point of landing will become the city housing the Atlantean Union (akin to the modern United Nations), the city where the Council of Seven and their representatives will meet annually for all of Atlantean history.

Soon afterwards, sailors circumnavigated the mainland of Atlantis and other explorers penetrated the interior, and sure enough, the whole land was devoid of human beings. It was also temperate, well watered and being a volcanic region, was extremely fertile. Thus at the city of the Union, another great conference established the different borders of each tribe in accordance to their nature and numbers. And given that they saw the land of Atlantis as being a holy gift of God, and freed from any pressures from aggressive neighbors, the Atlanteans gave up their nomadic ways and settled down. The seven tribes thus became the Seven Atlantean Nations. At this point the Melchi of the seven tribes also had a conference of their own, and they decided to belong to no nation but become an international order that will be impartial servants of all.

However in these earliest centuries of the Settlement, the Melchi themselves gradually split into three groups. The first evolved into the Atlantean priesthood and church that was wholly dedicated to religion and based in their holy city in the middle of the Atlantean mainland. Another became the mainstream ‘mages’ of lore, an order dedicated to pursuing the knowledge and dominion of nature. This group, which later split into countless schools and orders, will gradually transform Atlantis over thousands of years into a spectacularly advanced and complete civilization. The third decided to retain their ancient ways, and continue the integration of religion, politics, science and mysticism of the early Melchi. However the third order was a dwindling minority as there were too few candidates with the diverse talents suited to the demanding training in so many fields. And the increasing materialism of Atlantean society brought about by growing prosperity, coupled with the competition by the other 2 orders worsened their situation. After a few thousand years, the third order disappeared from history and only scattered remnants of what became known as the ‘mad mages’ survived.

But before the demise of the third order, the last true Melchi, those who led the Exodus, had conceived another plan to ensure the future of the Atlantean nations. These Melchi lived an exceptionally long time by later standards, and it was rumored that a few of the early Melchi even lived till the end of the third order. In any case, in the first thousand years of the Settlement, when the old ways of the Melchi were in danger of dying out, the remaining Melchi and their disciples in the third order decided to use all the means at their disposal to solve what they saw as the chief problem of Atlantean civilization—the increasing ‘degeneration’ of the Atlantean population. For in the pre-Exodus days, the seven tribes had a relatively small population that was centered (through education and subtle spiritual influence) around great Melchi. This situation produced an exceptionally healthy, refined and intelligent population that persevered in peace and civilization through thousands of years of nomadic wandering.

With the massive growth of the Atlantean population and economy, the death of the pre-exodus Melchi and the relative dwindling of the third order, the Atlantean population were growing more and more ‘ordinary’ and like their old neighbors in Africa—increasingly dominated by greed, hatred and ignorance. Since there was no practical way of increasing their numbers, the Melchi and their disciples decided on the risky and unprecedented way of replicating their spiritual influence in physical vessels. Thus was initiated the fateful forging of the Atlantean Stones, the greatest achievement of human technology before or since.

These stones, more than a hundred in number, were designed as windows to the spiritual world. Each of them emanated a powerful and specific wave of beneficent energy, and coordinated by seven master stones, all of them resonated with each other to create an all-encompassing field of energies wide enough to envelope the entire land of Atlantis and every living thing there. Thus all Atlanteans, whether they know it or not, lived in a spiritual atmosphere of intense truth and light and harmony. Children and the unborn especially were intended to benefit from this arrangement due to their heightened receptiveness. Clearly, it was man’s first attempt to shape the direction of his evolution.

In another fateful move, the forgers of the Stones made them practically indestructible. The whole work was also done over centuries of secrecy to ensure an absence of opposition. Both measures were meant to ensure the perpetual influence of the Stones after the Melchi themselves are gone. And indeed, their plan worked magnificently. The degeneration of the Atlantean race was eventually arrested, and the other 2 orders were invigorated. For thousands of years, peace and harmony flourished in Atlantis, and the Atlantean people evolved into perhaps the most beautiful, civilized and powerful race ever seen on the face of earth. Thus was born the legend of the Atlanteans as a semi-divine race, the children of the gods. The regeneration came however too late and too slowly to save the third order from extinction, and soon after the final Stones were forged, their creators faded away.

The original guardians of the Stones were of course the third order, but with their dwindling numbers they were forced to hide the stones in special complexes in the mountains and the wilderness. When the third order ended, the mysterious ‘mad mages’ took over the stewardship of most of the stones. However the knowledge of their construction was lost. Some stones even went missing (but not destroyed), but regardless the whole matrix of energy throughout Atlantis was maintained for many thousands of years.

One consequence of this field over Atlantis was the Atlanteans were never very comfortable anywhere outside Atlantis—though almost none of them knew why. Most will simply attribute this to the innate ‘holiness’ of the Atlantean motherland. Serious colonization efforts outside of Atlantis (other than the Atlantean isles around the mainland) were never undertaken. The only exception was the great Return, but that shall not be elaborated upon here. Thus regardless of the Atlanteans’ great achievements in technology, their legendary wealth and relatively massive population, they did not spread across the globe like the latter Europeans. Another reason for this lack of colonization was of course the Atlanteans’ continuing inclination (mostly) towards pacifism. Missionary efforts however were pursued in earnest. Thus did the Atlantean religion, language and culture spread over thousands of years to the peoples of Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and some parts of the Far East. The Americas were relatively untouched due to several massacres of Atlantean missionaries.

Thus was initiated the first world civilization.