A law is but a deduction from experience and experiment, and therefore laws must conform with historical facts, not facts with law"
I consider Immanuel Velikovsky to be one of the most influential minds in the last few centuries. He was a genius on par with Einstein, and a revolutionary thinker. It is however, unfortunate that many are completely unaware of this man.
Velikovsky was a Russian born scholar who at a younger age attained a medical degree and then went on to study and practice aspects of Psychology under Freud's first pupil Wilhelm Stekel. Throughout his early life he became very much interested in the Jewish literature, mythology and biblical origins of his earlier religious familial faith. He eventually moved to the U.S.A where he first produced a book about the Oedipus narrative in conjunction with Psychological theory. Studying old manuscripts set him off along academic paths of comparative mythology - to which he would eventually write his first heavily controversial book "Worlds in Collision"
Worlds in Collision quickly became a number 1 bestseller in the U.S, and its audience of academics became deeply divided. Quite a few ridiculed his ideas without ever having read his work, while a separate group of intellectuals hailed him as a revolutionary thinker. Later on this became known as the Velikovsky Affair - and many drew parallels to persecution of Newton's ideas.
Why was this book so controversial?
For the first time a scholar used multiple disciplines, drawing on historical records to paint a picture of modern humanity. This mostly angered the geologists and archaeologists of the day who saw his interdisciplinary approach as meaningless, of not pseudo scientific-work. Geological inquiry has no place for historical, cultural connections - and even archaeological. Using a myriad of cultural texts from around the world as a basis, Velikovsky lays out a framework in which to explain those based on modern scientific data. The real reason this caused an uprising was simply because it threatened the very basis of Geological and Archaeological inquiry; the doctrine of Uniformity.
"The tradition of many peoples persist that seas were torn apart and their water heaped high and thrown upon the continents. In order to establish that these traditions refer to one and the same event, or at least to an event of the same order, we must keep to this guiding sequence: the great tide followed a disturbance in the motion of the earth...The Chinese annals say that in the time of Emperor Yahou the sun did not go down for ten days, the world was in flames and in "their vast extent the waters over topped the great heights".
The traditions of the people of Peru tell that for a period of time equal to five days and five nights the sun was not in the sky, and then the ocean left the shore and with a terrible din broke over the continent; the entire surface of the earth was changed in a catastrophe. The Choctaw Indians of Oklahoma relate: "The earth was plunged in darkness for a long time - a bright light appeared in the north, "but it was mountain-high-waves, rapidly coming nearer." The Midrashim contain the following description: "The waters were piled up on to the height of the sixteen hundred miles, and they could be seen by all the nations on the earth." (Velikovsky: 57, Worlds in Collision)
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