Chariots Of The Gods: Was God An Astronaut? (Erich von Daniken)

chariotsMy miserable old mum first brought this book to my attention. The 1960s and the 1970s produced an alarming amount of attention on “unsolved mysteries” such as the Yeti, the Bermuda Triangle, the lines on the Nazca plains, as well as UFOs. Enter Erich Von Daniken in 1967/68…tons of books and documentaries and TV shows focused heavily on the trail he blazed though many seemed just a little trite.

The seven million selling Chariots Of The Gods really set people’s imagination alight back in that hippie era. But it has not aged well and some bits (that sounded scientific didn’t it?!) are downright depressing: It turns out that not only did we fail to land on Mars by 1986, as was once a “certainty,” but we’ve seemingly given up the quest entirely. The writer’s optimism toward man’s progress, anchored in the early achievements of the space age, simply did not align with a future written by politicians and tax payers. That said, despite becoming dated, a discussion of technology was essentially unavoidable given the nature of the material.

It’s amazing how little we know about our own past. Whether or not one is able to buy in to the proposal of visitation by extraterrestrial intelligences being a plausible conclusion, any sufficiently curious person should be taken in by the mysteries which modern doctrine tends to gloss over.  First of all, this book is not science-fiction. Just because Mr von Daniken’s interpretations are different from the typical archaeologist community, it doesn’t mean they’re bad. He is not preaching anything, just stating his theories based on facts. Yes, facts. He did make some mistakes, but he was perfectly able to correct them in other books later on. And his hypothesis didn’t come out of thin air; the mythological “coincidences” he stated are worthy of mention and study, and he did travel all around the world to explore the sites.

The author had looked across broad geographic regions, evidences, and time periods to assemble a host of information that contradicts the mainstream interpretation that ancient civilizations were less advanced than our own. Instead, Von Daniken holds firmly to the belief that the “mythologies” and artwork were actual records of witnessed events. He uses the breadth of citations and the assumption of reported events to propose the theory that these ancient Gods were, in fact, aliens who had brought advanced teaching to ancient peoples and had used their superior technologies to create the ruins that are still visible today

Ultimately I highly recommend this book. The key, I think, is to focus on the questions posed in the content, rather than the conclusions. It’s the questions which are fascinating, and it’s the questions which, more often than not, continue to stand the test of time. How did ancient civilizations query and transport boulders so massive they would challenge even modern machinery? For what purpose were giant structures and drawings that could only be viewed from space? Why did religions spanning the physical earth, and without regular contact with one another, share such similar stories of origin? How did ancient cartographers gain knowledge of seemingly “undiscovered” lands, and ancient astronomers of planets and galaxies only recently observed with modern optics? If anyone can answer all these top hole queries then that would be splendid. Well done, Erich.

erich vd

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