Something Of Value
Book II: Part 1 of 4 Parts
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Evolution
by R.E. Prindle
Illustrations and Links by Bill Hillman - ERBzine
NOTE: The off-site reference links were collated in 2010 -- some of these may now be discontinued.
Neither is he a universe experimenter;
The Universe Sovereigns may engage in adventure;
The Constellation Fathers may experiment;
The system heads may practice;
But the Universal Father
Sees the end from the beginning...
The Book Of Urantia
While understood as a lightweight fantasy author Edgar Rice Burroughs tackled most, if not all the great burning questions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. One of those questions was the nature of time.
H.G. Wells excited the world's mind with his short novel, The Time Machine in 1895. This was still an astonishing story when I was a kid; for all I know it still is. In his own way Wells hinted at possible universes.
Then in 1905 Albert Einstein astonished the world with his 'Special Theory Of Relativity' which posited certain ideas about Time and Space. Einstein undoubtedly owed a great deal to H.G. Wells. Einstein's theory is posited on the objective existence of time. Then in his Pellucidar novels beginning in 1913 Burroughs denied the objective existence of Time. He said that Time didn't exist as an objective reality.
I am in agreement with Burroughs. He examines the problem at great length not only in the Pellucidar series but in Tarzan At The Earth's Core and Tarzan The Invincible.
He examines the problem of violence and war in detail with numerous examples including his final statement Beyond The Farthest Star.
It shouldn't be surprising that he dovetailed these questions into the really big questions of Evolution and Religion. He doesn't argue Evolution, he just takes it for granted. If you read only Burroughs you would have no idea that Evolution was a very controversial subject. He just assumes that his views are normal and proceeds accordingly. Very daring for his time period.
On Religion his surface opinions which are conventionally anti-Priestcraft, are more polemical in nature but, as Burroughs scholar Dale R. Broadhurst points out in his 'Gods Of Edgar Rice Burroughs' series on the ERBzine, when you examine certain religious systems such as that of Opar closely, Burroughs reveals some very subtle distinctions. He had read widely while the religious milieu of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was particularly active. For the first time society tolerated men like Robert W. Ingersoll who openly denounced religion and the very idea of God. Helena P. Blavatsky who presented a religion opposed to Christianity was also allowed to live. The price was that they were demonized in every way, but they were allowed to live.
Dale R. Broadhurst
Helena P. Blavatsky
The great archaeological discoveries in Egypt, Greece, Crete and Mesopotamia were seriously undermining the validity of the Jewish Old Testament. To the doubting or perceptive the Scriptures were found to be based on much earlier texts.
So, in this essay I would like to examine the evolution of the species and religion with an idea of how Burroughs understood them. It is important to remember that the state of knowledge in Burroughs time was much developed relative to the beginning of the nineteenth century but primitive to what has been learned since 1950.
In his time and well into mid-century it was possible to seriously argue the question of canals on Mars, for instance. We have now seen that there are no canals on Mars or anything approximating them. Since 1950 everything that was valid speculation in Burroughs' time has now been shown in its true light or, at least, 90% so.
The science of Biology has laid bare the progress of Evolution although it hasn't explained it. Even so, no doubt fully 50% of America still denies the possibility, bound instead by the puerilities of 'sacred scripture'.
Make no mistake, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a daring, ground breaking, forward thinking writer who put his fast ball over the plate waist high so hard that few people saw it.
Scientists nearly universally believe that the genus Homo Sapiens originated in Africa. Most put a moral spin on this but if true it is merely a fact. Certain genetic markers point to this fact. Indeed, in Gods Of Mars, in itself a subtle examination of evolution, ERB describes his Black race as the First Born.
He, himself, picked up the idea from the nineteenth century missionary David Livingstone from his book Missionary Travels in South Africa.
In Livingstone's book in a conversation with a Bushman the Bushman tells Livingstone that God created the Black man first, then the White man.
Thinking in a Darwinian way Burroughs reasoned that first came the anthropoids then the Blacks then the Whites. Thus, of the Homo Sapiens the Blacks were the First Born. If the current scientific information is accurate then this is true. Burroughs was on solid evolutionary ground.
Neandertal and Modern Homo Sapiens
Current science teaches us that Homo Sapiens evolved from less mentally developed stock about a hundred fifty thousand years ago. As the most highly evolved hominid Homo Sapiens has displaced all other lines of development. The Neanderthal who existed as a separate hominid species until perhaps ten thousand years ago are now gone. As a separate species it is generally now acknowledged that there was no inbreeding with Homo Sapiens.
In Africa all the predecessors of Homo Sapiens have also disappeared without a trace. As nature does not make great leaps but acts in small increments it is reasonable to believe that at one time several sub-species of hominids existed when Homo Sapiens first evolved one hundred fifty thousand years ago. Indeed, it is neither impossible nor improbable that the Bushman is the immediate predecessor of the First Born. If examined carefully it is possible that two or three sub-species of hominids are still alive.
Comparison of Anthropoid Feet
Had the White man not interfered it is quite possible that the invading Bantus would have exterminated these peoples who had already been pushed from the rest of Africa into its Southern tip. An analogy would be the Great Apes who live deep in the rain forest.
Even today the surviving species of anthropoids are finally being exterminated, much as the Neanderthal probably was, as the burgeoning population of Homo Sapiens cuts and burns over their jungle habitat. Except for zoos the great anthropoids are a thing of the past.
If the African was the first born then it follows that Whites, Semites and Mongolids evolved from him. This raises a testy problem. Evolution means the development from a less developed organism to a more highly developed organism. As physically Homo Sapiens is developed to perfection being the most versatile of all species the only place development can take place is in the area of intelligence.
The development of the brain is what gives the Homo Sapiens the advantage over the anthropoids and all other beasts. Some argue that the brain began developing in response to challenges presented to it. This argument doesn't explain why the Chimpanzee presented with the same or slightly different problems didn't also increase in brain capacity.
The above account assumes that evolution occurs for environmental reasons. I don't see the possibilities there. Evolution occurs when a number of genetic mutations take place finally accumulating to the point where the next sub-species emerges.
Thus the number of pre-Homo Sapiens hominids ran through a long series of sub-species before Homo Sapiens emerged, as our scientists tell us, as the African First Born.
Now, most people assume that evolution stopped with the emergence of the First Born. They assume that the obvious differences between the First Born, the Semites, the Monglolids and the Whites are merely cosmetic. The First Born bleach out in cold climates is their argument.
However it is quite obvious that evolution is still going on and that in Homo Sapiens. Very recently scientists have penetrated the chromosomal structure being able to identify the individual genes which compose each chromosome. While new studies of the functions of the various genes are very likely to be subject to revision nevertheless on 12/29/04 the Chicago Tribune published a report on studies conducted by BruceLahn at the University of Chicago.
"Reporting in the cover article in Wednesday's issue of the journal Cell, Lahn and his colleagues, Eric Vollender and Steve Dorus, found that 17 brain building genes mutated at a tremendously rapid rate in humans, compared with the brains of chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, rats and mice....
Once started, the selection of brain building genes snowballed, resulting in thousands of changes to thousands of genes in a relatively short period, Lahn explained.... Lahn, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the U.of C., argues that the evolutionary forces that led to the big brain continue to act on humans today and are likely to produce bigger and better brains in the future."
Sign me up for a transplant when they're available. Rapidly means over twenty-five million years.
The problem is whether the same brain development is shared by all five sub-species or does the next evolutionary step surpass the abilities of the last. I'm afraid the latter must be true or there would be no reason to distinguish Homo Sapiens from the hominid predecessors. The latter would still be among us fully able to compete.
While many argue that the First Born left Africa to populate the world I do not find the opinion credible. If certain genetic markers indicate that the other four sub-species evolved from the First Born that should explain the genetic markers.
What very likely happened is that the proto-Europeans who, let us call Homo Sapiens II, having evolved were either driven from or chose to leave Africa. Whether the Semites and Mongolids evolved from the First Born or whether they later evolved from HSII isn't clear but I suspect the former.
It would seem that a sub-species once evolved has its set of attributes that can be developed but are incapable of change. Thus there were genetic changes to the brain of those evolved from the First Born, the First Born must remain mentally constituted as he was when he evolved one hundred fifty thousand years ago.
Nevertheless he was the first stage of Homo Sapiens, the Main Stem. Obviously Evolutionarily there were many dead ends such as the Neanderthal of which we know but there were probably many dead end offshoots from the Main Stem over the twenty-five million year course of brain building.
While the Semite and Mongolid are more developed than the First Born they must be dead end evolutionary shoots.
The main Stem of Evolutionary development was passed to the people who settled the Mediterranean Basin as it lay exposed during the last ice age.
When they evolved isn't clear but I imagine it may have been perhaps fifty thousand years after the First Born, say, one hundred thousand years ago.
With them Civilization began. The First Born never created a civilization. Aided by additional genetic brain development the Meds approached life with an early scientific vision. Sometime later, perhaps another fifty thousand years, a further improvement in brain capacity created HSIII. Thus as the Neanderthal still roamed Europe with Homo Erectus still living in the East the First Born occupied sub-Saharan Africa, the Semites the Arabian peninsula, the Mongolids East Asia, the HSII the Mediterranean Basin and as groups will not tolerate other groups HSIII being driven away from HSII occupied the area between the Caspian and Aral Seas.
Van Danikin and others like to posit that civilization began when extra-terrestrial visitors having landed and been cordially greeted, which is very unlikely, in a most friendly fashion instructed rude savages with no understanding into a very high civilization. Nice fantasy, although before you condemn this school remember accredited scientists believe that both water and life arrived on Earth as extra-terrestrial hitchhikers on meteors.
I believe neither account. HSII began the long laborious effort to rise from ignorance to knowledge the old fashioned way. Nor do I think it took that long for them to begin. Most scholars think that discovering the shortest day of the year took ninety-five thousand years for HSII to do it. HSII was never that stupid. Building the tools to pass on knowledge was a slow and laborious process but certain men recognized the possibilities immediately and began to act on them.
Knowledge is a dangerous thing especially when that knowledge contradicts perceived reality. Thus, whatever the avant garde learned that the masses couldn't accept had to be kept secret. In order for the work to go forward colleges of cognoscenti had to be formed. In order to protect them they had to be made inviolable or sacred. Hence religion and the Priesthood arose.
The Priesthood originally was meant to develop and protect these acquisitions of knowledge. This function would endure until the differentiation of knowledge into Philosophy, Religion and Science became noticeable in eighth-century Greece. From that point on knowledge and thought take on a role independent of religion. From that point on the Priesthood had outlasted its function. Instead of encouraging the growth of knowledge it chose to suppress it.
Thus the tradition of denigrating the Priesthood arose. Edgar Rice Burroughs took this stance throughout his work. 'Religion' per se is imagined to be OK but the Priesthood had corrupted it. Burroughs and others imagined a time when 'pure religion' a 'natural religion' existed. The differentiation of Religion into its three components or, in other words, the increase in knowledge was the culprit.
The Theosophist Helena Blavatsky sought to reconcile the three parts into one whole as it had once been. In point of fact Science was subsuming the other two.
Given a few thousand years of observation, if indeed, it took that long, a method for determining the shortest day of the year is relatively easy. Certainly big brained Homo Sapiens could tackle that problem.
The ways of proof are indirect of course, but I believe shortly after leaving Africa for the Mediterranean Basin HSII did discover how to determine the Winter Solstice. With that discovery the worship of the sun began. This would then evolve over the next ninety-eight thousand years into the religion of the Unconquerable Sun as practiced by the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus and not just coincidentally in the religion of the Christ. The Christ is a Sun King. I say the Christ and not Jesus Christ because the latter name is a title affixed to the discredited Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth. More on that later.
Having once determined the length of the year it soon became obvious that by counting forward, the length of a sun cycle was approximately three hundred sixty-five days. This is not a difficult task although it may have taken a few decades or even hundreds of years to get it right especially as that extra quarter day every year would have been a real clinker.
Once having determined the length of the year the college of Priests could then determine the time of the recurrence of natural events during the seasons. When we speak of 'Time' this is when time was born. Then gradually, in however crude a form, the concept of the months came into existence. These divisions which numbered twelve became known as the Zodiac.
This was the beginning of the Astrological Religion of which Pisces or Christianity is only one Age. As we know the Zodiac only as the band of astral constellations surrounding the planet, the divisions of the Zodiac make no sense.
First let me explain the terrestrial meaning of the signs then I will explain how and why they were translated to the heavens.
2. The Zodiac
It is best to begin with the Winter Solstice which is when the Unconquerable Sun triumphant once again begins to wax toward the Summer Solstice when the forces of evil triumph driving Sol ever backward until once again with the Winter Solstice the Sun conquers yet again beginning to wax. This is the central myth of the Mediterranean.
I can only apply the modern Zodiacal symbols which in themselves are of Cretan-Greek origin dating back to at least -2000. One may assume that over the millennia the symbols were modified but the meaning remained the same.
At the beginning of the year we have Sagittarius the Archer who is half horse half man. The horse corresponds to the last part of the year while the Archer facing the new year shoots an arrow. The destination of the arrow is the Summer Solstice when I imagine it strikes Sol Invictus in the heel, much as Cancer the Crab seized Heracles by the heel, beginning the Sun's decline.
After Sagittarius is Capricorn, half goat half fish. The fish probably denotes the beginning of the Spring rains while I am unsure of what the goat signifies, perhaps pointing to the rutting season.
Up next is a very important sign. Soon to be the prevailing age is Aquarius. In the Greek Zodiac this sign is governed by Hera. Indeed, the male god Aquarius is pouring out water onto Hera as the symbol of Earth. The male fertilizes Hera in her capacity as Virgo the Virgin. Soon the Earth will sprout up into virgin birth.
Next is Pisces which denotes the rainy season followed by Aries the Ram. The Spring Equinox occurs on March 21st in Aries. Equinox as I'm sure everyone knows means an equal day and night. Thus on March 21st the new year begins in earnest. Christ is risen. The Ram may be thought of as butting the new growth from the ground much as in the Greek illustration where Persephone is rising from the ground aided by Hermes who chips the earth away to make her rise easier.
Taurus the Bull is just that, a figure representing the exuberant vitality of the new growth.
Gemini or the Twins passes the now nearly waxed year on to Cancer when Sol Invictus once again temporarily meets his match. Cancer is represented as a crab because the crab having captured a victim moves sideways or backwards indicating the shortening days. Thus while the period after the Winter Solstice seems to fly by as represented by the arrow the Summer months seem to slowly recede. I don't know about you but the second half of the year seems to be about twice as long as the first half to me.
Cancer is followed by Leo the Lion when the sun is at its seeming strongest. While the warmth of the sun has made everything grow and prosper the blazing heat of the sun of July causes growth to wither and die. Thus Virgo the Virgin succeeds Leo. This may be a little hard to follow but the Earth becomes barren once again or virgin. After the bath of rain virgin growth will begin again. Thus Hera who is both virgin and matron governs Aquarius who provides the showers in the Greek Zodiac.
Then follows Libra with her scales. The Autumn Equinox begins this period. Once again the night and day are equal hence Libra's scales tip toward winter at this point.
Rounding out the year then is Scorpio the Scorpion. Its significance possibly is that it kills the old year by biting it on the heel. Sagittarius rises once again to shoot a new arrow as the Unconquerable Sun marches on to victory.
It's a pretty story.
Now, all the time the colleges of Priests were organizing this calendar they were watching the heavens. Much later the Hermetics would be given credit for the formula 'As above, so below' and vice versa. It is absolutely ridiculous to attribute the origin of the slogan to such late times. The roots of almost everything can be projected back to very early times. Actually everything can.
Having watched the skies while having developed the Zodiac as an annual terrestrial cycle, these ancients then transposed the Zodiac into the heavens. While watching the sky they noticed without knowing the reason was the declination of the planet, that the North Pole because of the resultant wobble described a circle taking about 25,000 years to do so. They designated this phenomenon the Great Year. Using the formula as above, so below it became clear that the Great Year must have twelve divisions just as the lesser terrestrial year does. So they merely transposed the Zodiac with the same twelve divisions and the same signs onto a belt of stars on the horizon which they organized into constellations which seemed to correspond to the signs.
As each sign corresponded to something over two thousand years in duration these periods were designated Ages with the corresponding qualities of these signs. Hence, when you haven't seen someone in an Age you literally mean that it's been two thousand some odd years ago.
How long it took the Ancients to discover the Great Year is beyond me but as I believe the discovery was made by observations rather than mathematics I assume a full cycle to a cycle and a half, perhaps forty thousand years.
There wasn't any hurry as a lot of other details had to be worked out first. Technology always has to catch up with imagination.
It's all very well to say this but if true there must be historical evidence to verify its possibility, right? I'll do my best. In the first place nothing was ever discovered, invented or developed over night. The times for these things to come into existence are immense.
Even the transmission of this knowledge from generation to generation is an immense problem. The Priesthood must have spent great effort to first indoctrinate novices then drill them in the essentials so that they in turn could pass on the information.
One is reminded of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 when the art of printing had been lost so that cadres of priests walked around memorizing the great books to pass on to novices so that the works wouldn't be lost.
Things were developing quite nicely when disaster struck destroying this first effort at civilization lock, stock and barrel. Having moved into the Basin during the last ice age, that ice age now ended. The waters began rising and continued to rise for several hundred feet. This must be the Great Flood which has come down to us from Mesopotamian records. There can be no other of this magnitude.
When the waters stopped rising the Mediterranean had assumed its present form. Some scientists say the waters rose very rapidly but still not so rapidly that the people couldn't flee. Naturally they fled to the high places. That was the littoral of Africa, especially the best watered location, the effluence of the Nile, Crete, Pelasgian Greece and Phoenicia. Apparently a group made their way into Sumer. Some say all civilization from East to West was the result of this disaster. I believe it is so.
One asks do the civilizations have anything in common that would indicate a common origin. Yes, they do. For my purposes here one thing they have in common is the Zodiac. They all share a form of the Astrological Religion.
The material aspects of the civilization perished beneath the waters. The more important intellectual heritage was preserved as the colleges of Priests fled to different locations. Egypt appears to have gotten the Mother Lode with Crete and Sumer next. Spain and Italy received little which probably indicates that the metropolis was on the South Side of the Basin. I suspect it was opposite the islands of Malta.
Crete may have indoctrinated Pelasgia or possibly a college reached there. This much is certain, when the Greeks arrived in Pelasgia c. -1700 they brought no knowledge of the Zodiac or the Astrological Religion with them. The whole of Greek civilization was based on this earlier knowledge which must therefore have been highly developed before -2000. Thus no Greek in +-100 sat down and by a brilliant stroke of cogitation developed the whole thing in a moment.
To begin with Mesopotamia. In their myth the fifth king after the Flood was the Lugal Banda. He comes into power as the Age of Aries began. Therefore the Sumerians believed the Flood took place four kings or Ages previously. That would place the Flood either at the transition from the Age of Virgo to the Age of Leo or perhaps into the Age of Leo. That would amount to some eight thousand years or so before 2000 BC. Are we on the track for the ending of the ice age? Yes we are.
Going to Egypt the Sphinx, which was originally a lion with a woman's head, was probably shaped at approximately the same time. It is placed beside the Place Of The First Time over which the Great Pyramid is built. The Place Of The First time is a mound or hillock which it was believed to be the first to emerge from the Flood. This also fits the time frame.
Now let us go to Crete and Hellenic Greece. Crete was a very ancient civilization when the Hellenes or Greeks first arrived.
The Greeks were a people who had formerly lived in today's Armenia at the Eastern edge of the Black Sea. It is believed that a pharaoh made an expedition to the area about -1900. I believe it probable. Soon after this date the Hittites dropped down into Anatolia, modern Turkey, where they became a power relative to both Mesopotamia and Egypt.
The Greeks began a migration around the Euxine, now the Black Sea, dropping down into Pelasgia from the North. They apparently brought little or no religion with them, taking over the religious structure of the various Aegean peoples. Zeus was a Cretan god and not Greek. Hera was indigenous to the Argive area being Pelasgian in origin.
At some point after the Greeks had captured the Oracle at Delphi they brought Cretan priests from the island to staff it. Hence Hellenic religion is a reflection of the original Astrological Religion.
Zeus who succeeded his father Cronus to supremacy became the religious icon along with Hera of the Arien Age in Greece. His father Cronus was the male archetype of the Taurean Age. Cronus' father Saturn was the archetype of the Geminian Age. So Greek Astrological Religion can be traced back to at least -6000. Further investigation will probably uncover at least the Cancerian and Leonine Ages.
Now if the Astrological Religion was operative in the Age of Leo then its origin must have been Ages before. Thus while it may be uncertain exactly when or in detail how the religion originated it must have been inherited from a previous civilization which existed in the Mediterranean Basin. Call it Atlantis or what you will.
As Zeus was the archetype of the Arien Age who had succeeded his father who was not dead but banished to far Tartarus, which is to say 180 degrees (humph no degree sign on this keyboard, think of that.) due West of sunrise so it was augured that Zeus would have a son who would replace him. Of course. At the transition from Aries to Pisces. The son was Dionysus. However when the Age of Pisces rose the intellectual and racial situaltion was so confused that a Semitic prophet, Jesus, was given the mantle while the Greek cult of Kyrios Christos, based on Dionysus, was attached to him so that he became Jesus the Christ or Jesus Christ. Dionysus in a Semitic form.
Now let us look at the evolution of the relationships of the sub-species of Homo Sapiens as they then stood.
The Time Machine: Online Edition
Tarzan at the Earth's Core: ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.
Tarzan the Invincible: ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.
Beyond the Farthest Star: ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.
The Gods of ERB by Dale R. Broadhurst
Robert W. Ingersoll
Ingersoll in ERB's Personal Library
Mars Canals Map
ERB and Mars Canals
The Gods of Mars: ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.
Missionary Travels in South Africa by David Livingstone
Homo Sapiens Study
Origin of the Races
Dr Jastrow's Homo sapiens dissecatus
R. E. Prindle welcomes your comments
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