Laird Scranton | The Dogon Mystery, Culture Seeders, & Velikovsky

Show Notes

Join Greg Carlwood of The Higherside Chats as he talks about the advanced knowledge of the Dogon Tribe of Africa, the work of Immanuel Velikovsky, and comparative cosmology with guest, Laird Scranton.
We’ve seen enough from mainstream academia to know their interest lies not in the pursuit of knowledge wherever it leads, but rather in the preservation of pre-approved paradigms with a variety of so-called experts in place to thoroughly shut down any wild theories, healthy speculation, or god forbid actual evidence that suggests these narrow views must be widened. Whether we’re discussing the advanced cosmology of an African tribe that rivals modern science, or complex mythologies from the past about our solar system that defy everything NASA says it knows, we find, through the grace of alternative researchers, that the official answers are deeply and purposefully flawed.
4:30 Made popular by the work of Robert Temple and Carl Sagan, the Dogon Tribe of Africa is a modern-day primitive tribe that acts as a great entry point to the study of ancient African cultures and ancient creation mysteries. With ritual practices similar to Judaism, cultural civic practices like those in ancient Egypt, and a symbolic system of cosmology similar to ancient Buddhism, their culture serves as an umbrella, or a cross-roads for several different ancient traditions.
14:20 As an English major and a software engineer, Laird’s linguistic and symbolic perspectives were critical tools in helping him unravel the Dogon systems. As a researcher in the field of comparative cosmology, his focus is comparing how different ancient cultures understand the same symbolic concept or myth. One advantage in the way the Dogon system has been established, is that words don’t carry just one meaning, instead they carry multiple meanings. In the ancient mindset, when talking about processes of creation, they are essentially talking about three things simultaneously, which are how the universe formed, how matter forms, and how the reproduction process works. These three processes are seen to be so fundamentally similar to each other that they use a single progression of symbols to simultaneously describe all three.
22:30 Continuing on with the discussion about the change in the length of the calendar year, Greg and Laird discuss the possibility of a more sinister plot afoot. Laird contends there was a physical change on Earth that effected the length of the year around that time. He corroborates his stance with supporting evidence including the tracking of solar eclipses dating back to 709 b.c. that conflict with credible sources citing cosmic events with contradicting dates. Other interesting pieces of evidence to support the theory that a major event on Earth occurred are the sudden unexplained change at the rate in which plants absorb ions, major dramatic climate change the affected agriculture, and evidence of major volcanic eruptions.
32:30 Because of the huge gap in knowledge from when events occurred and when they were recorded, finding a line of continuity can be a bit tricky. As Laird points out, in his book “Point of Origin” the use of various facets of language, and symbols found throughout other ancient cultures played a key role in his research of the ancient Turkish site Gobekli Tepe.
41:45 Imparting relevant knowledge to the Dogon tribe about agriculture and the structure of reality is understandably justified. Greg and Laird peel back the onion of outer space and explore the incentive to educate the Dogon on the Sirius constellations. A parallelism between the three symbolic processes of creation includes the egg. Following this idea, Laird walk us through the macro and microcosm vortices that correlate to one another and serve as the Dogon’s explanation for the creation of the universe.
56:10 After expressing such an interest in cosmologies and the mindset of ancient cultures, Greg and Laird discuss the possibility of going down the path of personal exploration using entheogens and ritual practices. As Laird explains, there are Kabbalist references that categorize different types of connections people seem to have to this esoteric information and how they get it. With these means of connection ranging from epileptic seizures to the use of psychotropic drugs, Laird explains he finds himself in the category of the pure mystic, or person who through the course of daily life becomes enlightened on cosmological and mythical truths of the universe.
1:10:00 Segueing into the work of Velikovsky, Greg and Laird discuss the impact Sagan has had in misleading the public perception of Velikovsky’s work. During the late 1960s early 1970s, Sagan took the lead in the campaign to discredit Velikovsky. Interestingly enough, the scientists and astronomers of today who have been studying exosolar systems have formulated their own ideas on what the typical progression of development is for a solar system. This perspective is eerily similar to what Velikovsky theorized with Venus.
1:22:20 With the new concept of the “birth” of Venus, a reworking of our understanding of how planets operate and form in space becomes more evident than ever. The theory of evolution is most at risk under this new paradigm. The theory of evolution requires long periods of uninterrupted stability, therefore theories suggesting upheaval within the solar system, including those of Velikovsky, are a threat to Darwinism.
1:32:42 As mentioned earlier, the theories of Velikosky throw a wrench into the current understanding of evolution. Listen as Greg and Laird discuss what could be considered a truer model, such aspanspermia or the ancient aliens theory.
1:44:00 After researching the Egyptian culture, the Dogon, and Buddhism, Greg and Laird discuss the similarities found throughout these cultures that is also represented in the Native American culture. One of the clearest examples can be seen in the grand symbol of this tradition, the aligned shrine.
Want more Laird Scranton? Check out his website, his publisher Inner Traditions, and books such as “Point of Origin”, “Sacred Symbols of the Dogon”, or “The Cosmological Origins of Myth and Symbol”. You can also find Laird on Facebook.
Want to hear more THC? Become a plus member and gain access to the additional hour as well as the THC forums! If you want to stay connected to The Higherside Chats, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our YouTube channel, find us on Reddit, or review us on iTunes. Thanks for the support, and until next time.

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39 Responses

  1. The story of the dogon is fascinating and Laird really knew his stuff. The mystery religions, Freemasons, OTO etc put so much store in Sirius that it really makes you think.
    Good stuff, thanks Greg.

  2. I just found this so I haven’t listened yet. Really looking forward to this, though I have heard some of Laird Scranton before. For me, Velikovsky is the man. I have a hard time listening to anyone’s reconstructions of history if they haven’t read and appreciated Velikovsky, which I don’t believe anyone would call “out there” considering the quality of Velikovsky’s scholarship.

    See y’alls later.


  3. Wow — what a great show! Again you’ve taken a subject I wasn’t originally interested in and made it fascinating. Your interviewing just gets better and better. Thanks for everything you do, Greg!

  4. Okay, really great. Maybe the best interview with LS I have heard so far. Good work, Greg.


    The way to learn about Velikovsky’s work is to read it. The only way. I like talking about his work, but I always have to say, “read it, damn-it!” No truncated review nor Cliff Notes version can suffice. How did Velikovsky have so many critics appearing so fast as even to have been lined up against him before the first copy of ‘Worlds In Collision’ hit the bookshelves? It was because MacMillan Books released the proofs to the top book reviewers of 1950, pre-publication. What the world of establishment science first saw of V.’s incredible scholarship were some rave reviews by some non-scientists.

    Some of the reviewers were totally wowed, and for good reason; unlike the knee-jerk professional scientist critics, they had actually read the book! But the synopsizing of the reviewers, their hitting only the high points, forgoing V.’s endless footnotes, was what destroyed any real chance that V. could get an honest break from an academia who, upon reading those reviews, all became experts on the subject of Immanuel Velikovsky. They proclaimed this great scholar to be a crank and vowed to destroy MacMillan Books (the world’s largest publisher of textbooks) with an international boycott if publication was not immediately stopped. Even by the time MacMillan could pull that plug, ‘Worlds In Collision’ was already #1 atop the NYT non-fiction list. Under threat of that boycott, that plug was indeed pulled, and even the editor who’d brought ‘Worlds In Collision’ to them got the ax.

    Last spring, I finished my sixth reading of ‘Worlds In Collision’, even though I am dyslexic and a terrible reader. Every book I read is real work. I demand a pay-off for that work, and everything Velikovsky wrote delivered the goods. I have read ‘Earth In Upheaval’ four times, and everything else, at least once. ‘Oedipus and Akhnaton’ is a title not to be missed. I have a stack of retrospectives, one of the best being, ‘The Age Of Velikovsky’ by Dr. C.J. Ransom. It contains the family trees of both Akhnaton and the supposedly fictional character Oedipus. The branches are a good match. Akhnaton was Oedipus! Thebes was Thebes!

    I was lucky to get to talk to Dr. Ransom at David Talbot’s first symposium, way back when, in Portland, OR. Talbot and his friend, Wal Thornhill have gotten the Electric Universe up and into the public eye, but I read of electric forces being active in orbital mechanics from Velikovsky first.

    Everyone interested in history, religion, physics, astronomy, you name it, read what the greatest interdisciplinary scholar of my lifetime had the eyes to see, and the intuition to understand what he was seeing. Read the collected works of Immanuel Velikovsky and make up your own mind. Start with ‘Worlds In Collision’. You will not be sorry.

  5. why cant the non material be in the mind
    these sound like psychedelic experiences and why it would not be healthy for every one to be having these experiences and just have a few do it and come back and tell the rest

  6. I really liked the Velikovsky stuff but not so much the Dogon stuff as Robert Temples work appears to be based on manipulation, to be polite, by the original french anthropologists. A couple of minor gripes-Laird, if I understand correctly, seems to equate agricultural development with “advancement” when in recent years it has become fairly obvious that it was a devolutionary move. Secondly, crop circles; noooo! There is a very interesting, almost ignored phenomena centred around them and I think a good THC on them (all being man made) featuring either Rob Buckle or Matthew Williams would be very interesting.

    Lastly, Greg on Skeptiko was one of the best Skeptiko’s that i’ve listened to, especially when Greg was educating Alex on the realities of the financial system! 😉 Great stuff.

    1. I listened to the skeptiko interview also. Alex can go off into tangent land, and you did a good job getting him back to topic. One thing from there that I would love some follow up in the future regards the coopting of counterculture movements. Specifically in regards to the feminism movement. I am baffled how and when that and the civil rights movement got warped in our general understanding. It is very hard to find a balanced approach to this recent history because everyone has a horse in that race. Maybe you can find it, Greg.

    2. Wow thanks for the compliments on the Skeptiko show! I didn’t feel like I was at my best that time. Alex was totally cool, and it’s good to know someone nearby doing a similar thing- but at times I felt like he was trying to get a few specific points out of me and I wasn’t giving him what he was looking for. I sometimes forget the finer details of my own shows. Surprise, surprise.

      1. You were great, your answers and the conversation flow were great! My favorite part was that he didn’t try to rake you over the coals and he didn’t get all mad and start jumping up and down like he gets sometimes. I think its awesome that he is willing to take the conspiracy challenge and roll that back into the analysis of consciousness studies.

      2. I also loved the skeptiko show. Particularly the bits where he was not on board with Greg’s Worldview, because it pushed G. to break out of the ‘simple stoner’ and really articulate what was/is in his head, which while it may be stoner, is far from simple….in a really good way!! 🙂
        I get the feeling that he threw the bait out, and I can still hear him smiling as you took it!! 🙂

  7. Fantastic show with Laird Scranton! Been listening for a while, but first as a PLUS member. Learned a whole lot and excited to explore Velikovsky further. Great listening while I build our family’s new earthbag home. Loved it and love THC.

  8. I love the segment where he talks about using children’s songs to help remember information. This is exactly how the Vedas are passed to each generation. It was quite the coincidence that he mentioned this because I have been researching the origins of different children’s songs we all learned growing up. The one that has left me wondering the most is the simple song Row Row Row your boat. The last line leaves me wondering how old and from what culture this truly originated, because they obviously had a better grasp on reality than we do.

  9. Well, after all my unsolicited ranting about reading Velikovsky, and boasting of all my books of and about, it really seemed to be my fuckin’ move. Today I visited my local independent bookstore and ordered Laird Scranton’s “The Velikovsky Heresies.”

    It will take me months to read it though. Crap!

  10. Not to be too off topic, but i thought i herd sumthing about the new web site up and running? Still looks the same to me. This site needs a button to skip the show notes, (easier while driving) and a fast forward buton would be great too. If your not able to finish an episode, its too hard to find where you left off. Great work tho greg, Thx for all youve helped me learn.

    1. Right, the main site got a professional makeover. I think it needed it. I feel like the Plus side is pretty solid, but there are some improvements needed in the forums, as well as things you mentioned. That’s next!

  11. We are a community that asks a lot of questions. There is a picture emerging that is starting to make some sense to me and this interview catches some of the best highlights. Thank you Greg. Keep on!

  12. I think perhaps the highlight for me was the,” …well, I think there were some beings trying to help us out, and I think something stronger came along and for whatever reason, shut it down and put a lid on it/us…” bit.

    The deeper I dig, once I brush all the dirt and crap off it, this is what it looks like, again and again.

    If this is to be a prism break, it is going to have to be from the inside. There does not appear to be anyone waiting for sundown with spare horses and some dynamite………We are the file in the loaf of bread we have been waiting for, to paraphrase.

  13. So much information, great perspective. Awesome show. My favorite of all time. (Been around since episode 40 is. (Back when you numbered them)

    I thought I was alone in my theory that language restricts communication, and symbols for concepts would be more efficient. I have been on the trail of this for a while, explaining my case to people who care not. But instead of “A” = ah sound, why couldn’t it represent so much more? We do this with some things, flags of nations, emblems, logos, etc. I feel written language holds us back mentally, slowing down our thoughts and limiting thought to within the parameters of your vocabulary. Also shutting down other senses used for the purposes of communication. Our subtle senses are all but dead.

    Anyway, so much to say here, but I will just say thanks for this one. It’s what I was looking for. You were the conduit for me to receive the info I needed contained within the podcast.

  14. Regarding symbolic language we are dealing with implicit rather than our more explicit modern language.
    Inferred symbolic communication requires a contextual commonality in order to bring about understanding. This is why shared observation of the Natural World, empathy or spiritualism would allow for this affinity to develop. In times of conflict, isolation or trauma that would interrupt the ability to attune to other cultures you would expect a more definitive intellectual language to form, whereby the written form as concept becomes the shared reference.

  15. A flat tire on Monday’s trip caused me to space out picking up the book. That got rectified today, and I have leaped right into reading it. I have already read about a fifth of it. It’s good reading and the book is only about 150 pages.

    This is from the start of Chapter 2:

    [[[ It is well known that Immanuel Velikovsky notoriously disliked summaries or condensations of his books; he felt that many of the persistent complaints against his theories grew out of misunderstandings that had been fostered by such summaries. Knowing this, we might ask the serious reader who is not yet familiar with Velikovsky’s work to pause at this point long enough to acquire and familiarize themselves with a copy of “Worlds In Collision.” However, for those others of us who may have less time and energy to devote to this subject—and notwithstanding Velikovsky’s own personal preferences—it seems only to make sense, with apologies, to preface this study with a brief review of the controversial scenario that lay at the heart of “Worlds In Collision.” ]]]

    Well, as I have said already in one thread or another, one should read the source material. This, not only out of respect for the late Dr. Velikovsky’s wishes, but because as I would see it, it would be the reader’s substantial loss to not read “Worlds In Collision” at the very least.

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