In his book "Mindsteps to the Cosmos" (HarperCollins, August 1983), Gerald S. Hawkins elucidated his notion of 'mindsteps', dramatic and irreversible changes to paradigms or world views. He identified five distinct mindsteps in human history, and the technology that accompanied these "new world views": the invention of imagery, writing, mathematics, printing, the telescope, rocket, radio, TV, computer... "Each one takes the collective mind closer to reality, one stage further along in its understanding of the relation of humans to the cosmos." He noted: "The waiting period between the mindsteps is getting shorter. One can't help noticing the acceleration." Hawkins' empirical 'mindstep equation' quantified this, and gave dates for future mindsteps. The date of the next mindstep (5; the series begins at 0) is given as 2021, with two more successively closer mindsteps, until the limit of the series in 2053. His speculations ventured beyond the technological:
The mindsteps... appear to have certain things in common - a new and unfolding human perspective, related inventions in the area of memes]and communications, and a long formulative waiting period before the next mindstep comes along. None of the mindsteps can be said to have been truly anticipated, and most were resisted at the early stages. In looking to the future we may equally be caught unawares. We may have to grapple with the presently inconceivable, with mind-stretching discoveries and concepts.
Hawkins defines a mindstep "0" at
the beginning of the CroMagnon period and the beginning of
representational art, but he basically expects that "0" means "knows
nothing". Other mindsteps occur along the way, and we are currently
at step 4 trying to get to step 5.
civilizations of Egypt and Babylon, which Hawkins generally indicates
as about 3000 to 4000 BC. However, in a separate place(pp. 298-299),
he puts a computer chart of accelerating intervals for the steps, and
on this chart the date of mindstep 1 is given as approximately 8120
years ago, at the early Neolithic.
Elsewhere, he indicates that the
Spanish Azilians had reached mindstep 1 which would mean by 9000
years ago. It would seem that the Azilians entered Europe with a much
more sophisticated world view than expected, and some of their rock
art illustrates thses concepts.
Mindstep 1 pictures the earth as a flat disc of land surrounded by
the sea, hence as a big island. A pillar in the center holds up the
dome of the sky, and the center of the island earth is the omphalos,
situated over the underworld (surviving cultures variously exchanged
the concepts of omphalos, the land of the dead, and paradise). The
world has four quarters and celestial bodies are explained as gods.
Astronomy and mathematics are beginning, and the calendar is being
worked out (Writing is implied). All of this implies Atlantis to me.
This is held to be about the model of the earth as described in the bible.
I keep trying to get a good selection from Hawkins' "Mindsteps to
the cosmos" in which it is demonstrated that Mesolithic Europeans had
developed a calendric system, geometric mathematics and sophisticated
system of astronomy by 9000-10,000 BC, but I can't seem to locate a good
source to quote from the internet. At the time of the fall of Atlantis, however,
they appear to have created a typically Bronze age world view with
the world centered on the omphalos (navel of the world) with a dome
of heaven above and a pit of hell beneath, not much different than
the view of the ancient Greeks or Egyptians. This is the
crucial "Atlantean" world view that assumed Atlas held up the sky or
owned a pillar that held up the sky, and a mind at this stage has all
sorts of different rammifications, including recognition of the pole
star and the rotation of the stars at night. But I would say that
the view evolved specifically on Atlantis and DESCRIBED Atlantis,
then assumed to be the "navel of the world", a title later used by
different descendant cultures.
Phrasing the matter another way, Atlanteans as of 10000 to 12000
years ago were THINKING AND ACTING like our basic ancients, the
Egyptians and Babylonians, of say 2000 BC or shortly thereafter.
There is a reasonable inferrence that they used copper at that remote
era (copper finds in Spain and the Near East are that old), but their
mental sophistication was at the advanced Bronze-age level (Egerton
Sykes in his updated version of Atlantis the Antediluvian Empire
voices his opinion that the culture was basically Chalcolithic, but
that the aristocracy knew how to make bronze: it simply was not of
any practical use to them. This would agree with the idea that they
got "Orichalcum" as a type of already-made bronze, a naturally-
occurring copper alloy probably mixed with tin and zinc, as well as
natural copper-gold alloys)
This of course has a direct bearing on the likelihood of Plato's
account being more nearly correct as written!
Best Wishes, Dale D.