Velikovsky, Immanuel - Worlds in Collision.pdf

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WORLDS IN COLLISION IMMANUEL VELIKOVSKY
First published in 1950
PREFACE
Worlds in Collision is a book of wars in the celestial sphere that took
place in historical times. In these wars the planet earth participated too.
This book describes two acts of a great drama: one that occurred thirty-
four to thirty-five centuries ago, in the middle of the second millennium
before the present era; the other in the eighth and the beginning of the
seventh century before the present era, twenty-six centuries ago.
Accordingly, this volume consists of two parts, preceded by a prologue.
Harmony or stability in the celestial and terrestrial spheres is the point of
departure of the present-day concept of the world as expressed in the
celestial mechanics of Newton and the theory of evolution of Darwin. If
these two men of science are sacrosanct, this book is a heresy. However,
modern physics, of atoms and of the quantum theory, describes dramatic
changes in the microcosm , the atom , the prototype of the solar system;
a theory, then, that envisages not dissimilar events in the macrocosm , the
solar system-brings the modern concepts of physics to the celestial
sphere. This book is written for the instructed and uninstructed alike. No
formula and no hieroglyphic will stand in the way of those who set out to
read it. If , occasionally, historical evidence does not square with
formulated laws, it should be remembered that a law is but a deduction
from experience and experiment, and therefore laws must conform with
historical facts, not facts with laws. The reader is not asked to accept a
theory without question. Rather, he is invited to consider for himself
whether he is reading a book of fiction or non-fiction, whether what he is
reading is invention or historical fact. On one point alone, not necessarily
decisive for the theory of cosmic catastrophism, I borrow credence: I use
a synchronical scale of Egyptian and Hebrew histories which is not
orthodox. It was in the spring of 1940 that I came upon the idea that in
the days of the Exodus, as evident from many passages of the Scriptures,
there occurred a great physical catastrophe, and that such an event could
serve in determining the time of the Exodus in Egyptian history or in
establishing a synchronical scale for the histories of the peoples
concerned. Thus I started Ages in Chaos, a reconstruction of the history
of the ancient world from the middle of the second millennium before the
present era to the advent of Alexander the Great. Already in the fall of
that same year, 1940, I felt that I had acquired an understanding of the
real nature and extent of that catastrophe, and for nine years I worked on
both projects, the political and the natural histories. Although Ages in
Chaos was finished first, in the order of publication it will follow this
work. Worlds in Collision comprises only the last two acts of the cosmic
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drama. A few earlier acts , one of them known as the Deluge , will be the
subject of another volume of natural history. The historical-cosmological
story of this book is based on the evidence of historical texts of many
peoples around the globe, on classical literature, on epics of northern
races, on sacred books of the peoples of the Orient and Occident, on
traditions and folklore of primitive peoples, on old astronomical
inscriptions and charts, on archaeological finds, and also on geological
and paleontological material. If cosmic upheavals occurred in the
historical past, why does not the human race remember them, and why
was it necessary to carry on research to find out about them? I discuss
this problem in the Section "The Collective Amnesia." The task I had to
accomplish was not unlike that faced by a psychoanalyst who, out of
disassociated memories and dreams, reconstructs a forgotten traumatic
experience in the early life of an individual. In an analytical experiment
on mankind, historical inscriptions and legendary motifs often play the
same role as recollections (infantile memories) and dreams in the analysis
of a personality. Can we, out of this polymorphous material, establish
actual facts? We shall check one people against another, one inscription
against another, epics against charts, geology against legends, until we
are able to extract the historical facts. In a few cases it is impossible to
say with certainty whether a record or a tradition refers to one or another
catastrophe that took place through the ages; it is also probable that in
some traditions various elements from different ages are fused together.
In the final analysis, however, it is not so essential to segregate
definitively the records of single world catastrophes. More important, it
seems, is to establish that there were physical upheavals of a global
character in historical times; that these catastrophes were caused by
extraterrestrial agents; and that these agents can be identified. There are
many implications that follow from these conclusions. I refer to them in
the Epilogue, so that I can omit reference to them here. A few readers
went over this book in manuscript and made valuable suggestions and
remarks. In chronological order of their reading they are: Dr. Horace M.
Kallen, formerly Dean of the Graduate Faculty of the New School for
Social Research, New York; John J. O'Neill, Science Editor of the New
York Herald Tribune; James Putnam, Associate Editor of the Macmillan
Company; Clifton Fadiman, literary critic and commentator; Gordon A.
Atwater, Chairman and Curator of the Hayden Planetarium of the
American Museum of Natural History, New York. The last two read the
work at their own request after Mr. O'Neill had discussed it in an article
in the Herald Tribune of August 11,1946. I am indebted to all of them but
I alone am responsible for content and form. Miss Marion Kuhn cleared
the manuscript of grammatical weeds and helped in reading the proofs.
Many an author has dedicated his book to his wife or mentioned her in
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the preface. I have always felt this was somewhat ostentatious, but now
that this work is being published, I feel I shall be most ungrateful if I fail
to mention that my wife Elisheva spent almost as much time on it at our
desk as I did. I dedicate this book to her. The years when Ages in Chaos
and Worlds in Collision were written were years of a world catastrophe
created by man—of war that was fought on land, on sea, and in the air.
During that time man learned how to take apart a few of the bricks of
which the universe is built—the atoms of uranium. If one day he should
solve the problem of the fission and fusion of the atoms of which the
crust of the earth or its water and air are composed, he may perchance, by
initiating a chain reaction, take this planet out of the struggle for survival
among the members of the celestial sphere. New York, September 1949.
Immanuel Velikovsky.
CHAPTER 1
In an Immense Universe Quota pars opens tanti nobis committitur?
Seneca
In an immense universe a little globe revolves around a star; it is the third
in the row— Mercury, Venus, Earth—of the planetary family. It is of a
solid core covered over most of its surface with liquid, and it has a
gaseous envelope. Living creatures fill the liquid; other living creatures
fly in the gas; and still others creep and walk upon the ground on the
bottom of the gaseous ocean. Man, a being of erect stature, thinks himself
the prince of creation. He felt like this long before he, by his own efforts,
came to know how to fly on wings of metal around the globe. He felt
godlike long before he could talk to his fellow-man on the other side of
the globe. Today he can see the microcosm in a drop and the elements in
the stars. He knows the laws governing the living cell with its
chromosomes, and the laws governing the macrocosm of the sun, moon,
planets, and stars. He assumes that gravitation keeps the planetary system
together, man and beast on their planet, the sea within its borders. For
millions and millions of years, he maintains, the planets have rolled along
on the same paths, and their moons around them, and man in these eons
has arisen from a one-cell infusorium all the long way up the ladder to his
status of Homo sapiens. Is man's knowledge now nearly complete? Are
only a few more steps necessary to conquer the universe: to extract the
energy of the atom—since these pages were written this has already been
done —to cure cancer, to control genetics, to communicate with other
planets and learn if they have living creatures, too? Here begins Homo
ignoramus. He does not know what life is or how it came to be and
whether it originated from inorganic matter. He does not know whether
other planets of this sun or of other suns have life on them, and if they
have, whether the forms of life there are like those around us, ourselves
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