As cultures evolve and change, curiosities become fads, fads become legends and those legends become myth. One of these popular myths that’s taken hold of the subconscious of the Western world is the myth of Atlantis. Atlantis is the supposed lost continent, which was a city of learning and light populated by people who bear a strange resemblance to the legends of elves who had mastered medicine, science and all forces of the natural world. It was supposedly a utopian place that had evolved to function off the flow of energy and, mysteriously, this center of worldly power and science just vanished overnight. All the versions of the story agree that Atlantis sank into the sea, but the locations vary widely with some people placing the continent in the Atlantic ocean, others in the Mediterranean and others still in the Far East near parts of Russia’s borders.
Like many legends Atlantis teases the imagination and the spirit of wonder and adventure. The idea of ancient cultures that were even more advanced than modern ones, with secrets that were lost to the ages, is a really great story. The problem is that Atlantis is just that; a story. Atlantis never existed. There is no great city of wonder, no sunken continent and no bizarre meeting of humans and aliens who created a utopia on earth to ascend over death and become spiritually and intellectually enlightened.
While this hurts all of us a little bit in that secret, wondering child that the Atlantis legend speaks to, we have a lot of sources to point to for why Atlantis didn’t exist. First of all, the knowledge we have of how the world’s plate tectonics work and how the continents shift and drift pretty much rules out mysterious continents that sank beneath the waves. Secondly, there are no documents from ancient times that are concerned with Atlantis except for those written by Plato in ancient Greece. That might fan a last flame of hope, but the problem is that the only documents that mention Atlantis specifically state that it is a theoretical city that has never existed. Atlantis was nothing more than an example in a philosophical story problem that Plato created for Socrates to talk about. Somehow, in between the alien visitations and the idea of human beings conquering disease by becoming energy, the origin of Atlantis as nothing more than a whimsical debate tool seems to have been lost in the fine print of time.
This is not to say that great cities and empires don’t vanish into history for no reason. There are mysteries about the ancient Celts, lost peoples in South America and the legends found even in Egyptian myth that point to people that history has skipped over in roll call. However, these peoples left behind evidence they existed in tangible artifacts in addition to accounts from other people who saw and visited their lands to prove by testimony that these lost peoples did exist. Atlantis has no proof of existence, and unless the Atlantean coverup extends back to the philosophers of Ancient Greece, we have to conclude that this great, unsolved mystery has been rattling its chains too long and should be put away in the quiet grave of the solved filing cabinet.
“Atlantis Revealed at Last… or Just a Load of Old Googles,” by David Derbyshire at the Daily Mail
“6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (That Have Totally Been Solved),” by Jacop della Quercia and Sam Blitz at Cracked