The Aim of the Book
In his book "The Origin of Culture and Civilization", Thomas Dietrich aims to bring together diverse "sciences" used by the ancients to give a complex and wholistic picture of the world, and to show that people in ancient times had a knowledge of the world and the universe which modern science and philosophy are unable to grasp. As suggested in the subtitle of the book - "The Cosmological Philosophy of The Ancient World View Regarding Myth, Astrology, Science, and Religion" - the author makes use of symbolic languages which are not considered "scientific" in modern times. But by tracing back the thinking and worldviews of the ancients he finds a complete picture of the Universe, disguised in symbolic language, which he deciphers step by step.
The Main Hypothesis
Thomas Dietrich claims that the origin of culture is Atlantis, the lost island, minutely collecting information from ancient sources and mythology. According to his research Morocco is one of Atlantis' first colonies, from where Atlantic culture spread first to Ireland, and from there to Lybia and Egypt.
According to Dietrich, culture spread from West to East, while civilization spread from East to West. He carefully differentiates between culture on the one hand and civilization on the other:
Both movements - the West to East movement of culture and the East to West movement of civilization - can also be observed in terms of astrological cycles. Civilization follows the cycle of the precession of the zodiac, whereas culture follows the cycle of the centre of our galaxy through the zodiac. The first is considerably shorter than the second, the so-called "Great Year" of the precessional cycle lasts for 26'000 years, whereas the latter, the galactic cycle can last anything from40 to 200 million years. Both cycles follow opposite directions. Dietrich goes on to project the two cycles onto the geography of the Earth, and by this method follows the movement of their corresponding ages. He draws up connections between cosmological cycles and the movement of culture and civilization on Earth.
A very special point was reached when the two cycles were at a crossing point, the cycle of culture moving from Pisces into Aries, and the cycle of civilization from Aries into Pisces. Projected onto the Earth, he finds Jerusalem at this crossover, suggesting that, with the coming of the Messiah, a completely new era had begun. Throughout the book, Dietrich supports his thesis with evidence from a wide variety of sources including mythology, astronomy and astrology.
The extent of detailed information he presents, suggests that the author must have researched for almost a lifetime. The book unfolds like a big puzzle: there are many pieces, and the connection between them may not appear immediately apparent. But as the author presents his evidence the connections become clearer and the picture turns into an intricate whole. The philosophically less experienced reader may find the wealth of information rather overwhelming, and may sometimes wish for a clearer line of argument or a thread to follow.
The Role of Astrology
The ancients viewed the world in terms of macrocosm and microcosm, wherein the humans are the microcosm of the whole universe. Reversely, it takes a whole universe to produce life Earth. The human body corresponds to the body of the universe, the parts of the body correspond to the signs of the zodiac. Observing the cycles of the planets and of certain sensitive points and relating these cycles to each other, can give information on movements and developments on Earth.
Although Dietrich uses astrology to understand developments on the planet over long periods of time, and deals with different astrological ages, he denies the validity of personal astrology. In his view, "the real astrology, the real fundamentals of the science, which are cosmological and sacred, steming from long research and divine inspiration", can only be used to learn about the "fate" of the Earth, but not about individual human beings, except a few "great personalities" like Napoleon, Alexander or Hitler, who "have slipt into the stream of fate". Here, personal fate has co-joinded with the fate of the nation they govern. They enact the fate of the world, whereas all other people are merely observers.
Dietrich considers personal astrology without merit because it would be too complex, considering all hereditary and other influences and the complex structure of an individual. Furthermore, he thinks that Ptolemy erred when he assumed the idea of the tropical zodiac. As astrologers who deal with personal astrology and horoscopes, we are inclined to think that Dietrich stops half-way. His reasoning that the human body is the microcosm of the universe would seem to contradict his rejection of personal astrology. This attitude is not in tune with the rest of the book where he minutely describes how the complexities of civilizations and cultures are reflected in cosmology. Why should this intricate whole stop when it comes to individuals. But this is a discussion which need not be held here.
On the Whole...
Dietrich gives a lot of information and presents us with an interpretation of the historical developments on Earth which should be of interest to modern science as well as mythologically and astrologically minded people.
The author himself says about his book: "We cannot advance scientifically, nor can we form a philosophically-correct image of this world, without the information that the ancient people have so patiently collected for us, and have transmitted over such immeasurable periods of time. There is an important message to be told - and to be heard."
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