Plato's New Atlantis
Sir Francis Bacon's Plan
New Atlantis, A Work Unfinished, by Sir Francis Bacon
"World democracy was the secret dream of the great classical philosophers.
Thousands of years before Columbus they were aware of the existence of our.
Western Hemisphere and selected it to be the site of the philosophic empire.
The brilliant plan of the Ancients has survived to our time, and it will continue to
function until the great work is accomplished.
The American nation desperately needs a vision of its own purpose." -- Manly P. Hall
Bacon's Utopia was published in 1627 under the title The New Atlantis and was appended to a larger work, the Sylva Sylvarum or The Natural History of Winds. Bacon's secretary, Dr. Rawley, described The New Atlantis as a work unfinished because his Lordship's attentions were called to more serious matters. The Utopian idea seems to have gained ground as the result of the explorations of these navigators who brought home the first accounts of the civilizations of the Western Hemisphere. It was evident that the Aztec, Maya, and Inca forms of government had strong democratic elements. They were highly socialized states, comparatively free from the tragedies which had burdened Europe for ages. When Pizzaro asked the Inca how criminals were punished in Peru he replied that he could not answer the question because there were no criminals. Bacon's New Atlantis describes the adventures of seaman who departed from Peru and he may well have been influenced by the glowing accounts of the great cities of Central and South America.
Bacon in his original text set forth many details about the wonderful research facilities and the museum of arts and skills which had been assembled in the College of the Six Days Work. In the midst of this description Lord Bacon's fable ends and R.H. Esquire attempts to continue the narration. It is interesting that Plato's description of old Atlantis was also left unfinished.
It is difficult to avoid the implication that the College of the Six Days Work is a veiled account of an actual secret society-- an island of learned men in a sea of ignorance. As we continue to explore the text it also becomes apparent that the Royal Society of London was dedicated to the same purposes as Solomon's House on the island of Bensalem where dwelt the "sons of peace."
The Ancient League of Nations
A description of the lost Atlantis was written by Plato; it introduces the league
formed by the ten benevolent kings who ruled over the lesser nations and the three great continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa;
and who bound themselves by oath to obey the divine laws of enduring empire. ...
This was the philosophic democracy, with all men having the right to become wise through self-discipline and self improvement,
thus achieving the only aristocracy recognized by Natural Law. ... The Atlantis story continues
to the later decision of the kings to use their united power to enslave all the peoples of the earth, and the consequent destruction of Atlantis
by earthquake and fire ....interpreted politically, it is the story of the breaking up of the ideal pattern of government.
Bust of Plato
The destruction of Atlantis, as described by Plato in the Critias, can be interpreted as a political fable. The tradition of the Lost Empire as descended from Solon was enlarged and embellished according to the formulas of the Orphic theology; but it does not follow necessarily that Plato intended to disparage the idea that a lost continent had actually existed west of Europe. Plato was a philosopher; he saw in the account of the fall of Atlantis an admirable opportunity to summarize his convictions concerning government and politics.
The Critias first describes the blessed state of the Atlantean people under the benevolent rulership of ten kings who were bound together in a league. These kings were monarchs over seven islands and three great continents. From the fable we can infer that the ten rulers of the Atlantic league were philosopher kings, endowed with all virtues and wise guardians of the public good. These kings obeyed the laws of the divine father of their house, Poseidon, god of the seas.
In the capital city of Atlantis stood the temple of Poseidon, and in it a golden figure of the god. In this shrine also stood a column of precious substance inscribed with the laws of enduring empire. The ten kings took their oath together to obey these laws, and they chose one of their number, usually of the family of Atlas, to be the chief of their league.
Atlantis Temple of Poseidon
It was written on the column of the law that the ten kings of Atlantis should not take up arms against each other, for any reason. If one of them should break this law the other nine were to unite against him to preserve the peace.
In all matters concerning the public good the ten kings were to deliberate together, and each should be mindful of the just needs of the others; for they were the members of one body and regents over the lands of a blessed god.
The kings had not the power of life or death over any of their subjects except with the consent of the majority of the ten; and each was responsible to the whole league for his conduct in the administration of his own State.
In this way Plato describes the government of the Golden Age, in which men live on earth according to the laws of heaven.
A Philosophic Democracy
By the three great continents of Atlantis are to be understood, Europe, Asia, and Africa; and by the seven islands, all the lesser peoples of the earth. The league of the ten kings is the cooperative commonwealth of mankind, the natural and proper form of human government. The Atlantis, therefore, is the archetype or the pattern of right government, which existed in ancient days but was destroyed by the selfishness and ignorance of men.
Plato, it must be remembered, was a monarchist by philosophic conviction, but his ideal king was the wise man perfect in the virtues and the natural ruler of those less informed than himself. This king was the father of his people, impersonal and unselfish, dedicated to the public good, a servant of both the gods and his fellow men. This king was descended of a divine race; that is, he belonged to the Order of the Illumined; for those who come to a state of wisdom then belong to the family of the heroes--perfected human beings.
Plato's monarchy was therefore a philosophic democracy; for all men had the right to become wise through self-discipline and self-improvement. One who achieved this state was by virtue of his own action a superior man, and this superiority was the only aristocracy recognized by Natural Law.
Remnants of Atlantis
Competition is natural to the ignorant; and cooperation is natural to the wise. Obeying the pattern established by the gods, the divine kings bound themselves into the common league to obey its laws, preserve the peace, and punish any whose ambition might impel them to tyranny or conquest.
Here then, is a pattern of world government to insure the prosperity of all peoples and activate the preservation of the peace.
Plato describes at some length the prosperity of the Atlantic Isles under this benevolent rulership. The citizens were happy, and poverty was unknown. A world trade was established, and the ships of the Atlantean marine traveled the seven seas, bringing rich treasures to the motherland. There was little crime; the arts flourished; and the sciences were cultivated in great universities. Men had no enemies, and war was unknown.
Atlantis beneath the Atlantic Ocean
The god Poseidon guarded the destinies of his domains and favored the Atlantic Empire with a good climate and fertile soil.
Men followed the occupations which they preferred and lived a communal existence, together sharing the fruits of their labors. It was Plato's conviction that the human being was not created merely to engage in barter and exchange, but rather to perfect himself as the noblest of the animals, endowed with reason and the natural ruler of the material world.
The Critias then describes the gradual change that came about in the course of the ages. In the beginning the Atlanteans saw clearly that their wealth and prosperity increased as a result of friendship. But gradually the divine portion of their consciousness began to fade away in them; their souls became diluted with a mortal admixture and human nature gained ascendency. They became unseemly and lost those spiritual virtues which were the fairest of their precious gifts.
Timaeus and Critias
These accounts are the only known written records which refer specifically to a lost civilization called Atlantis. It is the story of how man departed from the perfect pattern of his conduct, and in the end denied the very truths which were the foundations of his strength. With the loss of his spiritual perception, material ambitions increased, and the desire for conquest was born. Men yearned after that which they had not earned, and gazed with covetous eyes upon the goods of others.
The rulers of the state were corrupted by the common evil; the ten kings were no longer friends; they no longer conferred together in the temple of Poseidon to decide all matters under the common oath. Thus was the great league dissolved by selfishness and ambition. It was then that war came into being, and with it tyranny and oppression, and despotism and the exploitation of peoples.
At last the kings of Atlantis decided to use their common power to enslave all the peoples of the earth. They gathered a vast army and attacked Europe from the sea, even going so far as to besiege the Athenian States. And so they broke the law of the gods; for the twelve deities had so divided the earth that to each race and nation was given its proper part.
Zeus, father of the gods, who carries in his hand the thunderbolts of divine retribution, perceived the evil of the time, and resolved to punish the arrogance of the Atlanteans. But even Olympus is a commonwealth, and the other eleven gods were summoned to the council hall of the immortals.
Zeus or Poseidon, 460 BC
"When all the gods had assembled in conference, Zeus arose among them and addressed them thus" . . ."it is with this line that Plato's story of Atlantis ends; and the words of Zeus remain unknown." -- Francis Bacon, New Atlantis
But the results of the conference are not left in doubt. Zeus hurled his thunderbolts against the empire of the sea, shaking it with earthquakes and then destroying it by horrible combustion. The only records that remained were in vague traditions and two columns set up under the temple at Sais. The destruction of Atlantis can be interpreted politically as the breaking up of the ideal pattern of government.
So complete was this destruction, that men forgot there is a better way of life, and since have accepted the evils of war and crime and poverty as inevitable. The world lost too all sense of its own unity; each man's hand was thereafter raised against his neighbor. The perfect state disappeared under a deluge of politics; the priests of Poseidon gave way to the priesthood of Mammon.
Plato's political vision was for the restoration of the Empire of the Golden Age. The old ways of the gods must be restored, he was convinced, if human beings are to be preserved from the corruptions which they have brought upon themselves. Plato sought this end when he established his university at Athens--the first school of formal education in history. Here men were taught the great truths of religion, philosophy, science, and politics, to restore to them the vision of the perfect State.
The old Atlantis was gone, dissolved in a sea of human doubts. But the philosophic empire would come again, as a democracy of wise men.
"We cannot command Nature except by obeying her." -- Sir Francis Bacon
Lord Sir Francis Bacon
Two thousand years later Lord Bacon re-stated this vision:
"The entrance into the Kingdom of man, founded on the sciences, being not much other than the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, where into none may enter except as a little child." -- Francis Bacon, Novum Organum
"Lastly, I would address one general admonition to all; that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or any of these inferior things; but for the benefit and use of Life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity." -- Francis Bacon, Great Instauration
Ancient Greece: Birth of the Democratic Ideal
From Manly P. Hall's writings
From Plutarch's description of voyages it can be calculated that our great continent
in the Western Hemisphere was visited by the ancient Greeks;
they not only reached our shores but explored part of the Great Lakes area. ... Under a thin veil of symbolism they perpetuated in mythology their knowledge of our land, which they called blessed .... The area was anciently set apart for coming generations
in the great human experiment of the democratic commonwealth.
The ancient Greeks had a far better knowledge of geography than popular opinion today indicates. We have been deceived as to the full measure of classical learning, because the Greeks did not commit the larger part of their knowledge to writing, and they bound scholarship with the vow of secrecy.
In ancient days all learning was regarded as sacred; wisdom was entrusted to the keeping of priest-philosophers; and they were permitted to communicate the choicest branches of the sciences only to duly initiated pupils. To bestow knowledge upon those who had not prepared their minds by years of discipline and self-purification profaned the mysteries, desecrated the sacred sciences.
Some years ago, in discussing this fine point in ethics with the late Professor James Breasted, the most distinguished of American Egyptologists, he confirmed my own findings; and further stated it to be his personal conviction that the classical civilizations concealed most of their learning under legends, myths, and allegories; and these have long been mistakenly accepted as the literal beliefs of these peoples.
There can be no doubt that the existence of a great continent in the Western Hemisphere was known to the ancient Greeks. And also to the Egyptians and the Chinese. It is nothing short of foolish to assume that the ancients lacked ships sufficiently seaworthy to navigate the larger oceans. Long before the Christian era, the older civilization had constructed boats far larger and more seaworthy than any of the vessels used by Columbus. One of the Ptolemys of Egypt built a ship large enough to have an orchard of fruit trees on the deck, together with swimming pools and fountains stocked with live fish.
Calculations based upon Plutarch's description of ancient voyages seem to indicate that the Greeks not only reached the coast of America, but explored the St. Lawrence river and part of the Great Lakes area. Plato, in his treatise on the destruction of Atlantis, wrote that due to the commotions in the ocean caused by the submergence of a vast continent, all navigation to the west ceased for a long period of time. This statement can only imply that such navigation had taken place in remote times.
Greek mythology perpetuates the knowledge of a blessed land beyond the Western Boundaries of Ocean. In this blessed land dwelt the Hesperides, the beautiful daughters of Night, and here also at the end of each day the sun came to rest. In popular mythology the Hesperic Isles were a kind of terrestrial paradise.
Thus, under a thin veil of mystic symbolism, was concealed the account of a Western continent of great size, fertile and rich and abounding in all good things.
The ancients believed the earth to be surrounded by the sphere of the constellations, and they assigned to each country the star groups which were above that country's particular area of land. In the arrangement preserved in the writings of Aratus of Soli, the constellation of the eagle spreads its wings across the North American continent; the serpent winds its coil over Mexico and Central America; and the dragon floats in the sky above Japan and China. Perhaps Sir Edward Landseer was not far wrong when he declared that the symbols of nations, and the emblems peculiar to their heraldry, originated in their ruling constellations. Just about everyone knows that the constellation of the Great Bear is in the sky aver Russia, and since time immemorial the bear that walks like a man has been the accepted symbol of the Russian State.
Thus in many ways we discover indications that the old races were wiser than we thought, and that what we have called discoveries are really only re-discoveries.
Beyond the western bounds of the ocean they located the fair land set aside by the gods to be the earthly paradise. Here in the fullness of time all men would come in search of the Golden Fleece which hung upon the tree sacred to the apples of the sun; and the early explorers did travel to the West in search of a Golden Fleece--the gold of the Incas, the treasures of the Aztecs, and the jeweled temples of the seven cities of Cibola.
It was in an old book which is in the British Museum that I found another and even more important key to the meaning of the Golden Fleece. It was known to the Greeks that the Golden Fleece was in reality a parchment on which was written the secret of human immortality. It was this parchment that Jason sought, for whoever discovered it would gain the secret of enduring empire, and power over the whole world.
We have now in America, enshrined in the Congressional Library, a Golden Fleece--the American Declaration of Independence, written on the skin of an animal and preserved as the magic formula of human hope. Those who understand it and can use wisely the import of its writings are possessed of the secret of the immortality of human society.
The United States Declaration of Independence
The curious fortunes of war brought another Golden Fleece from across the sea, and it is now preserved together with our own; this second parchment is the Magna Charta, the English bill of human rights which was the inspiration behind our American Declaration of Independence. These two immortal documents together form the declaration of the rights of man and are the basic texts of modern democracy.
In Runneymede, England on June 15, 1215, King John of England signed the Magna Carta, in which he conceded a number of legal rights to his barons and to the people.
By the wisdom then of those gods who are eternally vigilant over the needs of man, the blessed lands of the west were set apart, for none of the great civilizations of the past rose in North America to overshadow the continent with the ruins of old tradition, or to set up the corruptions of old administrative policy. Foreign nations came to this continent in times long ago; but they formed no permanent settlements nor attempted any program of colonization. And so the soil was not impoverished by thousands of years of intensive cultivation, nor were the natural resources ravished to supply the substance to maintain endless wars and ageless feuds.
It was the rise of the democratic dream in Europe that supplied the beginning of western civilization. Those in search of a promised land turned to the west. Here was a virgin continent populated only by nomadic Indian tribes, a vast territory suitable in every way for the great human experiment of the democratic commonwealth.
By the nineteenth century the American Heperides was definitely the land of golden opportunity, and to it came streams of immigration from nearly every country on the earth. The better way of life drew them here, for it had been established that here men could build a future free of tyranny, intolerance, and enforced poverty. Here all were given opportunity for education, for free enterprise, and living a life according to the dictates of hope and conscience.
"If in a comparatively short time many racial streams have met and mingled, and a new race has been born, the American race is not one to be determined by an analysis of blood or the proportions of the cranium. Americans are a race determined by the measure of a conviction, set apart by that conviction; it is the conviction that human beings are created free, and are entitled to equal opportunity to perfect themselves in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And in recent years we have made another discovery. It is that the race of democracy is one distributed throughout the whole world. Among men and women of all races and all nations are those who share our conviction, and because they share it they are of our kind and belong to our race. In this realization we mark the beginning of world democracy.
Wise men, the ancients believed, were a separate race, and to be born into this race it was necessary to develop the mind to a state of enlightened intelligence. The old philosophers taught that physical birth is an accident, for men are born into various races and nationalities according to the laws of generation; but there is a second birth, which is not an accident; it is the consequence of a proper intent. By this second birth man is born by enlightened intelligence out of nation and out of race into an international nation and an international race. It is this larger and coming race that will some day inherit the earth. But unless a man be born again by enlightenment, he shall not be a part of the philosophic empire.
Our age of gold will pass and some day the Golden Age will come again. A future greatness is right now casting its long shadow across the face of Nature. With each passing generation the responsibilities of the American people will increase. More and more we shall be looked to as a source of courage, strength, and hope.
And it will be in this way that we shall fulfill the destiny for which our nation was created by dreamers of long ago. From the Blessed Isles of the West must come the fulfillment of the promise of the ages." -- Manly P. Hall
Free Masonry and the Land of Opportunity
General George Washington, Ist President and Free Mason
“This new faith in the future of humanity that spread in the eighteenth century was not simply an abstract fact of a mental force. It became a social force and a concrete fact through the agency of Freemasonry which at once accepted it and advocated it; the great historical importance of modern Freemasonry results from this attitude that it took then and to which it has since consistently adhered. Thus Freemasonry has become the most efficient social power of the civilized world. But it has been a hidden power, difficult to trace, to describe and to define. Consequently most historians have avoided treating it seriously and giving it due credit.
The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as a Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth." -- Manly P. Hall, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, p. 65.
“Political revolutions have been often and minutely studied; and it is logical that it should be so, because they are very colorful and offer a mixture of glory and horror that impresses people. But, after all, they are mere reflections of deeper movements; they are light and unreal, like the shadows of a moving picture on the silver screen. True reality lies in the passions, dreams and hopes of men, in those impulses which urge them to act and which lead in the game." -- Bernard Fay, Revolution and Freemasonry 1680-1800, 1929, pp. viii-ix
“Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the Masonic Fraternity is founded, must be promote of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving brother.” -- George Washington
"Masonry made its way among the important men, among the intellectuals and the most intelligent of the upper middle class. It spread over the United States with the same success. Philadelphia had its lodge in 1727, Boston in 1733, Georgia in 1734, South Carolina in 1735, etc. In Europe, Paris had its first lodge in 1725, but Florence had to wait until 1733, Hamburg till 1737, Berlin, 1740, and St. Petersburg, 1771. America wasn’t behind the times.” -- Bernard Fay, Franklin, the Apostle of Modern Times, 1929, p. 145.
“Thousands of years ago, in Egypt, these mystical orders were aware of the existence of the western hemisphere and the great continent which we call America. The bold resolution was made that this western continent should become the site of the philosophic empire. Just when this was done it is impossible now to say, but certainly the decision was reached prior to the time of Plato, for a thinly veiled statement of this resolution is the substance of his treatise on the Atlantic Islands. -- Manly P. Hall, Secret Destiny of America
“And so it is from the remote past, from the deep shadows of the medieval world as well as from the early struggles of more modern times, that the power of American democracy has come. But we are only on the threshold of the democratic state. Not only must we preserve that which we have gained through ages of striving, we must also perfect the plan of the ages, setting up here the machinery for a world brotherhood of nations and races.” -- Manly P. Hall, Secret Destiny of America
“By preserved symbols we can know that it is from the remote past, from the deep shadows of the medieval world, as well as from the early struggles of more modern times, that the power of American democracy has come.” -- Manly P. Hall, The Secret Destiny of America
"Our cultural evolution is a collective event. The emergence of a peaceful and harmonious world will come about as we collectively seek to elevate our consciousness and “Give Peace a Chance!” This is all unfolding according to a pre-determined plan for a Universal Democratic Commonwealth Reformation and not a New World Order as initiated by CIA Director Preston Bush in the late 1940's. This Commonwealth Plan has been developed and nurtured in secrecy by the Orders of the Quest throughout the ages past until now. We have hit the end of the road with the END GAME and must go beyond the current mind set and values of the military industrial complex or we will all parish faster than ever imagined. This new paradigm or blue print will not confine the individual to any one religion, doctrine or creed. It invites everyone to recognize for oneself the disciplines by which one can attain internal security and then contribute to the final liberation of all sentient beings." -- Amarushka