Introduction: The Impact Velikovsky had

Harold Tresman

Delivered at the SIS Silver Jubilee Conference,
Friday 17th - Sunday 19th September 1999

We are actually a little premature in celebrating this special anniversary and I am feeling quietly confident that we will survive the few months needed to make twenty five years. In all honesty, and I am sure Brian Moore will agree, that none of the founders ever dreamt that we would survive so long. I know that two of our late founder members, Derek Shelley-Pearce and Clarice Morgan, with their optimistic enthusiasm, had no doubts that we would last forever and I wish they were here to enjoy this Jubilee, even though they would be saying 'we told you so'.

You will all remember that in the 'dark ages' of the sixties and seventies we had only a couple of books by a rather unusual author with some unusual ideas that seemed to stand all accepted scientific knowledge on its head. The author was Immanuel Velikovsky. His presentation was, to say the least, impressive so the reader could not be sure whether he was right or wrong... either he was presenting a completely new and radical way of thinking or else he was misleading us. It seemed either / or, and with no half way approach. In those early days each of us had to make our own way towards truth, for that was the real goal, and we had to find the paths on our own... the more so for those of us outside the USA. Communications with our inspirer, were, to say the least of it, invariably counter productive. 'seek for yourself ', 'find your own way' I'm too busy preparing future books' was the only help we had.

Until recently those of us over here hadn't the advantage of even a peep at part two on Worlds in Collision to let us know his thoughts on earlier events. This isn't sour grapes on our, or my, part because it compelled us to find out for ourselves whether he was right. Time has shown to so many of us that he was indeed correct. He wasn't perfect by any means. Some of his sources were suspect, some of his interpretations a bit dubious, but his main thrusts were there. In fact, hardly a week goes by without some additional discovery giving more credibility to his original hypothesis.

In the seventies there was Pensée... and there were other like minded people... we isolated Brits were not the only ones. I contacted Steve Talbott, he gave me British addresses... and the rest is history... culminating with the birth of the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS). The main aims, instilled from its inception, was the production of a top grade journal supplemented, and by a more speculative publication to stimulate ideas, and the organisation and presentations of conferences. In 1978 we held our first conference at Glasgow, an event welcomed by Velikovskyy. There was no response to the invitation that we sent, other than a short note, or telegram, advising us that 'the eyes of the world press will be upon you'. Without Velikovsky we were ignored by the press! That he didn't attend was a great disappointment to us all. Now I readily agree that the timing between the first and second conferences were just a teeny weeny bit attenuated, but I think that you will agree that the SIS has more than made amends since the second... well I think they have.... and they should be commended for that.

Ever since the first SIS conference at Glasgow, all those years ago, I am always surprised at the distances that people travel to attend a conference involving a little known and unimportant psycho analyst, Immanuel Velikovsky... at least, we are led to believe that this is fair assessment of his work.

Let me ask you a few questions, to see where we stand. How many of you here today haven't heard of Immanuel Velikovsky? How many of you have? Any 'don't knows'? How many of you believe him to be right in principle? Wrong? How many are not sure? Would it be fair to say that your lives changed as a direct result of discovering his work?

A discussion I attended a short time ago, considering the main outcome of Velikovsky's work, arrived at the conclusion that 'it made us more aware of the imminent likelihood of future cosmic impacts on this planet'. That's it. Forget the countless hours that most of us have invested in researching and hunting for the clues that the past is concealing. Ignore the incomprehensible events recorded in the history of our modern species, ignore paradigm shift that is a direct outcome of his original approach... Velikovsky's contribution has only shown that we should only be aware of impending doom... soon.

Which brings me neatly to 'that' past... and the proto Saturnian scenario... and another question. How many of you accept the previous proto-Saturn hypothesis? How many don't? How many do not understand it?

Just forty to fifty years ago there was virtually no challenge to the conventional overview of science that could easily be found, studied or used as a comparison, in fact, everything was so certain that there was no need to search for alternatives. At that time everything scientific was read and admired...we knew and understood every single process. With the publication of Worlds in Collision, followed by Earth in Upheaval, this cosy, uncritical acceptance changed. In my own case these publications struck the chord that had been niggling at me since my school day and changed my life. I'm not going to repeat all the details of my conversion, given at the Cambridge Conference... other than to highlight, what to me, were the most important factors that influenced me.

If Worlds in Collision was to be viewed seriously how could two major planets run riot in the inner part of the solar system, seemingly make close contact with our planet, without invoking Roche's Law. If, as Velikovsky insisted, this did happen then something was wrong with Roche's Law. If Earth in Upheaval was correct in showing that geological events, the time scales and the causes of depositions and upheavals were suspect then conventional geological interpretation had to be suspect. There was a linkage between both weaknesses. Velikovsky's paper, Cosmos without Gravitation, provided an alternative. and a dramatic new way of understanding the message contained in his other publications. This could be simply expressed... if gravity/mass hypothesis was correct, he was wrong... if the solar system functioned electrically, he was right. There could be no fudging, no weird combination of both, it was either / or. This I found very difficult to say the least. In his first two books, one challenging astronomy, and the other geology, how could science have got it so wrong. At that time I hadn't realised that History (mythology) was the third prong of his attack. This just couldn't be right. But I felt that I had to find out.

It was fortunate that I had a very cooperative library, and this was in the days when British libraries had resources, for it was several years, and so many books later [my wife will confirm that she was my main reader, finding the chapters, even paragraphs, that helped us find the way] that I had to admit that Velikovsky, on balance, had to be right in his main proposals. What was more, catastrophism could not function within the prevailing scientific doctrine. There was no common ground. Worse, I realised, was that the disasters referred to in Worlds in Collision were not just isolated incidents but the part-finale of a major event, the separation from proto-Saturn about which this planet had orbited. Even worse, was the realisation that this happened within the memory of man, our forebears, who had left a record of our history, during the time of peaceful existence orbiting proto-Saturn, mankind's 'Golden Age, and who survived the cataclysmic separation perhaps no more than twenty thousand 'years' ago. Perhaps, what was the worse discovery, was that all this is impossible... impossible unless we have an electric universe... and this was a 'difficulty that, back in the early sixties, I didn't expect the possibility of an 'electric universe' to be resolved in my lifetime

That was then. With the advent of Pensée, with Ralph Juergens showing that an electric universe is practical and with all our many other publications since there is less doubt. With Wal Thornhill's' The Electric Universe', with Ralph Sansbury's theories, and Halton Arp's researches time is now on our side. Indeed UK TV is now full of programmes highlighting 'unexpected electric influences' in the solar system and on this planet. Who, thirty or forty years ago, would have imagined a TV special dealing with 'charged plasma ejections from sun-spots' wreaking havoc with electronics here on Earth. OK, they haven't got all the theory together yet, but at least they are making almost the right observations and it should only be a short time before they develop the correct theories and true explanations....or am I being just a bit optimistic?

I must confess to being an admirer of the late Howard Shapley, the Professor of Astronomy at Harvard at the time Velikovsky was first published. He alone, it seems, had the foresight to realise that what Velikovsky was proposing was the biggest threat that the scientific establishment would ever have to face. His apocryphal statement that 'if Velikovsky is right then we are all crazy' was to say the least prophetic . For somebody, who allegedly, had not even read the book to have this insight into the paradigm shift that was being published adds stature to his ability. Because he was quite right...almost every field of science is suspect, as we are continually finding out.

As an aside, one of the interesting things that I have noticed in the course of the many hundreds of conversations I have had with learned experts who have expressed their admiration, interest and support for Velikovsky, always in specialities other than their own, and wax quite lyrical at his revolutionary and original discussions. However, in their particular field, they are dogmatic, he doesn't know what he is talking about. Yet Howard Shapley recognised the threat that Velikovsky posed and we are here to show that Shapley was correct in his prognosis, as our presence here this weekend illustrates.

Let me give you a resume of main directions that Velikovsky, in my view, has postulated...

  1. Ancient mythology is a graphic history based on the experiences of the observers.
  2. Cataclysmic events involving planetary bodies occurred in 'ancient' historical times.
  3. Venus was a comet observed and recorded by our ancestors.
  4. A nova-type disruption of proto-Saturn, the binary of our Sun, initiated the sequence of major catastrophes
  5. The Universe is driven, governed and controlled electrically.

What we Saturnists have extrapolated, over a period of 30-35 years, can be summarised as follows: The age of our planet, even the Solar System, should not be measured in billions, nor even millions of years. Indeed, how can we measure a system of time based on earth's rotations and the orbital time around the Sun, neither of which has been historically constant. [I would refer you to the recent book by Prof. Lynn E. Rose Sun, Moon, and Sothis: A Study of Calendars and Calendar Reforms in Ancient Egypt , dealing with the history of measuring time] Even using these variables I would be surprised if we are measuring more than 'single' millions. Our planet and others existed and orbited proto-Saturn, during which time the Earth became inhabitable and life evolved.

During the Earth's development at that time, its pole was located in what is now the Middle East in the centre of the single super continent. This planet was 'stretched' along its poles and far from being spherical. Earth during this time had stability. This was ended with the disruption!

We Saturnists have now reached a point in our evolution where we can virtually present our own scenario. There are a number of later speakers capable of presenting their understanding of events based on their own carefully researched ideas that, when combined with specialists in similar disciplines, have resulted in a cogent presentation of a not-so-far-in-the-past catastrophic history. None of these ideas fit the mould of current scientific thought. Perhaps Wal Thornhill will refer to the 'Smoking Gun' that he and Dave Talbott discussed at the Portland Conference way back 1996. Those of you who expect, for example, an explanation of the electric universe within the gravity / mass framework will be disappointed not to have such a link explained... there simply isn't any common ground. This really is the continuation and realisation of Velikovksy's paradigm shift.

Present day Neo-catastrophists struggle to fit their hesitancy within conventional theory...and are failing. It is strange that most 'innovative' thought comes from unshackled, unblinkered, thinkers who are not influenced by the everlasting battle between the Theorists and Observers.

Finally, Velikovsky may not have been the first catastrophist but he certainly has been the most influential in this century. I wonder what we would all be doing this week end but for his insight