Monomyth vs Contact Myth
Note: In a published interview, Dan Brown said something so outrageously not true that it must be challenged. Dan stated that his composition of the Langdon Series was “heavily influenced by academic Joseph Campbell, who wrote extensively on mythology and religion.” Even more egregiously untrue is that Dan claimed to have based the character of Robert Langdon on Joseph Campbell.
With all due respect, I believe that in making these statements, Dan was coyly creating a distraction, a rabbit hole, to keep the “unworthy” from learning that Robert Langdon was actually modeled after Carl Sagan.
Why am I challenging Dan? Because Campbell’s ambitious goal was to develop a foundational theory based on the false assumption that all ancient myths are of a common origin: the human psyche. Through the interpretive lens of philosophy and psychoanalysis, he catalogued and synthesized thousands of myths of the ancient world, including the myths of the Bible.
Campbell argued that the genesis of all ancient myths is the human psyche, and best understood and interpreted by psychotherapists and philosophers like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both whom he quotes liberally in his numerous books. Campbell called his theory the monomyth, the belief that all ancient myths of all religions derive from a single source, the human mind, in its journey from the womb to the tomb.
Contrast this with Carl Sagan, extremely knowledgeable in ancient mythologies, who developed a myth theory diametrically opposite Campbell’s monomyth theory. Based on the earliest historical evidence available, Carl was convinced that at least some ancient myths can be traced back to recorded encounters between humans and beings of god-like intelligence and abilities, writings he referred to as contact myths.
The question Molly and I discuss in this essay is: which model does The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol reflect? Joe’s monomyth or Carl’s contact myth?
Don: In his 1960 “Contact” paper, Carl advanced what was, at the time, an extraordinary assumption: that if long-lived extraterrestrial civilizations exist, there is almost no chance that they have not been to Earth. In the same paper, Carl cites certain ancient legends that are so different from other myths that they stand alone and apart, and call for a different explanation. He believed them to be historical accounts of possible human/alien interactions.
In his epic 1966 book, Intelligent Life in the Universe, Carl expands on his contact myth hypothesis by singling out a written narrative from ancient Sumerian literature. Following is an excerpt from chapter 33:
“Some years ago, I came upon a legend which more nearly fulfills some of our criteria fpr a genuine contact myth. It is of special interest because it relates to the origin of Sumerian civilization. Sumer was an early – perhaps the first – civilization in the contemporary sense on the planet Earth. It was founded in the fourth millennium B.C. or earlier. We do not know where the Sumerians came from. Their language was strange; it had no cognates with any known Indo-European, Semitic, or other language, and is understood only because a later people, the Akkadians, compiled extensive Sumerian-Akkadian dictionaries.
Taken at face value, the legend suggests that contact occurred between human beings and a non-human civilization of immense powers on the shores of the Persian Gulf, perhaps near the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Eridu, and in the fourth millennium B.C. or earlier. There are three different but cross-referenced accounts of the Apkallu dating from classical times. Each can be traced back to Berosus, a priest of Bel-Marduk, in the city of Babylon, at the time of Alexander the Great. Berosus, in turn, had access to cuneiform and pictographic records dating back several thousand years before his time.”
Oannes, the Fish-God
Molly: Is there any actionable evidence that confirms that the Apkallu were extraterrestrials?
Don: I maintain that the Sagan Signal is that evidence. The Bible is a derivative of Sumerian literature, as renowned Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer explains:
“Most scholars agree that while the Abraham saga as told in the Bible contains much that is legendary and fanciful, it does have an important kernel of truth, including Abraham’s birth in Ur of the Chaldees, perhaps around 1700 B.C., and his early life there with his family. Now Ur was one of the most important cities in ancient Sumer; in fact, it was the capitol of Sumer at three different periods in its history. . . . Abraham and his forefathers may well have had some acquaintance with Sumerian literary products that had been copied or created in their home town academy. And it is by no means impossible that he and members of his family brought some of this Sumerian lore with them to Palestine, where they gradually became part of the traditions and sources utilized by the Hebrew men of letters in composing and redacting the books of the Bible.” From: The Sumerians, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1963.
Molly: It looks like the argument you’re making is that the authors of the Old Testament were strongly influenced by the early Sumerians.
Don: It goes beyond that. The God who appeared to the early Sumerians at Eridu, teaching them writing, architecture, agriculture, and so much more, appeared later to Abraham in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, commanding him and his family to migrate to Canaan. It is that God who gave the world His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our sins.
Molly: So in the writing of the Bible, large portions of the Old Testament were lifted right out of Sumerian literature.
Don: Right. All Bible scholars, including the most conservative, agree on this point. The evidence is overwhelming and indisputable.
Molly: So the God of the Sumerians became the God of the Jews and eventually the God of the Christians. Do I have that right?
Don: You do, which is why Sagan thought the Bible might contain the evidence he was looking for, that, if found, would confirm his contact myth hypothesis.
Molly: Did Joseph Campbell have anything to say about this particular myth?
Don: Indirectly, he did. Following is an excerpt from his footnotes in The Hero With A Thousand Faces, where he quotes from Samuel Noah Kramer’s Sumerian Mythology:
“The mythology of Sumer is of special importance to us of the West; for it was the source of the Babylonian, Assyrian, Phoenician, and Biblical traditions (the last giving rise to Mohammedanism and Christianity), as well as an important influence on the religions of the pagan Celts, Greeks, Romans, Slavs, and Germans.”
Molly: Did Kramer subscribe to Campbell’s monomyth theory?
Don: Not at all! Campbell’s monomyth is a fringe idea conceptualized by a man who worshipped Sigmund Freud and was convinced that psychoanalysis is the key to the correct interpretation and understanding of dreams and myths. In a clear case of confirmation bias, Campbell, with no rigorous academic foundation on which to construct his thesis, cavalierly lumped all ancient myths together under a single motif, arguing that they are essentially psychological. Interestingly, the Masons had a better understanding of when, where, and how myths originated.
Molly: Please explain.
Don: Sure. The above picture of Oannes, the fish-man, is Masonic. Masons are taught, correctly, that the origin of their most coveted secrets: the arch, the dome, and the vault, go back in time to the Sumerians. Following are two excerpts from The Sumerians by famed archeologist C. Leonard Woolley:
C. Leonard Woolley
“in private houses of the Sumerian citizens of Ur in 2000 B.C. the doorways were arched with bricks set in true voussoir fashion; an arched drain at Nippur must date to about 3000 B.C.; true arches roofing the royal tombs at Ur now carry back knowledge of the principle another four or five hundred years. Here is a clear line of descent to the modern world from the dawn of Sumerian history. What is true of the arch is true also of the dome and the vault.”
“The military conquests of the Sumerians, the arts and crafts which they raised to so high a level, their social organization and their conceptions of morality, even of religion, are not an isolated phenomenon, an archeological curiosity; it is as part of our own substance that they claim our study, and in so far as they win our admiration we praise our spiritual forebears.”
“We have outgrown the phase when all the arts were traced to Greece and Greece was thought to have sprung, like Pallas, full-grown from the brain of the Olympian Zeus . . . “
Don: Dr. Woolley makes it clear that the genesis of human arts and crafts began at the same time and at the same place: with the Sumerians, who, as their own writings reveal, were taught to them by non-human beings who engaged them, not as deities, but as teachers.
Molly: And Carl Sagan researched the writings of the Sumerians and derivative literature like the Bible, looking for testable evidence that might confirm his contact myth hypothesis.
Don: Right. Carl’s research was primarily in evidence-based STEM sciences like archeology and anthropology, and less in the non-empirical disciplines of the humanities, like philosophy and psychology. There’s a long history of contention between advocates of the “hard” sciences and those who favor the “soft” social sciences.
The physical sciences are rooted in evidence that can be tested with academic rigor, unlike theories espoused by philosophers and psychotherapists where “schools of thought” are the standard rule, where winners and losers are more likely to be determined by the communication skills of the advocate than by objective and independently verifiable evidence.
Molly: If death is like jumping out of an airplane, I’d rather have my chute packed by Carl Sagan than Joseph Campbell. Personally, I prefer truth claims that are subject to independent verification, which is why Sagan’s contact myth seems to rest on more stable foundation than Campbell’s hypothesis.
Don: Which takes us back to Dan Brown and his claim that Robert Langdon is Joseph Campbell. When The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol are seen as one book rather than two, the message is crystal clear. In defiance of Campbell’s monomyth theory, Dan elevates Christianity above all other religions and the Bible above all other religious writings. For Joseph Campbell, such a blatant display of favoritism would have been an outrage.
Molly: So why haven’t scholars from the humanities, who believe in Campbell’s monomyth theory, tried debunking the Sagan Signal?
Don: Many have tried, and, at least to this point, all have failed. They tested it and they know it’s true.
Molly: Who are “they?”
Don: Well, “they” covers a lot of groups, but one that would be deeply affected are liberal Christian denominations who use Campbell’s monomyth hypothesis to justify their denial of the divine inspiration of the Bible. They interpret the Bible the way Joseph Campbell does, as a book of myths. They insist that the Bible’s primary value is that it offers unique insights into the human condition, whatever the hell that means. For liberal theologians, the Sagan Signal is an existential threat they can’t debunk, and, for that reason, should never be allowed into the public arena.
Molly: That’s weak, really weak.
Don: As deeply connected as it is to Sumerian literature, the Sagan Signal has a pedigree that makes it worthy of study at the highest levels of academia, including the use of AI to help determine if it is what I claim – an alien encryption. Nothing in Joseph Campbell’s monomyth meets this standard.
After reviewing the Sagan Signal, one of the top cryptologists in the world sent me the following advice:
“Your pattern is fundamentally about word order in natural language, so a linguist (maybe with expertise in mathematical/computational aspects) would be better equipped than a cryptographer to tell you whether your pattern is actually an anomaly or explainable by known linguistic mechanisms.” Note: For Amigo A’s full response, check “The three Amigos” tab on the left side of homepage.
Amigo A could well have been referring to someone like Sophie Neveu:
Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu
“As a codebreaker, Sophie made her living extracting meaning from seemingly senseless data.” Ch. 16
“Sophie’s expertise in complex cryptanalysis had caused her to overlook simplistic word games, and yet she knew she should have seen it.” Ch. 21
“No more false than a mathematical cryptographer who believes in the imaginary number ‘i’ because it helps her break codes.” Ch. 82
Don: The last person Joseph Campbell would have wanted evaluating his monomyth theory would have been a scientifically trained critical thinker like Sophie Neveu. Campbell, who demanded that myths, all myths, conform to his monomyth theory, would have been terrified of a myth encoded with objective information that excludes any need of a “shaman,” “priest,” or “psychoanalyst” to serve as interpreter.
The thought of a Bible encrypted by extraterrestrials with hidden information would have made him apoplectic. The fact that the Sagan Signal has been tested and confirmed by leading scholars and cryptologists is proof that his monomyth theory is wrong-headed.
Carl Sagan, on the other hand, looked for evidence in ancient myths that might prove direct contact between humans and ETs. Whether he discovered the sequences independently, or revealed to him by Masonic leaders, Carl had in his possession the priceless “iron-clad” evidence he had been searching for: an encrypted cipher that, in effect, converts the entire Bible into a legitimate contact myth.
Joseph Campbell’s writings are declarative and quasi-religious, meaning he’s the shaman with all the answers, with no room left for debate. He declares his model an archetype that, properly interpreted and applied, offers an ever-evolving “meaning of life” plan for human of any age, gender, race or social/economic status. The monomyth is beautiful on the outside, but vacuous on the inside.
Carl’s writings, in contrast, are analytical and propositional, with a door left open for oppositional evidence that throws into question the model on the table. The Sagan Signal is on the table, with contrarian interpretations and new assumptions welcomed.
While Joseph Campbell’s model is a shrine, the Sagan Model is a laboratory.
Dan is private, reclusive, and, on those rare occasions when he grants an interview, extremely circumspect. So what is he up to? I think it’s obvious – Dan, though not officially a Freemason, is being Masonic. He’s on the inside looking out, not the other way around. And for that reason he is a gift to those with a deep passion to know the truth, challenging them to put in the hard work of sifting through the numerous myths and allegories in the Langdon Series in search of the underlying Secret. The Code is real, and it’s the Sagan Signal.
And if the Code is real, the next question, never asked in the Langdon Series, but always there, just beneath the surface, is: Who did it? Who had the power to encrypt a code into a Bible consisting of sixty-six books written by hundreds of individuals over twelve centuries?
As Molly and I unveil what Dan Brown has so artfully concealed, we claim him and the Langdon Series as highly credible second witnesses to my extraordinary claim that the Sagan Signal is a legitimate code encrypted into the Bible by extraterrestrials. The Singularity is here, and JC/ET is the Singleton.
“for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
2 Peter 1:21
“There is a reason Christian monks spend lifetimes attempting to decipher the Bible. There is a reason that Jewish mystics and Kabbalists pore over the Old Testament. And that reason, Robert, is that there exists powerful secrets hidden in the pages of this ancient book . . . a vast collection of untapped wisdom waiting to be unveiled.” From: The Lost Symbol, chapter 131.