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Self-Declaration: Why I am not a "crank"

Thorwald C. Franke
© May 4th, 2019

When asking for the reality of Plato's Atlantis, questions and suspicions arise:

"Only cranks do this, this is crazy!"
"Well, he can't think very highly of rationality and science, can he?"
"Does he hide something? Some esoterical or political insanity?"

These questions are annoying yet understandable at the same time, since there are indeed quite a few "cranks" among Atlantis supporters.
The following self-declaration may help to clear these questions.
There is neither something to hide, nor are clear commitments avoided.

1. Rationality and scientifical approach.

Searching for Atlantis against the rules of rationality and science would be senseless. Every statement about Atlantis must be able to withstand rational criticism. Thereby the search for Atlantis quickly reaches an interim conclusion: Atlantis cannot have been a real place, if we read Plato's descriptions literally.

However, it is not scientifical to read Plato's descriptions literally. A scientifical interpretation has to be a historical-critical interpretation, of course: On the one hand side, Plato could have invented Atlantis, on the other hand side he also could have indeed meant a real place. Because the unrealistic aspects of Atlantis correspond to the unrealistic aspects in other ancient texts, of which we know that these are errors and mistakes from the process of tradition.

Thorwald C. Franke considers Pato's Atlantis a distorted reproduction of a historical tradition about the island of Sicily in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BC). So, the place and his function in Plato's Atlantis story are real, and at the same time, Atlantis fits into history's known order in a reasonable way.

2. Science and academia.

The best approximation towards the ideal of science is realized in the university-based system of academia which is therefore indispensable. Though also this system is by its nature always imperfect, its deficiencies have to be remedied within this system, not against this system. Scientific errors are mostly no "conspiracies" but collective errors into which academia slid step by step.

Contributions by minorities or by outsiders have to pursue in the long run the aim to be received, discussed, and – if possible – accepted by university-based academia. Opinions different to the opinion of university-based academia are legitimate as long as they follow the principles of rationality and science.

3. Politics, religion, ideology.

Atlantis was considered an exemplary failed state by Plato, and thus it cannot be a political model. Also Plato's ideal state is too abstract to be a tangible political model. The foundations of good policies are humanism and enlightenment. All human beings are equal in dignity, rights, and obligations, independent from their inequalities constituted e.g. by education or genetics. An open society, the balance of powers, and the republic as form of government, today often called democracy, is favoured. Any exaggeration of national or social ideas in nationalism and socialism is evil.

The meaning of Atlantis is purely historical. Any religious or ideological meaning of Atlantis has to be denied. Thorwald C. Franke is no member of any political party, religious community, or ideological group. Rational philosophy leads the indiviudal to individual thoughts beyond traditional religions or materialistic and atheistic ideologies.

From 2013 to 2016, Thorwald C. Franke supported the political party "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD), for a while also as a member. This party had been founded in 2013 by Prof. Bernd Lucke as a democratic party in order to protest against a wrong economic and monetary policy in the European Union. After the party's member base pushed the party more and more towards the far right, more and more members with democratic views left the party. The AfD of today is a completely different party than the AfD in its beginnings.

4. Racism?

An attribution of any special meaning to the ethnic affiliation of the Atlanteans has to be denied. It is also not valid to interpret Atlantis as the place of origin of a "race". It applies Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. According to the Out-of-Africa theory, the place of origin of humanity is Africa. Also the idea of the descent of an "Aryan race" from the "North", or e.g. from the Himalaya mountains, has to be denied.

Also a possible Indo-European descent of the Atlanteans is of no special meaning. Furthermore, the interpetation of Indo-Europeans resp. Indo-Germanics as "Germanics", all the more in a racist sense, has to be denied. The Indo-European language family has nothing to do with an "Aryan race" from the "North". It is rather a language family of which the place of origin is, according to current scientifical theories, somewhere in the area of the Black Sea. The wording "Indo-European" has to be favoured, since "Indo-Germanic" is misleading: In Europe, e.g. also Slavs and Celts belong to the Indo-European language family, not only Germanic peoples. – The wording "Aryan" to designate Indo-Europeans is dated, misleading, and has an enduring negative connotation by its use by the National Socialists. However, not every usage of "Aryan" is wrong or unethical, especially not before the time of National Socialism. Each individual case has to be examined. "Aryan" had still been used by Thomas Mann in his novel "Joseph and his brothers" without any reservations.

It is not allowed to misinterpret the theory of evolution in a Social Darwinist way. It is wrong to attribute different "values" to the various human races. Civilized peoples define themselves by their cultural features, not by their genetics. According to the current state of science, the individual's intelligence is determined partly by genetics, partly by education and environmental influence. Human beings are neither born as blank slates, nor are they born inalterably determined. Statistical statements about groups of human beings are legitimate and useful, but may not be misinterpreted.

5. Classical humanism.

The real meaning of the interpretation of Atlantis as a real place is not so much the finding of Atlantis, though desirable this is, but the correct interpretation of Plato's philosophy. Plato's philosophy is the foundation of humanism and enlightenment: It is an achievement in itself to understand it correctly.

By its rationalism, philosophy can transform each and every civilization into a civilization of humanism and enlightenment, i.e. in a part of the civilized world. Philosophy's place of origin is mainly classical antiquity. It is situated neither in the North, nor in the East, also not in the West, and again not in the South, but in the Middle: Inmidst of the Mediterranean Sea, at the Western coast of Asia minor, in Greece and in Southern Italy, in Athens, Rome, and Alexandria. This place existed neither in "antediluvial" times, nor in the present, but also here in the middle of both.

Classical antiquity is no exclusive heritage of the world shaped by Christianity which therefore cannot claim to be principally pre-eminent before other civilizations. Classical antiquity is open for all civilizations of the world to be adopted as the heritage of all humankind. However, it is at the same time a moral imperative for all civilizations of the world to accept this heritage, and to open up for the spirit of humanism. Because it is not possible to have an accurate recognition of the reality of world and human being while rejecting this heritage – this also because nobody who ever has seen a wheel could re-invent the wheel a second time. Civilizations which reject this heritage remain on a lower level of human development, and can become dangerous for the developed world.

Please note also the "Atlantis Research Charter" from 2006.        Contents Overview
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