Book review: “The World Upside Down”
Future studies is about attaining the most revealing perspective on complex issues. The ability to find the perspective that gives as much information about a given situation as possible is the essence of future studies. Marcoeconomics, demographics, geopolitical strategies and resource analysis are among the disciplines that give a futurologist a feeling of a bird’s eye view on complex global questions. Given this, what would be a more all-encompassing perspective than that given from outer space?
“The memory of the cataclysms was erased, not because of lack of written traditions, but because of some characteristic process that later caused entire nations, together with their literate men, to read into these traditions allegories or metaphors where actually cosmic disturbances were clearly described.”
A perspective that has been underestimated by the established futures thinking community is exactly that of cosmology and astrophysics. What secrets dwell in the vast space that surrounds our spaceship Earth and what can the cosmos tell mankind about its future? Carefully avoiding the New Age bandwagon this is the core topic of the thrilling new book “The World Upside Down” by Kris and Jo Van den Driessche.
The quest that the Van den Driessche brothers set out to explore in this book is not an easy one. Explaining astrophysical phenomena like black holes, the evolution of stars and other celestial bodies and tracing the history of Earth is an enormous undertaking. What forces in the universe are the most important factors governing Earth? It becomes clear from early on that the established scientific worldview are not sufficent to explain the evolution and future of our beloved Earth.
The first part of the book goes into great detail explaining the fundamental laws of the universe that subsequently governs Earth. Although many of the key concepts explained, like gravitational forces and different energy and matter particles, are in line with orthodox astrophyics some ideas are of a more controversial nature. According to the book the moon has gradually departed from Earth and left the huge area between Australia and Antarctica wide open. This also explains why India crashed into Eurasia during the dispersal of the continents some 65 millions years ago. Reading about how Pangea, the original supercontinent, broke apart is exciting and tells a lot about how Earth has ended up looking like it does.
The most central thesis of the book is about the magnetic alignment of the Earth to the Sun and the Moon, the so-called precession movement. In addition to these forces our solar system moves from the sphere of influence of the Orion Arm into the sphere of influence of the Sagittarius Arm and vice verse during its ecliptic orbit. This movement results in a 12.888 year cycle of realignments of the axis of Earth which eventually could turn the Earth upside down.
The book describes how previous civilizations have viewed this cycle, from Hindu and Mayan artifacts to Egyptian myths and later Greek cosmology. The authors show incredible detailed knowledge of ancient cultures and their cosmology. E.g. Seneca wrote in his work Thyestes: “Have we, people, deserved this, that the sky should want to destroy us by reversing its poles?” The many references and descriptions add depth and clarity to what many would consider a rather specualtive narrative about a coming cataclysm. See selections from Immanuel Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision” (1950) for more historical references.
So how do we prepeare for a global catastrophe of immense proportions? Even the underground bunkers of the military wouldn’t stand a chance against moving tectonic plates, rising and sinking mountains and a global tsunami. Migrating to space will also prove to be hard due to the enormous winds that will sweep the Earth and the atmosphere and what will there be to return to? Where are you going to land? What are you going to eat and drink?
One of the obvious solutions is described by finding the axis point of the rotation which according to the book will be Kenya. I’m not convinced that axis realignment is a real and potential threat to mankind. The timespan for these events are to great to be used as a basis for a prediction as precise as that given in the book, namely 23. December 2012. For those who believe in this prediction you better plan the 2012 Christmas vacation in Kenya. Even though the book is a fascinating read I haven’t booked any reservations for Kenya… yet.
“The World Upside Down” by Johan Van den Driessche & Kris Van den Driessche
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