Erich von Däniken ERICH von DÄNIKEN

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The following excerpt was originally published in German as an introduction to Erinnerungen an die Zukunft in 1968.]

It took courage to write [Chariots of the Gods?] and it will take courage to read it. Because its theories and proofs do not fit into the mosaic of traditional archaeology, constructed so laboriously and firmly cemented down, scholars will call it nonsense and put it on the Index of those books which are better left unmentioned. Laymen will withdraw into the snail shell of their familiar world when faced with the probability that finding out about our past will be even more mysterious and adventurous than finding out about the future.

Nevertheless, one thing is certain. There is something inconsistent about our past, that past which lies thousands and millions of years behind us. The past teemed with unknown gods who visited the primeval earth in manned spaceships. Incredible technical achievements existed in the past. (p. vii)

But how did these early men acquire the ability to create them?

There is something inconsistent about our religion. A feature common to every religion is that it promises help and salvation to mankind. The primitive gods gave such promises, too. Why didn't they keep them? Why did they use ultra-modern weapons on primitive peoples? And why did they plan to destroy them?

Let us get used to the idea that the world of ideas which has grown up over the millennia is going to collapse. (pp. vi-viii)

Modern laboratories must take over the work of archaeological research. Archaeologists must visit the devastated sites of the past with ultrasensitive measuring apparatus. Priests who seek the truth must again begin to doubt everything that is established.

The gods of the dim...

(The entire section is 439 words.)