Modern Narratives of “Lost”

Off Modern Theories

Modern narratives of lost continents are considered “off-modern” because they are eschewed to the margins of society and are not part of a mainstream narrative. Off-modern belief systems make us explore sideshows and back alleys rather than the straight road of progress. People, who construct their worldviews in opposition to western rational models of thinking, often look to the past nostalgically as a survival strategy. For off-modernists, there is a fascination with new ideas and yet a longing for tradition. People have actively produced a mythical history of ancestors and places that does not rely on dominant western modes of scientific thought, especially Darwinian evolution. Those people who support off-modern topics consider themselves geniuses for “discovering” the truth of the situation.

Lemuria and Atlantis are the perfect areas for off-modernists to explore because no one is alive to remember them, and there are no authoritative documents. No person today will be offended by their improper portrayal, though there are standard assumptions about the submerged islands based on the writings of Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Lemurian Fellowship, I AM Movement, and other New Age groups. These narratives are a form of reflective nostalgia, where people focus on myth-making of another time and place.

In the post-World War I era, Lemuria became a Golden Age or Garden of Eden where civilization flourished. Those people who see the past as a Golden Age reject the mundane and ordinary present. Then, around the 1940s, Lemuria and Atlantis emerged as a subterranean world because there were no undiscovered places in the world; the world’s oceans and landmasses were well documented. Also, developments in archaeology provided a more comprehensive record of history. However, Lemuria and Atlantis, as a Golden Age and simultaneously existing inside the earth, remain popular myths of nostalgia.

Further Reading