Immanuel Velikovsky described his work on collective amnesia as follows:
"Mankind in Amnesia has to do not only with the past, like my other books -- primarily it has to do with the future, a future not removed by thousands or tens of thousands of years, but the imminent future, on whose threshold we now stand."
The subject that Immanuel Velikovsky has chosen is the psychological condition and case history of the human race. Virtually every aspect of human behavior, every pattern in human history, and every article of human belief, if examined and illuminated in the light of the thesis of this book, reveals how human thought and action have been shaped and molded by repressed collective memories of cosmic catastrophes that befell our ancestors as recently as one hundred generations ago.
In the section "A Collective Amnesia" of Worlds in Collision, published in 1950, Velikovsky outlined his principal psychological thesis. His theory of collective amnesia explains the inability of people to look at the overwhelming evidence of global catastrophes -- from all parts of the world -- that is unequivocally there, and the unwillingness to see the implications of that evidence. Velikovsky put this as follows in Worlds in Collision:
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.
For detailed accounts of the evidence of our catastrophic past one should read Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision and Earth In Upheavel. Velikovsky wrote Mankind in Amnesia over the course of many years. Most of it was written in the 1950s and early ig6os, but he added sections as late as 1979, the last year of his life.
Books by Velikovsky:
Further studyReviews and criticisms of Velikovsky's work have tended to be inaccurate, inconclusive or just plainly wrong. Velikovsky did make mistakes, but his key proposal, that in historical times mankind witnessed global catastrophes of cosmic origin, endures with increasing numbers of organisations and people investigating his work.