The Secrets in Hamlet's Mill


A week or so ago, I heard about, for the first time, the book Hamlet's Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth. The subtitle should communicate the gist. After ordering it online, it arrived this afternoon and I've gotten five chapters in (barely a fifth of the way through the whole thing).

I was attracted to the book as part of my general sympathy for the idea that pre-classical and primeval knowledge and myth is, to use a silly word scientific, or at least true in a astronomical or quasi-metaphorical level. That's certainly the intended argument of the book, but it certainly labors under that Moldbuggian tendency to beat around the bush quietly, hoping that the deeper argument will eventually sneak up and hit its reader on the head. While the book is definitely designed to be a slow burn, one positive aspect is authors' repeated insistence of the imperfectness of translating early writings and myths, partially on linguistic grounds, but even more so due to the severely underestimated difference between the modern and primeval mindset.

I'll also say that in addition to this book, I've also bought Pandora's Seed (Spencer Wells) and the notable Forbidden Archaeology (Michael Cremo), both of which I'll hopefully be going through this week. The latter book I bought with not too much expectation of seriousness, but out of raw curiosity. It argues an extremely ancient origin of mankind based on reinterpretation of archaeological evidence, its author being what could be described as a Vedic Creationist. I don't expect to be convinced or even unannoyed by the book, but I'm always interested in circumstantial evidence for an earlier date for human evolution, especially given the constant pushing back of the accepted date.