The Lost Continent



Of the So Called Magic of the Atlanteans.

Magic in Atlas was a "Science of Sciences." It was the final integration of all knowledge. In method its theory was differentiation, and in theory its method was integration. For example, the fifth of the great philosophers indicated "Everything is Zro" to the Keeper of the Speech at the annual sacrifice. This in spite of the fact that in that very year two new forms of Zro had been discovered by that same philosopher. It was the third of the galaxy who announced "the ultimate analysis of sensation is pain; that of thought, madness; that of super-consciousness (a state of trance induced by Zro and valued above all things) annihilation."
His successor had retorted that in this was implicit a postulate that pain, madness and annihilation were undesirable. The third admitted that he had so meant his phrase, but destroying the postulate, still stuck to it. All this was the foundation of much magical theory, and on these purely psychological researches was based the whole magical practice. "There is no God" was a commonplace. It only implied that the mind was wrong to try to conceve within it what was by definition without it. To set limits to anything whatever seemed to them the greatest of crimes, the exact opposite of the true path to the Sun.
The practical side of Magic was for the most part a mere utilization of known forces, such as are employed by modern science. But the resources of Atlas were as great, and the advantages incomparably greater. The whole archipelago was a laboratory. There was no question of the "cost of research"; every man was devoted to it. Every man thought only of the main problem "How to reach Venus" and its sub-issues. Further, the main laws of Magic had always been found to govern and include chemical and physical laws.
In the early days of colonization Zro was only known in its crude state; it was the genius of a single man that obtained the third state in purity. From this state to the seventh it moved almost of itself, very much as radium does. The genius, having sufficient in this seventh state, made a sword, and completed in three days the subjugation of the servile races. It was a stroke of fortune, this quickness, for on the fourth day the Zro began to disintegrate. The magicians then began to seek a means of making this state permanent. But in this they failed,[1] so that knives had always to be replaced twice weekly; but in the course of their failures they discovered the infinitely more valuable eighth and ninth stages of Zro. Tradition has preserved a hint of their efforts in Alchemy with its problems of the fixation of the Universal Mercury, the secret of perpetual motion, and "potable gold — the Universal Medicine." It has been theoretically determined towards the end of the tenth state, that Zro should be a solid, but whether this was confirmed is beyond my knowledge.
To return to the main magical theory, the Quintessence, said they, or Universal Substance (which some strove to identify with Hyle, others with the Luminiferous Æther) is the two-in-one, liquid and solid, the former part being also twofold, fluid and gaseous, and the latter earthy and fiery. The combination of these four phases of Zro accounted for the universe. This Quintessence is Zro in some state unknown and incalculable. Some expected to find it in its 12th state, some in a 17th, others in a 37th: all this was pure guesswork. Some tradition to this effect appears to have reached Plato; and the neo-Platonists combined with those Jews who had preserved fragments of the Egyptian tradition to form a new initiated hierarchy, the echo of whose teaching is found in Paracelsus. At one period, too, missionaries (not colonists, as has been ignorantly asserted; there was no trouble of over-population in Atlantis) were sent to the four quarters and parties landed in Mexico, Ireland and Egypt. The adventures of the party who travelled South form an astounding chapter in the history of Atlas. It was they who discovered the Magnetic South, and whose observations rendered possible the theory which resulted in the piercing of the Earth by Zro.[2]
Besides all I have recounted, Zro had many extraordinary powers. These were however called 'lesser', and discarded and forgotten in the absorption in the principal work. Nearly all of these are found in the combinations of Zro in its sixth state with black phosphorus in varying proportions. Thus one product is called "fiery flying serpent". A pellet pinched off and thrown into the air elongates itself and flies in the direction desired, killing the person whom it strikes. Another was called "Eye of the Gods". It was a metal resembling platinum and made into tiny mirrors worn in rings, or even attached by a special process to the thumbnail. The seer could then behold any place or person he chose to name. A similar product, nearly all phosphorus, was like vulcanite and was worn inside the ear by anyone who wished to hear anything that was being said anywhere. There was also a red transparent lip-salve, which compelled love in any one who saw it. Its use had been abandoned early in the history of Atlas, through the witty satires of a poet, and the more serious strictures of a philosopher who perceived its liability to abuse. Again a thin paste of almost pure Zro made the wearer invisible. The poet was again successful in bringing this into contempt by suggesting that people resorted to it to hide their ugliness. This poet was one of the few Atlanteans who suffered violent death, except in voluntary sacrifice.
There were also preparations of Zro which increased the size of the user, and others which diminished it. In general use among the lower classes, until the very end, was that composition which made the body light. Careful adjustment would equalize its weight with that of the displaced air, and movements of the limbs would then permit flying. In this way the overseers visited the plains and returned. The other and earlier art of flying needed no apparatus, but I am forbidden to disclose the method, except to hint that it is connected closely with the art of 'dreaming true.'
These are but a few of the Magic powers so-called of the compounds of Zro; but they will indicate the power of Atlas by shewing what it could afford to neglect. Yet all these powers were implicit in the process of 'working.'
The art of prediction was in the same unsatisfactory state as it is in England today. Nor was its practice encouraged. A Magician makes the future, and does not seek to divine it. All true prediction was therefore necessarily catastrophe. The greatest good fortune seemed worthless to an Atlantean, since it was accident, and if accidents are to happen, one of them may be fatal. They believed themselves to be equal to the whole tendency of things, and proudly gazed on Nature as a man might upon a virgin captive to his spear. Everything that was Being was Zro; everything that was Energy was "working for Zro." Outside this was but by-product and waste-heap.
The arrangement of the houses was in accordance with the magical theory. There was first the High House, then four (later six, last ten) 'Houses of Houses'; and to each of these was attached a varying number of ordinary houses. The High House was the central shrine of the whole archipelago, and must be separately described.

[1] No known state of pure Zro is stable. From this it will be seen how entirely Atlas was in the hands of the servile races. Fortunately no trouble ever arose; the supply of labour was always ample.

[2] There was also a settlement in Finland. Its only remains in historic periods is "Lapland Witches."

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