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Interview with Daniel Sewell Ward
Biography: Daniel Sewell Ward holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Bachelor of Engineering Science from the same university. He is the author of over one hundred and fifty technical and semi-technical articles in a variety of scientific journals, magazines and conference proceedings, as well as roughly 800 separate WebPages at http://www.halexandria.org/.
Daniel has done research in a wide diversity of scientific disciplines and esoteric subjects including nuclear and elementary particle physics, solar energy (in the process building the world's first solar heated and cooled house), ancient history, economics, government and law, consciousness, sacred geometry, connective physics, goddess-related topics, the enigma of crop circles, and many other subjects. Dr. Ward is also a teacher, prolific writer, theoretical and experimental researcher, futurist, and unrepentant humorist (specializing in puns). He is currently President and Chief Scientist of Quantum Genesis, L.L.C., as well as CEO and Chancellor of the Library of Halexandria. In his spare time, he plays volleyball, reads and listens to music, hikes and/or bikes, and routinely stands in awe of the incredible diversity and beauty of the universe.
Q: I’m surprised you have any spare time!
Can you tell us how the inspiration to create this site first presented itself to you?
A: I corresponded a great deal with a variety of individuals and on a wide range of topics. The advent of e-mail simply increased the speed, the diversity of topics and the shear volume of our stimulating conversations. At the same time, as I became enamored with many of the different ideas and concepts exchanged between myself and one or two other individuals, I found myself wanting to share the same insights with a much larger audience.
I have always been opposed to preachy essays and invasive arguments intended to persuade one to a particular point of view. The Internet is perfect for this philosophy. I can post all of my strange, inexplicable, and weird interpretations of most any subject on a website, and never attempts to bring others “into the fold,” nor does it try to inflict those views on unsuspecting victims. My website just sort of sits there, and when the typical web surfer happens upon it, he or she can quickly exit to safer fields, OR spend a lot more time at the site, taking what feels right and smiling patiently at the rest.
I believe the key is to enjoy life and allow others to wonder why you’re always grinning. Then when they ask, you can tell them.
The biggest challenge in the early formative stages of Halexandria was how to organize a very wide range of topics that would allow others to navigate through the site. The idea of arranging the topics in a Tree of Life -- where the astrological symbolism of the Tree would allow various topics to be easily and naturally categorized – came to me at a café where I was waiting for a lunch date to arrive. The restaurant had paper tablecloths and crayons, which naturally I couldn’t resist. The result was a sketch of the goddess-Venus of Willendorf-inspired, Tree of Life motif that represents Halexandria.
The name of the site, of course, stems from the ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt. I have always been a huge fan of Alexander the Great, for whom the City of Alexandria was named. My interest in this greatest of all conquerors is for several reasons, including his willingness to acknowledge and honor the beliefs and traditions of other cultures. It is particularly relevant that this latter trait of Alexander became apparent to the world after he “conquered” Egypt. The library named after him – and created by one of his generals, Ptolemy -- exhibited much of this cross-cultural exchange. Ptolemy I, as he became known after Alexander’s death, continued this exchange by combining Egyptian and Greek cultures by honoring the god, Serapis – the latter a combination of the Egyptian Osiris and Hellenistic deities including Zeus, Helios, Dionysus, Hades and Asklepius.
Alexandria represented a golden era of education, understanding and knowledge, new and profound ideas, a harmonizing of many diverse cultures, and a synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern ways. Any library is by its very nature amenable to my view of free will -- that of offering information in a non-intrusive manner. The Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt went even further by specializing in esoteric (“for the few”) knowledge, ideas, and wisdom. Inasmuch as Halexandria was to be repository of “alternative” theories of science, history, and the like, the ancient Library was an ideal mentor.
As for the “H” in Halexandria, there are three reasons: 1) I wanted to ensure that my site was not mistaken as a treatise on the ancient library, 2) the numerology of the name was “improved” by the addition of a single letter, and 3) the site could be nick-named “Hal” in honor of the computer that went crazy in 2001, A Space Odyssey. Inasmuch as Hal…exandria was in computer cyberspace, and many of its pages might be construed as… well… eccentric, the name seemed particularly appropriate.
Q: What is the most important thing you’d like to see coming away from your site?
A: It’s a matter of fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. I almost never post anything on to the website, unless it connects easily and naturally to a host of other WebPages – WebPages which might be internal or external to Halexandria. Everything connects (or links) to everything else. Any puzzle worthy of the name has the same requirement. On the one hand, therefore, Halexandria is my effort to see how the marvelous diversity of all that is combines to form the most amazing and awesome synthesis. One example of this is my web page on the Virgo Cathedrals of Northern France – which links cathedrals, goddesses, astrology/astronomy, and the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth.
If others can use the site for a similar purpose, then this might indeed be Halexandria’s mission.
Halexandria has generated a great deal of feedback, which has in turn led to new pages, many written by others. Halexandria is becoming a great way to meet people, exchange ideas, and fuel the quest to see all the connecting links. All consciousness is likely linked, and Halexandria and other web sites of a similar nature are all about convincing the left side of the brain.
Q: Many of our readers have a special interest in Gnosticism. Does your site have something that would attract them?
A: No, but we have traps and snares for the unwary. Just kidding. Gnosticism is one of many pages at Halexandria that may be of interest to your readers. Gnosticism also links beautifully with many other pages at Halexandria. For example, Gnosticism’s belief structure, its history and relevant texts connect (and/or link) with the far more ancient Sumerian histories – the latter that are described in some detail in Halexandria. The Gnostic concept of an evil god on the one hand and a higher more abstract God on the other has a perfect similarity with Enlil (the Sumerian God and Jehovah of the Old Testament equivalent) and the aspirations of Enki (the Sumerian God who appears to created the opportunity for mankind to discover a far higher and more abstract supreme being). The Enki/Enlil struggle seems to have borne fruit around 600 BCE, with the intervening history until the time of Mary Magdalene being relevant as well. The Enki and Enlil struggles, 600 BCE and Mary Magdalene are principal portions of Halexandria.
In other venues of Halexandria – but obviously linked – are discussions of The Lost Gospels, one of which should be a particular favorite of Gnostics. A 2nd century writer named Marcion had come to the Gnostic conclusion that the world and its injustices had been created by a bad god, a harsh Jewish deity (aka Enlil), who had imposed a death sentence on humanity when it could not meet his law's impossibly high standards. Thus it was not Adam and Eve's original sin that had corrupted the creator God's good creation, but a flaw in the bad god's creation. Subsequently, in a gesture by the Good God (aka Enki), a son was sent to sacrifice himself in order to free humanity from Enlil's bad vibes. The provided humanity with a choice: to skip the sin gig and triumph over death, OR remain in the Jewish God's (Enlil's) angry clutches and eventually go to hell.
Marcion had found the key to understanding the imposition of the law, guilt, judgment, and eternal punishment in the first act, and the resolution into love, grace, salvation, and release in the second act (aka the gospels). This is the separation of the “God of Wrath” and the “God of Love” -- as opposed to a seriously dysfunctional god with a split personality and delusions of grandeur. Marcion had thus recognized the Enki and Enlil saga for what it was, and attributed to Enki the unexpected arrival of Jesus to reframe the world's philosophical venue.
Q: Can you give us a mini-history of the Library of Alexandria?
A: In 323 B.C.E., upon the death of Alexander, one of his generals, Ptolemy, took Egypt as his share of the spoils of Alexander's legacy and brought Alexander's body back to Alexandria for entombment. Ptolemy and his heirs subsequently made Alexandria the most sophisticated, cosmopolitan city in the ancient world.
The Library of Alexandria was conceived by Demetrius of Phalerum and constituted during the reigns of Ptolemy I and II (323-246 B.C.). It was the first truly universal library in history, attracting the most eminent philosophers, scholars, and visionaries of the entire civilized world. These included a host of great thinkers from Euclid, the inventor of geometry, Erastothenes, who calculated the circumference of the earth, Aristarchus and Dionysus Thrax, who codified grammar, Herophilus, who established the rules of anatomy and physiology, Claudius Ptolemateus, the founder of cartography and one of the developers of astronomy, to Hero, who wrote several books on geometry and mechanics.
At its height, the Library contained 30,000 works in 400,000 to 700,000 papyrus scrolls. An overflow of some 42,800 scrolls were housing in the Sarapeum (Temple of Sarapis). Complete universality was the goal as the Library curators sought copies of all existing manuscripts in their original languages (e.g. Hebrew, Babylonian, Buddhist, Sumerian, etc.), and at the same time, embarked on a massive translation program. The Library also established the first set of rules for classification and inventory of its collection. This cataloguing was compiled by Callimachus, in the form of “pinakes” (a method of retrieving the work, together with a synopsis or critical appraisal).
Unfortunately, these listings have all been lost.
The library and its extensions formed a core for scholars from every religion and region in the civilized world to congregate in the world's first truly ecumenical gathering. Alongside the many gods of ancient Egypt, early Judaism flourished in what came to be known as the greatest Jewish City in the world. In fact, the Septuagint was produced in this atmosphere, while at the same time; Gnosticism and Coptic Christianity received their initial birth at Alexandria and subsequently flourished.
Q: Many of our readers have a particular interest in Cleopatra VII. Can you tell us any in regards to her and the great Library?
A: Cleopatra [“beloved of her father” –JEF] was a Greek name from the time of Macedonia and King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. The name Cleopatra was borne by several members of the Hellenistic dynasties, and was interestingly enough the first word that was deciphered from the Rosetta Stone.
Cleopatra VII became ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt at the age of 18. A descendant of the Greek culture, she inherited the Greek knowledge brought by Alexander the Great and had ready access to the ancient Egyptian culture as well. She was apparently well schooled in literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and other subjects. She spoke several languages [over 10 fluently –JEF] and thus didn't depend upon translators. She was in fact the first Ptolemy to speak the Egyptian language. Clearly her linguistic ability allowed her to fully utilize and appreciate the contents of the Great Library of Alexandria. One can easily speculate that her esoteric education via the Great Library was part and parcel of her ability to rule during a time of great upheaval in world affairs.
[New information is coming to light regarding the reign of Cleopatra as a result of on-going undersea excavations in the harbor of modern Alexandria. Among other things, the idea that Cleopatra committed suicide by an asp bite has pretty much been negated. Considering the close proximity of her last sanctuary to quarters in the palace occupied by the conquering Octavian, a much quicker acting poison would be required (death by asp takes about 2 hours.) Cleopatra, like her spiritual role model Isis, was adept in both palliative & fatal potions; most certainly she would have had in store a much quicker & definitely less painful means for final exit at her disposal. On a brighter side, she was also an innovator in the art of makeup & there is evidence to suggest that she actually marketed her cosmetics, sort of like the Estée Lauder of her day -JEF]
Cleopatra VII is often credited with having the sophistication and beauty to bewitch any foreign leader, in particular Roman leaders. And yet, the reason many of the great Romans who visited Alexandria and its Library tended to stay around was as much (or perhaps more) due to the intellectual appeal of the Library’s philosophies and sciences. Obviously, leaders who spent an inordinate amount of time in the near vicinity of the Library (and Cleopatra VII) included Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
[Cleopatra did have attractive charms admired even by her detractors. It was said that she possessed a melodious & beguiling voice that was compared to the gentle tinkling of tiny silver bells. This description brings to my mind the speaking voice of the lovely French actress Anouk Aimée -JEF]
It is noteworthy that the Roman Senate decreed that the date of the fall of Alexandria was to be regarded as the start of the Augustus’ regnal year. The Great Library was respected even by its conquerors, but inevitably its contents were also feared.
A: For almost three centuries, the Library of Alexandria was supreme. In 47 B.C.E., however, the Roman legions of Julius Caesar carelessly (and/or stupidly) damaged the library while defending it from an attack by Ptolemy XIII, the brother and husband of Cleopatra VII. The city and library recovered from this initial insult, but then suffered damage by a Jewish uprising in the early part of the Second Century AD, as well as from a general massacre in A.D. 215 at the hands of the Roman emperor Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus), who was responding to insults from the inhabitants. The city again recovered a portion of its former splendor, only to have the main library destroyed in the civil war that occurred under Aurelian in the late third century. Thereafter fanatical Christians destroyed the “daughter” library, located within the temple to Sarapis, in A.D. 391.
The destruction of the Library at Alexandria was one of the most notorious crimes of history, taking the greatest collection of literature, philosophy, and history and putting it to the torch in the name of narrow-minded politics and ignorant religion. Alexandria has been one of world's greatest legacies, and constituted a golden moment in the history of the ancient world. The only saving grace is the possibility that all was not in fact lost. Ptolemy Soter, the originator of the Library, may have had scribes copy books/scrolls and then return the books to their original location. Thus much of the wisdom may have been saved from destruction. Still, the loss of such a generalized compilation of the wisdom would still be an important event.
[I saw a TV special on the Library that suggested we might have been a 1,000 years more advanced in our current technology today had it not been for the hemorrhage of the Library’s scientific material. However, considering humanity’s track record with technology, we’d probably have been blast to smithereens by now anyway. -JEF]
Q: Any future plans you’d like to share?
A: One of my primary interests at the current time deals with Iapetus – particularly around the time of the first close fly by of this anomalous moon of Saturn by the Cassini space probe on or about 10 September 2007. The possibilities are astounding!
JEF: Thanks a lot, Dan!
The Great Hall of the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt
A reconstruction based on scholarly evidence.