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Human Devolution

by Michael Cremo

The controversial bestseller Forbidden Archeology documented evidence showing that humans have existed on Earth for hundreds of millions of years and catalyzed a global inquiry. We did not evolve from apes, as Darwin theorized, then where did we come from?

Human Devolution is Michael A. Cremo’s definitive answer to that question — We did not evolve up from matter; instead we devolved, or came down, from the realm of pure consciousness, spirit. Basing his response on modern science and the world’s great wisdom traditions, including the Vedic philosophy of ancient India, Cremo proposes that before we ask the question, “Where did human beings come from?” we should first contemplate, “What is a human being?”





Reviewed by: Giuseppe Sermonti

“Do we descend from pure spirit?”

“Every man bears within himself partial beings that are unaware of each other’s existence: we are born many, we die only one — or none — and to recount is to remember oneself.”

(Love Is Not Loved)
“Michael A. Cremo, associate researcher of Sicilian origin at the Bhaktivedanta Institute, is co-author, with R.L. Thompson, of a famous and controversial book entitled Forbidden Archaeology. The book presents palaeontological proof of human presence beyond the “knowledge filtration” of evolutionism which excludes any evidence pre-dating 100,000 years.

“Yet, notwithstanding the convincing nature of many documents, which beg a reconsideration of the current view of human evolution, the extreme boundaries (two billion years) are perplexing. They are based more on religious revelation, like the duration of Brahma’s day, than on any real evidence.

“The question here is whether scientific truth and revealed truth can (and should) be subjected to the same validation criteria. My personal opinion is that sacred texts contain an immense legacy of truth, and that they have promoted and conformed science. Nevertheless, I do not think that they deserve the same treatment as scientific data. On the contrary, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “religions die when they are proven to be true”.

“Cremo does not concur with this idea, but sets reality on different planes and refuses to confine science to the material level. On the ‘spiritual’ level, human (and divine) potentialities are increased so much that no limit can be assigned to them a priori. “What is man?” Cremo asks, and the answer is clear and insistent: ordinary matter + mind + consciousness.

“Matter is what it is, the mind is subtle matter, and consciousness is immaterial (or nearly so). The cosmos, Cremo adds, is divided into regions that contain different proportions of these three substances: purely spiritual consciousnesses, mental organizations, and ordinary matter prevail in that order.


Reviewed by: Simon Bucher-Jones
Excerpts from: Creationism and Vedic Lore by Simon Bucher-Jones
Fortean Times Spring 2004 Issue 185

“This is an intriguing, interesting and well-written compendium; unfortunately, it purports to be a theory. As a collection, it is excellent and fortean. It deals with the “unclassified residuum” of William James, those “absurd facts” in spiritualism and science which prefigure “damned data.” …

“The text sets out, with considerable thoroughness, archaeological evidence (predominantly pre-1935) against a background of the novels of Disraeli, spiritualism, distant viewing studies, plant cycle evolution, reincarnation, a cultural comparison of “chain of being” cosmologies (chapter 7), and the hard anthropic principle in such a way as to support the author’s world view.

“That view is that we (and all life) are part of a hierarchy of supernatural powers, and that the presence of life in this world is a function of the harmonious interaction of those powers within a Vedic system…”
As a compendium 7/10, as a sustained theory 3/10 Sermonti, Giuseppe (2005) Discendiamo dal puro spirito? Revista di Biologia v. 98, no. 2, pp. 204-210. [English translation from original Italian article with one-paragraph English summary at the end]

Reviewed by: Leslie Ottavi
Y Guide News May / June 2004

“Michael Cremo presents a well constructed counter proposal to the theory of evolution. He has stood evolution on its proverbial head! Whether or not you come to the same conclusion regarding the Vedic account, you cannot deny the case presented for human devolution and should be able to find in your own spiritual views facets that support human devolution.

“The book masterfully leads the reader through a path of multifaceted evidences of spiritual realities and scientific experiments and facts which carefully document supernatural phenomena, including various forms of spiritism, miracles such as those at Lourdes, reincarnation claims, UFO phenomena, and intelligent design arguments.

“Our universe is full of intricate dynamics like gravity, electromagnetism, binding energies and spatial dimensions. The precision necessary for our universe to exist suggests intelligent design, not chance creation. Just take a look at the fascinating systems that comprise our bodies!

“The interweaving of the Vedic account lends credibility to the origin, authenticity and dating of the Vedas. I am now certain that we are not just our bodies and minds, that there is a self demonstrated by our consciousness, an existence beyond what we can see and deduce, and hope for the future. I know that I am left with one goal, to find my personal path to re-evolving back to the spiritual realm. ”
(For complete review go to:

Reviewed by: Dr. Ravi Prakash Arya
Vedic Science Jan-March 2004, Vol 6, No. 1

“The book titled Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory is to hand. The book is written by Michael A. Cremo, the co-author of Forbidden Archeology….As per the introductory note of the author, the present book forms the second part of Forbidden Archeology that challenged on the basis of archaeological evidences Darwinian theory of human origins, exposed the biased view of scholars in the name of science and supported the Vedic historical view of human antiquity.

“The book in hand forms the second part in a sense that if the results of the first part are going against the hypothesis of Darwinian’s theory of evolution and favouring the Vedic view supported by the researches of the first part Forbidden Archeology…..The author’s researches go contrary to the world view that upheld Darwinian view as science and discarded Vedic view as the case of other sectarian / religious views as ‘pseudoscience’.

“The research of the author also indirectly proves the Vedic view is not a religious view as propagated by biased scholars and scientists of the world treating Vedas as religious books as Bible or Koran….In spite of all said and done, it can be maintained without an iota of doubt that first time in the history of modern science the authority of Darwinian theory with a viable Vedic alternative has been challenged.

“This is also for the first time that the biased and unscientific attitude of modern scientists who have a prejudiced bend of mind while fabricating or advocating pseudo-science in the name of science have been exposed with evidence. Everyone who wants to seek the truth must keep this book in his personal library. Hope the truth will prevail at last.”

Reviewed by: Midwest Book Review December 2003

Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory by archeologist Michael A. Cremo (Research Associate of the Bhaktivedanta Institute) responds to Darwinian evolutionary theory concerning human beings with the counter-proposal: “We did not evolve up from matter, instead we devolved, or came down, from the realm of puer consciousness, spirit.”

“Contemplating the nature of a human being asmuch more than the synthesis of mere physical elements, but rather a melding of matter, mind, and spirit, Human Devolution is a thoughtful and extended transcendental discussion of who and what we really are – and a welcome, iconoclastic, and thought- provoking contribution to metaphysical studies and anthropology studies reading lists.”

Reviewed by: Mac Tonnies

Published in

“Cosmologists such as Frank Tipler argue that human existence is an inexplicable anomaly unless the universe was specifically constructed to enable our presence. Others seek out less religiously fraught explanations, postulating multiple universes and an as-yet undisclosed “Theory of Everything. But while theoretical physicists and astronomers attempt to unravel our origins, disturbing evidence that we might be more than the sum of our physical parts is dismissed, filed away, systematically expunged from mainstream discourse.

“In Human Devolution, the sequel to Forbidden Archaeology (co-written with Richard L. Thompson) Vedic scholar and archaeologist Michael Cremo takes us on a fascinating tour of neglected knowledge, with topics including mysterious fossils, problems with the prevailing “out of Africa” hypothesis for human origins, telepathy, and UFOs.

“Exhaustively researched, Human Devolution is a daunting but thoroughly compelling attempt to redefine what it is to be human, frequently as engaging for what it leaves to the reader’s mind as it is for unearthing revelatory bits of secret knowledge. Cremo asserts that Darwinian evolution is flawed insofar as the complexity of living things, particularly humans, suggests an overriding order of awareness and intent not found among the molecules and synapses of materialist science.

“Drawing from ancient Indian Vedic creation accounts, Cremo argues that matter coincides with a subtle cognitive faculty (mind) and a distinct conscious component (spirit) that transcends the other two. In this sense, humans are “devolved” entities blinkered by our relatively low standing in what Cremo terms a cosmic hierarchy of various beings at differing stages of enlightenment.

“If you think all of this smacks of creationism, you’re absolutely right. But unlike authors of Fundamentalist “Creation Science” tracts, Cremo is honest in his presentation. To be sure, Cremo takes issue with mainstream evolutionary thought — but given the archaeological enigmas cited in Human Devolution’s encyclopedic prequel, what objective person can blame him?

Reviewed by: Thomas Peter von Bahr
Pacific NorthWest Group, Lopez Island, WA
Published in New Age Retailer Fall 2004″Human Devolution is a provocative hypothesis which offers anecdotal examples of considerable breadth to support the controversial position of the author that humankind has a vast and oft unheralded hidden history (p.17).”Michael Cremo celebrates his “maverick” image among the paleontologic and anthropological experts. It is somewhat self-evident as to why he has stirred the pot of accepted sciences related to geology and been cast as the “bad boy” despite his early work in archeology: this work, atop his formidable 914-page Forbidden Archeology, argues with great weight for a more humanistic and spiritual understanding of what we sapiens sapiens are all about.”The book is divided into ten chapters in which Cremo keeps adding more and more data and stories of odd and seemingly incompatible experiences from the appearance of cellular life through complex life forms of the animal and mammalian kingdoms. He argues that there are simply too many well-documented instances of para-normal and spiritual energy that are inexplicable using Darwinian modeling of evolutionary life. Too many dimensions of what we humans know to be the nature of consciousness are excluded from evolutionary science.
Reviewed by: John Michell
Author of The New View Over Atlantis

“It is a master work. Human Devolution exposes the fatal weaknesses in Darwinism and relates the tradition doctrine in a most compelling and attractive way. This book deserves to be widely known. It is a firm corrective to modern errors and a guide to new standards in thinking.”