"All the world's a stage we pass through." - R. Ayana

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Challenging Reality with Plant Allies: The Return of Graham Hancock

Challenging Reality with Plant Allies
The Return of Graham Hancock

An approximate transcript of London Real: Graham Hancock interview

Graham Hancock: (Background on latest novel War God):

In 1519 Spaniard Cortes sets upon Mexico with 490 men on 11 ships after gold. Human sacrifice was the central activity of the Aztec empire, knights with a code of honour trade for warfare from childhood. Aztecs could put 200,000 men into the field.
The Spaniards were cruel, callous, single minded men and balls of steel. The Spanish had been in Cuba since 1492, time of Columbus with a couple of tiny expeditions to the mainland. In 1518, 110 men, 16 cavalry in 3 ships took a savage beating from the Maya, another indigenous people of Mexico. Aztecs and Maya stone weapons, Spanish metal weapons.

The Spanish had great self belief having come through 700 years of war with Islam and driven the Moors out of Spain. They were hungry for gold, having found little on Cuba or Hispaniola. 2 years of war before Cortes defeated Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs.

18:15 mins. Turning point in human history:

Spanish and Aztecs believed in super natural forces; Aztec Emperor Moctezuma was in ‘communication’ with the entity Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird), War God of the Aztecs and Cortes with St. Peter; spiritual forces at work behind human history.

Fiction: complete liberty for the author. If you write alternative history, expect everything you say to be turned over forensically by hostile academics. For my non-fiction I had to lay out my facts and references, writing increasingly defensively, I had to up my game yet perhaps, for me, less adventurous books. I want to explore in an adventurous way and fiction gives me a license to do that.

Vickers: 24:15 mins. Did you think about writing peer reviewed work? Silence your critics?

Hancock: That’s not my role. If you enter the peer review process, then you become one of them... I try to play by their rules, but you try to get an article published in an archaeological magazine which suggests that the origins of Egyptian civilisation may be more than 12,000 years in the past and I guarantee you, it will never happen... the club by definition does not believe in alternative history. The only way is to appeal directly to the public. The mainstream magazines consider me the devil incarnate. The British Museum refused to allow a TV station to film with me inside the British Museum.

When writing about states of consciousness, it was necessary for me to experience altered states of consciousness, which is what drew me to ayahuasca and the Amazon. There are interesting things to do to challenge us and I would rank ayahuasca amongst the most challenging thing to do, not for everyone and it is an extremely seriously matter. It will profoundly challenge you about the nature of reality and yourself

Rose: 29:00 mins. What is the current state of the union when it comes to the world’s acceptance of psychedelics as important medicine or plant allies?

Hancock: Considerable progress in the last couple of years. Some psychedelics, such as psilocybin, are being tested in clinical trials as a possible cure for depression; dealing with anxiety about death for terminal cancer patients. The therapeutic benefits of psychedelics are being reluctantly recognised by a medical establishment scared off for decades, because of that evil and wicked enterprise called the war on drugs, which has denied us the benefits of these extraordinary agents of consciousness change. The objective is to find therapeutic benefit of LSD or psilocybin. I would like to see it go much further than that, but I recognise that important first step. These are powerful medicines with enormous benefit if used in the right setting with the right intention.

31:00 mins. ...Psychedelics offer us the opportunity to explore the issue of consciousness itself and to investigate the nature of reality. We think we know what reality is, but all we know is what we've been told reality is from our childhood onward... right now in Western technological societies, the idea is reality is (this stuff... Hancock knocks the table.... matter) material things.... all aspects of reality may be reduced to matter or the spaces between matter, but that is not a fact. That is just an idea about the nature of reality.

Psychedelics offer the opportunity to test and investigate that idea much more deeply and to explore paranormal experiences. It is difficult to set up a test for paranormal experiences, but with psychedelics you can do that. You can begin to compare between different volunteers. 

Rick Strassman ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Strassman ) at the University of New Mexico repeatedly found evidence that challenged the materialist view of reality and encounters by the volunteers with what appeared to be intelligent non-physical entities; so many of the volunteers 'returned' with a haunting phrase from the entities: "We’re so glad you’ve discovered this technology. Now we can communicate with you more easily."

Suppose DMT is a technology for talking with intelligences from other dimensions. It’s great if we’re researching the therapeutic qualities of psychedelics, but my goodness, let’s also use them to explore the nature of reality. Quantum physicists are open to the idea there is more than one dimension, perhaps inhabited by intelligent beings. If we think we can learn from other cultures in this level of reality, how much more may we learn from the inhabitants of other dimensions. It is not belief; it is hypothesis worth testing with a substance like DMT if we can get rid of this paranoia, this fear of altering consciousness which irrationally drives our society to acts of incredible stupidity.


Rose: 34:42 mins. Part of the reason I have Patrick here is because I don’t think you have any history with psychedelics and represent those who perhaps find this matter ridiculous, scary, not provable...

Vickers: Mankind is obsessed with not just being here for a given period of time, looking for a deeper, more meaningful purpose; looking to religion, reincarnation... I wouldn't say clutching at straws, but, looking for answers other than a bleak alternative...

Hancock: I would say the person who believes there is nothing beyond this life is the one actually clutching at straws, because that is a hopeful and positive position to have. It is much more worrying to know every action, very thought, every second of your life counts in the much longer term; every error and mistake may have massive implications throughout eternity and infinity.

Vickers: Doesn’t that sound a bit like religion?

Hancock: Of course. Religions come fundamentally from visionary experiences; Moses in front of the burning bush, St. Paul on the Damascus road, prophet Mohammed shivering in his cave meeting the entity his construes as the angel Gabriel. Scratch the monotheistic mainstream religions and you’ll find shamanistic experiences and altered states of consciousness overlaid by bureaucracy, power hungry priests, rabbis and mullahs who’ve imposed social structures upon it. Until you’ve had experience of this (psychedelic) you are not in a strong position to suggest the experience is just wishful thinking

Vickers: But, it comes down to personal experience; it can’t really be quantified.

Hancock: That’s my point. I think it could be. Psychedelics, particularly like DMT, in a matter of seconds you are going that rocket ship to other side of realty. That allows for controlled investigation. Do volunteers on DMT return with novel information? I would like to see rigorous scientific study. It’s an ideological issue, deeply rooted in our society that prevents us from doing this. It has resulted in the mobilisation of a great deal of public money and large agencies against the war on drugs persuading us it is wrong to alter our consciousness in these ways.

Vickers: You’re of the view that it is a sovereign right to do whatever you want to your own body...

Hancock: .... to your own body and your own consciousness. Yes, your own sovereign right. It is important to make a distinction between behaviour that affects others negatively for which we have plenty of criminal laws and actions which relate totally to our own body and consciousness.

Vickers: There’s stuff that falls slightly in the grey there.

Hancock: Not really.

Vickers: What about health care? Why should my tax dollars help someone who’s wrecked their body through heroin addiction?

Hancock: So why are your tax dollars used to help somebody whose life has been wrecked by alcohol or cigarettes?

Vickers: 41:11 mins. I agree the way the chart has been drawn up is wrong; alcohol is fine and acceptable and marijuana is not. We had Dr. Nutt on who made perfect sense...

.... I accept the way we have quantified and categorised drugs is ridiculous.

Hancock: ... or paracetamol that kills about 3,000 people a year.

Vickers: Regardless, there are issues with big business and Big Pharma, grey areas the way these drugs cause issues in society...

Hancock: .... then you are getting into social engineering on a large scale. Lifestyle: are you going to deny medical care and discriminate against unhealthy lifestyles, those overweight? Since we don’t do that for all those other things, it seems to me very odd we discriminate against consciousness altering drugs.

Vickers: .... but, a line has to be drawn at some level...

Rose: .... and I agree with that, and this will have to be continued... I only have a few minutes here. The core ownership of your own body is very important...

Hancock: If we can’t make decisions, right or wrong, about our own bodies, our own consciousness, there is something fundamentally wrong with society and it poisons and taints every other aspect of what that society does, and if there some social costs from allowing that freedom, I would welcome those social costs because the freedom itself trumps that; a society that tolerates adult sovereignty. This is a very important principle. Look at the vast social costs of driving cars, but nobody questions that.

Vickers: That’s a fair point.

Rose: Do you think because you’ve had these (psychedelic) experiences, you are more open to personal sovereignty than in your younger years, before you had such experiences?

Hancock: Yes. There was a time in my 30’s when I felt drug laws made perfect sense. Now, to me, they are a gross abuse of human rights, they are so patently, obviously wrong. Like laws against witchcraft used to exist and are wrong or criminal sanctions for being gay... these were wicked and terrible laws. I hope the time will come when we will be relieved that we’ve got rid of laws that penalise adults from making lifestyle choices about their own bodies and consciousness.

Rose: As a society, when we demonise a certain group, we all die a little bit inside.

Hancock: I think war on drugs has terrible consequences for our society in so many ways, but fundamentally at the level of consciousness, it creates a dark cloud over the society we live in and to lift that cloud would be an act of great good.

Rose: Last time you were here you were so honest about your experience with cannabis. You now talk about the benefits of a certain plant while no longer requiring the benefits of this plant ally. It is a fantastic juxtaposition...

Hancock: It’s my right as a sovereign adult to make choices. As a result of experiences with ayahuasca in late 2011, I interrupted a 24 year non-stop cannabis habit. There was a time when I felt really good about it and I might not have written my books of historical mystery, but my relationship with cannabis became abusive and it ceased to serve me. I began to serve it. I do not blame cannabis for this. I think it is a wonderful plant ally; it can be used in a nurturing and beneficial way. Unfortunately, I wasn’t doing that and ayahuasca helped me to see that.... for me it has been a great benefit that I have stopped smoking cannabis. I still miss it. If I were confident I could have a joint every 4 or 5 days of an evening, I would do that, but I’m not confident I could do that. ı reached a point where I needed to stop and I did.

Rose: You’re no stranger to controversy throughout your whole career and we’ve had Rupert Sheldrake on. What’s the current state of affairs between you and the TED Talk people? They relegated you to the ‘naughty corner’ and called you pseudo archaeology or pseudo science... I think they did you a big favour (Rose smiles knowingly).

Hancock: There’s some really intelligent people involved with Ted, but the way they handled this situation was really stupid. They were not reacting to our talks, but to preconceptions they had about us. TED EX is organised at a local level, not by TED central. In our case the subject was challenging existing paradigms. TED gave them a license to put on a conference. TED do not vet the concept of the programme at the outset. All the talks are put up on the TED EX YouTube channel. Our talks were put up with the others, my talk attracted 132,000 views within 2-3 weeks. Rupert’s talk got huge numbers of views as well. Scientists connected to TED asked how can you give a stage to Science Delusion and War On Consciousness, ‘pseudo science’ challenging the existing model of history... TED apparently got frightened. Everything they said about our talks turned out to be false. Without watching the talks (Hancock’s talk is about 18 mins.) they bounced out with preconceptions, stated them as fact and then did a humiliating about turn unable to substantiate a single thing. End result, on the naughty corner their statements are still there, now all crossed out with our rebuttals as agreed with Rupert and myself. But, they would not reinstall out talks on the main TED channel. 

The internet does not like censorship; the spirit of the internet is freedom of information. The idea that these talks could not be seen by adult rational people was very annoying to a lot of adult rational people. The talks were re-uploaded onto dozens of independent YouTube channels... it backfired massively on TED.

Vickers: 0:55 mins. It makes them look very much part of the mainstream conspiracy.

Hancock: Their brand is about free thinking and challenging the paradigm... The fundamental issue, it rapidly became clear, the common point between my talk and Rupert's talk (Dr. Sheldrake), which were otherwise very different...

.... was that we are both open to the possibility that consciousness may not be localised to the brain, but the brain may be a vehicle, a transceiver of consciousness, rather than a generator of consciousness, and that idea of the non locality of consciousness, bumps up against a fundamental dogma of the small group of materialist scientists who advise TED. A materialist is someone who believes everything is reduced to matter including consciousness.

Vickers: At the moment it is a theory, not something that can be proved at the moment.

Hancock: The non locality of consciousness is, indeed, a theory as is the locality of consciousness. The notion that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of brain activity is not a fact. It is an idea worthy of exploration. He point is, we don’t really know what consciousness is and that conflicts with materialist dogma. Materialist dogma is the death of science. Science should remain open minded and inquisitive on unsolved questions and should not be in the business of persecuting and shutting down those who seek to enquire into those questions.

For a very long time we had the Ptolemaic model of the universe; the earth was at the centre. The sun, planets and all the stars evolved around the earth – you just had to look up at the sky and see the sun was going around the earth; it was such an obvious idea. Those who held an alternative idea that actually, the earth, the planets, were going around the sun, were at risk of their lives; they were burnt at the stake... Giordano Bruno: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno

Copernicus hid his research until after his death... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus.

Gallileo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei .... was shown the instruments he would be tortured with unless he accepted that the earth did not move and he recanted at the last moment and said OK, it doesn’t move!

It’s the same issue with consciousness right now. Efforts are made by materialist science to deal with anomalous evidence. For the Ptolemaic model they invented new epicycles that would explain away anomalies and now we have anomalous evidence on telepathy...

Vickers: What is the drive behind the status quo?

Hancock: There’s a feeling of safety in the status quo, ego and sense of self and place in the world become invested in particular ideas. They take on a monumental power and strength. Those ideas in leading religions led Christians to burn individuals at the stake; Muslims to stone women to death, leading Israelis to take back the Temple Mount. They are all ideas about our place in the scheme of things; ideas so powerful they lead people to kill. In War God two people believe they are doing the will of their God leading them to kill; no evidence, no proof, grounded in nothing, but ideas are extremely powerful. We must step back from what we were taught in childhood, always keep an open mind.

Rose: This book is a metaphor for what’s going on right now.

Hancock: Indeed, the world is full of religious conflict. People, in the name of ideas, are doing the most horrendous things to each other. The world is filled with hatred, fear and suspicion. These religious buttons are being pressed, when you get down to it, we are all members of the human family; there is no difference between us. we all have hopes, fears, ambitions, our dreams, we all want to see our children grow up to live secure and interesting lives, a roof over our head, experience love and joy. Those are fundamental uniting characteristics of the human creature and we artificially divide ourselves on the basis of religious dogma. That is why adult sovereignty over consciousness is such an important issue... get away from these structured that have enchained our minds for so long.

Rose: You write, travel a lot, speak at conventions... what’s the most difficult thing about what you do professionally? You are the defacto spokesperson for the psychedelic movement in the UK to a certain extent whether you wanted that or not...

Hancock: That would be an honourable title if that were true... I try to speak out for cognitive liberty, the right to think freely, to explore our own consciousness and that includes, if peripherally, psychedelics. My primary issue is freedom of consciousness.

Vickers: Well, you’ve convinced me if that helps. It seems like a fast turnaround, but that argument was compelling.

Hancock: I feel blessed to have had the opportunities I’ve had. I won’t pretend every moment is absolute bliss... there must be periods of public speaking and then there’s periods of retreat. I love what I’m doing. The young people today put in huge hours of their time working, as if the employers own your soul as well those hours of your day... I feel lucky for my chosen course. I don’t feel lonely, I get engaged in the story I’m writing.

Vickers: The one constant of the guests we’ve had who are passionate about their work do not view it as work and time flies by...

Rose: What is next for you?

Hancock: War God is the first of 3 novels. I like writing female characters. Then, completion of my first novel Entangled. Then a sequel to Fingerprints Of The Gods, provisionally called Magicians Of The Gods. There is new evidence now allowing us to reopen the case for a lost civilisation... between 12,000-13,000 years ago the earth was hit by a comet. Geologist know about 12,900 years ago, coming out of an ice age, it went dramatically back into a deep freeze. Animals went extinct and we lost a whole civilisation. There were survivors who settled in places like Egypt, Mexico and Peru passing down traditions and wisdom as they were able to preserve. Fingerprints sold about 5 million copies around the world. My job now is to deliver a huge dossier of evidence to them to they can argue about the truth of history.

Rose: You are 62 now. At what point to you start thinking about your legacy?

Hancock: I don’t know what’s to come. I’ve learnt important lessons in the last decade. Tried to change my life, to be positive and nurturing instead of negative, arrogant, harsh; often unkind. I want to look back and think on balance I did good rather than harm, everyday to be grateful.

Rose: To the children, maybe a 20 year old, what do you say now?

Hancock: We are physical creatures and it’s really tough if you don’t have a roof over your head, or can’t cloth and feed yourself adequately. So, it is important to pay attention to earning a living. Try to find a way of doing where you don’t have to sacrifice all your dreams. Make your dreams work for you. Don’t let the dreams go. Try to integrate your dreams into your career.

Vickers: Amen!

[Discussion on book shop distribution, Kindle books etc... ]

Rose: We’re talking about sovereignty over our own body. Is there anything collectively we can do?

Hancock: It’s a whole range of things. Be more vociferous to our members of parliament. Tell them we object to the drug laws. Encourage them that a change is necessary. We live in a society where people are afraid to talk openly on this issue. That tells us something about the kind of society we live in. Can we have the courage of our convictions?

Rose: Do you have a take on Snowden case and surveillance?

Hancock: I detest surveillance; the way our fears are being manipulated to allow the big dominant state to assert its controlling fingers into every aspect of our lives. Nothing good is going to come out of that. We are going down a very dark road when we tolerate that. Yes, there are costs when we reduce surveillance, but those costs are worth paying. We should not sacrifice our freedom and where is it going to lead? We empower these big bureaucracies more and more as we give them the right to investigate and enquire to every minute aspect of our lives. Where will it lead 10-15 years from now? Do we want George Orwell’s or 1984 or do we want to live on Aldous Huxley’s island which was a much more interesting place to be?

.... if we are to move forward as a species we need to let go of old ideas like nationalism, that our loyalty belongs to a particular nation or government which by chance we happen to be born into and move forward to communities of ideas, of free sovereign individuals who join together in groups around positive and worthwhile ideas... that’s what the internet does and allows, and it is going to reshape the world. Those structures that have been in place for pretty much the last 5,000 years are nearing the end. A new structure is struggling to be born and in the process there is this waking up of human consciousness manifesting in different ways all around the world. We live in a very interesting time. A time when we need to remember we are responsible for ourselves and our choices. Nobody else, just us and, therefore, we need to make the right choices.

Ned Pamphilon Productions 2013

An approximate transcript of London Real: Graham Hancock interview

The Tap Blog: Egyptian civilisation 12,000 years old:

Brian Rose: host http://www.londonreal.tv/
Graham Hancock: author, http://www.grahamhancock.com
Patrick Vickers: former derivatives trader at Goldman Sachs, martial arts fighter/promoter

From http://nppessaysarticles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/london-real-graham-hancock-transcript.html

For more information about consciousness alteration via plant allies see http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/search/label/entheogens
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