Altering Consciousness & the forgotten knowledge of Lost Civilzations
What I want to show is that some of the most beautiful, some of the most deep-thinking, some of the most significant civilizations of the past have given an honored place to psychedelics and indeed psychedelics have been central to everything they did. – Graham Hancock
By suppressing psychedelics, could it be that we are not only naively denying sovereign responsibility of our own consciousness, but that we may be ignoring the most important catalysts for self development now found to be the sacramental cores to many previous civilizations and global religions both past and present?
Graham Hancock investigates the possibility that by demonising the use of psychedelics society may have set itself on a profoundly negative path — a path that might even deny us the next step in our own evolution as a species.
Harvard Psychology Professor Ronald D. Siegel believes that the urge to alter one’s consciousness is as primary as the drive to satiate thirst, hunger or sexual desire. A brief topical observation of today’s society clearly reflects this idea as we invest billions into altering our perceptions in an almost obsessive manner. Through depressants like alcohol and benzos we often seek to alleviate pain and suffering. Through stimulants like nicotine and caffeine we aim to induce an increased alertness in our state of mind. And despite prohibition millions of people continue to seek out psychedelic experiences to explore the sacramental plants that lay at the heart of our ancestral cultures, offering democratic access to divine realms.
It’s little known thatprescription drugs are killing more people than illegal drugs, and yet when psychedelic topics emerge in conversations in mainstream media they are often met with more fear, suppression and ignorance. Terrence Mckenna postulated that governments are nervous in the presence of psychedelics, for in the environment of our youth culture and technology they form a dagger pointed at the heart of our old and defunct cultural styles.
As the war on drugs continues to fail, it appears quite clear that prohibition is not the answer and only inhibits professional research into their medicinal uses. The insanity becomes especially apparent when you consider the fact that I can walk out to the woods next to my house and legally pick a death cap mushroom, which if accidentally consumed can be fatal. Yet picking the non neurotoxic edible species containing psyclobin – which induced undeniably one of the most profound experiences of my life – can land you with a jail sentence. Meanwhile study after study is being released promoting their effective use for treating a number of psychological issues including anxiety, depression and alcoholism.
These ideas are snowballing in attention as flocks of westerners head to the Peruvian jungles in search of ‘the spirit teacher’ Ayahuasca. A psychedelic brew used respectively in the sacramental rituals of ancient tribes for innumerable centuries. Hancock implores the viewers to investigate individually the possibility that when responsively utilised, these plant medicines harness the power to nurture and guide our destructive society back to the universal truths of core religions and to reconnect with nature.
Perhaps then we may collectively integrate the reoccurring lessons these plants are prompting, that we urgently need to reevaluate our destructive tendencies and work collaboratively to restoring an equilibrium with the planet.
Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics is an annual forum that examines the role of psychedelics in science, healing, culture and spirituality. Website: HorizonsNYC.org
Biography: Graham Hancock’s books on shamanism and altered states of consciousness, and on the possibility of a forgotten episode in human history, have been creating controversy for nearly quarter of a century. In February 2014 he was ranked number 30 on the Watkins List of 100 most spiritually influential people.
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Do you agree or disagree that these substances should be researched more openly? Have psychedelics in any way shaped your path in life?
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