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Home » Graham Hancock Discusses The War on Consciousness (Full Transcript)

Graham Hancock Discusses The War on Consciousness (Full Transcript)

Graham Hancock

Author of Magicians of the Gods, Graham Hancock discusses The War on Consciousness at TEDx Whitechapel in London on January 12, 2013.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Graham Hancock on The War on Consciousness


After 6 million years of boredom, the evolutionary ascent of our species from the last common ancestor with the chimpanzee, something extraordinary happened to us less than 100,000 years ago, which, by the way, is long after we’d become anatomically modern.

It was a kind of emergence into consciousness less than 100,000 years ago, really less than 40,000 years ago, when we became fully symbolic creatures. And this great change has been defined as the single most important step forward in the evolution of human behavior, is intimately associated with the emergence of the great and transcendent rock and cave art all around the world.

Over the last 30 years, researches led by professor David Lewis-Williams at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and many others, have suggested an intriguing and radical possibility, which is that this emergence into consciousness was triggered by our ancestors’ encounters with visionary plants and the beginning of shamanism.

If you analyze the cave art — there’s no time to go into the details here — but there are so many details that make it clear that this was an art of altered states of consciousness, of visions. And plants like the amanita muscaria mushroom and psilocybin mushrooms appear to have been directly connected with this sudden and radical change.

So to investigate this possibility when I got interested in this mystery, I went down to the Amazon where there are still surviving shamanistic cultures today, and where they drink the powerful visionary brew: ayahuasca, of which the active ingredient is dimethyltryptamine (DMT) which is actually closely related at the molecular level to psilocybin.

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