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← Graham Hancock - The War on Consciousness BANNED TED TALK

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Showing Revision 11 created 08/11/2014 by RevolutionLoveEvolve.

  1. After 6 million years of boredom,
  2. the evolutionary ascent of our species
  3. from the last common ancestor with the chimpanzee,
  4. something extraordinary happened to us less than 100.000 years ago,
  5. which by the way, is long after we've become anatomically modern.
  6. It was a kind of emergence into consciousness
  7. less than 100.000 years ago, really less than 40.000 years ago,
  8. when we became fully symbolic creatures.
  9. And this great change has been defined as
  10. the single most important step forward in the evolution of human behavior,
  11. is intimately associated with the emergence of the great and transcendant
  12. rock and cave art all around the world.
  13. And over the last 30 years researchers led by prof. David Louis Williams,
  14. at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and many others,
  15. have suggested an intriguing and radical possibility
  16. which is that this emergence into consciousness was triggered by
  17. our ancestors encounters with visionary plants
  18. and the beginning of Shamanism.
  19. If you analyze the cave art - there's no time to go into the details here, but there are
  20. so many details that make it clear that this was an art of altered states of consciousness,
  21. of visions
  22. and that plants like the Amanita muscaria mushroom, or Psilocybin mushrooms,
  23. appear to have been directly connected with this sudden and radical change.
  24. So to investigate this possibility when I got interested in this mistery,
  25. I went down to the Amazon, where there are still surviving shamanistic cultures today,
  26. and where they drink the powerful visionary brew Ayahuasca,
  27. of which the active ingredient is Dimethyltryptamine, DMT,
  28. which is actually closelly related at the molecular level to Psilocybin.
  29. Now normally DMT cannot be activated orally when we encountered it in the West,
  30. where it is generally smoked.
  31. There's an enzyme in our stomachs called monoaminoxidaze
  32. which switches off DMT on contact.
  33. But in the Amazon they've got round this problem.
  34. And they say it was the spirits that taught them how to do it.
  35. The DMT in the Ayahuasca brew is contained in these leaves
  36. from a plant that they call Chacruna in the Amazon.
  37. And there they mix it together with this vine,
  38. and out of the 150.000 different species of plants and trees in the Amazon
  39. this is the one that contains a monoaminoxidaze inhibitor,
  40. which switches off that enzyme in our stomachs
  41. and allows the DMT in the leaves when the two are maried together and cooked in water
  42. to be absorbed orally, and takes us on a 4 hour journey
  43. into extraordinary realms.
  44. Now it's no joke to drink Ayahuasca.
  45. The Ayahuasca brew has a foul taste.
  46. Really, really hideous and a dreadful, dreadful smell.
  47. And after you've drunk your cup, you'll find within 45 minutes or so
  48. that your sweating, that you're feeling nauseous.
  49. Pretty soon you may well be vomiting, you may well having diarrhea.
  50. So, nobody is doing this for recreation.
  51. And I'd like to add that I don't think any of the psychedelics should be used for recreation.
  52. They have much more serious and important mission with humanity.
  53. So we're not doing this for fun. But what draws people to Ayahuasca again and again
  54. to brace themselves for this experience - and you do have to brace yourself -
  55. is its extraordinary effects at the level of consciousness.
  56. And one of those effects has to do with creativity.
  57. And we can see the creative cosmogenic impulse of Ayahuasca in the paintings
  58. of Ayahuasca Shamans from Peru, like the paintings of Pablo Amaringo here -
  59. those richly saturated colors, the amazing visions that they reproduce -
  60. and this creative impulse has also spread to western artists.
  61. Many western artists now have been deeply influenced by Ayahuasca
  62. and are also painting their visions.
  63. And as these paintings show, another universal experience of Ayahuasca
  64. is the encounter with seemingly intelligent entities which communicate with us telepathically,
  65. and I am making no claim one way or another as to the reality status of these entities we encounter.
  66. Simply that phenomenologically, in the Ayahuasca experience they are encountered
  67. by people all over the world, and most frequently of all,
  68. the spirit of Ayahuasca herself - Mother Ayahuasca - who is a healer
  69. and although she is kind of the mother goddess of the planet
  70. she seems to take a direct personal interest in us as individuals,
  71. to heal our ills, to want us to be the best that we can possibly be,
  72. to correct errors and mistakes in our behavior that may be leading us down the wrong path.
  73. And this is perhaps why, and it's an untold story, really -
  74. Ayahuasca has been fantastically successful in getting people off harmful addictions to hard drugs
  75. such as heroine and cocaine. Jacques Mabit at the Takiwasi clinic in Peru,
  76. brings heroine and cocaine addicts out there for a month,
  77. gives them 12 Ayahuasca sessions and they have encounters with Mother Ayahuasca
  78. during those sessions that lead them not to wish to take heroine and cocaine any more,
  79. and more than half leave completely free of their addiction,
  80. never return to it and don't even have withdrawal symptoms.
  81. The same incredible healing work has been done in Canada by doctor Gabor Mate
  82. until the Canadian Government interviened and stopped his healing practice
  83. on the grounds that Ayahuasca itself was an illegal drug.
  84. Now I have some personal experience of this. I have not been addicted to heroine or cocaine,
  85. but I had a 24 years non-stop cannabis habit.
  86. This started off smoking the herb and laterally vaporizing it,
  87. but the basic truth is that for 24 years I was pretty much permanently stoned.
  88. And I enjoyed it, being stoned and I felt that it helped me with my work as a writter and
  89. perhaps at some point it did, but when I first encountered Ayahuasca
  90. I had already been smoking cannabis for 16 years and almost immediatelly
  91. Ayahuasca started giving me messages that this was no longer serving me,
  92. that it was leading me to behave in negative and unhelpful ways towards others,
  93. and of course I ignored those messages for years and years
  94. and went back to being stoned 16 hours a day.
  95. But that negative behavior that Ayahuasca was pointing out did actually get worse and worse.
  96. I don't want to put down cannabis and I believe it's the sovereign right of every adult
  97. to choose to smoke cannabis if they wish to do so,
  98. but I think I was overusing it, I think I was abusing it, not using it responsibly.
  99. And I became more and more paranoid, jealous, possessive, suspicious,
  100. I was subject to irrational rages, I often made the life of my beloved partner, Santha,
  101. a misery, and when I went down for my regular encounter with Ayahuasca,
  102. in October 2011, I was given the most unbelievable kicking by Mother Ayahuasca.
  103. And I was put through an ordeal. It was a kind of life review
  104. and it's not an accident that Ayahuasca is the vine of the dead.
  105. I was shown my death, and I was shown that if I came to death
  106. and what awaits us after death without having corrected the mistakes that I was making
  107. in my life, that it would be a very bad thing for me, and actually
  108. Mother Ayahuasca literally took me to hell.
  109. And that hell was a little like this "Hell" painted by Hieronymus Bosch.
  110. A truly horrible place. And a little like the place that
  111. the ancient Egyptians called the Judgement Hall of Osiris,
  112. where our souls are weighed in the scale in the presence of the Gods
  113. against the feather of truth, of justice, of cosmic harmony.
  114. And I was shown that the path I was walking,
  115. my abuse of Cannabis and the behavior associated with it
  116. was going to lead me to be found "wanting" in the judgement
  117. and that I might face annihilation in the world beyond death,
  118. so perhaps not surprising, but when I came back to England,
  119. later in October 2011, I gave up Cannabis
  120. and I've never smoked it again since then.
  121. And actually and again I'm speaking only personally with no comment on
  122. other uses of Cannabis. It's as though a monkey has been lifted off my back.
  123. I'm liberated in incredible ways. Far from my creativity being inhibited,
  124. I find myself writing much more productively, much more creatively,
  125. much more focused and much more efficiently as well,
  126. and I began to be able to address those negative aspects of my behavior
  127. which Cannabis had revealed and hopefully to make myself slowly -
  128. it's a long progress - into a more nurturing, more loving, more positive person
  129. and this whole transformation - it really has been a personal transformation for me -
  130. was made possible by this encounter with Death that Mother Ayahuasca gave me.
  131. And you know, that leads me to ask what is Death?
  132. Our materialist science reduces everything to matter,
  133. and materialist science in the West says we are just meat, we are just our bodies,
  134. so when the brain is dead that's the end of consciousness,
  135. there is no life after death, there is no soul,
  136. we just rot and are gone.
  137. But actually many honest scientists should admit
  138. that consciousness is the greatest mystery of science
  139. and that we don't know exactly how it works.
  140. The brain is involved in it in some way,
  141. but we're not sure how. Could be that the brain generates consciousness
  142. the way a generator makes electricity, if you hold to that paradigm,
  143. then of course you can't believe in life after death.
  144. When the generator is broken consciousness is gone,
  145. but it's equally possible that the relationship -
  146. and nothing in neuro-science rules it out -
  147. that the relationship is more like a relationship of the TV signal to the TV set.
  148. And in that case, when the TV set is broken, of course the TV signal continues.
  149. And this is the paradigm of all spiritual traditions,
  150. that we are immortal souls, temporarily incarnated in these physical forms,
  151. to learn and to grow and to develop.
  152. And really if we want to know about this mystery
  153. the last people we should ask are materialist - reductionist scientists.
  154. They have nothing to say on the matter at all.
  155. Let's go rather to the ancient Egyptians who put their best minds to work
  156. for 3000 years on the problem of death,
  157. and on the problem of how we should live our lives to prepare
  158. for what we will confront after death.
  159. And the ancient Egyptians expressed their ideas in transcendent art
  160. which still touches us emotionally today
  161. and they came to certain very specific conclusions,
  162. that the soul does survive death, and that we will be held accountable for
  163. every thought, every action, every deed that we have lived through in our lives,
  164. so we better take this precious opportunity - to be born in a human body -
  165. seriously and make the most of it.
  166. And in these inquiries into the mystery of death
  167. the ancient Egyptians weren't just exercising their imagination.
  168. They highly valued dream states, and it's now known that they used visionary plants -
  169. like the hallucinogenic blue Water lily,
  170. and it's interesting that the ancient Egyptian tree of life
  171. has recently been identified as the Acacia nilotica,
  172. which contains high quantities of DMT - Dimethyltryptamine
  173. the same active ingredient that we find in Ayahuasca.
  174. Now it's difficult to imagine a society more different from
  175. the society of ancient Egypt than our society today.
  176. We hate visionary states in this society.
  177. In our society, if we want to insult somebody, we call them a dreamer.
  178. In ancient societies that was praise.
  179. And we have erected huge apparatuses of armed burocracies
  180. who will invade our privacy, who will break down our doors,
  181. who will arrest us, who will send us to prison, sometimes for years,
  182. for possessing even small quantities of Psilocybin or substances like DMT,
  183. whether in its smokable form or in the Ayahuasca brew
  184. and yet ironically DMT is - we now know - a natural brain hormone.
  185. We all have it in our bodies and it's just that its function
  186. remains unknown for lack of research.
  187. And it's not as though our society is opposed in principle to altered states of consciousness.
  188. I mean billions are being made by the unholy alliance of psychiatrists and big pharma
  189. in over prescribing drugs to control so called syndromes like depression,
  190. or attention deficit disorder in teenagers.
  191. And we have a love affair in our society with alcohol.
  192. We glorify this most boring of drugs at the spite that there are terrible consequences
  193. that it often has.
  194. And of course we love our stimulants: our tea, our coffee, our energy drinks, our sugar,
  195. and huge industries are built around these substances,
  196. which are valued because of the way they alter consciousness.
  197. But what all these approved altered states of consciousness have in common
  198. is that none of them contradict or conflict with the basic state of consciousness valued by our society,
  199. which I would call "the alert problem solving state of consciousness",
  200. which is good for the more mundane aspects of science.
  201. It's good for the prosecution of warfare, it's good for commerce, it's good for politics,
  202. but I think everybody realizes that the promise of a society over monopolistically based
  203. upon of this state of consciousness has proved hollow.
  204. And that this model is no longer working.
  205. That it's broken in every possible sense that a model can be broken.
  206. And urgently we need to find something to replace it:
  207. the vast problems of global pollution that have resulted from the single minded pursuit of profit,
  208. the horrors of a nuclear proliferation,
  209. the specter of hunger
  210. that millions every night go to bed starving.
  211. And we can't even solve this problem
  212. despite our alert problem solving state of consciousness.
  213. And look what's happening in the Amazon - the lungs of our planet, this precious home of biodiversity -
  214. the old growth rainforest being cut down and replaced with soya bean farms
  215. so we can feed cattles so that we can all eat hamburgers.
  216. Only a truly insane global state of consciousness could allow such an abomination to occur.
  217. And I did a back of an envelope calculation during the Irak war.
  218. It seems to me that 6 months expenditure on the Irak war
  219. would have solved the problem of the Amazon forever.
  220. Would be sufficient to compensate the peoples of the Amazon so that
  221. no single tree ever needed to be cut down again,
  222. to garden and look after that amazing resource.
  223. But we can't make that decision as a global community.
  224. We can spend countless billions on warfare,
  225. on hatred, on fear, on suspicion, on division,
  226. but we can't get together the collective effort to save the lungs of our planet.
  227. And this is perhaps why
  228. Shamans from the Amazon are now mounting a kind of reverse missionary activity.
  229. When I've asked Shamans about the sickness of the West they say it's quite simple:
  230. "You guys have severed your connection with spirit.
  231. Unless you reconnect with spirit and do so soon, you're going to bring the whole house of cards
  232. down around your heads and ours."
  233. And rightly or wrongly they believe that Ayahuasca is the remedy for that sickness.
  234. And many now are being called to the Amazon to drink Ayahuasca
  235. and Ayahuasca Shamans are traveling throughout the West,
  236. offering the brew, often under the radar, often at personal risk
  237. to bring about consciousness change.
  238. And it's true that the message of Ayahuasca, the universal message,
  239. is about the sacred, magical, enchanted, infinitely precious, nature of life on Earth,
  240. and the interdependence of material and spiritual realms.
  241. And it's impossible to work with Ayahuasca for long,
  242. without being deeply and profoundly affected by this message.
  243. And lets not forget that Ayahuasca is not alone.
  244. That it's part of an ancient worldwide system of the targeted, careful, responsible
  245. alteration of consciousness.
  246. It's recently been shown by scholars that the Kykeon used in the Eleusinian mysteries
  247. in ancient Greece was almost certainly a psychedelic brew
  248. that the Soma of the Vedas may well of been a brew based upon the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
  249. We have the DMT in the ancient Egyptian tree of life,
  250. we have the whole global cultures of surviving shamanism.
  251. And what it's all about is a state of consciousness
  252. that's designed to help us find balanced harmony.
  253. The ancient Egyptians would have called it Maât with the Universe,
  254. and to remain mindful that what we're here to undertake on Earth,
  255. while immersed in matter, is fundamentally a spiritual journey
  256. aimed at the growth and perfection of the soul,
  257. a journey that may go back to the very origins of what made us human in the first place.
  258. And I stand here invoking the hard one right of freedom of speech
  259. to call for and demand another right to be recognized,
  260. and that is the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness.
  261. There's a war on consciousness in our society
  262. and if we, as adults, are not allowed to make sovereign decisions
  263. about what to experience with our own consciousness while doing no harm to others,
  264. including the decision to use responsibly ancient and sacred visionary plants,
  265. then we cannot claim to be free in any way.
  266. And it's useless for our society to go around the world imposing our form of democracy on others
  267. while we nourish this rot at the heart of society
  268. and we do not allow individual freedom over the consciousness.
  269. It may even be that we are denying ourselves the next vital step in our own evolution
  270. by allowing the state of affairs to continue,
  271. and who knows, perhaps our immortal destiny as well.
  272. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
  273. Thank you.
  274. Thank you.