Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Supernatural, An Evening with Graham Hancock

WHERE: Chapel of Sacred Mirrors,
540 West 27th Street, NYC
WHEN: November 17, 8PM - 10PM

GRAHAM HANCOCK is breathless. He's telling me about his first hallucinogenic trip in the Amazon jungle, and he just can't get the words out fast enough. The former journalist and now bestselling science writer spent five weeks living with indigenous Indian shamans in Peru, where he ingested a sacred plant drug known as ayahuasca.

We pick up the story just after the shaman began the ritual ceremony by singing the icaros, ancient chants which draw the spirits around the circle. Hancock then took a sip of the drug, which he describes as a "vile-tasting liquid, so strong and bitter-sweet and salty, so dark and concentrated as to be repellent". His muscles involuntarily relax, he closes his eyes and then the visions begin.

"I had a very scary beginning to that trip," he says. "I saw incredible transformations of different animals and beings glowing with light that appeared directly in front of my field of vision. It was a typical scene which many describe as an alien abduction. They were very anthropic, and definitely wanted to communicate with me. It was rather like going to a strange new country, where I had to start learning the rules of communication."...

"I believe these hallucinogenic experiences are the basis for all modern-day religions. If you think about it, why would we ever have cause to imagine a spirit world? Our uncreative ancestors didn't, but then they found these drugs and saw for themselves the spirit world, and realised there was more to life. I think religion resulted from the need to explain these supernatural encounters."

A sceptic would maintain that, outwith the experience of those on drugs or in a trance, there is no evidence to support Hancock's theory. And many could take offence to his assertion that when Mohammed, Jesus Christ and St Paul thought they were experiencing God, they were, in fact, just accessing the parallel world. Part of the problem with accepting this higher plane comes in locating its origin. If these spirits are the "ancient teachers of mankind", as he says, where did they come from? In this instance, as with every other, Hancock points to science. Prepare for the most astonishing claim yet. "The secret could be in our DNA," he says. "When Francis Crick, the discoverer of DNA, died, it was revealed that his first vision of the helix module occurred while he was on LSD. Although he was an atheist, he then published a book which subscribed to the theory of intelligent design, that our universe was not simply the result of a series of chemical accidents.

"In brief, what he said was that after the Big Bang, life did not evolve first on Earth. At the far side of the universe, another civilisation developed, a highly advanced civilisation who surpassed the stage we have currently reached. He asserted that in some way their world became threatened - global warming, or some such catastrophic event - and so they devised a way to pass on their existence. They genetically-modified their DNA and sent it out from their planet on bacteria, with the hope that it would collide with another planet. It did, and that's why we're here." What Hancock goes onto explain is that the DNA was encoded with messages from that other civilisation.

They programmed the molecules so that when we reached a certain level of intelligence, we would be able to access their information, and they could therefore "teach" us about ourselves, and how to progress.
"I know [this] sounds preposterous and pointless to anyone committed to objective science. The more closely I pursued these questions, however, the more convinced I became that they point towards matters of extraordinary substance, and that science has done us an immense disfavour by its policy of ridiculing and discouraging all rational inquiry in this area."

the book: Supernatural : Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Hardcover)
by Graham Hancock

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