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Graham Hancock: Author, Theorist, Psychedelic Advocate

Graham Hancock Profile
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The human race is at a major epoch in modern history. A time where the open and inquisitive mind is not only encouraged but vital to our evolution. Graham Hancock is a modern-day pioneer for such thinking.

“I believe we are a species with amnesia, I think we have forgotten our roots and our origins. I think we are quite lost in many ways. And we live in a society that invests huge amounts of money and vast quantities of energy in ensuring that we all stay lost. A society that invests in creating unconsciousness, which invests in keeping people asleep so that we are just passive consumers or products and not really asking any of the questions.”

– Graham Hancock

Who is Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock is an author, researcher, and historian. He is a leader in the modern inquisition movement through his unconventional theories of ancient civilizations. This article provides a focused lens on Hancock’s theories of psychedelics and the role they played in ancient civilization.

“Human history has become too much a matter of dogma taught by ‘professionals’ in ivory towers as though it’s all fact. Actually, much of human history is up for grabs. The further back you go, the more that the history that’s taught in the schools and universities begins to look like some kind of faerie story.”

– Graham Hancock

Early Life and Education

Hancock was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was a surgeon in India, where Hancock spent most of his childhood. In his early adulthood, he attended Durham University in northern England. He graduated in 1973 with First Class Honours in Sociology. Post-graduation, he wrote for many of Britain’s leading newspapers. This included The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and The Guardian. Other early-career landmarks include co-editor of New Internationalist magazine and East Africa correspondent of The Economist from 1976-1983.

Career

In the early 80’s Hancock’s writing career took a turn in the direction of books. He shifted his focus to speculative connections between various archaeological, historical, and cross-cultural phenomena. By 1990 he had authored and co-authored over six books predominantly based on pseudoscientific theories.

Pseudoscientific Theories

Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices claimed to be both scientific and factual. However, they are incompatible with the scientific method. Hancock’s most common theories involve ancient civilizations, Earth changes, stone monuments or megaliths. He also studied and theorized on altered states of consciousness, ancient myths, and astronomical or astrological data from the past.

Hancock’s career had a breakthrough in 1992 with his publication of The Sign and the Seal. This bestselling book opens up the public to the theories, mystique, and whereabouts of The Lost Ark of the Covenant. The press started noticing Hancock for inventing a new genre of ‘an intellectual whodunit by a do-it-yourself sleuth.’ 

Fingerprints of the Gods, published in 1995, confirmed Hancock’s growing reputation, as well as the desire for the inquisitional nature of pseudoscience. Fingerprints of the Gods was described as “one of the intellectual landmarks of the decade”.

Nearly a decade and a few more publications later, Hancock began publishing his theories and investigation of shamanism, the origins of religion, and their relationship to altered states of consciousness. This birthed his publication of Supernatural: Meetings with The Ancient Teachers of Mankind.

Psychedelics Theories

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

Supernatural: Meetings with The Ancient Teachers of Mankind was indeed a controversial book for its time. As stated on Hancocks’s website, it suggests that experiences in altered states of consciousness have played a fundamental role in the evolution of human culture and that other realities – indeed parallel worlds – surround us all the time but are not normally accessible to our senses.

Hancock’s research for Supernatural was the first-hand experience with the visionary brew of ayahuasca – otherwise known as “The Vine of Souls”. Furthermore, it was this experience that inspired many of Hancock’s later fiction novels.

The Psychedelic Nature of Art

Hancock has taken his downloads he received from first-hand experiences with psychedelics (ayahuasca, DMT, psilocybin) and cultivated a successful lecturing series. Such series reiterates many of the theories within his books. For instance, the theory that the evolution of ancient civilizations is directly connected to psychedelics’ sacred use. He makes a potent argument for said theory through the transformational evidence within ancient civilizations’ hieroglyphs and artwork.

Less than 50,000 years ago mankind had no art, no religion, no sophisticated symbolism, no innovative thinking. Then, in a dramatic and electrifying change, described by scientists as “the greatest riddle in human history”, all the skills and qualities that we value most highly in ourselves appeared already fully formed, as though bestowed on us by hidden powers. In Supernatural Graham Hancock sets out to investigate this mysterious “before-and-after moment” and to discover the truth about the influences that gave birth to the modern human mind.

Supernatural by Graham Hancock

Pseudoscientific and Psychedelic Art Conclusion

Hancock sees the evolutionary patterns psychedelic plants have had alongside humanity. Just as the telescope is a tool to see the stars, these plants are tools to see the spirit world. Science is only concerned with quantifying material, that such theories are impractical and useless. In reality, most scientists against these theories have never personally investigated the realms of the unveiled dimensions. Instead of demonizing something science can’t fully grasp, Hancock fights to normalize our exploration of consciousness and our relationship with these plants. If we aren’t free to explore and creatively express our consciousness, then we aren’t free at all.

In Culture

Books

Below you will find three of Hancock’s most popular books and a short excerpt from his website. Follow their links to learn more.

Fingerprints of the Gods

From the mysterious sites of Tiahuanaco and Teotihuacan to the enduring enigmatic Sphinx and pyramids of Egypt, the grandiose Nazca lines of Peru to the stark primal beauty of the Osireion at Abydos, this is a journey both around the globe and into the heart of the true prehistoric origins of man. Part adventure, part detective story, this book will force you to revaluate your beliefs of the past.

Sign and the Seal

A deeply personal account of a quest for meaning, The Sign and the Seal is a must-read for anyone interested in the ancient world or the genesis of Graham Hancock’s thinking.

Supernatural

The Independent states, “Hancock’s most important book… quite stunning”.

Media

Below are three popular and informative videos on Graham Hancock, to gain a deeper understanding of his work.

Ted Talk

Horizons 2014: GRAHAM HANCOCK “Psychedelics and Civilisation, Light and Darkness”

Graham Hancock Quits Marijuana (from Joe Rogan Experience #360)

Movies

Below is a film Hancock starred in. You may notice a few other Trailblazers in the description.

Journeys to the Edge of Consciousness

 Take an animated journey into the depths of the human mind with Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, and Alan Watts – exploring three psychedelic trips that together changed them, and Western culture, forever. Sixty years later, we sit down with twelve leading current thinkers to ask: “What can expanded states of mind teach us about ourselves, the world, and our place in it?”

Top Graham Hancock Quotes

“If we are not sovereign over our own consciousness. If we are prepared to tolerate living in a society that will not allow the sovereignty of an adult over his or her own consciousness then we can not claim to be free in any way. It’s absolutely absurd and crazy for the Western Democracies to be going around the world imposing democracy by force on other cultures when we actually live in a consciousness tyranny where it is even dangerous to speak out about their issues. We live in an atmosphere of witch hunt around this. To realize that these plants are our allies and friends, they have co-evolved with us they are here to help us and my goodness there has never been a time when the human race has been more urgently in need of its plant allies than today.”

Graham Hancock

“Any kind of consciousness that is not related to the production or consumption of material goods is stigmatized in our society today.”

Graham Hancock

“You have to understand that we’ve had more than 40 years now of massively financed propaganda called the ‘War on Drugs’.

Graham Hancock

“It may be that DMT makes us able to perceive what the physicist call “dark matter” – the 95 percent of the universe’s mass that is known to exist but that at present remains invisible to our senses and instruments.”

Graham Hancock

“We live in a society that will send us to prison if we make use of time-honored sacred plants to explore our own consciousness. Yet surely the exploration and expansion of the miracle of our consciousness is the essence of what it is to be human? By demonstrating and persecuting whole areas of consciousness, we may be denying ourselves the next vital step in our own evolution.”

Graham Hancock

RS Contributing Author: Niki Perlberg

Niki is a social and arts entrepreneur who specializes in project and creative production development. With her passion for social structures and the arts, she has been involved in the architecture of performance and festival culture around the country. In rapidly changing times she is now taking her passion for these sub-cultures and sharing them with us in our digital atmosphere through her writing and content development. Some of her favorite parts of life are coffee, campfires, and contemplating the mysteries of existence. Feel free to follow her on Insta @itsnikiperl

4 thoughts on “Graham Hancock: Author, Theorist, Psychedelic Advocate”

  1. Great to hear that more and more good people are thinking good things about good stuff….after so many years of nonsense and fear surrounding these interesting molecules that can clearly be of (possibly limitless) benefit to mankind and therefore the planet…

  2. Absolutely right, thank you for giving this piece a read! Hancock has some incredible insights into our culture that really make you think.

  3. Thank you for this very cool profile on Graham Hancock. I saw his (banned) TED talk – The War on Consciousness – about 7 years ago and it fully expressed the idea I had been feeling inside, that something’s off about our society – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0c5nIvJH7w&ab_channel=JamesDeardenBush. This TED talk completely reshaped my worldview. It is also a good overview of some of the points discussed in this article – from the roots of human consciousness to the war on drugs to society’s acceptable states of consciousness.

  4. Wow very cool Ted Talk, thank you for sharing that link! And even better that you got to see it in person. Graham Hancock is the epitome of a psychedelic trailblazer.

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