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Consciousness, Psychedelics, & Reality: Graham Hancock’s Discourse Against Materialist Science & Monotheism

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Graham Hancock asserts material science is missing the big picture in regards to consciousness.

Graham Hancock asserts material science is missing the big picture in regards to consciousness.

Graham Hancock is no stranger to modern discourse on the nature of consciousness. Since his early scholarly days he has challenged materialist science with alternative theories addressing mysteries of ancient civilizations, extra-terrestrials, psychedelics, and consciousness. In a recent lecture at the National Arts Club Art and Technology Committee, Hancock continued his controversial examination of the aforementioned topics.

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He opened his lecture with a question addressed to famous evolutionist, atheist, and author, Richard Dawkins, probing him on one of atheism’s most imperative conjectures, “How do you prepare for life in a world where there is no God?”

Hancock went on to recite Dawkins’s answer, “You prepare for it by knowing that life is what we have and so you better make it a life to the fullest”. Although he asserted that he couldn’t agree more with the notion of living one’s life to the fullest, Hancock didn’t accept Dawkins’s materialist view which states that consciousness is only a product of electro-chemical brain activity. He believes there is a lot more to consciousness than that expressed from the empty reductionist view point.

“What science is this [opinion] based on? What has [Dawkins] done to prove that there is nothing after death?”

Hancock argues Dawkins’s statement with a bold case, expressing that he is merely stating his “very narrow and very limited ‘religious’ belief”. Dawkins’s belief is just that, an act of faith, because there is no scientific evidence to back up his claim. But nevertheless, a large majority of people still buy into these scientists’ beliefs based on their university credentials.

Last year, Hancock released a TEDx Talk that was subsequently banned due to the subject matter discussed. Hancock elaborated on the reason in his lecture,

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“Certainly the brain is involved in consciousness in some vital way, but it’s unclear exactly how and this is the first area that I got into trouble with TED for my brief TEDx Talk which was on their website for a couple of weeks before they took it off. I couldn’t understand why they took it off, but it later became clear that there is a faction of scientists who advised TED who belong to what is called the materialist/reductionist tendency, and they believe that all phenomena can be reduced to matter, and that there is nothing that exists outside of the material realm if it cannot be measured or counted.”

Does the brain create consciousness like a generator produces electricity? Material scientists believe that consciousness is an epi-phenomenon or a miracle or sorts. They understand its development in relation to the Darwinian concept of ‘survival of the fittest’, that our brains evolved to have this consciousness as an advantage over other species. They state that once we’re dead, consciousness no longer exists, and we are simply reduced to matter. “What about near-death-experiences or out-of-body-experiences?” Hancock asks.

To refute this model, Hancock uses the analogy of a TV and its antenna. “The relationship of the brain and consciousness might be more like a TV set and the TV signal. And again, I got into trouble with TED even for suggesting this, but they will say ‘I know consciousness is localized to the brain because when I shut off this area of the brain , this or that area of your consciousness will blink out, and therefore that proves that your brain makes that bit of your consciousness’. But isn’t that true with the TV analogy? If you damage the TV screen, the picture won’t be so good, but that doesn’t mean the signal isn’t there still.”

To get a clearer understanding of consciousness and life after death, Hancock suggests looking back at ancient civilizations, particularly the ancient Egyptians, who possessed a remarkable model of the afterlife. By studying the intricate and numerous hieroglyphs in the pyramid walls (transcribed today in what is known as the Book of The Dead), one quickly realizes the Egyptians honoured death even more so than life as a large majority of their lives were based around the preparation for death, and that when this time came a soul would face Anubis in a review of their life. The consequences of a person’s life choices were something to reflect on deeply according to the Egyptians. Likewise, the Ancient Egyptians believed in reincarnation – after each life a soul would review lessons learned in the previous life to ensure that they would not repeat them in the next.

The Egyptians held strong beliefs about life after death.

The Egyptians held strong beliefs about life after death.

Interestingly, Hancock also adds an alternative narrative to the Egyptian civilization which may challenge many people’s beliefs. Referencing the Tibetan Book of The Dead, Hancock revealed their belief that love, ethics, and mediation alone cannot bring one enlightenment. He asserts that the Egyptians used psychedelic plants to access higher levels of consciousness. Famous ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna proposes the Tree of Knowledge depicted in engravings was actually a reference to the plant Acacia Nilotica, which contains levels of DMT in its bark. The Egyptians were known alchemists, so this extraction theory should not be considered far-fetched.

Hancock moves his attention to the ancient texts of the Hermetics and the Gnostics, quoting an line from one of the texts, “Man’s duty is not to acquiesce in his merely human state but rather in the strength of his contemplation of things divine to scorn and disguise that mortal part which has been attached to him because it was needful that he should keep and tend the lower world.” This was also a central aspect of the Egyptian texts, that we should not be attached to our material body, that we reach for the ‘heavens’ as a metaphor for our spiritual self.

The Gnostics also were also early opponents of certain sects of Christianity, specifically Catholicism, stating that no ‘God’ would judge another human being, let alone advocate burning someone at the stake. They viewed Christ as a teacher who didn’t actually die for our sins, that we are responsible for our own sins. Another controversial concept from early Gnosticism reveals that the serpent in the story of Adam and Eve was not in fact the devil, for the serpent was trying to tell them about the ‘Tree of knowledge’, and ‘God’ was trying to keep this knowledge away from humans to ensure they wouldn’t attain godly power through this knowledge.  An early Gnostic art piece exposes the Tree of Knowledge for what it actually is, the psychedelic mushroom Amanita Muscaria.

The Gnostics alluded to the 'Tree of Knowledge' being the psychedelic mushroom, Amanita Muscaria.

The Gnostics alluded to the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ being the psychedelic mushroom, Amanita Muscaria.

A faction of the Gnostics called the Cathars who lived in Southern France in the 1100s were surprisingly advanced for their time: they believed in equality for all, influenced the Troubadour music wave, ate mainly vegetarian, promoted universal literacy, and even made their own paper. Unfortunately, anyone who held Cathar/Gnostic beliefs was persecuted by the Roman Catholics in a crusade which took place in the late 1100s. This was largely due to the fact the Cathars saw the Pope as an agent of the devil.

Most monotheistic faiths impose leaders between the people and the divine (i.e., Christianity, Judaism, Islam). These ideological factions talk the talk about peace and love but walk the walk of hatred and suspicion. Hancock makes the daring assertion that it’s these three faiths which are at the root of the world’s problems today.  The state is the next form of segregation which ultimately places the control of our consciousness in the hands of others. States operate on fear, hatred, and suspicion, (war on terror, national security). Hancock addresses the pointlessness of patriotism, asking what its relevance really is. “Why should we be especially attached to someone because they happen to be born on the same piece of land as me? Shouldn’t we be interested in a community of ideas? Shouldn’t we be patriotic to the entire human race? We’ve become a species of amnesia, lulled into a false sense of purpose.”

“There is a war on our consciousness”, Hancock states. It is curious why a natural brain hormone like DMT is a Schedule I drug, yet the ancient Egyptians pegged it as the ‘Tree of Life’.  Shouldn’t we have sovereignty over our own consciousness? Natural mind-expanding plants are categorized as dangerous, yet pharmaceuticals and alcohol kill millions each year. Perhaps Hancock isn’t too far off in his statement.

mckenna

Hancock presents a strong argument against material science. There is a rigidness within this faction of belief that reduces the unlimited to something finite, something Hancock pegs as a dishonour to the miracle that is consciousness. Hancock also advocates to be weary of both modern and timeworn control schemes (i.e., religion, pharmaceuticals, the state) which aim to suppress the evolution of consciousness, a warning which may trigger the defence of many but stands as a crucial wake-up call to the world. Just as the ancients affirmed, psychedelics must be seen as an important tool in exploring and expanding human consciousness. Perhaps these natural tools truly do hold the key to the advancement of mankind’s evolution.

 

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Alternative News

How The Education System Limits Your Consciousness

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Higher Education has come under fire lately as being expensive, and students wonder whether or not it's worth it, from a financial perspective, to get a degree.

  • Reflect On:

    Does the system of education truly educate us? We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn't allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it.

The debate around whether or not a college degree is worth it has become ever intensified over the last few months as people begin to beg answers to the question: when will students pay off their debt? How long does it take?

Further to that question, I believe “how many students end up in a job or career they actually enjoy?”

But economics seems to be the big question here, and that’s fair given our world always seems to push us to consider those numbers as the height of importance in society as opposed to creating a society filled with passionately acting individuals who do what they love.

It’s all too often we hear that thinking we could all do what we love is ‘a pipedream’ or ‘not thinking like an adult.’ In these responses, if we pay close attention, we are actually saying we’ve come to accept that the way the world is should simply be accepted. Sure, in some cases these days we are working towards making a difference in areas of society like equality and poverty, but are we truly changing our system radically enough to make it so humanity can thrive? Or are we accepting enslavement?

In a recent podcast about my philosophy on how shifting consciousness and understanding conspiracies theories are intimately connected, I explored the system of education and how that functions. The education system seems to be a learning tool for us to accept the world the way it is. While we think we are educating ourselves, and we are in some ways with specific skills, there is something more to the story we aren’t exploring. We essentially are taking an ever expansive consciousness, with full capability, and molding it into a tiny tight system of living and being that doesn’t even support our ability to truly BE.

I truly believe we need to begin dreaming bigger and imagining bigger about what we are capable of changing in our society. We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn’t allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it. What if we could learn about the technologies we truly had and were capable of without having to hold them back because of commerce? What if we learned medicine without the influence of pharmaceutical money and drugs? What if we learned about how we could act as a global community creating abundance for all instead of learning how we’re all separate and we need an economy to operate? Are any of these things real? Or just a story? Why are we being told these things as if they are facts?

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Check it out in the video and podcast below.

Subscribe to the CE Podcast on iTunes or via email.

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Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

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Consciousness

A New Study Suggests People’s Egos Get Bigger After Yoga & Meditation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Study shows how Western practices of meditation and yoga can actually inflate the ego, rather than lower it — which is typically why people choose to do these practices in the first place.

  • Reflect On:

    What we do, no matter how spiritual it is, doesn't make you better than others. What is it that makes us want to feel or appear better than others?

In an attempt to try and limit our ego from running the show and move closer to our spirit and connection to the divine, many of us are on a path towards enlightenment.

This path generally includes a process of waking up to the reality around you, personal development books, plant medicine, yoga, and meditation can all be great tools along the way. We feel we are becoming wiser, more connected and sometimes even more evolved than those who are not on the same path as us.

A recently published study directly contradicts that approach and found that typical meditation and yoga practices can actually inflate your ego. Who knew?

We all know those spiritual types, that seem to have it all together, they are diligent in their daily practices and are the first to give you advice and explain what you are doing wrong and why you haven’t yet found peace within. Sure, these people generally have the best intentions, but the concept of being better, above or more enlightened than our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet is, believe it or not, pure ego! It is very easy to fall into this trap.

When I first “woke up” over a decade ago, I felt like I had so much information that no one else had yet awakened to, in this way I admittedly felt superior to many of my peers and put myself on a pedestal. This wasn’t an intentional action however, it’s just what happened.

Since, I have learned that the moment you think you have all the answers and have it all figured out is the exact moment that you need to take a step back and realize that in reality, you know nothing at all. What’s true to you may not be the truth for someone else. We are all on different paths, and different journeys, yes to the same place, but not a single one is better or superior to any other. No matter how off track others may appear to be.

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The Study

The paper was published online in the journal Psychological Science, researchers noted that Buddhism’s teachings that a meditation practice helps overcome the ego conflicts with the US psychologist William James’s argument that the practice of any skill at all ignites a sense of self-enhancement. So, the practice of bettering yourself does exactly that — makes you feel better, better than you were, but in many cases better than those around you.

There has already been a lot of evidence in support of James’s theory, but a team from Mannheim, Germany decided to test it specifically including the practice of yoga and meditation.

93 yoga students were recruited and over the course of 15 weeks, researchers evaluated their sense of self-enhancement. A few measures were used to monitor this. First, they asked the participants how they felt they compared to the average yoga student in their class. Next, participants completed an inventory that assesses narcissistic tendencies by asking them to rate how deeply phrases such as “I will be well-known for the good deeds I will have done” related to them. Lastly, they administered a sort of self-esteem scale asking the subjects if they agreed with statements such as, “At the moment I have high self-esteem.”

An hour after their yoga practice the participants showed significantly higher self-enhancement than when they hadn’t done yoga within a 24 hour period.

Another study examined 162 people who practiced meditation, they were scouted through meditation groups on Facebook. These participants proved to have a similar impact on self-enhancement as those from the yoga study. Participants were asked to evaluate themselves in relation to statements like “In comparison to the average participant of the study, I am free from bias.” The results showed that the participants had a higher self-enhancement in the hour following the meditation practice than when they hadn’t meditated for a 24-hour period.

Participants level of well-being was also measured using two measures — the satisfaction with life measure and the eudemonic well-being measure, which assesses satisfaction with autonomy, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, environmental mastery and self-acceptance. They found that the level of well-being increased with self-enhancement, this suggests that self-enhancement correlated with an increased sense of well-being.

Authors of the study concluded that “Ego-quieting is a central element of yoga philosophy and Buddhism alike. That element, and its presumed implications require some serious quieting is often called upon to explain mind-body practices’ well-being benefits. In contrast, we observed that mind-body practices boost self-enhancement and this boost — in turn — elevates well-being.”

Another Theory

An alternate explanation for this study suggests that the participants may be in fact doing meditation and yoga all wrong. The participants were all based out of Germany and many academics have theorized that the Westernized practices of Buddhism fail to include an eye towards selflessness that would otherwise characterize the goals of these efforts.

Westernized versions of yoga and meditation marginalize the acts when compared to the more ‘pure’ forms, if you will.

What Now?

Should you stop doing yoga and meditation or laugh at those who are committed to these practices? Absolutely not! This study serves as a powerful reminder that regardless of your practice or lack there-of, not one person is above anyone else, regardless of the activities they choose to do. Yoga and meditation can be great tools to assist us along our journey and find the clarity and insight that we may be needed, but just remember to always keep that ego in check. It is fine to have an ego — we all have one and I hate to break it to you, we can never get rid of it. But a good question to ask yourself is whether or not doing these practices makes you feel superior to others, and if so, why?

We are all on a path to self-discovery, and we are all just walking each other home. We all face challenges, and some of these practices can help us to handle ourselves differently in times of struggle, but in reality, we are all one anyways!

Much Love

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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Consciousness

6 Of The Most Asked Questions On Google & What They Say About Us

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Google is an incredible resource that helps us get the answers to many of life's questions at incredible speeds. But as our search habits suggest, we seem to be turning to it a bit too much for a number of unhealthy reasons.

  • Reflect On:

    What are you regularly turning to Google for? Are the answers you're getting actually of value, or are they instead rooted in a deeper issue?

The world is filled with a seemingly endless number of resources for us to tap into or seek out the council of. Yet, when it comes to finding the answers to some of our most important questions we all seem to go to one place: Google.

And while Google may be incredibly effective at providing us access to the answers of many of our questions at what seems like light-speed, it can also be quite damaging.

To illustrate this I’d like to present to you six of the most commonly asked questions that we as a collective tend to turn to Google for, what I believe they say about humanity, and why we need to stop turning to Google for the answers to them.

Please note that these are just six OF the most asked questions, and not the six most. These six are particular ones that stood out to me as troubling and worth commenting on. So here they are in ascending order based on how frequently they are searched per month globally. (All stats found on Mondovo

A written version of the video is available below as well.

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6. Which celebrity do I look like?

Search frequency: 14,800 times per month

While on the surface this search seems purely fun, what concerns me about it being searched with such frequency is that it really showcases how much our thoughts are rooted in comparison.

We all know that social media as a whole is a cesspool of comparison, where the vast majority of us post nothing but the highlight reel captures of our life rather than true snippets of our reality. The last thing we need is to even further compare ourselves to those we aren’t connected to on social media -especially those who for the most part work in an industry obsessed with physical appearances.

We need to keep in mind that the way Katy Perry looks on the red carpet is different from the way she looks upon waking up on a Friday morning. Let’s choose to embrace our uniqueness and spend our spare time being ourselves rather than comparing that person to who we think we need to be.

5. Why did I get married?

Search frequency: 49,500 times per month

With divorce rates being where they are, we all know that the institution of marriage is rapidly crumbling before our feet. And while whether that is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, I still don’t think we should be turning to Google for reminders on why we opted to participate in it.

Rather than reading someone’s blog on why you should appreciate your partner, or another person’s rant on why we should all run from marriage like the plague, choose to spend that time instead of having an open conversation with your spouse.

Be honest about where you stand with things and come to a collective conclusion as to what you can and cannot do as the next steps.

4. Who unfollowed me on Instagram?

Search frequency: 74,000 times per month

This is my personal favourite on the list because there are few things that amuse me more than seeing the importance that so many of us put on our “Instagram ratio”.

Long gone are the days where we happily followed and liked everyone and everything, and here to stay are the days where we handpick who we follow to give off a “celebrity status” based on the seemingly much higher amount of people who have chosen to follow us.

If you care so much about your following count dropping from 714 to 713 that you need to look into who it was that you lost overnight (or even if you realize that the drop happened at all) you’ve got some serious self-worth issues that you need to address and work beyond.

3. How to make money online?

Search frequency: 135,000 times per month

As someone who has not only worked for various companies who have made substantial amounts of money online, and who has several initiatives to do so myself, I can tell you one thing: it doesn’t come easy!

It not only takes persistent and high-quality effort to build a YouTube subscriber base or to create a website that generates regular traffic, it also takes money to make money.

We need to debunk the belief that the internet is a great way to get rich quick. Realize that everyone who is advertising their online course, seminar, or book designed to help you do this, is doing that as their primary tactic to attain wealth -and they’re paying a hell of a lot of money to get their ad in your face. Those who have attained it have much bigger and better things to do.

2. How to lose weight fast?

Search frequency: 301,000 times per month

On the surface, this too seems well-intentioned since it’s great to see that a large portion of us are regularly searching for ways to improve our health. But what concerns me about this is largely the last word: fast.

We live in a world where we need instantaneous results (hence why we’re turning to Google in the first place) or we don’t bother. Long-term solutions exist but we have virtually no confidence in our ability to commit to anything, so we instead opt for ways to cheat the system.

If losing weight or gaining muscle is truly important to you, than focus on what you’ll need to do to keep yourself motivated to put the work in to get there rather than what can zap it away.

1. Any and all health advice

Search frequency: Unknown but seemingly infinite

We’ve all done it. We go to Google for advice on a persistent pimple and three minutes later we’re convinced that we are mere weeks away from being on our deathbed.

While there are plenty of great articles and medical journals scattered throughout the net, there is also a lot of “click-baity” crap with nothing to support much of what it suggests.

Please understand that this is NOT an attack against alternative media outlets, I firmly believe that even the most widely-accepted forms of media are ladened in questionable sourcing and ruled by greed. So rather than taking your chances, why not instead turn a trusted healthcare professional who can diagnose your unique circumstance?


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Facebook.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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