Part two of this series on drug culture and the arts, looks at the work of Graham Hancock who is most famous for his work exploring and writing books about ancient sites and ancient civilisations from around the world. More recently his work led him to research and eventually ingest the plant extract Ayahuasca.
According to Hancock the visionary experiences produced by the extract – in particular the female entity routinely encountered by those who take it – provided him, quite literally, with a story and set him up with the challenge of writing it.
This story eventually became his first novel, ‘Entangled‘.
The idea of being inspired or even aided by drugs in this way is not really a feature of our western industrialised culture. It’s perfectly acceptable to explore the physical world and travel to exotic countries on arduous journeys with the aid of camels or mules – and gain knowledge and inspiration for art in that way. But the idea of exploring one’s own consciousness, and travelling to remote and exotic areas within – perhaps with the aid of drugs or meditation – is not something we tend to encourage, let alone value or revere these days.
Ever since the 60′s we have been encouraged to associate drug use with self indulgence, hedonism and addiction. We are perhaps the only culture in human history to have had quite such extreme and mostly negative attitudes towards drugs and visionary experiences. We either regard them as completely taboo or even criminal or we regard them as recreational and trivial. Other cultures have just treated drugs with maturity, respect and awe.
In the video below Graham Hancock talks about his research and his personal experiences of drug use.
In the video below Graham gives some more of his personal insights into consciousness, the drug DMT and proposes the idea that certain drugs may in fact be a way for us to access information encoded in our so called ‘junk’ DNA.
In the video below Graham discusses the striking similarities found in cave art from all over the world, art which seems to be a retelling of visionary experiences had by the artist while in altered states on consciousness. The similarity in the artwork indicates a high degree of uniformity and consistency, as if they were all painting pictures depicting the same ‘place’, albeit not a place in the physical realm. The similarity of the art is all the more intriguing when you consider they come from different continents and different periods in human history.
In the last video below Graham discusses the state’s disrespectful attitudes and policies on drugs and consciousness in the current age.