On Ancient Archaeology and Psychedelics
A conversation with Graham Hancock
A conversation with Graham Hancock
A conversation with Graham Hancock
Speaker 1 00:00:13 Welcome to Rainforest Cafe with Denis McKenna.
Speaker 2 00:00:20 Hello and welcome. I’m your host, Casey McFarland, and you are tuning into the very first episode of the Brain Forest Cafe with Dennis McKenna. It is an absolute honor to be here today with two trailblazing luncheons, Dennis McKenna and Graham Hancock. Dennis was an ethnobotanist lecturer and author. He is also a founding board member of the Hefter Research Institute. Most recently, Dennis has founded the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy in 2019. Graham is an international bestselling author and journalist with a strong interest and passion for the ancient past. His most recent work, ancient Apocalypse, can be found on Netflix. It is a TV series investigating the possibility of an ancient advanced civilization by traveling to various archeological sites around the globe. Thank you very much, Graham, for being present with us here today.
Speaker 3 00:01:10 It’s my pleasure. Looking forward to it. Welcome, Graham. It’s, uh, nice to see you again. I wish we could do it in person, but, uh, we’re not allowed that. So, last time was in New Yorkshire at the end of last night, last year, wasn’t it? The That’s right. And that was, that was quite a convocation. Uh, yeah, that’s right. I wanna get into that maybe a little bit later, but I wanted to, uh, first of all, I wanted to thank you and or congratulate you on the Netflix series. Uh, thank you. Which, uh, I think that’s, I mean, it, I, I watched it and of course, you know, I’m, I’m fascinated by your work, so I don’t, I don’t need convincing. I, I, I think, I think it’s very hard to make these complex issues accessible to a public that’s, that’s largely uneducated about these things.
Speaker 3 00:02:12 You know, and, and you, you’ve done an excellent job and you’ve got a lot of pushback. Of course. That seems to be, that comes with the territory. Uh, I was, I was reading your, your response to the American Association of, uh, archeologists or American Archeological Association. Oh, I see. Like an archeology. Yeah, the s a a. Right. I thought your response was, was, you know, measured and masterful. And I think, I think it, it pointed out some of the, you know, some, some of the shadows in their assumptions. Right. I mean, for example, they’re accusing you of white supremacy and, and marginalizing indigenous people. Again, if you look at the demographics of the organization, it’s 71% white. Yes. So, you know, largely white males. Yes. And white males as well. Yes, yes. Very hypocritical position to take, but also, but also a straw man. I mean, this is what I, what what I, I, I realized in the, the rather concerted, um, attack that was made following the release of ancient apocalypse, by actually not a huge number of archeologists, but by a number of archeologists who are very vocal on these issues and, um, who have a, a very fixed and definite view of the past.
Speaker 3 00:03:46 Uh, and that fixed and definite view includes the notion that, uh, that they can rule out any possibility of a, of a lost civilization. Um, and therefore, therefore, the, the, what I found myself involved in is a kind of ideological war, um, over the, over the past, uh, and, and in which, in which the tools of ideology were primarily being used rather than rational and reasonable argument. So, uh, I’m dealing with an, with an institution in archeology that has a very fixed idea about the past. Uh, I’m not saying that every archeologist shares it, but they all subscribe to it in one way or another. And somehow this series of mine directly conflicted, uh, with that idea. And what was disappointing to me was the very low level of the criticism. There was a, there was very loud, there was a massive amount of it.
Speaker 3 00:04:40 It all repeated, essentially the same three or four basic themes as though somebody was reading from a, from a cheat sheet. Uh, and there was no real grappling with the, with the material. Uh, it was just as though we are figures of authority, and we can just dismiss you by saying you are wrong. You know, that’s not something that should happen in science. That’s something that happens in, in cults. And, uh, uh, you have made the case. And, and I think there’s, there’s evidence to support it that sadly, archeology is very much closer to a cult than it is, than it is science. I I mean, the very nature of science is that you, you question your assumptions, you know? Yeah. And you always work from the, from the understanding that in understanding that is incomplete. You know, we do not have a complete picture of the past, particularly the ancient past.
Speaker 3 00:05:39 And it seems that for archeology to assume that, you know, to act as though, well, this is all a settled matter, you know, it’s all been decided, and we don’t, we’re not open to questioning about a section of a period of human history, about which very little is known. You know, as you, as you pointed out in your, in your letter, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of, of hectares of inundated land that predate the, uh, the sea level rise precipitated most probably by the younger Dries event. Yeah. And the, the whole gentle meltdown of the end of the Ice age and the raising of sea levels by 400 feet. Um, it’s a point, it’s a, it’s a broader point, um, that, that, that, that the reaction of archeology as an institution to, to my age Apocalypse series is we are archeologists. We know that there’s no possibility of a lost civilization.
Speaker 3 00:06:39 So even by suggesting that there could have been a lost civilization, you Hancock are somehow misleading, uh, the, the, the, the, the, the viewers as though I’m not even allowed to express that, that concept or that idea. But that, but beyond, beyond that, the point is that there are huge areas of the world that archeology simply has not looked at. Yeah. Um, the, the amount of archeology that’s been done in the Amazon rainforest is incredibly small. Um, I mean, for understandable reasons. I’m not saying no archeology has been done, but, but, but what’s been done, given that, that we’ve still got five or 6 million square kilometers of rainforest left, uh, and, and, uh, the tiny amount of archeology that has been done is revealing the most extraordinary discoveries in the ams. Um, same goes for the Sahara Desert. You know, it was green at several periods during the Ice Age, and again, because it’s very tough place to work, very expensive place to work, very little archeology has been done.
Speaker 3 00:07:36 And then, as you rightly say, the submerged continental shelves, you know, an enormous area of the Earth, really, the only archeology that’s been done is looking at sort of medieval shipwrecks, and not, not really, because they already convinced themselves that there’s no need to look for anything else of interest. The idea that there might be actual physical rulings on a large scale underwater doesn’t seem worth investing money in from an archeological point of view, because they’ve already decided that there’s nothing to find. And so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet, somebody like me, just on my own finances with Saha, uh, spending seven years scuba diving all around the world, we found a load of stuff, uh, un underwater, which fishermen and local divers were aware of, you know, uh, right. So, so clearly, you know, you’re not funded by large institutions or anything on your journalist salary.
Speaker 3 00:08:29 And as an independent person, I mean, you had the temerity and go look at these places, you know? Yeah. I mean, you made these many dives and, and, you know, this is what I, uh, like and admire about your approach. It’s not that you’re just dreaming this stuff up, you know, although you’ve been accused of that, I think one of your moral cathing critics says, you know, your information comes from a through revelation. Well, that’s another conversation. But in fact, yeah, you’re just making the case to the archeological community and to the rest of the world that, hey, if you look, there’s evidence here. I mean, there’s a lot of evidence, and the, and the Netflix documentary brought, brought attention to some of it, you know? Yeah. What I had a problem with, with the documentary, and, and it’s, it’s impossible to avoid, uh, your, you know, because it is a mass, it’s directed to the masses.
Speaker 3 00:09:32 It’s a mass media product directed toward people that are not educated. But what it, and so what it, it leads in a certain sense is that your scholarship, which is imp impeccable and meticulous and extensive, it’s not gonna be accessible to somebody in a Netflix series. People actually have to read your books. And I’ve read, you know, your key books that talk about this. And then if you, if you look at that and digest that, then it’s very, uh, very much harder to be dismissive of, of this evidence. You know, uh, you bring through, you bring together many different threads, right? Ranging from genetics to, of course, the archeological evidence. And so why do you think the, I mean, maybe it’s a naive question. Maybe the answer is obvious, but, but, uh, you know, why is the archeological community institutional archeologic archeology so, so threatened by this?
Speaker 3 00:10:40 Well, they were, they, they were already angry with my books. And in fact, archeologists had been angry with me for 30 years. Um, and, and you know, the, it’s some of the critics of the edge apocalypse accused me of declaring war on archeology. But as a matter of fact, archeology declared war on me, uh, the moment I published fingerprints of the Gods, uh, and has been in, in just unmitigated unceasing assaults on my character and on my personality, and on and on, and, and, and, uh, on my qualities as a human being by archeologists, you know, who haven’t even read my work. Um, so, so they were angry already by the books. And why were they angry angered by the books? Because the books actually reached pretty large numbers of people, millions of people. As a matter of fact, if the books had reached 500 people, or even 10,000 people, they wouldn’t have bothered.
Speaker 3 00:11:29 But because the books, the books were, were reaching large audiences, uh, uh, uh, and, and, um, presenting a narrative which is contrary to the mainstream narrative of archeology, uh, this immediately began this, this sparked off this kind of immune reaction to the, to the name Hancock, amongst archeologists. So they, they don’t need to read my work. They don’t need to look at anything, because they already know, uh, that I’m enemy number one. And, and, and, um, you know, this is the, but then with Netflix, with the, the magnitude suddenly increases by, by sort of order of 10. Uh, and there there’s this huge numbers of people who weren’t familiar with my work, who are now, who are now seeing this work. And I think archeologists felt very threatened by it. Ultimately, I think it’s about control of the narrative. Um, these are a group of, of so-called professionals, uh, who bond together in professional bodies, like the Society for American Archeology, who have their own hierarchy, uh, and their own, um, methods of obtaining kudos and status within that, with, within that system.
Speaker 3 00:12:35 Uh, and, uh, they, they reacted to me as though I was some kind of virus that was, was threatening the whole, the whole system. And, and, uh, and, and this kind of swarming reaction, which is designed to do harm to me by whatever means, just, just do harm to this person who we see as an enemy. And, and, and actually it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter what we say, as long as it’s harmful. Let’s pick some of the words that are harmful in our culture today. Oh, let’s call him a racist. Let’s say he’s a white supremacist. The fact that race isn’t mentioned in the series makes no difference. If we can just stick those labels on this person, then we’re gonna harm him. And if we harm him, we’ll make him weaker. That’s the kind of obnoxious logic that, that underlies the archeological reaction to this.
Speaker 3 00:13:19 And of course, I realized that for many decades, that was also the kind of twisting of reality that came with the way that, that, uh, the, the, the mainstream reacted to psychedelics, you know? Right. Psychedelics objected to an ideological war where, where were presented as dangerous as, as, as, as, as harmful. All kinds of lies we’re told about psychedelics. You know, it’s a very similar, it’s a very parallel situation. You know, I keep thinking, uh, as you’re talking about this, you know, I, I, in the back of my mind, the, the spool of one of my favorite quotes from Schopenhauer, not that I read a lot of schauer, but his observation on truth, all truth goes through three stages. He says, first it is ridicule, second, it is violently opposed. That’s the state you’re in right now. Finally, it’s accepted as self-evident. Yeah. You know, and, and what’s happened with, uh, psychedelics is a good example of that.
Speaker 3 00:14:20 You know, that information has always been out there, that they have benefits, that they’re therapeutic, that, yeah. You know, and the same with archeology, you know, uh, people are, people, uh, you know, in the archeological, uh, institutional archeology are probably discomforted by the fact that there are huge gaps in knowledge, you know? And so rather than try to fill those gaps to explore what’s there to do their job, essentially, which is to explore these things, it’s easier just to obfuscate and to pile Appium on people like yourself who are saying, well, wait a minute. I’m not a professional archeologist, but I’m an intelligent person. I’m an honest journalist. I can see for myself, you know what the evidence is. I can anyone can go out and look at this. Yeah. And I’ve looked at this evidence, and it suggests that there was, in fact, a much more advanced, you know, maritime situation that made bait date back.
Speaker 3 00:15:28 I mean, it, it would have to date back well before the younger dryas, which is the event that kind of put, put it into the whole thing, you know? And this is, um, you know, this is, uh, an apparently an apparent notion to, to, to archeology. And, and if they had indeed conducted detailed archeology in every part of the world, if they had thoroughly investigated the continental shelves, if they knew absolutely the archeology of the Sahara and the, and, and the Amazon, then they might have a better case. But at the moment, they just haven’t done an enough work. Uh, and, and, and that isn’t science. That’s, uh, the, to, to, to, to draw fixed and firm conclusions from a work in progress, uh, is, uh, you know, is, is a huge mistake. And that’s, and that’s, that’s what’s, that’s what’s happening here. But the thing is that what I object to very strongly is the, is is, um, um, um, with archeology as an institution, is this claim or suggestion that they are the sole arbiters of the human past.
Speaker 3 00:16:30 That, that not listen to anybody else, that anybody else who expresses any kind of point of view on the human past, if it differs from the narrative being given by the mainstream, that that person must not be listened to. Um, there are occasions where quote, unquote amateurs offer something that archeologists adopt, and they will adopt it enthusiastically as long as it does not contradict one of their mainstream, one of their main narratives. But if it contradicts a narrative, they will utterly reject it, uh, and, and, and will do so vehemently and in, and in extremely ugly ways. And it’s only really as time passes, as was the case with psychedelics. And as more and more information comes out, but it becomes absurd to hold such a position, uh, as it became absurd to hold that position about psychedelics. And I hope we see the, the absurdity of the archeological position exposed, uh, in my lifetime.
Speaker 3 00:17:28 I’m not confident of that. But, uh, I hope I do. Well, I hope, I hope you, uh, I hope you live long. I hope you live a long time, Graham, and I hope you live long enough to make, make them eat a big plate of crow. Because what you’ve described is exactly what happens, it seems when institutions become ossified, they, they become, you know, constrained by, received doctrine, by dogma, actually. And that’s not what science is about. So science is, that’s anti-science. Science always should work in the, you know, in the light of the perception that they don’t have a complete picture. And new information can come along at any time and completely overturn your, your accepted paradigms and so on. That’s what makes it exciting. That’s how, that’s how knowledge advances, you know? So it’s disappointing, uh, to see this, but again, not surprising.
Speaker 3 00:18:28 I mean, it’s, uh, you know, on the academic level, it’s sort of the, uh, you know, it’s, it’s, I mean, a little more genteel, but you see the much, the same thing happening in the political discourse. You know, you repeat lies enough, people begin to actually believe them. And look, the states, they know we’ve been managed to completely fluxx, you know, a third to a quarter, you know, a quarter to a third of the electorate that believes that the election was rigged and all of this nonsense. You know, and it’s, it makes me, it saddens me, Graham, because people do not think for themselves that, that at the core of, at the core of what we’re talking about, it’s people’s desire to abdicate their ability to think for themselves. This is what religion does. You know, I mean, religion and organized religion does very much the same thing.
Speaker 3 00:19:26 Like, Hey, we have the answers just justify if you don’t stop asking, don’t keep asking these pesky questions. Just, just accept the articles of the faith made module that could be slotted into the brain. You don’t have to ask any questions. Here’s all the answers. That’s absolutely true of religion. And, uh, unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more true of science as well, is that science is being spoken of in religious terms. Yes. Than science has all the answers. Uh, and that there are no other answers to, to find, um, science is a wonderful method of exploring certain aspects of reality. But there are other aspects of reality that are much harder to explore with science. And that’s, again, that touches on the, on the issue of, uh, of, of, of, of psychedelics. But we should never have, we should never have unquestioning faith in science.
Speaker 3 00:20:22 Well, faith is totally out of place. That’s the thing. I mean, as I often say in my raps about, about psychedelics, faith is an impediment. Faith is not required to take a psychedelic. What is required is courage. Yeah. You know? That’s right. Part of that is putting your assumptions aside. Yeah. Opening yourself to whatever the experience is, and, uh, and then dealing with that, you know, uh, so it takes courage. Faith is a set of, as I understand it, a set of assumptions, preexisting assumptions without evidence. So it’s anti-science, science, and it’s the ab abdication of responsibility to think for oneself, which is what it comes down to, which is the, which is one of the huge problems in the world today. Um, and it’s very ironic, really, is that we have, we, we in a sense have all the tools available for people really to think for themselves.
Speaker 3 00:21:22 But actually, it’s not, it’s not happening. There’s a, there’s, there’s a, there’s a tendency to, to discourage, uh, independent thought and to, and, and to, you know, lock people into different blocks of thought and ideas. And, you know, I belong to this group and you belong to that group, and, but we’re all fucking human beings. You know, it’s, it’s, and any number of people willing to pander to that, you know, because they see their control of these demographics, these different silos. That’s their path to fame and fortune and notoriety and all that. But it’s, it’s fundamentally dishonest. And it’s true what you’re saying that, uh, institute, I mean, science is a beautiful thing, you know? Yeah. Pure science, as you say. And I agree. It, it, it, it, it’s just a tool. It’s a tool for as asking questions of nature in a very systematic way, getting answers back that can be more or less verified or, you know, do they do the answers, explain the data or not?
Speaker 3 00:22:29 And it, the, the, you know, the result isn’t, is always we need more data because every, everything we understand is an incomplete picture. So, uh, uh, you know, I, I, I think there are scientists who practice pure science, but, but then it is becoming increasingly difficult for science to, to retain that purity because it’s an institution. It depends on grants, it depends on academic prestige. It, it depends on all of this infrastructure to, to make it work. I mean, we’re, we’re far beyond the, the, you know, era of the gentleman scientist like Darwin or Mendel who could go out in his garden and contemplate, you know, the, the nature of inheritance and so on. Now you need 150 million grant to look into these things, or some, some do. So it’s, it’s a quandary. I, I do, I mean, as a scientist, and I do have admiration for, for pure science and dismay at the way it’s essentially been distorted and, and misused.
Speaker 3 00:23:42 And, and, well, I think one of, if I, if I may come in there, one of the ways that it’s been misused, um, is that very notion that it does have, or ultimately will have all the answers to everything. Um, that is so to my mind, that is a, is a misuse of science. And, and particularly I think Rupert Sheldrick calls it this physical physicalist bias in science, that things mm-hmm. things have to be material in nature in order to be really grasped and handled by science. So things like entity encounters in, in, uh, A D M T experience, uh, while they can be quantified to a certain extent, it’s very hard to explain. It’s very hard to, you can’t really weigh and measure them. Um, you can’t dissect them. Uh, and yet they’re there and they’re, and they’re real. So I think the, the limits of the scientific method are tested by, uh, psychedelic experiences, by, by visionary experiences, but not only by those.
Speaker 3 00:24:44 Then there’s all, all the other questions that we’ve never really resolved, which physically scientists dismiss, such as telepathy or telekinesis, that whe whether these powers are present in the human mind in some way, and we’re just not using them. These are all no go areas for mainstream science. Uh, you get laughed at if you think about the, look at the terrible problems that Rupert Sheldrake has had over the years just for, for, for doing very reasonable scientific work on telepathy. You know, it’s this ruling out of whole areas of inquiry on the basis of preconceived notions, about the nature of reality. That’s a huge problem in science. Uh, and this is exactly what’s going on in archeology, and you are right. So when it, I, I am glad you brought up the question of the D m T entities. Uh, you know, I, I, I knew we would get here sooner or later.
Speaker 3 00:25:33 We, you and I were just recently at this rather amazing conference in the UK last October. So, uh, what do you make of all this? I’ve never known exactly what to make of it since I first started having those encounters myself, um, which, which, um, in many ways, much as owe to your wonderful late brother Terrance, um, that, that I became familiar with the issue of, of Ayahuasca at all. Um, but, uh, my, my f my first encounters, entity encounters did, did take place in the Amazon rainforest, drinking, drinking, ayahuasca, and subsequently have, have continued with, uh, with vapes and spoke to D M T. Um, the, they’re compellingly real as, as everybody who’s volunteered in the, I mean, this is what’s fantastic, is that actually, I believe at Johns Hopkins and certainly at Imperial College in London, this work is now being done to, to try and investigate what is going on with the entity in Canada.
Speaker 3 00:26:40 The remarkable thing is, you know, I can speak of my personal experiences, you can speak of yours, but, but what the research seems to be showing is that people are, are reporting back the same kinds of encounters and experiences with the same kind of entities. And normally when there’s enough testimony of an encounter or experience, we have to begin to suspect that it’s real. And, uh, it seems to me that’s, that’s the case. That’s where we’re at with these encounters as well. And have they brought novelty into human society over the years? One of, one of the reasons I got into researching the book that was, that was published in 2005 called Supernatural, was the work done by Professor David Lewis Williams at the University of W Round in South Africa, uh, comprehensively proving that, that that cave and rock art all around the world is fundamentally visionary art.
Speaker 3 00:27:30 Uh, and it has, it has an astonishing amount in common with the art that is being produced, uh, in, in the Amazon, uh, by, by, by people who’ve had the ayahuasca, uh, the, the ayahuasca journey. And this art shows entities, and these entities will teach you, and people learn from them. We know you both, we both know of scientists who claim to have had sudden insights during, uh, during a psychedelic journey that have changed the whole way that they, that they look at things. So there’s something very mysterious going on. Is it just that it, that it releases lockdown functions in the brain and allows the brain to function more, more generously, or, or are we really in contact with other dimensions? I’m still not settled on that. Uh, but I, I prefer the, I prefer the other dimensions idea personally. Why is that? I just do, I just like the idea that there’s a doorway in the mind that we can, that each can open and, and, and that we are perfect, we’re beautifully evolved to fit in this physical universe, but it doesn’t mean our minds have to be confined to this physical universe.
Speaker 3 00:28:36 And what psychedelics at the, at the peak level seem to offer is a doorway into some other, into some other level of reality. And, and, and it’s, it’s deeply mysterious. And I, and I cannot, I cannot begin to explain it, and I don’t think anybody can. Uh, but, but I know that my life has been, has been fuller that I’ve had, but I’ve been privileged to, to enjoy an ongoing adventure, which I would’ve missed if I had not had these experiences. Right. And I don’t know what adventure’s gonna lead yet. Well, they, yes, they, uh, so, you know, in, in discussing these, these entities and these encounters, it’s, I think you have a person has to be very careful how we throw these words around, you know, simple words like real, you know, I mean, I, I start from the premise that anything you experience is real, you know, you experience it, therefore it’s real.
Speaker 3 00:29:35 But then we can begin the conversation. Okay. Does it, is it, uh, does it come from the unconscious? Is it something within the mind that presents itself as not being in the mind? Or is there really something, some entity, some dimension out there? Yeah. You know, where these things are happening, but then dimension has a very pretty precise, uh, definition and, you know, you have to drag the physicists into this, and how are they gonna explain this? Or is it some like, you know, hypothetical, uh, uh, you know, spiritual place? Is it, you know, I mean, here, that, that’s, to me, that’s the question. I, I think that, uh, not that the information that you get from these encounters are, is not valuable. Clearly. It is. Quite often it’s not. And quite often it’s not. Right, . Exactly. So it’s kinda like ordinary life, you know, you, there’s only so many, so many things you can, you, you can take away from it.
Speaker 3 00:30:44 Uh, uh, but, uh, I mean, does it even matter whether it’s real in the sense that there’s another place out there, uh, you know, somewhere in hyperspace, or whether it’s maybe in the collective unconscious or maybe the part of the, the brain that’s normally inaccessible to us. But they are, uh, you know, whether it’s these things, whichever of those we settle on, is, uh, going to be important in determining what, what questions we ask going forward. You know, I mean, my brother used to, you know, go through this exercise too. He would take large doses of mushrooms by himself, and, you know, with ayahuasca mushrooms, how you can set up this I vowel kind of separation, where you actually seem to be in telepathic communication with an entity that isn’t you, as far as you know, and that Yep. And that you’re having this conversation.
Speaker 3 00:31:50 And he would always try to say, well, tell me something I can’t possibly know. You know, tell me something I can’t possibly know, and then I’ll know that you’re real. Yeah. And it’s a conundrum because how do you define what you can’t possibly know? Because you can’t possibly know that, you know, so you get, you get into a, a kind of a, a pistols on its problem, and Right. With the entity wants to prove that it’s real anyway. Um, it, it, it’s a trickster, you know, it might, uh, it might not be, this is the mystery. This is the mystery that we’re grappling with, in a sense. You asked, does it matter? And in a sense, it doesn’t matter. Um, what I think what matters, uh, is that this is a, a, a mystery that is worthy of much further investigation than it, than it has had in western cultures.
Speaker 3 00:32:40 Of course, it’s a mystery that’s been deeply investigated by shamanistic cultures. Right. For thousands of years. Right. Um, and has led to certain conclusions. I’m convinced that it’s what led to the conclusions that the ancient Egyptians came to about the afterlife, uh, about, about what happens to us after death, the journey of the soul through the, through the duet. The, the challenges that, uh, that I’ve faced, the, the, the, um, passwords that you need to know, the entities that you encounter, who are very often very anthropic. A lot of this is, is definitely when I look at the ancient Egyptian book of the Dead, or the book of what is in the dut, I, I’m looking at visionary experiences for sure. I, I think they were in a targeted way, exploring whatever that realm, whatever that realm is. And, and kind of, that’s now what’s happening at Imperial College, you know, but, but, but with a very medical model, which is essential in our society.
Speaker 3 00:33:32 There’s no other way they’re gonna get permission to do it. Um, but at least they are, you know, they are in depth exploring the, the phenomenology of this, of this experience. And it’s just like, you know, if we discomfort a new continent on earth that we hadn’t actually ever, nobody ever been to before, um, and it was inhabited by intelligent beings, we, we definitely want to know what’s going on there. Uh, and like right. Basically, well, not, you know, that’s the other thing we could say, no, actually this isn’t good. Let’s, let’s leave them to their own thing. Or, or maybe they’re vast more powerful than us, and we’d better stay away from them, you know? Yeah. Given, given the reaction of institutions to these discoveries, like, oh, no, we, you know, we need to, we need to sweep this under the rug. This doesn’t agree with the accepted paradigm, but, but the, I I mean, I mean, one of the beautiful things about psychedelics, I think, is that they are, they’re disruptors.
Speaker 3 00:34:25 They are cattle for conscious change, and both in individuals and on the societal level, and even on the species level. Uh, and, and so in that sense, you know, they’re very useful because again, the, you know, it, it seems to me that the, what drives knowledge, whether it’s scientific or other types of knowing, is curiosity, uhhuh and impulse to understand, yeah. What’s going on with these phenomena and psychedelics open the question, open the door wide on the question of, well, what you think is going on is probably not what’s going on, , you know, there’s so much else, uh, happening that, that normally, you know, we’re, we’re opaque too, because the brain is, you know, the default mode network and all that. The brain is programmed to filter most of this stuff out on under ordinary circumstances, because it’s not, you know, it’s not helping us, you know, uh, with our material existence, it’s not, uh, adding to the value of our 401ks or whatever.
Speaker 3 00:35:35 It’s, you know, these are, these are questions that come up just and, and are worthy of pursuit just because, just because they’re unknown, you know, and, and, and every effort to push knowledge back is a little bit of light. Shed on, you know, what is essentially, we’re surrounded by a sphere of the unknown. But, you know, uh, we never, we’re never gonna go, we’re never gonna answer the final questions, but we can add to what we know. And that’s, you know, this is something that psychedelics always consistently remind me of, that, you know, you people, you scientists especially, there’s no room for arrogance. You need to constantly remind yourself how little we know, you know? Yes. We, as a species, as an individual, we understand a tiny slice of reality, you know? And even that is subject to revision at every turn. That’s, you know, if we’re honest with our, with ourselves.
Speaker 3 00:36:41 So, so, uh, where do you think psychedelics are going to, how is this going to be evolve? It’s, it’s, it, it’s certainly is a mixed thing. I mean, we’ve reached a point where, where we knew it was coming, you know, that, I mean, there was acceptance. And then how do you see the current situation with, uh, psychedelics and society acceptance into medicine and those sorts of things? Well, I mean, the, the acceptance into medicine is the Trojan horse, which, which gets psychedelics into, into the rest of, in, in, into the rest of society. But of course, psychedelics are already in the rest of society. Right. Um, they are accessible. They mean they grow freely in the fields. In, in, in many cases, if you, if you, if you have enough knowledge of mushrooms to know one mushroom from another, you know, um, they’re, they’re, they’ve always been part of the part of, part of the human story.
Speaker 3 00:37:38 But now we are getting to, we, we’ve passed through, what, 60 years of the war on drugs, 60 years of vial and vicious propaganda, a hate campaigns, marginalizing of groups who, who, who showed any interest in so-called drugs whatsoever. So that, that legacy is still hanging on to, to human consciousness right now. And then the next thing, of course, because we are run by governments, and governments like to control things as they’re saying, well, we can’t, we can’t keep the flood waters at bay anymore. It’s unreasonable. Uh, we we’re going to look stupid if we keep on denying any benefit from psychedelics. So now let’s see how we can control it. And then they’re gonna impose all kinds of management structures on it. And, and you’re going to have to go through an authorized professional, you know, and I’m not so happy about that. I don’t, I’m not sure the authorized professional is the only way to go.
Speaker 3 00:38:32 Um, it, and it shouldn’t be, you know, there should, there should. There should be. So it takes great wisdom on the part of those who are making legislation around this subject, not to just turn it into a new form of restriction and, and, and not to allow certain, certain companies to get very rich on it either. Yeah. This, that’s exactly right. That’s leading to these conundrums, you know, well, if we can’t control it, let’s cash in. Yeah. You know, and then that leads to, you know, again, what we’ve always done is marginalize indigenous people who have been the stewards of these, this genetics and this knowledge for so long. And, and, you know, you think finally we would reach a point where we would say, you know, Hey, you guys have been the stewards of this. You need, you deserve a place at the table.
Speaker 3 00:39:21 Yeah. Uh, a big place. Yeah. And some companies are saying that, and others are very, very profit oriented, you know? Yeah. But, but, uh, yeah, it, it’s, it’s very interesting, uh, uh, the, the evolution that’s taking place. I, I’m totally agree with you. I don’t think that, I think that the plants and fungi, the sacred psychoactive plants and fungi are really the h common heritage of humanity. And access to them should not be restricted or, uh, you know, unduly, I think caution and, and education is very important. People should come to those things, you know, from an informed place, but their access should not be restricted, and they shouldn’t have to pay $50,000 to go to a clinic to Yeah. Get that kind of treatment. You know, then they, that becomes the, you know, again, then the, the, the psychedelic tools are dominated by a, a corporate elite, essentially a corporate.
Speaker 3 00:40:33 And, and the medical industrial complex, once again, you know, takes it over and tries to co-opt it. They’ve done this many, many times. You know, you’re familiar with the whole history of bio piracy, most of our food plants and many of our medicine plants. Absolutely. But these are different because these change people’s minds and even CEOs, you know, may have their perspective shifted if they, if they’re not careful, you know, if they dabble deeply enough, they almost certainly will. Yeah. And this is, this is the, this is why ultimately, despite all of the cautions that I’ve just emphasized, I’m, I’m, I’m happy to see psychedelics reentering civilization openly. Um, and, and I, I believe, I do believe in the wisdom of the plants. It sounds like a very mystical thing to say. Uh, but, uh, I, I, again, this is, it is a mystical thing to say , but I think they know what they’re doing in a certain way.
Speaker 3 00:41:30 There’s some sort of co-evolutionary connection with human beings that’s going on here. And, and this absolutely self evidently true. You know, I mean, again, the, the, one of the primary messages that I’ve gotten from Ayahuasca on numerous occasions is just, remember, you monkeys only think you’re running the show. Exactly. . Yeah. And in fact, we’re not, I mean, the, the, the community of, in terms of what is sustaining life on the planet, it’s the community of, of photosynthetic organisms and fungal organisms that are there symbio that are keeping parameters within the fairly narrow limits tolerable for life. And of course, we, we monkeys we’re pushing back on that in every way that we can, trying to, to disrupt this. So this is, this is, this is concerning. I worry, I, I don’t worry about life on earth. I mean, potentially we control technologies that could like wipe out all life on earth.
Speaker 3 00:42:40 If it got completely under hand, I worry more. But I think, I think that earth is very tough. I think that, you know, life has extreme resilience, you know, and tends to maintain its equilibrium. I think our species is more vulnerable than like to, than we would like to believe. And, uh, we may be at risk, I mean, I guess very vulnerable. We could just be another one of those very short term evolutionary experiments mm-hmm. , you know, which kind of runs its whole course within about a million years. Yeah, exactly. And if you look at the timescales that the earth operates on, that’s a bleak in the Yeah. In, in the, you know, that’s a very short time, you know, which is another reason why I think that you’re, the work that you’re doing, you know, suggests, I mean, for example, we know that, I think the current thinking now is that homo sapiens, neurologically, modern humans probably are about 300,000 years old.
Speaker 3 00:43:54 That’s right. Used to be maybe a hundred thousand now that’s been, been pushed back to, to, uh, around around 300 thousands. So they had all the neurological and cognitive tools available to them that, to the ancient peoples as we do. Yep. Why is it so crazy to think that they might have developed a, you know, a fairly sophisticated maritime, astronomically based technology 20,000 years ago, 30,000 years ago. And, and, you know, part of the spin that the archeologists who didn’t like, uh, the series put on this is that somehow my, my series was taking credit away from indigenous people’s. Absolute rubbish. Quite the opposite of that. If there was a lost civilization, I see it as a civilization that emerged out of shamanism as every other civilization on earth did. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, there’s just no doubt, all everything that we call a civilization that we recognize as civilization has got shamanistic roots.
Speaker 3 00:44:58 And those roots go way back, uh, in, into the past. And all I’m saying is that within the diversity of shamanistic societies, it’s not absurd to consider a few who might have developed in different directions in, in, in, in other directions. And let’s just keep an open mind to that, you know? But I think the fundamental of the basement of all of this is shamanism, and shamanism is in its own way, a profoundly scientific enterprise. I mean, the Yes. You know? Yes, yes. As, oh, if you, there’s, there’s this discoveries made by shamanistic cultures in the Amazon are quite extraordinary and, and almost impossible to explain actually, in many cases. Well, in, yeah, I, i, it, it it is, right. Shamanism is in some ways the first science in a certain Yeah. Because it was experimental. A lot of it, I mean, at, at, at base, a lot of shamanism is people mucking around with plants.
Speaker 3 00:45:54 You know, what happens if we take this and that? Yeah. You know, what if we put it up our nose or up our bums, or this is driven by scientific curiosity. Shamanism are experimental, ethno, pharmacologists. That’s what I call them, you know? And, uh, it’s very experimentally. It, it’s very experimentally based. And, uh, and, but the interesting thing is it, its, it’s ancient enough. It’s that not only science came out of it, but also theater and poetry Yep. And all of these other things as well. I mean, shaman are, are performers. They’re show shaman or showman, you know, or so women, I mean, they were, and you can say it’s the origins of all culture, really. Um, and, and, and, and, uh, you, you know, the amazing thing is that there, uh, that it wasn’t just a stage in the evolution of human culture leading to us, it’s still an ongoing reality in the world today.
Speaker 3 00:46:54 Shamanistic cultures coexist with western industrialized societies today. Yes. Um, and, and, and, and there there’s the arrogance of the, of, of, of the technological societies that we act as though we have nothing to learn from these people as though we owe them nothing. Whereas, in fact, everything is owed. And, and, and huge amount to learn, particularly in the psychedelic sphere, actually, if that’s, you asked the question about going forward with psychedelics, if it’s going to happen in a healthy, positive way in western technological societies, it’s gonna need input from, from shamanistic culture. Yeah. I, I agree. I think any paradigm going forward has got, you know, it can’t be just the biomedical paradigm. Yeah. The shamanistic paradigm has worked fine for indigenous cultures, but as these cultures come together, you’ve got to have some kind of a hybrid, hybrid approach to them that psychotherapy and the best of shamanism.
Speaker 3 00:47:52 I, I, I think the, the psychedelic, uh, you know, uh, the psychedelic therapy of the future is gonna look a more, more like shamanism than it will to these clinical studies that are done not to dismiss those. I mean, they have to work with constraints, you know? I mean, they have the FDA and other regulatory bodies insisting they have to do it a certain way. Yeah. But in some ways, I think the, uh, you know, the, the opportunity to really explore has got to be, has to be undertaken under looser parameters. And the shaman shamanistic, uh, approach with the ritual of the music and the sound and all this is the right vessel for that, you know, very well thought out, very tested and tried over thousands of years, you know? Right. It really, really, it really does. It really does work. I’m not sure when I’m gonna have my next, uh, visionary journey.
Speaker 3 00:48:51 Um, I, I, uh, suspect sometime this year, but, uh, but, but I’m not sure when the last time I drank ayahuasca was 2019. Um, and, uh, I feel I’ve got mention if that’s the last time I took any psychedelic as well, , COVID got in the way. It could be, well, I, I wanna get back to it. I mean, I, things sort of shut down with Covid. There was the Yeah. Opportunity to do it. And then in the last three years, I’ve discovered a few issues about my heart. So I had some, some cardiac procedures recently. And, uh, I’m not going to take stop taking psychedelics, at least I hope, but I’m going to be very cautious about what I take. I think perhaps like, you know, f methoxy, D M t and these things that raise the blood pressure, maybe that’s off limits for me now.
Speaker 3 00:49:47 But I certainly, uh, I mean, I still think mushrooms are quite safe, and even Iowa ayahuasca to a certain extent. So I think Iowa, I think ayahuasca is safe, but if you are, if you’re physically compromised, particularly if you’ve got heart issues, I, ayahuasca is very demanding physically. Mm-hmm. , it’s a, not, not to, not to say psychically, it’s demanding as well, but, but physically at that physical level, it’s a very demanding medicine to take. Um, I I think it’s a little more, a little more demanding than, than mushrooms. Mushrooms, oh, much more mushrooms, yes. Are just about the perfect psychedelic in terms of Yeah. The compatibility with human metabolism and, and all that. So I agree. So, uh, but I, I haven’t given it up, but I’m just waiting for the right opportunity, you know, so, um, that makes, that makes sense. I’m in no rush either myself, I’ve, I’ve had a lot of ayahuasca experiences, quite a few, quite a few other experiences.
Speaker 3 00:50:48 I’m, I’m in no rush to add to those. It’s not like putting another notch on the belt or in the Yeah. I, I’m lo long, long since passed the, the stage where, I mean, I’ve never was a psychedelic cowboy, although I’ve been sort of mis portrayed that way. I’m actually, uh, very cautious. But, uh, you know, I’m, I’m long past the stage where I have to try every new molecule or every new plant, and that’s for, that’s a younger person’s game. They, they can do it. I tell ’em I’ll be watching closely, send me a full report, , and, you know, so no, it’s, it’s in areas where, where speaking personally, there are a few, few areas where I still think I, that there, there’s important work I need to do. I’m not in a rush, but I will do that work when the right time.
Speaker 3 00:51:36 Yeah. When the right come. And the other thing I ought to do, I just pray, this is my, this is something I’m just really hoping for, is that one day I’m gonna come across the right combination of plant medicines that will get rid of my migraines forever, because these, these migraine headaches are just torture for me. They make my life miserable, and I hate taking the big pharma medications for them. And then I discover, and in fact, I discovered it at that conference we were at in October, that the big pharma medication is, is just a slightly tweaked version of D M T when you can imagine the way my minds going after that. Well, what about microdosing, uh, with l I mean, there’s, you’re aware of cluster busters, you’re aware there’s considerable, I mean, does any of that work for you? Small doses of LSG or psilocybin part?
Speaker 3 00:52:24 Part of the problem with living in England is it’s quite difficult to obtain necessary, uh, ingredients, but not impossible. Um, um, I ha I have, ive not been consistent with microdosing. I’ve tried, I’ve tried a bit here and there, didn’t see any magical results. Got bored with it and stopped. Um, I think probably, probably what, you know, what I need is, is, is one very major psilocybin journey at some point. This is what I’m hearing about migraines is that, that that, that big journey is very important. Microdosing Yes. That’s important too, as a sort of maintenance, but there’s some sort of breakthrough possibility. And I, I do know people who’ve had migraines helped with, um, with, with psilocybin. Well, I, I hope that, I hope that you get that and then, then the, uh, psilocybin, the micro dosing can be used to support that after that journey.
Speaker 3 00:53:15 I, I do agree. I think that’s, I think you need the, the big journey and then, you know, everyone needs that. And then in some ways I am skeptical about the benefits of microdosing. I think this may be Yeah. You know, people who are afraid to actually step off the cliff or open the umbrella and, you know, get into it. But they can pretend that they’re hanging out with the cool kids. They’re taking micro Yeah. CIL suicide. But, so Yeah. Well, we’re, we’re coming up to an hour, and I don’t want to keep you too much longer. I, uh, how, how is Santa by the way? That’ll just fine. Santa went through a very bad episode of, um, of pneumonia. Uh, oh, sorry to hear that. And we were in America, and ancient apocalypse was launched on the 11th of November, 2022. And, and I, we, we spent about a month in America doing various shows and, and promo promoting the series.
Speaker 3 00:54:13 And during this time, Santa contracted, uh, very severe bacterial infection in both lungs. Uh, which was, she, her lungs are compromised. Anyway, it was pneumonia and she was hospitalized. She, it took her literally until about two weeks ago to get over it completely. Wow. But she is, give her, give her my best hope. Tell her I hope she recovers soon. I, I, I, I will. Absolutely. And it’s given me, it’s motivated me to do something I’ve needed to do for a long time, which is get my driving license back, because I had my, I had this, also this problem with epilepsy, and I lost my driving license, but I’m entitled to get it back, which means that Santa wouldn’t have to do all the driving anymore. That would be good. Yeah. Yeah. Would have some travels planned. Yes. There’s gonna be a lot of travels in the, in the coming year.
Speaker 3 00:55:03 Would you be coming to Vancouver? Possibly? Uh, yes, possibly. Uh, pos possibly. I’ll, I’ll update you on this before, before too long. Okay. Keep me posted. Because we can certainly, if you wish, you know, uh, we can certainly organize something that I think would bring a lot of people out. I really cherish the memory of the time you came through Minneapolis. It was kind of a spontaneous thing, but we got it together and, and that was landmark event. And, and that was great. Now, of course, I’ve relocated to British Columbia. I managed to escape the, uh, develop, you know, the situation in the states and no, no regrets. Of course, we have many friends there, but we’re happy to be living in a slightly sainter country, uh, but only slightly not complete lunatics in charge, you know, so, so I’m afraid, I’m afraid the lunatics are running the world all over the world at the moment.
Speaker 3 00:56:02 This is, this is the, this is the, this is the problem. I, when I look around the world, I see very few politicians who I feel even the faintest respect or admiration for. Um, they, they’re just self-serving liars, basically. We need to get the, uh, we need to get the brew inside these people. But that’s the answer. That’s the answer. It’s a tough thing, you know, it’s, it’s tough to get them in that situation and it may not work. I mean, you know, a shaman, I respect a great deal, said there are two kinds of people I will not give psychedelics to. One is schizophrenics. Yeah. The other is sociopaths. Yeah. . Because it doesn’t work. So doesn’t work. Yeah. Yeah. Their defenses are too high. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you very much for taking time. This has been a great conversation. Really, really nice to talk to you again. We should do this more often and, uh, we’ll definitely be crossing each other’s paths sometime this year. So I look forward to seeing you in June. Of course. Okay. Keep me posted and I will do the same. Thank you. So
Speaker 1 00:57:20 Thank you for listening to Rainforest Cafe with Dennis McKenna. Find us email@example.com.