The highly popular TED Talks have proved themselves as lacking any real credibility and integrity after Graham Hancock, well known author gives two highly compelling TED Talks presentations about the possibility of lost ancient knowledge and plant medicines with profound healing properties. Despite not making any unjustifiable claims or statements TED has chosen to censor both of these presentations, contradicting their ethos of being open to new and alternative ideas. Hancock’s work is supported by many credible scientists but is still shunned by mainstream academia for obvious reasons of financial and authoritative agendas.
TED talks, a conference that features a number of presentations from the world’s brightest minds has been stimulating much needed alternative and intellectual discussion in recent times. However, after looking into the two most recently banned TED talks it has become painfully apparent that despite some of the good ideas it has been a proponent of, TED may be just like any other corporate run institution acting as gatekeeper and preserver of the status quo.
After a short time of being on the web and receiving hundreds of thousands of views TED removed talks from Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake from their website and youtube channel, providing little substantial justification for their decision to do so. Hancock stated, ‘Rupert Sheldrake and I challenged TED to come out in the open and debate the issues raised by their talks live, face to face in front of a global audience, rather than hidden away in a corner of TED’s choosing’ but their talks remained banned with little reason offered (though they are available for viewing thanks to a successful petition, signed by a huge number of people, for the rights to view them which immediately followed the banning). “If this is how science operates, by silencing those who express opposing views rather than by debating with them, then science is dead and we are in a new era of the Inquisition” stated Hancock after the removal of his thought provoking and controversial presentation.
Hancock, gives his first TED talk on the ‘War of consciousness’ focusing on ancient plant based medicines which are used around the world in different cultures that have proven time and time again to have profound healing powers and a intense effect on human consciousness and our connection with a higher power or plane of being (regardless of term you use to describe it –god, spirits, higher power, heaven etc). Not only does he draw from personal experience with plant allies such as ayahuasca, he outlines the ideological resistance maintained by mainstream science and medicine (and the corporations who fund and control them) towards these seemingly powerful plants. These substances, recurringly seen in ancient mythology and art all over the world can offer what he sees as a vital reconnection to the natural world and our innate spirit as living beings.
He also stresses the ludicrousy that law abiding adults in a free society do not have freedom or true sovereignty over their own consciousness – a notion which is being challenged now more than ever through the research of alternative medicines (namely psylocibin and ayahausca) and the legalisation of both medicinal and recreational of cannabis. He has also given another TEDx talk in very recent times called ‘Is the house of history built on foundations of sand?’ which has not been banned but has been labelled ‘counterfactual’ and red flagged by TED. Despite the ancient megaliths recently discovered in Turkey and Indonesia (undeniable game changers) leaving the current timeline of ancient history simply unable to stand any longer and using peer reviewed research, this defamation of his presentation has come with little justification and no proposition of a public and open debate.
Graham Hancock is accustomed to being in this type of fringe position with many ostracizing him for his beliefs and research which is regarded by mainstream science and society as radical and recalcitrant. However little sturdy evidence has been given which discredits his work and as science and technology move forward, new discoveries are being made revealing that there is much truth and credibility to his previously maligned standpoint and theories.
In the past he has been swiftly dismissed a lunatic by mainstream archaeology for suggesting (along with the support of a number of highly respected geologists and academics) that the Sphinx could be a lot older than what we are taught due to distinct water erosion that suggests far deeper origins. The main reason they gave for this was that no group of people anywhere before 6000 years ago had the capabilities to create huge megaliths. This we now know as false with recent discoveries made in the last two decades revealing cultures with incredible megalithic structures dating back 12,000 years in Turkey and up to 20,000 years in Indonesia. (These discoveries are of the highest importance (and pretty mind blowing in my opinion) in understanding our history, though they have not been made as public and available to the masses as many believe they should have been.) Hancock’s theory is backed by renowned academics, Head of Geology at Boston University, Professor Robert Schoch, well known geometrician and geological explorer, Randall Carlson, and John Anthony West to name a few.
In 1995 Hancock published his worldwide best seller ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ which alludes to unacknowledged connections between ancient cultures all over the world and the possibility of a lost and advanced civilisation. In this book he mentions the possibility of a highly advanced mother culture which existed during the end of the last ice age who was almost nearly wiped out, save a small number of their population. These advanced individuals were said to travel great distances, spreading their knowledge of agriculture, astronomy and architecture to the hunter gatherer tribes. (Please read on before dismissing it as ridiculous) Whilst I understand how this sounds, it explains a lot that modern archaeology has not yet accounted for (and the remarkable similarities and capabilities amongst a wide range of civilisations in architecture/symbology and mythology) and since 20 years ago many developments have been made that directly support a theory of this variety.
Despite being extremely popular, the book was disregarded by contemporary archaeology, once again labelling Hancock a psuedoscientist, a term which dismisses without further investigation or inquiry towards the facts.
However in the past two decades startling archaelogical discoveries have been made around the world namely at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and in a new pyramid found in Indonesia. The colossal site in Turkey had not been discovered up until recent times and has been proven to date back to around 12,000 years ago (the Indonesian pyramid even further back), long before ancient megalithic culture and agriculture had been acknowledged.
At this point our current understanding postulates that humans were nothing more than hunter gather tribes that had not yet reached a level of agriculture let alone the ability to construct such a massive megalithic site (which after excavation shows indications of being far bigger than other ‘ancient wonders’ around the world which compared to this are remarkably young. The skill and architecture displayed at this site also indicates an advanced level of architecture, agriculture and specialisation in the work force which does not coincide at all with the ‘hunter gatherer’ view of the timeline of modern history. This gives much credit to Hancock’s ideas that many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians could have dated back further than we have been led to believe, provoking questions about where we really came from, who we are and what we could learn from these ancient cultures who clearly had a profound astronomical and mathematical knowledge that modern science today still fails to explain.
Furthermore new studies done as recent as 2007 indicate that a global cataclysm occurred exactly around the time Hancock proposes it did over two decades ago (this is the crux of his second TED Talk). Many others have concurred with this new knowledge of a cataclysmic event of extinction proportions (caused by a comet impact, similar to the dinosaurs extinction). Whilst Hancock makes his claims based on fact and observation, much of it is not regarded as scientific evidence. This is partly because of his status in the mainstream academic community but also because much of his writings are speculative conclusions based on certain facts and data. I have researched both sides of the argument and it seems that much of Hancock’s (and Randall Carlson’s) critics and criticisms are based on very little, with the many renowned scientists and geologists who support their theories negating the smear of unbacked up pseudoscience. Similarly much of it comes from archaeologists who are not even willing to engage in public debate (seen poignantly through one of the most influential Egyptologists and the attempted debate with Hancock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ziu2ygE_Wc).
I think it is important here to note hear that throughout history new and revolutionary ideas that subvert the current order and status quo have always faced great obstruction from the power systems in place. This denial of new information, whilst absolutely corrosive and repressive to human evolution and our progression as a species is a reoccurring trend throughout history. In many ways as we are quite individualised, self centred beings who rely on sturdy belief systems to define ourselves. One of the great flaws of modern science and of the human race is its arrogance to think that we have already gathered all the information and that what we cannot see or touch is simply ‘not real’. It is a concept of of philosophical materialism which the scientific method relies on which has led to many discoveries that have changed the world for the better but there are some things (often kept in obscurity and not widely talked about) the current model of science simply cannot account for. A few of these (that pertain to the issue at hand) include:
-How ancient cultures had the technology and organisation to build such grand, architecturally perfect structures that are meticulously aligned with star constellations and astronomical ratios (Pyramids, Angkor Wat etc) which display a deep understanding of the natural world.
-What is the true nature of our consciousness and are our souls connected to our physical bodies permanently?
-Why these ancient megalithic cultures all over the world that were thousands of years and miles apart share eerily similar architectural themes and symbology. (The pyramids of China, Mexico and Egypt all have uncanny reference to the same star constellations, many of which point back to a reoccurring date of around 12,000 years ago)
-Why these ancient structures were really built and why the mythology of these cultures seem to overlap in many areas with much ancient art depicting timelines of ancestors an rulers that pre date to a lot further back than a few thousand yeas
– How ancient cultures, amongst the countless species of plants found the only two that contain specific properties that when mixed together create a powerfully transcendent and psychoactive substance which has been shown to have profound almost unfathomable healing properties for the body and the mind despite holding little clout in the world of mainstream mechanistic medicine. Perhaps it was merely a fortunate stroke of serendipity, but the chances seem highly unlikely. (These plant substances have referenced all over the world in ancient cultures and have been revered and worshiped by many civilizations who seem to have achieved an incredible understanding of the universe and of astronomy far before modern technology came to be. This includes the Egyptians clearly depicted through their hieroglyphs – and whose ‘tree of life’ was the acacia tree, a plant highly rich in the psychoactive component DMT (A naturally occurring substance that is produced in our pineal glands). (note: as I can see myself getting carried away going into the unacknowledged use of psychedelics throughout history which I will save for another time and just say that the evidence of the use of psylocibin and other psychedelic substances as important traditions and tools in ancient cultures and religions is undeniable and while it has been somewhat suppressed in the mainstream for obvious reasons, further research can confirm or dispel any doubts you may have).
-How ancient maps have been found that feature highly accurate longitude and latitude scales which we only thought possible as recent as a few hundred years ago (Hancock proposes that many of these ancient megaliths around the world were ways of preserving great knowledge and wisdom, a notion which seems quite plausible when you take into account the similarities between ancient architecture and the undeniable skill and knowledge held by these civilisations. Let’s also not forget that many of these cultures, namely the Egyptians, lived and prospered for a very long time (thousands of years longer than our Western World) and their wisdom and capabilities are not to be dismissed as entirely lesser than our which is in many ways an instinctual reaction in light of or incredible technologies making theirs look quite primitive.
-Even some of the most fundamental questions are left answered- What is the purpose and meaning of life and our presence on this planet? What happens when we die? Are there other forms of life in the universe? Why do we dream? While I am not demanding an answer for these age old questions it is important to note that there are something’s in the universe that remain anomalous mysteries and that a rigid (often inflexible) scientific approach can sometimes be harmful to our understanding of the universe and human beings.
-Some other random mysteries that may be revealed in the future that come to mind: Why do psychedelics have such a profound impact on human consciousness? How can we sense that we are being stared at even when we are looking in a different direction? What is the placebo effect and how does it work? What explains the repercussions of mass collective meditation such as drops in crime rate? What do our dreams actually mean?
Despite being a writer who is more of a presenter of thought and a synthesizer of information he has been labelled a psuedoscientist (despite never claiming to be a scientist or anything of the sort) and a proponent of psuedoarchaelogy, based predominantly off the fact that his notions contradict much of what is seen as concrete, constant scientific and historical understanding.
Although some of Hancock’s ideas seem quite farfetched and radical (which I do not take as gospel but merely observation based on data and rational arguments and data) he has always been known to clarify when entering a speculatory realm. This is important here in understanding many of his ideas, and it is undeniable that these new discoveries proving the timeline of history we have been taught to be grossly incorrect cries out for consideration of possibilities that were once relegated to the fringes of academia.
Tellingly, the reception he has received from mainstream archaeology in light of his theories and the new discoveries is quite concerning. Most do not even allow him to be heard, dismissing him with no debate and justification which clearly exemplifies (and can be watched on youtube) not only a flaw in the scientific method but their unwillingness even to entertain the notion of something that undermines their precious version of history.
Interestingly enough this period of around 12,000 years ago (9600BC to be exact) which Hancock focuses on, is exactly around the time that famous philosopher, Plato proposed there existed a lost civilisation known as ‘Atlantis’. He also spoke of a cataclysm that was so powerful that the human existence had to restart from the beginning. The date he gives for this is 9600BC. Plato’s theory which he claimed was passed down through his ancestors (some of which are highly prominent throughout pivotal times in history; eg King Solon), has been dismissed as myth up until now but one must at least marvel at how his prediction true or not, was so accurate to the dates proposed of a lost civilisation by many today. Plato’s story of a lost civilisation or a ‘golden’ or ‘first age’ is repeated through a litany of ancient cultures including the Egyptians.
Similarly in many native cultures across North America the idea of a ‘great flood’ which wiped out all except a few chosen ones is highly prominent and widespread. They reference a flying comet being the cause for this and is consistent with religions all over the world referencing a great flood or rebirth of the world, many stating the reason to be that humans had fallen out of harmony with each other and the natural world. These ‘chosen ones’ or the survivors, in mythology were said to be the seers/enlightened members of the society who are recurringly depicted in ancient symbology (especially throughout Mesopotamia) as half man half animal or god often featuring a pine cone (symbolising our pineal gland –the third eye) in their hand or a pouch or scroll of wisdom or sometimes both.
This may seem like a minor unimportant detail, but the re occurrence of the pine cone (representing the third eye and a gateway to a more spiritual aspect of consciousness) through history and in almost every major religion worldwide is truly incredible and in my opinion more than coincidental. Some of the cultures both ancient and recent that this symbol can be widely found in include: Indonesians, Egyptians, Christianity, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Freemasonry and Gnosticism to name a few of the most prominent ones. The pine cone shaped temples of Angkor Wat, the enormous pine cone statue in the Vatican, the third eye represented in the Buddha, or the recurring pinecone symbology in Egyptian culture often representing a god or an enlightened individual, this symbology is ubiquitous throughout history.
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_brain65.htm – for more info (I’ll stop here but look into it further and see what you think)
‘Everything we have been taught about the origins of civilisation may be wrong’, ‘Old stories about Atlantis and other great lost civilisations of prehistory, long dismissed as myths by archaeologists, look set to be proved true’ says Danny Hillman Natawidjaja, Senior geologist at the Research Center for Geotechnology. Natawidjaja, after facing much obstruction from the Indonesian government (who had delayed excavations of the Indonesian Pyramid due to lobbying from archaeologists) has been allowed to continue his work. Over the next few years he will investigate and attempt to add further proof to his theories (which directly coincide with Hancock’s and many others) completely putting his credentials and his esteemed reputation on the line.
The resistance towards these newly founded discoveries and theories from mainstream academia is one that can be observed time and time again throughout history. Those in positions of authority no matter what kind do not like being undermined regardless of the information. I believe in the coming years we will see a shift as these facts and theories based on data and rationality render the current model of history obsolete and inaccurate. This will inevitably invoke questions of who we are, what our purpose is and what is the next move in the progression of the human species.
Robin the Hood