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Episode 921 – Mysterious Universe

Graham Hancock joins us this week for a discussion on the War on Consciousness, his personal experiences with Ayahuasca, and the upcoming novel War God. The interview leads us to question the very nature of reality, the true potential of altered states of consciousness and the influence of entheogenic substances on humankind’s future survival.


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  • As you guys can probably imagine, hearing Graham relate to the Aztecs as a ‘nation of mass murderers’ is not very comfortable for me. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I heard his interview on the Joe Rogan Experience, and I’m not sure how entitled we are to apply our modern values to the actions of past civilizations. Do we have a right to demean everything we owe to the Classic Greek culture, and portray them as a ‘nation of pederasts’?

    But I need not to let my national pride go in the way of my objectivity. Not only his intentions are not condemn everything the Aztec civilization accomplished, the fact of the matter is Graham is right: the Aztecs’ downfall was their own wrongdoing, because the disruptive arrival of the Conquistadores became the opportunity their native enemies were seeking to finally get rid of them.

    Too bad the plan backfired…

    I also like how he uses the Aztecs to illustrate the point that legalizing entheogens is NOT going to be magic cure for all our social maladies. Although it must be pointed out that in their society only a few elite of individuals were allowed to consume magic mushrooms, I think it’s great how he warns about having a pure intent when approaching these powerful tools.

    Listening to his ordeal to rid himself of his Cannabis addiction for the uptenth time, it reminded me of the similar struggles related by Whitley Strieber in his books: In Transformation he writes of how the Visitors forced him to overcome his addiction to chocolate, and when he refused to do so he was submitted to witness the (imaginary?) brutal torture of a man who was being punished for his transgressions instead of him.

    In his latest book Solving the Communion Enigma he tells how once he entertained the idea of cheating on his wife, and so one night he was yet again put to test, in the most horrendous way you can imagine: he woke up to the horrific sight of a giant spider hanging on the ceiling, right over his bed!

    The spider seemed to be about to fall over Anne, his wife, who was profoundly asleep; Whitley says that at the last moment he hurled on top of his wife, overcoming his terror to protect the love of his life; a reaffirmation to the powerful connection to this kindred soul, which he foolishly endangered with his lustful fantasies.

    The spider disappeared before it reached the bed –whether it was an actual ‘physical’ entity placed by the Visitors, or an ultra-realistic hallucination conjured by them Whitley doesn’t know– but he managed to pass the test. Just as Graham did.

  • J. Ross

    Great counterpoint to ayahausca use.
    Ayahausca use might well become the goblin-removal service of South America.
    Thought High Times had hijacked the episode when I first tuned in.

  • Kaia

    Rand Paul thinks any government spending is bad. He’s an idiot.

  • Dud B

    Well I’ve never heard an MU show before. The first of many now I think!

  • possibilianist G-gnome

    Great episode guys, lots of really good questions. I am sure Graham had a great experience on your show.

    RPJ, nice post. It’s like Joe Rogan said, and I am sure the MU guys agree – whether it was a figment / hallucination or an actual pysical / interdimensional experience it doesn’t really matter.

    It’s a real experience either way… and hopefully a healing one.

  • Good point. Trying to objectively judge a subjective experience that happened to someone else seems to be the folly of our times. It’s like walking into a wedding saying “you 2 are not really in love! you’re just experiencing the release of dopamine triggered by your response to your fiancee’s pheromones!”

  • paul

    This was a really interesting talk that presented Mr. Hancock in the best possible light. I found him to be a responsible and sincere researcher, and I have been thinking about several aspects of the podcast for days.

    I have a question:

    Mr. Hancock refers to people who say that there is nothing that continues after the death of the body, people who say that upon the dissolution of the physical body, there is no entity that would have any existence (such as a soul, a life-essence, a spirit, a ghost… know what I mean) once the material body that we currently inhabit has deceased.

    Who, exactly, are the people who say that? Who exactly are these preists of total darkness and non-existence after death? Ayn Rand maybe? Where have they stood up and definitively said that?

    Or….is this just some unspoken agreement of the collective unconscious that we in the modern world have arrived at on our own without anyone leading us in this direction?

    I know from experience that many people in America will tell you that they know for sure (absolutely certain) that there is nothing that continues after death and that upon the dissolution of the physical body, there will be no sort of stream of consciousness that will continue on to reincarnation in this world or continue to some existence in some other world.

    Where did they get that idea, I wonder.


  • bfairbanks

    Hi guys. There was supposed to be a link to the other TedX talk you mentioned that had been removed by TedX. What is the name of the presenter of that one?

  • Well it all started with the French Enlightenment, but it really got the ball rolling with the help of Karl Marx & Charles Darwin. After that atheists began to make the argument that Science should be strictly pursued as a materialist endeavor –meaning there’s nothing beyond matter & energy.

    Personally I think that most of the early atheists were actually anti-religion & not necessarily against spiritual ideas per se. But nowadays atheism has shifted to encompass a general distaste for all the things they deem as dangerous superstitions, including of course what we still call ‘paranormal’ phenomena.

  • Max

    A great quote by Graham Hancock during his interview, “If we do not have
    the right, as adults, to make sovereign decisions over our own
    consciousness, then we are actually not free in any meaningful way.”

  • Max

    Perception is reality.

  • paul

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Just looking under the “Darwin” rubric, it seems that he and his followers might have taken positions that *implied* that he/they believed in no kind of existence of a non-material entity that might be associated with the word “soul”, but I wonder if there is a particular statement in his books in which he definitively stated that this was the case.

    I am no Darwin scholar, but I doubt it.

    Darwin, Marx, et al, advocated a rational focus on the material processes evident in the world that was probably a good antidote to the vague religious idealism of their time. But I think to speculate on what might happen to human consciousness after death was beyond their purview.

    I mean, how could anyone rationally make such a statement:

    “I can tell you for sure that when you die there is no sort of continuation of and individual human consciousness.” It’s ridiculous. How could anyone possibly know that?

    Yet, the majority of the Americans I talk to espouse just such a view, as if it had been scientifically proven beyond a doubt.

    If anyone can come up with a quote from any major scientific figure in which that figure stands up and puts his reputation on the line saying, “There is no existence of any sort of human consciousness after the physical death of the human body,” I would like to see it.

  • You do make a very good point. It is kind of like a tacit given that Science should ALWAYS be against spiritual ideas.

    I think the problem stems from the use of words like ‘Supernatural’ or ‘Paranormal’. Words I personally loathe myself. Scientists think that when such terms are invoked it is to point out phenomena that exist unbounded by the laws of Nature, which are their province. As if they were some kind of VIP club where there are not on the list –that’s why Stephen Hawking loves to repeat the anecdote on how once the Pope asked him & some of his colleagues not to investigate what happened before the Big Bang, since that was God’s exclusive province.

    But to me the word ‘Paranormal’ simply means phenomena that are YET to be explained by our limited theoretical framework of how WE think the world works. That’s why anomalies are so important, because they can point out the flaws on our theoretical models & suggest new ideas that would accommodate them. But ironically, anomalies often have the exact opposite effect: they are perceived as a threat to the people who have made a career off the prevalent theoretical model, and so they have no option but to dismiss them as poppycock nonsense.

  • possibilianist G-gnome

    Perception is “your” reality! 🙂

  • Lauren

    Awesome show! This was my first one and I’ll definitely be listening to more. I was wondering though, is there a music page for each episode? I’m specifically interested in the first song played in the intro o this episode. If anyone could help that’d be great!

  • Dane Frost

    You left me with a great show having been listened to, AND a few new songs to be downloaded. THANK YOU!!

    Great overall first experience. Keep it up.