Graham Hancock

Psychedelics and the Quest for Life After Death: A Lost Key to Prehistory?

With its profoundly materialistic-reductionist bias (made all the worse because it is largely an unconscious and unacknowledged bias), with its methodological focus on weighing, measuring and counting, and with its disrespect -- indeed complete disregard -- for indigenous ways of knowing, Western science has desensitised itself to huge areas of reality. Ancient mythology, for example, ancient traditions of sacred places, and the ancient use of psychedelics, are largely dismissed as objects of inquiry by archaeologists seeking to understand the human past. Thus, while the recent scientific renaissance exploring the therapeutic potential of psychedelics is to be welcomed, it is to be hoped that materialist-reductionist prejudices will not prevent its extension to a thorough investigation of the ancient use of psychedelics and the place that psychedelic experiences may have had in beliefs about the supernatural, in the origins of religion, and in shaping human history and civilisation itself.

Graham Hancock is the writer and presenter of the 2022 hit Netflix documentary TV series Ancient Apocalypse and the author of the major international non-fiction bestsellers The Sign and the Seal (1992), Fingerprints of the Gods (1995), The Message of the Sphinx (1996), Heaven’s Mirror (1998), Underworld (2002), Supernatural (2005), Magicians of the Gods (2015), and America Before (2019), and also of the epic adventure novels Entangled and War God (written between 2006 and 2014, both have psychedelic sub-themes). His books have sold more than seven million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty languages. His public lectures, radio and TV appearances, including several major TV series, as well as his strong presence on the internet, have put his ideas before audiences of tens of millions. He has become recognised as an unconventional thinker who raises resonant questions about humanity’s past and about our present predicament. In January 2023 Hancock was voted No 23 in the Watkins list of “The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People”.