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Some feel that we need to go back to the very beginning to rediscover the origins of human soulfulness. In one short month, the Winter Solstice will be upon us. It will mark one year before the anticipated Ancient Mayan date for the material and spiritual crisis that some consider may be the ‘end of the world.’ Graham Hancock, controversial best-selling journalist on Prehistoric cultures, discussed this fabled date in 1995 in his book, Fingerprints of the Gods. That book echoes an 1882 work by Ignatius Donnelly, author of Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (you can read the latter piece here), which speculated that Atlantis actually existed. The theory runs that Atlantis harboured a global Antediluvian maritime civilization of astronomers and priests - for thousands of years before the time when formal history and archaeology declare civilization actually started around 5,000 years ago. The idea is that pre-Flood coastal civilizations flourished during the Ice Age and were eradicated by a sudden worldwide rise in sea levels when the ice sheets melted. Hancock is convinced that great secrets of human civilization were lost in this catastrophe. He has devoted a lot of diving time to scouring possible Ice Age town ruins in coastal seabeds all over the world, searching for proof of these lost cultures, their hidden truths, and their deep history.
In January 2010, author and self-styled neo-Shaman Daniel Pinchbeck discussed 2012 with Graham Hancock in a lecture entitled, "Retelling the Past, Reimagining the Future." Both writers agreed that 2012 is a metaphor for a collective journey where we must look within to endure a universal spiritual transformation. In this conversation, Hancock attacked secular materialism: we looked in the Modern and Postmodern eras to external authorities to define ourselves [while cynically criticizing those same authorities] and diminished our faith in our subjective senses. According to him, the consequences were disastrous. He insisted we must renew our faith in the internal perspective. He felt and feels that we must look within for our ultimate sources of self-identification, consciousness, and conscience.
A few caveats: Hancock and Pinchbeck advocate expanding consciousness through the use of mind-altering drugs, without consideration that these substances are a short cut to thinking, or that they short circuit the hard-won trials of the spiritual and moral experiences not bolstered by chemical aids. The authors would likely argue that participating in drug-driven shamanic experiences is a way of stepping back in time, of repeating many-thousand-year-old rituals and recovering secrets of ancient, lost civilizations. At the same time, however, they dismiss today's conventional religions as having failed in their spiritual mandates. Yet those faiths may contain surviving threads of the very Prehistoric cultures they seek.
These writers were and are truly Millennial in their conviction that the deep past must harbour important knowledge that could be the 'key to everything.' They have searched for a benevolent, Eden-like human paradigm. This view contrasts with another famous afficionado of the deep past, H. P. Lovecraft, who felt that lost eras were full of knowledge, which, when awoken, promised nothing good. Lovecraft imagined our subjugated knowledge of terrifying Ur-aliens. His Ur-monsters knew how to psychically penetrate our dreams and drive us to madness. Lovecraft felt that Antediluvian knowledge was incredibly dangerous, and pre-Flood societies had died and been wiped from our memories for a reason.
Antediluvian mythologies certainly contain the seeds of their own destruction. Elsewhere, Hancock has talked of a repeating symbol that he feels was reproduced by post-Flood societies as an emblem, 'flag,' or symbol to remember the pre-Flood world - that of a winged snake. Curiously, the Biblical depiction of Satan is that of an angel transformed into a serpent. The Flood myths of many countries are one repeating story about mass moral and spiritual failure prior to worldwide disaster. Hancock and Pinchbeck drew from this theme to point to a neo-Gnostic idea about a battle between good and evil. This idea has an unsettling subtext, whether intended or not, which echoes ongoing conspiracy theories about grand powers pulling strings behind the scenes; yet in this regard, Hancock confined his remarks to the notion that we currently face spiritual dominance from aggressive, malevolent forces. Pinchbeck has a more pronounced weakness for these theories.
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In this discussion, Hancock did not acknowledge or explore the Internet as a potential new forum of expanded spiritual consciousness. He presented a compelling argument that the external arbiters of spirit and the mind – material values driven by currencies of financial exchange and a glorification of a practical, problem solving mentality – are failing us. They are no longer able to provide the answers necessary for psychological survival in a rapidly evolving world. The Tech Boom’s desperate acceleration has further sparked the ensuing spiritual crisis. And it is that very crisis which may be our ultimate unconscious aim in creating the Boom in the first place. Thus, through the very dull and pedestrian bean counting that Hancock abhorred, it seems we are subliminally driven to generate a moral and psychological vacuum, which will either destroy us or remake us. But in a final twist, any spiritual hunger we may have will be projected upon Virtual Realities and experienced through them.
Image Source: Shéa MacLeod.
Pinchbeck confirmed the importance of Virtual Realities elsewhere: "It is my thesis that the rapid development of technology and the destruction of the biosphere are material by-products of a psycho-spiritual process taking place on a planetary scale. We have created this crisis to force our own accelerated transformation - on an unconscious level, we have willed it into being." Caveats aside, the Millennial spiritual vacuum these authors identified easily explains why the Internet has exploded exponentially in the past 15 years and why it is so curiously and universally addictive. Below the jump, see the whole discussion and a transcribed excerpt on the need to look within for a renewed spiritual and moral consciousness.
Video Source: Youtube.
Daniel Pinchbeck: So 2012. In Fingerprints of the Gods, you propose that there may have been foreknowledge of a kind of literal material catastrophe potentially brought upon by some astronomical thing that could take place. What are you feeling now? ... What does 2012 look like to you?
Graham Hancock: ... I pay more attention now to how we human beings behave and what we do and what we manifest and what we bring down upon ourselves from the universe. I don’t any longer think it’s as simple as some kind of simple geological accident which occurs without any spiritual dimension. And as a matter of fact, when you do look into the ancient accounts of global cataclysms affecting human civilizations, they all say that the behaviour of mankind is involved in what comes down on us, that we lose the mandate of Heaven, that we anger the gods. [In t]he Sumerian account of the Flood, mankind has made the gods furious with noise. They’re just making so much noise [that] the gods can’t bear this bedlam anymore, so they decide to get rid of us. ... We are a noisy bunch! But this may be a metaphor for something more ... for some kind of obnoxious and awful behaviour.
When I look at the world today, I would say the greatest danger comes not from a pole shift or from being hit by an asteroid but simply from ourselves, and from how we behave; and from how we operate towards one another and how we operate towards the planet. And I believe that if there is a cataclysm coming, it will be a cataclysm that we have created. And since that may be so, then it means that such a cataclysm is not inevitable; we can make a different story. We can choose to change our direction. We can make very specific and precise changes which would make the world a so much better place to live in. ... So it seems to me that ... really what we’re in right now is a spiritual crisis brought about by ... the nature of Western technological and industrial society.
The whole problem of capitalism – and the whole problem of socialism, too. ... When I look at these two political enemies of the 20th century, the capitalists and the communists, for example ... I don’t see so much difference between them. Both of them are totally focussed on material things. All they’re arguing about is how you divide it up. Neither of them is paying any attention to the spiritual nature of man. And so, whether it’s the capitalist or the communist system, both have undermined the spiritual resources of humanity, hugely, and undervalued them so much that it almost becomes a joke to talk about the spiritual arts. ... So clearly, we have gone terribly out of bounds with ourselves and with our own potential.
Daniel Pinchbeck: I really liked what you were saying ... that we’ve reduced, that we see the only useful form of consciousness as ... the problem solving –
Graham Hancock: Yeah! The alert, problem solving state of consciousness. This is what our society values, and almost deifies, to the level of ... a kind of abstract god. You know that there’s just one kind of consciousness ... which you absolutely ... admire and respect and it’s very much that state of consciousness that you need to do a lot of science. Perhaps not to get scientific inspiration, but ... the daily nitty gritty of science requires that alert, problem solving mentality. As does the daily nitty gritty of the trading floor in the stock exchange. As does being a soldier in an army. ... Alert, problem solving states of consciousness, a kind of fundamental consciousness state of our society today. And then there’s a denial that comes along with that of any other kind of state of consciousness. ... So really our society accepts that we may take a holiday from the alert problem solving state of consciousness and that’s why it offers us alcohol and Reality TV. These are the other states of consciousness that are acceptable within the Western system. But to go beyond that, and to look into deeply altered states of consciousness, visionary states ... then you find that our society utterly hates and detests those states of consciousness ... .
Daniel Pinchbeck: So ... do you think it’s likely that some type of new foundational paradigm could ... emerge from our present state of chaos?
Graham Hancock: Yes. I think it must or we’re really in trouble. We have to shake ourselves out of this mindset. ... I see more and more people around the world, who are both internally and externally in how they act and what they say are rebelling against this paradigm, the tyranny of the alert problem solving state of consciousness. They are reminding us again, remembering in a way, how it was with the ancients. ... In our culture, if you call someone a ‘dreamer,’ you’re insulting them. But in Ancient Egypt or Ancient Mesopotamia ... dreaming was a highly regarded state which was believed to gain access to fundamental truths. ...
And the other thing is the investigation of the whole mystery of death that you find in Ancient Egypt, and the sense that, not just a sense, but the absolute clarity that death is not the end and there is a whole journey that goes on beyond that. In a way, it is the beginning of the next adventure. And the Ancient Egyptians ... they put their best minds to work on this problem for thousands of years. And what do we put our best minds to work on? You know, how to make another kind of motor car or a better kind of washing powder – this is the trivia that we focus on – or high grade weapons, you know, this is what we focus our intelligence on. So no wonder we’re in such a horrific mess.
You can see Pinchbeck's blog here and Hancock's site here.