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“What if”: we know those words as a prompt for creative writing—especially science fiction. But “what if” is an essential part of a well-lived life. “What if I date a dear friend?” Many prefer to keep “what if” contained within domestic walls. But what if you’re willing to question anything? When we consider the book bans of today, we know questioning is extremely uncomfortable for those who want to believe they already have all the answers they want. People who’ve questioned before us were often executed because their discoveries threatened change, but eventually we reluctantly agreed that the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth, the astronauts did walk on the moon, and plate tectonics are real. At least most of us agree. If you don’t, stop reading now or I’ll upset you.
If you enjoy challenging perspectives even if they’re controversial as I do and aren’t intimidated by their implications, you might well relish the book VISIONARY: The Mysterious Origins of Human Consciousness (formerly titled Supernatural) by journalist Graham Hancock. Hancock begins by discussing (and he does like to discuss in detail) the visions reported by people who experiment with psychedelic drugs. He isn’t referring to what I might call “joy riders” seeking a thrill, but people with serious intentions such as shamans and scientists who are willing to pay the price of expanding their own consciousness. He suggests that Jesus might have been a kind of shaman, worthy of higher consciousness.
The similarity of visions reported by disparate peoples under the influence of psychedelic drugs is curious. The fact that the figures and shapes seen can also describe drawings made in caves by the earliest humans is more curious yet. After all, many of the drawings do not represent any living beast or being but often combinations of humans and beasts (generally beasts not found in the area, if at all). The most comfortable explanation is that those drawings are expressions of human brain design or imagination—imagination which is oddly similar throughout cultures and time.
Hancock (with notable others) suggests that psychedelic visions and additional modifications to our consciousness such as meditation or deprivation may offer portals to an unseen dimension that all human cultures have encountered and described in myths and religions. That access to another dimension may exist intact in the human mind is the first possibility. That another dimension of strange beings actually exists beyond our perception where humans may occasionally be physically taken through portals is the next possibility. Hancock postulates that such a dimension or dimensions probably contain beings that have full knowledge of our existence, while we know of theirs only through interventions into our awareness. He plays with the notion that we may accept our own versions of these others as mentors such as angels or guides or aliens or capricious occupants of our earth more ancient than we. What if the surprising evolutionary surge forward in human intelligence was not merely a quirk of Nature but a deliberate manipulation by unseen beings—one that may still be happening?
We fuss over life and death when the question that teases many scientists and philosophers is the origin of human consciousness—life and death, intuition and logic. Not when does life begin, but when and how does human-ness begin in history and in each of us? Hancock can provide much fodder for speculation and further “what if’s,” if you don’t already have all the answers you want.
Golly, your musings have me in tears. Why? Seriously, why? Brilliant as always. Signing off so I can have a good ole cry. xx
This book caught me by surprise when I realize I may not comprehend who I am or where I live at all. Perhaps there’s a reason. It’s worth thought and research–as all those who dare to think outside our boxes anticipate.