This is the 2nd talk that I mentioned was censured from TED a while back. It amuses me that I am rarely anymore drawn to TED talks and even more rarely interested or touched by those I view. But when it came to these two censured talks I was 2 for 2.
In this talk Graham Hancock offers a valuable question about consciousness altering drugs. He suggests that such drugs are responsible for our becoming symbolic creatures (a precious claim that deserves much more elaboration). He suggests that by removing them from our lives and culture we have introduced a spiritual detachment which is the source of so much self inflicted destruction and suffering.
It it a very passionate talk, at times to passionate … which earned even more of my respect. It makes a less fluent talk that it could be and required more effort from me … an effort I was happy to put in.
As I watched it a 3rd time in preparation for this post – another train of thought appeared in my consciousness. I have not had access to consciousness enhancing drugs. I have spent a good portion of my life living in detachment and consciously unaware of it. I have spent another good portion being aware of the sense of detachment – a period which has brought me to this point in time where I am making an effort to see beyond detachment. It may be true that by using consciousness enhancing drugs this transition I am currently in may have been different, maybe more fluent, maybe more joyful, maybe easier.
However I do believe (not a firm belief because I have no way to compliment it with experience) that maybe as a species, we have, by removing such drugs from our life-menu, created circumstances which require us to find alternative paths of enhancing our consciousness. Maybe in another 40,000 years another creature of consciousness will look back at us, as Graham Hancock has at our ancestors, and point out this crazy and disruptive time as when new paths of consciousness were discovered that led to further evolution beyond the symbolic-story-tellers that we currently are?