Sunday, April 10, 2016

Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind

The first time I read Supernatural:Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock, my mind was sufficiently blown by the theories he put forth. That was several years ago. I decided to dust off my copy and read it again, and yep, you guessed it: mind blown all over again. This is an amazing book, and even if you don’t believe a word of it, I guarantee it'll make your head spin. Heck, you might even find yourself questioning the very nature of reality. 
Hancock begins by stating that even though humans had achieved “full anatomical modernity” by 196,000 years ago, they displayed no evidence of symbolic thought until 100,000 years ago. What caused this symbolic revolution? What caused “humans with identical brains, looks, and genes to ours” to exist in a symbolic and artistic vacuum for roughly 100,000 years before rather quickly becoming “innovative and artistic, symbolic and cultured, religious and self-aware?” Hancock’s theory? In a nutshell: hallucinations. Specifically, “the first notions of the existence of supernatural realms and beings, the first ‘religious’ ideas about them, the first art representing them, and the first mythologies concerning them, were all derived from the experiences of hallucinating shamans.” Interesting theory, and one with which growing numbers of scholars around the world concur, but Hancock takes the theory further. What if the hallucinations our ancestors experienced weren’t just “silly illusions” of nonexistent places and beings, but were in fact visions of other dimensions that were, and are, every bit as real as the material world around them? Hancock’s investigations take him into the mysterious world of shamanism and put him on the path to meet these ancient teachers of mankind face-to-face.  
Supernatural is a trip (pun definitely intended) in and of itself! The information Hancock reveals through his extensive research is simply fascinating as biology, anthropology, folklore, and more converge to create a provocative page-turner unlike anything you’ve probably ever read before. Hancock’s ideas are certainly persuasive, but are they believable? I’ve been reading him for a while, so I’m a fan, but I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions.  

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