The War on Consciousness


For decades now, a war has been waging in our modern society, a War on Consciousness that anyone wanting to explore the interior world will inevitably face. As with all conflicts, this war has prisoners, casualties and deaths. But we have a champion who for years has been explaining the reasons for which the conflict has to stop, and why everyone must oppose the barbarity. In this article, I will present him to you and show you his – or our! – reasons as well as just what we must do.

I’ve always loved to read. I started with Mickey Mouse, then discovered science-fiction – a great passion of mine. To think that in high school I managed to get my literature teacher to do a study on the works of Isaac Asimov (creator of the famous Three Laws of Robotics). She not only agreed but let me do a presentation for the class. I even secured myself a good grade!

I read less science-fiction these days – though I don’t miss any movies in the genre – but I still read comic books, having graduated from Mickey Mouse to Bonelli Comics. In particular, I’m a fan of Dampyr and the legendary Martin Mystère, Detective of the Impossible.

If you think you’ve stumbled upon the wrong article, have patience. There is a connection between Martin Mystery, and I’ll explain it now. Maybe you know GOUM (Good Old Uncle Marty, for enthusiasts), or maybe you don’t, but let me quickly describe his characteristics. He’s curious, verbose, knowledgeable on an encyclopedic level, an intrepid explorer, a tireless researcher, a lover of classic literature, a great investigator of past mysteries. These mysteries are often linked to Atlantis, extraterrestrial cultures or mysterious places connected to the period he spent in Tibet as a student of Master Koot Hoomi!

A few years ago, I discovered that this funny and fascinating character from these comic books had a real world counterpart, like a true flesh and blood Martin Mystery: Graham Hancock! Alfredo Castelli, the author and creator of the comic book character almost seems to have been inspired by Hancock when making Mystery. The similarities are truly extraordinary, but it’s not feasible. The first issue of the comic book was released in 1982, while Hancock’s first book was published exactly 10 years later in 1992.

That Hancock was inspired by Mystery is extremely improbable. The comic book has not been translated into English, and Hancock doesn’t speak Italian. Having met him in person, I can say that with certainty.

Mystery and Hancock are linked by their shared love of past mysteries. Atlantis is an area of research common to them both, and similarly they’ve both explored something which to me is of the utmost importance: the mystery of States of Consciousness. Martin did this as a student of a Tibetan Master, and Graham as an explorer of consciousness by way of Sacred Plants.

Graham Hancock started out as an investigative journalist, then began writing books, the first of which was titled The Sign and the Seal. This volume recounts his journey researching the Ark of the Covenant. It almost seems like an Indiana Jones film, and yet it’s documented almost like the work of a capable, serious journalist. All in all, it’s a very interesting book, and as exciting as an adventure novel to boot. Needless to say, I recommend it, and you can find it HERE.

More recently, another journalist by the name of Michael Pollan wrote an interesting book on psychedelic substances – How to Change Your Mind), which also contains the precise citation of sources. It’s written in an educational style and flows very well, making it characteristic of the great investigative journalists. One note on this book: it’s interesting, but much of it is dedicated to the history of psychedelia – I reckon it could have been shortened without cutting any of the important content. And ultimately the “how” in “How to Change Your Mind” isn’t adequately tended to. But if you do need guidance on the practical side of things, there’s always my book: The Magic Mushroom User’s Guide! So I’d recommend reading both.

Getting back to Graham Hancock, after his first book he wrote numerous others dedicated to the exploration of history “before the history” of the planet, each more fascinating than the last. Having read them all, I can recommend them with no hesitation whatsoever, but there is one that impacted me more than the others. Despite its 650 pages, I’ve actually read it twice. That book is called Supernatural. The book begins by describing Hancock’s experience with Ibogaine, and goes on to explore many other compelling topics, including analyses of cave paintings from major archeological sites, interpreted – and correctly, if you ask me – as accounts of shamanistic experiences with psychoactive plants and extatic techniques. But that’s not all. There’s so much to this book, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject of exploring consciousness.

Along with his essays, Hancock has also written novels in which magic mushrooms are the protagonists. The first of these – Entangled – is set in the prehistoric era, but with a special space-time connection that I cannot spol here. And the second – which is developed over three volumes – is set in the landing of Cortés in Central America, right around the time when Montezuma reigned. The name of the series is War God. All of these historical novels are very exciting to read.

The fungi in these stories seem like some sort of demonic instrument, but if you think of them as a means to expand people’s states of consciousness, it’s understandable that how you use them is your responsibility. Non-incarnate entities – while not all of them are friendly – do exist. It’s necessary to pay attention because cases of possession are a real problem, too often (inadequately) treated as psychiatric issues. In fact, the Church – but not only our Catholic church – is aware of this reality and has always used exorcisms to resolve such cases. Perhaps I’ll write more about this at some point and go deeper.

Graham Hancock is therefore a multifaceted author, but he’s never failed to treat his very varied array of subjects with complete competence, arriving at noteworthy insight and depth. In January of 2014, Hancock spoke at a conference organised by TED.com, an American brand which organises events in a predetermined format on subjects which fit with their motto: “ideas worth spreading”. One necessary requirement for the participants is that talks should last no longer than 20 minutes, a USP which has contributed greatly to their success. You want to avoid losing the listener’s attention of course, but primarily this rule helps speakers really hone in on their topic and focus.

The subject Hancock chose to speak about at this TED conference was “The War on Consciousness”. During the talk, he spoke on his experiences with Cannabis and an encounter with Ayahuasca. In essence, he states that society has no problem really with altering one’s consciousness. In fact, some consciousness-altering substances are very widespread and are consumed on a hyperbolic level: sugar, alcohol, and uppers like coffee and tea – not to mention a vast number of pharmaceuticals. These substances form the base of extraordinary economic growth across the globe. Thus, they aren’t just tolerated, but are actually promoted in every way (advertising being just one of the means used to sell these products).

But once the substances start permitting you to access states of consciousness which can bring one’s perception of reality and the structure of society into question, that is when we start to see prohibitions being put in place. Imprisonment, censorship, and in some cases punishment by death. And yes, there are places where possession of these substances can have you killed. Drug crimes are punishable by death in at least 35 countries and territories!

Why the descrimination? Evidently, constituted powers seek to preserve that power, and in cases of prohibitions we see this inclination most blatantly when it comes to psychedelic substances. It’s nothing more than a way to prevent the spread on a global scale: the legacy of the LSD craze of the ‘60s is well remembered not just by the powers that be, but by society as a whole.

There are more reasons for the ban than this, though. The “collateral” effect of psychedelic substances extends to a reconnection between all that makes up mankind and the nature around us, and to the discovery of an interior, hidden dimension, the perception of a spiritual existence long forgotten. Anyone wanting to maintain the status quo will fear these concepts greatly.

Therefore, mushrooms have been put in the same category as many other substances similarly prohibited but very different to one another, the excuse for this being that they are dangerous because they induce a dependence and have no useful medical applications. If you’ve read my book and/or the articles in this blog, you’ll know that this is completely untrue and that the reality of it is quite the opposite.

Go and watch the Hancock video I mentioned (which TED has foolishly banned, claiming it to be pseudoscience). I invite you to form your own opinion on his talk and pay attention: I see no anti scientific claims being made, but listen and decide for yourself. Notice how Hancock often talks with his eyes closed, as though re-experiencing the times he’s recountine. Personally, I find those moments particularly intense and sincere.

This other version is a little truncated, lasting around half the time, but is reimagined in a great animation which I advise you to watch if you already know the original video, or watch both if you’ve seen neither. It will help you understand what’s being described in this wonderful recounting by Graham Hancock even better.

In these last few years, I’ve watched and rewatched that video from the conference, and continue to ask myself what I can do to oppose this injustice – and also, what can I do to maintain a responsible use of these incredible gifts from nature? It’s probably thanks to these reflections that I’m writing this very blog and have published a book on the subject. Ultimately, I’d like my contribution to help restabilise a justice due, due to not only us as people but to nature itself.

What is your goal? Let me know!

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2 thoughts on “The War on Consciousness

  1. I agree. There is a war, even if those trying to censor and oppress are not aware that they’re even waging it (seeing only their greed or fear, etc.)

    I think that to legalize psychedelics, responsible use must become widespread and tools must be developed to assist and support the therapeutic uses of psychedelics. These tools must be validated by the appropriate disciplines (psychology and neurology, por example) and their use must be emphasized.

    I believe the way to win this war is to be the adults in the room: to work responsibly, to document our work, to seek out experts to review and validate our input so out of our collective learning we might distill science and policy from and towards a healthy future for our minds and spirit.

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