Hallucinogenic Plants And The Expansion Of Consciousness

How did the Mayan shamans gain their much-vaunted knowledge about astrological cycles, precession of the Equinoxes, and the intriguing series of calendars culminating in the infamous Long Count Calendar that will expire on December 21, 2012?

John Major Jenkins, Graham Hancock and Alberto Villoldo talk about the shamans’ use of hallucinogenic plants to access the realm of the supernatural in this clip from 2012: Science or Superstition:

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22 Comments on "Hallucinogenic Plants And The Expansion Of Consciousness"

  1. Drugs don’t expand consciousnesses, mmkay… they disrupt it. And the Mayans got their knowledge by rigorous mathematics and inference. Not by smoking peyote day in and day out. Graham Hancock is such a charlatan.

    • Have you got much personal experience in this field? Tried many hallucinogens? The reason I ask is because peyote is not smoked professor 😛 In my experience these drugs do indeed expand consciousness. But, then I tried before I opened my mouth 😉

    • Matt Staggs | Dec 5, 2012 at 11:45 am |

      Scholars say the Maya used psychoactive mushrooms in their religious services, and their descendants still do today. No reason to listen to those guys though, right? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogenic_drugs_and_the_archaeological_record#Maya

      • I never said they didn’t use drugs. I merely stated that drugs have little to do with the Maya’s mathematical and intellectual accomplishments. And that Hancock is a charlatan. This cannot be overstated enough. Graham Hancock, and the “wonders of the intellect due to drugs” hypothesis is wrong and a prime example of chicanery.

          • The best thing about that article was how appropriate the pictures of each was to the drug mentioned… especially John Lilly’s “LSD and Ketamine”, and Paul Erdos – “Amphetamines”.

        • drokhole | Dec 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

          In addition to Matt’s comment:


          “Over the course of the preceding year, IFAS researchers had dosed a total of 22 other men for the creativity study, including a theoretical mathematician, an electronics engineer, a furniture designer, and a commercial artist. By including only those whose jobs involved the hard sciences (the lack of a single female participant says much about mid-century career options for women), they sought to examine the effects of LSD on both visionary and analytical thinking. Such a group offered an additional bonus: Anything they produced during the study would be subsequently scrutinized by departmental chairs, zoning boards, review panels, corporate clients, and the like, thus providing a real-world, unbiased yardstick for their results.

          In surveys administered shortly after their LSD-enhanced creativity sessions, the study volunteers, some of the best and brightest in their fields, sounded like tripped-out neopagans at a backwoods gathering. Their minds, they said, had blossomed and contracted with the universe. They’d beheld irregular but clean geometrical patterns glistening into infinity, felt a rightness before solutions manifested, and even shapeshifted into relevant formulas, concepts, and raw materials.

          But here’s the clincher. After their 5HT2A neural receptors simmered down, they remained firm: LSD absolutely had helped them solve their complex, seemingly intractable problems. And the establishment agreed. The 26 men unleashed a slew of widely embraced innovations shortly after their LSD experiences, including a mathematical theorem for NOR gate circuits, a conceptual model of a photon, a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device, a new design for the vibratory microtome, a technical improvement of the magnetic tape recorder, blueprints for a private residency and an arts-and-crafts shopping plaza, and a space probe experiment designed to measure solar properties. Fadiman and his colleagues published these jaw-dropping results and closed shop.”

    • PossiblyMaybe | Dec 5, 2012 at 11:49 am |

      “Drugs don’t expand consciousnesses, mmkay… they disrupt it” Expansion via disruption of the everyday senses…don’t necessarily see this as an inherent contradiction?

      “the Mayans got their knowledge by rigorous mathematics and inference” I would generally tend to agree with this assessment. While it is fun to ponder the possibility of assistance via psychedelics and/or extraterrestrials, it is insulting when certain individuals choose to assume that the ancients could not have achieved these accomplishments on their own.

      • Matt Staggs | Dec 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |

        Just for the sake of argument, are these individuals saying that psychoactive substance directly gave them this information or that psychoactive substances may have played a role in spurring their thoughts in particular directions?

        • PossiblyMaybe | Dec 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

          “psychoactive substances may have played a role in spurring their thoughts” This is definitely a possibility, thus my comment about expansion…but that is not to say that it was necessary. Maybe they did; maybe they didn’t. Fun to think about, regardless…

          • Matt Staggs | Dec 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

            This is the point that I was hoping to make with Bob, but I suspect that it’s a waste of time.

      • Exactly! Bastards like Hancock always view ancients as drug guzzling hippies who produced extraordinary things due to drugs. What a load of rubbish, and not to mention racist.

        Drugs give fantastic experiences but eventually ya gotta get off the roller coaster. The experience fades and one moves on. And no I’ve never done psychoactive drugs and don’t plan to because it’s a waste of time. And for all the people who took drugs, I still find that they are just as foolish, egocentric and filled with foibles and human folly, just as they were before they took the drug.

        • possiblymaybe | Dec 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |

          “I’ve never done psychoactive drugs…it’s a waste of time” I am afraid that I would have to disagree with you on that one. These substances allow you to view the world from an altered/alternative perspective by temporarily taking you out of your everyday mindset and placing you into a new context. The results can vary from extraordinary to mundane, depending on a host of different factors. I have experimented off and on with several such substances over the past decade and they have made a dramatic impact upon my artwork, and several experiences have been intensely beautiful/emotional on personal levels which were thought-provoking and poignant. I do not think you should be so instantly dismissive of the possibility that these substances can have profoundly positive impacts in the lives of individuals who take them responsibly and respectfully.

        • Not only have you not taken a psychoactive durg but you have not sat with these shamans in their indiginous ways?

          oh! Your shtick is satire, right? Haha! good one!

        • read more robert anton wilson | Dec 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

          You sir, need to smoke breakthrough doses of DMT

        • Jin The Ninja | Dec 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

          what is racist? hancock making logical if ‘alternative’ conclusions to historical practices?

          or referring to a STILL EXTANT group of indigenous people as ‘ancients?’

          • mannyfurious | Dec 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

            It’s arguably racist because white guys are always trying to find ways to dismiss the accomplishments of the American Indian (North and South). Europeans don’t have to read articles speculating about how Copernicus possibly came to his conclusions after an opium binge. But every amazing accomplishment by American Indians makes European/Americans queasy for some reason. If it’s not drugs it’s aliens. If it’s not aliens, it’s diffusion from pre-Colombian European explorers. It’s never that ancient people didn’t have TVs or computers and had a shit-ton of time to just do things, including studying the stars, or experimenting with different types of architecture, etc.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 6, 2012 at 8:22 am |

            oh yes, i totally agree with that. and i didn’t actually think it about while writing, but yes this is very true. hancock, does assert that paleolithic europeans also used psychogenics, but at the same time, paleolithic europeans were very much NOT contemporaneous nor parallel with the incans, mayans, aztecs. it does give me pause.

          • mannyfurious | Dec 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

            The thing is, I’m not necessarily against such an idea. I would like to see more evidence of it as a possibility, although that might be asking too much, since there don’t seem to be too many records of these civilizations’ activities left behind anywhere.

    • Dr. James R. Pannozzi D.O.M. L | Dec 6, 2012 at 3:23 am |

      Generally speaking, in point of fact, the phenomena of consciousness is far too diverse to make such sweeping assertions. The ultimate determination of an expansionist or contractive or disruptive resultant can be made only by the user, it is essentially subjective. The effects will vary depending on both the immaterial psychology, and the physical neurology of the experimenter. And the Mayans most certainly did not get their knowledge from “rigorous mathematics and infererence”. Rather they were motivated to make heavenly observations and temporal computations of an elaborate nature to conform with their religious and mythological beliefs.

      Take care not to allow the intellectual cargo cult fallacy of “scientism”, a blind worship of supposed science, replace real science. See “Beyond Scientism’s Onward March” and “Blows Against the Empire” by Lionel Milgrom, easily found in Google for the intellectual details.

      • Matt Staggs | Dec 6, 2012 at 10:26 am |

        Dr. Pannozzi, thanks for dropping by! Make yourself at home and feel free to jump in any time.

      • Your doctor license should be revoked for that “immaterial psychology” bullshit you’re spouting. Came back in here to view the comments sections and I see your turd of a comment. SMH. And calling science a cult is simply baffling to me. It’s no wonder scientists look down upon doctors and their lack of scientific analysis and perspective. YOU should read “the trouble with doctors” by brain d rude here’s the link: http://www.brianrude.com/tr-doc.htm

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