Graham Hancock – The War on Consciousness @ TEDxWhitechapel

I’m reposting this TedTalk by Graham Hancock, because I clearly have been pointed to the discussion over the fact that this video, along with another one by Rupert Sheldrake, was pulled. Please find the time to view this video and also note (below) the paragraphs I’ve highlighted. Thanks and hugs, ~Jean

Published on Mar 14, 2013
Thanks to V.


This video and Rupert Sheldrake’s “The Science Delusion” ( were initially released by TED but later withdrawn, and then reposted with significantly constrained availability. The complete story can be found as a series of posts on FaceBook by Mr. Hancock:…………………
and here:…
TED has added a new post in response to the rather strong negative feedback from the community:…
TED also said they would repost the videos on individual pages, and they did:…
The discussion for that page is on another page. It appears they have set a 2-week limit on this “conversation”:…
The new pages for Rupert Sheldrake’s talk are at:……

This is my first encounter with Rupert Sheldrake, but I have read a number of Graham Hancock’s books. I don’t agree with everything Graham Hancock writes and he is often inflammatory and controversial, but I find his work interesting and thought-provoking. TED seems to have forgotten the part about the talks being “designed to inspire conversation, exchange and immediate action around ideas worth spreading — all in a creative and casual setting.”

I think the attempt by TED to censor Mr. Sheldrake’s and Mr. Hancock’s presentations is reprehensible and completely against the spirit of their tagline (“Ideas Worth Sharing”) and their stated mission (“Spreading ideas”). They conveniently left out some bits. Apparently, the tagline is actually “Ideas TED Thinks Are Worth Sharing” and the real mission is “Spreading only the ideas TED approves of.”

They have arrogated the right to judge the value of thoughts and ideas. They have arrogated the right to choose what we hear and learn. They have arrogated the right to think for us.That’s not cool, at all. In fact, that really ticks me off. So I’m making the videos available to the public and they’re free to share.

These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. (from


  • Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take

    Posted by: Tedstaff
    March 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm EDT
    We’ve been reviewing the response this past weekend to our decision to move two TEDx talks off the TEDx YouTube channel and over here onto the main TED Blog. We’d like to recap here what happened and suggest a way forward.UPDATE: To discuss the talks, view them here:

    The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk
    The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk

    Four years ago, TED began an experiment in which we granted free licenses to people who wanted to organize their own local events in which ideas could be exchanged, with talks captured on film and uploaded to YouTube. These events use the brand name TEDx, where x stands for “self-organized.” Organizers pledge to work within a set of rules, but then they have freedom to run the event themselves. Speakers are invited without our pre-approval. Requests to hold TEDx events poured in from all over the world, and to date, more than 5,000 have been held, with around 8 more every day. There’s been TEDxBoston, TEDxAmsterdam, TEDxBaghdad, TEDxKabul, TEDxSoweto, and so forth, a thrilling explosion of idea sharing that has spawned more than 25,000 recorded talks on YouTube (uploaded there by the organizers themselves, without our prescreening). We have selected more than 200 TEDx talks to appear on ourmain homepage, where they have attracted millions of views. This growth is made possible by our deliberately open approach.

    The obvious question is “how do you ensure the quality of these events”?

    Our approach is to empower organizers to achieve greatness, by providing detailed guidelines – and guidance – on what works and what doesn’t. And we’re constantly amazed at how good most of these events are. But we also count on the community to help when things go wrong. Occasionally a TEDx event will include a speaker who causes controversy or upset. When that happens, someone in the community will flag the talk, and we have to decide how to respond.

    One option would be to have an “anything goes” policy. We could just say that these events are the responsibility of the local organizer and wash our hands of it. The problem with that stance is that we would soon find the TEDx brand and platform being hijacked by those with dangerous or fringe ideas. And eventually credible speakers would not want to be associated with it. TED’s mission is not “any old idea” but “ideas worth spreading.” We’ve taken a deliberately broad interpretation of that phrase, but it still has to mean something.

    The hardest line to draw is science versus pseudoscience. TED is committed to science. But we think of it as a process, not as a locked-in body of truth. The scientific method is a means of advancing understanding. Of asking for evidence. Of testing ideas to see which stack up and which should be abandoned. Over time that process has led to a rich understanding of the world, but one that is constantly being refined and upgraded. There’s a sense in which all scientific truth is provisional, and open to revision if new facts arise. And that is why it’s often hard to make a judgement on what is a valuable contribution to science, and what is misleading, or worthless.

    Some speakers use the language of science to promote views that are simply incompatible with all reasonable understanding of the world. Giving them a platform is counterproductive. But there are also instances where scientific assumptions get turned upside down. How do we separate between these two? We have done two things as a tentative answer to this question:

    – we’ve issued a set of guidelines to TEDx organizers.

    – and we’ve appointed a board of scientific advisers. They are (deliberately) anonymous, for obvious reasons, but they are respected working scientists, and writers about science, from a range of fields, with no brief other than to help us make these judgements. If a talk gets flagged they will advise on whether we should act or not.

    When Sheldrake and Hancock’s talks were flagged, the majority of the board recommended we remove them from circulation, pointing out questionable suggestions and arguments in both talks. But there was a counter view that removing talks that had already been posted would lead to accusations of censorship. It’s also the case that both speakers explicitly take on mainstream scientific opinion. This gives them a stronger reason to be listened to than those who simply use scientific sounding language to make nonsensical claims. So we decided we would not remove the talks from the web altogether, but simply transfer them to our own site where they could be framed in a way which included the critique of our board, but still allow for an open conversation about them.

    What happened next was unfortunate. We wrote to the TEDx organizer indicating our intention and asking her to take the talks off Youtube so that we could repost. She informed the speakers of what was coming, but somehow the part about the talks staying online got lost in translation. Graham Hancock put out an immediate alert that he was about to be “censored”, his army of passionate supporters deluged us with outraged messages, and we then felt compelled to accelerate our blog post and used language that in retrospect was clumsy. We suggested that we were flagging the talks because of “factual errors” but some of the specific examples we gave were less than convincing. Instead of the thoughtful conversation we had hoped for, we stirred up angry responses from the speakers and their supporters.

    We would like to try again.

    We plan to repost both talks in individual posts on our blog tomorrow, Tuesday; note a couple of areas where scientists or the community have raised questions or concerns about the talks; and invite a reasoned discussion from the community. And there will be a simple rule regarding responses. Reason only. No insults, no intemperate language. From either side. Comments that violate this will be removed. The goal here is to have an open conversation about:

    – the line between science and pseudoscience

    – how far TED and TEDx should go in giving exposure to unorthodox ideas

    We will use the reasoned comments in this conversation to help frame both our guidelines going forward, and our process for managing talks that are called into question.

    Both Sheldrake and Hancock are compelling speakers, and some of the questions they raise are absolutely worth raising. For example, most thoughtful scientists and philosophers of science will agree it’s true that science has not moved very far yet in solving the riddle of consciousness. But the specific answers to that riddle proposed by Sheldrake and Hancock are so radical and far-removed from mainstream scientific thinking that we think it’s right for us to give these talks a clear health warning and to ask further questions of the speakers. TED and TEDx are brands that are trusted in schools and in homes. We don’t want to hear from a parent whose kid went off to South America to drink ayahuasca because TED said it was OK. But we do think a calmer, reasoned conversation around these talks would be interesting, if only to help us define how far you can push an idea before it is no longer “worth spreading.”

    Related stories:


    The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk

    Posted By Tedstaff
    March 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm EDT

    At TEDxWhitechapel on January 13, 2013, Graham Hancock gave a passionately argued talk in which he described the transformative impact that ayahuasca (containing the drug DMT) had had on him and argued that responsible adult usage of such drugs was a fundamental right. The talk was viewed more than 130,000 times on YouTube. TED’s scientific …


    Open for discussion: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake from TEDxWhitechapel

    Posted By Tedstaff
    March 14, 2013 at 11:59 am EDT

    UPDATE: Please see our new blog post Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take, which replaces the x-ed out text below. To discuss the talks, view them here: The debate about Rupert Sheldrake’s talk The debate about Graham Hancock’s talk After due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our …

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7 Responses to Graham Hancock – The War on Consciousness @ TEDxWhitechapel

  1. A key phrase used is ‘RECONNECT WITH SPIRIT’. Indeed, that is vital for humanity and the available pathways are many. Regular seance group meetings is my own favored pathway, especially when the group has angelic guidance. The angelic guide and teacher ‘Salumet’ is of all-knowledge and never ceases to amaze. I have learned that it is necessary to go within (in meditation) in order to make connection with others of this universe. Those beings living on other planets, speak to us via entranced mediums and we can have highly illuminating conversations. This is possible because entranced BRAIN is a biological computer that can download thought-behind-words to its known language … instantly! Instantly because mind and spirit are NOT part of space-time and are not subject to space-time rules. The material distance of space is there but mind and spirit ignore it. Our SEANCE has succeeded, while materialistic SCIENCE, using expensive radio dishes to send out radio signals has failed utterly to make any extraterrestrial contact. Our UK seance group of mediums and scientists (website has wonderful success in conversing with extraterrestrials, but news media cannot accept this because we are not a massively funded materialist institution!!! We are merely a small group that has ‘reconnected with spirit.

    Visiting ETs are not to be feared, because it is necessary to CONNECT WITH SPIRIT and develop spirituality before it becomes possible to physically travel the universe. What has been the first thing ETs visiting Earth have done in past times? Build a pyramid. Why? To produce energy for their well-being and to power their return flights. The Great Pyramid of Egypt, age 12,000 years; Bosnian Pyramids radio-carbon dated to >30,000 years; and mankind, both ancient or modern, remains incapable of such constructs with capability to power space travel beyond this galaxy. Why? Because we have not developed ‘spiritual science’. The earliest pyramids are the hardest of an assortment of hard evidence that amply demonstrate the necessity to RECONNECT WITH SPIRIT before we can be members of the COSMIC CLUB. The cosmic club will happen for us but our institutions must break out of materialistic thinking first. That is a must.

  2. Paul Donahue says:

    I have been to the other side of consciousness in a near death car crash… Study some of us, talk to our friends and family. And you will see the miracle of something far greater than you could ever imagine… This whole exercise in life is all really about LOVE of the highest form, Unconditional Love that comes from the unconscious mind, where all things flow from, big and small, great and even greater. It is all about LOVE in the end… Where everyone’s energy is the same, there are no differences, there are no issues of this or that. Ego is self awareness, not selfish. Learn the lesson!

  3. Suzanne Spiegel says:

    Dear TED admins,

    Thank you for having this conversation.

    I think that giving voice to new ideas that flip the current paradigm of science and materialist assumptions around is absolutely necessary, right now. As Graham Hancock points out, we are living in a time that is so materialist that it fails to recognize anything beyond what can be broken down into some state of matter that can be smelled, touched, tasted and measured. This is only one form of science. The Dali Lama once said (something to the effect of) “while the west was exploring outter space, we were exploring inner space.” Other civilizations have used the same type of persistent, scientific observation to understand other truths, like the nature of being human.

    In the west, we have spent so much time looking out and solving problems around us, that we have forgotten how to look in. In many ways, I believe that looking in is the only way that we will make it through these transitional times that we live in. We have been so heavy on material and external that we have nearly destroyed and depleted our entire planet, looking everywhere for fulfillment and answers. This is a very masculine, or yang approach. The feminine or yin approach teaches us to balance this approach by existing within our body and world and feeling into our innate wisdom to understand what is true. We may not be able to measure this, but it makes it no less important or true. There are tools that exist to help us do this: Meditation, yoga, chi gung, tai chi, healing arts, quite time, ayahuasca etc.

    Now is the time to learn how to go in and listen to what is so basic about being human. We must get comfortable exploring our consciousness and the wisdom of our bodies, or else our intelligence will continue to be misguided. Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

    We have to open the doors to new ideas that make us uncomfortable, unless we want to keep doing the same things and getting the same results. This is a time to flip all of our assumptions upside down. We don’t have to accept Graham’s statements (we can treat it with some healthy skepticism) but its time to explore beyond our comfort zone. Science has taught us to exist only within our mind and has rejected the experience of the body that connects us to ourselves, our earth and each other. When I say body, I am referring to the experience of being alive, beyond logic. Through a more introspective approach, other civilizations throughout history have come to know so many things about this inner knowing, that we, in the west, by and large have not. We can and must at least be open to hearing about these ways.

    We need to give people like Graham Hancock a voice.

    • Absolutely right Suzanne! … we have to look within. I have referred to ‘many pathways’ for that, whereas you refer to ‘tools that exist’: Meditation, yoga, chi gung, tai chi, healing arts, quiet time, ayahuasca etc. Quite so. Within the etc, I would add ‘magic mushroom of the Maya (psilocybin)’. Back in 1989 I carried out a careful experiment at Palenque, Mexico, and was able to see their temples as the Mayans intended they should be seen. Wow! That experience set me on my own spiritual pathway. I have since learned from our seance meetings how we must break out from material restriction before Earth can properly join with those planets that ‘know’ each other … with mutual conversations and visits. That cosmic club is interestingly self-protecting. It is impossible to join without first developing spirituality and the ‘spiritual science’ that follows from that enlightenment. We shall elevate to that status, but not whilst we remain stuck in the materialist view. Happily, our world is beginning to break out of that old restricted consciousness format.

      • Jean says:

        I find your words so very interesting, George! It sounds like you’ve had an interesting life! I also agree with them. I know, for instance, that we can’t go into space unless we can go peacefully. That is why we’ve been quarantined. Thanks so much for sharing. . . Hugs, ~Jean

  4. Tertiusgaudens says:

    Here is something you will relly like to read I hope.

    It is simply amazing:

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