Visionary: The Mysterious Origins of Human Consciousness
Less than 50,000 years ago, mankind had no distinctive art, no religion, no sophisticated symbolism, no innovative thinking. Then, in a dramatic and electrifying change, described by scientists as the greatest riddle in human history, all the skills and qualities that we value most highly in ourselves appeared already fully formed, as though bestowed on us by hidden powers.
In Visionary, Graham Hancock sets out to investigate this mysterious “before-and-after moment” and to discover the truth about the influences that gave birth to the modern human mind. His quest takes him on a journey of adventure and detection, from the stunningly beautiful painted caves of prehistoric France, Spain, and Italy to remote rock shelters in the mountains of South Africa where he finds a treasure trove of extraordinary Stone Age Art.
He uncovers clues that lead him to travel to the depths of the Amazon rain forest to drink the powerful plant hallucinogen ayahuasca with indigenous shamans whose paintings contain the images of supernatural beings identical to the animal-human hybrids depicted in prehistoric caves and rock shelters. Hallucinogens such as mescaline also produce visionary encounters with exactly the same beings. Scientists at the cutting edge of consciousness research have begun to consider the possibility that such hallucinations may be real perceptions of other dimensions.
Could the supernaturals first depicted in the painted caves and rock shelters be the ancient teachers of mankind? Could it be that human evolution is not just the “blind, meaningless” process that Darwin identified but something else more purposive and intelligent that we have barely even begun to understand?
GRAHAM HANCOCK is the author of several major international nonfiction bestsellers including The Sign and the Seal, Magicians of the Gods, and Fingerprints of the Gods, and his most recent New York Times bestseller, America Before. His books have sold more than seven million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty languages. He resides in the UK.