Senior editor of the science journal Nature, Henry Gee, is also a blogger and author. In the first half, he discussed the last 4.6 billion years of Earth's history using a scientific understanding of the survival and persistence that illuminates the delicate balance within which life has always existed. He spoke about different epochs, such as 250 million years ago at the end of the Permian mass extinction, when volcanic eruptions killed most of life on Earth. Life took some time to recover, but the dinosaurs eventually appeared in the Triassic period. He described one unusual creature of that era, the lystrosaurus, as having "the body of a pig, the attitude to food of a golden retriever, and the head of an electric can opener."
Around 200 million years ago mammals first started appearing, and were eventually able to become dominant when dinosaurs went extinct around 65 million years ago after a large asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula. The impact created a fog of dust in the atmosphere that blocked the sun for years, he recounted, and wildfires swept over the whole Earth. Gee detailed the story of human evolution. Around two million years ago, Homo erectus appeared, and their penchant for social connections helped to evolve the size of their brain (Gee compares Homo erectus to modern-day humans in this excerpt from his book). Around 40,000 years ago, there seems to be a spark that turned on all over the world, as evidenced by artworks and rituals first appearing at that time, he added.
Terje Simonsen is a Norwegian writer and historian of ideas who teaches and writes predominantly on the esoteric traditions. In the latter half, he explored evidence that PSI phenomena (such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition) is real. He cited parapsychological experiments, interviews with psychics, occult traditions, and collected experiences from his life. Simonsen detailed how some years ago, he asked a psychic how his upcoming date would go with a woman he hadn't met before. The psychic told him it would go well and specified that the woman was 1 meter and 64 centimeters tall. On the date, Simonsen casually asked how tall she was. Her reply: 1 meter and 64 centimeters. Later, the psychic suggested the knowledge came to him via reading Simonsen's subconscious.
"The paranormal is normal," Simonsen remarked, as it's connected to a consciousness that we all share-- something he's dubbed the "Mental Internet." In modern Western culture, we tend to be out of touch with this dimension, "which is much more familiar to indigenous people around the world," he added. Intuition ability, reported to be strong among the most successful CEOs, is more than just pattern recognition-- "it is really downloading information from this Mental Internet," Simonsen suggested. He also talked about a laboratory study of telepathy among a pair of twins-- when one received a mild electrical shock, the other registered physical responses in her body.