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Evolutionary neurotoxicology, Syntactical formation, and the Implications of Consciousness

Posted Jan. 30, 2014 by Live4theMystery in Open

commented on April 5, 2014
by NoetPoet

Quote

41

I'm sure a multitude of you have heard the classic theory of the Stoned Ape. At first glance the concept may appear to be entirely speculative, maybe even downright preposterous. None the less, I have a thirst for inquiry regarding the scientific basis, and seek a healthy level of discussion pertaining to the topic matter. The full theory can be examined in a variety of audio lectures and also found within the texts of "Food of the Gods" by Terence McKenna. There is a lot of detail involved in the proposal, so I apologize if any bit of information is left out. Please feel free to fill in the blanks of what is unmentioned, and also add your personal conjecture, cited facts, and comparative textual references.
As all of us know, the scientific institution tells us we emerged from the homonid ape. Before even making that evolutionary transition our remote ancestors we're believed to be canopy dwelling primates from the African continent. Primates whose diet heavily consisted of fruits and different varieties of insects crawling amongst the branches. Due to certain environmental conditions, the once lush rainforest we inhabited began to dry up. In effect creating a deficet in proper nutritional requirements that could be obtained by the trees. The scarcity of food caused us to descend from this platform and forcibly become accustomed to foraging amongst the land for nourishment. Apes as well as other species go about dietary inculcation through the process of trial and error. So in other words if the food item in question didn't provide any physiological benefits, or rather had harmful effects on the body, it would be discontinued from edibility standards. Different mycological specimens would've been considered in this process, as there are a wide variety of non toxic fruit bodies that can be cultivated at the base of trees. This initial familiarity would've fostered a recognition of other mushrooms as a potential dietary staple, and led an investigation of different varieties growing among the African grasslands. Psilocybin mushrooms (being the main topic of discussion) would eventually have been discovered due to their vivid blue appearance (as a result of oxidation) and there enormous size. One particular strain, known as strophoria cubensis, share a symbiotic relationship with cattle, and as a result emerge from cow fecal matter. There have been witnessed reports of apes flipping over cow pies to acquire beetle grubs beneath the surface, so I don't believe it's to extreme of an idea to propose they would've come in contact with these mushrooms. As stated earlier, there's a process of trial and error involved, so initial consumption would've been in minute amounts that eventually evolved into greater weight consumption. Psilocybin in small amounts has been proven to enhance visual acuity and edge detection, so an evolutionary benefit to eating them would be the ability to notice predators with greater ease and make the foraging process less difficult as well. Speculatively, the apes consuming these small amounts of psilocybin would outbreed the non mushroom consuming apes, because they'd be gathering more food and avoiding predators more often (they'd probably even have better targeting skills when throwing a rock, which is believed to play a part in neurological evolution). At slightly higher doses, acknowledging that psilocybin is a Central nervous system agonist, it would also therefore be a sexual catalyst. This means that there would be more successful states of copulation, and as a result once again these apes would outbreed the ones who aren't consuming the psychotropic agent. When doses begin to increase even more, making there way into the psychoactive domain, this is when things get really interesting. I think a certain level of self awareness unfolds at this point, because the cognizance of the distinction between the sober mind and the perturbed state of consciousness becomes present. By recognizing this difference, higher brain function begins to steadily emerge, because the focus becomes more inwardly directed. The next portion of this theory becomes slightly dicey, because it boils down to defining what consciousness is as an entity or function. We all know advanced syntax and linguistic organization is a primary factor that separates the human from the lower animal mind, more physically defined as the evolution of the cerebral cortex from the brain stem and limbic system. Language is what creates abstractions from direct cause and effect relationships. A dog doesn't question why his tail doesn't wag the way it used to like a human questions his/her motives and emotions. So this is a potential chemical catalyst that could've lead to the construction of language and internal dialect. There have been studies that show pentecostal christians when speaking in tongues experience reported states of glossillalia, which is basically a neurological seizure that occurs, where meaningless words are entangled in a non linear sentence structure. The same phenomenon occurs when heavy dosages of tryptamine, indole based compounds are ingested. Is it possible that language was accidentally created by this extraordinary state of intoxication? I'm sure words and an eventual linguistic system weren't very advanced in the beginning, and object matter associations probably didn't occur for a period of time. It was most likely just sounds and grunts at first that were used as a form of entertainment. There has to be a catalyst that led to such rapid development of the neocortex, because there is only a short window in history for it to have evolved, roughly estimating over 100,000 years (don't quote me on that metric). I'm certain there are other dietary regiments that were coupled with this evolutionary momentum, but the need for something strange and obscure seems fitting, because no other animal has shown such rapid neurological growth in history. Anyone who has ever consumed a psychedelic drug, knows there's a strong sense of social connection often times with others. Could this have led to family based organization that contributed to the latter development of art, music, folklore, and so forth? Apes are typically aggressive, highly sexed dominance types, so there communal organization isn't that sophisticated by our standards. Maybe a sense of community steadily developed and nomadicism that promoted more advanced states of evolution. Terence McKenna later goes on to elaborate how alcohol was created as a result of fermentation of these mushrooms being preserved in honey, which he then speculates led to the reemergence of dominator qualities. Paradise lost as he referred to it. The concept here is "You are what you eat"
As I stated earlier, i'm sure there's an abundance of information i didn't present, potential inaccuracies, as well as other alterior considerations, but that's what the discussion is for. This is my first thread, just signed up today, and am excited that I stumbled upon this site. It's a cryptic situation being human, and I prefer to be open to an ongoing list of possibilities. I love non ordinary explanations, and am eager to hear what everyone has to contribute. It's an open floor and I accept any additional info, questions, criticisim, etc. So with that said....scientists, spiritual proponents, skeptics....regardless of your affiliations..team human...feedback please :)

  • 41 Comments  
  • NoetPoet Apr 05, 2014

    Part 1

    1) Strophoria cubensis does not naturally occur anywhere in, or even near, Africa. See this map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Psilocybe-cubensis-range-map.png

    2) Which makes the theory pretty much unfalsifiable. Do we have any evidence that any strains of magic mushroom were symbiotically entangled with any species of animals that would have lived alongside hominids in Africa at that time?

    3) Which also doesn’t help with falsifiability. So McKenna claimed that mushrooms catalysed hominid evolution but he couldn’t even begin to say which hominid species was/were involved over the 5 million year period he allows for his drug-induced evolutionary catalysis to occur?

    4) Again refer to the map. Claims about it being another species of mushroom probably won’t help so far as falsifiability is concerned.

    5) I find it hard to believe that the larynx was just sitting there for all that time not being put to any particular good use and that it didn’t co-evolve with the brain (particularly the parts of the brain involved in communication and thinking).

    6) But again we don’t even know which hominid species we’re talking about here, let alone what sensitivity they may have had to a psychedelic compound to which they had never previously been exposed. Intoxication leading to greater vulnerability is no trifling matter when you’re talking about trying to survive on the plains of prehistoric Africa; we only think of it as a minor issue today because we live in developed and technologically advanced societies where we don’t have to worry about lions lurking behind every bush and around every corner. You could say that the proper amount would be realized over time, but I could say – with no less evidence to back me up – that the deaths, confusion, heightened vulnerability and other mayhem that resulted from naïve overdoses would have compelled them to minimise or avoid its ingestion.

  • NoetPoet Apr 05, 2014

    Part 2

    7) I haven’t gathered it from any particular place, but I can’t think of any people in history who have come up with significant innovations or insights because/while they were under the influence of psychedelic substances. Not even religious figures like Jesus and Buddha claimed to be under the influence of such substances, and in many cases actually discouraged their use. I know you didn’t reference technology specifically, but I used that as an example of how psychedelics use has little correlation with advancements in human sophistication.

    There are other aspects of the Stoned Ape Theory which I don’t think have been given due consideration here. I’m talking about the political and psychological motivations underlying this theory. McKenna has claimed that the ingestion of psilocybin by African hominids – for which there is no fossil, genetic or archaeological evidence – interrupted the formation of oppressive hierarchies based on “male dominance”, thereby allowing partnership –based social organisation, altruism, planning, moral values, and other such lovely human traits to emerge and flourish. He essentially describes a drug-induced lost golden age, in which magic mushroom consumption dissolved the egotistical and sexual boundaries between people to create an “orgiastic” socio-sexual dynamic which made it impossible to trace lines of male paternity (and presumably also impossible to prevent inbreeding). Then he reckons that about 12,000 the magic mushrooms conveniently disappeared from the human diet, causing the prompt re-emergence of the pre-mushroom tendency to form neurotic oppressive male-dominated hierarchies. And yet all the other mushroom-induced traits (moral values, altruism, planning, music etc) somehow persisted to the present day!

    So basically what McKenna was trying to do with his unscientific theory was justify and promote the kind of lifestyle he preferred, i.e. one characterised by lots of drug-tripping, group sex, and supposedly egalitarian/co-operative social structures. So his theory is still interesting, but not in the way that he presumably intended it to be…

  • Live4theMystery Apr 03, 2014

    "There are a great many inaccuracies built into this discussion that are not being addressed"

    Would you care to point them out for me? The links you posted concern the mammalian use of psychoactives and the theraputic, anxiety reducing effects of LSD in controlled psychotherapy sessions. However, none of your references really tackle the meat of what were discussing. Not to say LSD and it's medical implications isnt't a worthwhile discussion, i'm just unsure of the relation you're trying to make. This thread surrounds the possibilities of psilocybin playing an evolutionary role in a particular homonid species, which through dietary inculcation over generations helped develop linguistic behavior. Please specify the innacuracies you've come across

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Apr 03, 2014


    There are a great many inaccuracies built into this discussion that are not being addressed.

    See my favorite, "reindeer urine" http://www.cracked.com/article_17032_7-species-that-get-high-more-than-we-do.html

    But here is some good old hard scientific research that I'll toss into the mix.

    The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease has posted results from the first controlled trial of LSD in more than 40 years. The study, conducted in the office of a Swiss psychiatrist near Bern, tested the effects of the drug as a complement to talk therapy for 12 people nearing the end of life

    http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Documents/90000000.0-00001.pdf

  • Live4theMystery Apr 03, 2014

    1) Strophoria cubensis are the indole containing mushroom targeted as the prime candidate in the theory.
    2) The great rift valley is where humans are believed to have evolved, as speculated from the dense concentration of fossilized cranial evidence. Once again, good luck finding fossilized mushrooms. As mentioned prior they're typically mycelium specimens which are microscopic, finding full fruit bodies is uncommon. Moreover, there are 3 different species which are found in Africa, such as panaleous strains, as well as strophoria cubensis which are symbiotically entangled with cattle.
    3) Granted, but I feel that would be difficult to anthropologically determine.
    4) For one, the species in question is "strophoria cubensis" which requires no more than shit to form. Two, if it were another species, chances are there's a few shaded trees in the region to facilitate growth.
    5) We're not referring to the larynx as the organ responsible for language. It may take a larynx to vocalize speech, but it takes higher order brain activity to produce syntax. Frontal areas of the neocortex are believed to be responsible.
    6) Apes have been observed to ingest food through a system of trial and error, and not just because they're hungry, but often because there are pharmacological properties to the substance being inculcated in their diet. This was first noticed at Gombe state national park where apes were witnessed eating food they didn't appreciate for taste, which despite flavor would later go looking for. Rhiarubrine-A was an oil apes showed interest in which eliminates bacteria. Two, lethal amounts of psilocybin are practically unheard of when at least considering "humans", so "danger" as far as it's implications extend, go no further than intoxicaiton which leads to vulnerability. It's not about physcially measuring the compound with a teaspoon, overtime the proper dose would be realized.
    7) I'd like to see where you've gathered your research backing this claim. To my knowledge, tryptamine compounds have played a cultural infulence throughout the world, not sure about technology, but then again I never made that claim or assumption. Whether your examining the works of Gordon Wasson or overviewing the drug induced culture of teonancatl in mexico, you can find the ubiquity of substance use throughout the world.

    It doesn't sound narky, you're simply asking important questions. And for the record i'm not completley sold on the theory, it's just an interesting idea, as you said. However, all the research as of yet which aims to identify what created such a rapid evolutionary transition is lacking. So all of evolution with respect to the "higher mind" is no more than speculation without concrete empirical evidence.

  • NoetPoet Apr 02, 2014

    There are several major problems with the Stoned Ape theory:

    1) The theory does not identify the particular species of hallucinogenic mushroom which is supposed to have catalysed hominid evolution.
    2) There is no species of hallucinogenic mushroom native in the parts of Africa where humans evolved, and no evidence to suggest that there was such a species during the time period required by the theory (nor does the theory offer a plausible explanation for why such a species later disappeared from those areas).
    3) The theory does not identify which species of hominid underwent the mushroom-induced evolution.
    4) Hallucinogenic mushrooms require moist and shady conditions to grow (i.e. jungles), but according to the theory hominids started consuming the mushrooms when Africa’s climate dried out and their habitat turned from jungle to savannah.
    5) The larynx, which allows humans to speak, evolved long before hominids supposedly started consuming the hallucinogenic mushrooms.
    6) The theory does not explain how a hominid would measure out a correct (i.e. non-dangerous) dose of psilocybin from the mushrooms, yet it says that hominids started eating the mushrooms in the first place because they were hungry.
    7) In historical times, the correlation between hallucinogenic drug use and cultural/intellectual/technological development has been weak at best.

    I’m not saying this to be narky; I am saying this to demonstrate that an interesting idea isn’t necessarily going to turn out to be a good/plausible idea upon closer inspection. More importantly, there may be detrimental practical implications in allowing ourselves to be taken with an idea just because we think it’s cool/interesting.

  • Jim Centi Mar 04, 2014

    Switching modes of experience:

    After waking up this AM, I did a few chores, took a light hit from my bong and then turned on my wall speakers and listened to Sounds of the Seasons “Mardi Gras”

    At 77 I was dancing like a 20 yr old and really getting into the music for a couple of hours.

    Felt so good, I thought I’d spread the cheer.

  • Live4theMystery Mar 02, 2014

    @Jim Centi Part 2

    On a side note, regarding "Psilocybin", i've found among clinical research, an experiment which infers the effects produced by psilocybin create sensory relaxation, in the sense(no pun intended), more external stimulus can pass through the nervous system barriers. A theory originally beheld by "Aldous Huxley" assuming the brain acts as a reduction valve which limits and organizes what information is received from the external. The common misconception among psychonauts is that tryptamines and phenethylamines enhance brain function and autonomy, when the exact opposite appears to be true. These psychomimetic compounds instead appear to decrease certain levels cortical activity, which in effect decreases the power of neruological filters to superimpose self assessment as a feature over reality. This could quite possibly unveil the mechanistic effects of ego death, boundary dissolution, felt experience of oneness, and so on. In ways this correlates with the meat of this particular forum, in saying that the reduction of certain biological neuro barriers enabled a non linear, abstract cognitive influence to pervade the ordinary systems of cause and effect thought relationships through an evolutionary transgression into more novel states of creative indulgence. This is purely speculation, but none the less a worthwhile consideration when discussing conscious evolution. Heres the link http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120123152043.htm

    This should've been mentioned above, but I forgot to address the radio show you reccomended. I examined a wiki summary of "Something is Happening" and noted the names of key speakers. Trying to download the different aired segments of the radio program is redundant when I can locate a dense collection of written and audio works of the Intellects via google. I appreciate the reference, as it added to the long list of identities I need to review, but i'd rather have a compilation of their ideas rather than tid bits scattered throughout a radio lexicon. Either or, your reccomendation is fully valued :)

    As always, the best of wishes Jim. May the uncertainty of this world unfold in a medium you can blissfully traverse throughout

  • Live4theMystery Mar 02, 2014

    @Jim Centi Part 1

    I just finished researching Krishnamurti. Interesting ideas. Monk wisdom seems to be littered with modes of self discovery. The overarching metaphor seems to be "Changing the self is the first step to changing the world". In some cases I belive the focus should be shifted to altering the predicament of society, to lead to a reformation of the self. That is if we are a condition of our environment, and interdependency is a valid presumption of ontology. I will further my investigation of Jack Gariss. The wiki archive has a slim amount of content to form a well rounded adumbration of his ideas. My research is limited by the factor of time, and the clutter within my schedule. My life is overly dominated with institutionalized forms of structure such as academics and employment, which limits my attempted investments in both this forum and extracurricular study. Being 22 years old and trying to juggle work and school full time disables a lot of available free time to fuck around. With that in mind, my apologies for the long period of static response.

    I couldn't agree with you more about McKenna and Sheldrake. The trialogues with them and Ralph perplex my imagination. If only Terence were still around. It would be fascinating to see his critique of modern reality given all the new advancements. Luckily Sheldrake is still around, and to my knowledge remains an extended faculty member of IONS.

    My undying respects for your contributions to the psychedelic community via the Hoffman foundation. I need to examine the contents of their online domain. As far as my contributions to the psychedelic community, nothing extends beyond a few donations to Erowid and MAPS. I wish to become more actively involved, but possess the burden of "business as usual".

  • Jim Centi Feb 11, 2014

    Live4theMystery

    I just checked the schedule for the Something is Happening show and noticed that on one particular day some good recordings will be played: Alan Watts, Shinzen Young, Jack Gariss and Krishnamurti.

    Jack Gariss is good, but he talks so slow unless you do some bonging before you listen to him, you may not get it. I enjoyed him to the degree that I made annual contributions to the show. Shinzen Young is a Buddhist Monk that is also very good.

    I mention those two because you may not be familiar with their work. The other two need no commentary from me.

    I failed to mention that the Albert Hofmann Foundation has the most complete library of Psychedelic literature in the world. Click the links until you get to banner listing - Home/About us/Culture/Events/Museum/Voices/What’s New and then Explore.

  • Jim Centi Feb 10, 2014

    @Live4theMystery

    Something should be cleared up. When I mention talks that I recall or information about Ram Dass, Tim Leary, Krishnamurti, Allan Watts, Terrance McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake etc.; my much of my information was gained from a late night Radio Show called “Something is Happening” broadcast over KPFK, Los Angeles.

    I was addicted this show when I lived in Los Angeles thirty years ago and was one of the night people who stayed up from midnight to six am in order to listen to every show.

    I recorded many of these shows so I could listen to them over and over. KPFK is now broadcast over the internet and I check in with them occasionally, but the format seems to have changed somewhat from what I enjoyed.

    You can check out their schedule for the “Something is Happening”, show to see if there is something you may be interested in. They also have a very limited archive of older shows, but it appears they must be purchased,

    Terrance and Rupert were great friends and enjoyed each other’s company. Listening to their recorded conversations moved one far beyond the margins of the consensus or herd mentality.

    As a charter member of the Albert Hoffman Foundation, I heard a few who were hooked into the spirit of the mystic speak in person when we had occasional gatherings. Our board of Advisers consisted of twenty five MDs and PhD’s including Terrance and Dennis McKenna, Ram Dass, Tim Leary, Stan Grof, John Lilly and others.

    The Foundation is now inactive, but has an interesting library that can be accessed over the internet.

    Live for the mystery, the dream, live long and prosper…….Jim

  • Live4theMystery Feb 09, 2014

    @Jim Centi

    No offense taken. I think words can definitely fabricate a false sense of being, and recognize them for what they're worth--a connotation of reality. The empowerment of feeling is more important and relative to direct experience than that of which is syntactically expressed. Language is a duel sided force. I believe there's balance to be found in both realms of experience, self or isness. Beheld premises of self-recognition should undergo temporary dissolution, so we can remanifest, and extinguish the mental clutter that causes us to think in coordination with culturally instilled biases. This is the importance of psychedelics. "We are the result of all we have thought"--Buddha

    Terence, Rupert, and Ralph have a long list of lectures that can be found within the internet archives. I still remain unfamiliar with Krishnamurti, I really need to invest the time to examine his ideas. I thought Rupert was important to bring up, because there could be an abstract tangibility between plant communication and his morphogenetic field theory.

    As far as detachment from discussion is concerned, do whatever you feel is conducive to your view of improvement. Although the illusion of self can create conflict in some cases, I consider every form of experience to be worthy of healthy exploration, to a degree. Communication with others may affirm your sense of self, but it can also lead to certain levels of transformation. I learn a lot from others everyday, and believe it's up to me to take everything with a grain of salt. As Alfred North Whitehead said "No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude."

    And I will discontinue the trend of referring to you as Mr.Centi, as you have requested. Jim it is from now on :) May our future discoveries create a ripple into the ongoing fractal of life

  • Jim Centi Feb 09, 2014

    Hi Live4theMystery,

    I have lived within the paradigm that consciousness exists independent of matter of over forty years; as a result I find much of what I read and hear to be verbage that does not penetrate to the depths of true cognition. (I am not referring to you. If you experience offense, try detaching from the illusion of self that experiences offense)

    It’s interesting that two of the quotes you recently used, I have considered using myself. There, I did it……referred to my experience of the illusion of self and contradicted……myself…..within two short paragraphs.

    You mentioned Rupert Sheldrake, he and Terrance engaged in at least two lengthy conversations that I recall. Also, an interesting tidbit…..Terrance and his brother Dennis spent some time with Krishnamurti. Dennis was not impressed with him, something to the effect that all he did was ask questions, but never provided answers. Our level of perception seems to be colored by the oscillations in our experience of consciousness or awareness; my oscillations can shift in a matter of several minutes or hours.

    A few hours ago in another topic I said that I may detach from Discussions for a while, I had planned to do that until I read your recent comments addressed to me.

    I should take some time off for a while; it seems impossible to remain detached from the illusion of self when engaged with others…..perhaps it is language or conceptual thought that sucks whatever we are into the illusion. Plants seem to do well without language or conceptual thought, I read in one of the links related to plant intelligence that they experience several senses in addition to the five we are told that we are limited to.

    Please refer to me as Jim and loose the Mr. I feel like you’re talking to someone else.

    Live for the mystery and the dream…….Jim

  • Live4theMystery Feb 09, 2014

    @Jim Centi

    I've also further examined the link you posted, as well as other related sources. A sort of problem solving based intelligence appears to be presented even in the absence of nerve cells capable of information processing. Does this imply conscious independence of matter, or epigentic developments through experience dependent relationships? There's definitely an advanced perception of environment taking place, as demonstrated by the findings of Gagliano, where the mimosa plant was dropped a series of times until it discontinued the trend of collapsing it's leaves in response to the stimulus. The ability to discern between a safe and destructive environmental impetus, and implement future action based on that encounter suggests a learning mechanism of some form. The fact that plants contain neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, I find equally as interesting. What purpose could the presence of those chemicals serve? Biological organization never fails to surprise me. As McKenna said "Animals are something invented by plants to move seeds around. An extremely yang solution to a peculiar problem which they faced." Thought you might find that quote both fitting and humorous :) Let me know where your research leads you. I've retained a proximal interest in this. It could very well coalesce with this topic

  • Live4theMystery Feb 08, 2014

    @Jim Centi

    LOLOLOL!!! Indeed. I'm not completely certain the change would be a very productive alteration. I'm a man, not a miracle worker. I believe the answers would be found within botanical sacraments of the entheogenic variety, which are certainly capable of producing an unintended effect. I value your responses wholeheartedly Mr. Centi, and appreciate that you recognize my unwillingness to directly subscribe to any single form of epistemological inquiry. As J.B.S Hadalane said "my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. I have read and heard many attempts at a systematic account of it, from materialism and theosophy to the Christian system or that of Kant, and I have always felt that they were much too simple. I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy. That is the reason why I have no philosophy myself, and must be my excuse for dreaming.”

  • Jim Centi Feb 07, 2014

    @ Live4theMystery

    You’re entitled to a few days off occasionally. Your ambition to juggle three reality paradigms….Spirituality, Scientific Materialism and a form of Mysticism…is admirable.

    If you’re successful in this endeavor, I’ll write a few letters and suggest that you be invited to join the team attempting to resolve the differences between the Israelis and Palestinians.

    A little humor is useful when we’re playing such demanding roles.

  • Live4theMystery Feb 07, 2014

    "It might be possible to do if scaled down as described above, or perhaps if we only look at cultural/behavioural changes over one or two generations. Still, we’d have both the anti-drugs and the animal rights people riled up!"

    LOLOLOL...You're correct, which makes a controlled experiment difficult to try and manifest. I don't know where I exactly even stand on this issue, because I know for certain I wouldn't want to be part of an experiment unwillfully. I respect all forms of life, and the dynamic equilibrium from which they evolved, so anything thats overly invasive I think is immoral. However, if you placed a mushroom culture in the environment and left it up to the apes to ingest, that would suggest the intent to consume, as well as the behavioral effect it has over generations. To me that seems pretty harmless. As far as anti-drug lobbyists are concerned, they simply ignore recent data which shows minimal health risks involved with dropping acid or any other psychedelic drug. If the government truly followed the scheduling process, agents of this nature wouldn't be avoided. For there is medical applications, low addiction potential, and little potential for abuse. A lot of people get simply freaked out about the idea of taking hallucinogens in the first place. Timothy Leary once said "LSD tends to cause schizophrenia in people who haven't taken it." haha. The war on drugs is simply a smokescreen policy makers use to avoid addressing the social and economic factors that underlie drug use. And is also a way to make money off of a civil rights issue. I digress though, that is a conversation for another time, as it is unrelated to the topic.

    @Jim Centi

    How very interesting. So it would seem that human thought processes affect plant behavior. I wonder if it could have to do with hormones that are released during the act of a positive/negative thought. There is a lot to nature we seem to have misrepresented or failed to completely understand. We're in the era of information. The change of thinking in terms of "hardware" versus "software" http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121212205918.htm.

    A topic you might find of value is one presented by rupert sheldrake. He discusses a theory of his called the morphogentic field, which sounds kind of similar to the hundreth monkey effect. A little off topic, but still interesting is his research into the nature of constants, and how they may be not so constant.

    Thank you for your commitment to this thread Mr. Centi

    @everyone

    Sorry for the period of inactivity. Been busy the past few days. Hope to keep the topic afloat, and look forward to future discourse.

  • Live4theMystery Feb 07, 2014

    "It would be interesting to use brain imaging to see how it psilocybin affects the brains of chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans. Although it might stimulate those brain areas in humans, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is a significant factor in our evolutionary development, especially when we consider the very dynamic climatological, environmental, social and nutrition-related circumstances in which humans evolved. Then again, it might be the case that hallucinogenic drugs did not significantly contribute to evolutionary brain development in a *direct* way, but might have done so in an indirect way, i.e. by encouraging changes in early human’s behaviour such as playing more games or making more art which in turn spurred on evolutionary brain development."

    I couldn't agree more. The cerebral cortex is a characteristic of our species, not lower anthropoids. The heightened electrical activity in that area of the brain, as demonstrated under an electroencephalogram, I speculate could be a sign that psilocybin paved the way for growth in that region. Do I believe psilocybin alone fostered the absolute development of the neocortex? No. As you stated above there are a variety of circumstances which enabled the evolution of our species. I simply question how the evolution of that complicated organ took affect at such a fast rate. (100,000 years) Yes, I do believe it was in an indirect fashion. It's not like we could've consumed psilocybin and sat around with are thumb up our nose, and expected higher order brain chemistry to emerge. It was the change of behavioral activity being catalyzed by something that created the transition. Human behavior is so strangely different and obscure from other forms of animal organization, leading me to assume there had to have been some type of "spark" that enabled a drastic change in ordinary cognitive activity.

  • Live4theMystery Feb 07, 2014

    @Robert Johnson
    I apologize if my comment regarding the implications of glossillalia seemed a bit insensitive. The remark was aimed at the neurological symptoms of the behavior that take place, not a presumption of what it is happening altogether.

    Your summarized extract of pentecostalism was intriguing. I was unaware the branch of christianity was so closely paralleled to evangelism. From my understanding, it seems the distinguishable difference is direct communication with God, versus methods of prayer, worship, and so forth. I admire the history of your beliefs and am pleased to hear you have taken other forms into consideration.

    Concerning epigenetics and the livelihood of your spouse, both my sentiments and respect for your knowledge and pragmatic methods. I'm glad to hear that she is in better health as a result of your commitment. So it would seem that nurture plays a very profound impact on the conditions of our vitality and the decisions of genes. I'd be interested in to hear of the status of her predicament after being relieved of the respiradone, so please if it's not to personal, do keep me updated on her health, both out of concern and a thirst for answers. Love is definitely the answer to a more fulfilled life.

    @Noetpoet

    "Might we be able to look for evidence of residues of hallucinogenic plants in fossilised campsites, on ancient tools, in fossilised stools, and perhaps even in paleolinguistics?"

    It's these questions that make the exploration of this idea exciting. I've furthered my research, and found no journals or articles claiming to have found fossilized strophoria cubensis remains within fossilized campsites. Does this mean they aren't there? No, it simply means I myself need to do more research, or we as a species haven't done enough investigation. Full in tact fungal fruit bodies, are incredibly rare fossils, being their delicate and often difficult or impossible to identify. We tend to have better luck finding spores or traces of mycelium, which are microscopic reminents. Decomposition is a bitch, so fungal fossils don't receive as much attention as other organisms. Paleolinguistics would require, at least for me, too much research and cross comparison, to come to any definitive conclusion, so instead I suggest examining the archaic cave art which illuminates mushroom intoxication of our early ancestors.

  • Jim Centi Feb 06, 2014


    Hi Live4theMystery

    It appears that my earlier exchanges with you were somewhat delusional.

    A relatively new science is attempting to emerge which appears to invalidate Neuroscience as a reliable source of information.

    This comes from a recent article in the New Yorker magazine:

    A group of respected scientists are promoting that…….“plants are much more intelligent and much more like us than most people think—capable of cognition, communication, information processing, computation, learning, and memory.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/12/23/131223fa_fact_pollan

    The article may be cumbersome for some because the first part of the article explains why the scientific study of plants has been suppressed.

    What is controversial about the article is that the characteristics of plants mentioned were previously attributed exclusively to brain function.

    It will be interesting to observe how this quagmire develops.

    @ Robert Johnston

    Hi Bob,

    Your recent comments are a true love story.

    I also am speed reader which causes me to make errors in comprehension.

    @NoetPoet

    I offer my apology for offending you. My speed reading of your many comments in Discussions may have caused me to form an unwarranted prejudice toward you.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Feb 05, 2014

    Live4theMystery. Part 2.Enter Epigenetic Love Therapy 24/7: The first environmental intervention was respiradone which showed some promise for slowing the HD gene's potency and spread. Within a month not only her cognitive and emotional issues were alleviated to a significant degree but amazingly her chorea vanished after about a month also. We felt we could now proceed with epigenetic love therapy, but there was no such therapy even mentioned in the literature, anecdotal or scientific, let alone methodology. Clearly, we were now in uncharted waters.

    Some psychoneuroimmunological articles showed that in PET-scan studies expressions of love elicited healing biochemicals such as ocytocin, endorphins, and serotonin in contrast to biochemicals destructive to body tissue such as cortisol, the chemical emitted during experiences of stress. So temporarily we dubbed our 'epigenetic love therapy 24/7' and Millis and I proceeded.

    The second intervention probably had to be more than talk therapy alone, we reasoned, so I hypothesized with Millis that we needed to fill her total environment 24/7 with love, i.e. mutual respect, empathy, compassion, harmony in our condo's interior design, balance, optimum conditions, music [light classics], active listening, and participative ownership for all decisions involving her.

    To make a much longer story shorter, if Millis weren't still taking resperidone one would think she is in complete remission. We have a meeting with her physician in May to discuss the desirability of taking her off resperidone at least on a trial basis.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Feb 05, 2014

    Live4theMystery, this is in response to your request for information about epigentics. Part 1. I was first introduced to epigenetics by Bruce Lipton soon after his momentous discoveries when a research fellow at Stanford. Simply stated, epigenetics holds that environment shapes our genes and all of evolution has occurred in response to genes being subjected to a change in a gene's environment. More complex variables and discussion thereof could follow, but I don't have the time for that now.

    Epigenetics came to my attention as a possible intervention when about ten years ago my beloved wife Millis was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, a genetically transmitted progressive degenerative disease involving her motor, cognitive, and emotion subsystems i.e. a horrific disease.

    Talk therapy was useless. Her psychiatric neurologist said that Millis' symptoms were common among her HD patients and there was no known medicine reliable enough to mitigate HD symptoms. But we might experiment with a medicine that had shown promise with some HD patients here and there. If the medicine could ameliorate at least the symptoms perhaps she would be more receptive to talk therapy. So I with Millis' concurrence began experimenting with very small doses of respiradone, an antipsychosis drug, prescribed by her psychiatric neurologist.The hope of course was that the drug might possibly slow the seemingly inexorable spread of the cognitive and emotional components of her HD. Her involuntary motor movements (chorea) probably wouldn't be affected. Well, we lucked out [or was it a synchronistic event?].

  • Jim Centi Feb 05, 2014

    @Live4theMystery

    Your topic contained some very worthwhile exchanges.

    Do you have any ideas relative to how your topic can be salvaged?

  • NoetPoet Feb 05, 2014

    “Discussions is being spammed by an individual who offers incessant criticism.”

    No it’s not. You however are taking this thread and others off topic with your incessant paranoid ranting about criticism. Either you don’t know what the word “criticism” means, or you have a VERY fragile sense of self.

    “In my opinion, either he is under the illusion that incessant criticism reflects superiority or he has been hired by a small group of materialistic scientists to disrupt Discussions.”

    Get off your high horse and back on topic. Stop whining like a spoilt princess, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

    “It is very difficult to ignore this individual who posts incessantly posts criticism, especially when he attacks you personally, but my advice is to flawlessly ignore him.”

    You must speak a different dialect of English to the one I speak, because you seem to have very strange ideas about what constitutes “incessant criticism” and “personal attack”. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have not “personally attacked” anyone, however I have DEFENDED myself against unwarranted personal attacks from others such as yourself. Be assured that I will continue to defend myself from personal attacks, particularly attacks that are as childish and unfair as yours.

    If you can’t handle what I’m saying then maybe you should practice what you preach and “flawlessly” ignore my posts. You’re sure as heck not doing a very good job of it so far!

  • Jim Centi Feb 05, 2014

    Discussions is being spammed by an individual who offers incessant criticism.

    In my opinion, either he is under the illusion that incessant criticism reflects superiority or he has been hired by a small group of materialistic scientists to disrupt Discussions. See the topic “Discussions and Revolutions”.

    http://noetic.org/discussions/open/465/

    In that topic, instructions are provided to access an article by Dean Radin, IONS Chief Scientist, entitled “See the Evidence”. If you follow the instructions how to access Dean’s article, it has moved down the list, so you will have to scroll for it.

    It is very difficult to ignore this individual who posts incessantly posts criticism, especially when he attacks you personally, but my advice is to flawlessly ignore him.

  • NoetPoet Feb 04, 2014

    “I've been searching through a variety of online resources, and have found no definitive conclusions regarding their influence within the fossilized record of anthropoids. That would be difficult to go about examining in an archaelogical or anthropological manner, because we rely on endocasts to adumbrate what surface areas of the brain were utilized, which doesn't nesecarrily suggest the presence of individual molecules, ligands, neurotransmitters, etc. “

    Granted, but unless we find some hard evidence then your interesting idea will not go beyond being an interesting idea. I understand that the anthropoid fossil record is actually quite scarce, which would exacerbate the difficulty of finding evidence. Might we be able to look for evidence of residues of hallucinogenic plants in fossilised campsites, on ancient tools, in fossilised stools, and perhaps even in paleolinguistics?

    “Psilocybin intoxicaiton under brain imaging technologies has shown neural activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex, which is sort of like the "me" complex of the brain, in laymens terms.”

    It would be interesting to use brain imaging to see how it psilocybin affects the brains of chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans. Although it might stimulate those brain areas in humans, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is a significant factor in our evolutionary development, especially when we consider the very dynamic climatological, environmental, social and nutrition-related circumstances in which humans evolved. Then again, it might be the case that hallucinogenic drugs did not significantly contribute to evolutionary brain development in a *direct* way, but might have done so in an indirect way, i.e. by encouraging changes in early human’s behaviour such as playing more games or making more art which in turn spurred on evolutionary brain development.

    “In regards to your theoretical experiment, I believe it would be interesting indeed. Note, it would probably take a long period of time to come to any conclusive data, hence making it impractical. “

    It might be possible to do if scaled down as described above, or perhaps if we only look at cultural/behavioural changes over one or two generations. Still, we’d have both the anti-drugs and the animal rights people riled up!

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Feb 04, 2014

    Live4theMystery, per your request in an earlier post, an overview: Pentecostalism is a renewal movement[1] within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.

    Like other forms of evangelical Protestantism, Pentecostalism adheres to the inerrancy of scripture and the necessity of accepting Christ as personal Lord and Savior. It is distinguished by belief in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience separate from conversion that enables a Christian to live a Holy Spirit–filled and empowered life. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healing—two other defining characteristics of Pentecostalism. Because of their commitment to biblical authority, spiritual gifts, and the miraculous, Pentecostals tend to see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power and teachings that were found in the Apostolic Age of the early church. For this reason, some Pentecostals also use the term Apostolic or full gospel to describe their movement.

    Pentecostalism emerged in the early 20th century among radical adherents of the Holiness movement, who were energized by revivalismand expectation for the imminent Second Coming of Christ. Believing that they were living in the end times, they expected God to spiritually renew the Christian Church thereby bringing to pass the restoration of spiritual gifts and the evangelization of the world. In 1900,Charles Parham, an American evangelist and faith healer, began teaching that speaking in tongues was the Bible evidence of Spirit baptism. The three-year-long Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, resulted in the spread of Pentecostalism throughout the United States and the rest of the world as visitors carried the Pentecostal experience back to their home churches or felt called to themission field. While virtually all Pentecostal denominations trace their origins to Azusa Street, the movement has experienced a variety of divisions and controversies. An early dispute centered around challenges to the doctrine of the Trinity. As a result, the Pentecostal Movement is divided between trinitarian and non-trinitarian branches. Comprising over 700 denominations and a large number of independent churches, there is no central authority governing Pentecostalism; however, many denominations are affiliated with the Pentecostal World Fellowship. There are over 279 million Pentecostals worldwide, and the movement is growing in many parts of the world, Overview on Pentecostalism extracted verbatim from Wikipedia.

  • Jim Centi Feb 03, 2014

    @ Robert Johnston

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your comment that removes the valve of the pressure cooker and lessens the pressure that may have been building from my previous two comments to this topic. They may have been excessively intense for the more sensitive souls among us.

    The trick is to communicate like a human being, but maintain a foothold in the emerging reality of “no self”.

    You may recall the words of Jesus “I live in this world, but am not of this world.”

    Best wishes…..Jim

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Feb 02, 2014

    Hi Live4theMystery! As I mentioned to you in an earlier post, your reference to Pentecostal Christians jumped out at me for the reason I was conceived, born, and raised in an extremely devout Pentecostal Christian (PC) family and remained a PC until after graduating from their flagship Bible institute. While there, after hours and hours of meditation and "tarrying" I experienced an "infilling of the Holy Spirit" as evidenced by ecstatically speaking in tongues (glossillalia) , followed later by receiving "gifts of the spirit" (approximately equivalent to Siddhis).

    While I support your right to view the experience as "basically a neurological seizure" there was for me far more to it than just that. I found the experience profoundly transformative in a number of ways, one it erased doubts about my family's belief system. In addition, after my experience called "the baptism of the Holy Spirit," I felt complete surrender to that church's version of a "Holy Spirit" which I experienced as rapturous love for a sacred Father-like being in heaven, probably accompanied, (I didn't have blood tests), by secretions of oxytocin and endorphins and feelings of empathy for people, peace, hope and satisfaction.

    Overall my baptism of the holy spirit experience, complementing the "seizure" aspect you mentioned, was great passion and love for my interpretation of "God" at the time, and commitment to militantly spreading the New Testament gospel as interpreted by that religious community through their hymn "Onward Christian soldiers . . .".

    I later transcended and grew in consciousness as you, if interested, can deduce by reviewing my IONS profile.

    Yours toward expanding mutual respect, empathy, knowledge, wisdom, and integral health . . . individually, socially, ecosystemically, and cosmicallty,

  • Jim Centi Jan 31, 2014

    @Live4theMystery

    One of the more recent dudes to share the soul of the Mystic is Adyashanti, a California born guy whose birth name I can’t recall.

    He says that the answer to the truly big questions results in the disappearance of the questioner. He has said that if you explore inwardly, there is no “me”, “I” or “Self” to be found.

    Digging deeply, a common theme among many mystics is that true liberation is had through abandonment of the separate self that exists independent of the universe.

    For those who have an aversion to mysticism, Google- Neuroscience illusion of Self - Neuroscience illusion of free will - Illusion of Self or combinations of those phrases. There are many creditable links that discuss this within a scientific context.

    Two of my favorite quotes from older mystics follow:

    “Nothing is more hidden from us than the illusion which lives with us day by day, and our greatest illusion is to believe that we are what we think ourselves to be.” Amiel (1821-1881)

    “You ask ‘How can I know the infinite? I answer, not by reason. It is the office of reason to distinguish and define. The infinite, therefore, cannot be ranked among its objects. You can only apprehend the infinite by a faculty superior to reason, by entering into a state in which you are your finite self no longer, in which the Divine Essence is communicated to you. This is Ecstasy. It is the liberation of your mind from its finite consciousness.” Plotinus (205 –270 AD)

    If I am straying from the topic, slap my wrists, but I believe that aside from meditation and yoga, the soul of the mystic can be touched through ingestion of psychotropics.

    Thanks for this topic…..Jim

  • Live4theMystery Jan 30, 2014

    @Jim Centi

    cont'd

    "I acknowledge Terrance as the king of language; even though he once referred to me as a dyslexic who stays up all night and contemplates the nature of Dog."

    As the great bard said "The real secret to magic is the world is made of words, and if you know the words the world is made of you can make of it what you wish." He definitely was the king of language, which is why it's a very whimsical experience listening to him. This is one of the target areas of this thread. How much of a role does language play in abstract awareness? Psilocybin is the theoretical catalyst of origin and serves as a referential point for establishing a model of consciousness. There was a cultural anthropologist who said "Language isn't just a device that describes reality, but brings reality into existence in the first place, because It's that internal dialect which subjectively ascertains what's occurring in all times and places."

    What are your thoughts Mr.Centi? I'm enjoying this conversation :)

  • Live4theMystery Jan 30, 2014

    Beautifully put Jim Centi. Regardless of the validity to such statements, it's the idea that inspires awe and curiosity. His inversely engineered conception of time and space as a momentum is tastefully imaginative. The nature of entropy, disorder and chaos, though physically measurable, in my mind does not absolutely without a doubt confirm the claim that it is happening. If that were the case we'd have a steady conclusion as to the origins of the big bang, which is quintessential in supplementing the evidence present. Nothing happens without a reason, and cause and effect play a pivotal role in the cosmological argument. Do I believe there's a dwell point in hyperspace that we're being attracted too? I'm unable to make that conclusion either. There are different methodologies of exploration which are intrinsically influenced by the language we utilize, and the tools we use for discovery aren't always the right tools for the job. You can take a hammer to a screw, but there may be nails buried in the depths of the toolbox. Everything's a work in progress and epistemic conflictions arise during gameplay.

    Concerning, psilocybin and their relativity to UFO's is interesting to say the least. He seemed to waiver a lot in his presumptions over the matter. I remember a tidbit from a lecture discussing culture as your operating system. The inference made was that environmental nurture produces an epigenetic effect resulting in a sort of reduction valve instilled by culture. He said if you were a positivist you couldn't believe in UFO's, because there's a need to have a certain psychological software to run special effects. He then proceeds to state that shamans are running the premium version of the software, and all sorts of things can get through the doors. In relationship to the thread, one distinctly amusing phenomenon is that mushroom spores can survive within the vacuum of space. When you asked me earlier about the concept of a conscious entity, I meant that in a loosely transitive sense as well. Hypothetically speaking, if psilocybin spores can thrive in outer space, is it impossible to presume they journeyed far distances which eventually lead to the earth, in effect propagating through successful symbiosis? Who knows.

    “the word is not the thing and the description is never the thing described." He also said that the thinker and the thought are one and the observer and the observed are one."

    Need to digest that one. Definitely good food for thought :) Thanks for the reference. I'll check out Krishnamurti

    "What I recall from the Maharishi lectures is he said that we are imprisoned through our identification with human bodies. This imprisons us in space and time."

    I need greater clarification of this concept. Is he referring to the non localization of consciousness, or the conundrum of sensory experience? Please provide further elucidation.

  • Jim Centi Jan 30, 2014

    What I enjoyed about Terrance McKenna was his ability to expand the mind, simply by talking.

    He would speak about things like The Great Attractor. This was some force in the future that was pulling human history toward it. It really doesn't matter if this is true or not, but believing that it is true expands both imagination and mind.

    Terrance talked a lot about UFO’s. He said that their purpose was to shake up our primitive reality paradigms. Somehow he would tie this into the Magic Mushroom, in some beautifully colorful slices of human language.

    I listened to several mystics during those years - Krishnamurti, Ram Dass, Tim Leary, The Maharishi who founded Transcendental Meditation and of course, Terrance. I refer to them as mystics because to me they were the same soul experiencing different human bodies. That’s a mind bender.

    Krishnamurti was fond of saying “the word is not the thing and the description is never the thing described." He also said that the thinker and the thought are one and the observer and the observed are one. If you sincerely grog that, you’re only a few moments away from the experience of Enlightenment.

    What I recall from the Maharishi lectures is he said that we are imprisoned through our identification with human bodies. This imprisons us in space and time.

    No need to say something about Ram Dass, I referred you to his web site where in the first two lectures he discusses the various roles we play. He does it in a light hearted manner that may tickle your soul.

    I would say something about Tim Leary, but you all know what he was about. What you may not know is that in the months before his death, he talked a lot about death. I’m told that he seemed to be obsessed with it. He said he looked forward to it as being the ultimate trip.

    I acknowledge Terrance as the king of language; even though he once referred to me as a dyslexic who stays up all night and contemplates the nature of Dog.

    It’s nice to occasionally recall the past. To do so provides us with a sense of self; although illusory.

  • Live4theMystery Jan 30, 2014

    Thank you for your input and suggestions NoetPoet,
    I've been searching through a variety of online resources, and have found no definitive conclusions regarding their influence within the fossilized record of anthropoids.That would be difficult to go about examining in an archaelogical or anthropological manner, because we rely on endocasts to adumbrate what surface areas of the brain were utilized, which doesn't nesecarrily suggest the presence of individual molecules, ligands, neurotransmitters, etc. Even if it did psilocin is only slightly different than serotonin in it's structural composition, being that the hydroxl group rests on the 4 position and the dimethly groups on nitrogen, it would be problematic trying to locate any direct DNA link with the inferred influence, because serotonin is a part of ordinary brain chemistry. However, because this link isn't chemically observable through the anthropological evidence, it doesn't discount the suggestion of such a possibility. Psilocybin intoxicaiton under brain imaging technologies has shown neural activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex, which is sort of like the "me" complex of the brain, in laymens terms. This prefrontal cortex is associated with language production, planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. Maybe looking for prefrontal cortex contours in skulls from endocasts could support this supposition, but still fails to provide concrete evidence of psilocybin as a catalyst.

    As far as the dangerous implications of higher dosages, I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that an ape could be less cognizant of their environment and therefore be more prone to attack. As far as true hallucinations occuring, beyond that of phosphonegic and antoptic imagegery, I don't imagine would've caused them to run around panicking. The dosage range at which true hallucinations occur usually fall into the closed eye field, and at that dose motor function is too greatly impaired to have the capacity to even stand let alone walk. I'm sure if what were discussing here even happened, a metric for eating standards were implemented based on trial and error, strictly fitting time and place.

    In regards to your theoretical experiment, I believe it would be interesting indeed. Note, it would probably take a long period of time to come to any conclusive data, hence making it impractical.

    Although i'd say this topic is controversial. It definitely can't be discerned as ill reasoned.

    Hope I answered some of your questions. If you share any further interest in the subject, please continue asking and solving. Critical thinking is definitely a healthy feeling :)

  • NoetPoet Jan 30, 2014

    Hi Live4themystery,

    It's an interesting idea. Is there anything in the fossil record or DNA evidence which suggests that advances in higher brain development were preceded or accompanied by the use of psychedlic substances? Is it also possible that use of such substances could have been a selective disadvantage, e.g. if they caused hominids to hallucinate predators and go running in a state of acute panick into the vicinity of an actual predator? It would be interesting, albeit impractical, to run an experiment on two similar groups of chimpanzees where one group was exposed to psychedelic substances and the other (control) group wasn't, and see if any unusual differences in biology, brain function and culture between the two groups emerged over the course of several generations.

  • NoetPoet Jan 30, 2014

    "Perhaps I’ll have more to say about this topic, but I don’t want to appear like that egocentric ass who dominates these discussions with his dogmatic devotion to Scientific Materialism."

    Better to be an ass than an ostrich with bile reflux!

    Please do beg my pardon that my views aren't cosily compatible with your own. How "egocentric" me to defend my views and myself when attacked, how "domineering" of me to be sufficiently interested in these subjects to post here more than once a week, and how "dogmatic" of me to not immediately accept fantastical paranormal explanations for every unusual phenomenon!

    Someone who goes around calling others "egocentric asses" would surely know a thing or two about emotional maturity and humility!

  • Live4theMystery Jan 30, 2014

    Oh an one other thing I left out in regards to Terence Mckenna's theory on consciousness is his seeming uncertainty as well. I remember a quote he said that went somewhere along the lines of exclaiming that science is famed in it's ability to describe phenomenon that can be triggered repeatedly. He then goes on to say something to the nature of "science can tell you the processes that take effect in making one close one's hand into a fist, but what is the abstraction that caused the mind to wish to close one's hand in the first place. It sees mind as a commanding force in this equation." Note this is also a statement made sometime in the mid 90's, so it's very well possible that i'm missing new bits of information that could explain this potential conjecture in scientific terms. However I do believe McKenna was a scientist as well as unorthodox in his teachings, because at times he seemed to suggest science was missing out on bigger parts of the picture. Another similar quote is "Sciences own argument for it's preeminence is the beautful toys it can create: aircrafts, television, particle accelerators, what have you. But thats the way a medicine show operates. The jugglers good so the medicines even better." So at least from my interpretation he seems to promote science in some cases, but denote it in others. Sorry for not including this in the past paragraph, but it seemed important :)

  • Live4theMystery Jan 30, 2014

    Much respect Mr. Centi. In my mind you wouldn't be coming off as as egocentric ass for your contribution :) Defining consciousness is a tricky and touchy subject for most people including myself, so I prefer to be as open minded as possible in relation to getting a broad scope of responses from different mindsets. When I refer to it being an entity or function, thats a roundabout way of conveying my ambivalence regarding the matter. Entity assuming the possibility of an alien presence, as presenting ones side of the mind body dualism, and function, in reference to the algorithmic development in chemotaxis, resulting in conscious awareness. Both have their conflictions, and there are multiple approaches to defining what consciousness is at deeper levels. There is good neurological evidence that suggests conscious awareness is a stipulation of environmental conditions and internal mechanisms correlating with one another to produce consciousness, but there's also philosophies such as those promoted by Rene Descartes that give life to several interesting questions as well. I enjoy both sides spiritual and scientific, but don't prefer to subscribe to any explanatory engine, because it would ultimately be hubris to claim my certainty, being that i'm a talking monkey. I have a strong desire to come to deeper conclusions, and therefore wish to hear your input, regardless of if it condones scientific materialism, or infers spiritual ideology. The questions asked are almost more quintisential than the answers from that respect. I have great respects for the premise of this cite, and through examination of a few threads, believe no one should get offended, because the intention here is to try and create well rounded information. So please, give me your feedback whatever it may be, and I promise not to take offense to anything stated. However, do remember to stay on topic in one aspect or another, because I seek constructive direction throughout this discourse. In regards to grammar and paragraphs, i'm not an english major, and am quite awful at it, so I apologize for the poor organization of the content. With that said...let's hear some of the current science your up to date with that correlates with this McKenna theory :)

  • Live4theMystery Jan 30, 2014

    First off, i'd like to thank you for your response in regard to the personal experiences you've had with transformation, as well the medical applications of what you've encountered relating to the epigenetic phenomeona. I'd also like to give you my respects for originally dedicating your time to a well thought out a response and am sorry you encountered technical difficulties. It seems to happen to me on a regular basis as well. Although I will admit my lack of expertise on epigenetics, I still have a fundamental concept of the process. To my understanding epigenetic marks are like an on or off swith to chromatins of genes that ultimately determine what a cell becomes after the point of division. It influences the development of what a cell becomes due to eternal factors, and can deeply contribute to the genetic makeup of a child during pregnancy. In application to the Mckenna theory, I could see it having it's influence, because female apes that'd be ingesting psilocybin during pregnancy would likely influence the development of certain neurounal conditions in their offspring as well as themselves. Over a period of time it seems that it could quite plausibly create significant change in the species. Like I said, I am ignorant of the topic matter, as I am still in school and have limited knowledge of the subject. I'd be interested in hearing a more elaborate explanation you'd have, both in theory, and how it applies to what's being discussed. I'd also be intirgued to discover some of the history of pentecostamlism, with particular reference to the science/spirituality of speaking in tongues. Thanks for your response Robert. Let's see how far we can traverse down this rabbit hole :)

  • Jim Centi Jan 30, 2014

    Live4theMystery,

    In my opinion, yours is one of the most mind expanding topics I've ever read over the five or ten years that I have following Discussions.

    I recall, about thirty or forty years ago, listening to several hundred hours of Terrance McKenna lectures, while in that receptive state produced by the fumes of what we called “The Buddha Bud”.

    I thought that I that I was well versed in the Terrance McKenna material until you state…:

    “The next portion of this theory becomes slightly dicey, because it boils down to defining what consciousness is as an entity or function.” Perhaps I wasn't sufficiently evolved to pick up on that tidbit.

    If consciousness is an entity…..that means that our ancestors were invaded by a non physical entity…….that we have named “consciousness”.

    I have only one criticism of your writing – please insert paragraphs!

    Perhaps I’ll have more to say about this topic, but I don’t want to appear like that egocentric ass who dominates these discussions with his dogmatic devotion to Scientific Materialism.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jan 30, 2014

    I wrote to you earlier, thanking you for starting this thread and introducing some experiences I have in treating a progressive degenerative physical, cognitive, and emotional disorder (Huntington's Disease) with an application of epigenetic theory; and second, my experience growing up Pentecostal, graduating from one of their bible colleges, and ultimately evolving away to where I am now psychospiritually. But alas, when I hit the "Comment" button my 30 minutes of typing disappeared in a flash. If you are interested in discoursing on either or both of those topics -- !) epigenetics and/or 2) Pentecostalism please let me know.,

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