Psycho-active plants and the human evolution

The impact of substances that cause hallucinations in the diet was more than just psychological: plants that produce hallucination may have catalyzed in us, more or less, everything that distinguishes us from the other superior Primates, they are therefore responsible for all the mental functions that we associate with the concept of humanity”. (Terence McKenna)

The use of psycho-active substances was interpreted by the psycho-pharmacologist Ronald Siegel in terms of “primary necessity” for the humanity. Drugs in fact are “adapting agents” which help individuals to face a series of existential needs. Therefore the search for exhilaration would be a “primary motivational strength”. The ethno-botanic Terence McKenna goes even further: according to him psychedelic substances are one of the stimulations for the evolution of the human intelligence.

Archeology has demonstrated that with the Homo Abilis there was a sudden and inexplicable- compared to the usual rhythm of biological evolution – expansion of the brain mass; this process continued, accelerating even more the development of the skull capability, with the subsequent appearance of the Homo Erectus. The actual science can’t give an acceptable explanation to what caused this phenomenon to appear. McKenna’s hypothesis, as much as it sounds staggering, it’s in reality very simple since it’s based on the food diet. In fact when the first Hominids came down from the trees and began to wander through the African steppe, they surely found during their constant search for food, plants rich with psycho-active substances: a lightning must have enlightened those archaic minds.

In McKenna’s opinion those inputs from the psycho-active substances were the ones to stimulate the brain activities of the Hominids till they reached the actual levels. This means that in the course of evolution, the use of psycho-active substances had an effect that went even further than just the psychological aspect. In fact, by stimulating certain specific areas of the brain, the psycho-active substances were inputting those brain area intended for the language, with all the consequences derived from it for the evolution of the knowledge process.

McKenna found in the Psilocybe cubensis, a psycho-active mushroom wide-spread in many areas, the essence in that extraordinary stimulator of the possibility of awareness itself.

The first encounter supposedly happened in some area in Africa when our remote ancestors moved from the trees to the savannah and had more and more often meetings with bovines and horses, whose dung is where the mushrooms in question grow.

From this point on is when the age of what McKenna calls “emeogenis” or also “the age of sharing” starts, in which the ancient man, hunter and gatherer, constantly consumed psycho-active mushrooms and power plants. This age was also marked by the lack of well defined hierarchies, by an orgiastic type of sexuality, and the worship of great mother goddess.

When the quantity of available mushrooms dropped drastically, probably due to climate conditions, they became an allowance just for the elite: from here the launch of the shaman figure. The shaman, also known as “the lord of the trance state”, is the one who can guide with awareness and skill until he can bloom all the capabilities inside each one of us, which normally are sleepy.

At this point, we want to mention that Aldous Huxley, in his essay “The doors to perception” , he expounds the theory according to which the brain is a filter that limits the perceptive capabilities of the conscience. According to this theory the most part of men in order to increase their perceptive possibilities they have to act upon this filter, changing their physiological equilibrium (with the use of psycho-active substances, dances, going without food, specific physical exercises and a lot more). And regarding the effects of mescaline he writes: “Probably it interferes with the enzyme system which regulates the brain function. By doing so the brain efficiency as a focusing tool for the mind on life problems on our planet’s surface is reduced. It looks like this reduction of what can be called the biological efficiency of the brain lets some categories of mental events enter the conscience which normally they are excluded since they don’t have any power of survival.

In other words, the psychedelic substances, blocking or obstructing the action of some neurotransmitters, they let flow to the brain a bigger part than the infinite number of messages which are coming every moment from the interior and exterior world.

The psychedelics in theory let progressively the nervous system free revealing a multidimensional reality which is structured on more than one level. At this point we need to ask ourselves why Nature put there psychedelic substances: what are they needed for and what is their purpose in the picture of life?

Science still has not found an answer for this question. But our far progenitors didn’t have any doubts. They were sacred substances which were put to their disposal directly from Mother Earth, to help the human species to enter in contact with the Transcendence.

Sources: Aldous Huxley, the doors of perception; Elemire Zolla, the god of inebriation; Gipsy Eagle, Psichedelia – a bridge to infinity; High Times, sunset of drugs; Terence McKenna, foods of the gods.

Edited by SD&M –

From: Dolce Vita International 3