early contact highs
Roland Fischer measured the ability of graduate students. given small amounts of psilocybin, to detect the moment when previously parallel lines became skewed. He discovered that performance was actually improved.
.When I discussed these finding with Fischer he smiled after explaining his conclusions, then summed up: .You see what is conclusively proven here is that under certain circumstances one is actually better informed concerning the real world if one has taken a drug than if one has not.. His facetious remark stuck with me, first as an academic anecdote, later as an effort on his part to communicate something profound. What would be the consequences for evolutionary theory of admitting that some chemical habits confer adaptive advantage and thereby become deeply scripted in the behaviour and even genome of some individuals?. Terence McKenna, .Food of the Gods..
Hallucinogenic plants from the Amazon rainforest are also a powerful medicine against gut parasites. There seems to have been no clear dividing line between shamans. prescription of spiritual or medicinal plants.
Historians would murder for a record of that missing link, forgetting for a moment that stoned monkey had no language to describe it, even to hirself. For the staggering vision in that first trip would have been a blistering, eye-opening and yet blinding intuition of the sudden evolutionary acceleration forwards to star travel. And these events would be burned into the mythic and psychic history of that new species - like expulsion from the garden?
or here.s another thought for the mix. unlike other animals, chimps in trees view the action on the ground from a height. unlike birds, moreover, they spend a lot of time on the ground. they were therefore more likely to .know. detachment (seeing life from a separated height) and more likely to be the first to develop pre-planned action . from advance observation. more likely to appreciate the value and then develop this line of perception.
when I walk behind my dog I.m very aware how his height limits his perception of the world. while i can .foresee. dangers or bitches ahead, he can.t. his world is a blurred stream of colours and objects slipping past each side of his head. for me it.s much more of a fixed overview, like a map in which i can see where I.m heading before i get there. the monkeys, then, when they encountered the magic mushroom and its effects, were more likely to appreciate the survival value and then develop this line of perception.
monkey's first trip
the vision of the future
and the vision of the future? the mind boggles, as those ape mentalities must have done (and as the human mind does today). certainly it must have been a separated personal vision quite unlike anything that had occurred to them before.
imagine, certainly, the fraternal bond, telepathic and other, that their shared reverence of tripping must have created among the stand-tall, psychedelicised brothers and sisters! a far, far deeper bonding than, say, 1960s hippies felt when surrounded by enraged and uncomprehending straights.
mushrooms, indeed all psychedelics, dissolve ego. regular ritual ingestion from a young age, then, might even prevent the growth of ego. (for, as implied already,
simultaneously, the ingestion of psilocybin (which, because of the intensity of the experience, would have tended to be a one-off or a new lifestyle) would surely have accentuated personal identity as against the petty village nationalisms of the local tribe, together with more universal reverence for the great brother/sisterhood of the ape family and, indeed, of Life itself.
mushroom tripping today seems able to plug us into a mythological past, while simultaneously affording us a grand, if hard to understand, vision of the future. as i've suggested, the past those apes envisioned would have been of the link between all apes and monkeys, even a reverence for all Life, the perception that in a real but higher sense we are All One. or at least All One Family. a true sense of spiritual Oneness so denied to modern humans.
and, by 'seeing' their co-conspirators as if for the first time, did they glimpse a vision of a new race? of a psychedelicised ape civilisation, spreading across the plains, speaking in tongues, mastering new forces like fire and the wheel - indeed a vision of the human! and a blurred vision of belonging to some kind of chosen race amidst the merely instinctual boom and chatter of the rest of nature's experiments? why me? why us? what special purpose? what awesome destiny?
you could argue, of course, that it was a Great Mistake we (or the budding planet) had to make in order to learn the ecological lesson of Community. but my feeling, most of my life actually, is that it was far too costly a mistake. and, in fact, not necessary at all, though everything proceeded unstoppably once begun.
freud once suggested that man achieved dominance over woman when she first saw him comfortably put out fire and she couldn.t. sigmund called this a primal moment (not necessarily historical yet probably many times historical!). in the same vein we need a time and a place when the Fall occurred and a new lifestyle emerged, which then continued until it had achieved total dominance by wiping out all vestiges of the previous culture.
"fuck this circle lark, i'll do it my way!"
we.re in a cooler northern area to which psychedelicised ape-human society has spread, around 6000 BC when we know our predecessor civilisation was blossoming in northern africa. the time is the full moon. the tribe has spent the summer at its traditional mushroom locale, but now winter is drawing in.
and something really quite disturbing has happened! there are not enough mushrooms for the ritual!!
now this must have happened many times, which is why the shaman had arisen, specifically tasked by the community to avoid such a situation. other than the shaman, no concept of "leader" had yet emerged, although something of a hunter/warrior caste must have arisen to deal with security problems, while herbal lore would have slowly become the expertise of the more feminine. there are reasons for believing, indeed, that the early shamans were mostly women.
by this point in the evolution and spread of this new species, the group shaman, over many generations, had developed a means for preserving the mushrooms, by drying them, or by preserving them in honey. he had also researched and discovered other drugs which could, in a crisis, be substituted. perhaps, this time, then, they supplemented the few mushrooms they had with a brew of various herbs the shaman had laid aside. and so the full moon ritual passed without too much mishap.
yet things are more serious than might be supposed. the end of summer is approaching (we.re dealing with .The Fall. after all!) and the tribe has to make the momentous decision to go north and spend the winter hunting caribou, or to head for the warmer southlands and fish.
group decisions, of course, have to "emerge" from the "sacred circle" of Group Mind, and only long, psychedelicised talking and swapping of legends, moral folk tales, and wisdom songs could pull/pool all the various personal strands into group harmony.
since nothing closely approaching Group Mind Decision had been evoked, another month had to pass. now the weather's getting colder. a decision has to emerge soon. but still the shaman, despite his best efforts, sending out scouts to other tribes, and those of the whole tribe, searching for mushrooms in other valleys, is unable to obtain the correct material for the ritual, necessitating another full moon with little chance of a group decision. perhaps this time they drank the fermented honey in which the mushrooms had been stored. certainly mead (fermented honey) is found later as part of the staple diet of the northern peoples.
individual egos are popping up like cancer shoots in the tribal body, arguments are simmering just below or already on the surface, and northern and southern factions have even started clustering. the only hope of the wiser elders (for holding together the threatened sacred unity of the tribe) is to put full energy into obtaining enough mushrooms to heal the situation. but scouts continue to report a general shortage.
let's suppose then (as must have happened once) that yet a third mushroom-less full moon appears. winter is by now very much upon them, and, huddled in their sacred circle around the tribal campfire, they try to discuss things sensibly deep into the night, trying futilely for Group Mind. without the mushrooms to dissolve personal egos, however, increasingly angry and even bitter arguments break out. let's say that they have drunk the "mead" and some of the younger males, from the security section, always the strongest-headed among them, are getting more and more frustrated (as well as drunk)
until ... FINALLY ... a young male warrior leaps to his feet, named Eggho, totally infuriated by the same argument going round and round with no appearance of a group decision "emerging" (and anyone who has sat in a rainbow-type gathering today knows how frustrating such circles can be when even the village idiot has to be respectfully attended to). he shouts, something previously unheard of:
"what a fucking way to run a railway! i'm the best of the warriors and a master at hunting the caribou, and i say: if we piss about here for another month we shall lose the caribou spoor and stand no chance of a good hunt. i've been talking to some of the other warriors and the majority will go with me..
.mummy, what.s a majority?.
.shhh, little one..
.so you must each make your own minds up! now. fuck this sacred circle lark, we.re heading north!"
and, so announcing (again unheard of!), he turns his back on the sacred fire and the sacred circle of his sacred group (unheard of!), and stomps off towards the suddenly threatening darkness, when, as i imagine this primal moment in the psychic evolution of the species, an ancient, monkey-human crone (the shaman herself probably) cries out in a voice so terrible it has echoed down the generations since:
"You Must Not Break The Sacred Circle!"
upon hearing these words, as strong as those ancient voices calling them back from the trees in the african jungle, but without the mushrooms to give him Direction, our irate teenager is stopped in his stride one last time. he turns again (lord mayor of london) to face the sacred fire, the sacred group of his extended family: "oh, yeah?. he demands. .and why not?!!!!!!!"
at which, into the head of the old crone, totally unfamiliar with this new, yelling teenager-competitive style of .communication., and anyway never much good at merely rational argument, floods a torrent of wholistic-style, gaian reasons, all perfectly self-evident but none that ever became easily speakable until the new california sciences of the 3rd millennium BC. unable to marshal all her thoughts for such a traumatic, primal moment, she looks around for help from the others, but none is forthcoming. perhaps they're drunk, perhaps just shocked or exhausted by the bickering. more likely, even, no words for such ideas had yet developed, for it was an existential something the mushrooms helped you feel. and finally she says:
"you'll see ... you'll see!" ........................................
at which our angry male strides contemptuously from the Sacred Circle into the darkness, and an unknowable future - followed by other young males and their favourite mates. each deeply anxious about their status in an overthrown new order, and each trying to reassure himself with memories of that previous, and by now genetically imprinted, climax in their history, when the young had led the first apes out of the forest towards their new destiny.
all the hope, then, of the first, original evolutionary breakthrough to Planetary Intelligence was lost in the breaking of the sacred circle of community. for this new military species-to-be, which our impatient teenage security guy had kicked off, proceeded, by the inevitable ante-raising logic fundamental to competition, to bully, plunder, eradicate and enslave the gentler species. blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth or what.s left of it.
luckily, as said before, not every trace of the old culture was completely wiped out, but has survived, even to the present day, in small pockets with long lineages stretching back to the original "noble savages". the tassili cave civilisation, generally reckoned to have blossomed in 6000bc (that.s 8000 years ago), might actually have survived much later. i.m currently wondering if the phoenicians, the earlier .empire. which the Roman Empire destroyed, were the remnants of that psychedelic culture as the deserts appeared and drove them north to the coast. nobody knows much (Carthage was, of course, utterly razed from even human memory by the winners) but it is known that their .empire. was not like that of Rome . individuals were free to support the Empire or not, as were their allies. indeed Hannibal seems to have totally outwitted the dogmatic Romans more than once, a sure sign of a natural .leader.. tragically, indeed, this is often given as the reason for their defeat by militarised Rome which demanded almost total regimentation.
history is 'his story' of crime
and so, from what has come down to us through our psychic memory as the Fall, the Loss of 'Innocence,' begins what we call "history". even with the best will in the world, we modern egotists cannot help but see our previous tribal innocence as egolessness. it wasn.t absence of ego, it was presence of group ego! quite different. our history is of the cancerous growth and dominance of individual ego in our species. psyche in the chrono-logical downstream cascade of inevitable repercussions of that young male's fateful choice.
in ever decreasing fractals the priest (then expert, politician and today.s corporate businessman) mouths the degenerating religious dogmas to ever less impressed followers until the present day when either full karma is achieved in species- and even planet-suicide ("you'll see, you'll see!"), or the empty husks are swept successfully away by a rebirth of the shamanic spirit of communion with all life.
follow it through, as humanity in its new .modern. form has done - once competition starts, it will dominate and eventually subjugate the noncompetitive, and will develop until the entire planet is ruled by the most efficiently and ruthlessly competitive group. as today. but the beauty (or the horror) is that the theatre of Monkey.s Marvellous Trip From The African Jungle To Outer & Inner Space is no infinite canvas, but a finite planet. (that.s what the old crone was trying to express!) in a closed economic system such as a planet, karma-creation carried on long enough eventually must catch up and teach us its lesson.
and so the old crone's warning against breaking the Sacred Circle has finally come true, today! yes, we shall see. we are seeing why the sacred circle must not be broken. the very planet is now threatened by modern man.s. competitive culture, by ego pure and simple. for now we've run out of places to run.
yes, "we see ... we see!" but can we do anything about it?
a l l g o o d t h i n g s c o m e t o a n e n d
which don't justify nuttin'
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