Re: Terence McKenna

Bobby Whalen (
Wed, 16 Jul 1997 16:29:21 PDT

>>On Tue, 15 Jul 1997, Guru George wrote:
>>> I particularly think his theory about the evolution of human
>>> intelligence (actually, I would rather say human culture -
>>> psychedelics are a great way of shaking up the old memes) being
>>> linked to the use of psychedelic drugs has the ring of truth (see
>>> 'Food of the Gods').
>>Does McKenna actually have some evidence for this, or is he also
>>basing his claim on that it "feels right"? It goes against most
>>paleontology and what I understand of evolutionary theory.

I have read this book and it is quite a scholarly piece, with
extensive references and experimentation. His basic premise is that of
neurological darwinism. Those primitive tribes who imbibed psilocybin
from time to time, were more likely to experience novel perceptions of
themselves and their environment. As to weather any one of these new
perceptions provided evolutionary advantage is irrelevant in the face of
brute-force statistical iteration. In time, those tribes who were
increasing the number of ways of perceiving their environment, were more
likely to stumble (even blindly) onto an evolutionary advantageous

These pathways could have have been as simple as new made-up sounds
and contextual body movements. This would have the side effect of
widening their range of linguistic potentialities and in turn practical
language applications. With increase communication within their tribe,
this would bring about more coherent patterns in their search for food
and shelter; thereby increasing there chances for survival.

That psilocybin produces brain-change is undeniable. That it
necessarily increases ones brain capacity is arguable. But through
shear random brain change, some of those changes will be evolutionary
advantageous and some of them may not.

Bobby Whalen

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