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Stoned Ape Theory

Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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9/19/2014 3:10:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Terence McKenna was the first proponent of this theory, which theorizes that as the North African jungles receded toward the end of the most recent ice age, giving way to grasslands, a branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the branches and took up a life out in the open - following around herds of ungulates, nibbling what they could along the way.

Among the new items in their diet were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of these ungulate herds. The changes caused by the introduction of this drug to the primate diet were many -- McKenna theorizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of boundaries between the senses) caused by psilocybin led to the development of spoken language: the ability to form pictures in another person's mind through the use of vocal sounds. About 12,000 years ago, further climate changes removed the mushroom from the human diet, resulting in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to pre-mushroomed and frankly brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by less frequent consumption of psilocybin.

McKenna's theory is necessarily based on a great deal of supposition interpolating between the few fragmentary facts we know about hominid and early human history. In addition, because McKenna (who describes himself as "an explorer, not a scientist") is also a proponent of much wilder suppositions, his more reasonable theories are usually disregarded by the very scientists whose informed criticism is crucial for their development. In a review of his book Food of the gods, Village Voice stated 'if only a fraction of Mckenna thoughts are true, he will someday be regarded as the Copernican for consciousness'.
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LogicalLunatic
Posts: 1,633
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9/19/2014 4:38:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/19/2014 3:10:48 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
Terence McKenna was the first proponent of this theory, which theorizes that as the North African jungles receded toward the end of the most recent ice age, giving way to grasslands, a branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the branches and took up a life out in the open - following around herds of ungulates, nibbling what they could along the way.

Among the new items in their diet were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of these ungulate herds. The changes caused by the introduction of this drug to the primate diet were many -- McKenna theorizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of boundaries between the senses) caused by psilocybin led to the development of spoken language: the ability to form pictures in another person's mind through the use of vocal sounds. About 12,000 years ago, further climate changes removed the mushroom from the human diet, resulting in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to pre-mushroomed and frankly brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by less frequent consumption of psilocybin.

McKenna's theory is necessarily based on a great deal of supposition interpolating between the few fragmentary facts we know about hominid and early human history. In addition, because McKenna (who describes himself as "an explorer, not a scientist") is also a proponent of much wilder suppositions, his more reasonable theories are usually disregarded by the very scientists whose informed criticism is crucial for their development. In a review of his book Food of the gods, Village Voice stated 'if only a fraction of Mckenna thoughts are true, he will someday be regarded as the Copernican for consciousness'.
https://www.drugs-forum.com...



So what you're saying is that humans got high and developed the ability to speak as a result?
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Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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9/20/2014 2:59:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/19/2014 4:38:29 PM, LogicalLunatic wrote:
So what you're saying is that humans got high and developed the ability to speak as a result?

The theory is a bit more nuanced than that, but essentially that's it. Thought it was an interesting causal mechanism for developing our higher reasoning. I don't necessarily believe it's true though.
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Such
Posts: 1,110
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9/21/2014 1:57:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/20/2014 2:59:54 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 9/19/2014 4:38:29 PM, LogicalLunatic wrote:
So what you're saying is that humans got high and developed the ability to speak as a result?

The theory is a bit more nuanced than that, but essentially that's it. Thought it was an interesting causal mechanism for developing our higher reasoning. I don't necessarily believe it's true though.

I wouldn't necessarily say that it would lead to higher reasoning. In fact, I would outright disagree with that without a shred of decent evidence. However, it doesn't appear that this is what's being proposed. What's instead being proposed is that certain developments required an alteration in an otherwise linear mental development -- development that's less physical and more based on mental states -- and this alteration came in the form of mind-altering chemicals that were not unhealthy in small doses.

I don't think that's altogether outrageous at all. It's an interesting thought that may require more substantiation to be taken seriously, but could also reveal some very interesting things about the human psyche and how we should approach what influences it if that substantiation is achieved.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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9/24/2014 12:53:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
All of his theories are actually sub-theories of the more comprehensive Stoned Terence .McKenna Theory.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater