Terence McKenna, american ethnobotanist and psychonaut wrote in a book in the early 90s about the so-called stoned ape theory, asserting that the transformation of Homo erectus to Homo sapiens was mainly an evolutionary step of consciousness, propelled by the addition of psychoactive ingredients into their diet. For those of you, who are not familiar with this hypothesis, there is a short introduction here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_McKenna#.22Stoned_ape.22_theory_of_human_evolution
But what if the opposite is true. If we made our evolutionary path by abstaining from the use of halucinogenic plants like mushrooms. What if there should be, in fact, a “sober ape theory”?
Many vegetarians and vegans claim to live a life of more serenity, increased body and mind connection and a more balanced energy level. So if the abstinence of meat can lead to this feeling, what about giving up other substances?
We can assume that diet was never even comparably differentiated as it is today. We can assume that in the dark ages people would eat anything that wouldn’t be known to be deadly poisonous and we can further assume that our primordial ancestors would put anything in their mouths that wouldn’t kill them within a timespan that’d allow the primitive minds to make the connection between bad food and a bad stomach. It is absolutely logical that early man had already psychoactive ingredients on their regular diet. It is also a known fact that social behavior at those times was way more violent, more aggressive, more impulsive. One could get killed for stealing another one’s piece of meat and even a few hundred years ago people would get abused heavily or even taken their lives for actions that would disturb society’s fragile psychosocial equilibrium. If there was some behavior out of the ordinary, nowadays you are being called a freak, 50 years ago you were being put in an asylum and 500 years ago you would be burned at the stake.
Life back then was volatile and unstable. Society would react hysterically to any changes affecting their known way of life. Like monkeys chasing an opponent through the treetops while frantically screaming and clawing for the one that defies the established society.
So if we connect this heavily fluctuating behavior to the indifferent consumption of nourishments, I see a definitive correlation that asserts the rise of modern society through reduced consumption of psychoactive goods.
I’m not proclaiming a ban on drugs. I believe that a moderate consumption of such substances can be the healing of a time in which we may not torture eachother with branding irons over heretic beliefs, but in which we slowly degenerate from stress and social exclusion. When people are driven into anxiety and isolation over the inability to adapt and integrate into today’s social standards, then this is the exact opposite of primordial life within a community where survival was based on social cohesion. If market shares and profit values are the culmination of a sober society, then it is most definitely time for a stoned human theory, yet a balanced approach has yet to be found.
interesting topic here. i think a balance is decidedly what is needed. if a society , or a person for that matter is too sober then he or she is often too strict and tight. and if one is way too stoned then nothing gets done. the middle path is always a good way forward!
Terence McKenna was a very intelligent man, he might not have been entirely correct but he was definitely on to something. The greatest ancient civilizations (Mayans, Egyptians) both used forms of psychedelics and their ability to build un-rivalled landmarks are astonishing. The invention of paper, levers and pulleys, math, geometry and recorded astronomy. These civilizations were 1000s of years ahead of their time. Psychedelics make you one with the spirit and it is the relationship with spirit that sets us apart from apes.