What's so Great About Mushrooms?

Day Month 1987

Location, City, State


There is no scientific truth or new paradigm ------ in a vacuum ------ the opinions of the general informed public. If it doesn't fly with the general informed public, it doesn't matter what degree of internal ------ it has. An idea is probably doomed to a kind of obsolescence or a kind of obscurity. So this idea that I want to put forth, which is the product of many people's thought on the subject, not the least of which is my brother Dennis, and I've developed the idea in conversations with Rupert ------ and Kat, and Ralph Metzner, and other people over the years, is basically an extension of orthodox evolutionary theory as it applies to the question of human origins, and then, having once established that part of the theory, going forward to try and see what kind of implications this revisioning of evolutionary mechanisms might have on contemporary life and the way in which we relate to ourselves and each other. The orthodox theory of human origins takes the position that the evolution of human beings from higher primates was an evolutionary process no different than the evolutionary processes which have refined the mammalian forms which preceded the primates, nor is it thought to be different from any other evolutionary process. There is no --- logical difference hypothesized. However, I think that, uh, using the language of the evolutionary biologists, we can show that there were factors present in the pre-human and early human environment that, constelated a unique concatenation of events and genetic filtration devices which created the phenomenon of self-reflecting language-using culture-creating animals on this planet. Orthodox evolutionary theory takes the position that as the African continent became subject to an increasing period of dryness, which may have initially begun as early as 2000000 to 25000000 years ago that the general tropical forests which cover the continent began to retreat in certain areas where water was a constraint, and grasslands arose the arboreal primates which where occupying a kind of climaxed evolutionary ------ in the tropical forests before this eridity began, suddenly found themselves under pressure because the forest was disappearing. By changing their gate and learning to walk on the surface, by changing their diet and learning to include meat, and they, and by refining the symbol-processing capability, the transformed themselves from tribes of arboreal monkeys into creatures much more like the modern ------. In other words, they became omnivorous pack-hunting animals capable of moving over the ground at high speed and capable of exchanging a large number of vocal signals that related to, uh, exchange of information about hunting strategies, ------, because as I neglected to mention, simultaneous to these evolutionary changes in the higher primates, other mammals were evolving in an opportunistic situation ------, the grasslands, into the many forms of ------ animals which grace on the grasslands of Africa, not only cattle but --- and jiraffes, and many forms which are now extinct. These... the primates and the higher mammals then came into a relationship where both were competing for the grassland, and one became the primary predator on the other. Now... the cu..., one of the curious and unexplained things about the nature psychotropic ------ that occured on this planet is that several of them are remarkably involved with, uh, human culture and the domestication of plants. I'm thinking, uh, of the ergotized rye which figures in the hallucenium mysteries. Rye was a domesticated grass that through selection had been bred into this large ------ ------ serial brain. Similarly, the psychedelic mushrooms which are most noticeable in nature are the so-called coprophilic ones, the ones which grow on ------. In the Pacific Northwest, there are numerous species of ------ mushrooms, which grow in the ------ of the forest floor, but as far as we know, the northwest coast indians never noticed them sufficiently to utilize them as a shamanic vehicle; however, the coprophilic mushrooms are extremely noticeable in any environment because here you have this golden or silvery or golden yellow anomalus object standing from 4 to 7 inches high in the grassland, and because of this coprohilic or ------ loving, they invariably aggregate in the droppings of these ------ animals. Well, its very clear that they could hardly choose a situation more opportune for their being encountered by, uh, these omnivorous primates who are preying on these hurds of animals. So that, and I should mention that there is, its assumed that there was considerable pressure on the availability of protein in this grassland situation. In other words, everybody was running hungry and if youve ever seen films or actually observed the behavior of baboons in the wild, they are, they pick things up and look at them, and they sniff the ground, and this is their main behavior pattern, its sniffing the ground and picking things up and ------ and testing them to eat them. Well, uh, vary, almost I would say, coincident upon these factors all converging on the African belt, the mushroom would then become included as part of this omnivoric diet of these primates. Now I mention, uh, when I talk on the radio today, this very important series of experiments by Roland Fisher, who is one of the great and really, he isnt given the credit he deserves one of the greatest researches of altered states, hes retired now and live in ------- but he did a series of experiments which were a model of behaviorist rigour, he had an apparatus which had two ------ bars, which could be deformed by ------ a ------- which would impart mechanical pressure to one of the bubbles so it would be tored and slowly parralelism would be lost between these two bars and he gave psilocybin in small amounts to hundreds of people and sat them down in front of this apparatus and told them to watch the situation with the two parallel bars and to press the buzzer when they felt that the two bars were no longer parallel and he did it with hundreds and hundreds of controls all of this work was done in ------- Maryland in the early 70s and he showed to the satisfaction of everyone I think that the people who were given the, uh, subthreshold doses of psilocybin were able to pick up this deformation faster than the controls the unstoned ordinary subjects and he said to me jokingly "this proves you see that drugs give a truer picture of reality than being straight" but it was quite so what he... he didnt then make the leap to ask the question, well then what impact would this increased visual acuity have had on an animal which was including this mushroom in its diet? and the answer is if you were as a matter course where you were eating all protein available in your diet including this vision acuity improving compound you would gain an adaptive advantage over individuals of your species which were not including this vitamin in their diet and this, this is just, a straight an exposition of the evolutionary mechanism as could ever be given theres nothing wild eyed about it and the conclusion is that very quickly any primate not including this item if its diet would be ------ of the picture by being maladaptive. Well thats what happens when you take psilocybin in subacute dose but obviously it would be explored at all dosage levels now it has another curious property which a number of researches have, uh, noted a property of the mushrooms which is that they seem to activate or stimulate the languageforming center of the brain whether thats a physical location or simply a name for a set of functions it seems clear that psilocybin by its ability to inspire glossolalia inner voices spontaneous shamanic singing etc operates on the symbolic, uh, processing parts of the brain. These were ------ pack hunting animals which had already evolved a complex set of signals arising first out of their arboreal existence and then transfered into this pack hunting mode. So its reasonable I think to suggest that psilocybin can be seen in that situation as a catalyst for language it is a catalyst for greater visual acuity and enhanced hunting ----- and its a catalyst for greater hunting ----- its ----- through a greater facility for the processing of symbols at a still highter level this gives away of course to the shamanic experience that we associate with psilocybin which is the visionary state that does not have any obvious evolutionary efficacy they simply because you lie down and close your eyes and dont move around it seems to be an actor on the stage of, uh, of, uh, Darwinian competition so i think its reasonable to suggest that,uh, the development of language and the dominance of this particular adaptation of the primates can be put down to the fact that there was a catalitic ----- diet which

Original Transcription by: Roberto Tatasciore
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