Stoned Ape

stoned ape by adahn westart

The ‘Stoned Ape‘ theory of human evolution was proposed by American psychonaut Terence Mckenna in his book ‘Food of the Gods’ to explain the rapid development of the human neocortex.

McKenna proposed that the transformation from humans’ early ancestors Homo erectus to the species Homo sapiens mainly had to do with the addition of the mushroom Psilocybe cubensis in its diet – an event which according to his theory took place about 100,000 BCE. One of the effects that comes about from the ingestion of low doses is improved visual acuity. According to McKenna, this would infer an evolutionary advantage to early human hunters.

In higher doses, McKenna claims, the mushroom acts as a sexual stimulator, which would make it even more beneficial evolutionarily, as it would result in more offspring. At even higher doses, the mushroom would have acted to ‘dissolve boundaries,’ which would have promoted community-bonding and group sexual activities that would result in a mixing of genes and therefore greater genetic diversity. Generally McKenna believed that the periodic ingestion of the mushroom would have acted to dissolve the ego in humans before it grew to destructive proportions.

In this context, he likened the ego to a cancerous tumor that can grow uncontrollable and become destructive to its host. In his own words: ‘Wherever and whenever the ego function began to form, it was akin to a cancerous tumor or a blockage in the energy of the psyche. The use of psychedelic plants in a context of shamanic initiation dissolved – as it dissolves today – the knotted structure of the ego into undifferentiated feeling, what Eastern philosophy calls the Tao.’

The mushroom, according to McKenna, also gave humans their first truly religious experiences and, as he believed, were the basis for the foundation of all subsequent religions to date. For example, he proposed that the biblical Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was actually an entheogenic mushroom.

Another factor that McKenna talked about was the mushroom’s potency to promote linguistic thinking. This would have promoted vocalization, which in turn would have acted in cleansing the brain (based on his theory that vibrations from speaking cause the precipitation of impurities from the brain to the cerebrospinal fluid), which would further mutate the brain. McKenna posits that after this transformation took place, the species began moving out of Africa to populate the rest of the planet.

2 Comments to “Stoned Ape”

  1. Agree – ‘stoned ape’ dude talked all kinds of ‘deep thinking.’ Graciously offered all kinds of answers. Theories and ideas left and right … how many fractal elves can dance on the head of pin? Explanations for why the sea is boiling hot, etc. Lotta brilliant ‘ideas’ explaining whatever, a whole circus of claims. Each one its own little sideshow. All sorts of stuff, this and that – plus the kitchen sink. And he was just getting warmed up …

    Sort of like Genesis, the garden and serpent. Wow, now we know. So, that’s why things aren’t perfect like we want? Or the messiah coming back for an encore, after the main show a mere 2000 yrs ago. That was then. This is now, and all we inherit is its legacy – a Never-Ending-Story.

    The full-blown outcome – a massive world religious tradition, is what we have now. And to think it all started with a story from the fringes of the ancient Roman era. A tale of a miracle-working peasant rabbi, and his immaculate conception etc. But we don’t get to see how it all got started – its origins shrouded from view, by mists of time. All we have are records, historic documents.

    With stoned apes though – we get a nice study in how a Never-Ending-Story (mythology) sparks up. In our era, a theory that can never be disproved, by devious design it seems (muahhahha) serves well. Its perfect for believing in and preaching – a “Judy Tenuta hypothesis” (“Its possible”!). Then defy the world to change the believer’s mind. Like the knight guarding against anyone crossing the bridge, in MONTY PYTHON’s HOLY GRAIL – no arms, no legs … and all undaunted. ”C’mon, its just a flesh wound.”

    Emergency Room might triage Stoned Apes ‘wounds’ (as some theory), in similar terms: no cause for concern, just little flesh wounds.

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