Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge - A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge - A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution

Paperback

By (author) Terence McKenna

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  • Publisher: Rider & Co
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 230mm x 28mm | 422g
  • Publication date: 2 July 1992
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0712654453
  • ISBN 13: 9780712654456
  • Illustrations note: 32 b&w line drawings
  • Sales rank: 1,133,972

Product description

Drawing on the experiences of shamanic culture drawn from living with African tribes, American Indians and the peoples of South America, the author of this book provides a study of humanity's use of mind-altering drugs. He presents a convincing thesis that the synergism between early man and the various plants with which they interacted and co-evolved was a decisive causative factor in the development of language, superior intelligence and spirituality. He argues that man has an intrinsic need for spirituality, and that the loss of this shamanistic experience, about 10,000 years ago, has led to the development of the highly addictive drugs of modern day society (alcohol, white sugar, morphine, heroin and television) and to a patriarchal dominator culture and environmental toxification. As an alternative to this situation, the author advocates the religious use of organic psychoactive drugs as a way to recover our relationship with nature, expand our spiritual understanding and provide a humane and open-ended future for the planet.

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Editorial reviews

The ethnobotanist co-author of Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide (not reviewed) puts forth the theory that magic mushrooms are the original "tree of knowledge" and that the general lack of psychedelic exploration is leading Western society toward eventual collapse or destruction - controversial statements, to say the least, though the argument's details often prove fascinating. In the beginning, McKenna tells us, there were protohumans with small brains and plenty of genetic competition, and what eventually separated the men from the apes was an enthusiasm for the hallucinogenic mushrooms that grew on the feces of local cattle. Claiming that psilocybin in the hominid diet would have enhanced eyesight, sexual enjoyment, and language ability and would have thereby placed the mushroom-eaters in the front lines of genetic evolution - eventually leading to hallucinogen-ingesting shamanistic societies, the ancient Minoan culture, and some Amazonian tribes today - McKenna also asserts that the same drugs are now outlawed in the US because of their corrosive effect on our male-dominated, antispiritual society. Unconsciously craving the vehicles by which our ancestors expanded their imaginations and found meaning in their lives, he says, we feast on feeble substitutes: coffee, sugar, and chocolate, which reinforce competition and aggressiveness; tobacco, which destroys our bodies; alcohol, whose abuse leads to male violence and female degradation; TV, which deadens our senses; and the synthetics - heroin, cocaine and their variations - which leave us victimized by our own addiction. On the other hand, argues McKenna, magic mushrooms, used in a spiritually enlightened, ritual manner, can open the door to greater consciousness and further the course of human evolution - legalization of all drugs therefore is, he says, an urgent necessity. Provocative words - often captivating, but not often convincing. (Kirkus Reviews)