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

Overview

Terence McKenna hypothesizes that as the North African jungles receded, giving way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our arboreal primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began living in the open areas beyond. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted, physically and mentally, to the environment. Among the new foods found in this environment were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing near dung of ...
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Overview

Terence McKenna hypothesizes that as the North African jungles receded, giving way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our arboreal primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began living in the open areas beyond. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted, physically and mentally, to the environment. Among the new foods found in this environment were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing near dung of ungulate herds occupying the savannas and grasslands.

Referencing the research of Roland L. Fisher, McKenna claims the enhancement of visual acuity was an effect of psilocybin at low doses and suggests this would confer adaptive advantage. He argues that the effects of slightly larger doses, including sexual arousal, and in larger doses, ecstatic hallucinations & glossolalia—gave selective evolutionary advantages to members of those tribes who partook of it. There were many changes caused by the introduction of this psychoactive to primate diets. He hypothesizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of sensory boundaries) 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 psilocybin-containing mushrooms from human diets. He argues that this event resulted in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to the previous brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by frequent consumption of psilocybin.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Deserves to be a modern classic on mind-altering drugs and hallucinogens." —-The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553371307
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 108,455
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author


Terence McKenna (1946–2000), a philosopher, psychonaut, researcher, teacher, and lecturer, authored or coauthored several books, including The Invisible Landscape, The Archaic Revival, True Hallucinations, and Sacred Mushroom Seeker.

Ever since his first play at thirteen (his mother still has the bellhop costume), Jeffrey Kafer has been an avid performer on the stage and in voice-overs. He has narrated over one hundred books spanning all genres and won the 2008 Voicey Award for Best New Voice.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    great history lesson.

    great history lesson.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    good

    good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2002

    Lost paridise

    A must read for anyone looking to tie in the beginnings of religious dogma with the expanding primate mind. This book dives head first into the questions of evolution, and mans fascination with altered states of consciousness. Are we truely the loaded ancestors of archiac primates?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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