Ayahuasca brewing | Indigenous peoples always knew that the problem of our mind – or sickness, as they called it–, can be treated with plants. This is done, for example, by the ayahuasca of Amazonian people. Religions also talk about the hereditary human sickness, but they cannot heal anyone because—as it seems— our disorder is genetic in nature. Ayahuasca’s potency, as with psychedelics in general, is neurochemical. It is perhaps one of the best medicines man has ever come up with. Photo by Apollo (Flickr)
The main task of psychoactive drugs has always been, intentionally or not, to control the harmful effects of the prolonged juvenile mind. For example, psychedelics may temporarily remove adult egoism or cause an adult person to forget the pressure of time and place. They have also enabled adult people to bring back a sense of meaning to their lives. It has not always been understood that psychedelics, not to mention street drugs, are not suitable for children or adolescents. It is possible that the premature use of these substances will stop or slow down the development of the individual, possibly both physically and mentally.
The disadvantage of most drugs is that they have ugly, even deadly side effects. They cause severe addiction and painful withdrawal symptoms. The side effects of substances called psychedelics, on the other hand, are exceptionally minor or non-existent even they are also called drugs. They should rather be called medicines. Psychedelics are very special drugs, they are not addictive and have usually no withdrawal symptoms. What’s important, they have positive effects. These are longer than most drugs, and sometimes even permanent. Nevertheless, they were classified as dangerous and banned by international law in the 1960s and 1970s.
Lost and found
On top of that, psychedelics also tell us how we’ve developed from prehumans to modern humans: they reveal our evolution isn’t actually progress, but a retrogression. The nature of human “development” is illusion, we are not any superior animals but failed ones; for this reason the animals were once worshiped. Psychedelics are able to show us our genetic defect and reveal our weaknesses, but they also help us to accept them. They do it by fixing the error in our twisted mind and temporarily restoring the lost adulthood we used to have before our permanent awareness. They are able to let us sense that we are part of nature and feel gratitude and happiness about it. Moreover, by healing traumas of childhood and adolescence, psychedelics also reveal the immense natural healing power of our original adulthood.
Contrary to what the media propagates, psychedelics give people a sense of proportion and the ability to see things from beneficial perspectives. Psychedelics reduce people’s fears and dependence on other people. This, in turn, does not fit well with the ambition of most leaders. Moreover, this is supported by the Western civilisation, the mission of which is to cover up human inborn inferiority and make it a taboo. According to it man should stand above nature as some ruler of the universe. Based on this, they try to make people believe that psychedelics are harmful. In any case, it is about the same as denying a person the use of some organ in her or his body because it is dangerous. Our bodies produce the same compounds as psychedelics, it’s just our fatal genetic defect has prevented them from functioning properly.
Contrary to general beliefs, the experiences psychedelics bring, were not new to humans and were not invented just 40,000 years ago. Long before this, humans had similar mysterious experiences, which were short-lived versions of the original and millions of years old human state of mind. From this perspective psychedelics are a reunion and a direct link to the emergence of the human species. Photo by janeb13 (pixabay.com)
Psychedelics and evolution?
Among knowledgeable the discussion around psychedelics is passionately trying to place psychedelics as part of human evolution. This special puzzle covers not only the history of psychedelics but also mysticism, religions and the prehistory of modern human. It looks the puzzle has the right pieces, but in my opinion, they are not in the right places. The picture is interesting, but it doesn’t look quite right. I’m not sure psychedelics as such play a key role in human development. Psychedelics have neither accelerated human development nor raised his consciousness above other creatures. Also, I don’t think the life of early humans should be considered unspeakably boring, as some people think, because we have hardly any traces of their productive life. It certainly looks like a bland living, but I think it’s a misunderstanding and can be explained.
In fact, I think quite the opposite is true: only when H. sapiens was born as a species, i.e. when it lost its ability to change its consciousness, its life became bland. And this is precisely where psychoactive substances can have role in human life: they mean reunion with the past. They restore the old ability to mentally grow up adult and remove the feeling of insignificance. They correct the effects of our inherited defect, not permanently, but for quite some time. And indeed, psychedelics mark a return to our mystic past, which turns out to be not so bland after all. Be it simple and modest, it was exactly what the human species wanted. They experienced the world in a positive and interesting way. They took every detail of life seriously.
Terence McKenna (1946–2000) has an interesting take on human evolution. He thought our prehistoric ancestors evolved by getting high. Even though I disagree with that and think it was only modern humans who wanted to get high because they felt adolescent and ignorant, pioneers like McKenna noticed, that the exceptional effectiveness of psychedelics was no coincidence. We have a very special relationship with psychedelics. Quite aptly, McKenna describes a religious ritual as a car with no gasoline. The people sitting there are content to play the radio, turn on the windshield wipers and blinkers, but in reality nothing happens without the catalyst, that is to say, psychedelics. It can be hard to accept that religion and psychedelics are practically all about the same thing. The ancient peoples and their shamans knew well that these substances have the potential to stop violence, destructive consumption and selfishness. That’s why these substances should be taken seriously.
Psychedelics are not xenobiotic substances. Our bodies produce the same compounds that psychedelics contain. It only looks our fatal genetic defect has prevented them from functioning properly. This might mean that we are H. sapiens only because of the malfunctioning of certain neurotransmitters. Our singularity is not measurable by anthropological devices. in addition to behaviour, it is probably found only in our genome.
Still, the story does not come from plants but from humans. We need these plants, they don’t need us. They make our bodies work as originally designed and thus allow us to see things the right way and understand our right and humble place in nature. It has to be a lucky coincidence, that so many of them contain substances that are able to activate our nervous system in the same way that our body once did itself. Psychedelics undoubtedly have a place in human life, whether we like it or not. They are not drugs, they are medicine and should be considered an integral part of our lives because they show us where we come from and where we belong.