Paleoanthropology explores modern human evolution. Bone fossils speak of structural changes in species but not of mental development. Unfortunately, the mind is not retained in the soil sediments. There is still a path to the ancient mental landscape. From time to time, our psyche reveals a lost stage of human cognitive development. It appears, though only rarely and momentarily, on the eve of adulthood. We have time to notice that our ego, will and logical reasoning will disappear. Relationships and bonds to familiar things lose their former interest. We will question the usual morality.
On the other hand, we feel happy and balanced, and the world feels as perfect as it ever can be. This extraordinary feeling is known as a mystical experience. Still, it is, above all, a message of our own body and part of the millions of years old psychic mechanism of psychic evolving. Psychedelics can also cause a similar effect artificially. Experience should be the start of our adulthood, but it is too weak to live permanently. Because our culture sees human development as a process, not an event, the experience remains a mystery.
We dare not say we don’t understand
My hypothesis of genetic defect assumes that the transient nature of the mystical experience reveals an error somewhere in our growth mechanism. The failure means that all people, including those who never experience that, have a hereditary mental growth disorder. Some of us have a short experience; most recognise nothing. Experiencing signifies nothing supernatural, but that we detach ourselves from the psychological protective mechanisms of adulthood. Unfortunately, this mechanism only partially works appropriately. That is why it isn’t easy to understand. If it worked, the tools supporting our growth (e.g. volition, cognition, and ego) would disappear for good. They would also make many learned things disappear: learning and memory skills would be replaced by instincts. We would experience the world independently without aids that simplify distort our observations. The mechanism of consciousness, a cornerstone of civilisation, reveals intended only as temporary protection. The idea of consciousness is to facilitate life for children. We would undoubtedly suffer less if we accepted our defects and did not try to pretend to be something we are not.