by Orin, May 26, 2005 5:53 PM
McKenna starts his radical revision of human evolution by positing the theory that we evolved from apes to humans because of brain changes brought about by ingesting psilocybin-containing mushrooms. This was, in his opinion, the birth of religion, and was retained in some form or another through the Greeks and the Mysteries at Eleusis and the Soma of early Hindu culture. He continues by looking at the role drugs of all kinds have played in the course of human history. Surely tobacco and opium play a role, and who can ignore alcohol; but other substances that contemporary society forgets to classify as "drugs" make his study, such as sugar, chocolate, coffee, and tea. There is even a section on the modern electronic drugs, for how else would you describe the effects of several hours of television viewing ? flattening out of alpha brain waves, decrease in heart rate, eyes glaze over ? effects comparable to many other narcotics.