Reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.
—  Terence McKenna 

Mushrooms and Evolution - Inspired by Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape" Theory

People have attempted to – unsuccessfully – to answer the question of how our minds evolved from the ape. They’ve tried all kinds of things to account for this evolution. The key to unlocking this great mystery is the presence of Psilocybin in the diet of early man.

When climatological change ended the last ice age, the jungles of northern Africa receded leaving behind vast grasslands. A branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the trees and took up a life out in the open — following around herds of ungulates, nibbling what they could along the way. Among the new items in their diet were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of these ungulate herds.

The mushroom acted as a tremendous force for directing the evolution of human beings away from that of the rest of the anthropoid apes and toward the unique adaption that we see as special to human beings today. It did this through a series of self-reinforcing tendencies:
1. Lab work shows that psilocybin eaten in small amounts increases visual acuity – increased visual acuity means increased success at hunting and gathering food.
2. At slightly higher doses of psilocybin there is sexual arousal, a factor that would increase reproductive success. So the mushroom-using population will tend to outbreed the non-mushroom population.
3. The third main factor which pushed these mushroom-using primates into a position of ascendancy, is that psilocybin at the psychedelic dose level actually stimulates the areas of the brain that are concerned with the production of language.
At high doses, psilocybin causes extremely peculiar phenomenon to manifest themselves. Vocal utterances, which are really mechanical vibrations of the skull and chest cavity, apparently become visible as fields of changing light patterns. This phenomenon is called synaesthesia and it is not uncommon with psychoactive foods.

We probably invented language long before meaning, and it was some very practical people/apes that got the idea that the words could have meaning. Before that, language was primarily verbal amusement. After all, the most readily at hand musical instrument is the human voice.

The presence of psilocybin in the diet interrupted the natural primate tendency towards male dominated hierarchies. In that moment community values; altruism, language, long-term planning, awareness of cause and effect, all the things that distinguish us developed.

For a very long time, as we evolved out of the animal nature, perhaps a hundred thousand years, psilocybin was a part of our diet, our rituals and our religion.

About 12,000 years ago, the mushrooms left the human diet as they were no longer as readily available due to factors including further climatological change. This resulted in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to pre-mushroomed and frankly brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by frequent consumption of psilocybin.


Darwin on Physchodelics — The Stoned Ape Hypothesis

Terence McKenna is one of those people who make life truly interesting.  A world traveler, writer, philosopher, speaker, mystic, and self proclaimed scientist, McKenna was best known for his expertise in growing and consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Called by many admirers the “Timothy Leary of his age”, many others consider him to be a kook and crackpot (peashooter holds Timothy Leary in the same esteem as well).  After a particularly interesting trip on the hallucinogen DMT, he wrote a book called Alien Dreamtime where he details his personal contact with “self transforming machine elves”.  After consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms in the Amazon, he apparently discovered a pattern in the King Wen sequence of the I Ching, which led him to create a mathematical formula with which he could predict the future.  According to his calculations, the end of the world will occur and mankind will transcend its humanity of December 21st, 2012, coinciding with the Mayan Calendar.

Among his many unusual theories was a take on the theory of evolution explaining how Homo erectus evolved into modern day humans.  According to McKenna, around 100,000BC the tropical paradise in Northern Africa began to give way to desertification due to changing climates occurring at the end of the ice age.  As the Sahara Rainforest transformed into the Sahara Desert, our ancestors were forced to move from their traditional grounds in search of food.  Naturally, they would have followed herds of roaming cattle, where eventually they would have started consuming the mushroom Psilocybe cubensis, a hallucinogenic mushroom that naturally grows on cow dung.  The consumption of the hallucinogenic mushrooms “expanded” the mind of Homo erectus, leading to increased sexuality, increased thinking power, better focus, increased energy,  and a projective imagination.  As a result, human culture blossomed, soon leading to the development of art, science, philosophy, music, language, and advanced culture.  Thus, over several thousands of years of hallucinogenic mushroom consumption, Homo erectus evolved into modern day humans, with increased creativity and thinking power.  Groovy man!

McKenna’s theory was later named the “Stoned Ape Hypothesis” by the theory’s detractors, which was pretty much every mainstream scientist in academia.  He published his theory with the book “Food of the Gods, and obvious play on Erich von Danikan's Chariots of the Gods. Today, citing that there is little proof to backup the Stoned Ape Theory, most scientists and academics consider it to be a piece of nonsensical pseuodoscience.


A conversation between Terence Mckenna and
Alexander Shulgin

Discussion of psychedelic and other psychoactive substances.

Shulgin is known for discovering MDMA and creating many other psychedelic substances.