Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge.
McKenna, Terence. (1992).
New York: Bantam.
Description: First edition,
A NEW MANIFESTO
The time has therefore come, in the great natural
discourse that is the history of ideas, thoroughly to rethink
our fascination with habitual use of psychoactive and physioactive
plants. We have to learn from the excesses of the past, especially
the 1960s, but we cannot simply advocate "Just say no"
any more than we can advocate "Try it, you'll like it."
Nor can we support a view that wishes to divide society into users
and nonusers. We need a comprehensive approach to these questions
that encompasses the deeper evolutionary and historical
The mutation-inducing influence of diet on early
humans and the effect of exotic metabolites on the evolution of
their neurochemistry and culture is still unstudied territory.
These immense changes occurred largely as a result
of the synergies between human beings and the various plants with
which they interacted and coevolved. An honest appraisal of the
impact of plants on the foundations of human institutions would
find them to be absolutely primary. ...
The suppression of the natural human fascination
with altered states of consciousness and the present perilous
situation of all life on earth are intimately and causally connected.
As a species, we need to acknowledge the depth of
our historical dilemma. We will continue to play with half a deck
as long as we continue to tolerate cardinals of government and
science who presume to dictate where human curiosity can legitimately
focus its attention and where it cannot. Such restrictions on
the human imagination are demeaning and preposterous. The government
not only restricts research on psychedelics that could conceivably
yield valuable psychological and medical insights, it presumes
to prevent their religious and spiritual use, as well. Religious
use of psychedelic plants is a civil rights issue; its restriction
is the repression of a legitimate religious sensibility. In fact,
it is not a religious sensibility that is being repressed, but
the religious sensibility, an experience of religio
based on the plant-human relationships that were in place long
before the advent of history. (pages xviii-xix)
We will come across this theme of the ego and the
dominator culture often in this reexamination of history. In fact,
the terror the ego feels in contemplating the dissolution of boundaries
between self and world not only lies behind the suppression of
altered states of consciousness but, more generally, explains
the suppression of the feminine, the foreign and exotic, and transcendental
experiences. (page xx)
"You see what is conclusively proven here is
that under certain circumstances one is actually better informed
concerning the real world if one has taken a drug than if one
has not." His [Roland Fisher's] facetious
remark stuck with me, first as an academic anecdote, later as
an effort on his part to communicate something profound. What
would be the consequences for evolutionary theory of admitting
that some chemical habits confer adaptive advantage and thereby
become deeply scripted in the behavior and even genome of some
individuals? (page 25)
The notion we are exploring in this book is that
a particular family of active chemical compounds, the indole hallucinogens,
played a decisive role in the emergence of our essential humanness,
of the human characteristic of self-reflection. (page 32)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP