“Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge”
Whilst living amongst Peruvian Indians, anthropologist Jeremy Narby learned of their phenomenal knowledge of plants and biochemical interactions, gained under the influence of the hallucinogen ayahuasca. Despite his initial scepticism, Narby found himself engaged in an increasingly obsessive quest. He researched cutting-edge scholarship in subjects as diverse as molecular biology, shamanism, neurology and mythology, which led him inexorably to the conclusion that the Indians’ claims were literally true: to a consciousness prepared with drugs, biochemical knowledge could indeed be transmitted, through DNA itself.
“Intelligence in Nature”
In this immensely readable, fascinating book anthropologist author Jeremy Narby explodes the myth that ‘the lower animal, insects, organisms’ do not possess intelligence. Whether or not the reader subscribes to all of Narby’s findings and postulates really doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is the fact that this bright gentlemen has opened windows into the concept of ‘knowledge’, that knowledge is not the property of man, that lower animal life and plant life demonstrate an economy of putting information together that allows them to survive and outwit their predators!
Some aspects of insect and animal behavior have been observed and then relegated to Darwinian survival of the fittest without pursuing it further: camouflage techniques, heightened sense of smell, night vision are easy categories to assign as ‘traits’. Narby enters the world of shaman and shares how trances induced by varied means give the shaman the ability to communicate with organisms, understanding their innate intelligence.
But the real joy of reading this treatise is the manner in which Narby relates his information. No ‘from the pulpit’ technique here, instead this is a conversational, open minded, keenly observant and intelligent man who encourages us to be more aware of the fellow nature creatures around us, giving them the respect that is their due. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, February 06