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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.
Continuing the journey begun in his acclaimed book "The Cosmic
Serpent," the noted anthropologist ventures firsthand into both
traditional cultures and the most up-todate discoveries of
contemporary science to determine nature's secret ways of knowing.
Anthropologist Jeremy Narby has altered how we understand the
Shamanic cultures and traditions that have undergone a worldwide
revival in recent years. Now, in one of his most extraordinary
journeys, Narby travels the globe-from the Amazon Basin to the Far
East-to probe what traditional healers and pioneering researchers
understand about the intelligence present in all forms of life.
"Intelligence in Nature" presents overwhelming illustrative
evidence that independent intelligence is not unique to humanity
alone. Indeed, bacteria, plants, animals, and other forms of
nonhuman life display an uncanny penchant for self-deterministic
decisions, patterns, and actions.
Narby presents the first in-depth anthropological study of this
concept in the West. He not only uncovers a mysterious thread of
intelligent behavior within the natural world but also probes the
question of what humanity can learn from nature's economy and
knowingness in its own search for a saner and more sustainable way
Conversations on shamanism and mind-altering plants by filmmaker
Jan Kounen, anthropologist Jeremy Narby, and writer/filmmaker
- Explores how ayahuasca and iboga are tools for communicating with
- Offers insights into the role this indigenous knowledge can play
in solving the current problems facing the world
In the Amazon, shamans do not talk in terms of hallucinogens but of
tools for communicating with other life-forms. Ayahuasca, for
example, is first and foremost a means of breaking down the barrier
that separates humans from other species, allowing us to
communicate with them. The introduction of plant-centered shamanism
into the Western world in the 1970s was literally the meeting of
two entirely different paradigms. In "The Psychotropic Mind," three
of the individuals who have been at the forefront of embracing
other ways of knowing look at the ramifications of the introduction
into our Western culture of these shamanic practices and the
psychotropic substances that support them.
With rare sincerity and depth, noted anthropologist Jeremy Narby,
filmmaker Jan Kounen, and writer/filmmaker Vincent Ravalec explore
the questions of sacred plants, initiations, hallucinogens, and
altered states of consciousness, looking at both the benefits and
dangers that await those who seek to travel this path. Focusing
specifically on ayahuasca and iboga, psychotropic substances with
which the authors are intimately familiar, they examine how we can
best learn the other ways of perceiving the world found in
indigenous cultures, and how this knowledge offers immense benefits
and likely solutions to some of the modern world's most pressing
This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge. In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.
A survey of five centuries of writings on the world's great
shamans-the tricksters, sorcerers, conjurers, and healers who have
fascinated observers for centuries.
This collection of essays traces Western civilization's struggle
to interpret and understand the ancient knowledge of cultures that
revere magic men and women-individuals with the power to summon
spirits. As written by priests, explorers, adventurers, natural
historians, and anthropologists, the pieces express the wonder of
strangers in new worlds. Who were these extraordinary magic-makers
who imitated the sounds of animals in the night, or drank tobacco
juice through funnels, or wore collars filled with stinging ants?
"Shamans Through Time" is a rare chronicle of changing attitudes
toward that which is strange and unfamiliar. With essays by such
acclaimed thinkers as Claude LA(c)vi-Strauss, Black Elk, Carlos
Castaneda, and Frank Boas, it provides an awesome glimpse into the
incredible shamanic practices of cultures around the world.
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