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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, not to be taken fanatically
If anything, McKenna denies such a concept as intangible as enlightment-that was Leary's ego-trip. He's drawing attention to the fact that we are an evolving species that has, up till now at least, made some very selfish and destructive decisions. He claims that psilocybin is a mutagen proven to be capable of aiding in our collective evolution toward balance with each...
Published on Dec 19 2002

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Ethnogen Info, Bad History
I'm a bit flabbergasted by all the accolades here about McKenna's "solid research." Well, partially flabbergasted. His research into the properties of ethnogens is unrivaled. But his research into history is awful. For instance, he simply takes for granted such things as the Great Mother Goddess theory, without apparently considering that this was never accepted...
Published on July 7 2003 by D. Gray


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, not to be taken fanatically, Dec 19 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
If anything, McKenna denies such a concept as intangible as enlightment-that was Leary's ego-trip. He's drawing attention to the fact that we are an evolving species that has, up till now at least, made some very selfish and destructive decisions. He claims that psilocybin is a mutagen proven to be capable of aiding in our collective evolution toward balance with each other and with nature. Anyone who claims that psilocybin is not a mutagen that puts man in contact with the vegetable-mind-the "mama matrix most mysterious" -and catalyses the realization that we are a part of magnificant nature, not something seperate from or stuggling against it, is to put it nicely, completely misinformed. As is anyone who claims that abuse of sugar, coffee, tobacco, chocalate, automobiles & television are not addictions that push us further from nature & away from balance, understanding and integration. People who view their "sober," selfish, game-playing, costume-wearing, coffee-drinking existences as productive and meaningful have a little waking up to do.
McKenna is far from braindead. Read the book and you may be impressed, as I was, with his daring conjecture, botanical, historical & anthropological knowledge, prose and literary savoir-faire in discussing a topic which society has branded evil, immoral, degenerative or, at the very least, highly controversial. Remember when you claim that his radical viewpoint lacks scientific credulity that our lawmakers are responsible for fanatically denying all access to the subject-matter by legitimate researchers, forcing the study and the knowledge underground.
People acting from a basis of profound paranoia are not helpful guides and their insights should be taken with a grain of salt. Unfortunatly, to watch the news or to listen to our politicians speak, this paranoia about things mysterious, supressed or unexplored seems to be omnipresent in our society, which is thoroughly based upon male-ego/dominator values-talk about building your house on the sand!
This world is incredibly screwed up. To dream of progress and productivity in a time when we can see that all that these false idols have led us to is disorder and eminent doom is a dangerous delusion. The goal is to keep this planet intact for ourselves, for each other, for our children and for our children's children. Following Christ or whichever pathological egotist claims to be His representative has not been enough, so far, to awaken people to the fact that we are riding a runaway train in which the conductor has hidden from himself the emergency brake. We are living in a time when corporate bigshots and good-ole-boy politicians are seen as the good guys, while spiritual explorers, environmentalists and even Nature herself are perceived by docile masses of egotists, each living in the darkest of personal ignorance, to be pawns of the Devil.
We must search for a viable catalyst of selfless thought. To my mind, religion seems only to reinforce selfishness and inequality. Mushrooms, while less than a panacea, are definately a transcendental doorway beyond the restrictions that one's ego asserts over one's consciousness. About this subject, McKenna was far more qualified to speak than am I. If his claim was that mushrooms equal instant enlightenment, then I would be the first to attack his premise. Read the book and take from it what you like & try not to get hysterical or defensive. Paranoia, automatic nay-say and denial will get us no-place. This is just a theory, a stimulating one at that, and it is not inteded to be viewed as dogma or doctrine.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critics miss the point, Dec 2 2002
By 
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
Food of the Gods explores mankind's connection with the Earth as an organism. The author's speculations on our long lost mutualist relationship with plants has deep implications in science and offers sound insight into modern conditions of human iniquity.

To give you an idea, McKenna postulates that:
- The loss of the feminine in today's 'dominator' cultures
has been further catalyzed by our abuse of plants, drugs,
and nature as a whole
- The psychedelic experience, with its ego dissolving effects
represents an important component of the symbiosis of man
on Earth
- The striking similarities in the chemical structures of
neurotransmitters in the brain and indole compounds in
hallucinogenic plants are no coincidence
Despite the exhaustively researched and largely scholarly presentation of this work, unfounded criticism ensues when the subject matter stands as evidence in the indictment of many commonly held belief systems. However, most often the tone of McKenna's opponents caries the confident smirk of one safely distanced from his fierce intelligence, by their lack of experience with psychedelics.
Terrence McKenna didn't write for the amusement of those unfamiliar with the psychedelic experience. It was well within his mental capacity and scholarly abilities to legitimize his work for an audience of intellectual indifference. I wont say it's easier, but it certainly displays less integrity and truth of cause for one to cater to the lowest common denominator when attempting to relate ideas of this scope, even if they are only speculative.
Neither was it that the uninitiated were intentionally ignored and his priceless intellectual contribution was meant to be out of reach from common people, in an extension of Huxley's philosophy which he is often mistaken for representing.
Rather, his weakness seems to be his naivety in assuming that people inexperienced with psychedelics would approach his work with the unbiased mindfulness due of a reader of any great work of cultural and spiritual diagnosis.
The fact is that any intelligent, honest approach to this work will inevitably lead one to an intersection with a reality that cannot be negated.
Those who are experienced with psychedelics are likely to find in this book truths which they will integrate without hesitance - truths with implications profound enough to dissolve many of the illusions that largely pass as fact.
This book is a powerful catalyst of intellectual growth for anyone engaged in the pursuit to understand this world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars human-plant symbiosis, April 6 2004
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
a highly original, powerful work of revolutionary thinking designed to heal the planet and our own minds.
The author was a brilliant man who vouchsafed to us some of the most amusing and enlightening ideas ever transmitted.
This work is full of brainstorming wonder!
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5.0 out of 5 stars McKenna has a brilliant explanation for consciousness., Jan. 22 2004
By 
OverTheMoon (overthemoonreview@hotmail.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
This man is a genius! In Food of the Gods, McKenna postulates that monkeys on a diet of mushrooms, or dipping for insects in mushrooms, ate psychoactive chemicals that eventually played a major part in the evolution of human consciousness.
He then goes on to examine mushroom spores and there ability to leave the planet and travel intergalacticly in deep space frozen hibernation before landing on another planet. He describes the mushroom as the perfect vehicle for intergalactic travel and the spreading of consciousness.
SPACE MUSHROOMS!
The rest of the book is all about mankind's evolution with psychoactive plants by his side. Although he did get some things wrong in this book it was still cutting edge for its time and remains one of the most important thoughts on the topic to date. The world will also miss the man after his recently passing into that higher realm of consciousness.
Take this trip with Terence McKenna and expand your IQ.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have read in a long time, Aug. 24 2003
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
This is a beautiful, new and refreshing walk through on human evolution, I recommend this to everyone intersted in human life. I feel that McKenna has created a very interesting, expansive and easy to understand thesis on our lives and history, in which the most important point McKenna seems to be making is the need to "Change our Minds". The implications on dominator/ego socity, drugs, philosophy, psychology and science is what has given me a huge respect for one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. This is such a good book I feel it is a must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars McKenna, June 11 2003
By 
sky (Sonoma, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
The late Terence McKenna, God/dess bless, considered Amanita muscaria as not the Soma of the Rig Veda, based on his experience with the mushroom. As it turns out, it probably is. He considers entheogens to have probably expanded the size of the human brain. Did the large-brained cetaceans take psychedelics, way before us? At any rate, the bard has bestowed a thought provoking read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative, Solidly Supported and Well Reasoned, June 11 2003
By 
Adam Huffer (Thousand Oaks, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
It's not necessary to be a fan of illegal narcotics to find this speculative investigation into the origins of human consciousness both provocative and convincing. I might be described as a moderate drinker at worst, and yet found this argument into the origins of human consciousness utterly plausible. However, if you're anything like the editorial writer from Kirkus review, and obviously uneasy with challenges to your established notions and beliefs, you will probably be resistant to the implications of the author's in-depth research and painstakingly well reasoned speculations. Indeed, you should be resistant to all speculation. The thesis always begs the anti-thesis. It is, however, disingenuous to compile a list of the most extraordinary implications of the divergent views presented by an author and then formally dismiss the work merely as "unconvincing." I was not convinced by the work. But I could not honestly state that the argument was unconvincing. What makes this book so extraordinary is its ability to lead you to seemingly improbable and impossible conclusions, while rendering you incapable of denying either its sound logic or a better explanation of the facts, which brilliantly supported the thesis.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A valuble conribution to the field of anthropology, June 2 2003
By 
Ross James Browne (Atlanta, Georgia United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
_Food of the Gods_ by Terence Mckenna is an excellent addition to anyone's "alternative anthropology" library. New ideas regarding the origins of intellegent life are always very interesting. Mckenna also has some valuble sociological insights regarding the history of drug abuse, and reminds us that sugar, coffee, and chocolate are potent psychoactive substances that are just as addictive and just as unhealthful as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or psilocybin. It is refreshing to see someone try to level the playing field with regards to drug use, and finally admit that almost every adult in the entire western world is highly dependent on a variety of different drugs. It seems that Mckenna is taking a step in the right direction from a civil rights standpoint by lessening the taboos associated with certain drugs that are associated with the counter-culture, while reminding us of the caffeine and sugar addiction epedemic that is going on right under our noses. This book made me realize that drugs which are widely accepted and advocated by civilized society are not that much different from those which are outlawed. Overall, this is a fascinating anthropological and counter-cultural manifesto. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the imagination, Dec 14 2002
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
This is a good book for laity who are interested in enthnobotany and sci-fi. The book has some facts and lots of opinions. If you want hard science go elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Disruptive, Aug. 27 2002
By 
Thomas M. Seay (Palo Alto, California USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Paperback)
Terence McKenna is a muse, a trickster, he is (or was)
an incarnation of the psychedelic. Now although this book is not devoid of facts, even Terence would (and did) admit that the theory that human consciousness sprang from the use of the hallucinogenic mushrooms is rather speculative. Nonetheless
Terence's strength is not science per se, but getting us to think
and rethink, getting us to break the routine of our normal worldview and look at our lives and life differently....breaking set.Thomas
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