Sunday, May 20, 2012

AAT: Fungus Amongus (pt 3)

In parts one and two of our Ancient Astronaut Theory (AAT) series, we highlighted the basic premise that humanity was either “seeded” in its cultural infancy by highly advanced extra-terrestrial beings… or guided by a highly advanced and undetectable, co-existing earthling culture. A culture so advanced that it demonstrates Arthur C. Clark’s third law that states:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Skeptics consider such theories to be too outlandish… too “tin-foil-hat-ish” to be taken with any measure of seriousness. However, the theories examined in parts one and two may in fact, be too mundane… too comfortable in their vision. These anthropomorphic explanations conveniently feature human or bi-pedal humanoid extra-terrestrials that look just like us. These theories fit quite nicely in our earth-centric view of universe. The true origins of extra-terrestrial intelligence on earth may be far stranger… far more unfathomable and fantastic than some metal hulled ship… careening through space… carrying humanoid visitors to our planet.

Extra-terrestrial Extremophiles
It is likely that life in universe is far more plentiful, diverse and truly “alien” than our imaginations are normally willing to wrap around. Entities that bear little resemblance to life as we define it on earth (let alone bipedal humans) may fill the cosmos. A fascinating hypothesis suggests that the void of space, conventionally considered lifeless, is teaming with life. The term used to describe this theorized life-form is “extra-terrestrial extremophile.” An extremophile is defined as an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions… in this example, the absence of a gravity-bound atmosphere.

“Research has proven that extreme organisms can live in very harsh environments. Such extremophiles can survive almost everywhere, including in outer space” …says Dr. Rhawn Joseph, who has investigated NASA footage that shows what he believes to be living alien organisms in the vicinity of the space shuttle, during NASA’s 1996 broken tether incident. According to Dr. Joseph, many of these objects are huge in size and have a pulsating nucleus, which could be an indication that they are living life-forms. The objects are able to suddenly change direction and speed of movement.

Thousands of these creatures observed by NASA appear to be exceedingly similar to a species of algae known as Eudorina elegans, but had to be many kilometers in size. In other words, there are millions of strange objects in space which could be living extraterrestrial organisms. Astronauts could see these objects outside the space shuttle, travelling along side the shuttle and have described some of these objects as "definitely not solid", "plasma-like", "tissue paper thin", and engaging in unusual movements. - (source)

The implication here is that biological life may exist throughout the vastness of space. Biological life may traverse not only within solar systems, but between the stars… possibly between galaxies. Terrestrial life may be seeded by these life-forms getting caught in the gravity well of a planetary system and metamorphosing into a terrestrial-based life-form. Perhaps parasitic forms of life “catch a ride” on these entities, thereby increasing the possibility of inter-stellar migration of biological life…

The Magic Mushroom
Still, the question of the inter-stellar seeding of intelligent life remains. This leads to a psychedelic variation on the biological inter-stellar migration theory. The life classification of interest comes from the fungi kingdom (taxonomic rank, ie: plant kingdom, animal kingdom, etc). A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as our species class of interest, mushrooms. The name "mushroom" typically refers to those fungi that have a stem, a cap and gills (or pores) on the underside of the cap. The mushroom reproduces via the dispersal of microscopic spores, capable of surviving for extended periods of time in unfavorable conditions.

The following is from Terrence McKenna (Nov. 16, 1946 - April 3, 2000), on the subject of extra-terrestrial life:

"My candidate for that kind of an intrusive extra-terrestrial would probably be a mushroom of some sort, or a spore-bearing life form, because spores are very impervious to low temperatures and high radiation… the kind of environment met with in outer space. There's no question that through what's called Brownian motion, which is sort of random percolation, spores do reach the outer edge of our atmosphere, and there, in the presence of cosmic rays and meteors and rare, highly energetic events, occasionally a very small percentage of these biological objects are wafted into space. We even possess meteorites that are believed to be pieces of the Martian surface, thrown out by impacts on the Martian surface of asteroidal material.

In fact I think part of the grappling with the (extra-terrestrial) mystery is going to lead to the conclusion that space is not an impermeable and insurmountable barrier to biology… that in fact planets are islands, and life does occasionally wash in from distant places, and if conditions are correct, can take hold. However, let me say we are dealing, not simply with the phenomenon of extraterrestrial biology, but with the phenomenon of extra-terrestrial intelligence, and this is a hackle-raising notion.”

Certain species of mushroom commonly referred to as “Magic Mushrooms” when ingested, have a psychedelic effect on the nervous system of humans. This effect is characterized by hallucinogenic perception, often revelatory and insightful in nature. This psychedelic experience is so profound, it is often considered to be a form of communication between the ingested mushroom and the human host. Communication infers intelligent interaction between two entities.

The crux of Magic Mushroom Theory presumes that the intelligence of the mushroom is a form of cognizance and consciousness, in a state of suspended animation.

Here is the scenario: An alien mushroom spore, drifting in space, is caught in Earth’s atmosphere. It floats to the surface of the planet, where it germinates and grows into a mushroom. An unsuspecting earthling (human) finds and eats the mushroom. As it is digested, the mushroom’s psycho-active properties course through the earthling’s bloodstream, ultimately reaching the brain. As the psycho-active properties take effect… contact.

This is a symbiotic relationship. The alien symbiont, or mushroom, requires the interface with a biological nervous system, in order to access and activate it’s consciousness. It also requires a nervous system’s perceptive and motor function capabilities in order to perceive and manipulate it’s new environment. In other words, the mushroom needs a body to move around in, a brain to “think” in, and eyes with which to see. Once it enters into a symbiotic relationship with our earthling, it is free to interact and explore in this strange new world, by co-operating or sharing the host’s body.

In return, upon entering (via ingestion) into symbiosis, the earthling host gains access to the mushroom’s molecular data-base. The intelligence that has been in stasis (bio-bit-rate reduction) within the spore, decompresses during the growth cycle of the mushroom, and becomes readable upon interface with the host’s nervous system. Both entities now have access to this data. The information that is transmitted to the earthling takes the form of revelation and insight… thereby increasing the earthling’s knowledge base and subsequent intelligence.

In this manner, the alien intelligence that is the mushroom makes contact with humanoid earthlings in a mutually advantageous, win-win, close encounter. No spacecraft necessary.

Regardless of the above, there is no doubt that fungi are a (forgive the pun) trippy life-form. A giant Armillaria solidipes fungus, a species of honey mushroom in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, was found to span 8.9 km2 (2,200 acres), which would make it the largest organism on earth, by area. Talk about a space colony.

Human history is full of cosmologies with “deified” mushrooms included in their iconography. The oldest artistic representations of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the world are found in the Tassilli Mountains in the Sahara Dessert. These rock paintings, created by pre-neolithic hunters and gatherers are between 7,000 and 9,000 years old. They might be the most ancient human culture as yet documented in which the ritual use of hallucinogenic mushrooms is explicitly represented. It is fitting that Africa, considered the cradle of humanity, is also home to the oldest known mushroom cult.

Some scholars believe that the deified plant “soma” mentioned in the ancient Hindu text, the Rigveda, was in fact the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria. Out of the ten Rigveda books, the ninth hymn book, Soma Mandala, is devoted entirely to Soma. The Vedas state that the god-plant Soma was found in the mountains and that the intoxicating juices from Soma were expressed from the flesh of the plant using so-called "Soma-stones." In the text it is stated that drinking soma produces immortality.

Rigveda (8.43.3): We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.

The Sanskrit word for immortality is Amrita. Amrita is phonetically and conceptually very similar to the Greek ambrosia; both are what the gods drink, and what made them deities. Ancient Greece was home to a ritual cult that lasted for 2,000 years until it was suppressed by Christianity. This cult, known as the Eleusinian Mysteries, consisted of initiates who, once a year in September or early October, came to the Eleusian plains for worship of the Gods. September through October is the season of the mushroom in Europe and it has been proposed by some scholars that this Mystery cult was associated with some manner of hallucinogen.

Historical use of the Psilocybin mushroom has strong evidence in Central America. Mushroom use was prevalent in Mexico prior the Spanish conquest and an important aspect of Mexican religion and life. The fungi were sacred and used in divination and healing. Mushroom stones have been unearthed from as far back as 1000 B.C.E. The mushroom using peoples of the Americas held on to their traditions from antiquity and through the violent persecution of the Spanish, until it was rediscovered in the early 1950's. - (source)

"When we look at the mushroom stones we must always remember that in pre-Conquest times most art, if not all, was religious, as it once was in Europe. And we must remember that the hold on the inner life of the Mesoamerican peoples of the ethnogeny, notably the entheogenic mushrooms, was all-powerful, as it is to this day in remote corners of highland Mexico. Those who have not explored the role of the entheogens in the cultural past of Mesoamerica easily overlook that role or assume that it was of minor importance, solely because for us it is of no importance”.

– R Gordon Wasson

The myriad of mushroom cults throughout history and from around the world, make a compelling case for the integral role that psycho-active substances played in humanity’s remarkable intellectual development over the last 10,000 years. The ingestion of the psilocybin cubensis mushroom, as an agent of human evolution, was strongly argued by Terence McKenna in his book, Food of the Gods. He theorized that the consumption of these mushrooms, as a component of early man’s daily diet, triggered the expansion of human consciousness. This expansion was directly responsible for the intellectual and cultural development of modern man. The mushroom, according to McKenna, had also given early humans their first truly religious experiences, which were the basis for the foundation of all subsequent earthling religions.

Cosmic Cargo Cult
Given the above, the globally present mushroom cult in all probability co-evolved with humanity over the last 10,000 years… the era of man. As an agent of change, the magic mushroom and its organizational structure, or cult that developed around it, was instrumental in humanity’s strategic thinking and tool building. Add to this theory the possibility that mushroom spores wafted into our atmosphere and hence our biosphere, from outer space… and the theory gets more… fascinating.

Mushroom spores from outer space are, de facto, extra-terrestrial. For purposes of our Magic Mushroom Theory, humanity’s discovery and ingestion of the magic fruit of the spore is the close encounter… contact… with alien life. Humanity’s explosion of intelligence has been driven by the revelatory and insightful nature of the effect that magic mushrooms have on the human nervous system.

Perhaps the mushroom cults that have existed around the world, for the last 10,000 years, are the ultimate Cargo Cult. In the context of the Magic Mushroom Theory, the cargo was not delivered by any sea faring or space faring vessel, but was delivered to earth in the form of a tiny spore. This delivery was not initiated by exploration… rather it was delivered by migration. A migration of microscopic mushroom spores… drifting through space… across the unimaginable distances between stars… over unimaginable periods of time. Just as the coconut washes ashore upon a South Pacific archipelago, so does the extra-terrestrial agent of change "wash ashore” upon spaceship earth, carrying within its tiny spore, the precious cargo of intelligence.

Post Script: In contemplating our Magic Mushroom Theory, please keep in mind the fact that the truth is stranger than fiction.