Seems like an interesting book you and Greg have put together, and like such books, you probably have a whole lot of information that you couldn’t include because it just wouldn’t be palatable by the kind of folk you hope to reach with your observations and hypotheses.
A ‘shamanic civilisation’ hey. Hmm...interesting. It does make one wonder how much nature’s various mind-altering substances influenced our ancestors in their ability to mindfully explore and express things that only existed in thought, and could finally be given comparative voice and reason with what existed not just in the surroundings but also in the stars.
The ‘brain smasher’ may have its origins as actual ‘headaches’ brought about by any amount of reasons, especially when associated to a combination of something ingested/afflicted with, and something the individual is seeking to understand, that finally breaks beyond the barrier of ignorance with an almighty wallop. The very interesting thing about the ‘brain smasher’ is its location: the head. How many primitive cultures had it that intelligence was in the chest?
I wonder, Andrew, have you ever taken LSD or such? (I don’t mind if you prefer not to answer) What would you think if, during such a session, where your mind has sought to understand some problematic thing that is certainly of interest because it is not about the general nature of existence you are surrounded by and involved with, that when the nature of the substance begins to awaken some part of your brain and mind, that something you can see comes alive where life should not be: the dots of stars form animals or people that become animated and perform actions; trees birth fantastical creatures that seemingly create further fantastical creatures out of the surrounds, and they too perform actions; thunder and lightning, fire in general, waterfalls, rockslides, all manner of things offer up alternatives that may or may not overwhelm the senses but may just divest themselves of some intrinsic secret reason for their being and what they are doing. And with your mind primed by some interest needing understanding, the surrounds offer up an answer that none else experience. What would that do to you in trying to divulge the experience to others?
You identify the Denisovans as possibly near the beginning of some grand alteration in mankind’s future, while they are descended from some other lineage that extends back. You mention Tibetans and their genetic disposition to successfully live at altitude, which could only have come from many thousands of years of such lifestyle to become wholly acclimated to that. You offer genetic information about Denisovan people and what specific genes in modern people do when mutated. I will assume you know that drugs do not work on everyone, and for those that drugs do work on, the synapses have the appropriate settings for chemical transmission to occur. When it comes to nature’s products, the ability for us modern people to be affected by them starts a long way back and became part of our make-up if those today can be affected by things.
After all this, I guess I am wondering what kinds of things you have come across that hint at mankind’s use of nature’s substances that allowed for expansive thinking, especially considering the locations of places you list in your article. Are there any indications that the Denisovan's used substances?
Sure, we know that a monkey can use a stem of grass to access termites deep in a mound, so necessity is the mother of invention...but so too is stumbling upon an answer to a question yet asked.