- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam; Reprint edition (April 5, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0874779642
- ISBN-13: 978-0874779646
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 200 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Anthropologist Narby's very personal account of his encounters with Amazonian shamanism and his passionately researched syntheses of anthropological, biochemical, neurological and mythological scholarship fascinate but do not convince. His defense of the rights of indigenous peoples against usurpation by capitalist, technological countries is admirable; his methodology is not. Throughout, Narby appears to mistake enthusiasm for evidence and he takes similarities of form (e.g., any helical pattern, hexagon or snakelike figure) to be proof of identity or of casual connection: that the serpent of shamanic lore is DNA. Of his assertion that the Amazonians' specific knowledge of pharmacology derives from hallucinogenic trance (and not from some other more diffuse source), he undertakes no experimental test, offering the typical complaints that the "presuppositions" of science are too narrow to permit the test. Narby does well to question the assumptions of scientists who dismiss all teleology in favor of mechanistic interpretations that are often deeply inadequate, and he does well to inquire into the meaning of the vast commonality of forms between science and world mythologies, but his answers too often come off as groundless invention. He provides an intriguing detective story, wondrous visions and a wealth of fascinating information on genetic science, shamanism, etc., and he also offers some valuable thoughts on the parochial smallness of official science, but, overall, his book's greatest value, perhaps, is as a case study in the excesses of scholarship gone astray.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"[A]n intriguing detective story, wondrous visions and a wealth of fascinating information on genetic science, shamanism, etc.." ---Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge is a unique look at the question of consciousness, intelligence and knowledge as seen through the eyes of an anthropologist who opened himself and his mind to what some would consider "primitive" or radical means of "knowing".
The text truly makes one wonder. It is not-as I had supposed by listening to some individuals-a book about hallucinogens and New Age fluff, but rather a truly agnostic inquiry into alternative and very ancient ways of knowing.
Raises more interesting questions than it gives intetesting answers. I did not know cells gave off light/photons though, and its interesting in some ways to think that DNA may act as a attractor and emitter inside the cells.
I would not call this a scientific book, but at least someone out there is trying to connect religious experiences to a scientific framework, bridging the gap. So extra points for effort.
i really love that Narby writes about the thought processes and times of reflection that lead him to his next round of research. i found these passages just as enlightening as all of the shaman/plant/scientific/social implications.
if you're curious then you might as well understand...