The Cosmic Serpent Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition
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- Length: 276 pages
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0049MPVJ0
- Publisher : TarcherPerigee; Reprint edition (April 5, 1999)
- Publication date : April 5, 1999
- Language : English
- File size : 1617 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 276 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #97,818 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As he says; "My approach in this book starts from the idea that it is of utmost importance to respect the faith of others, no matter how strange, whether it is shamans who believe plants communicate or biologists who believe nature is inanimate." (p.145)
The hypothesis he comes up with, simultaneously far out and down to earth, is that the knowledge of shamanic experience is coming directly from DNA - that mysterious intersection of psyche and substance (spirit and sense) at the root of all Life. The implications of this intuitive and logical perspective are expansive, and ultimately are based in a vision of Life being a consciously driven (i.e. intentional) phenomena.
Much of what he says is a direct critique of science (and the blinders inherent to its Western form), and he obviously gives more respect and credence to the methodologies and conclusions of the Amazonian shamans than science is willing and able to. But he also is no naive new-age enthusiast. Again, Narby perceptively comments, "To my mind, a truly hallucinatory session is more like a controlled nightmare than a form of recreation and demands know-how, discipline, and courage." (p.148)
Here's to the hope that this know-how, discipline and courage stays vibrant and alive amongst the Amazonian shamans.
The only improvement I can imagine is to see him do an updated edition to incorporate what has been learned both in biology and anthropology, as well as what Mr. Narby has continued to learn in the last 15+ years.
Edit 12/19: Since reading this book, I have done 30 ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru. This is still my go-to recommendation for anyone interested in starting their journey, or simply curious about ayahuasca. I have reread it twice.
Frederic in Williamsburg
The book is very well written in a friendly, warm voice, highly accessible to all levels of reader. If considering new possibilities and a fascination with metaphysical phenomena and ancient cultures interests you, you'll probably enjoy this book quite a bit.
Top reviews from other countries
Something like this must be true, in as much as (many) animals seem to instinctively know poisons (shame this mechanism does not save us from sugar!) and our ancestors did appear to have strange knowledge without our modern scientific method.
Having partaken in similar mind altering experiments myself, a lot of this strongly resonated. However I am also aware that drug induced visions also can lead to delusions of epic scale.
The biggest problem in this book is that science is no where near proving the photons properties in consciousness. So while Jeremy Narby’s observations seem spot on, his explanation of how this might be possible seem slightly implausible. Especially if such arguments are used to counter Darwinism.
To my mind there is little doubt that consciousness is the fundamental element of physical reality. But all my proofs are subjective - like others I see Quantum physics and new scientific perspectives as allowing for such a view. But the mechanism remains allusive.
I recommend this book to open minded readers. If you dont like Rupert Sheldrake, or get cognitive dissonance when reading anything blending science and the mystical, this book is not for you. Or rather, if you want to laugh at how silly mystic perspectives can be, read Michael Hayes book instead.
Bryson quotes Matt Ridley in his book "All life is one,’. We are all the result of a single genetic trick handed down from generation to generation over nearly four billion years, to such an extent that you can take a fragment of human genetic instruction and patch it into a faulty yeast cell and the yeast cell will put it to work as if it were its own.
In a very real sense, it is its own." This echoed time and again in Narbys interpretation of events. While Narby may or may not be correct in his hypothesis, his thoughtful approach, analysis, and linking of events must be commended. It is one of the most interesting perspectives I have read in a long time and one of the first combining science and philosophy. Truly refreshing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 20, 2019