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am 11. März 2000
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found the writing easy to get along with as its written in narrative form that. Anthropologist Jeremy Narby steps off the plane and into Amazonian country. Here he tries the commonplace hallucinagenic ayahuasca. This plant gives Narby incredible insight into the human soul, body and nature of life. The author then gives his experience in as much detail as he could remember, then passing along the rest of his trip with conversations and whatnot. From here, he sets out to write his book. Although the author does sort of jump to conclusions that the double serpents he sees all over ancient mythology is the double helix of DNA (i.e. the medical symbol caduceus). Although in some cases I tend to agree with his point of view, and I find much of the ancient symbols of the past to correlate strongly with our modern psychology, mathematical sciences and biology. However, in his search, he does not let go of the idea, which may or not not help his cause. The book would have received 5 stars, if he stayed on top of his subject. He began with hallucinagenics in the Amazon, then to DNA, then neurology and smoking ingredients. He writes humbly knowing what he believes wont be taken to heart very lightly. There are no answers in this book, however many questions, pertinent questions no less, which makes this such a valuble and enjoyable book. Definately reccomended. Fans of Joseph Campbell may really enjoy this one.
0Kommentar| 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 8. Juli 1999
Before stating my strong criticisms of Jeremy Narby's book, I would like to salute him for his original intentions of preserving indiginous habitat, his courage, and his enthusiasm.
Dr Narby developed a theory that Ayahuasqueros were actually seeing DNA in their hallucinations, DNA emits electromagnetic radiation in the visual spectrum, and that life on earth is of extraterestial origin. The latter two parts of the theory are poorly documented and don't generally follow the sequence of his arguement. The former (DNA visions) could have been stated in a 2-3 page essay. Also Dr Narby seems to have started with his theroy and then sought corroboration within the world of science; thereby superficially skimming relavant data and ignoring all the rest. For example his exploration of the tree of life, the axis mundi, and the snake/dragon images ignores the world of analytical psychiatry, the collective unconscious, and the multifaceted cross cultural mythological scholarship such as in the work of Joseph Campbell (only briefly alluded to in the text). Also, I believe that Dr. Narby underestimates the power of set and setting in the type of drug/plant experience derived.
My major disatisfaction with the text is that the "science" supporting his arguements is sort of tripped over in Dr. Narby's explorations, and not soundly appreciated as a foundation of serious inquirey. His sources for many important insights can be a conversation with a friend who happens to have a credential, or lesser known and obscure references.
Not enough time is spent on the Ayahuasca side of the equation, and the nature of this experience.
The biochemistry of serotonin like agents, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and neurotransmitors is poorly developed (with several errors).
Somewhat paradoxically I cannot say that Dr. Narby is not close to some aspects of potential biological truth. DNA and the Soma appear to have a relationship that is currently unexplored, and the world of mystery has been all too much supressed by the power of reason.
Finally, I would like to point out that the concept of DNA is itself a metaphor, and it is the metaphor of ayahuasca that meets the metaphor of DNA; not science versus the sublime.
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 9. Juni 1998
Narby is right to seize on the fact that certain hallucinogenic concoctions seem so complex in their preparation that it must be impossible that they were the product of trial and error. But he's silly to think that the common occurence of serpentine imagery/symbols in various mythologies should be seen as DNA. It seems much more probable that the serpent as a symbol of life giving reoccurs because of its phallic resemblance--a possibility that Narby seems to completely ignore.
I am glad that someone decided to look more closely at the mystery of how indigenous peoples have some complex knowledge of plant use, preparation and interaction. But Narby, whose knowledge of genetics and DNA is very spotty, is far too attracted to his DNA hypothesis. Readers who want a more scientifically-grounded look at hallucinogens and Amazon-river basin cultures should read Wade Davis's great ONE RIVER. Davis isn't asking the same sorts of questions that Narby is, but there is some overlap, and Davis is a much better scientist, thinker and writer.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 26. August 2013
and will recommend it to my friends. Its bringing science and shamanism together in such a respectful, open mindet way. Im hoping that in 50 years this way of thinking will be normal in science. He is suggesting that currently scientists are positioning themselves very often on a superior position, for example assuming that shamans are just children living a phantasy, not taking them serious. assuming that life has been created by pure chance, instead of being open to not exclusively materialistic theories. (And not realizing that this bias of pure materialnes is not very scientific either.) One example, so that you know what im taking about: the author is stating that calling the parts of DNA which do not contain codes, but just long repetitions "Junk DNA" instead of "mystery DNA" is implementing the arrogance of some scientists. Just because we dont know what these parts of the DNA chains are good for, we obviously cant just say that its junk without being uncientific.
I found the book easy and compelling to read. Very informative, hopefully both for hardcore scientists who think that the spiritual world is all phantasy, as for hardcore hippies, who think that science is useless in answering any of the big questions of life. (Im rather one of the later ones and looking forward to hear what my super science atheist friends will say about this book) Another reason I enjoyed reading it so much is that its written autobiographically by a person who I feel is a nice person. (without knowing him) Jeremy Narby is not writing a pure scientific report, but also telling us the story behind the science, how he felt, how he found things out. Instead of trying to create a pseudo objective text he is telling us a story which is hopefully helping in making us realize that all living beings are connected.
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am 21. Februar 2000
Very interesting book. Anthropologists tend to project their own world views on the people they "observe." This book, which is basically a "story" - demonstrates how one Anthropologist, through his experiences in South America, has his own LAE (life altering experience) which enables him to examine his OWN culture...and its assumptions/metaphors. As a "Native" person, who went through the "mainstream" education system and wrestled with the hubris and fragmentation (let's disect everything!) was a pleasant breath of four winds' air to see him face up to his own field's shortcomings. I recommend the book.
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am 26. Juli 2015
Schamanismus und Molekularbiologie sind näher zu einander, als man denkt. Ich freue mich, dass mehr Menschen die Brücken schlagen zwischen Wissenschaft und Spiritualität, und nicht als Gegensätze betrachten. Gut geschriebenes Buch, sehr empfehlenswert.
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am 24. November 1999
I love to read books that move outside the flow of conventional thought; books that excite the imagination. Narby's passion for his subject is evident; you can almost hear him go Aha! at points in the narrative. Whether you end up agreeing or disagreeing with his remarkable conclusions, you are guaranteed to re-examine some of the most basic concepts that underlie the methods of Western science, and the conclusions those methods inescapably, and perhaps not always correctly, lead to.
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am 16. Januar 2000
Scientific and artistic explanations of how life communicates itself to our different ways of understanding. Suggests that the information in DNA has always revealed itself to us and that the West has only recently rediscovered this wealth of knowledge through laboratory science. Far fetched at times but intriguing enough to make me it with an open mind.
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am 5. November 1998
The use of cosmic serpent symbolism is an extremely old method of portraying scientific relationships that describe the universe. The ancient Minoans of the Mediterranean, American Indians, East Indian cultures, the early Druids of Europe, the Jews, Egyptians, and others, all used portrayals of the Serpent and/on the Tree of Life (the Caduceus), or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, to represent a macro-micro cosmic image and understanding of the universe. The ancient universality of this symbolic image, and later disuse following the rise of Christianity, leads to a contemplation of the meaning behind the story of St. Patrick when he apparently "drove the Snakes out of Ireland" (an unlikely occurance if taken literally and without a context or reason). Modern science is sadly lacking in the methodology to understand criteria based upon qualities that go beyond the abilities of quantitative analysis. An avaluation of this book based upon the limited views of scientific verification are not apt to do it justice. DNA is just one application that the image of the cosmic serpent can be applied to. Extrapolations of this concept hold vast understandings for scientists able to transplant the pattern of this image into other contexts. I am thoroughly excited about this book.
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am 2. Juli 1999
I learned more about DNA in this book than I did all through high school!(which might tell you something about me...or my teachers) Though looking over the other reviews here, I found that others think he is not a very well researched scientist, though I don't know enough about the subject to tell. Most books about DNA are written textbook style, by people who like to use big words, to impress, I suppose. I usually think that if something is written understandably(like Cosmic Serpent), it is because the author really knows his stuff, and doesn't need to try to confuse people with too many technical terms. Or maybe I am just dumb. Anyway, I think it is great that Narby questions Darwinist theory. Darwin's theory of evolution is taught in school as truth, and, assumably, just readily accepted by most scientists. You know, it was also assumed for a thousand years or so that the earth was flat and everything evolved around it. It is always good to question. While all of his theories might not hold up, he still gets one's mind a turnin'! This book really opened up my mind(apologies for being cliche)
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