The World Soul and the Mushroom

Publication Year: 
1992

Image retrieved from ggpht.com on August 27th, 2013.

RALPH: I think we're all involved in a kind of compromise. What we need here is a Twelve-Step group or something. We have to reprogram ourselves out of our child hood conditioning as the Hindu, the Judeo-Christian, and the Scientist. Our work, thought, talk, and relationship are very much inspired by our individual travels through the spirit, where we have seen and felt the largeness of the world soul. When we discuss it or bring it down into language or relate it to ordinary reality, there is a tendancy toward conservatism, which ends up looking like an anthropocentrism. We compress what we've experienced on a grand scale down to the human scale and relate it too much to human consciousness and human history.
TERENCE: When I look at human history, I see the accumulation of a sense of urgency long before anyone started worrying about ecocide or population. It's almost as though the world soul is the thing that wants to live and, sensing instability, it is trying to build a lifeboat out of the clumsy material of protoplasm.
RALPH: This is like fighting an infection. The Gaian mind may be faltering due to a bad habit. Incarnation is addictive, and the reason there is an infection out of control on this planet is because of this bad habit.
< b>Terence: The world soul may actually sense the finite life of the sun, and it may be tying to build a lifeboat for itself to cross to another star. How in the world can you cross to another star when the only material available is protoplasm? Well, it may take fifty million years, but there are strategies. They have to do with genetic languages, and with developing a creature who deals with matter through abstraction and analysis, eventually creating technology. This is all an enzymatically mediated process, a plan in the mind of the world soul to survive.
RALPH: In our experience of the divine logos, isn't there the feeling that we've already gone beyond the physical plane of protoplasm? Is this not already a kind of star travel?
TERENCE: Yes, but then why this increasing urgency, century after century? For fifteen thousand years, there has been increasing anxiety and the following of increasingly irrational chreodes. Only if there is a problem with the stability of the environment do the last ten thousand years of human history make any sense. This problem has created history as an evacuation, a frantic project to find a way out. That's why things have been allowed to tear loose, to poison the oceans, to strip the contents. The world soul, I think, is in communication with us in the culminating moment of human history. Everything is being scripted for a purpose, and toward an end unglimpsed by us but tied up with the survival of everything.
If it were seriously important to attain star flight at all costs because the biosphere is in trouble, a fruitful approach would be superminiaturization. In other words, we would need to find a way to turn people into spores and then seed these spores throughout the galaxy, relying on light pressure and gravitational convection to distribute them. At the rate of percolation of matter through the galaxy, spores released from a single planet could penetrate the entire galaxy in about forty five million years, which on the scale of the life of the universe is not long at all. I think what is called for is a retooling of the human form.
RALPH: We're going to send termites out into space?
TERENECE:Mushrooms! Human mushrooms. We know that psilocybin is closely related to serotonin. Serotonin makes the brain functions of the mental universe possible for the mushroom.
If you think about the mushroom, it is perfectly engineered for truly long-duration survival and adaptation. Look how lightly it touches matter. Its mycelium is simply a cobweb in the soil of any planet, and yet it synapses upon itself and is full of neurotransmitter-like psychedelic compounds. It's like a thinking brain, yet it condenses itself down into a thing three microns across, of which several million per minute can be shed by a single carpophore. Spores are perfectly designed to travel in space. They can endure extremes of temperature. Their color reflects ultraviolet radiation. The surfaces of spores are composed of the most radiation-impervious organic materials known.
This is an example of how an abstract notion like the world soul can penetrate the upper levels of the world of biology and organisms.
RUPERT: Insofar as the mushroom and the human psyche have had a symbiotic relationship, the mushroom-induced experiences in human consciousness are in the morphic field of this symbiotic relationship. Therefore, these experiences could be carried by the mushroom. The mushroom spores would have to germinate somewhere, giving rise to mushrooms on another planet. Then, when conscious organisms ate the mushrooms, they would gain access telepathically to this whole realm of human psyche.
TERENCE: It's more than a symbiosis. Perhaps we are going to be downloaded, or uploaded. If we can find a way to download ourselves into the mushrooms, then, when the planet explodes, it'll be a free tailwind to our tour bus, you see.
RUPERT: I think we may have already downloaded ourselves into the mushrooms.
RALPH The world soul as mycelium: the pattern that connects...

pp. 70-73, of Trialogues at the Edge of the West by Ralph Abraham, Terence Mckenna, Rupert Sheldrake (1992)

space mushrooms, panspermia, terence mckenna
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