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Chapter 6:

Primitive Medicine
Simple, Effective Systems of Healing Would
& Could Not Prevail Under the Current GCOS

"Occasionally, begrudging recognition is given the fact that the Indians taught the early arrivals to these shores what to eat, how to farm, and how to survive in the harsh, cold woods. And nowadays, because of the recent work of groups attempting to protect the rainforests of the world, we are hearing about forest Indians' knowledge of medicinal plants. We are beginning to grasp that modern pharmacology is rooted in the ancient knowledge of forest plants, and that we have barely begun to tap the Indians' full knowledge of these matters. And yet that knowledge is on the verge of being totally lost as the forests are destroyed and the Indians are killed or removed from their lands."
Jerry Mander 1
(emphasis added)
"Intuition from traditional science and mathematics has always tended to suggest that unless one adds all sorts of complications, most systems will never be able to exhibit any very relevant behavior. But the results so far . . . have shown that such intuition is far from correct, and that in reality even systems with extremely simple rules can give rise to behavior of great complexity . . . (this) implies that there is never an immediate reason to go beyond studying systems with rather simple underlying rules."
Stephen Wolfram 2
"The fascinating feature of primitive medicine is that it represents a medical system utterly different from our own, yet one that functions satisfactorily."
Erwin H. Ackerknecht, M.D. 3
"The believer in truth . . . is bound to maintain that the things of highest value are not affected by the passage of time; otherwise, the very concept of truth becomes impossible . . . (Nonetheless) let us remember all the while that the very notion of eternal verities is repugnant to the modern temper."
Richard M. Weaver 4

While imprisoned in Beaumont, I happened to be introduced to a Native Indian from Mexico. He was from the Carro tribe that lives in the Sierra Occidentál where the states of Nayarit and Jalisco meet. He described the place as quite indigenous -- where Mexican "Federales" knew better than to meander. (As he said this to me he drew a pointed index finger from one side of his throat to the other.) "The land is not their home. It is ours."
At the time, I spoke little Spanish, and my Carro friend spoke no English -- (only his indigenous tongue, first; and then secondly, Spanish.)
When I brought up the subject of native medicine, "Juan" was always decisive on any given treatment. He knew the plant, insect, or in the case of deadly snake bites, the excrement, that was used, the protocol, contraindications -- not to mention extensive stories of anecdotal case histories.
"You are a doctor . . . or shaman?," I inquired, very early in our relationship.
"No," he replied. "There are many people in my tribe who know these things."
"And what do you do if you need to use a white medical doctor?" I then inquired.
"Except for traumatic accidents, that is almost never," he replied. "Our medicine works better."

One of the most remarkable things about living in a place like Ecuador -- where indigenous ways have not been entirely exterminated, and in many ways are actually cherished, is you get to see -- firsthand -- the effects of authentic shamans. The common people have access to knowledge of their environment sufficient to sustain basic good health, but there is a level above that, which seeks to sustain not just the physical well-bring of members of the tribe, but the psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being, as well. The shaman practices his craft openly -- using emulets, herbs, encantations, etc. No secrets. No patented medicines. The authentic shaman doesn't even charge for his services ... but, from what I have observed in the Amazon, lives largely on the voluntary donations of what his fellow man -- (the word "patient" here seems ill-fitting) -- provides.
This is the all-encompassing role of the shaman.
You must seek them out, of course -- because none of the effective shamans I have met are given to catering to tourists. In fact, nowadays, it is common to find charlatans among those claiming to be shamans. Common, yes . . . but the "real deal" is there for those who seek with sincerity, a pure heart, and an open mind. In one of John Perkins' books, he discusses his eyewitness account of a 103-year-old Otavalan shaman and his miraculous healing powers. He even records his experience in watching someone brought back from the dead. [5]
I have seen authentic shamans in action, and I can boldly attest to their healing abilities. They are not systems of recent development. To speak to the shamans of South America of their traditions, they will tell that they are the purest, modern representation of ancient medicine. They are the true representatives of ancient systems of healing that are our birthrights -- birthrights that, I believe, were forsaken with the executed unfolding of our current GCOS.
I have read the antiseptic and sterilized accounts of paleopathology and paleomedicine, which attempts to take archeaological accounts of ancient medicine, pass them through the rubric of modern science, and produce an accounting of worthless "wannabe" medical practice. [6] I could give more credence to orthodox accounts if I had not witnessed such shocking attempts to suppress scientific truth in my own time.
I am a living, breathing person. So are my associates. We have worked with thousands of people and cured diseases -- primarily cancer -- that orthodox physicians had claimed were hopeless. If the orthodox establishment can do such an effective job of squelching what I know . . . if they can suppress an effective cancer cure that was actively PUBLISHED as such in 1858, what power do they have over cultures, peoples, and archeological sites that passed on thousands of years ago? At least I have some limited ability to speak and write. I can talk to people. I can photograph results and reproduce hundreds of testimonials. What power, in this "land of the living" do ancient cultures have -- aside from their descendents in the shamanic community -- where no one is present who can know fully what they knew and represent their knowledge as relevant in our own time?
I open this chapter by recounting my experience simply because if we draw from strictly orthodox accounts -- and, by now, I would assume that most of my readers have noticed my propensity for bibliographical support -- we must take into account the bias that all modern, authoritative sources have built into their story-telling -- because, as we saw in the last two chapters, our historical accounts are brimming with breathtaking levels of fudging. After all, no "respectable" historical accounts are allowed to travel far from the all-consuming, centripetal force of the common narrative.
Truly, we have not strayed far from Hobbes' portrayal of the lives of primitive peoples as "nasty, brutish, and short." And yet, contrary to the way in which indigenous peoples are portrayed -- in any aspect of their lives, including health care -- I am always struck by how relatively "satisfied" they are. It reminds me of famous comment by Richard Weaver, in the best known work of his trilogy:
" . . . modern man has not defined his way of life . . . (so) he initiates himself into an endless series when he enters the struggle for an 'adequate' living. One of the strangest disparities of history lies between the sense of abundance felt by older and simpler societies and the sense of scarcity felt by the ostensibly richer societies of today. Charles Péguy has referred to modern man's feeling of 'slow economic strangulation.' his sense of never having enough to meet the requirements which his pattern of life imposes on him. Standards of consumption which he cannot meet, and which he does not need to meet, come virtually in the guise of duties. As the abundance for simple living is replaced by the scarcity of complex living, it seems that in some way not yet explained, we have formalized prosperity until it is for most people only a figment of the imagination . . . " [7]

Premise #4: Cleaving Wholeness for
Fragmentionalism Was The First Step
in the Development of Modern Medicine.
It Manifested As a Demand for Elite Specialization.
It is the First Predictable Outcome in the
Unfolding of Our Current CGOS.
The majority of works I have read on the history of medicine -- and I have polished off over a dozen -- can firstly be broken down into two sections: primitive medicine and "civilized" medicine. The first one or two chapters is devoted to the primitive -- paleomedicine, paleopathology, perhaps some space to early ethnobotany, etc. The bulk of the remainder goes to "civilized development." [8]
Great effort is made to construct a smooth, linear history -- such that time, progress, and technical achievement are overlaid in perfect conjunction. That this approach appears to be universal does not surprise -- after all, it utilizes the myth of unending, linear progress in our time that was set in motion by Francis Bacon, refined with contributions by Descartes and Newton, and sealed with the evolutionary principles of Darwin and commentaries of Herbert Spencer. [9]
No one questions this because these are the evolved rules of the game -- or, again, as Kuhn notes, scientists in any era (and, apparently, those who write about them) ply their craft like a chess player. They are allowed to construct endless strategies for winning the game as long as they don't question the underlying game rules. [10]
Contained within this approach, however, is a huge deception. By measuring medical advance through chronology, the earliest systems of human health care --- those which are, yes, the simplest, but also the most time-tested, the most employed as a result of empirical observation -- are unwittingly castigated as elemental and unworthy of serious consideration by the modern mind. Such prejudice is embedded in the etymology of the very words used -- "primitive" meaning "first born" (L. "primitivus") and "civilized" referring to urbane citizens (L. "civilis"), as opposed to soldiers, foreigners, and . . . as if it needs repeating, savages.
What is missed is the homogeneity and striking efficacy of ancient systems, some of which I have used myself -- acquiring them, as I have, as a result of first travelling to, and then living in close proximity to, the Amazon rainforest -- home to over 80,000 species of plant life. Here, you find shamans who have used the very same effective methods, formulas, and practices for countless generations. Therein is the real difference. The modern mind is immediately outraged by this apparent disonance. After all, how could medicine be effective unless it was progressing? It has to progress! After all, you can't have excellence in any field without progress, can you? You can't have progress without change. But then you can't embrace change as a critical component of progress without an unwitting refusal to accept universal verities. (Such a worldview consistently overlooks the obvious throughout Nature. Natural healing is instinctual in higher life forms. Even Garrison, an outspoken critic of primitive medicine in his own treatise, noted that "a dog licks its wounds, hides in holes if sick or injured, limps on three legs if maimed, tries to destroy parasites on its body, exercises, stretches, and warms in the sun, assumes a definite posture in sleeping, and seeks out certain herbs and grasses when sick." One requires a "modern temper" to not see that primitive medicine follows along the same lines that other fellow mammals have been following, with surprising success, for millions of years --- unchanged. When Garrison continues, quoting John Burroughs, he fails to grasp the full meaning of his observation. "Man has climbed up from some lower animal form, but he has, as it were, pulled the ladder up after him.") [10b]
It is an uncontestable fact that the modern mind is at odds with the notion -- again, to borrow from Weaver, that "the things of highest value are not affected by the passage of time." As recent as the age preceeding the Enlightenment, the possessor of highest learning was still thought to be the "philosophic doctor." Such an individual "stood at the center of things because he had mastered principles. On a level far lower were those who had acquired only facts and skills. It was the abandonment of metaphysics and theology which undermined the position of the philosophic doctor, a position remarkably like that prescribed by Plato for the philosopher-king. For the philosophic doctor was in charge of the general synthesis. The assertion that philosophy is queen of studies meant more to him than a figure of speech; knowledge of ultimate matters conferred a right to decide ultimate questions." [11]
So it is in the world of practicing shamans, whose practices and concepts are shockingly similar all around the world. [12] Despite their diminishing numbers and the manner in which their world has been diluted and poisoned by the encroachment and dominating influence of our GCOS's winning strategy, we see in the authentic practitioners the blossoming of the philosopher-king -- a political concept to Plato, but a living reality to those indigenous communities that have not yet lost their way in the torrential undertoe of modernity. More importantly, we see a kind of wholeness that is almost incomprehensible to the modern mind -- whose more objective anthropologists have attempted to define the healing shaman with a smorgasborg of specialized terms, functions, and corresponding occupational name tags: composite physician, pharmacologist, psychotherapist, sociologist, philosopher, lawyer, astrologer, priest, and creator of tribal order. [13]
Modern science cannot view the shaman in his wholeness, because its very act of observing and interpreting what he is requires that the study itself be filtered through the psychotic, fragmented filter that is born of a genetically-altered, artificial world we call Modern Civilization. This, in turn, is nothing more than our GCOS run out 200 or 250 or 300 generations (as if an exact number really matters), and observing the manifest results of the winning (i.e. dominant) strategy (i.e. sub-culture).
This is not a critical excoriation of "division of labor." Even the smallest indigenous peoples exercise division of labor. It's the unavoidable denotation of "division of mind" -- one rooted in artificial constructs leading to an artificial world that is at war with the Nature that gave it birth. It is a worldview that is an early manifestation of the greed and selfishness at the heart of the opening lines of our GCOS. It is the basis for our experience of "the bicameral mind." [14] It is the foundation for a modern medical system that creates more disease than it could ever eradicate -- and how can it be otherwise? -- if disease is the manifestation of maladaptation, and modern civilization (i.e. the current winning strategy) is inherently maladaptive to Nature, what else should we expect? It is the basis for Seattle's comparison of our winning strategy (i.e. white man) to a "snake who eats his own tail in order to live. And the tail grows shorter and shorter." (Modern man seems surprised that the snake is quickly approaching the consumption of its own head . . . Indigenous people I know are not.)
We see how this "division of mind" must -- by its very nature -- ultimately glorify those systems of health care that best serve bifurcation: make the most money (i.e. energy -- the power to "do" in the physical world) for those most committed to the fragmented, Luciferian side of the bicameral mind, while simultaneously doing whatever is necessary to suppress wholeness.

Until recently, the unanimous "civilized" view of the common practitioner of "primitive" medicine, as represented by the shaman, was that the entire lot were "neurotic, epileptic, psychotic, hysterical, or schizophrenic." Such is our modern world's view of a practitioner who would cure his "patients" through the knowledge and insights of non-locality gained through "altered states" -- eschewing the aid and assistance of a corporately-produced and funded Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR). [15] The common view of anthropologists is best summed up by George Devereux, an authority on the matter, "In brief, there is no reason and no excuse for not considering the shaman as a severe neurotic and even a psychotic. In addition, shamanism is often also culture dystonic . . . Briefly stated, we hold that the shaman is mentally deranged." [16]
Less pejorative descriptions and portrayals of shaman have been developed in the past four decades, but as Narby notes, "the difficulty in grasping 'shamanism' lies not so much in the concept itself as in the gaze of those who use it. The academic analysis of shamanism will always be the rational study of the nonrational -- in other words, a self-contradictory proposition or a cul-de-sac." [17]
Even when the powers of shamanism are confirmed through the work of other disciplines, modern academics don't make the connection. I remember one passage by Russell Targ, one of the celebrated developers of 'Remote Viewing,' which had original backing by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. He discusses at some length the "amazing" developments in "intuitive medical diagnosis" and "distant healing" that are now offspring of this extensively researched psychic phenomena. His writing -- and those he references in his book -- do little to nothing to make clear that these modern, scientific discoveries are but a crude re-hashing of a handful of shamanic techniques that have been in regular practice for untold thousands of years. [18]
This, in turn, is but a subset of a larger pattern of denial wherein modern technology draws vitality, creativity, and sustinence from "the primitive," only to denigrate or ignore it in turn. "Seventy-four percent (74%) of the modern pharmacopoeia's plant-based remedies were first discovered by 'traditional' societies -- (and yet), only two percent (2%) of all plant species have been fully tested in laboratories, and the great majority of the remaining 98 percent are in tropical forests -- the Amazon, alone, home to half of all the plant species on Earth -- [much of which as been decimated over the past century to make more land for cattle and monocultural food crops]."
This mindset is not newly developed. The very first Materia Medica Americana, published in Latin in 1787, was the work of Dr. Johann David Schöpf. He came to America as a physician with German troops in the British service during the Revolutionary War. He remained thereafter to catalogue more than 400 medicinal plants and therapeutic substances. A close examination of Materia Medica Americana reveals that America's first pharmacoepia was an aboriginal materia medica. Rather than give credit for the source of this medicinal largesse, Schöpf makes it a point to criticize the very source that is the basis for his work: "(In the matter of Indian remedies) I see no reason to expect anything extraordinary or important, and I am almost certain that with the passage of time nothing will be brought to light." [19] The author of America's first materia medica leaves his readers with the proposterous notion that he most probably figured out all his information on his own.
The social, political, and financials goals behind such denigration, stolen authorship, and overlooked potentialities have not been without transparency -- "(for only) after we have thoroughly routed the medicine men from their intrenchments and made them an object of ridicule (could whites) hope to bend and train the mind of our Indian wards in the direction of civilization." With this savage attack on native healing systems, it is no wonder that as early as the 1850's, Henry David Thoreau would write, quoting a "wise, old Indian," that "the present generation of Indians had lost a great deal" [of practical medical knowledge]. [20]
Declaring war on the natural world is the only way in which modernity could have possibly have held victory over sub-cultures which did not possess the "winning strategy" under the current GCOS. How could sub-cultures, particularly in the area of medicine, endure when they exhibited "general readiness to produce, without reward, their manifold roots, barks, and herbs for the (relief) of those needing aid . . . they show at least no selfish and mercenary views which are the commonest motives among the no less numerous mystery-usurers of more civilized and enlightened nations." [21]
To see this development with more clarity, we have to return to its early lines of code.

I maintain that the opening lines of our current GCOS's code -- maintaining as they do, a rigidity in separateness between "I" and "not I"; "mine" versus "not mine"; and performing acts that benefit "me" as opposed to "not mine," can be used to explain the history of any facet of our current civilizational era -- in this case, medicine. Run out over hundreds of generations, our "cellular automata" produce a "modern man (that) is suffering from a severe fragmentation of his world picture. This fragmentation leads directly to an obsession with isolated parts." [22]
In medicine, the first step on the road to separating oneself from the rest of Creation would manifest itself in the hoarding of knowledge ("authorized knowledge" versus "unauthorized knowledge"), the creation of a medical caste (my authoritative use of that knowledge versus those incapable of acting without it), the development of schools to train select candidates eligible for admittance into the caste (to separate the initiated versus the uninitiated), and the creation of a system of practice that favors a monied versus an impoverished patient base). Bifurcated self thus yields a bifurcated expression in health care. Since good health is of vital interest to any citizen in any society, it would only stand to reason that those with some inclination to working in the area of medicine would find a rich field in which to help the GCOS express itself.
Thus the doctor becomes the one with knowledge. His patient, the one without. The doctor, teacher; the patient, student. The doctor's opinion, an expression of authority; the patient's opinion, an expression of ignorance. The doctor, collecting fees for what is "mine"; his patient, the paying party who represents what is "not mine." The relationship is not and cannot be unilateral. It is asymmetrical, because the GCOS cannot express itself if the doctor is acting on behalf of what is best for the patient. Drawn out to the point of GCOS system crash, the doctor becomes torturer and the patient is the victim.
Medicine now must exist to benefit itself -- represented by its high priests. Even the underlying knowledge upon which the medical high priest relies is twisted to conform to the "game rules" provided by the GCOS. "The excessive love of self is in reality the source to each man of all offenses; for the lover is blinded about the beloved, so that he judges wrongly of the just, the good, and the honorable, and thinks that he ought always prefer his own interest to the truth." [23]
If the lines of code we have chosen for the GCOS are correct, we should see a consistent, increasing, unyielding movement in this direction over time -- over the last six, or eight, or ten thousand years since it was first set into motion.
And using the information provided by conventional history itself -- self-serving though it be -- it should surprise no one that as we leave primitive medicine for its "civilized" variants, that is precisely what we see.
Chapter 7 --- >>

  1. Jerry Mander, In the Absence of the Sacred, p. 230.
  2. Stephen Wolfram, A New Kind of Science, p. 110.
  3. Erwin H. Ackernecht, M.D., A Short History of Medicine, p. 10.
  4. Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences, p. 52-53.
  5. John Perkins, The World is as You Dream It. p. 88-95. On the shamanic power to bring people back from the dead: 71-74.
  6. Lois N. Magner, A History of Medicine, p. 1-13. Examples abound . . . so I will pick just one: Magner closes her opening chapter on early medicine with the following (excerpted): "we should remind ourselves that the ingredients in many traditional remedies are so exotic, nauseating, or toxic that the prescriptions were more likely to scare people out of their illness than to cure them. When faced with the choice of consuming 'boiled black bugs and onions,' or pleading guilty to good health, many marginally ill patients must have chosen the latter course . . . (the) vestiges of these actions remain in the "old wives' tales" told by people entirely too sophisticated to believe such stories any more than they would worry about a broken mirror or Friday the thirteenth."
  7. Weaver, Ideas, p. 14-15.
  8. Sahlins, Evolution and Culture, p. 36. In noting the study of cultures as integrated into the Darwinian mindset, he notes, "The social subsystem of cultures is especially illustrative of progress in organization, and it is often used to ascertain general evolutionary standing. The traditional and fundamental division of culture into two great stages, primitive and civilized, is usually recognized as a social distinction: the emergence of a special means of integration, the state, separates civilization from primitive society organized by kinship."
  9. Rifkin, Entropy, p. 19-29.
  10. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, p. 144-145
    --- 10b --- See Garrison's History of Medicine, p. 19.
  11. Weaver, Ideas, p. 53.
  12. Eliade, Mircea, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, p. 50
  13. Narby, Jeremy, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, p. 14-17.
  14. Jaynes, Julian, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, p. 84-99. I could do an entire chapter on my proposed modifications to Jaynes' work, but sufficient to state, for the purposes of keeping within the confines of this chapter's subject matter, that Jaynes' "executive part" and "follower part" -- the components of the "bicameral mind" -- are, in my opinion, rooted in the bifurcation of the part of us which seeks unity with the Whole and the sequestered, fragmented part of us that is the universal meme created by our current GCOS. Using language with which Christians are accustomed, acquainted, and comfortable, we might call this the Higher and Lower Selves. Using language with which psychiatry is acquainted we might call this the Super Ego and the Ego.
  15. Narby, The Cosmic Serpent, p. 15. With four bibliographical citations of support, p. 167.
  16. Ibid., p. 15. Running commentaries on the sick state of ancient practitioners of medicine -- regardless whether the term "shaman," or "medicine man" or "indigenous healer" is used -- abound. Indeed, they are too numerous to list fully. A typical example is one provided by Albert Buck, who characterized the genesis of early "medicine men," as occurring when "some member of the tribe who had displayed special skill in the treatment of disease, and who at the same time was liberally endowed with the qualities which characterize the charlatan, was chosen . . . (The Growth in Medicine, p. 8., emphasis added).
  17. Ibid., p. 18.
  18. Targ, Russell, Limitless Mind: A Guide to Remote Viewing and Transformation of Consciousness, p. 105-150 . . . Once again, this level of arrogance -- to refer back to a passage from Chapter 4 -- reminds one of the historical robe used to dress Christopher Columbus -- "discoverer of America" -- as if anyone could claim to "discover" a land where 55 million people have already been living for countless generations. This great, historical tribute is given to a man who, to quote native American activist, Russell Means, whom I met at a "wisdom gathering" in Sedona, Arizona (May, 2006): " . . . thought he had found India. You cannot be on this planet and be more WRONG than to think you have found a place, whose true location is on the opposite side of the globe!" I mention this because if it emblematic of the convoluted mindset used by modernity to denigrate the primitive.
  19. Narby, ibid., p. 38. Bibliographical support: p. 170; the passage on Dr. Schöpf from p. 66.
  20. Vogel, Virgil, American Indian Medicine, p. 35. Comments on Henry David Thoreau, p. 119.
  21. Ibid., p. 67, quoting from "Travels in the Confederation (1783-1794). ed. Alfred J. Morrison, I, 284-87.
  22. Weaver, Ideas, p. 59.
  23. Ibid., p. 71. Weaver takes the quotation from Plato.
  24. Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies, p. 59.
"Our lips shall tell them to our sons,
And they again to theirs . . .
That generations yet unborne
May teach them to their heirs."
Isaac Watts

The World Is As You Dream It
A wide variety of texts exist which provide a brief overview of the history of medicine. Some are encyclopedic and daunting (Garrison Fielding's Introduction to the History of Medicine comes to mind).
In the end, I choose A Short History of Medicine by Erwin H. Ackerknecht, M.D., as a chronological guide for the balance of Book II of Meditopia. Although not as detailed -- and certainly filled with conventional views that are not consistent with my own views, it, nonetheless, provides a comprehensive, yet succinct, overview of the most important developments that mark the history of medical practice.

The World Is As You Dream It
John Perkins is, of late, better known for his writings in the political arena. Confessions of an Economic Hitman made him an international celebrity, a darling of those opposed to the excesses of U.S. foreign policy, and placed him in the same league as Noam Chomsky and William Blum.
But his earlier work, much of it drawn from his earlier experiences in the shamanic community in Ecuador, is, in my opinion, more valuable.
The World Is As You Dream It is as good a narrative as any of one who is introduced to authentic shamans and finds, much to his surprise, that they possess healing abilities that modern medical practitioners do not understand, let alone attempt to duplicate.

The Cosmic Serpent
I remember the first time I went on a shamanic journey: the night of August 25, 2006 in a forest retreat in Ecuador . . . I was 50 years old.
There were many revelations that came to me that night, but one thing I realized with surprising clarity: there was such an abundance of snakes -- appearing in such concrete vividness with a life all their own, that I realized that if there were no snakes on earth, not now and not in any time in the past -- if I had never heard of them, even in fiction -- if I had never had any contact, through any of my senses, with anything that even looked like a snake -- they would still exist in the Universe. They must stand for some kind of universal archetype. They are, after all, even found prominently on the ancient caduceus, symbol of medical practice.
It would appear that I am not the only one who has had this revelation. Narby makes clear in his work that he, too, recognizes how unseemly an ever present visitor this universal archetype is to the sincere participant in the ayahuasca ritual.
Users with many more years of experience with ayahuasca than I report its sacred place as a "plant teacher." I have met with three shamans in the Orientál of Ecuador who claim that their entire body of botanical knowledge came from the spirit world. What makes this a remarkable statement is that these same teachers could acquire indigenous medical knowledge from their elders. But it would not be the same. To learn from a "teacher plant" is to be on the path to "owning the knowledge." The knowledge you acquire from others is not the same as the knowledge you acquire from within yourself. (I discuss this aspect of ayahuasca in Chapter 4, Section 3 -- in the second paragraph of Footnote #22.)

Vine of the Soul
This book, Vine of the Soul: Medicine Med, Their Plants, and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia, was written by two of the most respected ethnobotanists of the 20th century, Richard Evans Schultes (1915-2001) and Robert F. Raffauf (1916-2002). I know from a mutual friend that Schultes, in particular, became quite engrossed in the properties of ayahuasca towards the end of his life.
Although the focus on the book is the Colombian Amazonia, the section on ayahuasca, from my experience, relates to many indigenous, botanical cultures running from Colombia south through Peru.

Ideas Have Consequences
Ideas Have Consequences is the first in a trilogy of books that Richard M. Weaver wrote from 1948 to 1964. His thoughts play prominently in the development of Meditopia.
This chapter draws heavily from Chapter 3, "Fragmentation and Obsession," which is, in this author's opinion, the most important of the book.
While Weaver does a suberb job of identifying the ills of Western civilization, I found his recommendations less than satisfying. Absent an understanding of our GCOS, one may swoon endingly about solutions to the current malaise so well described by John Zerzan, but this is the point: there is no solution, simply because an unintended consequence of our GCOS, something built in to the very opening lines of its code, is our own self-destruction and the demand for an Operating System rewrite.
This becomes glaringly apparent in later chapters.

Herbs Against Cancer
Ralph Moss's Herbs Against Cancer: History and Controversy contains a variety of simple relics of "primitive medicine." It includes chapters on the work of Harry Hoxsey (Chapter 5), Essiac (Chapter 7), both of which we explore herein in Chapter 4, escharotics (Chapter 6), and it closes with an afterword (p. 275-277) well worth reading on the life of Jonathan L. Hartwell, the patron saint of Alpha Omega Labs.
Consistent with the legal and political milieu of our time, the author opens with a strongly worded "Important Note to Reader" -- basically, a disclaimer stating that the author's work is for "historical and critical analysis" only. "It is not a book of instructions for cancer patients on how to treat themselves . . . it would be tragic if any reader were to misunderstand the author's or the publisher's intentions and attempt to use such information to self-medicate for any indication or condition . . . "
Tragic, indeed.
I can attest to the effectiveness of many of the formulas and methods stated in Moss's book -- and I have no doubt that many of Moss's readers know the game . . . namely, that there must be a wink and nudge when discussing any aspect of cancer treatment that would or could conceivably be used to direct market share away from the orthodox cancer community. Hence, the author's hearty admonition, "Readers with cancer should seek out the help of skilled oncologists, other physicians, and trained herbalists."
Well . . . I suppose one out of three isn't bad . . .

Evolution and Culture
Evolution and Culture (1960) stands as one of the 100 most influential books in the development of Meditopia. It was the author's first exposure to Elman Service's "Law of Evolutionary Potential," which plays an important role in a later chapter. The book (at a mere 131 pages) is a compilation of four essays presenting the editors thoughts on evolutionary theory as applied to cultural anthropology. Some observers may find it contradictory that this author would embrace a system of thought that leans towards linearity -- even within cultural anthropology -- not recognizing that even within a multiverse that churns in endless, repetitive rise and falls, there can be "subroutines" that demand progress and development, and create the "appearance" that such upward movements can be traced in a straight line back to the beginning of the universe. (Do we not live in a world where entropy [the rule of the Second Law of Thermodynamics] co-exists with laws where order is sought at the expense of chaos?)
The relevance of this book to the current chapter centers on David Kaplan's "Law of Cultural Dominance" -- which can be summed up as such: " . . . that the cultural system which more effectively exploits the energy resources of a given environment will tend to spread in that environment at the expense of less effective systems." Parallel to this a central principle of cultural anthropology, that "thermodynamically more versatile (cultures) . . . effective in a greater variety of environments . . . are able to drive out less advanced types." I maintain that this is the governing rule under our GCOS, but, regardless, the implication for primitive medicine is unmistakeable. As Kaplan points out himself, "The great reduction through recent millennia of the hunting and gathering societies of the world is a good case in point. Once the sole occupants of the cultural scene, they have tended to recede before later types that utilized new and more varied means of harnessing energy and putting it to work. The spread of these more advanced forms has pushed the hunting and gathering cultures deeper and deeper into more marginal areas." (p. 74).
Kaplan's emphasizes that "dominance," in this instance, relates to command over the environment. "(This law) underlies the fact that generally higher cultures have greater dominance range than lower forms, which is to say that it is also relevant to the understanding of general dominance. Higher forms characteristically exploit more different kinds of resources more effectively than lower; hence, in most environments they are more effective than lower, thus their greater range." (p. 77)
Applied to primitive medicine, we see how the "Law of Cultural Dominance" has corrupted and perverted health care within the presiding GCOS. Once again, the human body is an artifact of nature -- not technology. The healing systems, approaches, techniques -- indeed, entire modalities -- that work best are those that tend to be simple and most removed from the artificial creations of a dominant culture.
Interestingly, Kaplan doesn't omit the primary method that is used by a "dominant culture" to kill off the competition: "It would seem, then, that the spread of a dominant culture type almost invariably involves some sort of pressure being brought to bear on less advanced types. Often this pressure takes the extreme form of outright military conquest [i.e. think U.S. Food & Drug Administration and their military style tactics -- all of which this author observed close up] with the conquered society being exterminated, driven off, or colonized and transformed. The mechanics of this process are easily understood. In most cases, an advanced cultural system can marshal a greater and more powerfully equipped military force, enabling it to take, and hold against encroachment or revolt, areas where its exploitative techniques are more effective than rival systems." (p. 88)
But the mechanism beneath THIS one -- the real source of this power to suppress, if not exterminate -- is something Kaplan never advances, and yet, even to this point in our study, it is obvious to all.
If the most effective methods of healing tend to be simple, inexpensive, easy to learn, easy to share, easy to employ, then what must an orthodox medicine system do within the dominant culture to eradicate these effective methods and fuel the source of their exterminating power (i.e. money)?
They must: (1) create less effective, artificial systems that play to the inherent asymmetrical relationship between a Medical Elite and the majority who live and work outside this selective group; (2) they must destroy the competition by insuring that they use their superior resources gained through the employment of the first principle to establish a Common Narrative that discredits primitive medicine; and (3) they must solidify this disinformation through an educational system that sustains the bias against these "lower form" healing sytems.
Question ---- Can the "con job" that is modern, orthodox medicine be sustained indefinitely?
Answer ---- Not on your symptom-treated, radiation-tested, pill-popping, toxically vaccinated, surgically-altered, chemotherapied life!

For, orthodox medicine is cursed with the same baggage that weighs down all complex, high entropy organizations. "A complex society is seen as impelled along a path of increased complexity [i.e. hence, the health care budgets of Western countries that are currently spiralling out of control], unable to switch directions, regress, or remain static. When obstacles impinge, it can continue in only the direction it is headed, so that catastrophe ultimately results." [24]