Dennis McKenna: Plant Human Coevolution Origins Of The Imagination

21 April 2016 • English • 00:56:57

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Filmed at Plant Consciousness '15 - Imagination makes us human. Yet we rarely stop to consider where the imagination came from. If evolution endows nature’s creatures with traits that aid in survival and reproduction, what may she have intended when she created the imagination? And from a physiological perspective, how may the imagination have come about? Dennis will discuss how our ancestors’ interactions with plants over millions of years may have laid the foundation for imagination.


The biochemical co-evolutionary relationship between plants and insects are well-studied. The same principles apply to co-evolution with herbivores, which includes humans. Interactions between plant chemical compounds and our complex neural machinery, which can trigger synesthesia – the nexus where sound, vision and symbol come together – may have been the stimulus for the cognitive evolution of the mind. Many have experienced these effects in the form of the psychedelic experience, but their impact on our culture predates the 60’s by several million years. In fact, plants may have given us the ability to understand meaning and abstractions, and therefore laid the foundation for language. And with language came the ability to share ideas across continents and centuries, which created the foundations for culture.

Dennis McKenna


Dennis McKenna has studied psychedelics for over 40 years. His research has focused on the interdisciplinary study of Amazonian ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He has conducted extensive ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brasilian Amazon.


His doctoral research (University of British Columbia,1984) focused on the ethnopharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key organizer and participant in the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca used by the UDV, a Brazilian religious group. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. Dennis is the younger brother of Terrence McKenna.

Release Date 21 April 2016
Duration 00:56:57
Language English
Support Devices Plays on all browsers with Flash installed. Plays on Apple mobile devices
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