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8. What’s DNA got to do with this?

Well, for starters, the scientists have figured out that multiple sclerosis has at least some genetic component. To give you an idea of how large a component; while the chance of getting MS in the population at large is about one in ten thousand, the chance of getting it if your sibling has it is three out of a hundred.

Big difference, no doubt, but it’s not enough of a difference to conclude that MS is caused by faulty DNA, only that faulty DNA can be one element of multiple causes of the disease.

So there is a real connection between multiple sclerosis and DNA. We simply still don’t understand what that connection is.

On the more “far out” side of things, a whole book has been written about the connection of the ayahuasca experience of shamans to DNA. In The Cosmic Serpent: DNA & the Origins of Knowledge , Jeremy Narby makes an argument that the structure of DNA has been known by primitives down through history. For proof he offers all sorts of coincidences involving snake or snake figures used as deities through history all over the world. He also draws on his personal experience using ayahuasca where he saw two silvery snakes.

I began my investigation with the enigma of “plant communication.” I went on to accept the idea that hallucinations could be the source of verifiable information. And I ended up with a hypothesis suggesting that a human mind can communicate in defocalized consciousness with the global network of DNA-based life. All this contradicts principles of Western knowledge.

Nevertheless, my hypothesis is testable. A test would consist of seeing whether institutionally respected biologists could find biomolecular information in the hallucinatory world of ayahuasqueros… My hypothesis suggests that what scientists call DNA corresponds to the animate essences that shamans say communicate with them and animate all life forms. Modern biology, however, is founded on the notion that nature is not animated by intelligence and therefore cannot communicate. (page 132)

To sum up: My hypothesis is based on the idea that DNA in particular and nature in general are minded. (page 145)

When I first read the book when it came out in 1998, I was disappointed and found it utterly unconvincing. While the author piles on coincidence after coincidence through history, he fails to convince that there was anything more than coincidence behind them.

It’s Robert Anton Wilson’s “Rule of 23s”, to wit, you always find what you are looking for when you look.

Ever notice when you get a new car that all of a sudden you start seeing the same make and model everywhere you look?

What Wilson did was claim that the number 23 had a special significance that we should all watch out for. It’s an amazing experience when 23s seem to start popping up everywhere. The restaurant table number 23. My seat on the plane… Row 23. My friends address, 23 Elm st. , etc….. You get the idea.

What Wilson was trying to teach us was that our experience of reality is completely colored by what we bring to the table. Who ever noticed anything special about 23? Nobody. Not till Wilson mentioned it. And then it seemed unavoidable all around us!

So Narby found snakes, spirals, helixes etc. everywhere he looked. I would have been more amazed if he hadn’t found them everywhere.

But now I was looking at the book through a different filter.

In the book Narby says, “After about a year in Quirishari, I had come to see that my hosts’ practical sense was much more reliable in their environment than my academically informed understanding of reality. Their empirical knowledge was undeniable. However, their explanations concerning the origins of their knowledge was unbelievable to me.”

That’s to be expected. After all, Narby, holds a PhD in anthropology from Stanford University.

But boy did he change his tune after trying the ayahuasca himself!

After drinking ayahuasca, Narby had a profound life changing experience. His view on himself and reality shifted from an intellectually superior know-it-all to a mere human being that has no real understanding of reality at all. In his experience, these thoughts were telepathically imparted to him by two giant snakes.

The Vaults of Erowid

What difference does it make that I found his arguments unconvincing. What I believed wasn’t the issue. He obviously believed it himself, profoundly and totally. So much so that he tried to prove it was true by writing a book.

If drinking ayahuasca could convince Narby of such a far-out theory, I have reason to hope that it will convince me that I am cured of MS.

If it convinces me as completely as it convinced Narby, who is to say that that might not be enough to engage the placebo effect and cure myself in objective reality as well?

Finally, another “coincidence” to toss onto the heap that Narby so carefully built.

According to the Associated Press, FRANCIS CRICK, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.

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April 18, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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