The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge. Jeremy Narby, Author Putnam Publishing Group $ (p) ISBN Swiss-Canadian anthropologist Dr Jeremy Narby argues in his book, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, that the twin. This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald “a Copernican revolution for the life sciences,” leads the reader.

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Jeremy Narby travelled to the Amazonian rain forest in to study the Ashanica Indians. There he encountered Shamans who recounted their experiences with ayahuasca, a hallucinatory drink, which they claim reveals to them the healing properties of the forest. This encounter began an adventure that lasted over ten nnarby and culminated in his book, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge.

Narby’s discoveries form a fascinating account of the possibilities of myth, science and intelligence. You have said that people are having trouble summing up serpfnt book.

How would you, as the author, sum it up? Why is there such a consistent system of natural symbols in the world? Is the world inherently symbolic?

This is the observation that led me to investigate the cosmic serpent. I found the symbol in shamanism all over the world.

My hypothesis is that it is connected to the double helix of DNA inside virtually all living beings.

And DNA itself is a symbolic Saussurean code. So, yes, in at least one important way, the living world is inherently symbolic.

We are made serpsnt living language. You have a hypothesis of a hidden intelligence contained within DNA. What is this intelligence? Intelligence comes from the Latin inter-legere, to choose between. There seems to be a capacity to make choices operating inside each cell in our body, down to the level of individual proteins and enzymes. Any error made serpdnt this editing can be fatal to the entire organism, so these enzymes are consistently making the right choices. Cells send one another signals, in the form of proteins and molecules.


How this intelligence operates is the question. Do you think there is not only an intelligence based in our DNA but a consciousness as well? I think we should attend to the words we use.

This concept will require at least a decade or two for biologists to consider and test. One can fill a book with correspondences between shamanism and molecular serpwnt. Claude Levi-Strauss showed in his book, The Savage Mind, that human beings have been carefully observing nature and endlessly testing hypotheses for at least 10, years. This is how animals and jerwmy were domesticated.

The Cosmic Serpent

Civilization rests on millennia of Neolithicscience. I think the science of shamans can complement modern science by helping make sense of the data it generates. Shamanism is like jereym reverse camera relative to modern science. You explain how different scientific schools keep to themselves, and in doing so, their discoveries and knowledge become limited.

Could it be that the true knowledge of the world is hiding from us?

The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby

What are your thoughts on this? Our own bodies are so sedpent that we are still a long way away from understanding how they work.


Why were you drawn to the Amazon? When I was twenty, I wanted to understand why some people are rich and others poor. A professor suggested I look into the situation of indigenous people.

I strolled into the Peruvian Amazon in for these rather theoretical reasons. Why did you write the book? I wrote the book because I felt that certain things needed saying. Writing a book is like jermey out a message in a bottle: Judging from the responses, a surprising number of people have got the message loud and clear.

The Cosmic Serpent – Wikipedia

Are you taking the conclusions from your book further in your research? I am about to accompany three molecular biologists meremy Peru to meet three ayahuasca shamans. So we are moving towards a test of the hypothesis. Meanwhile, a cognitive psychologist called Benny Shanon is writing a book about ayahuasca; his work deserves attention. How neremy living in the Amazon and studying the shamans affected you?

I spend my time promoting land titling projects and bilingual education for indigenous people, and thinking about how to move knowledge forward and how to open up understanding between people. I also spend time with my children, and with children in my community as a soccer coachI look after the plants in my jeeremy, without using pesticides and so on.

The message I got from shamans was: