Woke up this morning with a word in my head, thinking: what does it mean? Stumbled to the Concise Oxford that's always open on the desktop but in a fug of not-quite-awake-ness looked up entellechy instead. It wasn't there, though I did find enteric nearby. As in the Ern Malley lines: And not until then did my voice build crenellated towers/Of an enteric substance in the air ... Also Entellus, the Hanuman, from Virgil's Aeneid ... so went to Google and found myself in a talk by the late Terence McKenna. By now I'm wondering where I've heard of this guy before so I Google him too and end up at my old fave, Wikipedia. After a few cups of lapsang souchong I'm able to proceed further and I find McKenna's theory of human origins which, self-styled aficionado of such theories as I am, I'm ashamed to say I've never heard before. Goes like this:
McKenna theorizes that as the North African jungles receded toward the end of the most recent ice age, giving way to grasslands, a branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the branches and took up a life out in the open—following around herds of ungulates, nibbling what they could along the way.
Among the new items in their diet were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of these ungulate herds. The changes caused by the introduction of this drug to the primate diet were many—McKenna theorizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of boundaries between the senses) caused by psilocybin led to the development of spoken language: the ability to form pictures in another person's mind through the use of vocal sounds.
About 12,000 years ago, further climate changes removed the mushroom from the human diet, resulting in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to pre-mushroomed and brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by frequent consumption of psilocybin.
Then it was on to Novelty Theory, Timewaves and the Eschaton, by which time I was speculating that this was actually the word I woke up with, not Entellechy ... today is after all the 21st December, the Solstice, which means we have just seven more years before the Eschaton.
B-b-but ... I'm not going to worry about that ... it's holidays ...