It seems that artists from the beginning of time have found a natural relationship between drugs and creative expression. Or at least that is the implications of a theory of scientists who believe that cave drawings were the result of biological-hallucinogenic drugs producing common geometric patterns.
Prehistoric cave paintings across the continents have similar geometric patterns not because early humans were learning to draw like Paleolithic pre-schoolers, but because they were high on drugs, and their brains—like ours—have a biological predisposition to “see” certain patterns, especially during consciousness altering states.
The researchers looked at the common shapes found in caves around the world from Paleolithic times dating back 40,000 years. For years, the similarity was explained as common early pathways to early art forms. These scientists however have a more chemical explanation.
The scientists believe that the patterns are common visions that result from brain biochemistry. They state in their article: “The prevalence of certain geometric patterns in the symbolic material culture of many prehistoric cultures, starting shortly after the emergence of our biological species and continuing in some indigenous cultures until today, is explained in terms of the characteristic contents of biologically determined hallucinatory experience.” Think of Timothy Leary meets the Croods.
They believe that these cave drawings occurred during rituals where the painters took plants with the same type of effect as peyote. Such plants produced similar responses:
“The non-ordinary visual experiences were often characterized by similar kinds of abstract geometric patterns, which he classified into four categories of form constants: (1) gratings, lattices, fretworks, filigrees, honeycombs, and checkerboards; (2) cobwebs; (3) tunnels and funnels, alleys, cones, vessels; and (4) spirals,” they write, citing peyote research. “Intriguingly, these form constants turned out to resemble many of the abstract motifs that are often associated with prehistoric art from around the world, including Paleolithic cave art in Europe.”
So there you have it: the stoned age.
Source: alter net
31 thoughts on “The Stoned Age: Scientists Present Theory That Cave Painters Were High On Psychedelic Drugs”
The fact is…. there are many ways that humans have discovered to bring about Hallucinogenic states of mind… Not all of them involving mind altering drugs… Long periods of not eating, long periods of not enough water! Long periods of darkness to name a few. I’d like to know, what kinds of drugs the afore mentioned scientists may have been on…. before they expressed their opinion.?
Unfortunately, or fortunately…. I passed 64, 5 years ago…
I watch Yellow Submarine, every year, on my birthday.
Researchers have to appear relevant if they want to earn their keep, I suppose, but it’s always amusing when scientists theorize about artists.
Great Beatles clip Darren!
I’m looking forward to when archeologists discover literary fragments from a Paleolithic Hunter S. Thompson.
Darren, lovely, thanks!
Depraved? But in a good way. 🙂
LK & Pete,
We weren’t deprived, we were depraved.
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