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From Sprouting to Civilizations

The human, fungi and plant's relationship have ever been so strong… until now!

January 21, 2021
Tree in forest of plants
Photo Credit: veeterzy | Unsplash

Plants are an essential part of our lives. Without them, we would not be here in the first place. This is the part of natural history that we probably missed at school or it was neglected due to its complexity. Since the existence of humans on this planet, our necessity to intervene with nature by our purposes has been rather convenient.


I guess we were conscious about nature because of early rituals or even cultural history. Or mainly just for survival. Yet we are still dependent on everything that evolved, from plants to animals, to satisfy our daily lives.


At contemporary times, we have shown how we are addicted to consuming certain things that lack self-defence. Plants are one of them.


Civilizations began by cultivating certain grains through agriculture that by pure luck, a seed thrown on the ground by a shepherd sprouted whilst herding his flock. This sprouting comoved early empires and made human population grow sporadically.


From primordial farming skills, we cultivated plants with assertion, ensuring that seeds were germinating regularly and we had total control of the environment to promote more growth. This transition from hunter-gathering to farming is well known as the Neolithic Evolution. Since then, here we are, cultivating intensively with astonishing large production scales.


That said, a question comes to mind: what is the deepest need we adept with plants? Maybe not only with plants: fungi also played a key role in our existence, unless not observed before in archaeological sites.


Prehistoric people were not interested in food consumption only, but they were also driven by the unknown, using their curiosity as a way to navigate the world.


This curiosity could have been under certain fungi influences, most of the time by foraging randomly.


According to some theorists, this could have possibly determined the people’s worldview at the time as commonly observed today by certain tribes: a supernatural being reigning our realm or only images distorted from reality.


These were poisonous toadstools that still surround us today if you wonder.


It is not just me that came up with this idea. Different authors and mycologists, such as Paul Stamets and Dennis Mckenna, thought about the initial contact early humans had with fungi. There are cogitations that primitive people came across some hallucinogenic mushrooms, which literally could make them experiment with different dimensions apart from the physical one. Please bear in mind that these are only speculations. Quite interesting ones though.


Besides, humans were put forward as the dominant species, leading the food chain and capable of things that other animals or plants are incapable of doing so. What’s more, our connection to nature concerning survival skills assures our reliance not only in deities but also in plants.


Acknowledgement of plants having ‘super-powers’ was not a rare case of schizophrenia, though a vision of the future and their functions beyond reality. Although, it is proven that helped many people along the track with physical illnesses and mental disarrangements, and still today most of our cosmetics come from plants.


In a book that travels through shamanic plants and indigenous people relationship within the forest, Jeremy Nearby and The Cosmic Serpent” dive deep into the Amazonian jungle to research about the ayahuasca and its properties, bringing science and spiritual concepts into the life game. Worth a read. Advisory content to radical scientists though.


Plants = Food = Life, do we follow this?

Owing to the processed food industry, we are not entirely sure about ourselves today. Our body awareness disappears and coercion of understanding nature is a trickle. I say coercion because this whole concept is driven towards a manipulation against the history once used by indigenous people in a specific purpose or mission, where now is used for commercial purposes only.


We are breaking the natural law of graduated evolution that despite difficulties of some species, it may be naturally selected to dispense towards a stronger one ready to thrive. In other words, we are playing the nature's role when handling an evolution of over 3 billion years of natural effort by modifying ecosystems and degrading environments.


We can hardly explain why even with today’s advancements in knowledge and technology, this distance from the natural world still happen before our eyes. It seems to be a kind of human control of nature without interconnectivity.


What else is left for us to worsen our environment then?


I guess my impression of reality is based upon a scientific justification of life values. We are still dependent on animals to comply with what nature has to offer us. Our desire to change the world is a movement that has been always viewed as drastically insane one. But who are the spectators?


I guess plants are the spectators and continue to be so until we vanish as species and then they would not even realise that that just happened. They will continue with their cycle of life and death, and most likely progress into different species, adapting to new climate change situations unhurried by us. There is no ending to this conundrum.


As Max Adams cites in his book The Wisdom of Trees”:

“one might also argue that the greatest threat posed to trees is human: carelessness, negligence, greed or expedience – and these seem not to be localized”.