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The plants told us

Scott, Georgia Clare (2008) The plants told us. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The evolution of human culture has been entwined with the use of psychoactive plants for millennia. In contemporary Western culture, however, the use of psychoactive plants has been marginalised, to the point of heavy criminal penalties, although there is no evidence that prohibition has had any success in reducing the harm caused by their use. This thesis argues that the basis for this intolerance lies in the dualistic paradigm fundamental to Western thought. In this thesis, I discuss the persecution of witchcraft and the links between this and dualism, and suggest the modern day “War on Drugs” to be reminiscent of a witch-hunt. I then use a case study of an Amazonian psychoactive decoction to illustrate the illegitimacy of the contemporary Western perception of such substances by providing a compelling account of its tradition and contemporary beneficial uses. The final section of the thesis argues the importance of the ecological self to sustainability and suggests that its realisation could be achieved utilising the shamanistic methods discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Johnstone, Allan
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