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A new paper discusses the theory that paleolithic artists sought out altered states of consciousness, that patterns drawn in Stone Age art are based on entoptic imagery, and that these patterns somehow were invested with great meaning:

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.

This thesis — that humanity’s earliest artists were not just reeling due to mind-altering activities, but deliberately sought those elevated states and gave greater meaning to those common visions — is the contention of a new paper by an international research team.

For further discussion of ancient shamanism and cave art (including theories of entoptic imagery), see Paul Devereux’s authoritative book The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia (Amazon US / Amazon UK).

Link: Were Paleolithic Cave Painters High on Psychedelic Drugs?

Link:Turing instabilities in biology, culture, and consciousness? On the enactive
origins of symbolic material culture
” (PDF)