Paul Stamets: The Mushroom Missionary

As America experiments with decriminalizing psilocybin, one scientist spreads the gospel of ‘shrooms at festivals — and in Star Trek

“I was in the woods, building a cabin in the shape of the Starship Enterprise,” says Paul Stamets, “and then I got this call from CBS and they said ‘listen, a bunch of writers from Star Trek want to talk to you, they’re really stuck, do you have any ideas?’ I said, ‘turn on your tape recorder.’” He gave them so many ideas, he says, that they named a character after him.

Indeed, it soon becomes clear that ideas are in no short supply with kilt guy. The conversation veers through half a dozen of them at hyperspeed. The idea that a universal web of dark matter, plus our more familiar World Wide Web, plus the human brain, all mimic the “mycelial networks” of mushrooms under our feet that bind and feed all of Earth’s soil. The idea that this network, an enormous mass of fungus that branches and communicates underground, is in some way sentient. The idea that human brains went through an evolutionary growth spurt after we encountered poop-grown psilocybin (“magic”) mushrooms on the savannah of Africa.

The flurry of ideas suggest that mushrooms could not only cure many diseases (just like penicillin, derived from a fungus) and depression, clean up industrial waste and oil spills and save the bees, but they can also store carbon in vast quantities underground, and thus save us all from climate change.

Read More at Mashable

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