Podcast 027 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 1)


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


(Minutes : Seconds into program)
3:40 (referring to the ‘Martian meteorite’ of 1996) “..it was a watershed moment that the President of the United States felt the need to address the nation on the subject of extra-terrestrial life…”

4:30 “…the body is being dissolved as much by advanced medical technology as it is by cyberspace and the internet…”

8:22 “[psilocybin and DMT] particularly seem to impact the language-forming portion of the brain… [and] it’s the language-forming part of your brain that is explaining to you moment to moment what is going on… and …then you really do have a puzzlement on your hands because the machinery of description itself has been caught up in the process…”

9:12 “…these machine-like, diminutive, shape-shifting, faceted, machine-elf-type creatures that come bounding out of the [DMT] state… are elfin embodiments of syntactical intent. Somehow syntax–which is normally the invisible architecture behind language–has moved into the foreground, and you can see it… it’s crawling all over you…”

10:32 “…and [the machine-elves] hold out objects, which they sing into existence… and… what [the objects] are like is–and, in fact, this is probably what they are–what they are like is three and four and five-dimensional puns…”

10:54 “These objects that [the machine-elves] are making are made by utterances…”

14:32 “Well, somebody once asked me, you know, ‘Is it dangerous?’ And the answer is: Only if you fear death by astonishment.”

17:28 “The process of ‘doing language’, in us, is not yet finished… and what we’re on the brink of… is a much more seamless kind of fusion of minds by generating topological manifolds that we look at, rather than localize into designated meaning.”

19:46 “And the reputation of Ayahuasca is ‘group states of mind.’ Well, if you’re naïve, then you think you’re gonna hear everybody thinking–but no, you’re going to see everyone thinking, you know, you’re going to see what people mean.”

20:26 “…now we’re close to [Marshall] McLuhan country here. I think what this means is that print skewed our perceptual apparatus… toward the acoustical space, so that, for us, thought became a voice.”

24:19 “In the last 150 years we go from photography, to color photography, to moving colored photography… with stereophonic sound, and [now] pointing toward virtual reality, with more and more money to be made each step of the way… We will produce simulacrums of imaginary worlds.”

25:28 “I think the transformation of how we ‘do’ language is part of this acceleration into singularity.”

28:07 “…culture is not your friend. Culture is an impediment to you understanding what is going on. That’s why, to my mind, the word ‘cult’ and the word ‘culture’ have a direct relationship to each other.”

30:05 “Since all culture is a kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is candy which causes people to start questioning the rules of the game.”

36:50 In response to a long question about language and it’s connection to cosmological and biological creation/evolution, Terence talks about the word ‘language’ and some distinct types of syntactic organization that it is sometimes used to refer to (and about how he believes spoken language may have come about).

43:30 “…fire is half a million years [old]… Language [is only] 35,000 years old? Language is everything we are, everything we do, you can’t think without it… and yet, if it’s that new, then what it represents is simply a technology, a form of media…”

44: 16 “…in a sense, every creative act is the paradigmatic act of the Big Bang.”

52:16 “…technology itself is a kind of psychedelic… The web is incredibly subversive…”

54:12 “I really see art as the great searchlight that illuminates the historical landscape just ahead, and I think art is about to get teeth for the first time in human history… We will build art that will literally stand your hair on end.”


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These program notes were compiled by Bill, who joins us in the Psychedelic Salon from his home in Japan.

Posted in Ayahuasca, DMT, Language, Medicine, Psilocybin, Psychedelics, Science & Technology, Terence McKenna (mp3), Valley of Novelty and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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