Podcast 100 – “Psychedelics and Spirituality Conference – 1983″ (Part 1)


Guest speakers: Sasha Shulgin and Terence McKenna


(Minutes : Seconds into program)

Sasha Shulgin's laboratory10:09 Sasha Shulgin: “First, I am a very firm believer in the reality of balance in all aspects of the human theater.”

11:00 Sasha Shulgin: “One definition of the tools I seek is that they may allow words of a vocabulary, a vocabulary that might allow each human being to more consciously — and more clearly — communicate with the interior of his own mind and psyche. This may be called a vocabulary of awareness.”

17:47 Sasha Shulgin: [After a discussion of nuclear weapons.] “And to have such power leads to the threat to use such power, which – in time – will actually lead to its use. But, as I have said earlier, when one thing develops, there seems to spring forth a balancing, a compensatory counterpart. This balance can be realized with the psychedelic drugs. What had been simply tools for the study of psychosis (at best), or for escapist self-gratification (at worst), suddenly assumed the character of tools of enlightenment, and of some form of transcendental communication.”

19:24 Sasha Shulgin: “But I feel — along with many others — that the efforts being invested in the technology of destruction does not allow sufficient time. It is possibly only with the psychedelic drugs that words of vocabulary can be established, which might tunnel through the subconscious between the conflicting aspects of the mind and psyche. It is here that I feel my skill lies, and this is exactly why I do what I do.”

31:42 Sasha Shulgin: “My personal philosophy might well be lifted directly from Blake: ‘I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s.’ I may be wrong, but I must do what I can. And I will do what I can as fast as I can.”

38:44 Terence McKenna: “The shaman is a very peculiar figure. He is critical to the functioning of the psychological and social life of his community, but in a way he is always peripheral to it. He lives at the edge of the village. He is only called upon in matters of great social crisis. He is feared and respected. And this might be a description of these hallucinogenic substances.”

40:15 Terence McKenna: “Marcel Eliade took the position that hallucinogenic shamanism was decadent, and Gordon Wasson, very rightly I believe, contravened this view and held that actually it was very probably the presence of the hallucinogenic drug experience in the life of early man that lay the very basis for the idea of the spirit.” [NOTE: Graham Hancock‘s book, Supernatural, provides a detailed investigation of this subject.]

41:46 Terence McKenna: “The traditional manner of taking psilocybin is to take a very healthy dose, in the vicinity of 15 mg. on an empty stomach in total darkness.”

44:45 Terence McKenna: “The Logos is a voice heard, in the head. And the Logos was the hand on the rudder of human civilization for centuries, up until, in fact, the collapse of the ancient mystery religions and the ascendancy of Christianity to the status of a world religion.”

47:36 Terence McKenna: “It’s my belief that one of the unconscious reasons which underlies the odd attitude of the establishment toward hallucinogens is the fact that they bring the mystery to the surface as an individual experience. In other words, you do not understand the psychedelic experience by getting a report from Time magazine or even the Economist. You only understand the psychedelic experience by having it.”

49:47 Terence McKenna: “And yet, WE are the culture that is in crisis. When you go to the rain forest you don’t find cultures in crisis except to the degree that they are being impacted by us.”

50:24 Terence McKenna: “What he [R. Gordon Wasson] discovered, in the mountains of Mexico, was nothing less than Eros, sleeping but alive. The body of Osiris preserved over an entire astrological age, metaphorically speaking. In other words, that to take the mushroom was to transcend the cultural momentum of the past couple of millennia and return to a world where the Logos was a realized phenomena.”

54:00 Terence McKenna: “Spaceflight is nothing less than the exterior metaphor for the shamanic voyage. In other words, in our terms, the hallucinogenic experience. This is the way engineers get high. They go to the moon!”

55:05 Terence McKenna: “And that we cannot go to space with our feet in the mud. Nor can we in fact turn ourselves into an eco-sensitive hallucinogenic-based culture on Earth unless we fuse these dichotomous opposites. It is only in a coincidencia oppositorum, a union of opposites, that does not strive for closure, that we are going to find cultural sanity. And this is the thing that the entheogens, the hallucinogens, deliver with such clarity and regularity. They raise paradox to a level of intensity that no one can evade.”

56:15 Terence McKenna: “If I can paraphrase Teilhard de Chardin for a moment, he said, or I will paraphrase in this way, ‘When the human race understands the potential of the hallucinogenic drug experience, it will have discovered fire for the second time.’ “

57:02 Terence McKenna: “Since the very beginning of culture, what we seem to be are animals which take in raw material and excrete it imprinted with ideas.”

57:20 Terence McKenna: “Looking toward the day when all physical constraints can be lifted off of us, as they are in our imaginations, and we can erect the kind of civilization that we want to erect.”

1:00:41 Terence McKenna: “The idea of psychedelic societies is something new. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone takes the drug. It merely means that the complexity and the mysteriousness of mind are centered in the consciousness of the civilization as the mystery which it comes from and which it must relate to in order to be relevant.”


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