Podcast 117 – “The Importance of Psychedelics”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


[NOTE: All quotes are by Terence McKenna]

“Culture denies experience.”

“We live at the end of a thousand year binge on the philosophical position known as materialism, in its many guises. And the basic message of materialism is that world is what it appears to be, a thing composed of matter, and pretty much confined to its surface.”

Art by Higinio Gonzalez“We’re literally at the end of our rope. Reason, and science, and the practice of unbridled capitalism have not delivered us into an angelic realm.”

“We’re in, essentially, a tragic situation. A tragic situation is a catastrophe when you know it.”

“All the boundaries we put up to keep ourselves from feeling our circumstance are dissolved [when using psychedelics]. And boundary dissolution is the most threatening activity that can go on in a society. Government institutions become very nervous when people begin to talk to each other. The whole name of the Western game is to create boundaries and maintain them.”

“The drugs that Western society has traditionally favored have either been drugs which maintain boundaries or drugs which promote mindless, repetitious physical activity on the assembly line, in the slave galley, on the slave-driven agricultural projects, in the corporate office, whatever it is.”

“Madness, basically, up until the level of physical violence, means you are behaving in a way which makes me feel uncomfortable, therefore there is something wrong with you.”

“I think of history as a kind of mass psychedelic experience, and the drug is technology.”

“History is characterized by its brevity, for one thing. We have packed more change into the last 10,000 years than the billion years which preceded it. And yet, as entities, as animals, meat, we have not changed at all in 10,000 years.”

“What psychedelics do, and I think this isn’t too challengeable, is they catalyze imagination. They drive you to think what you would not think otherwise. Well, notice that the enterprise of human history is nothing more than the fallout created by strange ideas.”

“The ultimate boundary dissolution is the dissolution of ego.”

“The key, on one level, to maintaining the dominance hierarchy is monogamous pair bonding. That’s where it begins.”

“We have the tools that would allow us to sculpt paradise, but we have the reflexes and value systems of anthropoid apes of some sort. . . . You don’t get serial killers in the chipmunk population.”

“What the psychedelic experience does, really, is it stretches the envelope of the imaginable.”

“It seems to me that culture, at least this culture, is a shabby lie.”


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Posted in Culture, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3) and tagged , , .


  1. What leads McKenna to conclude that early developing hominids were engaging in lunar-inspired religious psilocybin orgies? It seems reasonable that psilocybin would be present, but is there anything other than a convincing story to suggest this? And if not, what evidence drives traditional sciences understanding of these prehistoric societies? Is it all guesswork?

  2. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=239

    this one’s also known as “the world and it’s double”

    This man never ceases to amaze me. And it is wonderful to come across a lecture I had never heard- as this one!

    Hi Lorenzo.

    i followed you into the Matrixcast, and wanted to comment.

    i get a warning page when i try to log in and comment (even though already logged on here.

    “Warning: parse_url(/blog/wp-login.php?redirect_to=http://www.matrixcast.com/blog/?p=3) [function.parse-url]: Unable to parse URL in /home/.malichi/toraidhe/matrixcast.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/podpress/podpress.php on line 151”

    perhaps, if you’d wondered why no-one was commenting on the matrix-cast & the fantastic dialogue you had with Bruce Damer-this is the origin. i enjoyed it thoroughly as well as learning a lot.

    a specific note in re Bruce’s comments: the whole idea of enjoy/be awake in this life and appreciate it NOW !

    is also a major Buddhist thought for anyone seriously only the path to enlightenment.

    basically, it’s the idea that we don’t stop to realize how lucky we ARE to be here in this body and this time… and instead we waste it, enticed by cultural seductions

    a major insight i had from an early LSD trip was to see that we live better than the Roman emperors, with our tile floors, adjustable heating and cooling, and the easily forgotten refrigerator. an emperor had to send runners to the mountains for ice – i walk a few feet.

    my former Indian students (continential) used to tell me that they would cook food for a week ahead and season it heavily so it would be safe to eat … a whole village only has one shared clay oven… and i’m not in Darfur waiting 3 days for water if it comes in a truck.

    first gratitude – which hugely opens Gaea’s hands to you – then sharing; i’m sure there are things you can drop … i’ll give up chocolate for salvia, LOL !!

    it is true for the Shaman, it is true for those who follow the path, as you grow in light you will

    see you can “create” your reality, but first step is letting go of greed and desire for power.

    hope you hear the truth behind what seems preachy…. it’s my own felt experience -aka TM- of living in the world change in light! As Bucky Fuller said “I seem to be a verb”. (gotta learn more about him)



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