Podcast 146 – “The Importance of Human Beings”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


[NOTE: All quotations below are by Terence McKenna.]

“What I’ve observed, and I think it’s fair to give credit to the psychedelic experience for this, what I’ve observed is that nature builds on previously established levels of complexity.”

“This is a general law of the universe, overlooked by science, that out of complexity emerges greater complexity. We could almost say that the universe, nature, is a novelty-conserving, or complexity-conserving engine.”

“If in fact the conservation and complexification of novelty is what the universe is striving for, then suddenly our own human enterprise, previously marginalized, takes on an immense new importance.”

“Each stage of advancement into complexity occurs more quickly than the stage which preceded it. . . . Time is, in fact, speeding up.”

“No one is in charge of this process, this is what makes history so interesting, it’s a runaway freight train on a dark and stormy night.”

“Science is the exploration of the experience of nature without psychedelics. And I propose, therefore, to expand that enterprise and say that we need a science beyond science. We need a science which plays with a full deck.”

“What is revealed through the psychedelic experience, I think, is a higher dimensional perspective on reality. And I use ‘higher dimensional’ in the mathematical sense.”

Definition of ‘eschaton’: “Eschaton comes from the Greek word ‘echatos’, which just means the end.”

“The ‘hard swallow’ built into science is this business about the Big Bang. … This is the notion that the universe, for no reason, sprang from nothing in a single instant. … Notice that this is the limit test for credulity. . . . It’s the limit case for likelihood.”

“We’re not mere spectators, or a cosmic accident, or some sideshow, or the Greek chorus to the main event. The human experience IS the main event.”

“Our culture takes us out of the body and sells our loyalty into political systems, into religions, into inanimate objects and machines, collections, so forth and so on. The felt experience of the body is what the psychedelics are handing back to us.”

“[The psychedelic experience] is not a journey into the human unconscious, or into the ghost bards of our human civilization. It’s a journey into the presence of the Gaian mind.”

“The world is not an unsolved problem for scientists or sociologists. The world is a living mystery.”


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


  1. I just noticed on the transcript page, there was a highlighted question mark as to the space time continuum of this presentation. It was given in 1994 (November I believe) at Kane Hall on the University of Washington Campus. There were two to three hundred people in attendance. In his opening,he discussed how just getting the thing scheduled was an act of daring subversiveness — and it definitely felt that way in the audience.

    But Seattle in the early to mid 1990s was the halcyon days of techie-grunge east-meets-west dystopia prescribed by Philip K. Dick. Eskimo.com was the biggest internet provider in the city — and at the margin of reality and future, many believed that the internet would allow everyone to have their own TV channel or equivalent. Fertile ground for a shamanistic imagination prankster like Mr. TM. This speech changed my life as I knew it: from Mormon missionary to theoretical economist to acid head. I speculate that this speech was the primary catalyst for propelling me into the abyss of being responsible for my own consciousness. And that is the heaviest of trips. 🙂

  2. Hi there! in the comment above you mention a song’s lyrics- i am desperately searching for the title of the song! do you know it? “sometimes i see the future coming/when i dont even know im living”

  3. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=297

    Wow Lorenzo, what a great talk. What a great reply to your friend who thought that Terence was too far out on the edge. Terence speaks to the heads in this talk, and spares no moment to cram in as much thought per second as possible. Terence speaks to the empirical experience as a primary focus for forming an intention: a direction for how humans can make it; the intention with which we find through personal experience and not one mediated to us through other cultural presets or media outlets and pundits.

    “Nature is a Unity” is no coincidence (thanks Terence), yet we as humans have to compartmentalize things in order to understand their wholistic relationships to themselves and their environments which alienates us because we see things as “Us” and “Them”. Terence even falls into it by postulating that there are some people who think they are in control, and form legislation and they are separate than we. We are all in control only of our immediate environments: whether being born into freedom or captivity, we can only be responsible for our feelings and our comfort level. When we drive our own cars, police don’t deter speeding, they issue consequences. Law enforcement is a past tense action, but it is we who create the action. If enough people are all speeding, that is up to the officer’s disgression how or who to prosecute. Now, if everyone is speeding then we can change the laws. So Terence’s “Cosmic Drama” of which we sit at the top of the complexity is like the game of grab the bat to see who will pitch/field first in the game of baseball: one drops a bat into the opponent’s hand, and where they grab it, you have to grab above their hand on the bat. The opponent will replace his hand above yours until one of you ends up with the end of the bat, you get to hit first. This is occurring faster, this control of the novel consciousness. Religion was was the belief of choice for ages, then stepped up to the plate a new cat named Science who became the first real threat to control that religion had: science debated the given “law”. So, in 1995, Pope John Paul II apologized to Copernicus, for having locked him away, that in fact he was correct, that the Earth is not the center of the Universe. Well, that doesn’t help Copernicus out, does it? So the smoking gun of the tobacco industries, the 9-11 conspiracy, the cell phone /cancer debate is the scientific proof of those involved and affected by FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE.

    So, when you have stepped outside the normal realm of consciousness, and your cultural origin is merely a reference for Litmus testing the “now”, you can see clearly that difference is what provides the diversity of Natural order, and pitting cultures or sects into polarity is the insanity of sobriety and cultural fossil records called Jim Crow Laws, or land ownership/Caste segregation. So the Psychedelic experience is a general term like LGBT is for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Trans-sexual community. I have gay friends who don’t associate with trans-sexuals or even know any, so they understand that power by numbers is necessary to foster any claims to human rights that is possible. Much the same, many acid-heads who tried Iboga and flipped out never to return again need to realize that those who call Iboga sacred have as much right to life as the next guy. The only real similarities between the LGBT and Psychedelic cultures is the choice of which sex a bisexual sleeps with, and which sacrament a head chooses on a given Solstice, but my point is the right to life, and human rights. With the deepest psychedelic experience you ever had, where you thought life gave out and you found yourself at one with everything,,, then you woke up the next day still alive, that is all the proof that we need to realize that nothing is stopping you from doing whatever you want for your life design. Now, if sustainability is part of that life design vision, then you feel the pulse of epedemics approaching. This is the equilibrium of our physical world. Our minds only know change as a beginning and an end, and evolution is such a long process that when it occurs spontaneously we call it mutation, or cancer. So we cannot picture how we fit into the model of the future because the future will be so different. Well, a psychonaut knows time to be like culture: just a periodic phase of reality constricted to specific time and space. So, to see all of the human rights prevail over time, and the shackles of slavery fall away over time, we can still see different controls replace the old ones: slave trade out/apartheid in; apartheid out/occupation in, it is a cycle. So, with the knowledge that there are others out there who have shared the same vision of a sustainable future, and a reflection of dignity with human rights, “find the others” is a real quest. Some of us are the walking dead, but some are not. and to quote Robert DeNiro’s character Robert Tuttle, in the Terry Gilliam directed film called “Brazil”, “We are all in this together, pal.” just about sums it up for the mantra of the altruists.

    Keeping in mind, that the Psychedelic experience is only the vision, but the action is our responsibility. “Nature is pitiless”, and we have been thriving for millenia. At some time everyone will be tested and it is that time when we will have to shine. You have to “take your rights” rather than waiting for a hand-out. Take them responsibly, folks. This means you too, adults!!! http://www.erowid.org (Learn before you try. Safety First!!!) Thanks Terence and Lorenzo.

    Thanks Lorenzo and thanks for the invitation to think critically about Terrence.

    I find TM fascinating and love listening to him but there is an aspect about him that I have always found troubling- and it centers around women. Listening to this talk (especially the end) from the perspective of almost all the women i know, I can’t help but think they’d object to his social program of getting loaded, crossing sexual boundaries, etc. That many women find this troubling is not a crime, but it may be a clue that TM’s thought is somehow part of a male point of view and therefore may be limited in ways hard to see by other men. Relations btwn men and women, in general, seem to be a fascinating and not often discussed problem in the psychedelic community.

    The gist of the criticism might be that Mckenna, in his flights to spiritual heights, leaves the groundenness of normal life. This luxury is paid for by the less powerful, who are often women. Whether or not the dominant hierarchies need to collapse or not, the kids need breakfast and someone needs to take out the recycling today. The spiritual pursuit and its shattering insights are hard to reintegrate into a community. Women, (who are not always but often) interested in preserving the health of the community, may find this threatening.

    TM’s goal is often, curiously, considered in feminine terms (groundedness of the body, gaia as female, etc). And yet, I wonder how many women recognize feminity in this? Is the fantasy of an all giving mother/whore at work here? Perhaps a more feminine approach is to admit that there is no “feminine” approach, that endless categories and theories, complete with transcendent longings and disappointments, are part of an endless cycle of alienation and escape. That the way out is to give it all up, and get breakfast out there. Or maybe this thought mandalas are part of what makes humans beautiful?? Who knows?!

    I don’t have an answer here but I think this missing piece deserves more attention. Instead of considering our collective divorces and disasterous relationships as accidents of personal history, could they be somehow “tied in” to the very structure of our models of psychedelia? I honestly don’t know but I’d love to see this seriously discussed.

    thanks as always

    I had the same reaction (as the listener Lorenzo described) when I first heard Terence McKenna. I think the first podcast featuring him I listened to was one where he said, “culture is not your friend”. This is something that is a disturbing remark to most any musician (which I am). His abundant use of 4 syllable words also bothered me at first. I told myself if I was going to get anything out of his talks, it wasn’t going to be at that point. I chose to not listen to anymore Terence McKenna until I got through some of the other podcasts.

    I chose instead to delve heavily into the Erowid and Psychedelic Salon vaults and go on a few more inner-adventures of my own. I have received a lot of insight from the other speakers on the podcasts (most notably Lorenzo himself, Myron, and Ann Shulgin).

    After hearing this Terence McKenna talk, I have an enormous and new found respect for his mind. He made some crucial points regarding law, conspiracy theories, and history. He is a genius as far as I’m concerned and I can only honestly say that of about 4 or 5 other people.

    My questions for the other ‘saloners’ is:

    Do you think Terence McKenna has emotional intelligence which comes anywhere close to his mental intelligence? What would he have been like had he used MDMA?

    Glad you’ve received so much from the Salon, gemstar. As to MDMA and Terence, I think he did use it, though it obviously wasn’t his muse. I think he tried most helpers, but felt tryptamines were the most useful.

    I can be pretty skeptical about McKenna, I must say. But I enjoy his talks for that reason sometimes, as I have to figure out just why it is I disagree. He is also so well read that I have to do actual research just to set my mind at ease.

    I take issue with a few of McKenna’s ideas here, as always. Most of them so far take the form of making a sudden jump in logical sequence.

    First, when he says that the universe (which, as we know, is a very big and complex place) continually creates complexity, and builds on that, and on and on, I can agree with him, until, that is, he hits Earth. This is not to say that I don’t think the same pattern holds for Earth, only that he makes it sound like we are the focal point of the universe. And that, I am afraid, I cannot go for, not with the vast areas of space out there. That “the universe” is doing its thing here on Earth is fine, but that does not mean it is doing it any less in other areas, or that this is the main event – it’s just the only event we really know much about. It could be a vastly secondary event, a tributary, a feed station or something for the actual main event. And yes, it could be Terence is right, we are IT – but that conclusion seems very shakey compared to the rest of his spiel.

    Next comes the idea of God – oops, I mean “the transcendent object at the end of time” – pulling us toward the goal, a purpose, at the end of all the complexity building the universe (or whatever) is doing. The idea of a force dragging us in a certain direction through space and time definitely has appeal – but I don’t know if purpose is the right word. It sounds more to me like we are on the river of time, which flows to the sea of Being (or something like that) – not for any particular reason, but just because that is what rivers do. The purpose of a river is not to go to an ocean – the definition of a river is.

    Continuing with water, I suppose one could say the visionary state is like someone surfacing (getting high enough) so that for a brief time, in a slightly disoriented state, they can catch sight of the next bend in the river, or even of the ocean itself, so far away.

    A song I was listening to the other day had the lyric “Sometimes I see the future coming/when I don’t even know I’m living” and I thought that could be visions in a state of ego death (loss of self – I don’t know I’m living, I just am).

    I know these comments are a bit jumbled, but I figure you can make some sense of them – I’m actually at the computer while listening for once, you see.

    Another comment, just on the title – Eros and Eschaton. Terence sure is a neo-Platonist. His mysticism, his idea of reason, of purpose, even his use of the Greek idea of Eros very much tie him to Plotinus, and of course Plato and Socrates. Socrates’ famous “ladder of love” is built on eros, the great power which can lead the seeker to knowledge of the pure Good.

    His suggestion that monotheism relegated us to being unimportant kind of confuses me. I think most of the Judeo-Christian tradition, though it does sometimes make us seem powerless, just waiting for God, makes it obvious that in God’s view we are the point of creation, much moreso than many pagan myths (though not all, mind you).

    planetcitizen, I understand your concerns about Terence. He somehow managed to leave women out of his talks, except when to mention that they should take responsibility for their reproductive cycle. Something I also agree with, but I am male – however I also realise how difficult this can be for women in more male-dominated cultures than our own. Just remember, he also mentions that he is a product of the male-dominated culture which came before, as have we all, which makes a cultural block for all of us to break free from to create a new paradigm.

    (Actually, as I write this I realise that the podcast I was really listening today was number 143 “Rethinking Society” where Terence states this during one of his rambles). But at the end of the day, Terence frequently suggests we leave behind the nation state and corporate power structures, which surely is advocating an embrace of the feminine community (family) structure rather than an alpha-male dominated fascist society?

    And on this vein, why are the majority of the podcasts presented by Lorenzo talks given by men? Is it because women are less likely to stand up and give presentations at events? I would like to hear the words of women on the future of our society, too, if possible.

    gemstar, Terence’s lack of emotion is briefly covered in another podcast by Bruce Damer (106) which highlights his final words to his friends “it’s all about love!” in which you can just imagine the wonderment in his voice as he makes that final realisation. It is incredibly beautiful, and quite emotional too. Bruce Damer is an interesting man, I would like to suggest to Lorenzo that I would love to hear more from him.. please!

    feedbackart, We spend so much time creating laws to fix this’n’that, only they don’t work and we then we make new laws.. and so on. When it’s actually about being responsible adults. Humans have for so long behaved like children, now is the time for us to grow up. If this is becoming “Homo divinorum” as per Lorenzo’s beautiful essay, then we should embrace that. The future is ours, and we must embrace it by being in the now.

    Now I have to listen to the podcast you are all responding to..

    whitewind, I agree, I’d love to hear more from women on this, especially women who aren’t true believers. My guess is that they are not shut out of the conversation so much as they just aren’t interested. But the reasons they aren’t interested might reveal something useful. It may be that they understand it just fine but reject it aesthetically (I remember in one podcast, an older women asking TM “what’s with all this techno fetishism?” and she and TM sort of just couldn’t grok each other on a fundamental level.)

    My hunch is to avoid trying to reduce it to “who’s right” and instead ask, in what imaginal worlds does each point of view work? In other words, which god does each way of thinking honor? In this polytheistic worldview, no god or point of view is perfect, so TM’s baroque thought snowflakes can be seen as beautiful but not absolute. (Just for fun, if you want to take it a little further, I think TM’s worldview is, in Greek terms, like the cult of Apollo, who was a wonderful entertainer and brilliant thinker but notoriously disasterous with women. The legends of Apollo’s romantic bad luck give a similar feeling to the interation of TM’s thought and women IMHO).

    Felix, I am with you (and Lorenzo) 100% when you express doubts about humanity being the ‘main event’. I of course can’t know what McKenna was thinking when he said that, and it’s surprising to hear, considering his interest in other entities, panspermia, machine-elves that communicate in grammars of supra-dimensional complexity, etc. But I think it might be coming from a frame of mind that he was in after having just spoken about how modern humanity, transformed by science and consumerism, is obsessed with gadgets and tools and the conceptions that come from the limitations of these things. On the lowest end of the scale, we get distracted by consumerism, think about celebrities we see on TV, follow expensive trends, etc. Higher on the scale of materialist self-imprisonment, scientists do very difficult work with brilliant instruments, and (stereotypically, anyway) devalue whatever doesn’t/can’t have a measuring device pointed at it (or doesn’t have some sort of ‘universalized’ statistical analysis that can do the job of taming it). So our emotions and our specifically (perhaps, individual) human interaction with the unknown, and the continuing evolution of the unknown, with its simultaneous branching and its contradictions often allowed, are scoffed at.

    I think Terence is claiming that science, like other forms of culture, has chained us and prevents us from reaching some kind of experience or perception. Or maybe science is helping to distract us from some important decisions about our purpose in the universe. Maybe he means “the telescopes are interesting, but right now, my perceptions are more vivid and much more urgently engaged on what is happening to the world I live in, and where it’s headed.”

    I don’t like typing about how “science is dissing the unknown”, because I know it doesn’t mean to, and I really am blown away by (and informed by and enlightened by) what I’m able to understand when I read and watch lectures, etc. about science. And some very impressive devices have allowed me to listen to Terence at home tonight, even as I rush, heroically, to bash their importance. But contradictions are OK! I haven’t just check-mated myself or anything. I’m just suggesting, at the risk of not thanking science for a few paragraphs, that it’s the stuff that science can’t reach that makes us so important. We are completely immersed in stuff science can’t corral, and it’s more pertinent to our present and future than most of what science is ‘sure’ of.

    Anyhow, I’m sorry for going on so much about it. I’m sure you can tell I’m having fun, it feels a bit selfish… It’s a great pleasure to try and ‘defend’ Terence in the comments section of the Psychedelic Salon, kind of cheap and unoriginal, and especially shameful after beginning with the name of a saloner I’ve seen posting more than once, an obvious fan of Terence for reasons well stated in the previous post.

    And again, beyond interpretations of what Terence ‘maybe meant’ toward the end of this podcast, I’m in agreement with you about what the MAIN EVENT might be, regarding who’s running the coolest, most elevated show in all of existence. Probably not humanity. I hope I get tickets sometime. Or maybe we’ll get to join in!

    Wow, I guess I was channeling Terence (or something less noble, maybe stealing) when I ‘suggested’ “that it’s the stuff that science can’t reach that makes us so important”. I meant I was suggesting that TERENCE was suggesting that! Sorry. Embarrassing.

    The cool thing that I like about McKenna, is that he is able to put together so many different facts, anecdotes, historical references, etc. and formulate very plausible realities with them. He was an artist in his own right. I mean, just the idea that shrooms might have helped speed up our evolution. . .and the way he tells the tale! I mean, no one has disproven him yet, and I believe that he wanted that to be the case perhaps, atleast to the extent that he never wanted to be believed necessarily, but he was saying “hey, this COULD be the reality here, so we better not lose track of these substances!”

    I think he was a very emotional person, just so wrapped up in his mental life that it was hard for him to sort the other stuff out. That’s the impression I get. It’s pretty well known that on his deathbed he mentioned how he realized that “it’s all about love!” as if that was the answer he’d been looking for all along. I was thinking about this the other day and I came to the same conclusion, it’s all about love and everything else is just different parts of it or something like that. . .(yes I’m stoned).

    Hi planetcitizen

    I just listened to a talk at Burning Man with Bruce Damer (podcast 047), and towards the end his partner Galen Brandt came on. She just had a short talk, a description of parts of a previous event at Burning Man and how it corresponded to 9/11 – which happened very soon afterwards. She was so descriptive, and somehow her brief speech brought incredible emotion right to the fore. I would really love to hear her talk for a full hour.

    I think that’s what is often missing from a man’s speech, guys are good at being imaginative and frequently make me laugh but they rarely bring me to tears.

    Lorenzo?? 😉


    One of the things I have noticed also is that our personal outlook changes as we mature, as well as that of a whole culture, but people are frequently unaware of it. I have personally been through a number of experiences and said “Wow! How did that change the way I experience things!” when others carry on as if it were always the case. I think this can happen on a deeper level too, whereby the whole of reality undergoes a massive shift, and yet to us humans it is as if that shift has always been.

    This stretches my mind somewhat, as well as my ability to use this language to describe what I say, but I think it is grokkable by those who know. Perhaps we will undergo massive shifts around 2012, and many will be completely unaware of any event. This has, I believe, happened a number of times in my own lifetime – for some reason I was particularly aware of smaller shifts like this in the years leading up to the millenium, whereas on the date itself I felt nothing.

    This was something I always believed to be a figment of my imagination until the day I met a person through a friend of mine who completely recited my own experiences back to me as part of an existing discussion – before we had even exchanged names! I would like to hear of others who had experienced profound shifts like this, as I think it could have great import on how we understand reality.

    whitewind, I think I maybe grok what you’re saying about those shifts–hard to say for sure because it’s an ephemeral thing maybe. I like how you connected it to maturity–the Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus analogy has been used to describe it before (I don’t know where I heard it from, definitely on these sorts of podcasts). Even in my late 30’s, mulling over a podcast on the street, I suddenly thought to myself, “Wow, maybe there’s something ELSE the grown-ups aren’t letting me in on.”

    And, to lower the level of analogy to an even more mundane level, I think something similar happens after a young adult has their first ‘serious’ relationship(s). It becomes possible to perceive incredible naiveness in other people as they stumble and surge through their first romance.

    2012 and the sort of experience that you had are on whole other level, of course. I haven’t had an experience exactly like yours, but just listening to podcasts like those in the Salon has keyed me in to some shifting I was previously unaware of. Now, I hear people talking about change and ‘singularity’ all over the place. And, considering what that’s all about, it’s a big shift in the discussion.

    I think that these sorts of shifts are more likely to be ‘felt’ by people who are looking for them. Maybe back in the 70’s, someone who was working with computers a lot at his/her job would have been impatient for each development in the technology, and then, years after the internet took off, finally think to themself, “Wow, it’s really taken hold, even MORE than I had ever thought it would. I never dreamed of THIS so soon.” On the other hand, during the same period, someone who was less interested in all of the tech might have been pulled gently along by media and marketing, encountering user-friendly changes to the surface of the infrastructure. For them, the developments just happen, and maybe there’s no sense of arrival. They might be surpirsed sometimes at how things are changing around them, but they aren’t really empowered. They’ve just gotten PLENTY of practice at taking baby-steps. They don’t know they’re headed anywhere.

    Maybe I’ve circled back to the “consumerist-prison” that Terence was talking about in this podcast. Typical.

    But I know you are talking about something else, too (the deeper level), and how it might seem like the most incredible shift “has always been” (even if we’ve been busy looking for it). Maybe we’ll just experience our memories through the same shift of perception that will have ‘changed’ reality. I’d like to hear more about those sorts of profound shifts from others, too. If it’s not too difficult to describe! (And if they’ve noticed.) :–)

    Terrance was truly a word-artist. His impressive blending of philosophy, empirical-mysticism, and Whitehead’s world-view related to novelty and the psychedelic experience make him amazingly enjoyable. However, his teleology, or Hegel/Marxist-influenced idea of the Eschaton or end-of-history doesn’t match my experiences, ymmv.

    What I loved about this podcast, in addition to the wonderful comments of everyone above, was Lorenzo wise statements about all of us being human and not living up to the ideals we would probably set for ourselves. We all fall short of the glory of that should be homo divinorum, us.

    Now, the problem I have with TM and Daniel Pinchbeck (a prisoner of a Marxist/Freudian/New Yorker worldview that sadly colors all his experiences) are their easy willingness to easily say some people shouldn’t exist, and their willingness to put their anti-freedom views on all of future humanity. In TMs case, he advocates the elimination of billions of souls through forgoing pregnancy, and in Pinchbeck’s case he’s willing for psycedelics and mystical experiences to limited to the very few, and especially not the youth and open-minded, as the freedom-oriented psychedelic fore-fathers-and-mothers advocated.

    Further, although we might not be the only show going, in fact, I do believe that if we listen, look, and feel, we will experience that the plants are clearly trying to communicate with us is positive ways.

    Barbara McClintock speaking with maize lead us understanding genetics at a deeper level that may lead to healthier lives for everyone, as well as, continue to well-being of the maize itself. Severo Ochoa similarly communicated with plants and animals and discovered what we currently understand as the building blocks of life. Both listened to plants and discovered structures and functions that were important to life.

    We’re all in this together, but I want us to be as free as possible, not imprisoned to an Eschaton or any one given or experienced ideology. But I digress, I think if we listen to different plants we will hear different things. Some plants, especially leafy green ones and succulents, seem to have many mind-expanding ideas for us. Other plants create focus and send us in dark or self-destructive directions; these plants are not our friends, or we aren’t communicated properly with them or giving them appropriate respect. It might sound “far out there” but I’m certainly saying that we can communicate with plants. Scientists listen through looking and conducting experiments. Gardeners, Psychonauts, and others communicated in myriad ways with myriad outcomes. The point is that we can all explore and learn. http://www.erowid.org/ is a great place to start. But in states were psychoactive sacraments are serverely prohibited, there is much benefit to be had in just growing food and herb plants, learning to communicate with them. Get to know the trees in your area. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can become a better weatherperson than the local news. You’ll also find yourself seeing the gaia-ness of the world around us–how you are connected to everything and vis versa.

    Intentionality in both the neuro-science sense and the neo-Pagan/wiccan sense is a real source of power, and how you think can change both your experience and the world around you. We are in a better world, in spite of politicians, the industrial-military-police-state, and corporations seeking only short-term profits. We’re in a better world because of prophets like Bob Marley, Timothy McLeary, Alan Ginsberg, TM. We’re in a better world because of scientists like Shulgin, James Watson, Francis Crick, Severo Ochoa, Barbara McClintock, and the good folks at MAPS. We’re in a better world because of Lorenzo and the folks here at Psychedelic Salon, folks of the Rainbow Gathering of Living Light, folks at Burning Man, and so-so many of the positive people throughout the New Age communities.

    We are indeed in a time pregnant with potential, about to birth, a newer better time for those who choose to let themselves experience it; the same time will also be experienced less than positively by those who choose to focus on that which will always not achieve its (highest/best) aims. As I said earlier, or as Lorenzo so aptly put, we all are human. We make mistakes. We act hypocritically, and we don’t always behave toward our families, ourselves, or our chosen communities as we would like to ideally. Like TM, we all have that in ourselves that makes a us shine, a light, a purpose, a legend to be told. When we follow our path congruently we do amazing things, when we get side-tracked or work against ourselves (or others) we dim our own lights or mute our own symphonies. But each of us has a love-purpose we can fulfill. AND WHEN WE FOLLOW OUR LOVE-PURPOSE, EVERYTHING FLOWS COPACETICALLY… at least that’s been my experience. YMMV. However, I think plants will help us, if we will listen to them. And in the end, I think this is what terrence meant when he said it’s all about love.

    “[The psychedelic experience] is not a journey into the human unconscious, or into the ghost bards of our human civilization. It’s a journey into the presence of the Gaian mind.”

    “The world is not an unsolved problem for scientists or sociologists. The world is a living mystery.”

    I agree with the idea of the presence of the Gain mind and that the world is a living mystery. However, I do think the psychedelic experience CAN BE A VERY POSITIVE or negative journey into the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious contains all the stuff that is of the Gaian mind, and it helps explain the simultaneous inventions and advancements in knowledge & understanding that happen often in remotely different parts of the planet, whether we’re talking about science, mathematics, or mythological world-views.

    This is probably the best McKenna talk I’ve heard yet. There was something invigorating about it. Thank you for bringing us these podcasts, Lorenzo.

    Martin MS
    Finally!! I’ve registered! So first: greetings, love & light to you all! Would this also be the place to drop some lines about myself? Dunno.. rather next time, I guess.

    What a great TM talk and what a wonderful discussion. Planetcitizen, I think you’re raising an important question about TM and women/femininity here, and I’d like to add my own two cents – and it’s really just two cents: As a man, raised in a rather traditionally role-modelled family, there have been two things in my life that really helped me learn that yes, the kids need breakfast and the recycling needs to be taken out, and these things were a) psychedelics and b) becoming a father. Psychedelics, because they helped me reconnect with my body and the earth, and becoming a father … well, I suppose this is pretty obvious.

    Now I don’t know what a world would look like where everyone tried to follow TM to his “spiritual heights” – probably wouldn’t work 🙁 – but I know that we desperately need more Good Bards like him who inspire people to take the medicine seriously.

    (Thinking intermission)

    I’m afraid I’m not really getting to the point here; anyway, Planetcitizen, what I’d love to learn more about is what you (and other women of course) make of the psychedelic experience. I know that e. g. my wife has had very different experiences that I do (and subsequently she virtually stopped using substances), and I’ve been wondering for some time now if this is somehow related to our male/female essences. Coming to think of it, this is true for spirituality/meditation as well.

    Lorenzo: Thanks for your magnificent work!

    I’ve been typing up the transcripts of Terence’s talks (slowly slowly… they will be on here eventually!) and I think I can see what that woman meant when she asked him, “What’s with all the techno fetishism?”. He takes what I consider to be a very male viewpoint, in that he likes to take things apart in order to see how they work. He likes describing the cosmos as an engine, etc, and his take on mushrooms expanding human consciousness includes the observation that the brain increased suddenly in size. In spite of his wariness of the “scientific” worldview, his own approach can be focused on the nuts and bolts. His fascination with virtual reality and AI echoes the male longing to produce life – a centuries-old effort to convince ourselves that mankind can reproduce the spirit and complexity of what nature creates effortlessly.

    This brings me to the questions here about women and psychedelics. I’m female and discovered psychedelics 5 years ago, at the age of 43. It was the most important thing that ever happened to me apart from being born, and has changed my life in countless ways. Mushrooms were the first real eye-opener, and gave me a real sense of “Ahhh, yes – how could we have forgotten this?”. For me, it was being reminded of that “It’s all about love”, and experiencing this directly as a force flowing through everything, creating and holding everything together. The whole experience felt very yin – fertile, mysterious, nurturing.

    I wonder whether men tend to become more full-on psychonauts than women because they need to keep reminding themselves of what this gentle space feels like, since it is so casually obliterated in our culture? Also, for myself, the aspects of some psychedelic journeys that I don’t enjoy so much are the occasional “machine” episodes – the relentless fractals and factory-line replication. An experience like this puts me off going back for a while, but perhaps it’s less daunting for a male? It’s a bit like enjoying techno music – which seems to be appreciated most of all by men: perhaps it’s an expression of that yang energy, to take charge and build and set things in order?

    This are all vague musings but I feel that psychedelics are a way for us each to understand and integrate the yin and the yang equally, since nothing can exist without their interconnection. Or something like that. I just wonder if it’s easier for a techno-minded male to come into that space and recognise, “Oh yes, and things are fluffy too, how lovely!” than it is for a fluffy-minded female (I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, including myself in this) to come in and feel “Oh yes, I have to accept that there is also this piledriver aspect”. :0)

    Martin MS, in response to your comment “what I’d love to learn more about is what you (and other women of course) make of the psychedelic experience”… I have started answering this with a little blog!!! It’s only just started, and there is a LOT to add, but here it is if you ever get time to check it out:


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