Podcast 151 – “Posthumous Glory”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


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

“I think disease is (and I don’t want to be held to this entirely, but) largely more linguistic than people think.”

“The story you tell yourself is largely the story you’re living.”

“Nothing is unannounced. This is a psychedelic truth, I think, of some power. And it relates to disease, and it relates to shamanism. Nothing is unannounced. If you’re paying attention, stuff comes down the pike, first the little waves, then the medium-sized wave, and then the tsunami. But you have to be really not paying attention to be fully astonished by something unexpected.”

Flyer for the AllChemical Arts Conference“What it is that’s coming at you, you can’t always say. But THAT something is coming at you is usually pretty clear, pretty clear.”

[In response to the possible evolution of artificial intelligence] “It’s going to put our metaphysical propositions to the test. In other words, if we believe that intelligence inclineith toward bodhisattva-hood, then the bodhisattva are on their way. If on the other hand, intelligence doesn’t incline toward bodhisattva-hood, then probably the house-cleaning of all time is on its way. Because when these AIs come to consciousness and realize what has been done to the Earth, and so forth, they may be very pissed, indeed.”

“Essentially what we’ve done is we’ve re-spiratualized the world, but we didn’t tame it.”

“It’s very interesting, how the re-animation of the world has been accomplished without ever understanding it. That you could pass through the reductive phase of science, return to a kind of archaic shamanism, and still not have a handle on what does it mean to be a being, what does it mean to be a human being, what is the nature of embodiment in the world? Somehow we got to this place without answering any of those questions.”

“Connectivity is the pre-condition for love.”

“My view of, let’s say, the last thousand years, is that it’s been pretty progressive. And, yes, we probably killed more people in the 20th century than in the 10th, but there was more regret about it, more soul-searching afterwards, more questioning ‘Why? Why did we do that?’ “

“People are not invited to live simple agrarian lives in devotion to their children and their estate. But instead they’re invited to fetishize, consume, believe, join, vote, buy, own, invest. And all of these things bleed energy away, and disempower, and make people not fully human, but rather participating cogs in some much larger mechanism which serves its own ends: The accumulation of capital investment, or the acquisition of land, or the propagation of the agenda of some political party, or something like that. Our human-ness is constantly being eroded.”

“The image I have of our community is, we’re like people in a dugout canoe trying to turn a battleship.”

“Sex on psychedelics is the Mount Everest of the experience.”

“If psychedelics don’t secure a moral community, then I don’t see what the point of it is. Otherwise we’re just another cult.”

“It’s good to dry out occasionally. Very occasionally.”

“It’s always puzzled me how this community has never really understood its roots in American Transcendentalism, or why we never used that hammer against the establishment. Because this sort of secular-mystical-Theosophical brand of thinking is just as American as mom and apple pie, and yet you rarely hear it invoked by our people. And yet it’s where our roots grow deepest, with Thoreau, Emerson, Melville, Hawthorn. I mean, my god, these are the people who put together 19th century America.”


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Posted in Death, Terence McKenna (mp3) and tagged .


  1. Interesting that Terence said:
    “Connectivity is the pre-condition for love.”
    – just yesterday i read in ‘Prometheus Rising’ by Robert Anton Wilson, wherein Tim Leary is quoted to have said:
    “…Communication is love…” !

  2. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=320

    Thanks Lorenzo, this was a beautiful goodbye from good ole’ Mckenna. It must have been very special to have been there that day. I couldn’t really understand anything from the second and shorter recording though, so I join your hopes that another copy with a better quality will one day be recovered and rebroadcast.

    I personally was quite intrigued by your reference to Annie Sprinkle’s attendance at the conference and would be highly curious to hear what she had to say about psychedelics.



    Lorenzo – this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard since Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works.

    Tom Robbins – whose works have been the music of my life for over a decade. The bard McKenna – who haunts my every waking and sleeping moment – and the pair are discussing BORGES – whom I’ve read and read and re-read and have written extensively about.

    I have been waiting for the appearance of Borges in the Salon, and I feel that, as Dr. Robbins suggests, he had access to that innerspace that others are only afforded thru psychoactive plants. Here is one of my most treasured gems from the old blind dude:

    “Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.”

    and here’s another Borges quote, that certainly charms with the teleological impulse of McKenna:

    “The truth is that we live out our lives putting off all that can be put off; perhaps we all know deep down that we are immortal and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things. ”

    and lastly – because it chimes with Dr. Robbins’ reflection that he is not in full control of his writing:

    “Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.”

    Forgive me for dominating this thread, but I do feel that Borges is the great prankster and the great wily coyote of the psychic realm – yes, his pranks were not Leary-style, but were more Cervantine. In particular, McKenna’s beautiful presentation about Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake has similar notions of the complexity of the universe – indeed McKenna quotes (?) in saying that the universe is essentially unknowable, as if it were knowable it wouldn’t be the universe. Here’s Borges:

    “I think of the world as a riddle. And the one beautiful thing about it is that it can’t be solved. But of course I think the world needs a riddle. I feel amazement all the time.”

    ok – I’m on a roll. Recall McKenna’s description (somewhere) that twould be just so sad not to have experienced the psychic realm – twould be like approaching the end of your life without having experienced sex…

    Borges lived in the psychic/poetic world, and although politically/socially he was not radical, this should not cover up his devastating radicalism of thought. This quote is from the poetic interviews of the book ‘Borges at 80′:

    “I think that one is dying all the time. Every time we are not feeling something, discovering something, when we are merely repeating something mechanically. At that moment you are dead. Life may come at any moment also. If you take a single day, therein you find many deaths, I suppose, and many births also. But I try not to be dead. I try to be curious concerning things, and now I am receiving experiences all the time, and those experiences will be changed into poems, into short stories, into fables. I am receiving them all the time, although I know that many of the things I do and things I say are mechanical, that is to say, they belong to death rather than to life.”

    Where McKenna explains that he doesn’t believe in belief, as that necessarily precludes not believing in another belief, Borges arrives at the same place by believing everything – every religion, philosophy, theosophy, cosmology, etc. They are all ways of trying to solve the riddle of the universe – but they are all ultimately unsuccessful – because WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE UNIVERSE IS…

    which chimes poetically with the Chink, in Dr. Robbins’ ‘Jitterbug Perfume’ (everyone should buy that book and give it to their loved ones as a gift)

    “I believe in nothing – everything is sacred. I believe in everything – nothing is sacred – ha ha ho ho and hee hee…”

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