Podcast 198 – “Terence McKenna on NPR – 1999″


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

Terence McKenna“Well if you’re looking for psychoactive plants, nature is full of them. In every environment, in every ecosystem there are plants that either singly, or in combination with nearby plants, will deliver powerful mind-altering experiences.”

“For the person who does their homework, there is no conflict between the wish to experience these things and their legal status.” (This was in response to a question about legal highs.)

“Drugs often have more effect on the people who don’t take them than on the people who do take them.” (In amplification of the Timothy Leary quote that these substances often cause psychotic behavior in people who haven’t taken them. NOTE: Leary denied being the source of this quote.)

“Science fiction is the gateway drug.”

“I spent last week with Bruce Damer, who is one of the great mavens of interactive, virtual worlds, and we were dressing in avatars, meeting people in cyberspace (see photos, right) … and then opening several virtual worlds at once on your screen. So you actually have the experience of being in more than one place at one time. After a couple of hours of that you leave the keyboard, and you can practically feel the McLuhanesque reprogramming of your communications-based categories based on this bizarre informational environment that you’ve been spending time in.”

“Drugs are here to stay. They’re a part of post-modern life. There will be more and more of them. Wherever they are illegal they will spawn criminal syndicalism. We need to sit down with our children and explain to them how you take drugs, how you evaluate their effect on you, how you make decisions absent social pressure and hype and how you come to terms with this particular aspect of modern life. … If we don’t educate people we are going to produce a continuous supply of victims for the courts and the prisons to make their grist.”

“I’m not interested in cataloging the varieties of the doorways to the secret. I’m interested in finding one doorway that works.”

“Pro bono proctologists from other star systems are not making unannounced, free house calls in our homes. This could almost be a litmus test for sanity.”

“Whether achieved through some yogic or some quasi-religious technique or through the use of drugs, but when we perturb our mental machinery time and space comes apart and reweaves itself in unexpected ways.”

“It’s very interesting to me that this psychedelic insight [that we are creatures of language] is restated by the cyber revolution, which says it slightly differently. It says the world is code. Everything is code. Your DNA creates you as its code unfolds. … Code is the primary reality.”

“I’ve always felt in a way that the New Age was a flight from the psychedelic experience, that the New Age was saying its invisible agenda was ‘We’ll try anything as long as we’re sure it doesn’t work,’ and that automatically exempts psychedelics.”

“Once you find psychedelics you’re not looking for the accelerator anymore. You’re looking for the brakes on your spiritual vehicle. You have suddenly found the means to achieve the stated goal, which is union with the divine, or oneness, or something like that.”

“Magic, which we haven’t heard much about seriously, since the sixteenth century, magic is the idea that the world is made of language, and that you can control the world through language, through spells, through the power of letters, so forth and so on.”

“Computer code is magical language. It’s language which when executed causes something to actually happen.”

“So I would say on this 2012 thing, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Human history ends in human-machine prosthesis, and machine history begins in human-machine prosthesis.”

“Drug-taking and drug-using people have been hideously stereotyped. If a racial or religious minority had had to put up with the crap we’ve had to put up with we would have gotten some kind of remediation from the Justice Department.”

“You know, the dirty little secret of Northern California’s vast economic success down at Silicon Valley is the creativity that was injected into this area in the 1960s through the LSD revolution. In many, many significant cases it’s the same people.”

“Where do the ideas come from? You know, people who don’t take psychedelics think it’s all moving lights and little concentric circles. They don’t understand that these are tremendously emotionally moving dramatic scenarios that one could not possibly generate out of one’s mind.”


PCs – Right click, select option
Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

“The Virtual AllChemical Powwow” for Terence Mckenna at his house in Hawaii on February 25th 1999

Erik Davis’ Interview of Bruce Damer for Wired Magazine feature about Terence McKenna

Forum on KQED with Michael Krasny

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


  1. Pingback: Podcast 231-Damer-McKenna: “Bruce, Terence, and Virtual Worlds”

  2. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=1379

    I would like to share with you a video I saw recently, it includes a request to help with 200 hours of footage ayahuasca material. Thanks


    I finally get around to thank you for these podcasts. Maybe I had to slow donw on TMK talks which I listened to, preferably before sleep, all 150 plus of them, most of them twice. And that is just the last year or so after getting into download mode.

    Taking off a few months and now coming back from the world of word-magicians, I have to tell you that there is not much out there. This uncanny knack of TMK to voice the sublime and subtle web of things from our perspective is unparalelled. They say stick with the original.

    Now almost a decade after his passing, the fore- and insight that he was talented enough to make english-able is even more a standalone thing. People like Graham Hancock have picked up TMK’s suggestions around the time he was leaving, and now the origin of human endeavour and knowledge is linked to the psychedelic door.

    Here is to all the people who continue the song of Terence McKenna. Perhaps there was someone like him but we have not heard from him (or her). We do not even need another one coming along. We can actually hang up the phone and start calling people.


    Surprised you missed this amazing pull quote:

    “The truth doesn’t need your cooperation to exist. The truth you can kick the tires and take it for a spin. All forms of cult, all forms of hype, all forms of delusion DO require your participation in order to exist. What I have found is that doorways into the miraculous are far fewer than the publicists of the New Age would have us believe. On the other hand they are not as rare as the proponents of radical reductionism and materialism would have us believe. There ARE doorways out of the mundane human condition.”

    He might have said that before… glad Lorenzo didn’t edit it out.

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