Podcast 262 – “Terence McKenna’s Last Interview” Part 1


Guest speakers: Terence McKenna and Erik Davis


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[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

Lorenzo Hagerty & Erik Davis“But I did [as a child] spend a lot of time grappling with shit like the nature of the soul, and the nature of sin, and all of these imponderables. And, of course, what you end up doing is you end up reading scholars of mysticism.”

“To me it’s the most psychedelic part of the psychedelic experience, it’s when you get the logos coming out of the trees, the rocks, the berries, the water, everything.”

“[Speaking about how to pursue a psychedelic culture.] Well, I’d say the wrongly-packaged version would be something like ‘Castenadaism’, a formulaic cult. Do these things, take these drugs, follow these instructions and moral obligation will flee from your kin. Nobody can be that foolish. If, on the other hand, you sincerely pursue this stuff, grow the plants, try to understand it, try to revivify the rituals and figuring out what it’s all about, well, that’s an authentic push towards spirituality, a very authentic push towards spirituality, and probably fruitful.”

“It seems to me that ‘the shamanic drug of the month’ is not a very appealing idea.”

“The basic concept [of alchemy] is that somehow intuition and nature are reflective of each other. Until that hypothesis fails we should probably hang on to it, because look how far we’ve gotten. I mean it is really bizarre how much of nature the human mind seems to be able to understand.”

“[I’m hoping] that some lack of resource or vision doesn’t reveal that we can’t give enough people a bearable life. So we [would then] have to live forward into an age of revolution, social turmoil, and struggle for resources. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

“Now let’s see if information can liberate. That’s why I don’t want to do something stupid like die and miss the whole unfoldment of this proposition that knowledge is power, information will liberate. And it will be settled in the next ten or fifteen years. Either they’ll get a handle on it, whoever ‘they’ are, whatever a ‘handle means. Or it will slip from their control, and it will be clear that some kind of dialogue is now going on between individual human beings and the sum total of human knowledge, and that nothing can stop it, that some kind of Renaissance, some kind of total new relationship to knowledge and possibility is put in place.”


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Terence McKenna Vs. the Black Hole by Erik Davis

This is Erik Davis‘ account of the interview heard in this podcast.

Excerpt: The following are excerpts from interviews that I conducted with Terence McKenna in late October and early November of 1999, in preparation for a profile that appeared in the May 2000 issue of Wired. These interviews have also been edited and released on a CD, Terence McKenna: The Last Interview. Given McKenna’s subsequent demise, I chose selections concerning his feelings about death and dying. The October interview was conducted in San Francisco just a few days before Terence underwent a craniotomy, and he therefore spoke a bit more frankly about his condition than during November, when I spent a week with him and his wonderful girlfriend Christie Silness during his sort-of recovery in Hawaii.

Mescal: A New Artificial Paradise by Dr. Havelock Ellis

Posted in Consciousness, Erik Davis, Future, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Much love to Lorenzo and Terence Mckenna,and Dennis Mckenna. After, listening to the podcast 262, I would like to send you some quotations written by Paul Brunton, Ph.d. from a book he wrote called, “The Quest of the Overself”, ninth impression. Published by Rider & Company. London : New York : Melbourne : Sydney.
    In Chapter 5, page 58, entitled ” Analysis of the Intellectual Self ” he says;” For the Biblical statement happens to be true, that man was made in the image of God, but that image IS WITHIN him. It is no mystical absurdity, this . God is ever in the midst of man, just as man is ever in the midst of God. To accept this thought with bored acquiescence, as do those who do not and cannot realise its implications,
    is one thing ; to feel it as a living reality, as a divine force, is another.
    The time which is given to study of the composition of our being is not wasted. We are so busy answering all the multitude of problems that arise out of external activities – which are endless- that the major problem of all , ” What am I ?’ remains unanswered. But when we set out on a quest of our own soul we are inspired by a higher power-our inherent divinity, which is likewise the best guarantee of our ultimate success. We have in us as much of the divine fire as those sages and saints whose names have starred world history, but they were aware of theirs, whilst we slumber. And because it is a real fact- and not a metaphysical figment- it is experimentally ascertainable as it exists in its unjoined state, ie. unjoined to the external body, to emotions and even to thoughts. ”

    And in Chapter 6, entitled ” Beyond Time to Eternity”, Paul writes: “So long as one wrongly identifies himself with the physical body, so long as he even still wrongly identifies himself with the mentality and the ego-memories, so long will he necessarily exist as a creature of time, a captive of past memories, present happenings and future hopes and fears. So soon as, by right introspection and accurate analysis, the truth about time is perceived and held, with attention confined to time’s source in oneself, so soon shall one enter and remain in the realisation that the unknown content of one;s inmost self transcends time, is eternal and care-free. Its parentage lies with the angels, for it is divine. That self can never be affected by whatever belongs to time, even though the ego may continue to function within it.”
    Every person is ‘gloriously divine’, yet people just don’t get it. I hope that anyone that reads this message, will ruminate on it. As in the words of the Chinese Taoist Philosopher Lao Tsu, ” When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Much Love , UNIVERSALCURE1

  2. This is a fantastic talk. Did I hear there is a part II?:-)
    I really like Terence’s quote about what the Angel told Descartes, as a Sacred Geometer, despite not believing in the Christian sense of the word Angel. I love the speculations brought about by this talk, especially the dialogue between the individual and the entire over-mind of human thought and where it could lead (internet). You’re right Lorenzo, we need to keep the internet accessible and free from censorship and omission. Interviews of Terence the person, rather than Terence the compendium of Encyclopedic botanical and experiential knowledge are rare indeed. This is intimate and I cherish this insight. Many Thanks Lorenzo!

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Part 2 is now available in the RSS feed (iTunes, etc.) and the program notes will be posted later today.]

  3. Thanks for posting this! I’ll have a listen after dinner.
    Recently John Hazard posted the last video interview (1 hour) with Terence on Reality Sandwich. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it’s worth it.
    I agree with Starhive. More information from the feminine perspective would be great.


  4. Thanks for posting this! I love both these guys!
    I was just thinking, I know that it’s pretty hard to find women who talk about these subjects, but I would really like to see some more female representation in the Salon! <3

    [Comment by Lorenzo: I agree with you about getting more women speakers. Hopefully some recordings by them will find their way to me soon.]

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