Podcast 270 – “Tryptamine Consciousness”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


This is Tape Number 003 of the Paul Herbert Collection.

This talk was given in December 1982
[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“The search for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial source is probably as culture-bound an assumption as to search the galaxy for a good Italian restaurant.”

“It is no great accomplishment to hear a voice in the head. The accomplishment is to make sure it is telling you the truth.”

“The demons are of many kinds. Some are made of ions, some of mind. The ones of ketamine, you’ll find, stutter often and are blind.”

“There is no dignity in the universe unless you meet these things [psychedelics] on your feet. And that means that you have an I/thou relationship, and you say … ‘you’re long on talk, but what can you show me?”

“These things [psychedelic medicines] invoke the Logos, which means they work directly on the language centers. So that the important aspect of the experience is the dialogue.”

“I think if someone tells you they’ve every drug you know they’re confessing they’re a dilettante. It’s much better to lean hard on a few.”

“I think one of the interesting things about judging a drug is to see how eager people are to do it the second time. If they’re eager to do it the second time it’s probably not worth bothering about, because what is necessary to have validity in these experiences is the terror. The terror is a stamp of validity on the experience, because it means this is real.”

Terence McKenna“Friends, right here and now, one quanta away, there is raging a universe of active intelligence that is trans human, hyper dimensional, and extremely alien.”

“The most alien thing in the cosmos is the human soul.”

“As nervous systems evolve to higher and higher levels, they become more and more to understand the true situation in which they are embedded.”

“As nervous systems evolve to higher and higher levels they become more and more to understand the true situation in which they are embedded. And the true situation in which we are embedded is an organism, an organization of active intelligence that is on a galactic scale.”

“In other words, shamanic experience, drug experience, this is ruled out of bounds. And it is because it is the source of novelty. The cutting edge of the ingression of the novel into the plenum of being is happening there. I mean, think about it for a moment. If the human mind does not loom large in the coming history of the human race, then what is to become of us?”

“So I am saying we are at the beginning of human thought. This is the birth crisis of intelligence. And intelligence is something which is moving through the higher primates now at greater and greater speed.”

“The fact is that the densest organizational material in the universe is the human cortex. And the richest experience in the universe is the experience you’re having right now.”

“The testimony that I want to give today is that magic is alive in hyperspace, and you don’t have to believe me or follow me or do anything to validate that except form a relationship with these plant drugs.”

“There is some surety that you are dealing with a creature of integrity if you deal with a plant, but the creatures born in the demonic artifice of laboratories have to be dealt with very, very carefully.”

“DMT is like an intellectual black hole in that once you know about it, it’s very hard for anyone to understand you when you’re talking about it.”

“The future is bound to be psychedelic because the future belongs to the mind.”

“The tragedy of our cultural situation is that we have no shamanic tradition. Shamanism is primarily technique, not ritual.”

“The only intellectual, or noetic, or spiritual path worth following seems to me to be the one that builds on your own experience.”


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The Genesis Generation

A novel by Lorenzo


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Posted in Ayahuasca, Consciousness, DMT, Extraterrestial, Genesis Generation, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


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  2. i love you lorenzo thank you for your commitment! blessings from Portugal

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: 🙂 . . . and for what it’s worth, some of the action in the new novel that I’m working on takes place in Portugal, which is where I still remember having the best meal of my life!]

  3. I find it interesting that Terence and apparently a few very vocal girls in his workshop thought they were “special” because they could trip on acid. I didn’t realize psilocybin has no affect on most people. … I also find it telling how Terence will bring up occasionally that he tried to reach these same experiences in India, having ‘kneeled at the feet of gurus’, and asked them ‘to show him what they got, and was surprised when he didn’t get instant results  Coming from the generation of pill poppers, this arrogance doesn’t surprise me. I don’t discredit the powerful use psilocybin can have on presenting great revelations, but it seems a bit disingenuous of Terence to imply that he is special to be able to trip on acid and at the same time discredit people who can have just as profound experiences without the use of a pill crutch. I have had metaphysical experiences throughout my adult life. I personally am very grateful for the miracles I’ve personally experienced. When one consciously leaves the physical body, he looks at the physical world in a very different way. Some experiences I hesitate to state because I can see how unbelievable they would be to people who have not had the same. Keep in mind, I was not taking any drugs at the time. I committed myself many years ago to Self realization. It is part of my daily routine and is my most important mission while here. I have had many metaphysical experiences, but these are merely “sideshows” and only part of my spiritual path to communing with the Source. It seems there are many visitors of this website that are genuinely interested in the ultimate question. I would highly recommend the 2-volume set of Paramahansa Yogananda’s “The Bhagavad Gita: Royal Science of God-Realization”. From these two books, you will find all the answers to your questions and many, many more. It is all spelled out in incredibly lucid and amazingly logical explanation. This set is full of paradigm shifts that will change so much of what you’ve been indoctrinated into believing all your life as “facts”. You will be awed and amazed and will have metaphysical experience beyond the use of an external device. To me, this is true faith. With that, mountains can be moved.

  4. Thank you Lorenzo (and Diana!) — always awesome to come upon a new McKenna talk, see how he developed the ideas moving forward but also how put together everything was right from the start.

    Just purchased your book, looking forward to reading it soon.

    Thanks again for the Salon, it has truly become a great library/resource!

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  6. WOW! This is an amazing talk… such a vibe on this one! Congrats on the 6th anniversary and the release of the great book-

  7. Hi Lorenzo, I can’t thank you enough for hosting 6 years of the Psychedelic Salon! Boy is time accelerating. I remember all of the excitement over episode #1 and still receive a euphoric smile every time a new episode magically appears in iTunes, even @ #270. Spreading clarity & awareness is one of the greatest services one can perform for the benefit of humanity and you do this with such an altruistic heart, it brings me great joy to know you as a friend. Wishing you the very best in all you do!

    Peace & Love,

  8. Notable ideas:

    • approx 40m59s – (…) “Consciousness is somehow able to collapse the state vector and thereby cause the stuff of being to undergo what Alfred North Whitehead called the formality of actually occurring. Here is the beginning of an understanding of the centrality of human beings.”

    For further thoughts on this extremely interesting topic I recommend http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw9Jo5qNCsQ Stuart Hameroff’s Google Tech Talk – A Marriage of Brain and Computer or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXFFbxoHp3s Clarifying the Tubulin bit/qubit – Defending the Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR Model.

    Drawing attention to this theory has important phylosophical implications, as McKenna points out – “the centrality of human beings”. Lately society has moved away from that feeling – into a more mechanical idea of human beings as components in a larger system. This shift of focus has had unfortunate side effects, disempowering the individual. Watch http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6439394/ Adam Curtis’ All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace – The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. It’s a great documentary, and I found it truly ravishing.

  9. Notable ideas:

    • approx. 27m36s – “I was informed that once a culture has complete understanding of its genetic information, it re-engineers itself for survival.”

    This idea has come to the forefront in our time (30 years later!) when we are so concerned about our fragility in the face of nuclear radiation on Earth and cosmic radiation in outer space.

    Consider this: shielding spacecraft against radiation is quite unfeasible for long manned journeys. The amount of shielding material required is simply too large to ever be launched into space. Currently, whenever there’s extreme solar weather, ISS astronauts are either sitting there receiving strong doses, or they have to descend back to Earth. On very long space journeys you don’t have the option of a protective atmosphere & magnetosphere to retreat to.

    This implies that for prolongued exodus across Space our species may have to re-engineer itself into a more resilient vessel.

    Our body’s requirements of temperature range, air, water, food, and not receiving deadly radiation are too much to work around faced with titanic undertakings such as colonizing Space… and even the current climate change on Earth. We’re very adaptable creatures they always say, but actually we’re adaptable within a Garden-of-Eden-sweet-spot.
    A trade-off has to occur between re-engineering ourselves and terraforming new Worlds.

    This is especially worrying in the light of recent findings that point out just how advanced humans really are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw9Jo5qNCsQ (Stuart Hameroff’s Google Tech Talk – A Marriage of Brain and Computer)
    It would be naive to suggest that we will soon be able to copy entire humans into other more resilient vessels, that would become conscious.

    That’s just my very rough sci-fi interpretation.

  10. I am so very glad that I found you way back close to 6 years ago! Let me know if you could be in western NY in July…

  11. Congrats!
    I found where this is from if your interested. In the book the Archaic Revival chapter 3 under the same title you had. But here it says it was recorded at a Lilly/Goswami conference on consciousness and quantum physics at Esalen, December 1983.

  12. Congratulations on the 6th anniversary, Lorenzo! Can’t wait to give this one a listen!

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