Podcast 277 – “Peter Gorman Interviews Dennis McKenna” Part 2


Guest speakers: Dennis McKenna and Peter Gorman

January 21, 1936 – August 9, 2011

Alex Grey, Allyson Grey, Martina Hoffman, & Roberto VenosaDear Friends and Community,

A great soul has completed his earthly journey and graduated to the next level.

The great Venosa left his body on Tuesday August 9, 2011 at 6:56 PM.

His transition was graceful and accomplished in the same composed and calm manner that he exuded throughout his life.

I feel honored to have been able to accompany him to the gate, having walked 30 beautiful years together in this life.

Robert had a long and brave healing journey with cancer and showed incredible strength on this path as well as tremendous courage in facing this great dragon.

He believed in the natural healing ability of the human body and proved the doctors wrong time and again, who only gave him a few month’s to live upon his diagnosis over eight years ago.

He was a powerful human being. Together he and I, held the piece of his physical struggle safely tucked away from the eyes of the world like a precious pearl.

It is with great sadness that I’m sharing this news today but also with
deep gratitude, for his magical and special life; fully lived.

Even in death he gave those surrounding him a powerful initiation into the scared mysteries of the unknown.

We will carry him in our hearts forever, remembering the light he shone on so many. He so appreciated the light that others shone upon him.

In loving memory of my great love, compañero, best friend and artistic accomplice.

Martina Hoffmann and family


[NOTE: All quotations are by Dennis McKenna.]

“I think that ayahuasca is actually much more controllable than mushrooms. . . . I think that it is quite an amazing tool for self-understanding and for exploration. I think that it’s good for you, actually physically and psychologically good for you.”

“It’s no different than it ever was. When the Jesuits and the missionaries came to meso-America the first things to go, the first things to be stamped out was the knowledge of the sacred plants and the practice of using the sacred plants.”

“I think that Christianity linked with Calvinism has a hard time dealing with what you might call facts of biology, which in another phrase is sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. In some ways, life is about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Biology is about those things.”

“All experience is a drug experience. Whether it’s mediated by our own [endogenous] drugs, or whether it’s mediated by substances that we ingest that are found in plants, cognition, consciousness, the working of the brain, it’s all a chemically mediated process. Life itself is a drug experience.”

“He [Terence McKenna] will never let a fact get in the way of making a provocative statement. He’s a good story teller, but I think it’s important to remember that they are stories, and that he often makes mistakes in his lectures.”

“In that position, a guy who can pack the houses every time, I feel has a larger responsibility to the psychedelic community to refrain from making these completely off-the-wall comments, and to actually tell it like it is, not how he imagines it to be.”

“I’m sure that Terence views it as theater. I can’t believe that he takes what he says seriously. I mean, I can tell you that he doesn’t. Much of what he says he says it because it’s going to get a rise out of somebody. He’s always been that way.”


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Peter Gorman
Writer, Explorer, Naturalist

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Posted in Ayahuasca, Consciousness, Creativity, Culture, Dennis McKenna, DMT, LSD, Peter Gorman, Psychedelic Research, Psychedelics, Religion, Science & Technology, Shamanism, Terence McKenna (mp3), War on Drugs.


  1. I too feel Dennis was too harsh in his criticism, and though he had the closest view into Terence’s thinking, that maybe why he was overly critical. Certainly from the talks I’ve heard on the salon and elsewhere, as well as his writing, Terence usually pointed out that what he was expressing was his experience, and his ideas that followed. The criticism I have of Terence is not his speculative rants and theorizing, quite the contrary, I feel that while he was willing to explore his pet theories eg Timewave, stoned ape etc, he was too quick to dismiss other ideas eg the non-human origin of crop circles, the influence of secret or not so secret societies on world events. “No one is in control” is the phrase he used to dismiss the latter, which is grossly inadequate seeing as this is a strawman fallacy, setting up the theory as “there is a secret cabal controlling all world events”. I don’t know anyone who thinks that, but that “there are secret cabals INFLUENCING world events” is a theory that requires some real attention that Terence did not really address to my knowledge. To be fair, he didn’t have to, but to dismiss it with a strawman fallacy is intellectually lazy at best. I wish Terence had delved into more mysteries with his intellectual prowess, but am extremely grateful for what he did explore and what he shared.

  2. Very interesting! I agree that today’s Dennis seems more at ease with all this as said above … I was a bit surprised by this interview like the others above, and although I see where he is coming from, I never got the impression that Terence claimed to be inflexible with his beliefs (I am referring to when Dennis infers that Terence didn’t modify his perceptions over time) and in fact one of the big things I’ve learned from his talks is that clinging to preconceived notions can hamper progress…ie when terence noted that religions don’t allow one to say “i had it wrong the whole time” while scientists applaud that sort of thing. So I think Terence was clear , at least from what I perceive, that 1) don’t take anything including what he says as face value, learn things for yourself 2) dont be afraid to reject your old beliefs even if it crumbles your foundation. I think that perhaps Terence started emphasizing these notions of his own theories infallibility and flexibility towards the end of his lecturing career…maybe he took Dennis’s concerns to heart and wanted to be more clear about his approach. Thanks be to all involved in this. I am really looking forward to Dennis’s book.

  3. I agree Gabor — but also concede that maybe Dennis had more intimate happenings with his brother and felt it necessary to express this point of view. Dennis has a solitary position as his brother, one that he alone must describe.

  4. What an interesting interview!

    The parts about Terence were especially amusing and also surprising to me, because from his talks I have exactly the opposite impression to what Dennis said.

    In his talks Terence always emphasizes critical thinking, he rejects belief, and he presents his ideas as possiblilities, not facts.

    Dennis mentioned for example the idea that the DMT entities are aliens. I have heard Terence talk about that many times in his talks, and my impression was that he maintains a Jungian interpretation of the alien, and enumerates all the ontological possibilities regarding the entities without any dogmatic insistance on any single answer.

    Is it possible that his critical and permissive attitude was just an act, and in reality he rigidly believed a single answer to each question?

    I’d definately ask Dennis about that seeming contradiction if I had the chance.

  5. It’s very sad to hear that you have lost a friend, Lorenzo, and i feel with you. I am just learning about this wonderful artist right now, i’m sorry i didn’t know about his work before he left this realm.

    As soon as i saw Ians comment to Hector i also felt its immediate relevance to the comment i had left a little earlier on #251 (where Lorenzo ends the podcast by excusing his goofiness after having shared with us some experiences that had to do with coincidence).

    Is there a way to express the implication of these synchronicities?

    Lorenzo, it’s like you’ve invited us all to your wonderful garden (the salon) and as we’re enjoying it and pointing out little details in it, its flowers give tiny affirming nods, and signs of awareness and intentionality start to bubble up from its rich matrix as we find ourself to be one with it; your psychedelic salon has literally become psychedelic in its own right!

    Anyone got a theory of what this could mean?

    In this podcast it’s intriguing to learn more of the McKenna family history, although i don’t understand so well Dennis’ criticism of Terence… I think Terence was always very clear about it all just being based on his own felt experience, and all the theories about future events just being working theories, and not to be taken as literal as most scientific, religious and ideological conclusions demand to be taken… and every time a factoid that Terence mentions interests me, i check it out, and yes, he is often a bit sloppy, but not to the extent that he bends the truth in favor of his argument… I wonder if Dennis at the time rather was worried about the consequences of Terence’s role, as he indeed suggest when he compares him to Tim Leary, that he would become something of a guru that the young would follow blindly, or lead people to recklessly experiment with dangerous substances and so on. But now when the almost exclusively positive (it seems to me) effects that Terence’s ideas have had on his audience are becoming clearer and clearer,
    today’s Dennis seems a lot more at ease with it all…

    It’s important to be critical, but when one really listens to what Terence McKenna says one sees that he is mostly very sincere and clear. He often warns you. And I feel there are no unreasonable guaranties or promises of miracles being made, but rather a promise of potential miracle if you put your own effort in the equation.

    He teases you to seek more experience, but he doesn’t mislead you to do so.

    Terence McKenna is like some kind of substance that the more you
    take of it the safer it gets:)

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I like this and the previous comment. And maybe we should keep in mind that this interview was recorded in 1994, and Terence moderated his delivery in his final years to where the previous comment also makes a lot of sense. … My main point in podcasting this part of the interview is to further encourage you to think for yourself and question all “authorities”, which is exactly what these comments are doing. Perfect!]

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