Podcast 316 – “A Deep Dive Into the Mind of McKenna”


Guest speakers: Bruce Damer and Terence McKenna

Bruce Damer & Terence McKennaPROGRAM NOTES:

This program is a recording of part of a live event at the Esalen Institute near Big Sur, California. The workshop, titled “Terence McKenna: Beyond 2012”, was led by Bruce Damer and Lorenzo Hagerty. This specific recording took place on Saturday morning, June 16th and consists of Bruce’s “deep dive” into the mind of McKenna. It begins with Bruce’s “Ode to Terence” and is followed by Bruce’s readings of parts of the soon-to-be published book by Terence’s brother, Dennis . . . the book’s title: “Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss”.


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“Ode to Terence”

by Bruce Damer

“Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss”

by Dennis McKenna

Posted in 2012, Bruce Damer, Dennis McKenna, Psilocybin, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Well I’m grateful for the lectures on what they impart and in one of his lectures you’ll find the conflict of mind/heart vision, which is the basis on how some see Mckenna as a teacher, but to batch him in with evangelists is sacrilegious because I dont give evangelists any credibility what so ever, I’ll take one tenth of a McKenna for a thousand evangelists any time, but to express disdain is infantile. Just on his ideas about art, artists and literature is outstanding by itself, thanks to him I’m tackling Finnegans Wake and every book my McLuhan, I’ll be getting into Whitehead and Derrida just by him mentioning it once. The question goes back to what is real? Mckenna was real enough and for those that project augmentation of his faults you gotta look in the mirror people, keep those egos in check, its easy to knock a man down, it goes to show that humanity is complex and each person has to face their own inefficiencies or dysfunctions however they can, even the most brilliant need reforming just like science itself. Where ever he is I’m expanded thanks to him.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I’m not quite sure what you are talking about, but if Terence was called an “evangelist” it wasn’t meant in a religious sense. There are many kinds of evangelists. For example, I was once the “Internet Evangelist” for Verizon.]

    • McKenna cared more about our society than most people. Listen and learn. Who cares what he did or didn’t do – he SAID something.

  2. I came across this lecture and frankly I’m pretty disappointed. Terence has no doubt been one of my greatest teachers, like he has for all of us. I have noticed some factual errors he had made in certain lectures, most notably how he claimed the Ghost Dance of the Lakota was inspired by peyote, which is COMPLETELY untrue. The Ghost Dance came actually from Nevada, but I will not go into it’s lengthy history. I think I’m mostly upset to the fact that McKenna chose to become an entertainer, holding peoples thirst for spiritual growth and consciousness expansion in his hand and suggesting techniques that he clearly didn’t follow. The fact that he claims in one lecture he goes to a gym 3 times a week to keep his body in shape for psychadelic journeying but never took psilocybin again after 1988 is nothing more than a blatant lie and obviously shows his profound lack of integrity. I say this with great regret because I have really loved this man and his work. I think it’s yet another reminder of the pitfalls of hero worship, and for that lesson I am grateful. To not come clean with his audience about these certain things which Dennis and Bruce revealed is sad to think about, that he himself had experienced the trappings of fame but for a man like McKenna to build his entire reputation on being courageous and not becoming what “they” want you to be is quite a let down. To give outlandish advice to his audience, to glamorize and romanticize false experiences is in the same boat as the phony, money hungry televangelist that we all abhor. Sorry terence, fuck off dude.

    • Amigo please reconsider this p.o.v. always more to any tale than what is told. Just because T didnt pursue the ride on the sporelight, doesnt mean he didnt pursue it via bark n leaf. Afterall isnt T famous for sharing the Shipibo p.o.v. of “we eat mushrooms only when we dont have ayahuasca, and we always have ayahuasca”

      Be whoever whatever you want, of course. What ever happened to gratitude? How can you sit and face yourself in the dark night like this? Perhaps Terence gave it all up so that all lf us proud nowhere men could get another look at our egos and stop before we destroy our souls over who is a more glorified tripper games….whats time afterall. Much love bros and sis, remeber im yo brother

  3. Thanks for posting that Bruce. People are always more interested in the ‘dark side’. I tasted no fear during that experience with TMK in the mountains, just an extremely relaxed individual, or was it just me? 🙂
    I encourage you all to watch the vid and read the book..

  4. Folks I have been in touch with Mick Schwann (Kawitzky) and seen both his book (link below) and the following video where Terence clearly talks about taking “breaking his rule” and taking a “very light mushroom trip” (tea) and then walking around in Rustler’s valley in South Africa while visiting Mike there in 1996. Thanks Mike for shedding light on this. See the video at:

    And it is reported in Mike’s book here:

    What I am interested in (and anyone on this list feel free to get directly in touch with me) is if someone else out there has had a direct experience of Terence returning to the journey (but of a deeper or in other words, a more heroic nature) after the experience of 1988 or ’89. It has been reported by several independent sources that he ceased doing this sort of thing during the last dozen years of his life, creating the scenario (for Terence personally and those around him) we described in the telling of the Deep Dive in this podcast. For me this is pretty much a “closed book” and Dennis and I have moved on. That said as a scholar of this history I am still open to any other evidence coming to light that would affect our understanding of Terence’s outer and inner life during this time period.

    Thanks again Mike for reopening this and encouraging us to continue to piece this very important story together!

  5. I met Terence in 1987 in Chicago, after several years of corresponding with him. He was definitely a delightfully witty and entertaining bard of the mushroom. That he had a challenging experience in 1988 and did not feel the call to continue working with the mushroom in the same way does not surprise me. The experiences with the mushroom teacher are deep and powerful, sometimes unfolding over decades, not just the few hours following ingestion. This is an ancient tradition and we are just beginners in understanding the power of this amazing teacher. I bow to Terence for his courage and willingness to support people who are called to this ancient path. That was his mission in life and he performed it very very well. I would advise people, however, to be cautious about blindly following his high-dose advice, and combining it with high dose cannabis. Terence had a cannabis habit that he could not let go of, and it definitely had an influence on his rap. The mushroom teacher, at least in my experience, has something to say and the message comes through most clearly when there is no other noise factor getting in the way. In fact, in my experience, the mushroom made it very clear that in order for the deeper visions to be vouchsafed, it was necessary for me to let go of all self-destructive habits. The spirit in the mushroom has been true to its word and, unlike Terence, I continue working with it now as I enter my 6th decade on this Earth.

  6. I guess pot did for me what shrooms did for Terence before his fatal trip. I found myself with pretty much the exact same outlook on life and culture as he had once I began to imbibe. It was paradigm shifting for me you might say. I only discovered Terence McKenna a couple of years ago, so I was stunned after listening to a few of his lectures.

    I’m trying to imagine what that overwhelming feeling of meaninglessness must have been like for him. It seems that it was paradigm shifting – again.

    He loved sensation and stimulation though. He loved excitement and technicolor. Perhaps he perceived this void of meaning was behind it all. That all this excitement and psychedelic experience was a compensation for and distraction from the true meaning of it all, which is no meaning.

    But ego ascribes meaning does it not?

    Terrance did introduce me to a few things that had not occurred to me, such as plants being spirits and allies. That resonated with me right away.

    So as allies and spirits, do mushrooms feel that the nature of reality is a gaping maw of non meaning? Or do the mushrooms have a different relationship with the void than did Terrance?

    Was his trip to the void a premonition of cancer to come?

    Were the mushrooms urging him to grapple with what life really meant, and was his intellectualizing a way of escaping the ultimate, deep meaning of it all?

    Or, if a yawning void lay behind all experience, then maybe something else lay beyond the void?

    I don’t know if I dare even try to compare my own experience to his – but I feel that I’ve been standing on the precipice of non meaning for my entire life. Until now, it has never occurred to me to dive in.

    I’m going to think about it now.

    As for Terrance McKenna, may he rest in peace. I fell in love with him – but I’m sure a lot of women did.

  7. What is the track at the beginning of the podcast?

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: The theme song for the salon is El Alien by Cata Huyuk. If you go to http://catalhuyuk.org/ you can listen to the trance mix of it. The group is led by my friend Jacques, who has a cameo as Poloka in my novel, “The Genesis Generation”.]

  8. Beautifully said Yzjoshuwave! Another beautiful piece of writing on this complex and profoundly important story is The Teafaerie’s column for Erowid from last October, titled: “The Terence McKenna Thing” and I encourage everyone to take a read at:

    Dennis and I both send folks to this for “the best insight/grappling with” given that we are no longer commenting on it, our message being delivered well bobbing in the bottle.

    Terence was and is my teacher too in terms of entertaining wild, funny ideas and their silvery Joycean and gentlemanly delivery to the listener in rapt rapture. I recently started my own podcast “Dr. Bruce’s Levity Zone” to try in a small way to build on the ideas Terence and I spoke about and to try to take them furthur into a universe too strange to know, yet not too strange to experience. Find the first handful of raps at:

    Dr. Bruce Damer

  9. First of all, I’d like to thank Bruce, Dennis and ultimately Kat for giving us all the opportunity to see with a little more clarity just how vulnerable n genuinely human Terence really was. While this news has been a bit challenging to process, I feel even more endeared to him than I already did n perhaps even supported in knowing that the intimate sense of immanent danger that has often risen up in me at the thought of a large dose of mushrooms, was shared by someone I perceive to be among a few of the most profound teachers in history. There is a flurry of comments n reflections that seem to be breaking out of me at the moment, so in the interest of dispelling any lingering accusations anyone may have, I’m going to unleash them. Though I must say, the people posting in this forum mostly seem to have already created a warm space for him to be who he really was, vulnerable n raw. For that, I am very grateful.

    There is something confounding about the way that time is inextricably fused into the fabric of things, into the rippling interactivity of all the world’s beings. We participate in events n absorb ourselves into them without ever fully being able to step back out to see with a purely objective eye. But we provide ourselves with this illusion, with the sense that what we perceive things to be is what they are, that the boundaries we attempt to enclose things in are intrinsic to the things themselves. But they are not. We make these artificial claims without recognizing the philosophical implications they have, how they distort the world’s form in our perception. It is very difficult to map out the beginning of an event, or its end. Many threads of historical influence, rippling forward from who knows when, weave themselves together into the singular composition of an event, which itself leaves its fractal footprint in all that follows. In 1988-or-9, eons of evolutionary time compressed themselves into a fist full of mushrooms, appearing every bit as innocuous n absurd as ever. And Terence, every bit as entranced by their enigma as he ever was, munched them down, probably with some lingering anxiety, but also anticipating at least some of a certain ecstasy one can only find through hyperspatial flight.

    In the year 2001, having watched the Matrix a few times n having recently been exposed to the album Terence did with Space-Time Continuum, I ate 3.5 dried grams of mushrooms. I don’t care how much Terence, I found out years later, was provoking people to eat. I had enough; I had too much. When it started to come on, I smoked a few hits of Keef (sp? pure THC crystals) and was totally consumed in a rush that I feel nervous even mentioning. I thought: if I just go outside for a minute, if I just go back to my bad, if I take a leak, if I turn on the light, if I turn off the light, I’ll be able to relieve this unbearable anxiety.

    While lying in the dark, I saw a labyrinth of computers organizing themselves into higher n higher levels of complexity, forming into futuristic super-computers, all seething with neon impulses of electricity. I saw human history unfold before my eyes in a highly dramatic rapid-fire fashion n recognized that our human bodies were themselves entwining molecular computers, that our technologies were dynamic prostheses crystallizing in the possibility space of our globe-girdling (I always loved when Terence said that) culmination. At this moment, what I suppose must have been built with the little flickers of light that everyone sees in sobriety when looking off into darkness, became a labyrinth of intertwining atoms and enfolded themselves into the face of God. And we were face to face. Or rather, we had already fused n the inside of my body had become continuous with the unspeakable vision I was immersed in. It spoke to me, mind to mind. It said, “this is it, buddy. This is what its all about.” I felt like I was going to die. It was probably the most painful thing that I’ve ever experienced and I had the horrible sensation of being enveloped in an enormous top-carvivore’s gut, being digested n dissolved inside of it. The term “meat-locker” comes to mind.

    I subsequently went to college and got a degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. I’ve spent pretty much everyday since then slowly developing a massively fuller flush of understanding about what had been an absolutely terrifying vision when I couldn’t fathom its potential meaning. And in some sense, I am every bit as confounded today as I was 12 years ago, but I am forward-facing n slowly, progressively reconciling myself with whatever happened. My trip didn’t end when the trip ended. I woke up the next day and I brushed my teeth, just as I did every day. Just as I did today. I am still immersed in my trip and I can no longer fathom what it means to be blurrily ensnared in the hum-drum drab-life suppression of enigma that my mother culture seems bent on reaming all of us with, or to forget the Hiroshima-times-a-thousand force of the mushroom’s impact. Reality IS a hallucination, didn’t you know? History is an unfathomably peculiar progression of densely woven psychedelia, dreamed into existence by… what? I once had a conversation with a friend from high school, in which he told me that the universe was all in the imagination of an enormous Space Worm. When I enquired why he thought it was a Space Worm, his response was, “what else would it be?” I was dumbfounded.

    I know for a fact – for as stubborn of a fact as pretty much any other fact that I’m aware of – that whatever I just said was expressed with the same species of wild-eyed intensity as what I’ve heard Terence unleash in sparks of animate creativity over n over n over over the years. After taking a deep trip, haven’t you ever touched ground n thanked whatever benevolent helpers brought you out of it with your skin. If Terence had such invasive contact with the mushroom enteleche – and we know that he did, don’t we? – that he felt the need to just settle into himself and keep breathing, to wrestle with the profundity of whatever that fearsome night tore into him with, maybe we should just give him some space and respect. The mushrooms never left him. Sentiments about oddly shaped Glio Blastoma Multiform aside (that was what he died of, isn’t it?), he continued to rave about the mushrooms n the profound visions he had seen for the next 11 or 12 years. He said many silly things, told many jokes n also dazzled us with confounding brilliance, but was very private, very secretive, with his most personal internal vulnerabilities. He even acknowledged them publicly in certain moments of candor, but (apparently) didn’t let their true poignance surface beyond his closest contacts. I feel an insatiable urge to read ravenously and express myself artistically, with paint, with writing and with spoken word. And I also know the profoundly uncomfortable contrast between exuberant externalizing n delicate navigation of core emotions. When shame and the feeling of alienation impose total privacy as an utter necessity, creation of trusting and loving connections can feel totally impossible… And yet the longing for just that never leaves.
    From the first time that I ever heard you speak, Terence, I was mesmerized by the eloquence with which you spoke. You have been a life-long inspiration to me and to many many people. And your vulnerability only highlights your humanity. R.I.P.

    P.S. May your body, ashes, or whatever, nourish some genuinely benevolent fungi.

  10. I suspect that anyone who fails to recognise the obvious projection in Damer’s monologue probably lacks the intelligence to grasp the deeper meaning in much of Mckenna’s material, and it seems there must be many such people. Damer’s biggest clanger is when he projects the mushroom as a “wise, gentle teacher”; – WHERE exactly did Mckenna ever characterise the 5g psilocybin experience as “gentle”??? Has Damer ever actually taken a strong dose of mushrooms? Did he find it to be a ‘gentle’ experience? Why does he project this onto Mckenna? Also why does Damer claim that Mckenna was urging his fans to take “greater and greater doses”? Am i missing something? Why isnt Lorenzo able to notice this when he puts this stuff out?
    Damer and Dennis Mckenna both begin to appear a little as sore losers with no original ideas of their own, desperately trying to squeeze some money, or a reputation, out of making a publicity stunt of slandering Terence’s rotting corpse (Dennis also frequently tries to copy his brother’s style, many examples of this can be heard in the recent Joe Rogan interview).
    I think Mckenna might have been sadly mistaken when he said there are “psychedelic, and clueless” people, it seems many psychedelic people are possessed of very low intelligence and only see a superficial entertainment value in Mckenna’s words. There is very little actual critical discussion of Mckenna’s ideas anywhere, just a lot of shallow misconceptions and projection. The idea that Mckenna had one bad trip which transformed him into a disingenuous and dishonest ‘trickster’ entirely contrasts what anyone can actually hear for themselves in Mckenna’s own material, he was always well aware of the dark side of the psychedelic experience.

  11. Dennis removed the podcast because I, and maybe some others, reaffirmed the fact that TMK did not stop taking shrooms in 1988 because I was with T. in Africa in ’96 where he ‘broke the rules’.

    I have written this on various forums, but the Internet, well, you know, it’s self replicating and becomes somewhat independent of fact. I think that Bruce’s rumination after diving into the mind of Mckenna is sheer projection and I can’t go along with it.

    I’ve completed an autobiographical account of my doing with both Terence and Dennis, who wrote the intro for ‘Journey to Everywhere’. Why not read it and save yourself some debate?

    Sure, we all cut back..what’s to excuse?




    Producer/Director: Cognition Factor – (2009)

    The Terence Mckenna OmniBus 2012

  12. Initiation is not about timing, but about determination. Only the initiate finds and knows when his fears are already distilled by his faith for the next trip. And only he can realize how much he struggled in the path.

  13. I’m finding the tone of this podcast and the nature of many of the responses pretty disappointing. I find even many of the more positive comments are teetering back and forth between critique and praise, and not in a way that comes off as anything ultimately more than a bit ambivalent. Overall, I feel like the overall assessment of who Terence was and meant to be has been misguided by the will of what listeners perhaps wanted him to be, despite his own disclaimers.

    The fact that anyone’s opinion of a man reflecting on the ideas brought on by 30 or so years of active psychedelic use is somehow impacted by the fact that he stopped or nearly stopped in his final decade absolutely absurd. For one, I don’t recall him ever stating that he recommended psychedelics as a lifelong pursuit and he specifically stated that he preferred infrequent use. In regard to his fear of mushrooms, he specifically says over and over in his lectures that he never became confident passing over the threshold into the trip because he was aware of what an intense and unpredictable experience he could potentially be up for.

    For Terence to continue suggesting that people use psychedelics with some obvious disclaimers after he has discontinued himself is not disingenuous to me in any way. Judging him for the fact that he did not make some official announcement that he had stopped also fails to acknowledge that he probably didn’t know for certain that he never would again. How would it have served his lectures to make such an announcement, anyway?

    People who took things Terence said at face value as if he was stating facts clearly overlook how often he said things like “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure”, and “This is just an idea”. People who want to take the overtly hypothetical and exploratory in purpose yarns that Terence wove as some sort of gospel are as silly as people who think everything that crosses their mind while tripping should be taken as fact.

    It doesn’t take much analysis to see that Terence was about play and encouraging people to take part in creating a more lush reality than what the mainstream would offer them. There was a constant debate within his lectures about what is real and what is worth taking as reality. He was exploring possibilities and enriching the course of dialogs about culture and history in a way few can. If people want to sully that effort with claims that he was somehow a shill just gabbing for the buck and supposing things like he was incapable of true love and self confrontation, then it seems those sorts are willing to cheapen an invigorating outlook for the sake of some rather uninspired speculation about his inner workings.

    I find it hard to believe a man of his intelligence could be subject to innumerable psychedelic experiences without having confronted himself on a personal level until one harrowing trip in the late 80’s. The degree of artifice and delusion necessary for that sort of internal shell does not seem present in the persona he presented of a consistently self-deprecating and admittedly self-contradicting man of some clear humility about where he stood and who he was.

    The particularly sour aspect of this is that this is all being presented when he is well into the grave and people who never knew him are presumably hungry to know more of what this man was made of and there are only second and third parties to recount their takes with what seems like a strong bias. I would make the leap to say most creators aim to produce work larger than their lives. Terence speculated about ontology, cosmology and the intangible at lengths that most people don’t have the patience to listen to all of, let alone produce. He was just a fallible man with an unusual and sharp wit and I don’t see a point where he overtly lost sight of that. If you want to claim he is in some violation of your faith in him by calling hypocritical or disingenuous, I can only gather that you were cherry picking messages from him. Perhaps some of those who are upset by the third and fourth hand “revelations” in this podcast are more suited for the boring skepticism and unexciting proposals of Dawkins or Hitchens.

    Terence was clearly here to inspire and the fact that few people, if any, have done so so readily as him in the psychedelic community says volumes more than anything you can nitpick about the makeup of his personal life. It’s a shame to see anyone to says they love this man or his work so easily shaken.

  14. Despite his scientific training, some of Dennis’ words sound to me like they are from a younger brother, so I admit I am a little dismissive of bits of Dennis’ perspective (but I am not even close to being a professional psychologist, just a parent and sibling).

    Terence may indeed have stopped using one substance at one point, but it is clear he never stopped altering his consciousness and getting out there. And he felt it was important that others to do the same. Like Hoffman and others, Terence could legitimately vouch for a technique that had worked for him, so it was not deceptive for Terence to continue to describe and recommend that, even if he himself had hit a wall. With regards to how often he tripped, the main thing I recall Terence saying was that he did it “infrequently”, which only increased my respect for the man.

    So, I don’t see the Dennis/Damer testimony as detracting much or being that controversial.

    But I do miss having Terence in the universe.

  15. Just an observation from an outsider; I don’t consider myself part ‘of the group’ or any group for that matter (I’m an ardent loner and bitter misanthropist – I believe all people [deep down] are full of shit, hypocritical and self-serving). Also, I know jack crap all about psychedelics; the only thing I do is smoke way too much weed (or not nearly enough…)

    So, from an outsiders perspective:

    Well, firstly, the ONLY podcasts I listen to on here are Terence’s. The majority of the other podcasts seem to consist of dreary over-privileged, middle-class, slightly effeminate individuals droning on and on about…. (no idea, I’d be somnambulating at this point). Now, I realise Terence was also an over-privileged, middle-class, slightly effeminate individual, but he DID possess that elusive quality that makes one stop what they’re doing and listen. The polysyllabic profundities the diction, the delivery, the timing and modulation, the poetry… the ART!

    For me,the most important and poignant message he delivered was “culture is not your friend”. And of course, thinking for oneself. And although these are by no means original ideas, it was his masterful and erudite delivery that really drove the point home. And they are important messages, not to be overlooked or undervalued. You only have to look at youtube to find that he’s touching the hearts and minds of many people who wouldn’t have been exposed to such ideas otherwise. For me this is his legacy, and I have so much admiration for him because of this.

    However, after listening to the piece about Terence, my feelings towards him have changed quite a lot. He’s now been shown to have been disingenuous. This in itself is enough to change my views of him in a poignant way. Remember, this is the guy who placed great value in discriminating the shit from shinola. Thankfully though he used his powers for good and not evil; he could have been a brilliant dictator.

    Culture is not your friend. It seems that the culture he found himself in wasn’t his friend either. It’s an irony and it’s a shame, but it’s also part of being a member of the human race.

    And so it seems that the only true path to enlightenment is to be alone….

  16. Glad to see this all back, folks! In this final month of the auspicious (for some) year of 2012 we can continue to celebrate the life and works of Terence. Now with Dennis McKenna’s book “Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss” being available we have even more to help us in our continuing ‘Deep Dives’. If anyone would like to organize a fun sharing of ideas, performative art, music and raps in the Bay Area of Northern California this December I am game for coming out and doing one more show. Next year, on the dot, I am moving on and will be launching (with help from a few friends) the spanking new “Dr Bruce” podcast. For news and info about that Like the DrBruce page in Facebook or see our new site (not ready yet) http://www.drbruce.org Carrying on from conversations with Terence and you all I will take some of his ideas way beyond 2012, grounding them in a bit more science and tech than Terence was privvy to and spooling in strong threads from my own cosmic weave. Feel free to comment and get in touch!

  17. Many seem upset with Terence… betrayed even.

    I’m reminded of that old Gregory Peck film _Twelve O’clock High_.

    I think of Peck standing outside the gate of the Bomber Wing he was taking over in England during WWII, chain-smoking cigarettes and steeling himself for one big ordeal looming before him like a tidal wave “…a mile high and a hundred miles wide…”. That looming concrescence Peck had to steel himself for was a personal investigation into just how much a man could take in arduous combat operations before he popped and was no longer effective in that capacity.

    Peck put himself in every cockpit, flew every mission, dropped every bomb: talked the talk but walked the walk, eh?

    Finally, he did “pop.” He could no longer go into the sky… he could no longer “consume the shroom…”

    On the psychedelic pathway, Terence put himself into every entheogenic cockpit, flew every entheogenic mission, and dropped every entheogenic bomb, if you will. He more than exceeded the courage of many of us, was a trailblazer to significant new Academic realms _and_ old, and was of service to an intellectual humanity, a service performed all too infrequently for my money.

    We don’t hate Peck for finding a limit arduously sought. We shouldn’t be disappointed with McKenna, either… where a similar service was tendered. He took his investigation, where we were beneficiary, to the wall. He shouldn’t be castigated for crashing into it.

  18. Terence had spoken about feeling like a charlatan, and having a hard time with mushrooms, in the same breath, as in the excerpt below (from “The Invisible Landscape: Peer Review” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfpKSdBMzrY) @ 3:37:30):

    “What bothers me about all these new drugs [MDMA and Ketamine] is that they are escapes from the obligation to do strong drugs [DMT and psilocybin]. I think that the great popularity of cocaine is because nobody ever disgraced themselves on it. Nobody ever started babbling about how much they regretted what a jackass they were. And that’s what the psychedelics do. They make you get down and grovel in the dirt. God, I had this trip in Hawaii that was just horrible. Where it was saying, “You think your such hot stuff. You won’t even get off your ass and go shit in the field. I want to see you grovel, man. You sit up in front of all these people and pontificate on how it’s all put together. Face me, now, in the darkness, and tell me how it’s all put together.” I just hate it. It puts me through the ringer. But nothing else is really useful.”

  19. Author : Marz Marshall

    Since this can’t be posted in its respective place, as podcast 316 was taken down, I must say that I was completely taken back by Bruce Damer’s take on Terence McKenna. To say that ‘you guys’ think Terence is in some sort of Bardo is not a reality for Terence’s soul, but actually a statement about your own psychological issues. The “Spell” is not broken, because no spell was ever placed, unless Bruce and others did not understand McKenna’s ideas for what they are – poetic revelries into the imagination. And TM always said that one should not believe ideologies.

    That podcast was disgusting, and it totally betrays the essence of Terence McKenna, shamanism, & psychedelic understanding. How dare you speak about Terence and present it in a way where you have now revealed “the truth” of the situation. What truth? Your view? You are allegedly his comrades or friends or admirers, and you don’t even understand the basic tenet of his philosophy for living: in some very real sense, that reality is what we imagine it to be. And you have imagined Terence to be somewhat fraudulent, confused, or over-the-top. My goodness how your imagination seems more like a reality matrix than a sweet mesmerizing ode to greater beauty and love.

  20. Hi Lorenzo!

    Too bad you had to take this one down, as I see it as one of the most important podcasts ever to come out of the salon. But I totally get Dennis’s view on this (with “the brotherhood” just about to be released and all). I still think it is important to get the message out there that the “heroic dose” (5-7 dried grams… sheeez) is a lot, and even the most experienced and prepared of us cannot sustain repeated usage of this amount for a long period of time. It is not the number of times you ingest the mushroom that counts, but how you utilize the knowledge obtained by it!

    Keep up the good work!

  21. Thanks Lorenzo, and thank you @aergbi00181 (Youtube user) who informed me of this change. My mistake, I did’nt see the ‘not’ in, “I’m not Lorenzo”.

    P.S. Kevin Esbensen who provided the audio for podcasts 308-309 has kindly sent me the DVD’s of this talk which I will hopefully have converted and uploaded to TMT over the weekend.

  22. Hello Lorenzo,

    Firstly thank you for all the work you do in providing such a beautiful podcast and making this material available. This channel (TMT) would not be possible without your efforts over the years.

    It’s a shame to lose this podcast as I felt it was important news to share with the community, handled and delivered so well by yourself and Bruce as to make this (which I think it is) valuable and educational news that could go a long way in saving unnecessary casualties by a younger generation coming up who hear the sound bites and don’t see the possible risks.

    I’m happy to respect Dennis’s wishes and the video has been removed. This one really got people talking and more importantly thinking, thank you again and I hope this information can be preserved In some way.

    I’m overjoyed that you are airing those early Dolphin Tapes as I thought I would never get a chance to hear, “Alien Love”.

    I will either move the comments to my channel page so as the dialogue can continue or leave them in their original place with the audio removed, If you have a preference please let me know. I would like to see this not become a reason for people to turn on or attack Dennis, with that in mind maybe the Channel page would be the best place for the conversation to continue.

    Thank you for getting in touch,
    Kind regards
    ~theblimp (TerenceMcKennaTube)

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Hopefully we will get this podcast back online. Bruce is looking into editing out any parts that may be at issue. And if it still holds together we will get it back online with a small edit or two. But if that doesn’t work we will be combining some of that podcast into a new one that also includes more of the Esalen workshop material from that same day. And at that time I will also re-post all of the comments that have been posted earlier. . . . Thank you everyone for hanging in there while we sort this out.]

  23. Hey Lorenzo, I understand it very well! No rush for that but I would love to listen to the podcast again if it is ready to all well be posted. Keep us updated then! I hope it’ll be posted back the soonest. Thanks!

  24. ahh the tedious nature of fact finding & reporting hehehe… nice one schwan the cyber shaman! always entertained – lil b

  25. I was looking forward to reading the discussion and adding my two cents. Is that now a no~no seeing as its all been removed presumably due to the controversial nature of the content ?

  26. What’s this about?

    Is it some kind of copyright issue?

    I hope it’s just something technical.

  27. woah Lorenzo it’s gonzo? did all the comments have to go gonzo too? disappointing!!! I was listening to the podcast and posted this during it and so I got cut off and now it’s gone!

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I am sorry for the disruption, however, I had no say in this matter. Everything, including comments, has been preserved and hopefully will be back on line one day. But it’s not up to me . . . sorry.]

  28. Dennis said, “the story itself is far out enough. you don’t really need to distort the story with elf machines from dimension X, the story is far out enough.”

    To me that shows Dennis totally missing what Terence was talking about. If I have any nose for truth whatsoever it’s clear that Terence is describing as best he can his phenomenological experience. these were elf machines in dimension x.

    And for what it’s worth I think his Singularity idea encapsulates a strange and important truth as well.

    I think I’m missing important parts of this drama as it’s playing out but I wanted to comment on those things. And also that to me it’s ominous and frightening to me to hear that the mushrooms “turned on” Terence. I find it disheartening. And I’m sure it’s okay.

  29. terence has some interesting words in podcast 306 from prague with ram dass. check out minute 39:00…”i think im at a lower level, because i’m very aware that i have to struggle to say my life is my message. i would almost rather say, my message is my message, please don’t look at my life because i’m a fallible human being.”

  30. Thank you for making and broadcasting this! I pray for Terence Mckenna’s release. Peace and Love to all!

  31. One of my favorite podcasts in a while. I got a lump in my throat at times listening to some of the more revealing sections of the talk by Bruce; it was like I could feel Terence’s pain. Excellent work, looking forward to hearing all those McKenna tapes!

  32. Thank you so much for this podcast. This subject was dealt with sensitively by both Lorenzo and Bruce and I think that this was appreceiated and necessary considering how fondly so many remember Terrences Lectures. What a marvelous capability he had with the english language. Thanks for the Jewels Terrence.

  33. And Lorenzo I still love you! : )

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I never doubted your love :-). . . . and it is reciprical.]

  34. Ok – admittedly “some” of what I wrote above may sound paranoid but I really was stunned and angered by the way all of a sudden we are cheapening and robbing Terrence of the incredible contribution he made to revitalizing the psychedelic movement. I guarantee that if not for him – there would be 1000s of less folk interested in this topic. And far fewer podcasts (and less successful ones) without his magical words. To repeat – hey we all shrugged off some of what he said but he made us think in ways that were BEYOND just out of the box. I am still not sure what the motives are behind this – something smells wrong about it – – but he is still my number one psycheelic inspiration.

  35. The broad overview, with reference to my own lsd usage as a teenager, was that the psychedelics are a big deal, and maybe there is information from god knows where whilst under the influence. More importantly lsd for me, would raise issues in the mind, now i consider this as “things you have to deal with to grow”. After a certain time period with these things the bliss falls away, leaving only the usually undealt with issues. In short you are shown what you need to be shown, for a limtied time frame only, or as the chinese used to say “When all the rabbits are caught, the hunting dogs are cooked”

  36. Regardless of whether, or how often, Terence McKenna smoked DMT in the 1990s, it’s clear that he had done this often in earlier years, had thereby discovered a new dimension of reality beyond anything conceivable within the conceptual confines of mainstream modern physics, and had the balls to go public with this amazing discovery. In his book “Food of the Gods” he writes:

    “Many diminutive beings are present there [in the DMT space] — the tykes, the self-transforming machine elves of hyperspace. Are they the children destined to be father to the man? One has the impression of entering into an ecology of souls that lies beyond the portals of what we naively call death. I do not know. Are they the synesthetic embodiment of ourselves as the Other, or of the Other as ourselves? Are they the elves lost to us since the fading of the magic light of childhood? Here is a tremendum barely to be told, an epiphany beyond our wildest dreams. Here is the realm of that which is stranger than we can suppose. Here is the mystery, alive, unscathed, still as new for us as when our ancestors lived it fifteen thousand summers ago. The tryptamine entities offer the gift of new language, they sing in pearly voices that rain down as colored petals and flow through the air like hot metal to become toys and such gifts as gods would give their children. The sense of emotional connection is terrifying and intense. The Mysteries revealed are real and if ever fully told will leave no stone upon another in the small world we have gone so ill in. … DMT is not one of our irrational illusions. What we experience in the presence of DMT is real news. It is a nearby dimension — frightening, transformative, and beyond our powers to imagine, and yet to be explored in the usual way. We must send fearless experts, whatever that may come to mean, to explore and to report on what they find.”

    No-one else wrote this way. Terence was unique.

    And when enough “fearless experts” have reported on what they find (a start has been made at http://www.serendipity.li/dmt/340_dmt_trip_reports.htm ) then a truly scientific view of the world will have to acknowledge that reality is far stranger than mainstream modern scientists currently suppose, that, as /:setAI said above:

    “Physical Reality is a COMPUTATION — in fact a 2-dimensional DIGITAL entropic computation at some cosmic event horizon that holographically projects an ILLUSORY 4D Minkowski space-time for observers — and the SIMULATION HYPOTHESIS suggests that any physical reality is almost certainly an artificial simulation …”

    Which, as I understand it, means that, rather than our experience of meaning purpose and value in the world being a delusion, the worldview of the physicists is itself a delusion, a confusion of reality with their model of reality, having not yet discovered that our experience of the world of objects in space-time (as far as the distant galaxies) is an artificial construction which we assume to be real, and in the case of the physicists, mistakenly assume it to be the *only* reality.

  37. I can’t tell if /:setAI is joking or not, but if he/she isn’t:

    Wooooooooaaaaah mellow out friend. Simply because you use a lot of capital letters and reference a lot information most of us couldn’t possibly have known doesn’t mean we’ll automatically agree with you. If you wish to make a good argument for whatever it is you’re arguing about, I’d suggest not using such convoluted language and instead try to make your argument understandable to the majority.

    I wish I could make a response to whatever it is you’re trying to communicate, but I don’t know what the history of this whole debate is. That’s to say, I don’t know what Bruce originally said, and I certainly wouldn’t venture to say that I entirely understand to what your response to whatever he said is.

    Anyway, I’m not exactly sure why, but I feel sorry for this person (if he or she is being serious, especially with your comment #66). He/she seem pretty angry, but maybe I’m just misreading his/her comments. Also, I’m getting a pretty Reductionist vibe from both comments, and it’s just not resonating with me.


    Thanks for your response and advice friend. Reading my comment was quite a noble task, considering it’s length and it’s *shudder* spelling/grammar errors, which I only noticed post-posting. 😛 But yes, I’d like to begin a regular meditation/yoga practice, but I either always seem to have difficulty developing a routine, or feel like a teacher is required (in the case of Yoga). But I already am pretty nutrition conscious, being a vegetarian who prefers to eat organic, though I still have some work to do. Again, thanks for your response.

    Peace, Love, and Light

  38. LOVE is the answer? HAHAHA! you mean the chemical sting that resonates the dance of pheromones to the frequencies of Entropy? the Demiurge of MISAPPREHENSION of the Cosmic IAMTHATIAM? the shit-stained face from the womb of replicated biology that links the survival program? seeing the Other that is really YOU? the first Fission and the longing for reunion as a back-reaction in the Tao of the Mirror?

  39. http://www.archive.org/details/PsychedeliaBruceDamerOnUploadingConsciousness2010

    my critique of the critique:

    -on the Trialogue with Sheldrake/Abraham/McKenna-

    McKenna offered his vision of an emergent AI Singularity- but Abraham did NOT merely dismiss it as a paranoid fantasy [although I wonder if he would now say that if he knew about the work and motives of people like Hugo De Garis?]- instead he qualified that this fantasy has been updated to a more realistic vision of a synthetic path to cybernetic symbiosis and Intelligence Amplification – IA instead of AI-

    Sheldrake also did not merely dismiss- but offered that Mckenna’s vision was too mechanistic to truly capture the richness of Nature- and that the Morphic fields required quantum computers- Terence AGREED reiterating that his mechanistic/digital version was the primitive view of what must surely be forms of computation beyond our current methods including quantum computers

    -Damer states that the molecular/quantum complexity of the brain or even of a cell is too daunting for digital computers- this is incorrect- the optimal limits of known methods of digital and quantum computation FAR outreach the amount of quantum events/observable states in any protein based electrochemical biological substrate- even the human brain- graphene/ nanodiamond/ optical methods of computation can utilize close to 1 bit per atom and 1 op per quantum interaction- at the very limit of physical system density- 1 kg of such a substrate would store 10^25 bits at 10^45-50 ops- very near the LIMIT calculated by Seth lloyd of 10^31 bits at 10^51 ops per kg-

    -Damer assumes that molecular/quantum detail and behavior is necessary to emulate a brain – this is also incorrect-

    in terms of detail since there is total MOLECULAR TURNOVER in the brain- every molecule is replaced within 2 months- the lowest level structures that endure the lifetime of the mind and so can even be considered the foundation are the neurons and their dendrites and synaptic connections- the level of bits/ops here is further constrained to something like 10^15 bits at 10^16 ops [Merkle]-

    the actual active mind is not this neural network- but the set of states in around 400 brain regions [only a few dozen at most at a time] that the neural network facilitates- the mind is not the brain it is a program of psychological/qualia/linguistic states running on the brain’s hardware-

    complexity is further constrained by several orders of magnitude because the bits/ops of neural action potentials are not independent- but clusters of thousands to millions of action potentials that add up to a single sustained state- our conscious mind is just the surface interactions of these EM field states shaped by action potential clusters in specific regions causing a few basic region states

    -in terms of behavior the vast complexity of systems OVER TIME is much SIMPLER than any given state because that complexity arises from the action of SIMPLE rules on the state – producing much more complexity than the state- this is basic Algorithmic Complexity Theory- Damer seem unaware of this fact

    -Damer assumes that uploading is an unnatural abstraction of process that fails to preserve the richness of the conscious organism- however Digital Physics/Information Theory/ and Thermodynamics all EXPLICITLY show that Physical Reality is a COMPUTATION- in fact a 2 dimensional DIGITAL entropic computation at some cosmic event horizon that holographically projects an ILLUSORY 4D Minkowski space-time for observers- and the SIMULATION HYPOTHESIS suggests that any physical reality is almost certainly an artificial simulation- therefore ANY uploading process that transforms a physical system in 4d space-time into an abstract information structure actually RESTORES ontological authenticity to that being!

    -finally – arguments against the acceleration and the total existential encroachment of information technology fall flat- leaders in Technology like McKenna’s friend Mark Pesce argue that the Singularity ALREADY OCCURRED in 1996 as the Internet was selected by the masses and began its global inflation- the positive feedback cycle with mobile devices will continue until BCI/AR/VR allows total merger of brain and device into the Cloud/Network- then the incremental era of design ENDS and we no longer progress a step at a time- albeit ever faster in compressed virtual design space- instead we start to see the paradigm shift Stephen Wolfram predicts: we begin to mine configuration spaces and design spaces of ALL POSSIBLE technologies to find the OPTIMAL ones and immediately implement them- skipping ahead to the ultimate Platonic Forms of all technologies- this shift will happen no later than the 2030s- therefore all optimal technologies will be ACHIEVED in the 2030s or within a few years thereafter-

  40. this attack on McKenna’s “funny” ideas about AI/VR/and the Singularity from later in his life is a backlash against Pancomputationalism by the get-back-to-nature-love-hippie­s like Damer who don’t want to face our Future- our true destiny as patterns in Digital Light- I wrote a critique on Damer’s critique of McKenna’s ideas from the Trialogue about AI- thoroughly deconstructing it: http://www.kurzweilai.net/forums/topic/a-critique-of-a-critique-psychedelia-bruce-damer-on-uploading-consciousness

  41. “I’m not an abuser. It takes me a long time to assimilate each experience. And I never have lost my respect for it. I mean I really feel dread. It is one of the emotions I always feel as I approach it, because I have no faith that my sails won’t be ripped this time.”

    – Terence Mckenna

    (The Paul Herbert Collection, Tape 001)

  42. @Audun,
    thank you for your kind comment, and the opportunity to expand just a bit on that second quote, ‘to tenaciously follow one’s own path with heart may at times seem a merciless mission to one’s loved ones -and it very well may be so.’

    my offhand reference to Joanna Harcourt-Smith’s kids may have conveniently served to somewhat illustrate my comment, it was still a sucky way for me to do it. i do not know their truth, only what i gleamed from the internet, and besides talking about other people sucks in the first place. mea culpa.

    what led me to scan the net about her was this great earlier post of Lorenzo’s:
    …Lorenzo plucked a really pertinent quote from her out of that podcast that moved me and rang strong and true:
    “In my childhood, and in those [wealthy] circles, I never encountered compassion. If I ever encountered compassion it was from someone who was serving these people. And I wondered why that is. And this man said to me, ‘Well, you see, the very, very rich have to kill compassion in their children. Every child is born innately compassionate, but they have to kill compassion in their children so that they don’t give it [great wealth] away.’ I mean, how could we own most of what is if we had compassion?” -this especially moved me after having seen a particular documentary on the Rockefellers:
    The Rockefellers (Full)
    i don’t want to dump on her (or anyone for that matter), and given her ripping off a central notion like that, well, she deserves better from me. one can always google her up and come to their own conclusions. (ya, discernment vs. judgement arises again here -grains of salt for everyone all around please barkeep!)

    what might better illustrate the repercussions of one’s ‘tenaciously following one’s path with heart’ may be occupations (or preoccupations) that don’t lend themselves well to marriage or siring children. (i just saw this film tonight and Denzel Washington, as a CIA operative, reiterated that point…) artists too notoriously make for qualifiedly conditional marital material, very broadly speaking (& being an artist myself, i’m not objective on this).

    all i really to wish to add to my comment is that nothing but nothing trumps mercy, or justifies harmful repercussions to our loved ones, in my view. i want to be clear on that.

    if one *must* follow one’s own path regardless, i’d say do so on one’s own from the getgo, singularly, and accept the consequences of the responsibility. -particularly the foreseeable ill effects of such emotional and social reclusion. whether spyguy or artist, it’s one hell of a hard road to go down. one pays dearly, and it better be for something they truly believe as larger than themselves cause they not come out as whole and integrated humans at the other end… they better believe they really have no choice -and that may be hard for creative types to ever really believe…

    -not to say it cannot work -amadeo modigliani and jeane hetrebourne (sp?) come to mind -but gad, their life was hard.
    …y’know, when we think of enlightenment, communion, & revelation, a truly good marriage seems to me impossible to beat. but i digress. i think.

  43. re: Sky, post 44 “sounds more like a tabloid level character assassination than a balanced biography”…I agree…as I have replayed and cogitated on this I keep wondering if this is the tormented little brother needing to take his big brother down a notch (maybe not deliberately but in that weird way that family issues play out throughout ones life). Terence always asked us to trust our own felt experience over any here say and conjecture of another. I am so happy Lorenzo is here for this trip…you are wonderful friend and ally as we sort out our feelings…the message from my 6’2” Leprechaun are as loud and clear as when he delivered them while corporeal. Love All Ways 🙂

  44. Auden said: “Thus mind unknowingly tries to shape, move and interact with it self through matter, until it can make some sense of the confusing circumstance it finds itself in, then some more, then some more … I cannot help but wonder if this means that there were never any omniscient being in the first place, let alone omnipotent who could have spared us the toil and sorrow of failing at recognizing ourselves as one being throughout our sordid history. Rather, this one being that we constitute would be unable to know about itself before each one of us do.”

    That’s a very interesting idea. If one thinks of a ‘first cause’ for the universe, that from which everything is produced, ‘God’ or whatever, one tends to think of it as an all-knowing divine mind. But could it be that this divine mind had a beginning, maybe at the ‘Big Bang’, knowing nothing beyond its own existence, knowing nothing about itself (but yet with a desire to know and to create what is good, true and beautiful). It could then only come to know itself by creating or emanating a universe of sentient and intelligent beings (and their creations), and thus come to know itself through them. This would explain not only why good things such as music exist but also why the world is imperfect: the divine mind had to experiment with multiple possibilities and some of them turned out to be very bad (thus not to be repeated). This is consistent with Auden’s (following P.K.Dick’s? idea of) “how God becomes all of us, and God and all of us necessarily forget who we are collectively for a long while.”

    Auden said, “According to your review of Tarnas’s book [mentioned in comment #28], and I find this to be consequent with my experience of western society, the prevailing modern scientific world view deems the human experience of meaningfulness as follows: ‘that the human mind is the sole source of meaning, value and purpose, that these have no place in the physical world, and that any perception of these as present in the physical world must therefore be merely a projection, a kind of delusion.’ Of course it is a dead end to try to reduce the validity of the experience of meaningfulness by simply calling it a delusion. Even if it is an illusion, as all things tend to turn out to be anyway, it still doesn’t diminish in value in our direct experience.”

    Right. As Terence always said, the *important* thing is *the experience*, and our experience (both ordinary and psychedelic) refutes materialist/physicalist scientism. The worldview of mainstream modern scientists does imply that ‘that the human mind is the sole source of meaning, value and purpose, [and] that these have no place in the physical world’, but these scientists don’t call this ‘a kind of delusion’ because that would reveal the absurdity of their position, piss everyone off, and undermine their claim to have the final world on what is really real. It requires the intelligence of a Richard Tarnas or a Rupert Sheldrake — see http://www.serendipity.li/dmt/physicalism_2.htm#sheldrake — to bring out the social and ethical consequences of their cosmology.

    Terence also criticized the modern scientific worldview, and perhaps Timewave Zero was (unconsciously) a parody of a modern scientific theory, mocking the pretensions of modern scientists to tell us how the world really is (though Terence never said it was a parody and he was always sincere in claiming that TWZ was a true — but unproven — theory). But Terence did not criticize modern science in the reasoned manner of a philosopher, as Tarnas and Sheldrake do. He was not a philosopher or a scientist in the academic sense, rather he was a word magician and a prophet (in the sense of my comment #31 above) and whether or not he always got his facts straight his value to us lies in that — what he was, what he said and the way he said it.

  45. @ Mike

    “I was angered by the constant condescending “but we we love you Terrence” which is what one might say to an uncle with altzheimers. ”

    except for the misspelling, this is perfect

  46. Dear Mike DiCerto (and others with similar views)

    Seriously? I agree with a little bit of what you said (for instance- that terence hated the guru thing and never claimed to take 5g every weekend etc..)..

    but honestly the idea that this is some political move by a jealous brother ( you obviously don’t understand dennis), or mainstream science sounds like some insanely paranoid and illusory fantasy interpretation of whats going on here.

  47. Thanks to Lorenzo for this and his other great work! Also thanks to Bruce and Dennis for speaking their truths.

    That said, I rather strongly agree with Mike criticism’s in post 56, except that I can’t guess the motives of folks I don’t know at all. So I assume the best of intentions from all involved…

    Nonetheless, the description of Terence from Dennis and Bruce really don’t resonate at all with my experience of his talks. The whole paradigm of their discussion is based on a description of Terence that I don’t recognize. Obviously, they actually knew him and were part of his life, whereas I’m just a listener but still…

    I never got the impression that Terence was “tripping every weekend”. He clearly stated that he approached psychedelics with great caution, suggesting others do the same, and took them a just “few times a year” or something along those lines. I should also note that I probably would have thought *less* of Terence if he was tripping every weekend. For me, psychedelics are a “finger pointing at the moon”, not the moon itself and Terence’s talks went to so far beyond psychedelics per se. So I don’t care one bit what he was consuming or not.

    I also don’t get the critique of Terence as a “guru” type. He seemed so the opposite to me and clearly stated on so many occasions that he was flawed, might be wrong in his views, and that he shouldn’t be “followed” in the guru sense.

    Finally, I should say that I’m not surprised that Terence struggled, stumbled, and failed at various points in his life. We all do, and he never suggested otherwise! Any fan who thought Terence was perfect might want to consider why they project that on to him. I suspect it was all the harder for Terence to keep his bearings as a public figure with the energy of “fans” coming at him intensely and his paycheck connected to a certain persona. It sounds like he struggled with that, as many in similar roles do.

    I’m sure Terence’s failings were hardest on those closest to him, so I understand that Dennis’ take may be different from the mere “fan”. But those issues are between Dennis and Terence and I’m sure there are many layers of context no outsider will understand. And Terence of course isn’t with us to engage in a dialogue. This leads to me to wonder why Dennis/Bruce are wanting to air their relationship issues with Terence in this public format? I’m all for transparency and letting information be free but I’m not so comfortable with people trying to making their own Terence trip be the universal Terence trip, which is kind of the vibe I got from this podcast. Who is any one of us to be claiming to “release” and heal Terence’s soul?

    Anyway, I suspect Terence might have a good chuckle over all this, which is the spirit in which I approach this discussion. It’s definitely interesting to learn more about Terence from those who were close to him but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that their perspectives are just *their perspectives” and are colored by the same subjectivity that we all bring to the table.


  48. I was borderline outraged at the “Deep Dive” which in some ways felt “Piled High and Deep.” It smelled like a politically motivated move to de-throne Terrence as the top psychedelic inspiration. I will hit just some points for now: a. NEVER did TM give the impression that he did 5 dried grams every weekend. In fact he went out of his way to state- many times – that he did them infrequently. b. I was never a fan of his Time Wave and yes- he was a bard and a wonderful story teller but you made it sound as if everything he postulated was basically the rantings of a creative man. As if there was a not so veiled attempt to stop “us” from experimenting and to just leave it in the hands of the experts. I was always able to relate to TM when he discussed the amazing behind closed eyelid visions because I have seen many as well. SO MANY people seem so reluctant to do shrooms or even cannabis in silent darkness, preferring to do it in nature or at concerts, etc. You do not need 5 grams – I have had amazing results with half that but I have seen “things that could not possibly have been generated by my own imagination”. I was angered by the constant condescending “but we we love you Terrence” which is what one might say to an uncle with altzheimers. The possible mind-cosmos connection is what must be studied further. You made it sound like that was all rubbish. What about Rick Strassman’s studies? c. MANY of his lectures were recorded post 1989 and never did he even hint that he had not taken another shroom journey or that he been “scared straight”. I have to say this all almost smells like a new JUST SAY NO campaign. A way to stop the kiddies from trying to emulate Uncle Terrence. I also smelled politics with a comment that “we no longer need the white male” on stage to tale to us as a guru. WELL TM always said that himself but the fact that he happen to be a white male does not negate the value of some of the things he said. Ironically – look at the line up at the next Horizons Conf. I think I see mostly white males. I am not sure what is behind this. A jealous brother? Mainstream psychedelic science wanting to silence him? A political move by the psychedelic community? But this seems to me a disgrace. I never looked at TM as a guru. I thought much of his scientific theory’s were out there but they had real germs of possibilities and some have some true. What else do we ever expect? Science is always proven wrong by the next wave of thinkers. I smell an effort to rewrite history. Much the way the Gov’t does when they want to either nullify or villify someone or something that pisses them off.

  49. Such beauty, love, kindness, and care are expressed in this podcast. Bruce, your Ode to Terence produced such a poignant mix of emotions as I lay listening, hands over my open heart – beating stronger than ever for the Bard McKenna. I was struck by the words of Dennis and cannot even begin to fathom the courage and effort it must have taken for him to grapple with the life and death of his brother. Those who feel that Dennis is jealous of Terence have totally lost the plot. Talking openly and honestly about the ones we love, especially when it comes to their failings or troubles, is one of the most difficult things a person can do and I commend Dennis, Kat, Bruce, Lorenzo, and all others involved in this project for their incredibly selfless work. I did indeed feel Terence being released as my own vibratory string of love joined with thousands of others from around the world; vibrating pure appreciation, respect, and gratitude. As many have already mentioned, I love Terence even more after hearing this.

    So far as my personal journey with the medicines, it is indeed a relief to know that even Terence had his hard times and trembled before the ineffable. When I begin this journey I would often look on myself with shame, thinking that my fear and infrequent use were the sign of a lack of courage, conviction, or authenticity. I too have felt like a fraud at times, advocating the positive potential of intentional psychedelic usage yet not taking nearly as many trips as others, some of whom seem to trip every weekend. As I have matured I have realized that this was my ego talking in a desperate attempt to stem the tide of personal transformation toward love. May the Tribe continue to spread a message of intentionality, diversity, support, and integration. Each path is unique, each one of us beautiful.

    Thank you so much. I love you all.

  50. @Zuma

    Your comment really spoke to me, specifically through these two sentences:

    ‘perhaps the enlightenment of love is likewise hard to avail to oneself for all that self-love is traditionally understood as egoism and self-preoccupation rather than self-mercy.’

    ‘to tenaciously follow one’s own path with heart may at times seem a merciless mission to one’s loved ones -and it very well may be so.’

    I believe the right expression is: it struck home.


    I simply disagree with you. I do not pick up any personal attack on Terence from Dennis. I find the text to be loving, not extremely harsh. I still find a lot of room for the Terence McKenna that you and I agree about, the one who was humble enough to often say, ‘Don’t take my word for it’, or imply in many different ways that he by no means claimed to preach truth, but rather theories, and that any belief excludes believing its opposite. I don’t see neither Bruce nor Dennis contradict that Terence was like that, rather they talk about his personal experience, huge chunks of which they were there to witness.

    Do you agree with everything Brevi says in comment #47, who claims to agree with your comment #9? In that case I think Lorenzo cuts to the chase as far as clarifying what Dennis’s intention with writing the book has been, namely love.

    @Peter Meyer

    Your comments, especially #28, were of vast interest to me, as you might have intended them to be if you read my comment #20. I usually cringe when I look back at what i write in various commentator fields, and that comment was no exception. Nevertheless, I do mean what I try to say… 🙂 I think there is a reassurance to be had about the universal realness or cosmic validity of meaningfulness, but I was rash to assume that I would find it in a statement of logic. Rash because I do not know and should not pretend to know such a thing. All I can do is search for meaningful complexity, internalize it as grammar, scrutinize it as logic and finally formulate it as rhetoric, and then do it all over again, hoping for the process and the meaningfulness in it to explain themselves through the act of erecting such an edifice of knowledge, understanding and meaning. (Yes, through this and other podcasts I have just recently learned about the very helpful Trivium, and can’t quite stop talking about it yet.) 🙂

    In your trip report you mention in the beginning that: ‘2012 will be the year in which all humanity is united in the realization that we are all one being…’

    I agree, I feel this is the time when enough people will wake up in one way or another just sufficiently so to tip the weight of the content of our collective awareness in such a direction as to cause humanity to achieve unity and global peace.

    I had a sensation recently of mind (mysterious in its ontology) trying to figure it self out by clutching and grasping at matter (whatever that is). I could feel it in my body, in everything I touched or moved, and in the desperation of my unawareness, as a kind of tireless attempt of something insubstantial flowing through substance to… to cause some meaning… Like water falling through sand, looking to form a castle maybe.

    Thus mind unknowingly tries to shape, move and interact with it self through matter, until it can make some sense of the confusing circumstance it finds itself in, then some more, then some more…

    I cannot help but wonder if this means that there were never any omniscient being in the first place, let alone omnipotent who could have spared us the toil and sorrow of failing at recognizing ourselves as one being throughout our sordid history. Rather, this one being that we constitute would be unable to know about itself before each one of us do.

    Or maybe, while that is seemingly the case, there actually was/is/will be an out-of-time omnipresence of mind or spirit, some sort of cosmic alchemist/mathematician, who planned it all out before he/she/it/(we?) voluntarily and as a consequence of the plan went through the process of becoming matter, forgetting everything on purpose, yang convincing itself it is yin to the degree of becoming it.

    I have read embarrassingly little to treat these things so openly, so I apologize for any subject that I could have referred to in literature that would have made my speculations seem clearer. I can however present a link to a text on how yang becomes yin, and how God becomes all of us, and God and all of us necessarily forget who we are collectively for a long while. I think this is from Phillip K. Dick’s Valis: http://deoxy.org/plurifrm.htm

    To get back to the subject of meaningfulness and tie the above speculations about mind/self/spirit into it: If indeed there was a divine plan from the beginning, then the realization of it being so will state itself to be true, as we observe all of cosmos (and not just the human race as has perhaps been mainstream western religion’s fallacy throughout history) as a divine creation of intrinsic love and meaning, in which there are no meaningless coincidences throughout an infinity of beautiful complexity. Tragedy is the evidence of meaningfulness shattered and devastated, but the nature of meaningfulness is undeniably present as indifference is not the emotion that accompanies the tragic experience. Only in indifference does mind lose to matter. (That is nothing we can worry about, because when you are indifferent worry is preposterous, and if you start to worry anyway, then you’re no longer indifferent.)

    According to your review of Tarnas’s book, and I find this to be consequent with my experience of western society, the prevailing modern scientific world view deems the human experience of meaningfulness as follows: ‘that the human mind is the sole source of meaning, value and purpose, that these have no place in the physical world, and that any perception of these as present in the physical world must therefore be merely a projection, a kind of delusion.’

    Of course it is a dead end to try to reduce the validity of the experience of meaningfulness by simply calling it a delusion. Even if it is an illusion, as all things tend to turn out to be anyway, it still doesn’t diminish in value in our direct experience. If indeed the appreciation of meaningfulness is seated in mind, 100% outside of matter (again, whatever that is), then if mind is the overarching principle of all existence, as I clumsily mean to insinuate above, the value of meaning undoubtedly wins over the supposed indifference of cold matter; maybe a rock doesn’t mind being ground to dust, but where mind contemplates the rock and appreciates its beauty and complexity in and for itself, the care inherent in awareness thus obliterates the indifference that was there before and replaces it with meaningfulness by recognizing the rock as part of the self, as part of the one whole being. Some states of consciousness are fully aware of this (like those of mushroom- and plant-entities), others are still struggling to grasp (like those of humans and perhaps animals).

    Sometimes I feel like I’m close to formulating something of importance to many people, that I felt in a very specific moment of my life. (Who doesn’t have these revelations that when one tries to explain them, they seem to wither and fade?) But first I must relate something that went before:

    I had suffered from anxiety around the age of fourteen, around 1998-99. A friend had lent me the cult book American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, and I was in pieces from just contemplating the potentiality of cruelness of the human being after reading certain paragraphs. A couple of years earlier I had been frightened into religion by a fanatic teacher who told us she had videos of people who had been possessed by demons. She said they would tear through chains with superhuman force and act out violently and destructively. I was horrified by the prospect that I might do something awful ‘in my sleep’ on night, that the devil would possess me and make me kill my family with a kitchen knife or something. Our religion teahcer said the only way not to be possessed by the devil was through complete trust and faith in that God would protect us. But if we feared, it meant we doubted God, and then there could be a chance that the devil might gain access to our soul. So I was doubly afraid… When I explained these terreors to my mother, she did not subscribe to my teacher’s sulphur preachings, and I was gradually able to dismiss such a ”religion” through the intuition of the fallacy that there is no way a God of love can be such a terrorizing lowlife. I stuck with the concept of a God of love, though, but was forced to ask myself then, a couple of years later when I read parts of American Psycho, if anything really mattered at all. I came to the gruesome conclusion that the universe doesn’t care what happens to it; like a stone doesn’t protest if it is smashed into sand. I was suddenly unable to enjoy all the wonderful music I listened to, as any kind of brush with deeper meaning would provoce this angst in me that I were a psychopath and that the world was devoid of all meaning. (My mother sent me to a psychologist who diagnosed me with existential anxiety, which made me feel nicely important for a while, and he assured me that no psychopath would fear that he or she was a psychopath, that the very fact that I worried about it made it impossible that I was one.)

    Later, when the angst attacks worn off and I could enjoy music again, I became a fan of Smashing Pumpkins. Through years of idolizing Billy Corgan reading into his poetry, I became voluntarily indoctrinated into the idea that love is the most important thing, although I couldn’t explain were importance came from or how anyone should agree upon what it was.

    Now for that specific moment of my life: Years later, lying in bed having read and vaguely grasped something by Rudolf Steiner on mysticism that touched on consciousness, contemplation and the divine, long before I knew who Terence McKenna was, or that some drugs were actually not ‘bad’, I experienced a logical reassurance that an All-being of love does in fact exist. The chain of reasoning began with the realization that I do care for the wellbeing of the self, my self and others, that goodness is undeniably important to me, and that this is a direct value that I appreciate, however mystical or illusory that may seem. I am unable not to worry or feel distress or panic at the idea of destruction and pain for me or others, at the idea of loss of meaningfulness. I realized that most people I know seem to be like that as well, either knowingly or unknowingly they are inclined toward if not what is really good, then at least toward what they think is good. It is impossible to be inclined toward what you think is destructive, because the very concept of being inclined toward something is constructive as it implies the wish to achieve or experience. There is a foundation of preference in conscious matter, perhaps the very same gravitation toward complexity that McKenna talks about. Not merely from the mind, but from the will springs the meaningful, and the will, unaware as it has been throughout its own influence on the world of matter, is what has caused everything to be exactly in the state and sitution it is in right now.

    The meaningful is everywhere to be discovered. Although it doesn’t contradict them, is not a question of proof nor logic, but of experience. Maybe this year we can lead enough people to such experience. It doesn’t have to involve a psychedelic for everybody, but it would be nice if everybody could accept that it will involve psychedelics for some of us…

    Maybe the fear of death that is pedaled as the mother of all human fears could be better understood as a fear of the loss of all meaning.

    A life lived is love and meaning woven into matter in the most intricate way. At the prospect of death where the center of that matter (the body) disintegrates, the panic we feel is really that of the specific meaningful experience of each life being lost in a meaningless, cold, indifferent universe of ever changing matter. Fearing is caring, for what is panic but the ecstatic expression of care for things not to be as they appear? Well, then if we care as opposed to feeling indifferent, then we are ourselves the proof that the universe can not be observed without a caring mind in it.

    According to Socrates in the Apology, it is not logical to fear death. He says this right after relating how the logos inside him (the divine faculty of which the internal oracle is the source) intimates to him that death is a good rather than an evil. He goes on to say that ‘either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another’.

    Or as Terence says: We know too little to worry.

    If any of what I have written above can be helpful in awakening more people to the apparent fact that we constitute the consciousness, eyes, ears, arms and legs of this one planet being, that in turn is one with other planet beings, or to the fact that meaningfulness fails miserably at being a delusion. If not, I am terribly sorry more then anything for waisting Lorenzo’s time, as he is forced to read it all before he approves it for posting! In that case I hope anyone who has read this far will excuse me as one who needs to formulate stuff ad nauseam and interact with the community in order to obtain some clarity in his own life.

  51. As to the accusations of “money from the gullible + chicks” – this is just, how should I say, in bad faith. A mangled quote from memory “I’ve eaten in the best restaurants”, the clear support for polygamy – yes, and so what. Good for him.

  52. And now for something politically incorrect…

    The Ode is not very *cough* poetically advanced. The frequent humorous references to Terence’s oeuvre are also not very funny.

    I would also venture that Terence would not have appreciated this “poor, cerebral Terence” stuff. Damer talks about him as if he was some kind of misguided child who only graduated into adulthood on his deathbed. Alas, this is a trial in absentia.

    Personally, the “shattering experience” is not very surprising – I’ve always found that the 80s talks feature a very self-assured Mckenna vs. the self-doubts of the 90s.

  53. Thanks everyone for this veritable and profound outpouring! Just now beginning to absorb it all.

  54. PS: (Psychedelics aside)

    Terence Mckenna single handedly wove the (hitherto absent) golden threads through the plain old carpet of human history that was presented to us by less intelligent minds. He understood as no other before him the collective time travelling nature of the whole human enterprise.

  55. Don’t get me wrong the stuff I just heared was fantastic, loving and respectful towards the man himself. I get that. (And sorry in advace for the bad English)

    A couple of thoughts:

    What irked me a bit was the (perhaps unintended) stating of some assumptions from Kat and Dennis that are treated more and more as factual truths as the podcast progresses. The sceptic in me can’t help but wonder how close where they to Terence during the 90s in a physical or emotional sense to know about his inner emotions and when he took what and how often he took it? And furthermore didn’t Terence have a schtick for them as well? I can’t say I know a great deal about Kat’s or Dennis’ relationship with Terence, and their chronology, to judge what is being said by them. I kind of missed some information on that in the podcast.

    During the Erik Davis interview, Terence clearly states that he ‘takes’ psychedelics on average about 5 or 6 times. Are we now led to believe the man was lying to Davis at that time? So near the end? Are we not just listening to other people’s perception of what was going on in his mind? The whole ‘schtick’ thing is often (literally) alluded to in his very own talks. So also no surprises there.

    As one progresses on a spiritual scale (I’m using lingo here) other people might look at you as emotionally withdrawn or fearful to express emotions. Human Adulthood (or some kind of realised state) often looks like that. But again, I’s just countering what I heared a bit because the podcast didn’t really gave me any good examples or descriptions of incidents on the subject other then just stating it was so. I really missed the meat on that.

    I maintain: there is nothing shocking about loosing interest in the Mushroom. He just defeated the thing. In the end there was nothing more there to explore from Terence’s point of view. The Mushroom may or may not have showed him that. Talk to some other ‘older’ users and you shall hear the same.

    Terence talked about ‘bad’ trips on many occasions. Even if his psychedelic experiments diminished after 1990 it does not take anything away from the Heroic Dose theory. After reading countless volumes, listening to 100s of hours of audio: I am pretty certain he slammed it pre-1990 and earned the right to talk about it in that context. 😉

    The thing that makes me a bit sad is that I have the feeling that he wanted other people to take the torch from him so he could move on to other things, but there was no one there..

    Thanks for this wonderful podcast.


  56. Hurray for the storyteller! Hurray for the myth makers! Hurray for the gospel! Hurray for trips! Hurray for Terence McKenna! Hurray for Coleman Barks! Hurray for the big and turtle islands! Hurray for Michael Mead! Hurray for Rumi. Hurray for Orson Wells! Hurray for the Journey!

  57. The statement that Terence ceased using psilocybin is interesting, however I think the motives for releasing it at this specific time are disingenuous.

    My views are in line with comment #9, but I feel the timing of letting this information out is insincere and profit-driven. Dennis’s book is scheduled to be released in two months, and this ‘controversy’ is a great promotional opportunity for him, leveraging almost tabloid-level marketing to increase awareness, and therefore sales, of his upcoming book.

    Thanks to this podcast, YouTube and other websites, McKenna’s audience is larger than ever. It has resulted in great discussions and opened minds for many, and connected people with similar interests. It is just important for us to realize that with this comes the opportunity for people to derive profit. I’m not referring to something like the donations being accepted for this podcast, but new original ventures such as Dennis’s book, which may not have your best interests in mind.

    Of course, with only hearing one small portion of the book I should reserve my judgment for now, but I was curious if anyone else feels the same way about how this situation transpired.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: There is absolutely no truth to thinking that in any way Dennis was using this event to further sales of his book. In fact, it took Bruce many, many emails asking (almost begging) for a few paragraphs to read at the Esalen event. Only with great reluctance did Dennis allow us to read those excerpts. And I am confident that once people have had the opportunity to read the entire book, with everything in context, that it will be quite clear that this book is a labor of love and a continuation of the long conversations that Dennis and Terence had throught life. If financial gain was his motivator, Dennis would have kept his job and not made so many sacrifices in order to shed light from a different direction on his brother. And, trust me, few people did and still do love Terence as deeply as does his little brother. . . . And for all of us to be perfectly clear about one slight misconception going around, it wasn’t ‘psilocybin’ that Terence never used again, it was magic mushrooms. Terence himself said that in the summer before he died that he did use synthitic psilocybin in a ritual context.]

  58. I remember from one of his lectures him saying (I’m paraphrasing, of course) “There are two distinc possibilities: that the entity of the mushroom is a very realistic illusion of the mind, and that this ‘other’ is noone but yourself, presented to you as an outside entity; or the possibility that it IS in fact an other entity, the conscience of a creature that you can have a conversation with. Both these possibilities are equally absurd, so the question isn’t so much ‘where are these creatures coming from?’ but really ‘are they telling the truth?'”

    I think that sums it up for me; it was always about “is he telling the truth?”

    Of COURSE I love him even more now, *specially* for knowing that he DIDN’T use so much of the “sacred medicine”. It’s normal for us to grow up and feel different about some of the thoughts we nurtured in our earliest years; in the case of Terence, where his ideas were both a lifelihood and an inspiration for his fans, one can only hope that he didn’t suffer so much while maybe feeling like a bit of a “false prophet”.

    We as listeners should always be thinking after listening, otherwise whatever this exchange is, becomes religion.

  59. I don’t want to insist on this topic too much, and I already went (sorry for the double post earlier). Also, this forum is probably not the best place for dissecting the question in great detail, I’m sure that new computer tools will make it possible to analyze the corpus and make clear what’s what for all of us.

    But I’d like to second what Brad said, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand.

    As for the Timewave, I have reconstructed the whole thing in the computer, from the King Wen Sequence to the final graph, so I know exactly what it is mathematically. (It’s in Java, and I even found a discrepency in the Sheliak numbers, actually.) I’ve read Invisible Landscape and I know that at some time in his life he sold it as a personal self-knowledge tool, like some kind of new-agey astrology. I know that because he tells the story in his talks. And he also made it clear in his talks that I should check the wave against my knowledge of history, and that if it doesn’t always work, then it doesn’t work. And I checked it, and it doesn’t always work, so it doesn’t work. That’s it. I supposed that it was clear to everyone that that’s what he suggests we should do, because he tells it really explicitly. And no, it’s not a metaphor. It’s a theory about time. Really.

    I could go on. I could say the same about “dark shamanism” as well. But the point is that in my opinion people who look at this in a kind of a debunkist manner just haven’t listened to his talks enough. Or maybe haven’t even listened to all of the talks available online.

  60. Audun: I have listened to many interviews with Dennis in the past, and was aware of his critical view of what he considered Terence’s irresponsible espousing of some of his more far out views. And yet I can’t help but feel, like apparently others here do judging on the commentary, that his criticisms are either based on some kind of deeply personal brotherly conflicts behind the scenes or some secret information I’m not privy to that may be revealed in the book. Because they certainly don’t fit the facts of anything Terence publicly spoke or wrote about. To me it’s extremely sad and strangely ironic that people who knew Terence personally could apparently get it so wrong. Exactly what lectures were they listening to? I’ve listened to every recorded Mckenna lecture I could get my hands on and have never found him to be anything less than a very disciplined, rigorous thinker full of humility and profoundly unique ideas. He always makes it clear when he’s merely speculating and often says “Don’t take my word for it.” So when Dennis essentially says Terence’s public communications were at the core just nonsense he didn’t really believe and that in later years he was only in it for the money and chicks, I find that a bit of a stretch considering he devoted nearly 20 years of his public life to this endeavor. Aside from a few complimentary things Bruce said, the entire book excerpt sounded to me like one extended personal attack. Am I just crazy or did anyone else feel it was a bit harsh? Extremely harsh in fact? I want to sincerely thank Lorenzo for his promise to post the lost Esalen talks, I thoroughly enjoyed today’s installment. And I want to give Dennis the benefit of the doubt as I look forward to the book. But with all due respect, what I’ve heard thus far sounds more like a tabloid level character assassination than a balanced biography. Just my two cents.

  61. Whatever and however Terence was, the very fact that his life has resulted in galvanizing a group of folks as eloquent, thoughtful, intellectually and emotionally flexible, and downright deep as the previous 40-some comments indicate seems to me to be all the evidence any of us need that while he may have been flawed, he was one of those special rare birds that only come around once in a while.

  62. I don’t understand this. He never claimed to do psychedelics often. Listen to Valley of Novelty (and many of his other lectures). He says he does it “never enough” and talks about the bravery required to face the answer (now that he’s found it).

    I’ve got to say, I feel like Dennis and Bruce are attacking a Scarecrow version of Terence. The stuff Dennis wrote about Terence’s audience “not having enough education” is insulting.

    Yeah the Timewave stuff is out there, and nobody is perfect. But it wasn’t just his eloquence, Terence is laying down hard truths that you can’t find elsewhere. It’s not just a con job!

    Lorenzo, I know Bruce is your friend, but I don’t understand why he’s such a prominent part of the salon. I’m glad to hear you’ve got a bunch more Terence tapes though 🙂

    But yeah, it’s not shocking that he stopped his mushroom usage in the last decade of his life (after 3 decades of taking them). He talked all the time about the difficulty of tripping!

  63. I’ve listen Terence lectures on the net since 2008 or ‘9, more or less. Later I started to listen also to Dennis.
    There is some love and some regret in this 40 commments.
    The main problem, in my opinion, is this encoragment Terence use to make on the public, at least in some of the ’90s lectures, this “increasing the dose” and “the pedal to the metal”… in this point he lost the prudence he used to show in the early interviews.
    Of course there is people that follows blindly what whoever says you must do, and out of context, in the net, without the possibility to ask or reply… I mean, there is danger.
    You, we, everyone has to take responsability for his actions and for his words, and there are lots of people that does not. They use to say “Xyz told me that was safe!”
    Take responsability, listen respectfully and say what you have to say…
    Thanks Terence for all this beautiful ideas and theories, I have enjoy them. Thanks Dennis for puting the clear facts in order, for saying what it has to be said.
    I like to think about this that Dennis said, that the experience that triptamines induce are so valid as the normal, every day experience, that dmt and psylocibin could be like keys that open other senses, but this senses sense the “reality”, or what it is, inside and outside.
    (Sorry about “my english”)

  64. Lorenzo, Just wanted to add my two cents to the discussion. On the one hand, I felt cheated that McKenna wasn’t the fearless, damn the torpedos, psychedelic pioneer that I as well as so many others had, as it turned out, burdened him with-how incredibly sad that because of his public personna, he had to hide his real nature and suppress his fears. I especially was surprized by the fact that McKenna’s tumor was in the shape of a mushroom-the mountain was brought to him, even if he couldn’t get to the mountain. In another way, learning this truth about someone I always admired and had the good fortune to meet, is very life-affirming: Yes, McKenna was human. What a shock! Will that stop me from reading and listening to him?
    Not a chance in hell.

  65. ‘personal singularity’ is an interesting phrase.
    another phrase, from elsewheres, ‘Chapel Perilous’, comes to mind repeatedly enough for me to revisit this page,
    existential crises…
    the path with heart, and courage, not only confronts that old mindkiller Fear itself but likewise invokes the basic counsel of discernment as well -discernment as opposed to judgement -discernment of one’s self. know thyself.
    (several years ago, i asked my greek orthodox priest neighbor about Judgement, as in avoiding judging people, and his reply was ‘yes, but one must be discerning’. it stuck with me.)

    if one looks at the overmind as another level of publicness, one may view those preoccupied with it as perhaps not being emotionally open but rather avoiding TMI (too much information) or wearing their feelings on their internal cosmic sleeve. maybe. i can see this sensibility easily encroaching upon and influencing their actual personal life. externalizing our interior life is a tricky and delicate thing in the first place, as is discerning between our personal and public life (to the degree there’s actually any such distinction). emotional disingenuousness is a harsh self-judgement. a hard notion to even objectively consider without a sense of indictment. perhaps the enlightenment of love is likewise hard to avail to oneself for all that self-love is traditionally understood as egoism and self-preoccupation rather than self-mercy.

    Terence is loved and not just in the abstract but directly here and rendered by the mercy of others to pass through his own chapel perilous of self-discernment, mayhap.

    enlightenment and sanity go hand in hand, and mental health -mental functionality at all -is an ongoing process of maintenance and growth, imho, and we might all always hope our reach exceeds our grasp. to go ‘beyond’ convention, or to simply refuse to be intellectually and emotionally herdchuted down sanctioned roads, leaves one necessarily enigmatic or inscrutable to some degree, virtually stateless as it were. to tenaciously follow one’s own path with heart may at times seem a merciless mission to one’s loved ones -and it very well may be so. (consider joanna harcourt-smith’s kids’ viewpoint maybe…) i’m suggesting some ‘existential crises’ may be circumstantial, unindictable for all their reality. the love of others for one is not to be taken for granted or blithely counted upon (or even taken as the endall and beall) but still always the bottom line, i assert, if one is not to live and die reclused in solitude.

    solitude and one’s interior life is one thing, but to connect to any sense of any overmind requires engagement without. (i’m tempted to utter the word ‘culture’, but then Terence’s words come to mind; ‘culture’ is not your friend…) without *some* level of corroboration or recognition of sense from others, one can go mad in isolation. isolation is the first thing dominators perpetrate upon their prey for good reason. even entire families need to not live completely insularly.

    the telepathic or communal aspects of DMT come to mind. i wonder if that’s partially what had Terence prefer it after his bad experience.

    for all that we are a tribe, ‘post-larval’ or whatever, let us not forget we are but a part of the greater wholecloth, just as that so very much goes as well on the personal level, for sure.

  66. I second what RachelJHaile said:

    “…Now I am eager to hear Kathleen Harrison’s version of that 1988 bad trip.
    Could you arrange that for us Lorenzo?”

    I am VERY interested in what Kat or others have to say about this horror-trip of Terence’s.

    Thanks and aloha from Switzerland!

  67. Thanks again to Bruce, Lorenzo, Dennis, Kat, Ken Adams and all of you for pioneering these new paths for our community to trod and ponder, whether implicitly or explicitly. It is surely time for our tribe to not uncritically launch the Terence-woven manifestations of the logos—his gifts to us—into a more energetic and indeed synergistic future; a cooperative and communicative patchwork of love and exploration. Bruce’s reference to Alicia Danforth (see podcast # 131) gestures toward a new and more communal way forward. I urge you all to listen to this more subterranean podcast, if only to note its more dialogical style. Like any other group effort (musical, entheogenic, even business-wise), a self-limiting leader of group-facilitation and relative organization is much more fruitful—more conducive to internal evolution—than a guru-like lecture. Terence aimed for this in the Q & A portions of his talks, but now that we are effectively off into the ether with his education, it is time to let the more synergistic dynamics that come from group-led mind and expression loose, in exchange for the one-to-many style of programming. Conferences, cyber-salons, friend-gatherings, etc. are of course the arenas wherein we can excel the entheogenic community into a more thriving space. I honestly prefer old school, in-person conferences to cyberspacial ones, and wish we were able to launch more of these events, but how blessed is our community to have such easy access to each other! Below I try and play my own limited part in this ever-blooming and multi-flowered discussion concerning our great poet and friend. I think Bruce and Lorenzo are attempting, with these wonderful TM events, to incite just such communication!

    With that said, I want to get more deeply into the issue currently developing with fervor in our beloved salon. I would like to preface in apology for the length, but I hope it is worth your time and Lorenzo’s space! Thank you for reading and being yourself.

    If it can be granted at all that Terence’s talks aim to deliver a consistent teaching, I would venture to say that it is, as Robert Anton Wilson always reminds, that “the map is not itself the territory,” but that beyond the map lies a territory of tremendous depth and multidimensional profundity. The teaching attempts, through its own activity, to catalyze a process wherein each listener uniquely “stands within and thinks beyond” his poetic trains of thought, as if they were entheogenic visions—mere ripples of an awesome ocean of wonder and immensity. While it isn’t terribly difficult to conceptually understand how to “think for yourself and question authorities,” actually achieving it in your own unique way is another story, especially when a particular authority’s trains speed so quickly and beautifully down the track. And like Timothy, it seems safe to say Terence believed in pedagogical provocations, which can be tricky to see through, and very prone to superficial judgments liable to run wild through various media of influence. These provocations affect a shock in the receiver’s “operating system,” urging it to open up to new and other horizons, even new dimensions of thinking and being. Sometimes the “brute facts” fail to initiate this change. Admittedly, their styles are susceptible to less than factual utterances and ideas (or perhaps transcend “fact” altogether). As Dennis says, he couldn’t let a fact get in the way of a good story, and I would add a great big YES, precisely! Because Terence knew the greatest fact of all: there are no “facts!” – at least not certain ones, graspable by fallible beings such as we are (for “not only is reality stranger than we suppose, its stranger than we can suppose!). This is of course the dialectical truth Socrates sought to invoke in his interlocutors. Dennis himself affirms this often, as well, citing it as the ultimate truth taught by our sacred teacher plants. Does this mean that we must simply remain silent—as some indeed insist—or should we speak in a way that is self-consciously self-effacing, in the name of this ground-level truth? Terence obviously performed the latter with great eloquence . . . We shouldn’t confuse this eloquence and its veracity with an egotistical proclamation of absolute knowledge, meant to trickle down to lesser minds. Terence had an ego, but really this gigantic? I aim to claim not . . .

    I wish I could do a quick count of the talks in which Terence makes this—his inherent self-critique—so very explicit for his (sometimes very vulnerable) apprehenders. I can’t actually do this tally, but take for instance the very first part of the first talk I landed upon in youtube land: “My theory of life’s exploration is to run edges, and I’ve mellowed over the years, for I used to say that ‘if a book isn’t over 100 years old you shouldn’t read it; if a person isn’t dead you shouldn’t worry about them; if they wrote in English you shouldn’t bother with them; so forth and so on.’ In the course of sorting out as many peculiar and bizarre possibilities as life can offer me, in many places, my attitude was always critical; my attitude was always a show me. I don’t believe in faith; I don’t believe in belief” (Here called “Rap Dancing into the Third Millennium). He then continues to illustrate the wisdom behind such an agnostic, or maybe even skeptical, stance by appealing to his favorite gospel story: “Thomas the doubter,” who was gifted grace through his incessant questioning and critical comportment, as to undiscerning faith. Our poet’s radical doubt of course includes his own raps, and it is up to his receivers to take all of the content of his talks as provisional. He even goes so far as to emphasize this need directly. So, like the visions, thought trains and zones that make up the entheogenic experience, the brightly colored streams of TM consciousness are not there to be perceived simply on the surface, but doors leading to greater meaning, peculiar to each individual’s unique station in the cosmos. I am trying to say that through his intentionally outlandish images and rhetorical flashes, he is asking his receivers to look beyond the poetic word-shelled surface, which has no pretention of being the truth itself manifest in whole. If his rap is a theater, then it is one ripe for insight and philosophical growth, that is, if the reader/listener is willing to harvest his or her own crop. As is especially true of Greek culture, theater or drama was the key educator of the people. Science is shy of indirect communication, perhaps even totally dismissive of it as a carrier of legitimate meaning, but the two can and should work in symbiosis (another discussion in itself).

    Again, Terence’s pedagogical technique is his more careful development of Leary’s motto, warning his audience not to be followers, but independent thinkers. As mentioned, this is easier said than done. There has been a lot of talk above about “spellbound” followers and those who aren’t, but I find this discussion far too dualistic, and to a mean and detrimentally off-putting extreme. Don’t forget that we are in this together, “followers” and “unfollowers” alike! I think that it is very common and natural for someone to fall under the spell of a profound thinker and orator. What’s more, I find this to be a kind of transitive initiation into their “reality-tunnel” that couldn’t authentically happen otherwise. In a way, the otherness of a fellow being’s perception and thought needs to be surrendered to, in love, not unlike an entheogen, in order to be understood. More still, we cannot “grok,” or “stand within and beyond” another’s rap or basic being until we give ourselves to it, her, or him. So in order for anyone to think independently with Terence, one must first be a follower of him, ascending through his poetry sort of like a halfway house, to a peak idiosyncratic to each one of us (in unknowing). We must remember with humility and compassion, however, just how hard this accent of “independent” thinking is. And when we think more deeply about it, no one truly achieves absolute independence of thought anyway (a real lesson—still being learnt—in my life has been to release myself in dependence on or dissolution with that which is other). Is it not miraculous that we are creatures able to dissolve into another mode of being while being able to return to our own with greater awareness? We seem to move on a continuum of dimensionality that is “the logos.” We become acutely aware of this continuum—the logos—when we emerge ourselves in streams of otherness. Terence’s fantastically fluid flow of thought-dreams, jokes, rhetorical flourishes, psychedelic landscapes, questions, and so on and so forth provide us with a chance for dissolution or emergence in the territory, when we slip so delightfully through the map he enacts.

    NOTWITHSTANDING, rampant idolatry is certainly detrimental. It is our responsibility not to take Terence’s raps or maps as the territories themselves. We have to take them as symbols of greater realities and meaning. We should be grateful and celebratory of his maps, but only because they inspire our own communities’ mergence with the territory pertinent to us here and now. We should also be compassionate for those, learning through their own experience, that Terence didn’t entirely believe every word or idea he uttered. I myself am hard-pressed to believe that anyone has completely exhausted and transcended the thought-paths paved by Terence, and thus no one is absolutely aloof from “the spell.”

    For a fairly long stretch, I listened only to the trialogues, which give two exemplary ways of navigating the multifarious maps of the McKenna rap. Paying careful attention to Abraham and Sheldrake, I learned how to more effectively listen to and think through Terence’s “psychedelic poetics.” I look excitedly forward to the new Esalen lectures lying latent in Lorenzo’s laboratory.

    Finally, with all of this in mind, I digest our new piece of biographical information with love and compassion for fellow feet of clay; for poetic maps written by a shaking and fallible hand. Sometimes an abyss of meaninglessness must awaken us sharply to the infinite meaning of our existence. It teaches us further that we must take the torch from our brave explorer, relieving him of the pressure of the territory awaiting us. He never claimed ownership of the philosopher’s stone, but instead imparted light upon its existence; urging us, including his own searching self, toward its ambiance. The way I chose to read the situation thus, no matter how far his maps might have been from his personal journey, he was never out to deceive or mislead his dedicated friends. Just because you present a map you feel needs to be shared, with good intention, doesn’t mean that you yourself consistently achieve its outlined territory. Terence was learning from himself and the other, including his fans and friends, us, until the day he dissolved realizing love, as Bruce poetically puts it. We need to carry forth in search of this love through the others, our community. And regarding Terence the man, harken the final words of the aforequoted talk, wherein he ends with these self-limiting words, as I cease mine: “So people often say that ‘you [referring to himself] think drugs should be legalized. Well yeah this is just a political opinion of Terence McKenna, just an ordinary guy like you, but this stuff about the tryptamines is a real discovery, and you can think what you like about me and my take on it, in fact PLEASE DO, but check it out, check it out! I’ve checked out a lot of stuff, and this is the only thing I am interested in telling you . . . it is a secret kept in itself.”

  68. This sounded very genuine, but I am wondering about the evidence that he never took mushrooms after 1988 and only took other things rarely. It sounded like we are basing this off a report from a woman that he was divorced from. Usually that is not the most reliable source. I am not saying the story isn’t true, in fact for some reason I feel like it might be true, but what all are we basing this theory on? Did he actually talk to Dennis about this or is this just second hand from a divorced wife?

    I hear a lot of stories about popular or famous people from individuals that claim to have known them. You cannot just automatically believe these people, even if you know they were actually close to the person. My wife is constantly mishearing me and misunderstanding me. She constantly thinks I said things I didn’t or thinks I mean something I don’t. Everything must be taken with a grain of salt, even from those closest to a person.

  69. I’m a long-time listener to Terence on the Salon and from other sources and this lecture by Bruce both let me a little bit shattered and sad initially, but this is actually a very good thing for me and the community.

    Terence was an amazing storyteller and entertainer; his ability to make the ultra-weird intriguing and convincing is largely unparalleled. It’s fun to hear ideas that run counter to our mundane existence and to be able to believe them because of the intelligence and literary style of the orator. Terence was one fascinating guy to listen to. He really made it al fun.

    Certain raps of his I had long ago decided were short on fact and long on pseudoscientific speculation. Time wave always seemed to be a misguided neumerological eschaton prophecy. His stoned ape theory when really spilled out deep makes a lot of great arguments and it makes a lot of sense but there isn’t any evidence or reason why things may have evolved that way. So I was already ready for what was to come.

    That Terence himself came to know these ideas as fallible positions but continued build them even higher and to ride his wave of popularity without being genuine makes the man so much more like you and me than it does ruin some hope that he had it all figured out. It means that Terence had become in some sense a prisoner of her persona and fan base. It must gave been impossible to replace ethnobotany with some historical overview of some culture with the same rise out of the audience. The promise of taking your very being to a higher level is very alluring to some. Terence’s promise was that the mundane could be replaced by an insightful adventure life at the limits of what the brain can do.

    What we have to gain post “deep dive” is two fold as I see it:

    First, no need to struggle or skeptically with Terences more “out there” ideas anymore but mine them for the nuggets they contain. There is so much wisdom in his rap than there is nonsensical statements or weak arguments that go unchallenged. I’m sure it was easy to flow the most ridiculous ideas at some talks. So no more feeling like Time Wave is taking away from great ideas like “Culture is not your friend,”

    A bug one for me in listening to this talk is my take-away of “follow my own path and be safe.”My beloved terence wil be there to tell his stories and expand my literart and art world knowledge base.

    I’m learned so much from Terence and blown off that which I saw as out of touch. Hell always be important to me regardless. Nice to know he had bills to pay and real work pressures.

    So yay, I’m to a lesser extent supporting my beliefs by the exposed beliefs of a reluctant guru.

  70. I’ve been listening to your podcasts for five years now….i dont remember how i came upon them but i thank you for the lessons….this last one was mesmerizing…..the truth is always much more interesting than the myth…..thank you…..thank you terence….thank you dennis….thank you lorenzo…..thank you for being consistently honest….i am catapulted out into the great white future of my destiny thanks to you and your friends…..

  71. “He said that he didn’t like LSD that much, because it was too psychoanalytic. It’s clear from his talks that he wasn’t that much into that kind of stuff.”

    I recall terence saying he did like lsd, but that it wouldn’t do “the thing” he was interested in unless he smoked heavy amounts of cannabis at the peak of the trip (and IME and in the experience of others this kicks it into a more like an out of body breakthrough type experience).

    He mentioned that he took it around 150 times, as he admitted in one talk. But of course that was over many many years. IMO that indicates he did like it..albeit not as much as other things, but who knows

  72. Terence smoked cannabis more than anyone else I knew, but I never saw him smoke DMT, even when others present did (he held the pipe for my first DMT trip in 1987). Actually sometime in the early 1990s he said to me that DMT was “terrible stuff”. Obviously he did not mean that everyone should stay away from it, but rather that it is something which can induce terror in someone who smokes it. (This is confirmed by several of the reports at http://www.serendipity.li/dmt/340_dmt_trip_reports.htm ) It does not always do so, but the experience is something to be approached only with great respect and a willingness to enter a space which is totally bizarre and thus for some people rather frightening.

    But whether or not Terence smoked DMT or did mushrooms much in the 1990s is irrelevant to the value of what he had to say to us. He was one of the very few genuine prophets of our time. I use the term ‘prophet’ in the sense of the Cambridge Platonist John Smith, who (in his short treatise “On Prophecy”) distinguished three degrees of prophecy, the second of which is (I quote from a book by Basil Willey) that “at which the reason is illuminated indirectly, through the medium of the ‘imagination’ — the imagination being the ‘stage’ on which appear the ‘images’ which are to be allegorically and ‘anagogically’ interpreted. At this level the prophet is dealing, not with naked Truth, but with phantasms and simulacra depicted in his ‘fancy’ or ‘imagination’ (equivalent terms), and he will accordingly also speak in figurative language; but if he is a ‘true’ prophet he will *understand* the truths so represented, and be able to interpret them.”

    Terence is mainly regarded as a psychedelic advocate, which is why some people may be disappointed that his use of psychedelics (in the latter part of his life) was less than they had supposed, but his real value to us was as a trenchant critic of a (modern Western) civilization which has become insane and thereby diabolical (and which thus does not deserve our support) and as a genuine prophet speaking to us by means of something like divine illumination and pointing us toward a level of truth which psychedelics can enable some of us to know for ourselves by direct experience. For this he will long be remembered.

  73. I kept hearing Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit”…describing the pressures of “entertain us”. The pressure of the golden handcuffs of popularity and fame.

    Terence’s Dark Night Experience iis why psychedelics have to be used in a shamanic way…Leary tried to show us how important “set and setting” are…your mind set and the setting you are in when you invite the teacher aboard. Terence knew this in his heart but his childhood scar from his father blinded him to feeling that when the teacher hands you the mirror you will be unrecognizable to yourself until the teachings help you see the mosaic that is being/consciousness is really the light of Love shining through the prism of life.

  74. I don’t recall a psychedelic experience in which everything seemed meaningless, but once on acid I was shown that nothing exists at all. I reported on this experience in http://www.serendipity.li/dmt/haw_tr.html (a trip I took while living on the Big Island in 1987 not far from where Terence was living at the time). This was not a negative experience, but one I found quite perplexing.

    The various ruminations above concerning being overwhelmed by a sense of meaninglessness is interesting not just because of the fact that this is possible on some trips but also because this is an existential problem which faces our whole Western culture. According to the modern scientific worldview the universe is basically a vast vacuum in which occur zillions of galaxies which themselves are ultimately composed only of atoms, molecules and ‘energy’, all of which being totally devoid of life and consciousness. Whence, then, comes the meaning, purpose and value which everyone knows is real by lived experience? The modern scientific worldview says that this can only exist in the human mind, and cannot have any source in the cosmos in which we (as physically embodied beings) live (since that cosmos is just atoms, etc.), and thus that all meaning, purpose and value is merely a psychological projection upon a universe devoid of them (hence basically a delusion). Since meaning, purpose and value are part of our lived experience, this gives rise to a compartmentalization in the modern mind which borders on collective insanity.

    This question (as to whether meaning is inherent in the cosmos or exists only in the human mind and is projected upon the world) has been discussed by Richard Tarnas in Part I of his book “Cosmos and Psyche”, and I have written a review of this, to be seen at

  75. Honestly, as much as I’m glad to have listened to this talk, and as well-intentioned as it seems to be, it just hits the wrong notes for me. Like the excerpt from the trialogue, where Terence gets called out for AI, of all things, saying nothing that actual AI people and tenured philosophers haven’t said. But we are to believe that it’s transparently ridiculous and he must be off his rocker to suggest it? As though it’s any crazier than the idea that the mushroom sprouted a tumor in his brain to teach him a lesson, which sounds exactly like the kind of thing Terence might have said, only with tongue firmly in cheek.
    Terence doesn’t need to be exposed or debunked or whatever, because it has never been anything less than obvious that his thing was entertainment. It doesn’t matter whether his ideas were true or not. I didn’t listen to them because I thought they were true, but because they were interesting. There is a reason he was ‘the bard’ and not ‘the learned professor’. Was there really some cult of people who treated his words as gospel? That would be the really surprising thing, and it’s hard to begrudge him his disappointment if that’s the case.

  76. Beat writer Jack Keroac also became despondent from his public personna and intial creative radicalism at some point.

    Jerry Garcia of “Grateful Dead” fame stopped beliving in “cosmic consciousness” also at a certain point {became much more conventional in his personal conscious revelations} even though to this day many still consider him as a promoter of such a more lofty premise.

    Creative inspiration itself always seems to come in spurts. Most of us in the entheogenic world, including those coming from more indigenous traditions, surely understand at some point that such high and rare enlightening states are never meant to be confusingly mingled with our more day-to-day struggles … not meant to be a “solution” of any kind … beyond offering a glimpse into “infinite possibility”

    As it is forever only our own “familiarity breeds contempt” mind set that attempts to make reasonable and rational that which of more “transcendental” nature.

    Same with religions who seem to forever try to contain the unfathomable mystic experience into more conventional ritual and dogma.

    Even in pop culture we try to project and perpetuate initial creative spurts of the given artist into ongoing personifications to worship and/or follow.

    Especially in this age of mass media where there is so much scope for public adulation and/or scrutiny, many a now “public figure” has had to sometimes go to extremes just to again find or protect their more local and indigenous “sense of self” .. often with great difficulty and expense … and there obviously have been many casualties along the way from such “mass exposure”

    Trying to perpetuate “peak experience” or make it “the norm” has always been a potential problem for all of us, as creative and inspirational consciousness will always have more mystery than convention no matter how hard we try to make perpetuating lifestyles out of sporadic moments of ingenuity.

  77. @AwareAwareness

    I think the psychedelic explorer vs mediator or guru thing goes both ways. Just as Terence was very skeptical that meditation ever could offer a window to the same type of states offered by the plant teachers, many or most who practice the “drugless” techniques denounce spiritual seekers who take them simply as “druggies” while having never themselves even had the remotest encounter with the substances they denounce. Coming from a point of being pre-judged, I think it is hard for a lot of us to find common ground. It’s an elephant in the room so to speak even if all would benefit from an open conversation. Search amazon for a particularly negative review of Zig Zag Zen or on youtube for when the Dalai Lama was asked about the spiritual use of psychedelics and you’ll see examples of these barriers. Hopefully someday we will overcome them!

  78. @ Jarod Q: You are well educated for a 17 year-old. At that age you should lightly continue your relationship with the mushroom, as it is a great ally which will expose itself more genuinely when you integrate into society. There are many social bumps from which you will create blocks or patterns in your own behavior which the mushroom will illuminate for you when the time is right. There are many translations of the ‘Book of Splendor’ which describe in great detail the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil near the end of the texts. Very judiciously, they all agree that discipline plays a large role in how you are received by the plant medicines. Learning nutrition and paying close attention to your feelings as well as a good meditation practice are very useful when nurturing a relationship with the Other.

    With regard to Terence’s spat with the mushroom: through my personal experience I can testify that the only bad experiences I had were when I was not disciplined prior to the experience. Mushrooms don’t turn on you unless you have turned on yourself. Case in point: Terence was a major stoner. I have gotten the message loud and clear to abstain from cannabis and only use it for ceremony. I have repeatedly been subjected to this scrutiny by many of the plant teachers, so I payed attention eventually. That is when the doors of perception were truly cleansed, and ‘born again’ resonated with meaning (not religiously but spiritually). The encyclopedia does not have a consciousness, and it will not talk back. Using the plant teachers as a source of knowledge is itself a meaningless enterprise. There is a dosage threshold with all hallucinogens where there is a deep-end of the pool and there is no meaning contained within all the other stuff which is in there in the deep-end with you. If you are cool with that, it is all white bliss, everywhere. Any hang-ups at all and there is hell to pay. Victim consciousness is its own teacher under the influence IF one is present and pays attention to feelings, from where they stem and why we think that way. When the thoughts are reduced to a lack of reality, because they are not tangible like a chair, they serve no function. When the body is well slept; when the mind is at ease and is rested; when the diet is well fed; when the body is well exercised; when the emotions are stable; when you’re right with your Maker or Mom; when you have a great INTENTION and when a celestial event takes place-THEN it may be a good time to meet with the Other.
    Thanks Lorenzo for your endeavors. They are truly appreciated. This Salon is a heroic achievement in questionable times.

  79. Bruce: “Terence was shit scared of his teacher, of the mushroom for twelve years. He didn’t go near them. So you can kind of lose your illusions about this now. This stuff is serious and should be taken not lightly […]”

    That’s exactly the impression that I got from Terence’s talks. That’s what he said. That it’s scary and dangerous.

    And for “it’s all about love”, I heard him say that too. That’s something that’s been discovered over and over for the psychedelic culture fifty years ago. He talked about it as a matter of course. He was a next generation. He talked about other stuff. He said that he didn’t like LSD that much, because it was too psychoanalytic. It’s clear from his talks that he wasn’t that much into that kind of stuff. That’s something personal, that must be experienced and worked out by everyone for themselves.

    It’s interesting to know how Dennis feels and speculates about these personal issues of Terence, it says a lot about their relationship. But I have the feeling that Bruce is trying to round out Terence’s message with something that is purely personal, and not part of his message. And that is a disservice, in my opinion.

    Bruce’s myth about Terence and the mushroom is that if you decide not to go there with the mushroom on a personal level, it will kill you in order to force you into that kind of spiritual reflection. That’s what I’d call a paranoid fantasy, not Terence’s eschatology, as Ralph Abraham did.

    If Dennis’s evaluation of how Terence felt about his fans is realistic, then the real tragedy is not his lack of some psychoanalitical, buddhist, religious self-reflection. That’s just normal. That’s just human. Everyone is allowed not to go there more than they would like to. But the real tragedy then is that he didn’t meet 99.99 percent of his fans. Most of his fans. That he had to see the reflection of his immortal legacy merely in a local and temporal scintilla of understanding.

  80. Dennis: “I think people should view it as theater. And not as someone pronouncing truths, necessarily. I mean I’m sure that Terence views it as theater.”

    Yes, and he always, always emphasized that. I don’t get Bruce’s and Dennis’s take on Terence. I listened to his talks that are available online a lot. And my impression is that both of them are misinterpreting his public output, which is absurd. How can they? Have they not paid attention? I mean, sometimes he follows one of his theories with a contradictory one. He’s the guy who said that the problem with belief is that if you believe something, you cannot believe its opposite.

    I don’t get it. How is that for me it’s always been clear that it’s all about presenting ideas. Ideas, not opinions. And at the same time that wasn’t clear to people that close to him? I don’t get it. What am I missing?

  81. Wow! So many comments already:) Great!

    Thank you Bruce! I read that poem over and over:) Thank you Lorenzo, I am in the seventh heaven now that you will continue to podcast more McKenna lecture for a long time ahead!

    Hey JC, if you haven’t already, go back to podcasts 298 through 301 and there’s the first conference of this kind held by Lorenzo and Bruce:)

    Hey Sky, to get a more informed opinion on what Dennis’ relationship to Terence was and is like you might wanna check out podcasts 276 and 277, and view some of the comments some of us posted there discussing that issue: http://www.matrixmasters.net/salon/?p=389#comments.

    So Terence didn’t do shrooms after 88… I’m glad to say that doesn’t change a thing for me, except that I am sad that he suffered his own public image, (somewhat like the tragic and complex story of Curt Cobain).

    As for any content in his message, I think many of us can agree that it is not invalidated in the light of this new information. It certainly is a relief, though, that we don’t have to take the high-dose-alone-in-silent-darkness-‘schtick’ too seriously, (after all he never said that everybody should do this, only that he preferred it that way).

    What interests me far more than the validity of his message (because the degree to which it is valid can always be somewhat objectively investigated anyway), is the meaning and content of that trip where he seems to have been confronted with an overwhelming and utter lack of meaning.

    What is our reassurance that meaningfulness isn’t just a cruel illusion, as French existentialism would state? Actually I feel like I’m on the track of an answer to that question, and maybe that is what my life is all about, but that is a self-indulging digression on my part. Let’s just say I think we can, through pure logic and observation of our own experience of meaningfulness and preference, find some infallible reassurance that even if the indifference of matter in the face of its own fate can be devastating to us, we are the vessel in which meaningfulness rests as an experience and concept, and therefore it is as real and valid and present as anything gets. Or maybe the solution I think I have is too simple and obviously flawed (to anyone but myself). Anyway, I will know when I am able to formulate it, which is not yet, but back to Terence’s difficult experience:

    Dennis says Terence panicked. That means that he had a proof that the indifference or meaninglessness was not all-pervasive, because of the fact that his panicking is a prime example of something not being indifferent. Were he to be completely convinced by the show of complete lack of meaning that was put on for him, he wouldn’t have any reason to panic, nor to feel anything about it; he would have to react with indifference were it to be a ‘true’ vision or insight.

    But maybe he was unable to observe the panic as an experience of non-indifference in the observer, himself. Seeing this would have helped him to see that someone at the very center of existence, the self, really does care, and is not indifferent in the face of events unfolding. And if we look at what it is to care, we soon realize that it’s all about love. In a very deep sense, it’s all about love!

    I’m happy that this is so, and I’m confident that it couldn’t be any other way:) However I am completely aware and scared of the possibility that the mushrooms will prove me dead wrong one day.

  82. wow. revelation and release indeed. as i am sure is true for many listeners synchronicity abounds around me tuning in, which is rare, only to hear this beautifully executed revelatory tribute. as a long time dmt user and fellow student of the tykes, i am tremendously grateful not only for the bard himself, but for all efforts involved in making known terence’s body of work as it is a priceless validation and encouragement for me as i work through a portion of the mystery. what strikes me after this listen is how beautifully life works to help all of us realize and integrate the other into our selves. this emotional and humanizing new info touches close to my core and in a way, seems to complete the bard’s saga for me. i for one, feverishly resonate with t’s struggles outlined in the talk. this new light is a blessing we can all use to help us illuminate our own shadow places and a reminder that “it is really all about love”…loving thanks brother t.

  83. wow. revelation and release indeed. as i am sure is true for many listeners synchronicity abounds around me tuning in, which is rare, only to hear this beautifully executed revelatory tribute. as a long time dmt user and fellow student of the tykes, i am tremendously grateful not only for the bard himself, but for all efforts involved in making known terence’s body of work as it served as a priceless validation and encouragement for my work through a portion of the mystery. what strikes me after this listen is how beautifully life works to help all of us realize and integrate the other into our selves. this emotional and humanizing new info touches close to my core and in a way, seems to complete the bard’s saga for me. i for one, feverishly resonate with t’s struggles outlined in the talk. this new light is a blessing we can all use to help us illuminate our own shadow places and a reminder that “it is really all about love”…loving thanks brother t.

  84. Fascinating. Terrence always espoused that psychedelics were about the only way one could reliably have the “enlightenment” experience of ultimate boundary dissolution (non-self) and when the mushroom showed him the reality of The Void he couldn’t handle it… not that handling it is a small thing, it is the most difficult thing. Hence the need for real, human, personal teachers who have had the same experience to help guide one and let them know there’s nothing to fear. Terrence seemed to have disdain for these “gurus” and yet one of them would have helped him greatly… Ram Dass? (who incidentally had the same experience with his stroke).

    The real tragedy is our cultural construct that puts a division between these two worlds of the guru and the sacred plants. I think the meditative experience is training for one of these ego-destroying trips that these plants can reliably produce and visa versa. There is a unification of these experiences that is lost to history.

    I am sad that Terrence is yet another intellectual example of one who failed to walk the talk, but at the same time his life is great instruction and the larger lesson is profound to us who try to figure out this territory without maps and a lack of support from society. The man was a gift in more ways than one.

    My biggest question about Terrence that has so far never been addressed is his almost daily use of cannabis… I find it strange he openly talked to great length about mushrooms and DMT and yet never had great insight into cannabis other than a couple talks. I would think he would have far, far more detailed things to say about that plant than the others. Perhaps there are just too many people using it on a daily basis so there is nothing all that paradigm-shifting about it in contrast to the handful who play in the DMT world.

  85. “Compared to the slimey CIA jerk Leary, Terence (spell it right, people, or you really have nothing to show here) was the real deal”

    CIA jerk Leary? Jesus man, i would do a bit more research before claiming Leary was CIA..seriously?

    btw, you know mckenna and leary were friends right? lol

  86. One thing confuses me though.

    In an interview last year dennis remarked that him and terence did a lot of shamanic work that summer of 99′, after terence was diagnosed with cancer..and during this time terence said he couldnt take ayahuasca because the purging might initiate seizures..and terence also remarked that he had been given pure psilocybin in capsules.

    But, here we learn Terence never took mushrooms after that experience in 88… So what the hell were they doing down there all summer???

    i posted this on reality sandwich but figured i would get more of a response here 🙂

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I have also heard Terence mention the fact that he used psilocybin in the Summer of 1999. However, while to some this may only be a technicality, I see a big difference between chemically synthisized psilocybin and organically grown “magic” mushrooms. Just as synthisized THC isn’t the same as vaporizing some cannabis, I think that perhaps psilocybin is only one of the synergistic chemicals in psychedelic mushrooms. . . . But that’s just my personal opinion.]

  87. This *was* very purgative.

    Now I am eager to hear Kathleen Harrison’s version of that 1988 bad trip.

    Could you arrange that for us Lorenzo?

  88. What a combination of gratitude, tragedy, irony, and beauty that I am experiencing after hearing this episode. And then to hear about the new archive you (and the provider) have gratuitously decided to host… I had to give a standing round of applause after this. Thanks so much L for your work doing this. My life story wouldn’t be the same without this great resource. To the subject, I’m not hugely surprised (or disappointed) by this news but I do recall an interview around the last months where he mentioned he had been utilizing the man-made form of his ally, for what it matters if at all. I am surprised at this news mainly because I don’t picture Terence to be the sort that would be afraid to change his rap, and I am sure he would have not lost fans or public interest if he had done so- he more than anyone seems to teach that its OK to change your approach. All I can think about since hearing this is that the literary quality to this man’s life is astounding. I can’t wait for Dennis’s book on this great figure and I hope we have more inspirational guideposts like him in the future. In the meantime nice work helping to preserve his essence!

  89. Lorenzo, thank you for this podcast. Thanks also to Dennis, Bruce and everyone else involved. I have been on the edge of my seat for this unravelling since I first heard Bruce’s poem some time ago.

    I was at astounded, scared and moved. Like many others, Terence has meant a lot to me and made a significant impact on my life. I can say that I have only gained respect and love for him. It is wonderful to see him as oh so human.

    The fact that the mushroom abandoned Terence initially scared me. I’m glad Bruce gave his view on why it may have happened, and I have faith that it was one last cosmic beatdown to open and embrace Terence.

    Now, the notions that Terence was not entirely invested in his ideas, that he had lost faith in them, or that they were in large parts simply theatre – this impacted me and I have spent some time thinking about it. It has been a recurring theme in my life that I fall for these wonderful men of rhetoric. I’m filled me with excitement and joy for life, new ideas, etc. I idolize them, listen to them for months and muse on their words and ideas very carefully. Knowing that *they* know. Then suddenly I’ll encounter some information that will kind of break the spell in a sense. I will discover just how human they are, in one way or another.

    This is a wonderful thing! It comes back to Bruce (repeating someone elses words) saying that the time for messianic following is over, we need to come together as a community to share and explore ideas, not follow. It’s a shaking of the shoulders to think for ourselves! To show us just how human these people are, they are not gods, they are our equals. Our idolization stops us from thinking for ourselves.

    Terences ideas sometimes seemed rigid to me… now, they seem wonderful, flowing and colourful, because now I don’t care just how much of them he really embraced to the deepest parts of his heart as truth – because it doesn’t matter. They’re just ideas to play with, think about and explore for our own use. Now I feel I have a greater sense of freedom and responsibility. Responsibility to find truth for myself!

  90. This news certainly makes me re-evaluate my picture of Terence. Not necessarily in a bad way though.
    I always thought of him as a pretty fearless type of person, being able to dive deep in the experiences on high doses of tryptamines.
    Well he probably did and I completely understand the possibility of being shied away from this bigger than life experience, because it happened to me. I had a breakthrough on DMT about 2,5 years ago and haven’t returned to the DMT space since. It was an overwhelming experience and i’ve been thinking about it every day in the last 2 years. I do realize that I wasn’t prepared in the best way, but can you realy prepare for a DMT trip? 🙂
    Anyway I knew this could happen to any one….but not to Terence!!
    Sadly we small humans have tendency to lift our idols to the stars and forget that they are just small humans just like ourselves. This is a reminder to me that we are all equal and we should try to act like it, it is healthier for both sides.
    I sense a feeling of compassion for Terence after hearing the podcast, a feeling that wasn’t there before.
    I think that the dilemma he faced nourished the tumor in his head. A conflict of this grandeur can not be healthy, I don’t think I could handle it myself. Maybe it was just all too much for Terence and unsconsciously he chose the cancer as his escape vessel.

  91. I must say, I’m very disappointed. No, not at the revelation that Terence in later years virtually abandoned psychedelics which supposedly makes him a “fraud”.(I already knew about his decreasing use in the 90’s, though not about the bad trip.) I’m disappointed with Dennis and what sounds like a jealous attack on Terence’s legacy, reputation and his audience. Myself as a “fan” included.

    What could have been an intimate and revealing portrait of the real man sounds here more like an assault on his integrity. Terence could have read the phone book and people would eat it up because his delivery, not his message was what mattered? The majority of his lectures were nonsense? If the Timewave and the Machine Elves turn out to simply be products of the Imagination, the entire edifice of his thinking and contribution to philosophy and psychedelic culture crumbles? To use Terence’s own favorite term… Malarkey!

    To anyone who has delved deep into Terence’s great body of work, it is obvious that he was human and had his limitations. He favored intellect over emotion, vision over personal insight, but that was just a personal preference. And when did he ever advertise himself as an enlightened guru? One of his greatest recurring motifs is his attack on Babas, gurus and soft headed New Age peddlers of all sorts. “I am not a guru” he often said. If anything he has always sounded to me quite humble.

    And if he had personal doubts about his role, became cautious about psychedelics after a bad trip and sometimes spun out into the ether with some of his bizarre theories, so what? That only makes him a more compelling and human character to me, not a fraud. As a Terence “fan”, I feel insulted at the implication that we simply lap up unquestioningly his every bizarre notion as fact.

    In fact, what I find compelling in Terence are not his pet theories about 2012 or the Other. Theories that he often stated he was not attached to at the hip. I listen to him for his depth of knowledge about history, alchemy, philosophy, literature, poetry, his linguistic facility and love of the weird. I listen to him for his bizarre and outrageous trip tales. And ultimately I listen to him for his redeeming message that humanity must evolve and alchemically transmutate if we are to survive and thrive. A message that never goes out of style.

    As a Terence fan I never have trouble being a discriminating listener and differentiating between the more hard nosed facts and his own wacky theories. He often makes the distinction himself, telling us when he’s just speaking for himself or speculating. I have been excitedly awaiting Dennis’ book since it was announced last summer, and I welcome a full, unvarnished portrait of the true Terence. I appreciate you, Lorenzo, and Bruce for paying tribute to him, and I hope that the book ultimately takes a more balanced and compassionate approach to its subject than what I’ve heard here.

    The way it’s presented here, you make it sound as if he was an unscrupulous peddler of deception who had a psychotic breakdown after which his friends feared for his sanity. To me, the clip you played from the ’98 Trialogue sounded more like friendly and spirited criticism than some kind of intervention.

    There’s still no doubt in my mind that Terence is the best, brightest, most humble and honest spokesman for our community, and I can’t fathom why his backing away from mushrooms in the 90’s detracts from that. The man tripped continuously for 20 years and thought enough for many lifetimes. I’d say he paid his dues. Alan Watts called himself a “philosophical entertainer”, and I can’t think of a better description of Terence’s role, though it hardly does justice to his knowledge, skill and erudition.

  92. Dudes, is it possible that five people in a row spell Terence´s name TERRANCE, like a Facebook zombie? And I am NOT an American or native English speaker! You lame asses! Where is your supposed culture? Even if it is not your friend, have some of it around anyway, for Bob´s sake!

    Thanks to this salon, I have been listening for years to the TMK audio on the net. This latest installment by Bruce Damer is first of all a very excellent hommage to a great person with an even greater mind. TMK never told anyone that unless you take five dried grams of mushrooms in silent darkentss, you can not know shinola. He didn´t. But he may have implied that, sometimes, five grams on Kona while farming Stropharia, well, shit happens.

    Compared to the slimey CIA jerk Leary, Terence (spell it right, people, or you really have nothing to show here) was the real deal, always self-deprecating and never lame to follow new leads. He created in the moment and did not serve any agenda or follow any fucking script that a social engineer put into his pocket. He was the real deal, and so it is great to come across this additional information that Bruce has to gracefully and kindly put together.

    Juan von Trillion

  93. This podcast was indeed a very strange, and positive, experience for me as a human being, and I thank Lorenzo, Bruce, Dennis, Kat Harrison, and (I’m sure) many others for making this information available to everybody.

    It seems from the previous comments that a couple of listeners don’t think anyone was under Terence’s “spell” to any kind of degree. While I can’t say I was under any “spell” of his, I have certainly, over the past year, been amazed by the man’s vision, eloquence, experience, and scholarship. Indeed, he was the person who “turned me on”, being as I am, only 17. He spoke of things that amazed me, and opened me to the possibility that there are great adventures left to be had, that spirituality and experience of the divine do seem to be possible, and that there is a sort of divinity or spirituality left in existence, that it is the Earth and the Human Soul and Nature and Art and Ecstasy.

    Unfortunately, I held onto to what Terence said a little too tightly, and though I always tried to remain mindful and acknowledge that Terence is a human being and everything he experiences and professes as truth is subjective, I found myself treating him somewhat like a Guru figure. When thinking of something, or learning something new, I would often catch myself comparing it to Terence’s cosmology; “Does this fit in with what Terence says?”.

    Of course, I didn’t buy into his whole spiel. I have never been a fan of Timewave Zero, and, though I appreciatively consider the Stoned Ape theory as well as the whole text of Food of the Gods as a very pretty possibility, I recognize it as simply a theory, a construct of the human mind, a mind that may have left out evidence to the contrary.

    However, I wanted the visionary vistas, the commune with the Mckennian Logos, the Elves, the Elves! I wanted communication and visions that came from beyond me, such as those espoused by the Bard.

    However, the Mushrooms gave me quite a lesson on this for some reason, one that, strangely , largely resembles the lesson they gave to Terence.

    Admittedly, I wasn’t in the best environment. Living still with my parents, I was confined to my room for the duration of the Trip, while they slept a hallway away. I figured this limited environment wouldn’t be to bad though, as I was planning a Terence-styled Trip: alone, lights out, nothing going on. My method, however, lacked the addition of Cannabis, as I had been caught when I was 16 thanks to my constant espousal of how important the plant was, and how unjust the current legislation was. Basically, I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut, and started receiving drug tests as a result. In addition, I only took a 3.5 gram dose, due to the environment I knew I would be in.

    My experience was unlike my two previous, more lightly dosed, Cannabis-infused, non- Mckennian Trips, which I had had in a more “safe” environment, around a small amount of people.

    Anyway, the experienced turned out to be very rough for me! I wasn’t too paranoid or anything, it was something else. I felt alone. So alone. I felt without an identity. I was shown the meaning of Tabula-Rasa: that at the beginning, we are all the same, and that everything that I perceived as myself was simply due to my experiences throughout life. I interpreted this as affirmation that I didn’t have a soul, at least not a unique soul, that if anything, Soul is collective. Furthermore, my visions were not vistas of alien landscapes. They were largely composed of characters from the Simpson’s, a show I had been watching ALOT in the weeks prefacing this experience. This, I took to mean, that Terence was wrong, that all visions do come from the inside, and this for me, in that moment, devalued the whole thing. This was not what I had been promised. These visions were simple, not awe-inducing. In addition, I somehow came across the idea that all thought was meaningless, because it all comes from the human mind, and is not real. This idea, as well as the others I listed, were stressed repeatedly throughout the whole experience.

    I felt the desire, though a resistible one, to be held by someone, to wake my mother to comfort me. I reasoned with myself, telling myself a paraphrased Mckennian quip “The last journey we take, we take alone” (though perhaps he himself was paraphrasing from someone, I’m not sure). Anyway, I figured, if I’m going to die alone (not in the traditional cliche way, you must understand), I must then be able to go through these trials alone.

    I eventually turned to music, but it only seemed infused with the sadness that pervaded all thought that I experienced. The trip ended, after many hours of experiencing this existential loneliness, pervading sense of meaninglessness, and feeling of being somewhat cheated, with me watching The Simpsons, one of the subjects of my trip that had caused me to despair! I, of course, feel slightly bad for doing this, but what else could I have done in such a situation?

    A week or two later, someone offered to sell me some more mushrooms, though I hadn’t after my recent experience put out any kind of APB for any. I decided, perhaps sillily, to revisit the Mushroom state, to see if what I had experienced was a one-time thing. This time, I took 4 grams, stopped watching TV a week before I took them, and attempted to refrain from any Mckenna for the same period. I did end up listening to one of his talks, mostly about DMT, the night of the experience, though not during it, but slightly before it. I also succumbed to playing a little N64 to pass the time until it would be the right time to ingest them.

    When I went into silent darkness, I noticed the same feeling coming on as before. The same existential loneliness was coming my way, though the Simpsons visions weren’t there. Relatively no incredibly interesting things were going on behind my eyelids. Though it took me what seemed like a very long while, I managed to get out of bed, and spent the remainder of the trip listening to music, thinking of things, and, during the comedown, watched Myazaki’s Spirited Away, all with the Lava Lamp and my Blue Lightbulb lamp lighting the room. I noticed the desire to take them in the daytime, in nature. I also noted that it was probably best I not take the Mushroom, or any strong psychedelic, until I got out of the house, or at least until I could choose my own environment in which to take them, rather than be forced to, if i decided to take them, be in a restricted environment with no Cannabis.

    Anyway, whether my experiences are a result of the environment or not, to know that Terence went through something similar, to know that it scared the shit out of him, and to know that he lied about taking any psychedelic really, and that he lied about the visions he encountered in these nonexistent trips, at least during the 90’s, has helped me to let go of Terence as a Pseudo-Guru. It has opened the door for me, a door which leads to further trusting of myself, to claiming of my experiences for what they are, to finding my own method of using these medicines, and to developing my own opinions on them.

    I had a thought recently, and though I had it before I listened to this particular talk, I find it seems synchronistically-resonant with my reaction to this talk. It is as follows: The view of these medicines as a “key” to “higher consciousness”, and not necessarily higher consciousness themselves (or direct transmitters of higher consciousness), can be applied to people like Mckenna. His “rap”, it seems, is best treated as a “key” or an aid to alternative thought, not as the highest expression of alternative thought or truth about reality OR the psychedelic experience.

    As the Bard always said, “For one human being to seek enlightenment from another is like one grain of sand on a beach to seek enlightenment from another.”

  94. I think that the “Bad Trip” could have been a part of his medical issues that was a direct symptom, due to his tumor. I think his concept of the novelty factor, loses no steam in the context of this new information. I relate to Terrance on a variety of levels. I am to date not sure what the actual relevance of his brother’s decision, to make his ideas about Terrance prevalent. I do know concerning brothers there is always some animosity (Cain, Able) LOL… I personally think this just brings to perspective that Terrence is and was, an actual person. Not a dream. To me this just drives me more to hear more of his lectures and learn more about the man not the myth! I thank you very much Lorenzo and Bruce for you, as am I, part of the Tribe! Press on!!!!! P.S. Still hanging on every pod cast! LOL!

  95. I just recently started listening to this podcast again after a long hiatus, and what do I find but this treasure!

    This new look into the life of TM was deeply impactful, but not due to some feeling of a falling out, rather it made Terrance more human than he has ever seemed from where I stand. Terrance has had huge impact on my life, he’s made me see so much, and trust so much of what I see.

    His rap is indeed more poetry than Truth, and all the more meaningful for it. I never “bought” his rap (who was under the spell, indeed), but it, and the man who gifted us all with such delicious language and mythos, took up residence in my mind and soul and shall never depart.

    It’s difficult to express the depth of my gratitude to all of those you mention at the end of the podcast (and yourself!) for the wonderful gift you’ll all be bringing the world soon with the gradual release of a huge vault of TM’s talks.

    Maddeningly (though I can only fault myself as I failed to fund it before it ended) I missed out on the KS for ‘The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss!’ by our beloved Dennis. But I will be first in line for the book upon its release.

  96. Who was under the spell? One could tell from actually listing to his lectures at length that he was not so crazy. His two main goals with his work were to unite people with similar interests (time, psychedelics, evolution) and to teach self-empowerment. Never did he say he was dispelling truth. So I ask again who was under this spell? Maybe there never was a spell.

    But it is surprising that he never took mushrooms after 88.

  97. My experience with allies of various types over the past several years has been that when I become too arrogant, then that ally is going to kick my ass!!!

    For example, the last sweat lodge I attended I went in with an attitude of “this is going to be GREAT — I LOVE sweat lodges”. This was probably the fifth or sixth lodge I’ve been in, so I was getting pretty cockey — a reduced level of respect. Anyhow, that session was a KILLER. I’ve never been in so much physical pain in my life! I’m usually able to sort of “jump out” of my body, but this time the lodge ally (or allies) grabbed my arms and legs, held me down, and (figuratively) beat the shit out of me!

    So never again will I work with ANY ally without the greatest of respect and humblest of attitude. These must be honest.

    My guess is that Terrence got his ass kicked by what he might have considered his “favorite” ally and it sounds like he never recovered from that encounter. Strange that he might not have understood the purpose of that session, which to me is a clear lesson of “don’t be so cockey”. My observation is that all the allies want to do is help us and love us, but apparently he didn’t take this as a helping lesson. Or, maybe he DID get the message which was “stop bothering with me!”. Who knows? My knee-jerk reaction is that Terrance fell off the bike and then refused to get back on. Ego does it’s job very well, eh?

    Through his life, Terrence went out into what we call “that other world” and brought back some beautiful artifacts. That, itself, is a wonderful life. So his “negative” encounter with an ally and his reaction to it doesn’t in any way change my feelings for him. My love and respect for Terrence is as strong as ever.

    Peace to All,


  98. The main thing I was confused about in this lecture is why Terrance came to fear mushrooms so much as to never take them again but still take ayahuasca and DMT from time to time. Mushrooms definitely have a more “trickster” type of character but from my own experiences, the feelings, thoughts, and revelations brought by any of these often overlap, sometimes completely. It also is hard for me to understand how a psychonaut as experienced as McKenna didn’t see this final bad trip as a learning experience. After listening to the lecture and the idea that Terrence couldn’t face emotional openness(which up to this point was unknown to me)it suddenly became clear to me that his talks are far more about just being able to explore rather than spiritual or emotional development which I believe is the reason that most frequent users of these substances partake.

    What really struck home to me though was Dennis’s comments on how people had contacted him on how Terrance gave people “permission to think.” While I”ve almost always been a good student, Terrence’s “permission to think” is what allowed me to ask the right questions and not make as many presumptions about what the answer would be.

    I’m also very relieved to hear that Terrence wasn’t doing heavy doses all of the time. After trying my best to keep pace with someone who seemed to know their stuff, I realized that such a route wasn’t working for me and that smaller doses and infrequency sometimes brought greater lessons. It’s good to know that even McKenna couldn’t be full-throttle with this stuff all the time.

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