Podcast 347 – “This counts, somehow it matters”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

The Archaic Revival by Terence McKennaPROGRAM NOTES:

[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“Our best efforts are nothing more than half-completed stories told around the campfire. We don’t actually know what our predicament is. We are up against a phenomenon which we can barely bring into focus in our cognitive sphere, and it’s the phenomenon of our own existence”

“These religions that are so freighted with their own pomposity are no better than inspired guesses.”

“Science works its miracles by turning its enterprise into a kind of parlor game confined to the category matter and energy.”

“In other words, all these things you might cling to, Catholicism, democratic ideals, Hasidism, Marxism, Freudianism, all of these things are exposed [through use of psychedelics] as simply quaint cultural artifacts, tainted masks and rattles assembled by people of good intent but clearly not great grasp of the situation.”

“To date, the enterprise of thinking has moved us radically away from understanding anything.”

“For me, what all these years of psychedelic taking came to was a new model of how reality works, a new model of what the world is.”

“And what is the primary datum? It’s the felt presence of immediate experience. In other words, being here now is the primary datum.”

“We need a metaphor that can contain the demon of the future that we have conjured into being.”

“Fine tuning the institutions built by powdered wig guys two hundred years ago is a long shot at holding the whole thing together.”

“Now, through the catalytic interaction with technology, the human species is getting set to redefine itself.” [Note: this comment was made a dozen years before the iPhone was released.]

“As I see it, Being, the Cosmos, whatever you want to call it, is a struggle between two implacable forces: Novelty on the one side and habit on the other side.”

“The sensory ratios that are being reinforced by the new electronic technology are like the sensory ratios that were in place fifteen thousand years ago. . . . Print imposes a condition on human mind which is now lifting.”

“History was an incredibly damaging experience, and now it’s over . . . in a sense.”

“What was created by the era of the proper gentleman was excellent table manners and genocide over most of the surface of the planet.”

“To me, the psychedelic experience is the experience of trying to make sense of reality.”

“If psychedelics are, on any level, to be taken seriously as catalyzers or expanders of consciousness, then we need them, because it’s an absence of consciousness that is making this historical transition so excruciating.”


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MAPS Psychedelic Science 2013 Conference

Books Mentioned in this podcast

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
By Katie Hafner

Posted in 2012, Culture, Eschaton, Evolution, Future, Language, Psychedelics, Religion, Shamanism, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. I liked this “rap”. He was really looking down the road. Gives us some things to think about. Hope all is well (up there) Dear Mr. Fantasy.

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  2. Thanks, Lorenzo! Another incredible rap from the bard. I also really like the title you chose for the podcast and the quote you played at the end. As always, the bell you ring with this work rings potently across this world and many of us are so very grateful for that.

  3. I love his Nexus of Concerns. Such a concise encapsulation of the areas that are important for study and exploration, and I like that it is not exhaustive and seemingly off the cuff.

    The Nexus seems a fitting term for this previously unnamed discipline.

    “I began to pursue this vast area of interlocking disciplines that really has no name, but we can name the disciplines…

    DNA Function
    Cultural Dynamics
    Theories of Natural Magick
    Relationship of Man to the Environment

    The Nexus of Concerns that clusters around the questions: What are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going?”

  4. My god what a terrible understanding of general relativity (curvature of spacetime) he has. He even confuses that with special relativity. And calling that the best approach to studying time itself feels so wrong. I would rather look into thermodynamics (second law) for that.

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