Podcast 377 – “An Ecology of Souls”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“In the matter of deeper things, deductive reasoning rests only on the appeal that hope can lend to its case.”

“In the felt domain of experience called ‘living’, intuition is how most of us, even the most self-defined as non-intuitional, are operating.”

“[Nature] seeks to maximize cooperation, connectedness, mutual interdependability is the thing which holds the whole thing together. And the species that is most successful is not the species that can dominate all others, it’s the species that can make itself indispensable to all others.”

“Culture, as it is in a sense, the software of the infrastructure of the global civilization, which is the hardware.”

“Culture can be redefined as software and radically re-written so that it runs much more smoothly.”

“I did not say that we were software or hardware. We are neither. We are the user, and this is the important thing to remember. We are not scripting ourselves into some kind of machine future. We are designing the future that we want to have rather than allowing the blunders of our grandparents to dictate the kind of future we will have.”

“To offer instead a potential calendar in celebration of flux, change, growth, and feminism, which are the values that are going to have to be maximized if we are going to open a dialogue with our souls and [the] soul of the planet and save ourselves from the lethal momentum that so many hundreds of years of dominator culture have imparted to the machinery of our civilization. We must awaken.”

“The path out of the Dark Wood in which we find ourselves is cognition, thought, getting smart fast. We have to dance, sing, calculate, and drum our way out of the circumstances into which we have fallen.”

“To the degree that we can celebrate the irrational, the feminine, the unconscious, the transpersonal, and even the psychedelic, to the degree that we can celebrate these things we are giving permission for the order that is in nature to manifest. The plan wants to come to be. We have to get out of the way.”

“Life is some kind of opportunity. It’s an opening between unbridgeable chasms of the unknown. And yet, out of chaos, for twenty, forty, seventy years we come into a domain of immense opportunity. It is a conundrum. It is a puzzle. It is something to be figured out.”

“The path with heart is the path which astonishes.”

“All of our technology is an excretion of the imagination. All of our technology is the condensation of ideological intention.”

“My own private opinion about this is, I think that what psychedelics in these high-dose, correct set/setting situations carry us into is an ecology of souls. . . . Those ‘things’ in that place are our ancestors.”

“Do we know what we behold? We need to know what we behold because inevitably we become what we behold.”


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Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

Minecraft: The Story of Mojang

Posted in Alchemy, Chaos, Consciousness, Culture, Death, Evolution, Future, Imagination, Myth, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Hello Lorenzo Another mesmerizing talk by The Bard! However, it appears he fell off the catholicism wagon with his ecology of the souls; sounds like an updated version of purgatory.St. Patrick continues to play with the Irish elf believers. BTW, sometime back, Mateo did an interview with an Eileen, the author of Sacred Economics. Would really enjoy a repeat performance with these two special people.

  2. One of my favorites! I wrote down this passage:

    “A meme is the smallest unit of an idea. It is to ideas what genes are to proteins. Genes make proteins. Memes make ideas. And the way you encourage a meme is the way you encourage a protein – you replicate it. There are 2 ways of replicating memes, you can tell somebody, and they will tell somebody. or you can tell 2 people, you can repeat yourself. you can tell a bunch of people. And the idea is that the global meme pool is now in place. All ideas are in competition. It’s a level playing field. This is what accounts for the overnight evaporation of Marxism. This was a meme which could not survive on a level playing field. When the playing field was leveled, meaning a free press was allowed, it was gone. That was like trying to sell flying pigs in Brooklyn. People are too smart, so it’s not going to happen. I believe then that memes compete with each other and that the best ones are the ones which rise to the top. I have a real faith that ideology, in this case, would mirror biology, and that more and more complex and well adapted, and efficient, and co-adaptive, and mutually self-reinforcing, and mutual community feedback, all these things that the memes which support and maximize these evolutionary goals will fall naturally into place.”

    Have you heard of dogecoin? It’s the new crypto-currency based on a funny dog meme of sharing tips, information, and the common goal of going to “the moon”. I plan to post this quote on reddit dogecoin. I think his quote was from over 20 ago.. Time is on the shaman’s side. Playing out as prophecized. AMAZING.

  3. Good point! So in my case, that means I would definitely turn people on to this one 🙂

    Your program notes are pure gold btw! I used to fantasize about some sort of McKenna-pedia all written out in hypertext and connected to the actual recordings and videos with all the available information on the dates and occasions of the talks… And that way one would be able to search for any specific little thing one meant to have heard him talk about but couldn’t remember where. Now that you’ve made all the program notes, this is way closer to being the case when one makes a search on the web, so thank you for that, Lorenzo!

    The Psychedelic Salon is not a McKenna-pedia, but it is the nearest thing in existence to one, and it is so much more too, especially in terms of being a hub of community and information. (I don’t think it needs to be any different, btw, I’m just rambling.)

    I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but this talk was actually the first time I sat down to take some notes… I discovered a little synchronistic connection to something that I had just recently come across in A. N. Whitehead’s ‘Process and Reality’:

    When Terence mentioned that the inductive method in science is making the unstated assumption that time is invariant, I remembered that Newton actually makes this statement openly in his ‘Scholium’, which Whitehead cites in Process and Reality (on page 70, in part 2, chapter 2, section 3, see link: https://archive.org/stream/AlfredNorthWhiteheadProcessAndReality/Alfred%20North%20Whitehead%20-%20Process%20and%20Reality#page/n95/mode/2up/search/Scholium) ).

    So if anyone wishes to refute the assumption that time is invariant, they can go directly to the words of Newton, and see if it is possible to identify the assumption and drive it back there, at its very source.

    What is more, even though Process and Reality can seem like a long maze of humongous words sometimes, just in the preceding sections (one could start on p. 61, part 2, chapter 2) Whitehead really touches on McKenna-ish and Sheldrake-ian topics about time, consciousness, concrescence and so on. One can really see how and why Terence and Rupert got so influenced by him.

    It amazes me the level of the psychedelic logos that the philosopher was able to come up with. In the 20’s! I truly think this book holds some definitions and descriptions that are fundamental for the shift of paradigm in science, that Terence talked about when he said that the rebirth of the spirit is a myth that has to come through science, since science is practically the most powerful church of them all.

    And the book is soooo online already (although it sure wasn’t two years ago):

  4. Thank you Lorenzo for posting this gem of a talk by Mckenna! You have mentioned the question from time to time, and I have also asked myself: What would be the best McKenna-talk to try to introduce someone to the bard with? I think this is it. Especially if who you’re introducing it to is in some way into science and/or philosophy. A magic browny, his talk, and a trialog with a good portion of Rupert Sheldrake, might be what therapists around the (sufficiently English-accustomed) world aught to prescribe for everyone 🙂

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Although this question is frequently asked, I still don’t have a good answer. I’ve tried to post a few interesting quotes from each talk in the program notes. Perhaps a search of some of those quotes that focus on your friend’s main interests would be a way to choose. Other than that, just turn them on to your own personal favorite talks.]

  5. Hi Lorenzo,

    This looks perfect for where I’m at – thanks for the upload (as always)!

    Do you know what year this is from?

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: This talk was given sometime during the month of June, 1989.]

  6. PS. I’m sorry for having only a gmail account, I hear what you said, but in this end of the world, worrying about the corporate overlords, and the least of our worries.

    But I’ll try to get me something more personal.

    See you around

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I will most definitely make an exception about gmail for you :-). You can reach me via lorenzo(at)matrixmasters(dot)com] ]

  7. Dear Lorenzo,

    Just wanted to say hi and thank you for the podcast.

    Your talk about Minecraft was the encouragement to send this feedback.

    I was curious what the revelation would be after your tease, and hearing it was Minecraft I was gladly surprised, as I have been “bitten” recently.

    I have two small baby girls aged two, that when I “discovered” Minecraft, the thought that came to mind is that: this is a game that I would like to introduce to them.

    The think I like about it is the encouragement of the “maker” mentality. I believe it’s an important stance in life to learn that you can DO, and not be just a passive observer.

    Anyway, I won’t make this too long, I’ll add a little bit about myself, I live in Syria, where I have been living for all of my 38 year on this earth.

    I’m getting to learn little by little about the Psychedelic movement, thanks to you.

    I’m not sure how I came by your podcast, maybe it was mentioned somewhere in Gweek from Boin Boing, or maybe I just search for something about psychedelia after being reminded of it there, I’m not sure.

    Anyway, I’m thankful.

    Thank you again for what you’re doing, and I’m glad I can say: be well my friend!

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Thank you for your comment. I was a little hesitant about mentioning Minecraft, but you have just confirmed my thoughts about it. For almost two years now I have been playing/using Minecraft with two of my granddaughters. They are now 5+ and almost 9. The oldest one got into it via a friend at school. And with the feature that I can “join” her (and now her younger sister also) in one of the worlds that she has created, the three of us are doing that every day instead of watching TV or playing dolls (as much :-). . . . . Perhaps you are in a position to answer this question: I’ve been thinking about the difficult lives so many children now have, whether it is the result of human violence or nature’s violence. Many years ago, when I was a boy, we had pen pals. But today offers something much better. I have no idea how to get this rolling, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if grade-school-age children in the U.S. could connect with Minecraft-pals in places that aren’t as comfortable to live in. But for the time that they both spend “in world”, a world that they have created together, at least for that time they can actually experience what it feels like to create something fun and wonderful. . . . This is kind of rambling, but I think you get the idea. . . . Thanks again for your comment AND for being a fellow saloner!]

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