Podcast 546 – “Insanity”


Become a patron on Patreon

Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


Date this lecture was recorded: August 27, 1992

[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna

“What I’m always afraid of is that I’ll be ostracized, except that it will be entirely deserved. . . . Disgraced! . . . Did you hear how this guy ended up?”

“Even as it is, I’m practically a ‘Repent! The end is nigh!’ person. . . . [The Timewave] is basically ‘the end is nigh’ rap of some sort.”

“From the point of view of the 19th Century, we don’t have to worry about madness. We are mad, every last one of us.”


PCs – Right click, select option
Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

Transcripts of Terence McKenna talks

Posted in Consciousness, Culture, LSD, Psychedelics, Schizophrenia, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. What an excellent source of information on Terence McKenna this is. As a student this archive is going to really help me with my project so much gratitude to the uploader. Another very good source of information on Terence McKenna can be found at this website terencemckenna.co

  2. Terence expresses concern here that a fall into insanity on his part could “disgrace everything” toward destroying the reputation he’d developed and thereby invalidating his work.

    Interestingly, I heard him express this exact concern in a 1999 interview using almost the same words relating to how his brain tumor could have the same effect – “Look what happened to this guy!”

    Perhaps notably, I think I remember him saying in interview a year or two earlier that he spent about “7 hours a day” on the internet at that time. I’ve sometimes wondered if he may have been using an old tube monitor in those days, for how long he’d done so in terms of months or years (with the internet having gone full throttle only a few years before), and whether it’s ever been speculated this could have caused the tumor rather than it having had anything to do with psychedelic use. Anyone have any idea about that?

    Also, a couple references to psychiatry suggesting Terence believes it’s shortcomings are attributable to misguided efforts despite good intentions or simply lack of resources to achieve what he would deem an appropriate response to “insanity”, suggests he may have had more faith or hope in the institution than I presently do. I think it may have too extensively become a mechanism for serving and protecting consensus reality in whatever time and place it’s operating to ever be redeemed or wrested away toward better purposes Terence might envision. And I’ve had experience with overwhelming mystical states as well as psychiatric responses to it. Learning to “keep your mouth shut” in a situation like that is a good idea if at all possible, with sights toward finding like-minded people later more capable of empathizing.

    As said, this was an especially good talk – more like a quiet late night conversation in the living room than the usual ambiance of a lecture hall.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I’m glad that you pointed out the amount of time that Terence spent on the Net. His connection was through a HUGE Army surplus dish that was on the roof directly over him. He also spent a LOT of time on his big old cell phone. I’m convinced that at least part of his brain tumor was due to all of the strong electronic radiation he subjected himself to.]

  3. Lorenzo! Happy Birthday!
    This was an especially great talk. I wish there were more like this! This is Terrence being vulnerable, then admitting glaring ignorance of the subject he has made a living being an expert on. Then allowing the people around him, guide him to a place of wisdom.
    This is the REAL stuff.
    If there was a podcast that primarily dealt with these issues, I’m there!

    There is an ocean of turmoil and horror that is our mind turned inside out by psychedelics. It seems to be more common than is admitted by the “psychedelic community”. How do we get evolve through all that and then breakthrough to the Sasha Shulgin “level four” state of consciousness. There needs to be more detailed discussion of this.
    How many times have we heard “I’ve learned all that can be learned from psychedelics”, from people who obviously have barely scratched the surface.

  4. Happy birthday Lorenzo!
    Thanks for sharing this unique talk by the great bard. It had a different vibe than most of his talks, much more intimate and personal.

  5. great, great episode! That was one of the most honest talks I heard of Terrence.

    I think you nailed it with your comment that maybe you are just getting ‘overly cautious’.

    Altough being cautious is just basic common sense when using psychedelics (or at least it should be), I feel that as we are getting older, often we have to deal with an increase in responsabilities (kids, job, paying the bills, etc…) . This in turn makes a deep experience more difficult as we have all those worldly things attached to us like glue, and it can be hard to let go of them completely. More responsabilites = more fears

    Sometimes I feel that all those informations you find online are a double edged sword: yes, it helps to prepare you for the experience (harm reduction), but can anything realy prepare you for say, a DMT experience? I don’t think so. On the other hand all those writings and musings and forum posts all influence our personal experiences and expectations.

    This is what made those experiences from the 60’s so powerful I think. Not only the higher standard doses of the acid, but also the novelty of the experience.

    All the best,


Comments are closed.