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The Terence McKenna Wiki
words and wit of the alchemical bard
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An Interview By James Kent
Before and Beyond History
Gaia, Eros, and the Archaic Revival
Gaia, Psychedelics, and the Archaic Revival
Having Archaic and Eating it Too
Leprechauns, Elves, or Dead Souls?
Making and Unmaking History and Language
Morphogenic Fields and Psychedelic Experiences
Mushrooms, Sex and Society
Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines
Terence McKenna's Trip
The grammar of ecstasy — The world within the word.
(aka This Counts, Somehow it Matters & A Higher Dimensional Section of Reality)
A Better World (Toward The End Of History)
A Conversation with Terence McKenna and Ram Dass
A Necessary Chaos
A report on crop circles with Abraham and Sheldrake
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27 February 1993
Transmission theater, San Francisco
Alien Dreamtime was a multimedia event recorded live on February 27th 1993
All right. Tonight for your edification and amusement, three raves, two interregnums. Visions by Rose-X. Didgeridoo: Steven Kent, and sound by Spacetime. Words and ideas by Terence McKenna.
The Archaic Revival. History is ending because the dominator culture has led the human species into a blind alley, and as the inevitable chaostrophie approaches, people look for metaphors and answers. Every time a culture gets into trouble it casts itself back into the past looking for the last sane moment it ever knew. And the last sane moment we ever knew was on the plains of Africa 15,000 years ago rocked in the cradle of the Great Horned Mushroom Goddess before history, before standing armies, before slavery and property, before warfare and phonetic alphabets and monotheism, before, before, before. And this is where the future is taking us because the secret faith of the twentieth century is not modernism, the secret faith of the twentieth century is nostalgia for the archaic, nostalgia for the paleolithic, and that gives us body piercing, abstract expressionism, surrealism, jazz, rock-n-roll and catastrophe theory. The 20th century mind is nostalgic for the paradise that once existed on the mushroom dotted plains of Africa where the plant-human symbiosis occurred that pulled us out of the animal body and into the tool-using, culture-making, imagination-exploring creature that we are. And why does this matter? It matters because it shows that the way out is back and that the future is a forward escape into the past. This is what the psychedelic experience means. Its a doorway out of history and into the wiring under the board in eternity. And I tell you this because if the community understands what it is that holds it together the community will be better able to streamline itself for flight into hyperspace because what we need is a new myth, what we need is a new true story that tells us where we're going in the universe and that true story is that the ego is a product of pathology, and when psilocybin is regularly part of the human experience the ego is suppressed and the suppression of the ego means the defeat of the dominators, the materialists, the product peddlers. Psychedelics return us to the inner worth of the self, to the importance of the feeling of immediate experience - and nobody can sell that to you and nobody can buy it from you, so the dominator culture is not interested in the felt presence of immediate experience, but that's what holds the community together. And as we break out of the silly myths of science, and the infantile obsessions of the marketplace what we discover through the psychedelic experience is that in the body, IN THE BODY, there are Niagaras of beauty, alien beauty, alien dimensions that are part of the self, the richest part of life. I think of going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience like going to the grave without ever having sex. It means that you never figured out what it is all about. The mystery is in the body and the way the body works itself into nature. What the Archaic Revival means is shamanism, ecstasy, orgiastic sexuality, and the defeat of the three enemies of the people. And the three enemies of the people are hegemony, monogamy and monotony! And if you get them on the run you have the dominators sweating folks, because that means your getting it all reconnected, and getting it all reconnected means putting aside the idea of separateness and self-definition through thing-fetish. Getting it all connected means tapping into the Gaian mind, and the Gaian mind is what we're calling the psychedelic experience. Its an experience of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet. And without that experience we wander in a desert of bogus ideologies. But with that experience the compass of the self can be set, and that's the idea; figuring out how to reset the compass of the self through community, through ecstatic dance, through psychedelics, sexuality, intelligence, Intelligence. This is what we have to have to make the forward escape into hyperspace.
Alien Love Hello... So that was like an introduction, now for some preaching to the choir on the subject of how come it is that the further in you go the bigger it gets. I remember the very, very first time that I smoked DMT. It was sort of a benchmark you might say, and I remember that this friend of mine that always got there first visited me with this little glass pipe and this stuff which looked like orange mothballs. And since I was a graduate of Dr. Hoffman's I figured there were no surprises. So the only question I asked is, 'How long does it last?' and he said, 'About five minutes.' So I did it and... there was a something, like a flower, like a chrysanthemum in orange and yellow that was sort of spinning, spinning, and then it was like I was pushed from behind and I fell through the chrysanthemum into another place that didn't seem like a state of mind, it seemed like another place. And what was going on in this place aside from the tastefully soffited indirect lighting, and the crawling geometric hallucinations along the domed walls, what was happening was that there were a lot of beings in there, what I call self-transforming machine elves. Sort of like jeweled basketballs all dribbling their way toward me. And if they'd had faces they would have been grinning, but they didn't have faces. And they assured me that they loved me and they told me not to be amazed; not to give way to astonishment. And so I watched them, even though I wondered if maybe I hadn't really done it this time, and what they were doing was they were making objects come into existence by singing them into existence. Objects which looked like Faberge eggs from Mars morphing them- selves with Mandian alphabetical structures. They looked like the concrescence of linguistic intentionality put through a kind of hyper-dimensional transform into three-dimensional space. And these little machines offered themselves to me. And I realized when I looked at them that if I could bring just one of these little trinkets back, nothing would ever be quite the same again. And I wondered, Where Am I? And What Is Going On? It occurred to me that these must be holographic viral projections from an autonomous continuum that was somehow intersecting my own, and then I thought a more elegant explanation would be to take it at face value and realize that I had broken into an ecology of souls. And that somehow I was getting a peek over the other side. Somehow I was finding out that thing that you cheerfully assume you can't find out. But it felt like I was finding out. And it felt.. and then I can't remember what it felt like because the little self-transforming tykes interrupted me and said, 'Don't think about it. Don't think about who you are. Think about doing what we're doing. Do it. Do it now. Do It!!'
Speaking in Tongues And what they meant was use your voice to make an object. And as I understood, I felt a bubble kind of grow inside of me. And I watched these little elf tykes jumping in and out of my chest; they like to do that to reassure you. And they said, 'Do it.' And I felt language rise up in me that was unhooked from English, and I began to speak.. like this, 'Eyo ca dema fla gwa si pipi eng... or words to that effect. And I wondered then what it all meant and why it felt so good if it didn't mean anything. And I thought about it, a few years actually, and I decided that meaning and language are two different things. And that what the alien voice in the psychedelic experience wants to reveal is the syntactical nature of reality. That the real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of you can make of it whatever you wish. And one of the things that I learned about DMT was that if you've ever had it, even just once, then you can have a dream, and in this dream somebody will pull out a little glass pipe, and then it will happen! It will happen just like the real thing. Because there's a button somewhere inside each and every one of us that gives you a look into the other side. And that's the button that resets the compass that tells you where you want to sail. Good luck... Rap 4, Timewave Zero Hello... alright. Have you ever noticed how there's this quality to reality which comes and goes, and kind of ebbs and flows and nobody ever mentions it or has a name for it except some people call it a 'bad hair day' or some people say 'Things are really weird recently.' And I think we never notice it and we never talk about it because we're embedded in a culture that expects us to believe that all times are the same, and that your bank account doesn't fluctuate except according to the vicissitudes of your own existence. In other words, every moment is expected to be the same and yet this isn't what we experience. And so what I noticed was that running through reality is the ebb and flow of novelty. And some days, and some years, and some centuries are very novel indeed, and some ain't. And they come and go on all scales differently, interweaving, resonating. And this is what time seems to be. And Science has overlooked this, this most salient of facts about nature: that nature is a novelty conserving engine. And that from the very first moments of that most improbable big bang, novelty has been conserved because in the very beginning there was only an ocean of energy pouring into the universe. There were no planets, no stars, no molecules, no atoms, no magnetic fields; there was only an ocean of free electrons. And then time passed and the universe cooled and novel structures crystallized out of disorder. First, atoms; atoms of hydrogen and helium aggregating into stars. And at the center of those stars the temperature and the pressure created something which had never been seen before which was fusion. And fusion cooking in the hearts of stars brought forth more novelty: heavy elements - iron, carbon, four-valet carbon. And as time passed there were not only then elementary systems but because of the presence of carbon and the lower temperatures in the universe, molecular structures. And out of molecules come simple subsets of organism. The genetic machinery for transcripting information, aggregating into membranes, always binding novelty, always condensing time, always building and conserving upon complexity, and always faster and faster and faster. And then we come to ourselves. And where do WE fit into all of this. Five million years ago we were an animal of some sort. Where will we be five million years from tonight? What we represent is not a sideshow, or an epiphenomenon, or an ancillary something-or-other on the edge of nowhere. What WE represent is the nexus of concrescent novelty that has been moving itself together, complexifying itself, folding itself in upon itself for billions and billions of years. There is, so far as we know, nothing more advanced than what is sitting behind your eyes. The human neo cortex is the most densely ramified complexified structure in the known universe. We are the cutting edge of organismic transformation of matter in this cosmos. And this has been going on for a while; since the discovery of fire, since the discovery of language. But now, and by now I mean in the last 10,000 years, we've been into something new. Not genetic information, not genetic mutation, not natural selection, but epigenetic activity: writing, theater, poetry, dance, art, tattooing, body piercing and philosophy. And these things have accelerated the ingression into novelty so that we have become an idea excreting force in nature that builds temples, builds cities, builds machines, social engines, plans, and spreads over the Earth, into space, into the micro-physical domain, into the micro-physical domain. We, who five million years ago were animals, can kindle in our deserts and if necessary upon the cities of our enemies the very energy which lights the stars at night. Now, something peculiar is going on here. Something is calling us out of nature and sculpting us in it's own image. And the confrontation with this something is now not so far away. This is what the impending apparent end of everything actually means. It means that the de-no-ma of human history is about to occur and is about to be revealed as a universal process of compressing and expressing novelty that is now going to become so intensified that it is going to flow over into another dimension. You can feel it. You can feel it in your own dreams. You can feel it in your own trips. You can feel that we're approaching the cusp of a catastrophe, and that beyond that cusp we are unrecognizable to ourselves. The wave of novelty that has rolled unbroken since the birth of the universe has now focused and coalesced itself in our species. And if it seems unlikely to you that the world is about to transform itself, then think of it this way: think of a pond, and think of how if the surface of the pond begins to boil - that's the signal that some enormous protean form is about to break the surface of the pond and reveal itself. Human history IS the boiling of the pond surface of ordinary biology. We are flesh which has been caught in the grip of some kind of an attractor that lies ahead of us in time, and that is sculpting us to its ends; speaking to us through psychedelics, through visions, through culture, and technology, consciousness. The language forming capacity in our species is propelling itself forward as though it were going to shed the monkey body and leap into some extra-surreal space that surrounds us, but that we can not currently see. Even the people who run the planet, the World Bank, the IMF, you name it, they know that history is ending. They know by the reports which cross their desks: the disappearance of the ozone hole [?], the toxification of the ocean, the clearing of the rain forests. What this means is that the womb of the planet has reached its finite limits, and that the human species has now, without choice, begun the decent down the birth canal of collective transformation toward something right around the corner and nearly completely unimaginable. And this is where the psychedelic shaman comes is because I believe that what we really contact through psychedelics is a kind of hyperspace. And from that hyperspace we look down on..., we look down on both the past and the future, and we anticipate the end. And a shaman is someone who has seen the end, and therefore is a trickster, because you don't worry if you've seen the end. If you know how it comes out you go back and you take your place in the play, and you let it all roll on without anxiety. This is what boundary dissolution means. It means nothing less than the anticipation of the end state of human history. A return to the archaic mode. A rediscovery of the orgiastic freedom of the African grasslands of 20,000 years ago. A techno-escape forward into a future that looks more like the past than the future because materialism, consumerism, product-fetishism, all of these things will be eliminated and technology will become nanotechnology and disappear from our physical presence. If we have the dream, if we allow the wave of novelty to propel us toward the creativity that is inimitable to the human condition. That's what we're talking about here: psychedelics as a catalyst to the human imagination, psychedelics as a catalyst for language; because what cannot be said, cannot be created by the community. So what we need then is the forced evolution of language. And the way to do that is to go back to the agents that created language in the very first place. And that means the psychedelic plants, the Gaian Logos, and the mysterious, beckoning, extraterrestrial minds beyond. Hooking ourselves back up in to the Chakras of the hierarchy of nature, turning ourselves over to the mind of the total other that created us and brought us forth out of animal organization. We are somehow part of the planetary destiny. How well we do determines how well the experiment of life on Earth does, because we have become the cutting edge of that experiment, we define it, and we hold in our hands the power to make or to break it. This is not a dress rehearsal for the apocalypse. This is not a pseudo-millennium. This is the real thing folks. This is not a test. This is the last chance before things become so dissipated that there is no chance for cohesiveness. We can use the calender as a club. We can make the millennium an occasion for establishing an authentic human civilization, overcoming the dominator paradigm, dissolving boundaries through psychedelics, recreating a sexuality not based on monotheism, monogamy and monotony. We.. All these things are possible if we can understand the overarching metaphor which holds it together which is the celebration of mind as play, the celebration of love as a genuine social value in the community. This is what they have suppressed so long. This is why they are so afraid of the psychedelics, because they understand that once you touch the inner core of your own and someone else's being you can't be led into thing-fetishes and consumerism. The message of psychedelics is that culture can be re-engineered as a set of emotional values rather than products. This is terrifying news. And if we are able to make this point then we can pull back, we can pull back and we can transcend. Nine times in the last million years the ice has ground south from the poles pushing human populations ahead of it and those people didn't fuck up. Why should we then? We are all survivors. We are the inheritors of a million years of striving for the unspeakable. And now with the engines of technology in our hands we ought to be able to reach out and actually exteriorize the human soul at the end of time, invoke it into existence like a UFO and open the violet doorway into hyperspace and walk through it, out of profane history and into the world beyond the grave, beyond shamanism, beyond the end of history, into the galactic millennium that has beckoned to us for millions of years across space and time. This is the moment. A planet brings forth an opportunity like this only once in its lifetime, and we are ready, and we are poised. And as a community we are ready to move into it, to claim it, to make it our own. It's there. Go for it, and thank you.
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