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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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aka A Psychedelic Point of View
aka A Psychedelic Point of View [Psychedelic Salon Title]
Day June 1989
Location, City, State
Audio Link (Psychedelic Salon)
Well, this is the third, uh, opportunity that I've had to talk to the community at these Wednesday night lectures.Well, I figure we have about 25 years before this information will become completely assimilated into the encroaching consumer society, the leveling of values that seems now to be an inevitable part of the globalizing of society. On one level, it's very good. We recognize ourselves in our enemies and, uh, there’s a commonality of values generated. But, on another level, it's tremendously destructive of novelty and uniqueness. I mean, we’re turning the whole planet into a white bread, mall-shopping culture and the values of every other way of doing things is being subsumed to that.
I talked a lot in these Wednesday night lectures in the section about, uh, the importance of partnership societies in the human past and how the nostalgia for these kinds of social arrangements have driven us throughout our experience of history. Well, it is, uh, nevertheless, true today that in the Amazon and in perhaps in a few other “relic’d” environments, uh, partnership societies exist. Partnership societies thrive and regulate themselves through a relation - a symbiotic relationship - to plants that we call hallucinogenic plant shamanism, but which is actually almost a welding of the social organism into the natural surround in a way that feeds back into the psyches of these people and the structures of their society in a way that is very, uh, very much promotes the conservation of equilibrium - something we have sadly lost touch with. So, it’s very important to preserve, uh, the, uh, options that have been discovered by people over the millennia.
The options that allow a recreation of the, uh, sensory and psychic ratios that characterize the partnership society in contrast to the kind of dominator society that we’ve lived under for such a long - so, it isn’t a matter simplyof preserving plants for medicines; it’s really much more philosophically deep than that - it’s the idea that a, uh, relationship to the vegetable matrix of the planet is what constitutes a, uh, Gaian resurgence. That it is plants that regulate the composition of the atmosphere, the temperatures of the oceans, so forth and so on, and that it is our lack of integration into that system that has precipitated the crisis of toxic 20th century, uh, potlatch civilization. By potlatch -- potlatch was a custom of the Northwest Coast Indians where they would, uh, uh, to show their wealth, destroy huge amounts of material, so that houses would be burned, feathered blankets burned, totem poles burned in the potlatch, in an orgy of destruction which proves your wealth -- and we have assimilated and perfected this custom so that it is second nature to us.
The whole planet is a vast potlatch. We are robbing our children and their children of any sort of recognizable future by, basically, grabbing it all for ourselves. No other society in history has been so callous to human values that it condemned generations unborn of its own, uh, children to live in a, uh, desert. The main thing, I think, that comes out of an effort to formulate a psychedelic point of view - and I take it, this is what we have been involved in - a psychedelic point of view means a point of view which honors consciousness.
Consciousness is seen as the value to be maximized. That’s what we want. We want more consciousness, better integration, better information, better models. Uh, we don’t want to petrify ourselves or commit ourselves to a model that somehow then is found to be obsolete and inadequate. So, what chiefly constitutes the psychedelic point of view, I think, is its open-‐ended and provisional nature as opposed to every other ideology or point of view that's running around. We have to -- what the psychedelic point of view is, it's a kind of cultural relativism. We’re trying to get a grip on who and where we are in the cosmos from a point of view not that of the American consumerist citizen: something else - something larger, deeper, broader, more touched by the cosmic, more touched by a sense of the past and, uh, of destiny.
So, I have said this many times, but I want to say it now in a slightly different context and discuss it. The statement of the British, um, enzymologist, J. B. S. Haldane who discovered enzymes, so he became an enzymologist ‐ a logical move.[audience chuckles] Haldane said, “The world is not only stranger that we suppose; it is stranger than we
suppose.” And this is something that we have not entertained very seriously as a possibility, especially the cheerful characters in the white coats with the clipboards. The assumption has always been that Man’s mind - notice the gender slant - Man’s mind, is, uh, sufficient for the cognition of the cosmos. This is not all that surprising though it is patently idiotic. It is not all that surprising, uh, when you think about the fact that as recently as, let’s say, 1830, people believed the earth was 4,000 years old. As recently as, uh, 1480, the New World was unsuspected to exist or it was suspected by a few wild-eyed mapmakers and mad sailors. But, conventional knowledge held that, you know, the Eurasian landmass in connection with Africa was all that existed.
So, when we look back into our recent past, we discover tremendous epistemic naïveté. That means people didn’t know what was going on. [audience laughs] They weren’t even close. [audience laughs] And yet we are asked to believe that somewhere after Darwin, and before now, it was all figured out. And now, we view the universe from a lofty pinnacle of integrated understanding. Now, the physics explains biology, biology explains culture, culture explains sociology, so forth and so on. Well, uh, you know, this is really whistling past the graveyard because meanwhile the visible consequences of this understanding are: spreading chaos, disillusion of values, an inability to control technology, an inability to set reasonable political goals, such as moderation of population growth and carry them out. Instead, somehow this, uh, deep insight into how everything works has left everything a mess. And, you know, what does that mean about us? Why is that and what can be done about it?
Well, I think the problem is that we have too long ignored the possibility that reality is stranger than we can suppose. I mean, let this reverberate in your mind. Not that -- that means no model will ever work. It means, it will always be provisional. That the understanding of what it is will always recede ahead of any epistemic program to describe, enclose, explain. This is all a -- a fallacy, if you believe that you are embarked on a finite project where eventually you will issue a white paper and that will explain how the boar ate the cabbage. It’s not to be explained. And we have, uh, because of unique characteristics of the male ego, chosen to operate with the assumption that we can understand, that the human mind can in fact ‘grok’ larger and larger levels of embeddedness and make sense of them. What the psychedelic experience, No.1 and point of view, No.2, is saying is that we have the means present, at hand, to completely explode this nonsensical fiction of certitude. And yet, we choose not to confront it. This is why I first proposed calling this, "Facing the Answer" because the answer about how you understand the universe is the same answer that you get when you ask the question: "How am I to understand my own life?"
It can’t be understood. It is a receding mystery. It is a continuing carrot. It cannot be brought under the aegis of rational apprehension. It says in Moby Dick, “reality outran apprehension.” It always outruns apprehension because apprehension is the primitive functioning of the primate neural network. And reality? Who knows? Who would even care to take a guess, you know? It’s a -- it's a mystery. You do not measure the depth of the universal mystery with the neural network of a primate. Our role is not to understand, but to appreciate, to appreciate. We have an immense capacity for resonance with beauty, aesthetic awareness, appreciation of form, appreciation of how things go together. Notice of this word ‐ appreciation. Appreciation. If you don’t know what’s going on at a dinner party, in a corporation in an environment, then the best course is to keep your mouth shut and pay attention and try to appreciate the situation. It’s ridiculous to attempt to seize the tiller of reality because we don’t even know where we want to go.
So, the notion that by creating these models of reality which are not acknowledged as models but which are called scientific truths, we betray ourselves down the primrose path that leads to dreary, dusty death because what we do is take the poetry out of being. We extract the poetry from being by the assumption of the mundane. The "banality of modernity" is what I call this. The banality of modernity. The steady flattening of values so that nothing means much. You know, the sense of outrage over political mistreatment of the underprivileged. Or the sense of outrage of the society slips towards the abyss. Or the sense of outrage when people mistreat you is muted. Everything is flattened by the banality of modernity. This is the heritage of all the bad little boys of the 18th century: Nietzsche, Darwin, Hegel, and Schopenhauer - these clowns were on a bad trip and they were loud about it [audience laughs] and what they give us is a universe devoid of soul. Man looms larger and larger, notice the gender slant. Man looms larger and larger in the picture and what this ushers into is, uh, fascism, pure and simple.
And it's not surprising because this calling forth of the image of Man into larger and larger perspective has been the program of monotheism for 3,000 years. It has been a relentless accentuation of the centrality of the human image ‐ the male dominant human image. And, in the -- in the, uh, transmutation of Hellenistic Judaism that becomes Christianity, the final apotheosis of this, uh, uh, point of view is created in the notion that man can be god. That’s it and it is hailed as a tremendous infusion of existential validity into the human image. The greatest stride -- the greatest single stride ever taken in the definition of human ontology. Well, I would like to suggest to you it was the greatest backward step ever taken because what it did was it shoved Nature further and further into the background. “Nature is something from which we torment her secrets.” This is Francis Bacon. "We torture nature to obtain her secrets." The world is created for Man,; it is for Man to remake into his image – all this gender stuff.
No wonder, that building on that foundation, 19th century rationalism which thought it was putting these things behind it. It conceived itself as anti-‐clerical, as anti-‐monotheism and Christian in some sense. Yet, what it really did was just strip away the Baroque trappings. Hans Jonas was very acute in pointing out that 3rd century Hellenistic Gnosticism and Heideggerian philosophy are essentially the same thing. It’s just that in the - in the Gnostic recension, you know, you get all these sexy things: demons, angels, levels, and the emanation from the Pleroma and the clash of the Archons, opera. Opera.
In the Heideggerian recension, they’ve just gotten down to the nitty-‐gritty, but the message is the same. Man is thrown into the unknown. Man is in the abyss, lost. All meaning must come from within. All order must come from an inner vision. “We are abandoned.” This is Heideggerian language. We are abandoned." Well, this is permission then for pathology because it is a point of view purchased at the cost of ignoring the facts of the matter. And that is, in my definition, is a delusion. A point of view purchased at the expense of the facts of the matter. Whitehead said that there are certain stubborn facts. You can reduce and reduce all you want, but there are certain stubborn facts. Well, one of them is the primacy of Nature, a stubborn fact which was ignored by this tradition.
Once nature is taken as the ground of being then the permission to inflate the image of the ego is denied. And, I think, that this is happening globally, very slowly, under pressure, under duress, because our backs are to the wall. We are seeing a planetary crisis unfold before our eyes and, you know, blame has not yet come into the rhetoric.
But, eventually it's going to be understood who’s to blame and it isn’t the tribesman of New Guinea or the Indians of Siberia; it is western, male, scientific, technological hubris that has claimed center stage like a noisy drunk and then just preceded to hold us all prisoner while it acted out a, uh, a process that is rooted in its own traumatic birth, in the sundering of the symbiotic relationship to the vegetable matrix that characterized, uh, prehistory. Well, so what I’m offering, as a counterpoise to that, is this notion of provisional models. Nature is not mute. This is what Sartre said, "Nature is mute." He was another one of these people who pushed this existential line in one form or another. Nature is not mute. Nature is full of affection and intentionality toward humankind. But, intuition must be given prominence in the -- in the rearrangement of our relationship with the world.
And I talked the other night about induction and intuition and I want to say a little bit more about it tonight. Different things. Science runs on induction which is a very low grade form of logic. It means you do something over and over again and if it happens the same way 100 times, you have confidence that the 101st time, it will happen the same way. Intuition doesn’t work like that. Intuition, as I said the other night, leaves no trail. And most of us are accustomed to thinking of intuition as something feminine, mysterious, unexplainable and, uh, sort of magical. And, also, I think, because we live in a male-‐dominant society, we undervalue it. If someone has it -- claims intuition, our position is probably one of, "Prove it." Doubt in the face of the assertion, you see. But, there' s an interesting thing about intuition that I don’t think many people understand or have bothered to look at which is, did you know? -- I bet you didn't know: mathematics is based on intuition.
Now, half of mathematics would rise with a screech of horror at this statement [audience laughs], but the other half of mathematics calls itself intuitional mathematics. Okay, well now what’s going on here? Probably if you are not a professional philosopher of science, you are accustomed to associating mathematics with science rather closely. This is because science in order to give itself legitimacy has very slyly appropriated mathematics, especially in the 20th century, to its purposes. But, if we talk about what is called pure mathematics which is the great love of mathematicians — the other kind of mathematics is applied mathematics and that's for engineers and technologists and is not, you know, what moves them to the edge of their chair [audience laughs] — but, if we think about, uh, pure mathematics, it is an activity carried on in the mind based on, uh, deductive truth. Deductive, not inductive. In other words, a statement is made. It can be anything." All greys are non-‐X." This is just a statement. We don’t yet know what this is going to be about. "All greys are non-‐X." "All greens are F-‐Sub-‐1". What we’re putting in place are a set of statements that appear nonsensical, but what we will assert is, that we should seek a relationship between them and then that will show us something. And this is how mathematics really works. It has very little to do with number. It has to do with the conceptualizing of relationships, conceptualizing them and then exploring your intuition about these conceptions and then the third and very late stage is you write a formal statement of your cognitive activity around these assumptions.
So, you see, mathematics is entirely intuitional. It leaves no track. It is drawn from this other domain. Well, um, why has it been appropriated by science? Well, for a very funny and not well understood reason. Mathematics has been appropriated by science because mathematics has an uncanny ability to describe nature. Completely uncanny. Now, you may have never asked yourself, why is mathematics such a powerful tool for the description of nature? Maybe you thought that somebody else can answer this and that it’s not a problem. Well, I’ve got news for you. It is a problem. Nobody has any good ideas about why mathematics describes nature. But, notice that mathematics is an intuitional activity. An intuitional activity describes nature, without the intercession of inductive science. Inductive science is a kind of naïve holdover from Greek, um, Democritian theories where everything is conceived of as clearly conceivable and operating according to known laws. But, in fact, the deeper structure of nature is not modeled out of an examination of data obtained by measurement. That isn’t how it works these days. The deeper description of nature is achieved by taking weird objects from the frontiers of mathematics. These things dreamed up in the confines and depths of the human mind and inside computers, and then laying them over nature. And seeing, my gosh! there's a one-to-one correspondence, between let us say – the multidimensional catastrophes described by Rene Tom, and the dripping of a faucet, the turbulence in a brook, the voting patterns in a ghetto. All of these things are seen to be easily modeled by extremely exotic mathematical objects discovered through intuition within the mind. Well, what does this mean?
Well, it means, if it means anything – before we draw the deeper conclusion – what is the conclusion on the surface? It must be that the unaided human mind is more capable of correctly modeling nature than the human mind that works through the methodological inductive approach called Science. And, in fact, this is clearly true because the world described by science, a scientific description of this room, would say very little about all the important things going on in it. A scientific description of this room would leave out personality, would leave out linguistic intent, would leave out the uniqueness of each of us. For science, we are merely members of the human species. Again, this flattening, this reductionism. This betrayal of the quintessence of the phenomenon in a desperate effort to achieve closure in the modeling process. And so, then you do achieve closure, but the model is always inadequate; it's always inadequate. So then there’s this sense of frustration. We can’t -- we can't get closure with the model unless we tell a lie, unless we deny the complexity, the interrelatedness, the soulness, the spiritness, the mindfulness, all of these things are, for science, what are called, uh, secondary properties. They are epi-phenomenal. They are only, uh, an aspect of your point of view like an iridescence on a butterfly’s wing or something like that. In fact, that is the classic reductionist definition of consciousness. It is an iridescence that appears on the surface of neural processing that we mistake for true being. Haha, and yet, somehow we are embedded within this iridescence and it from within this iridescence that we launch the descriptive models that then deny our existential validity. Well, so this has been an animistic exercise, and there must be others.
So, then what is the path of intuition in relationship to nature that is different from the path of science. In a way, it is only a shift of emphasis. William Blake said, "Attend the minute particulars." This is very good advisc for science and it is very good advice for mathematics, and what I’m suggesting here tonight is that we have misconstrued mathematics and have bought the notion that it a part of science when actually it stands ready to empower intuition and to sweep science, if not away, at least, into a more proper role more befitting it’s extremely limited application to the higher orders of reality that we really care about. I mean, science is really -- it's the plumbing level of reality. It doesn’t catch the integrated, you know, the nature of language, the evolution of fairy tale, the dynamics of love affairs, uh, the quintessence of genius. These are the things that, as human beings structure and constellate, and guide and inform our world, and science has nothing to say about these things. Mathematics on the other hand is like the bedrock celebration of these things. It empowers intuition; it discovers intuition to be the most powerful epistemic tool that we have - more powerfiul that induction, more powerful than deduction. Intuition is the unifying of experience into a Gestalt image of the world: a coming together within the organism of a correct imaging of the world. Now, what do I mean by a correct imaging? All I mean is a provisional image that carries you to the next moment. This is all we can hope for at this stage.
We are much more suited for dancing than for whatever it is that we have been doing. You know, whatever it was, it wasn’t dancing. We are a part of nature; we are a part of light; we are a part of the energy field of the planet. We are not its keeper in the sense that, it is not given unto us to understand it. That was all a horrible misunderstanding.The idea that we should understand reality and then somehow make something of it. Alfred North Whitehead said, uh, that ,"Understanding is the apperception of pattern as such." "As such," that’s all – so here we have a room full of people. Well – it’s a pattern, its many patterns. It’s the pattern of how men and women are mixed together statistically as we scan from left to right. If I see a pattern there, I know something about the crowd. I understand something about the crowd. The pattern tells me something and I call that understanding. But we could analyze the crowd from the point of view of the distribution of young people and old people or people in, uh, colors in the red/blue spectrum as according to the yellow/white spectrum. Each one of these things is a way of analyzing the pattern in the room and each one of these patterns tells the perceiver more about what is going on in the room. Because the room is not a distribution of young people and old people, a distribution of men and women, or a distribution of garment colors. The room is a mystery, a recessional mystery, that presents itself as a series of interlocking patterns of infinite depth. And so in building collective epistemologies, this is what we must ask of these epistemologies, that they give us the experience of understanding. And the experience of understanding is largely intuitional.
How much of an experience of understanding, do you have when you examine what you examine what modern physics is saying about the origin of the universe? I submit not much because it is so clearly the product of abstraction. The product of the phonetic alphabet, the male ego, they set all the interesting stuff back in the first three minutes – who can go and look? It’s all stacked against empowering the perceiver.
It's all staked against empowering the perceiver. You can’t even check the statements these people are making unless you happen to have a $125 million colliding bevatron or something, and the understanding to use it, and interpret the results. So, what we have is priesthood, off on the edge of things, propounding great profundities that nowhere touch the heart. Nowhere empower the individual, nowhere strengthen the diade or reinforce the family or give support to the downtrodden. It doesn’t seem to be about that. In other words, the explanation of the world is not a human explanation. A human explanation must come from intuition. It must come from poetry, it must come ultimately from experience and, by experience, I don’t mean, uh, the experimental method of science which is that things are pulled apart, taken down to their lowest common denominator and then described. I mean, if you do -- that’s like believing you understand Los Angeles, if you have the telephone directory, you know. [audience laughs] I mean, this is the level of genetics today. They say they understand life and they have the telephone directory and they're talking about Los Angeles because they can look up where the genes are, the coding for the proteins. Does this tell us anything about a broken heart? Or a messiah. Or a Hitler? I don’t think so.
So, what we are trying to do is return the focus of attention to individual experience. We have been slaved too long to ideology transmitted hierarchically and based on a tremendously alienating instrumentality. That’s what science depends on now: a tremendously alienating instrumentality. What we need to do is empower experience. Well, this is where the psychedelics come in because citizens don’t take psychedelics because it’s illegal. Neither do marionettes, neither do robots. None of these well-‐behaved and mechanistic reductionist images of humanity take psychedelics because it’s misbehaving. Misbehaving is a great sin. In fact, it's enshrined as the first sin. You’ll regard that the psychedelic issue was there in Eden and somebody misbehaved and then they got tossed out forever, and their children’s children into the chaos of history. It’s interesting to read in Genesis why this was; it was because, "They will become as we are," says Yahweh, "They will become as we are if they eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge." I suggest to you that this is precisely what we should seek to do and that this ‘we’ is the voice of hierarchy, the voice of paternalism, the voice of the male ego finally right up into the storm god, the volcano god who lies back there in the origins of monotheism.
We empower our experience by insisting on our authenticity. It is a wonderful thing to learn to be able to stand up and yell, "Bullshit." I did it first when I was about 18 years old and it was the meme of the hour and it held -- it blew their minds; it did blow their minds. It was uncivil [audience laughed]. It lacked polity. It was rude and crude and correct because so much is being slung and nobody is talking about the primacy of experience and the dignity of the individual.The dignity of the individual. We went a long way with this in America before we betrayed it. And it wasn’t only betrayed by the clowns in Washington. It’s also betrayed by anybody who clusters themselves around the feet of some self-‐proclaimed nabob. Because the fact [audience laughs] of the matter is, nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody knows. Nobody has the faintest idea. The best guesses are lies, you may be sure of it. So to pretend that one human being will lead another out of the dark night of ignorance and into the shining light of truth is ludicrous. Absolutely grotesque.
A product of this empowering of the human image that has gone on through several thousand years of dominator culture. If you want a teacher, try a waterfall or a mushroom or a mountain wilderness or a storm-pounded seashore. This is where the action is. It’s not back in the hive; it’s not in the anthill; it’s not knocking your head against the floor in front of somebody who claims that because of their lineage and whose feet they washed and whose feet they washed, that you should give credence to them. Knowledge is provisional and, uh, we are yet to approach the first moment of civilized understanding. The way it is to be done is by trusting yourself, trusting your intuition. Reject authority. Authority is a lie and an abomination. Authority will lead you into ruin. It’s not real and it isn’t – don’t get the idea that it’s this liberal rap about how everybody has a piece of the action. You know, the Jews know something, the Buddhists know something, the Huichol know something. Nonsense! Rubbish! Nody knows anything. These are different kinds of shell games that have been worked out by priestly castes of people to keep things under control. Institutions seek to maximize control. Control. Control. Did you think that they were in the business of enlightening you? Saving your soul? Forget it. Control is what this is all about. And to the degree that we commit ourselves to ideology, we are poisoned. Any ideology -‐ Marxism, Catholicism, Objectivism, you name it. Rubbish – all rubbish. What is real is experience. What is real is this moment and so then what it becomes about – what are the frontiers of experience? How much of that has been taken away from us by these dominators? By these priesthoods, by these cults, by these philosophical shell games. Well – a lot. That’s the whole story of history. Our growing unease, our growing dis-ease. Our malaise is all about the fact that we are kept from the wellspring of experience.
We are sexually repressed, you may not feel it – but look back 100 years to a time when pianos wore pants.You know, maybe we’ve made a little progress on the sexual thing, maybe not. Maybe more or less than we think. But we are repressed in all of these areas. Uh, and we are particularly repressed in the area that relates to the psychedelic experience because it is -- it is Raid to the dominator insect invasion. They can’t take it. They can’t stand it. Because it empowers the individual. It dissolves the cheerful model of science. It’s just exposed as a nice story. It enriches the accessible universe 10 fold, 100 fold, 1000 fold. It makes the individual complete within his or herself, and this completion of the individual is extremely destructive to the plan of the dominators which is that you will be a cog in the machine; you will participate in the life of an organization. Not your life – the life of an organization. You will go to some bullshit job, you will pour the best years of your life and your genius and your hopes into this. You will serve an institution. You will serve, serve, serve, serve.
Well, it’s a bad idea for free people to go a long with this. A much better idea would be to insist on the dignity of human beings. To recognize that the freeing of slaves, the giving of the vote to women, the ending of public whippings, that this program of political enlightenment must also then include hands off on how people want to relate to changing their minds. We are not interested in being sexually regulated by the state and we are not interested in being intellectually, spiritually, emotionally manipulated by the state. The state should stand down in this issue. The state is acting as the enforcing arm of the dominator culture. Specifically, of fundamentalist screwballs who, you know, are horrified by all this, by the notion that people would claim the authenticity of their own minds, that people would stand in the light of nature and reject original sin and the guilt from Eden and, you know, the sins of the fathers, and all this rubbish which is handed down.
What the archaic revival is going to have to mean if it has teeth, is a re-‐empowering of the individual, and a consequent lowering of the profile of institutions, especially government. We need to think about these things because we have bought into the idea that we have to serve and behave and be enslaved, else chaos will engulf the world. We need to carry out our analysis of the situation to the point where we can embrace chaos. And see that chaos is the environment in which we all thrive. That’s how I’ve done it for years. You think I could have lived -- you think I could have gotten away with this in the Soviet Union. I don’t think so. I require a society on the brink of social breakdown to be able to do my work. And I think a society on the brink of social breakdown is the healthiest situation for individuals. I don’t know how many of you have ever had the privilege of being in a society in a pre-‐revolutionary situation, but the cafés stay open all night and there’s music in the streets and you can breath it, you can feel it, and you know what is happening. The dominator is being pushed. It never succeeds. It's never able to claim itself, but on the other hand, history is young. We may have a crack at this. A global society is coming into being. A global society made out of information that was not intended to be ours, but which is ours, through the mistaken invention and distribution of small computers, the printing press, all of this stuff.
Information is power and information has been spilled by the clumsy handling of the cybernetic revolution by the dominator culture in so that it is everywhere. Never has the situation been more fluid. Never have, uh, the opportunities for infiltration, insurrection and hell-raising been more present at hand, but we have to seize the opportunity. We have to seize the opportunity because the world doesn’t have that much more to run unless somebody begins to shake the apple cart. If we don’t begin to shake the apple cart then the apple cart is just going to sail over the cliff and be lost.
So, the psychedelics are very hot in this because they dissolve boundaries. They dissolve assumptions. And our task, "our" being the -- everyone who seeks self-empowerment through experience, our task is to dissolve the assumptions of the dominator culture and make it impossible for it to work. This, I think, is already happening. We have nature on our side, you see. Nature is beginning to kick up, and, you know, it may alarm you that they’re cutting down the Amazon rainforest, but imagine if you were the clown who owns it, how alarmed he is. He sees it as an investment. He thinks he owns it and when he sees that it’s being destroyed, he’s extremely alarmed. The fact that nature is itself being seen as a limited resource is a tremendous tilt to our side because the provisional model psychedelic open-‐ended-partnership way of doing things is uh, the only style that can perhaps seize the controls of this sinking submarine and get it back to the surface, so that we can figure out what should be done.
If we continue, as we have, then, you know, we’re doomed. And the judgment of some higher power on that will be, "They didn’t even struggle. They went to the boxcars with their suitcases and they didn’t even struggle."
This is too nightmarish to contemplate. We’re talking about the fate of a whole planet. Why are people so polite? Why are they so patient? Why are they so forgiving of gangsterism and betrayal? It’s very difficult to understand. I believe it’s because the dominator culture is increasingly more and more sophisticated in its perfection of subliminal mechanisms of control. And I don’t mean anything grandiose and paranoid; I just mean that through press releases and sound bites and the enforced idiocy of television, the drama of a dying world has been turned into a soap opera for most people. And they don’t understand that it’s their story and they will eat it in the final act if somewhere between here and the final act they don’t stand up on their hind legs and howl.
So, this whole, uh, effort to bring the psychedelic experience back into prominence is an effort to empower individuals. And to get them to see that we are bled of our authenticity by vampirish institutions that will never of their own accord leave us alone. There must be a moment when the machinery and the working of the machinery becomes so odious that people are willing to strive forward and throw sand on the track and, uh, force a re-evaluation of the situation. And it’s not done through organizing; its not done through vanguard parties or cadres of intellectual elites; it’s done through just walking away from all of that. Claiming your identity, claiming your vision, your being, your intuition and then acting from that without regret. Cleanly, without regret.
Okay, well, I want to thank you all again not only for this evening, but the month. And, uh, Esalen is a wonderful second home to me and my wife and my children.
I'm very concerned about free speech, freedom of thought, these things are, uh, endangered memes.Esalen has always tolerated and even encouraged me and I think this is extremely laudable and brave.They don't have to do that. Somebody else could sit here and amuse you and it wouldn't cause any ripples. So, I'm very appreciative to Esalen for its commitment to free speech. I'm appreciative to you. This may have outraged some of you. You were noble about it. Civilized dialogue is our last best hope and we must preserve theatres and opportunities for dialogue. The best idea will win. The best idea will win.
Thank you very much.
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Review 1 by: P.C. Lansdown
Review 2 by [admin only]:
Terence’s ideas are free, but his words and works belong to his children and legal heirs. People who wish to use Terence’s words must seek permission through
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