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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 Monogamy, Marriage, and Neurosis
aka Monogamy, Marriage, and Neurosis
Day February 1994
Location, City, State
Audio Link (Psychedelic Salon)
[Audience] - Can you maybe briefly go into what your model for how sexual relationships would be in a society? If you had an ideal, how would you setup sexual interactions? Would you do away with marriage? How would you do it?
Well, that’s an interesting question. Uh, certainly because -- I mean, in my own life, I’ve gone from incredibly traditional arrangements: long marriage, monogamy, um. In my early psychosexual existence, it was very mainstream in that it was driven by the archetypes of Hollywood. Like, I was always amused – well, not amused – puzzled by the concept of casual sex, couldn’t exactly put those two concepts together because for me every relationship I ever had was, you know, Galahad approaching the Grail or something. Then I got married and I was married for a long time and then my marriage ended and, uh, so, I’ve been single for a number of years. So, I have thought about this. I don’t have a prescription but I’ll tell you how I think about it.
Um, it's -- my approach to everything tends to be mathematical in order to not miss any of the cases. You just work through the exhaustive set and try to understand it like that. Okay, so, the exhaustive set is first of all, you can be single and celibate. This, uh, is out of the question for me. [Audience laughs] I mean, in this area, all you have to do is answer the question for yourself. So, while there may be those brave and, uh, ether highly motivated or completely neurotic or God inspired – who knows? – people, who can be celibate, I don’t think I’m one of them. And, I think the I-Ching inveighs against a kind of, uh, 'sterile’ it says. It says ideas not fertilized by friends or something like that. Two then, moving through the numerical arrangements, the post reformation, postindustrial solution is the nuclear family, which I’ve attacked at times in the past. Um, it is not a traditional social unit. It’s less than 250 years old. This is the man, the wife and the two children. The traditional social unit is a very large extended family of cousins, sisters, brothers-in-laws, children, elders. This nuclear family thing is, I think, part of the root of our problem. It is an engine for the production of neurotic dysfunctional people.
And, you know, the entire industry of psychotherapy is based around trying to straighten out what was done to people by their family and trying to get them to them to stop doing equally horrible things to the people within their family structure. And, uh, it’s an artifact of capitalism. It does not serve human needs; it serves the needs of the engines of capital and it is also based on paranoia. I mean, monogamy in all forms is based on extraordinary anxiety; uh, male anxiety about the behavior of females. And, it also denigrates females to the levels of property because they have to be controlled and so forth and so on. So, I conclude from that that certainly marriage doesn’t seem to work and that high levels of divorce and all that seem to support that. Marriage is, I think -- part of what has gone on since the industrial revolution is called what’s called forced social neoteny.
Neoteny is the phenomenon of maintaining juvenile characteristics into adulthood, and, uh, marriage is a kind of neotenous schizura in life’s development where you’re just about to cross the great bridge into adulthood and then it says, ‘Last exit before authentic responsibility – Get married!’ And, so, people leave the great freeway of life and they get married and they form this ‘you and me against the world’, us back to back, this basically paranoid unit and they set off then to acquire houses in the south of France and little Meraux etchings and stuff like that.[Audience laughs] And, then it ends in great unhappiness and bitterness usually, and people say they wasted their time and they weren’t understood and so forth and so on. So, two doesn’t work, I conclude, uh, in this monogamous thing.
So then we come now to the flashy possibilities. The culture, the sub-culture in pornography, fashion and the advanced sectors of our society, meaning the people who edit interview magazines – or, I don’t know, something. The subliminal message there is that three is far out. A
ménage à trois
of some sort and that if you get into a relationship like this, you’re really stretching the envelopment and are quite avant-garde and a growth opportunity and so forth and so on. My analysis of this is that it is actually, um, a male dominator fantasy of some sort. That, it has a sadomasochistic, um, flavor to it because what you have are two women who are somehow inevitably in competition, inevitably judged – male value judgments are happening. It’s, uh, sick it seems to me, or suspect - let’s put it that way. I don’t want to trod on anybody’s arrangement. [Audience laughs]
So then -- here then is where I was left with this and then I won’t take it any further. That an interesting social arrangement is the three-one arrangement. It’s almost in some sense fair and it is, uh, amoeboid. No one can control it. It’s too complicated. And, I don’t think it’s a male fantasy. I think if you suggest to most males that they should enter a simultaneous relationship with three women that there is a constriction because it’s, uh, over-challenging. But that, in fact, if we’re talking about future arrangements that completely replace the ordinary family then one thing that would work, I think, are these three-one relationships with a periphery of children around them and 75% of those children are female. Because I think, built into this ‘one women-one child’ thing, is this concept that male birth should be reduced and that there should be far less males in the society and that is the way to change the ratio of the functions being expressed. What we need is more nurturing. We need more maternalism. The way to do that is to get more maternal people and since most maternal people seem to be female, this kind of social engineering could be done.
This is like a fantasy in answer to your question because, of course, none of this will be done because it will be leaped on by hysterical fundamentalists and denounced as Satan’s work and so forth. But, I think the dynamic of three to one is an interesting one. In a sense, following Camille Paglia and that kind of rhetoric, what we’re saying here is that if guys really got as much sex as they think they want, they would probably hand over the machinery of civilization without a fight. [Audience laughs] So, it’s like, ‘you want it, here it is.’
[Audience] – Isn’t this why prostitution is illegal?
Why? Make it make sense to me.
[Audience] – Because males would spend all of their energy, all of their resources, buying sex.
Well, but the fact that it’s illegal doesn’t make it non-existent.Um, I -- I don’t know.
[Audience] – But it’s very tightly controlled by males.
We have to have strategies for reducing male dominance and, uh. And, we have to have strategies for advancing females, but we can’t tromp on anybody living. So, obviously, then what we have to do are twiddle the demographic dials. We have to control birth rates overall then we have to control the sexual ratio of birth rates. And then -- I just don’t think the monogamous marriage and the family unit -- it’s really dysfunctional. And, I came up with this three-one thing because I also don’t see us returning to the, uh, traditional extended family of many relatives and generations of people because modern transportation makes that impossible. So, a family based on genetic relationships doesn’t seem to me possible. But, what does seem possible is, uh, social cohesion based on erotic attachment. Uh, and, and that’s what this three-one thing and then the constellation of people around it would be. Yeah.
[Audience] – What kind of feedback are you getting from females about that kind of thing? It sounds more like a male fantasy than a female fantasy perhaps the three-one...
Well, I suppose to be absolutely fair, female fantasies might involve more males, but that’s not allowed. We have enough. [Audience laughs]
[Audience] - Why is it not allowed?
Because the over-expression of this dominator tendency is what's running us to rack and ruin. We’re not trying to create these social arrangements for the titillation of one sex or the other; we’re in a sinking submarine for Christ's sake. We’re trying to sort this out so that we
, you know, and then hanky-panky later.
[Audience] – Can you mention love or is that outside of the whole thing? Does that cloud the issue?
No, I don’t think that [audience laughs] clouds the issue. You mean, that you imagination that love can only go on in this dyadic situation?
Well, I don’t know. I mean, I think that love…the thing I like about this three-one thing is that it’s inherently kind of unstable. You can tell that the energy will never settle. That it -- what happens with a lot of marriages and even extended relationships is: people come together, there’s all kinds of excitement, they negotiate the arrangement, they get the negotiations taken care of and then everything goes stale as the contract is acted out. If there were never any stability, if it kept changing all the time, then keeping track of this complex, quadripartite relationship would be a full-time task. It would almost replace your job as what? [Terence laughs] Jeffrey.
[Audience] – This isn’t going to work. The women would kick the men out in no time at all because they get on much better with each other than the average man.
Well that’s why the man has to be inspired to achieve indispensability.
[Audience] – But Terence what’s different between that, getting the men to fork over the goods for sex. It seems like it’s as old as Cleopatra.
No way and I don’t understand. How did goods enter into it?
[Audience] – I’m sorry, I thought you said that this was a way for the women to get the men to handle over the controls by offering them sex but it seems to me that’s been tried. We see tycoons with beautiful women at their side. Isn’t this the only way that women were allowed to compete to get the men to do what they wanted – through sex? This doesn't sound very new to me.
Well, I think we’re talking about a new kind of woman. We’re not talking about submissive, slave-like property. We’re talking about independent, educated, financially independent professionals. It would be, I'm sure, a phenomenon of the high-tech industrial democracies. It’s weird to talk about this but, on the other hand, you have two choices: you can either propose something that sounds outlandish or you can stick with what we’ve got because what we’ve got, we’ve had so long that anything else would sound outlandish.And, in the messy business of life, what really happens is that it’s sort of all kinds of things…come and go, gel and dissolve and work themselves out under the aegis of all kinds of pressures – economic, epidemiological, psychological, driven by images of media and, you know, self worth fads. Yeah?
Well I was thinking of this earlier today for some reason. I was thinking that - I don’t know why I was thinking this - but I was thinking that sex is so intrinsically a mental activity that the amazing thing is that it’s kept in the body at all. And that normally, this equation is turned upside down and people say, "Well, it’s so intrinsically of the body," but the fact that phone sex can be a nine billion dollar a year industry is telling us something about how erotic sensitivity is distributed through the network of the civilization.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a pity that it’s linked so closely to biology. This is why the cult of sexiness is something very different and very modern than the cult of procreation obsession. I mean, sexiness is something probably invented post-1850 and it’s flash, is all it is. It’s the permeating erotic sensitivity that characterizes modern civilization – in billboards, in advertising, in the constant assault of visual images. I mean, I really notice this when I go up the Amazon because there’s no calendars, there's no girly pictures, nothing. Then when you get back to Iquitos, you just realize, you know, that what civilization is - is an ocean of explicit erotic imagery that keeps us all in a state of probably willingness to consume stuff, you know. It’s a stimulant like caffeine, but it’s a sexual stimulant.
That’s right. Like bisexuality, which is a characteristic of feminine psychology. In this society, I think is directed related to the rise of modern advertising. There was no reason to reinforce that before 1850 or so and then you see this emerging.
[Audience] – Do you think that virtual will make it worse?
Well I don’t know. I suppose there is a raging debate about pornography. There’s a raging debate about everything.
[Audience] – What about pornography directed towards women and children?
Ah, pornography toward women and children. Well, I make a distinction between…oh god, now do we want to go off into this?
[Audience] – I’m sorry, I take that back.
Camille Paglia asked a very interesting question to which I don’t have the answer and I don’t even think we need to discuss it. But, I think everybody should think about it. And the question was: you know, can sexual liberation end anywhere but in sadomasochism? And, that’s a very interesting question.
[Audience] – Sure it can!
Sure it can? She said maybe not. I don’t know. I don’t want to mud wrestle over it. But, uh -- what do we think about this? For instance, aggression toward women. Um, what do we think of aggression toward women that is acted out and no women are actually abused? And, this is where the pornography thing comes in. Is it subliminal? Is it a cause or a substitute? If it’s a substitute, surely we must agree that it’s a good thing. Bu,t if it’s a cause, we must surely agree it’s a bad thing. Or is it both? Um, I don’t have burning opinions about all this. I’m a first amendment guy right down the line and just take a position that nothing should be restricted by government. lThat there -- whatever the means by which the memes are sorted out, it should not be the wisdom of a benevolent government telling us what kind of images, uh, we should have.
The tough one is images, you know, of pain and abuse, images of psychological degradation. I don’t know exactly what to do about that. You know, if you go back to the roots of western civilization and read Plato’s
, Plato was very suspicious of the poets and did not think those people should be allowed to just run untrammeled over the landscape. Uh, you know, here at Esalen, a great deal of time and effort has been expended to establish the medical concept that there are healing images. You know, Stan’s work, some of Michael Murphy’s work, some of the continuum work. Healing images are an article of faith around here. I believe it, but has anybody stopped to notice that if there are healing images, there are sickening images. Well then, so, uh, if you have tuberculosis, we don’t say you have a right to mingle with the rest of us, or if you have some other contagious, rampantly contagious disease. Well, so then if you’re carrying a meme that is toxic, do your first amendment rights exceed the mental health rights of the majority?
This is a nightmare issue to discuss because I heard a discussion on talk radio and someone was inveighing against
Silence of the Lambs
and saying it caused psychotic behavior. Somebody else called in and said, "Well, if you want to ban books that cause psychotic behavior, I think you better start with the Bible; it’s caused more psychotic behavior among more people than any other book in history." Certainly true, but we’re not obviously going to do that. But, what is the relationship to toxic information? And, psychedelic people can take a more cutting edge role on this because we know the danger of toxic information because if you encounter some in your trip, it can really throw you for a loop. Yeah.
[Audience] – I think it comes down to integrating with shadows. If you don’t integrate the shadow, it becomes very toxic. So, we got to deal with our full humanity, but so far what I know, we haven’t. I mean, I grew up in the most neurotic country in recent history and, of course, the United States is catching up fast. I was born in Germany in ’75 and I had this feeling when I grew up. God, what is that around us? I had no words for it. I was just horrified. I never wanted to grow up like this. Then I, you know, end up in America and now it’s going to be like being German twice!
[Terence laughs[ Bad luck for you! Ha! Terrible choices.
[Audience] – But it’s more comfortable than Germany.
[Audience] - But doesn’t it lead you right back to psychedelics again. If you want to straighten all this stuff up, you’ve got to start with the brain and you’ve got to start with…
Yeah, although a question that interests me since, you know, I’ve been roughly doing workshops like this since 1983 and, you know, I’ve gotten to know everybody in the psychedelic movement and all the personalities and shakers and so forth and so on, and many of you in this room I’ve known for years and years, and a question that’s interesting to me is: you know, like everybody else on some ideological bender, eventually we’re going to have to answer to, uh, the bar of public opinion. What is so great about our thing? Or are we just like Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Rajneeshees or something – we have this wonderful thing that we’re just convinced is the holy grail, and yet if you’re not part of our little clique, it just looks like a bunch of deluded lost souls reinforcing each other’s belief in some alchemical nostrum that…you know? So, I’m interested in the moral consequences of taking psychedelics. Uh, time is passing. Is the meme breaking loose? Is it a positive meme? Do people behave better to each other? Do they perform acts of charity or whatever, acts of creativity? Or is it good for the individual but inconsequential in its affects on society.
In other words, that when the final catastrophe comes, you will meet it with great humor, equanimity, uh, understanding because your psychedelic training has taught you to take it all with a grain of salt [audience laughs], but nevertheless, you know, the sludge will sweep over and all will be lost and you just went down without whining or complaining. Uh, I don’t know. The thing that is so amazing about the psychedelics is how close to the surface the, um, state lies and yet how dramatically different from ordinary consciousness it is. It is dramatically different and it lies very, very close to the surface. This is why it’s, you know, possible to suggest it’s just a one or two gene mutation away in the neurochemistry and then you would be able to slip into these places. I mean, thinking, what is thinking? Reverie? Where in the animal phylogeny does it begin and how intense is it: uh, mental behaviors with the internal contemplation of language. How broadly based are these behaviors? How many different kinds of them are there? We don’t know. We don’t even have a vocabulary for this kind of thing. Yes, you wanted to say something.
[Audience] – Just an observation after twenty years of studying and experimenting with psychedelics is that one of the things that they do is that they allow a person (this is assuming that we’re not thinking the thoughts, that we are [indecipherable]) and if you do psychedelics, you get to a state where you are beyond thinking. You step aside and there's a common denominator that a lot people, yogis and [indecipherable]. In history, we can’t really change anybody, but ourselves, and by changing ourselves, we can change everything. And that, um -- what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen in the future? If every person can work on being 100% conscious in the moment, that’s where all the magic happens, that’s where all the miracles happen. It’s being 100% here, focused, and by doing that, then whatever is happening, you’re able to be part of a solution instead of part of an illusion. So, we’re really blessed to have really good psychedelics and being able to spend time that not many people have experimenting with them. And that the gift is to be an example of what…[indecipherable]…and our child can grow up to be conscious. [Applause]
Yeah, one way to think of it is what you call 100% aware – is to just strive for appropriate activity. That, if everyone in this room were to suddenly begin behaving completely appropriately, it would immediately change the context of things and set the stage for further appropriate behavior. And, this would be like a cascade of appropriateness. I mean, enlightenment need be nothing more than tha,t I think. Yeah.
[Audience] – Now we’re just getting into that area almost like religion. What you just said – it sounds like somebody behind a pulpit. It’s really close to that but it’s good.
Well let’s hope it’s not too close to that.
[Audience] – It’s contagious coherence.
Well, appropriate activity. I mean, is somebody going to speak up for inappropriate activity? It’s a winning concept.
[Audience] – But the inappropriate activity is rampant already as it is. That’s pretty obvious.
Yeah, well, inappropriate activity stems from bad communication – bad message transfer. No, there should be some kind of maximum energy solution in any given situation that everybody can relate to. I mean, once when I was in the Amazon I discovered a sense that I didn’t know people had. On psychedelics, I discovered this sense. And, it’s an internal desk accessory which allows you to calculate the least energetic path between two points. Not the shortest distance, but the path of least effort between any two points. It has to do with following ridge edges. And, I just discovered this ability in myself and it’s real. And, I’m sure it was very important for primitive people before history. And, who knows how many of these kinds of talents, abilities, and behaviors… because they’re software programs, which when they become inappropriate, they just fade away. And yet, you know, the hardware is perfectly capable of running these programs. Yeah.
[Audience] – I wanted to just harken back to this thing that we started out with. In the dichotomy between history and Eros - you say that within history is a kind of built in end-point that you can sense. So, does that mean that the end of history is a dissolution into Eros? Is that the conclusion that you draw from that?
I guess it is the conclusion that I draw from it. I mean, that finally when language fails, as it surely must, then there will be love. Love is, um -- lies beyond all that. So, you can only take ratiocination so far. You can only model the thing so much. That’s why always in these wild far flung schemes of modeling the end of history and the end of time and everything, the fracto key is one’s own experience. The feeling of death, the feeling of love – these things can be extrapolated to universal proportion. Everybody gives, um, currency to the idea that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, right? Everybody knows what this means, correct? Ah! It’s simple. It means that the fetus in the womb, the ontology, recapitulates the phylogeny – it means that the fetus in the womb goes through all the stages of evolution. It begins as a single celled creature. It becomes like a fish. It becomes an amphibian. It changes into a mammal. It changes into a primate. It changes into a human being. But nobody even then takes the process further and says, "Well what we’ve learned by observing this, we can learn more from further extending the process." The person in the womb, now a complete person, is born and then they have a life, and then they die. So if ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, then the entire answer to how does the world work and what is it, is contained in looking at the fracto substructure of an individual history from conception to death. And, uh...
[Audience] – What you’re talking about is the body. There is considerable difference of opinion as to whether a consciousness dies or not, or whether some physical transmutation takes place beyond living in this plane that we can perceive.
Sure. No, right. There’s no certitude about that question by looking at that process. But everybody, you can see that for each of us as individuals, the thing ends in death, which is a big question mark. So then as a society, we should not be surprised that there is built into the superstructure of society this same kind of dissolving. Uh, it appears to happen even when there is no real good reason for it. Like, for instance, with the Maya. I mean, their civilization collapsed basically just because they were stupid. In other words, they got bad habits. There was no external pressure on them. They just made stupid mistakes and then the whole thing came apart. Uh, we could be in a similar situation.
But, to your question about how nobody knows what lies beyond death, nobody knows who is using the sanctioned tools of scientific investigation. But, if you go next door to the shamans, they claim all kinds of information on this question. They claim, essentially, a technology for accessing an ecology of souls – where a great deal of power for potentially good or evil lies as a reservoir that can be brought across by certain kinds of practices and activities. Now, science says that that’s malarkey, but science says that the primary datum in support of that contention, which is the psychedelic experience, is also malarkey. And you can satisfy yourself that the psychedelic experience is, in fact, an ordered, uh, perspective on something coherent, simply by having that experience.
So, you, little old you, can satisfy yourself that science is not dealing from the top of the deck on this question of the content and meaning of the psychedelic experience. And, I feel like maybe the big news, the truly jaw-dropping news that will come out of all this re-exploration of the archaic and shamanism and hallucinogenic plants and so forth and so on – is a mapping of this realm of souls. That what we are actually on the verge of securing is that there is something that survives the physical organism and it’s hard to tell what it is because, you know, essentially, we’re at the stage with this where people were with electricity in 1700. Uh, we have yet to build the technologies, establish the standards and create the vocabulary for talking about this. But, if the task of Western epistemology is to integrate all knowledge into its sway then shamanism and the experiences of shamanism have to be brought into the metaphor. I think what this may, in fact, secure is that biology is the platform for establishing some more, um, hyper-dimensional structure that survives. Yeah, no. Yes. Stretching?
[Audience] – And therefore the cultural then?
It may be, you see, that in fact what the most pessimistic among us believe is happening is happening. In fact, there’s no way out. That, in fact, we’re all going to die. Then the question becomes, what is that? What does it mean, you know? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Uh, Borgias had a story where the entelechy of the species could not move on until the last member of the species became extinct. There is some kind of relationship to mind across this barrier. Or, shamans have chosen to interpret a nearby, non-physical species of life as somehow related to the human after-death. And, why that should be and why that error should persist of fifty or one thousand years is not clear either? I said earlier today, science precedes with the simple cases first. You know, what is a marble rolling down a slope, so forth and so on? But, the complex question – what is my perception of my being – what is the nature of the inner dialogue that describes the ontos of being – this is a very, very complicated question. It takes 2000 years of preparing the epistemic ground before you can even reasonably ask the question.
[Audience] – Why do you suppose…your talking about us all dying as a species, or all dying as a civilization. We don’t like the fact that we’re going to die as individuals but somehow we grudgingly accept that and we create a lot of literature and congress around it. Why is the idea that we’re all going to die as a species so much worse? Um, and, and...
Well, because I think probably as a species we’re more neurotic than our individual members. We’re pretty hysterical about this. We’re not talking the news well that the doctor is handing out, you know...
[Audience] – But as a culture, maybe something lives on?
Something lives on? Yes, we’ve talked about this in the past in terms simply of technological innovation. For instance if the technology of time travel were to be created, historicity would end. Uh, the linear serial unfolding of events would become an epoch, that lasted from 10,000 BC to 1998, or something. And then following the epoch of serial moments came the epoch of non-serial moments. The epoch of simultaneity, in which people choose where to live in time the way they choose to live in space now. Yeah.
[Audience] – Well, uh, Eros?
Achieved through a knitting together. Everything that is, is an anticipation of what will be. Uh, being is growing more nascent or something. Th, there is this appetite for becoming that everything is striving for manifestation. Somehow what this boils down to mathematically is that all points seek co-tangency which means that in terms of dimensionality, the phase space of description is collapsing and all the points within it are becoming co-tangent. Uh, the 16th century anticipated this in the form of the philosopher’s stone, you know – the alchemical quintessence, the lapis. It’s a zone of space-time that is a singularity. It’s where matter and imagination exchange clothing, and matter behaves at though it is imagination and imagination behaves as though it is a material physics.
[Audience] – Ok, that’s really eloquent. It’s like breaking the sound barrier for the first time. Before we broke the sound barrier we didn’t know what that was going to be like. So, when we did it the first time, we have this glass afterwards. You break through, it shakes but then afterwards it’s fine.
Well, you know, one of these little aphorisms that the mushroom handed out was, "History is the shockwave of eschatology." What that means is, as the species mind approaches the eschaton, what is called queue in engineering circles, uh, vibration begins to build up along the leading edges of the social vehicle. And, uh, as it approaches the eschaton, this queue force builds and this is where we are. We’re literally having our teeth shaken out as the historical bowshock of encountering the eschaton builds. If we can redesign the culture fast enough, the airframe of culture, then we can create an airfoil that will distribute the queue and we will just slide through. If we can’t do that then our airfoil will be ripped to pieces and we will, you know, back to the drawing board.
[Audience] – That abyss we talked about. First of all, will we all go together or will some people be on this side?
No, I think it’s a temporal moment of embedded novelty. Um, they’ve come and they’ve gone, but this is a critical one because it sets the stage. You know, it’s the summation of everything that has happened and it’s an anticipation of everything that will follow. It is that history is a kind of psychedelic trip. It’s a kind of alchemical, um, distillation of the quintessence. And that the stuff generated out of the alembic of history is this trans-dimensional, cyber, electric, um, literalization of the imagination.You know, James Joyce said man will be 'dirgible.’ What he meant was that the raw stuff of the unconscious will be downloaded into shimmering silicon and the protean child will be born out of the chaos of history; something like that.
[Audience] – You’re taking a chance.
Well, the other thing is – a lot of what is called neurosis, or what is called less technically, unhappiness, is, actually, I think, caused by performance failure that is ultimately sort of physical. In other words, a person who is not working at their physical optimum will be mentally depressed but it’s crazy to look for childhood trauma or something that lies behind that because the cause of the depression is physiological, not psychological. So, um, well, if you can take a pill and your depression goes away and your performance improves, psychotherapy is not indicated in that case I would think. Well, if you delay it long enough, it’s solved.
[Terence laughs; Audience laughs]
I’ve always felt that tabling is a great solution for all kinds of problems.
How does the Time Wave apply to the individual life?
Do we speed up when we get older?
It’s a truism to say that the older you are, the faster time moves. When you’re seven, a year takes forever. When your 77, they just rush past like pages falling from the calendar. Astrology went through a crisis several hundred years ago where under the emergence under a new class of wealthy people, there became a demand for personal horoscopes. And so, astrology reconfigured its toolkit to be able to provide that. I’m not very interested in individual time waves. I don’t even have my own readily accessible, but what you can do is you can take your birth date and add to it one full cycle which is 67 years, 104.25 days, and set that as an end date and then you do get good correlation between your life and the wave. A way to think about how this relates to the general Time Wave, it’s that the general Time Wave is simply the average of all the little time waves. In other words, it’s additive. So, obviously, we all are at different places in our time wave, otherwise when I’m happy, you’d be happy. And, when I lose money, you’d lose money and it doesn’t work that way. Some people are miserable in the presence of other people’s joy, often causally related. [Audience laughs] Obviously, these people are at different places in the cycle. Yeah.
[Audience] – Would you like to say anything about 2CB since we were talking about drugs. A more general sort of political question: you obviously act as a very strong advocate for psychedelic drugs, has this attracted to you any official attention? Are you getting audited every year?
Um, well actually, I’ve never been audited. It doesn’t attract any attention. This is a great disappointment to the more delicately poised of my fans who would like to assume, you know, that we’re at the barricades, barely able to evade the long arm of the law. Uh, I don’t know. Their strategy in my case seems to be incredibly intelligent. They just completely ignore me [audience laughs] and why that is – maybe it’s because it just doesn’t matter, or because I use big words, I’m dismissed as an intellectual. We all know how powerful they are in America. [Audience laughs[ So that’s that.
[Audience] – It’s because there’s obviously no money involved.
Well that’s the other thing. My theory on drugs, if you’re not making money from it, you’re of utterly no interest to anybody. Opinions are free.
[Audience] – Except that couple in, where is it, Calaveras that got arrested for having the frogs.
Well then there are the occasional, uh, examples.
[Audience] – They got arrested for what?
Toad-ranching. A heinous and nightmarish crime. They were extracting 5-methoxy DMT from Bufo Alvarius that they had in a domesticated situation in their home. And, uh, I suppose they were beaten with rubber truncheons and taken away, their house seized, their children taken from them, their animals murdered and so forth.
[Audience] – He was a teacher and a Boy Scout leader…
It just shows how deep into the middle class these nightmarish practices have reached. [Audience laughs] The abuse of amphibians is something our grandparents contemplated and yet here we are, you see. It’s an ugly, ugly business.
[Audience] – But they did get into the press to say that they put an end to the rumor that you just don’t lick it.
I think it was the Australian press which popularized the image of people nuzzling the under tummies of toads in order to obtain…
[Audience] – What about 2CB?
I know, I haven’t forgotten you. 2CB – I have no opinion about that. No experience with that. I mean, I did take 2CB once but it didn’t emerge prominently enough for me to form a bunch of opinions. Just as a general rule, but it's, you know -- rules are made to be broken – I’m not part of the faction that thinks we need ever more exotic drugs. I think we have a full toolbox, if we just would use it. Um, and, uh,you know, if you have ayahuasca, psilocybin, DMT, toss in mescaline, ibogaine and cannabis…
[Audience] – I don’t happen to have any of those.
Ahah! Well, capitalism is searching for you, I’m sure. [Audience laughs] But, you know, it’s a a very individual thing. Whatever works, use it. People have to come to terms with this. We are very much the product of our genetic and biochemical differences. Some people like things that other people can’t handle at all. And you have to -- part of your self-education in pharmacology is learning what you -- what works for you. Yeah?
Outside of the intellectual concerns of science, this has been a generally persistent attitude that time is as important as geography. Uh, not only astrology but, uh, Mayan divinatory methods, African divinatory methods. I think that science, uh, is running against the flow here with its attitude that time is not, uh, to be differentiated. The reason for that, if you analyze it, is not far to seek. Science depends on the concept of experiment and experient to mean anything it must be time independent. And so, in a sense, you could almost say that what science is - is the study of those phenomena so course-grained that when they occur, time doesn’t affect them. So, that leaves out most interesting things, you know? All the subtler processes of biology, psychology, sociology are left out of that. And yet, that’s why this idea -- I showed you last night – it may appear revolutionary but it’s
revolutionary because science could not operate. It would be the end of science if this idea were accepted because it says that experiments are time dependent, therefore, it is not ever possible to perform the same experiment twice. Therefore, the idea of building up a serial set of observations of many examples of the same experiment is bogus. And, uh, so, you know, this idea aligns itself with astrology and with all these other pre-scientific series of change that is modulated by both space and time. Yes. Question? Yes.
[Audience] – If growing such items like ayahuasca vine and Psychotria Viridis, is it kosher for someone like us to grow it and not be hassled by the DEA or someone like that?
Well, you have to be an excellent Amazonian field botanist to recognize these things. It’s a pretty mute point. I mean, you do have DMT in your brain, so you're potentially bustable at all times.
, it’s not easily recognized. ayahuasca and
can’t be grown in occidental, for example because it’s too cold. They can be grown in Hawaii. This conference that I was at in Mexico, the great alternative technology that those people are excited about is what are called ayahuasca analogues. Meaning that, at closer scrutiny to the flora of the earth shows that, in most environments, there are plants that produce DMT and there are plants that contain MAO inhibitors. In most ecosystems of the world, there are plants which, if properly prepared, create a kind of ayahuasca. And, s people are retiring to their kitchens and laboratories to cook furiously all of these things.
If you’re interested in doing this, uh, the way to proceed is, uh, as an MAO inhibitor, you need seeds of
. No more than two grams.
seeds are available from seed suppliers. They’re also available in Iranian markets as a product called hermal – little hard black seeds. Two grams of them, pulverized in a shot of water or alcohol will inhibit your MAO quite thoroughly. If you then take a DMT source orally, you will have a response to it. And people are using
, the Illinois bundle weed. At this conference, letters were read from people in Australia who were using Australian Echinacea.
grasses can be grown, and using a sprouting device, you can grow
sprouts and dry them. They are intense in the sprouting stage with DMT. So, this group of people I was with in Mexico – their great enthusiasm is to provide so many different psychedelic, so many different paths to the psychedelic experience that there is no way they can all be made illegal.
Uh, DMT, we have not yet hit the crush in terms of the social debate about all this. DMT was made illegal when, um, LSD was made illegal. At the height of a media fanned hysteria in an atmosphere of intense ‘no-nothingism.’ Uh, it was not known at the time that DMT occurs in human metabolism. Nor was the physiological profile of DMT known. What rational for keeping a drug illegal is there if it's is not a social problem? It begins to look just like sheer ‘for-your-own-goodism’ of some sort. Uh, it -- one way of measuring an index of the danger posed by a drug is to look at how many emergency room admissions there have been for that drug. Well, I dare say in the last five years for DMT intoxication there've probably been zero emergency room admissions. By the time anyone could get you to the emergency room, your main anxiety is that nobody find out that you lost it.[Audience laughs]
And the fact that it’s a human metabolite. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a very interesting situation because the arguments for keeping the psychedelics illegal are becoming weaker and weaker and weaker and more and more flimsy, and more and more people are awakening to what a racket this is. And, weird forms of co-option are taking place. It’s not easy in Garberville to advocate the legalization of cannabis because people are all around you getting $400 an ounce for it. The thought of legalization strikes terror in their hearts. They have a kid at Stanford, they have a house in Saint-Tropez, they have a sailboat – why in God’s name would you want to legalize cannabis? So, this is a factor, you know?
IAnd, i the past several years, three years or so, there’s been an enormous surge in psychedelic publishing. I don’t know if you’re all aware of it. You certainly should be, I mean. Obviously, you should buy and read every word I’ve ever written. [Audience laughs] In addition to that, Sasha Shulgin and Ann Shulgin’s book
has come out. You should be aware of Jonathan Ott’s book
, which in between the covers of one book, if you just want excellent scholarship and the longest bibliography ever to attend a drug book, this is for you. Uh, Eduardo Luna’s book on ayahuasca has come out. Um, well, Schultes book,
The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia
has come out. Um, there’s a resurgence of interest in this field. And, I think it’s a very hopeful sign that people are, you know, -- have enough sense to realize that it has something to do with shamanism, it has something to do with plants, it has something to do with taking charge of your own experience and spiritual growth and, you know, ditching ideologies, and some of these beady-eyed gurus are being sent back to wherever they came from to find honest work among their own kind. This is a fine thing, I think.
[Audience] – Let’s imagine that we’re post legalization. How would you see it? Would it money that the government would want to go toward education, or would it be like Amsterdam where you sell it in cafés?
I don’t know. I guess I’m a cynic about this. I believe that the reason drugs are kept illegal have nothing to do with the reason’s given for why they’re kept illegal. They’re kept illegal because, if they were legal, it would be hard to make a lot of money off of them. And, you know, an enormous part of the world economy runs on drugs, so -- and always has: sugar, coffee, teas, spices – drugs, drugs, drugs.Uh, so, it would be a much saner and safer world if drugs were legalized because intelligence agencies would not have these vast sources of money, which they then use to finance private armies, murder liberal magazine editors, setup phony political parties, indoctrinate people, so forth and so on. So it’s really an issue of covert control. Drugs are the last bastions of hidden slush funds at the billion dollar and up level. If this were not a factor, the psychedelics never would have been illegal. I mean, the whole drug-scheduling thing is completely cockamamie. You have Schedule 1, which is the severest category, and what do we have in this most severe of all categories? – we have heroin, we have cannabis and we have the psychedelics. Schedule 2 is cocaine. Cocaine has legitimate medical applications. It’s used in certain kinds of throat and eye operations. So, there is -- so, it’s the psychedelics strangely enough which are the most stigmatized of all the non-addictive drugs.
This is just pure fear and it relates to what I talked about last night, the issue of surrender and how anxious the dominator types become when the issue is loss of control. You know, they are absolute control freaks and, you know -- until people demand that this be changed, it won’t be changed. People are not very demanding. I mean, you know, you give people the four-term governor of Arkansas and they think that Christ is healing in the market place or something.. [Audience laughs] I mean, that’s how pathetic the liberal position in America has become that it can embrace someone like Bill Clinton as its standard-bearer. Not to launch into a knock on that. I mean, I certainly prefer it over George Bush, but it’s very minimally important. It doesn’t impinge on our lives. All these people are jackasses and should be hung. In a civilized society they would be hung before a howling mob [Audience laughs] but…
[Audience] – Would a civilized society hang anybody?
Certainly, it would. Voltaire said the common people will know no peace until the last politician is strangled publicly in the entrails of the last priest. [Audience laughs] But that’s just an opinion of mine, you don’t have to follow me into that and probably shouldn’t.
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