|Body & Soul Live Chats
|Transcript: Chat with Terence McKenna
Thursday, Oct 16, 1997, 6pm US Pacific Time
held at Talk City (IRC server: chat.talkcity.com)
FlowCCC: ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Welcome! ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
FlowCCC: New Age Journal, Hollyhock Holistic Center
FlowCCC: and Talk City's Religions & Spiritualities Forum
FlowCCC: present the
FlowCCC: Body&Soul San Francisco Webcast!
FlowCCC: Our special guest today is
FlowCCC: Terence McKenna
FlowCCC: Terence McKenna is a renowned ethnobotanist who has
FlowCCC: spent 25 years studying shamanism and is a specialist in
FlowCCC: the ethnomedicine of the Amazon Basin. He has emerged
FlowCCC: as a powerful voice for the psychedelic movement and
FlowCCC: the emergent societal tendency he calls The Archaic Revival.
FlowCCC: His most recent interests include web site building and
FlowCCC: multimedia modeling of historical processes. He is the author
FlowCCC: of Food of the Gods, True Hallucinations, and The Archaic Revival,
FlowCCC: and has a new book in the works.
FlowCCC: Before we begin tonight, I have one note:
FlowCCC: The use of psychoactive substances has a long history
FlowCCC: as part of many world spiritual traditions.
FlowCCC: It is in this framework that we present this discussion.
FlowCCC: Talk City does not advocate illegal activities, and opinions
FlowCCC: that may be expressed during this chat are those of
FlowCCC: the individuals expressing them, not of Talk City.
FlowCCC: Welcome Terence! We're delighted you could join us today!
TerenceMcK: I'm happy to be here!
FlowCCC: I know there will be lots of questions about your psychedelics
FlowCCC: interests from folks here, so I'd like to start off exploring a bit
FlowCCC: of your work with the internet, 3-D and VR ...
FlowCCC: what got you interested in the possibilities in these technologies?
TerenceMcK: The fact that they are less ambiguous than spoken word or text, in other words when two people look at the same thing there is the sense that they share the same reality... not true of text
TerenceMcK: I always saw virtual reality as a medium for showing each other the inside of our own heads.
FlowCCC: One "strand" in your work revolves around the fractal dynamics of time, and what you've called "novelty theory." How does this connect with your psychedelic research?
TerenceMcK: It connects in the sense that I am honest enough to admit that it was psychedelic trips, thinking about math, that lead me to novelty theory, which is a holistic theory, an effort to explain that many different levels of nature and I think psychedelics incline one to that type of holistic modeling.
TerenceMcK: So, that was the connection.
FlowCCC: liquis asks pcilocybin spores come from outer space, but what do you think about all fungi spores coming from outer space, and all of them for us in some way, perhaps many waiting for the future, when we have control over biology and the fungi can have a chemical relationship with our future selves?
TerenceMcK: Fungi are primary decomposers, in other words, they subsist on organic matter that is dead, so they can't appear too early in a planetary bio system
TerenceMcK: but since there has been life on land, they have been a major part of what is happening.
TerenceMcK: One theory, when there was a large die off of a large amount of protozoa, the die off created a atmosphere opportunistic for fungi.
TerenceMcK: The structural morphology of fungi is a network...
TerenceMcK: and anticipates the mammalian nervous system and the net... the fungolan myrcoiasczial relationship that knit together the biota of the planet.
FlowCCC: shrumdadi asks what exactly do you believe is at the center of the n.n.dmt experience?
TerenceMcK: Language fails. Somehow in failing, it reveals something about itself that is ordinarily unimaginable and inaccessible, so the experience is a process of watching syntax first illuminate and then transcended
TerenceMcK: so naturally , it is difficult to talk about. It exceeds language. It is a brain state, but as an experience, it is profound.
WaterCCC: This is one of a series of "Body&Soul" live chats
WaterCCC: here in Talk City with internationally recognized
WaterCCC: pioneers in mind/body health and wellness.
WaterCCC: Coming up...
WaterCCC: Matthew Fox, controversial theologian & former Catholic priest
WaterCCC: Thurs Oct 23, 6pm PT, here in #BodyandSoul - Join us!
WaterCCC: Also, don't miss:
WaterCCC: Shakti Gawain, author of "Creative Visualization," Oct 30!
WaterCCC: Details: http://www.spiritcity.com
FlowCCC: gecko asks what is the novelty theory?
TerenceMcK: In a nutshell, it's the idea that nature accumulates novelty throughout time - in other words, the closer we approach the present, the more novel the situation is...
TerenceMcK: the idea is the universe is growing to greater novelty, faster and faster. From those premises, the theory developed a mathematical model impossible to discuss here.
FlowCCC: Your "Eschaton" website points to an "end date" in the year 2012. What do you think we'll experience between now and then?
TerenceMcK: According to the theory, what we will experience is a condensed experience of what occurred between 1000ad and the present. The cycles get tighter and tighter, but resonant with preceding cycles.
TerenceMcK: Between now and 2012, we must go through an analog to everything that has happened to humanity since AD 1000... so all major events will recur in small ways.
TerenceMcK: It is a theory of history that is based on resonances.
FlowCCC: that's a lot of history to cover in 15 years!
TerenceMcK: That is why it is bound to be interesting!
FlowCCC: It already is! :-)
FlowCCC: BlueJay asks Wonderful to read you again, T. Could you please talk a bit about the resonance you wrote of in True Hallucinations? How has the 20 years since changed your views? How does it "sound" to you today?
TerenceMcK: I've thought about it since 72... and since then, am steady in believing that the basic premises were sound...
TerenceMcK: in other words, the idea of using psychedelics to explore higher dimension, using sound to synergize hallucinogenic molecules in the body ...
TerenceMcK: in a way, what was proposed was the first psychonanotechnological artifact and now, nanotechnology and molecular storage of info, and bio electronic interfacing is at least credible...
TerenceMcK: it is difficult to imagine how difficult the concepts were when we first worked them out... in essence, the jury is still out...
TerenceMcK: science could probe the experience, and I hope these experiments will be done.
FlowCCC: mantid asks Salvia divinorum has recently exploded upon the entheogenic scene. What is your experience with it?
TerenceMcK: When chewed in silent darkness, about 35 grams, it delivers an impressive 45 min. hallucinogenic experience, comparable to the second hour of any good psychedelic. In higher concentrations it becomes bizarre, even for test pilots...
TerenceMcK: it is interesting that it is legal and easily grown, and it appears to conduct us into a strange modality just like any of the psycoactives... all of it is unusual, and it comes late in the search for psychoactive plants.
FlowCCC: Chaffyn asks So, to follow up ... do you think there is a "missing gap" between the entheogenically experienced and those who've eschewed?
TerenceMcK: If I understand your question, is it necessary to have tried it to have all your stars in the psychedelic air force...
FlowCCC: psychedelic air force... LOL!
TerenceMcK: little is known, especially if it is toxic, less than a milligram smoked is active...
TerenceMcK: the compound, this diturpine, we need more data before we can embrace it...
TerenceMcK: the experience is interesting... but the pharmacology is unknown in humans.
FlowCCC: earth asks - have you found your work with entheogens has gone in recognizable cycles or patterns.. meaning periods of high use and low use which correspond to learning cycles, body cycles, etc?
TerenceMcK: No, what controls my cycle of use is how stable and comfortable and self reinforcing my environment is... I need a certain level of solitude and security ...
TerenceMcK: in my youth I did them in unusual circumstances, but for serious voyaging, you have to have your life in order...
TerenceMcK: your immediate environment under your control.
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FlowCCC: Can you say a bit more about what precautions people should take?
TerenceMcK: What I do...I don't eat for 6 hrs, I do it at night, when all is quiet and composed... I use cannabis to navigate.. the phone unplugged... the doors locked if inside...
TerenceMcK: the intent is to sit in darkness and watch the impact on myself, and follow my thoughts... some record on tape...
TerenceMcK: should another person be there, depends on personality and experience...
TerenceMcK: for myself, being alone is best...
TerenceMcK: the best sitter, if you have one, is the one who is least in your face, and least nervous...
TerenceMcK: and should have no agenda... for them perhaps to be a room away...
TerenceMcK: if there are problems, they can cause the user to sing, which will help them to breathe...
FlowCCC: what about mental preparations... the "having your life in order" part?
TerenceMcK: be comfortable... sing to express self.
TerenceMcK: I sit still, and think about my state of mind, myself, relationship, and compose myself, to me it is necessary.
FlowCCC: sol asks VR technology is growing rapidly and beginning to reach a point where it is 'affordable' for most people to experience it. Giving the nature of VR and its 'otherworld' abilities do you think it will become a sort of medium for those who do not believe in accept or are fearful of psychedelics?
TerenceMcK: It will have a wide appeal, and there will be things appealing to those people... it will give enthusiasts of the psychedelic experience a medium to convey their intent, and the straight world will discover the excitement... ..
TerenceMcK: by walking through works of art that are inspired by psychedelics. The community should build a gallery of hallucination online...
TerenceMcK: to push the modeling envelope...and the art community and social community envelope...
TerenceMcK: by building online real-time simulations of these hallucinations...
TerenceMcK: the site called Biota is very promising, you should take a look at it.
FlowCCC: liquis asks why would there be a flaw in the cosmic design to allow for our present condition, where does this come from?
TerenceMcK: Whitehead's notion on this is that the universe is not necessarily growing, but is moving toward perfection, so at any moment, except the final perfect one, it will be possible to detect imperfection...
TerenceMcK: the universe is an evolutionary process and is pointed towards, through novelty, ultimate perfection. An optimistic point of view...
TerenceMcK: but nature and ourselves are examples that the possibility is alive and well in the cosmos.
FlowCCC: debaser asks what are your thoughts on potentiating the DMT experience with an MAOI-A inhibitor such as harm(al)ine or moclobemide, both orally taken and smoked?
TerenceMcK: If you are going to inhibit your MAO, I don't favor synthetics... the harmal inhibits for about 6 hours...
TerenceMcK: some off the shelf are too strong and too long lasting to be safe...
FlowCCC: mantid asks I've personally experienced the "insect like buzz" and produced "visible language" yet it seems rare in others. Can you speak more about this power and how to help others experience it?
TerenceMcK: It is rare, or at least the condition is rare... if DMT were not a scheduled substance, it would be possible to lead people to produce visible language phenomenon...
TerenceMcK: it is a tragedy that it is illegal, DMT holds the greatest promise for understanding aspects of language... holds promise as a stimulus to creativity, objects of art and utility...
TerenceMcK: that we can make the leap without that extracultural stimulation...
TerenceMcK: DMT is the most powerful, beautiful phenomenon.
FlowCCC: To what degree do you think millennial talk and predictions such as those suggested by novelty theory tend to act as "self-fulfilling prophecy," or as morphogenetic fields in Sheldrake's terms?
TerenceMcK: to some degree, not enough to tip the balance...
TerenceMcK: certainly there will be hoopla around the millennium, novelty theory prediction of an infinite implosion...
TerenceMcK: no amount of wish fulfillment could break down the laws of physics...
TerenceMcK: it can't be a coincidence that the western calendar is reaching a millennial turn 12 years from 2012 ... in a era of 1000 years, it is a error of 1.2 ... there is a timing to a cosmic rhythm...
TerenceMcK: we are coming to a watershed moment...
TerenceMcK: how dramatic? NT says more dramatic than you can possibly suppose... a long shot...
TerenceMcK: our technology factors possibilities in unexpected ways that can transform the world in a short period of time...
TerenceMcK: an ebola epidemic... a principle that gives us time travel... it is a rich mix out there.
FlowCCC: WaterCCC asks do you think the CD "Chant" was a best seller because of the sound waves?
TerenceMcK: What else could it have been? I think so.
FlowCCC: Not sure if that was the end of your answer, but if it was...
FlowCCC: Jongleur asks What influence, if any, has Aleister Crowley had on your life and work?
TerenceMcK: Some influence in the sense that his encounters in 1906 and some of his revelations sounded similar in kind to those that happened...
TerenceMcK: I've looked back in time, due to my Renaissance interest...
TerenceMcK: I'm much more influenced by late Renaissance and Elizabethan magic than more recent...
WaterCCC: Talk City's Religions & Spiritualities Forum presents
WaterCCC: a wide range of weekly chats exploring the rich diversity
WaterCCC: of personal spiritualities and religious traditions.
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FlowCCC: Krumm asks Do you consider yourself a shaman? Why /why not?
TerenceMcK: No... because the important function is the healing aspect... to interact with others... to bring them health and balance...
TerenceMcK: I study shamanism.. I am a 'shamanologist'... I take the ecstatic journey... go between the worlds, but in search of knowledge...
TerenceMcK: a curing shaman comes from a lineage... I am self taught by experimentation... I have spent time with shamans, but after I was familiar with the psychedelic territory...
TerenceMcK: but, since I don't cure, I don't consider myself a shaman... I explore it with a rational mind...
TerenceMcK: I can't leave behind my western influence... but I take seriously the world of the shaman.
FlowCCC: Kanthaka's Question: Is the Net a shared hallucination?
TerenceMcK: My hope is that it can be... to some degree... we need greater bandwidth and an intentional agenda to build a domain of shared hallucination... it is my hope, and intent... my energies are pushed to that end...
TerenceMcK: a lot of people sense the potential for the art like nothing has ever been...
TerenceMcK: bigger than the invention of oil painting or film, it is astonishing immediate works of art...
TerenceMcK: technologically hip people will produce art so transformative that it will transform us.
FlowCCC: fauxvox asks have you been able to evoke the desired states without the inducements?
TerenceMcK: The short answer, no...
TerenceMcK: in the case of dramatic psychedelic states, I wouldn't wish to...
TerenceMcK: the normal metabolism can't trigger these...
TerenceMcK: the great gift of nature is the mind-perturbing plant... using and taking control... take it, and something happens... but you have control...
FlowCCC: You have a new book nearly finished - can you give us a sneak preview of what that's about?
TerenceMcK: To be called... Casting Nets in the Sea of Mind, co-author Elisha De Vosjoli, we will explore the impact of psychedelic plants on past and future evolution...
TerenceMcK: we couldn't have gotten the way we are without their use...
TerenceMcK: much about psychedelic plants and high technology... coming early to mid next year.
FlowCCC: abrupt asks What do you understand history to be? Are there precedents in nature? Resonances in pre-history?
TerenceMcK: History is the shock wave of eschatology.
TerenceMcK: It means that history is the aura that overcomes animal nature...
TerenceMcK: for a brief time before the appearance of the transcendental object, at the end of the temporal continuum.
TerenceMcK: the story of a primate in the grip of a transcendental attractor...
TerenceMcK: ahead of it in time.
FlowCCC: Chaffyn asks So, TWZ ... have you new ideas as to the result? Shall we find ourselves transformed into light-bodies or should we expect something less dramatic?
TerenceMcK: It lies in the direction of nanotechnological supported human symbiosis... the machine symbiosis... and informational world made of digital info...
TerenceMcK: to sum it up, the future is the imagination... we will live in our imagination...
TerenceMcK: where it will happen... in circuitry, dimensions... who can say... but the imagination is the attractor...
TerenceMcK: it has always been with us, it has gotten bigger...
TerenceMcK: gifts are all around us... all comes from the imagination...
TerenceMcK: we are being drawn deeper and deeper...
TerenceMcK: into the actualization of our thoughts... that is why psychedelics are so important... and why VR makes sense.
FlowCCC: azurescen asks where do you think the shamanic traditions of ecstasy and the eastern traditions of Buddhism differ; do the mushroom and the Buddha carry the same life's message?
FlowCCC: and a note...
FlowCCC: For those interested in learning more about Terence and his ideas,
FlowCCC: check out his website at:
FlowCCC: Hyperborea - Alchemical Garden at the Edge of Time: http://www.levity.com/eschaton/hyperborea.html
TerenceMcK: I'm not sure... the great error of Buddhism is to say that plants are not sentient beings...
TerenceMcK: it makes all difficult to parse... the central message of Buddhism is that all is illusion...
TerenceMcK: the central message of the mushroom is all is evolution... where they come together, we have to sort out.
FlowCCC: So many great questions! wish we had another hour for them all...
WaterCCC: me too : (
FlowCCC: Our time has really flown by! Any closing thoughts you'd like to share with us?
TerenceMcK: Thanks to everyone for coming, hope to see you in San Fran... all will be explored in Mexico, visit and explore my web site...
TerenceMcK: thanks again to all of you who have been here tonight! I've enjoyed it!
FlowCCC: So have we!
WaterCCC: us too Terence!!
FlowCCC: Thank you Terence for this *most* fascinating discussion!
FlowCCC: And thank you everyone for joining us tonight! :-)
WaterCCC: whatta meeting : )
FlowCCC: We've been chatting live tonight with Terence McKenna.
FlowCCC: Next in this series of live chats with leaders in Mind/Body health:
FlowCCC: Matthew Fox, controversial theologian & former Catholic priest
FlowCCC: Thurs Oct 23, 6pm PT, here in #BodyandSoul - Join us!
FlowCCC: Also, don't miss:
FlowCCC: Shakti Gawain, author of "Creative Visualization," on Oct 30!
FlowCCC: Details at: http://www.spiritcity.com
FlowCCC: This chat is part of the Body&Soul San Francisco Webcast,
FlowCCC: presented by New Age Journal, Hollyhock Holistic Center
FlowCCC: and the Religions & Spiritualities Forum at Talk City
FlowCCC: Find out how you can participate in the webcast at
FlowCCC: . http://www.whidbey.net/bodyandsoul
FlowCCC: Copyright 1997 by Religions & Spiritualities Forum - all rights reserved