“When you embrace into your life the gnosis of the light-filled vegetables, the psychedelic plants that have stabilized the healthy societies of this world for millennia, the first message that comes to you is: you are a divine being. You are important. you count You come from realms of unimaginable power and light, and you will return to those realms."
—Terence McKenna (1946-2000)
Terence McKenna was something of a modern day magician.
The American philosopher, ethnobotanist and psychonaut McKennafascinating lecturesencompassed everything from shamanism, language, imagination, the internet and consciousness to religion, dreams, the origins and evolution of life,cultural, alchemy, alienation, chemistry, sex, art and literature.
Terence McKenna was an amazingly versatile mind, and at the heart of his colorful web of interests was the psychedelic experience, particularly the effects ofPsilocybinjDMT.
Perhaps what was most surprising about McKenna was his mastery of language and vocabulary; I daresay he was one of the most poetic and eloquent orators that ever walked this earth.
As one of the few people capable of "playing with the unspeakable," these quotes from Terence McKenna capture the interests, imagination, and identity of all who hear them. Similar to a feeling ofkenshoListening to Terence was an experience that would change the way your inner universe worked.
The master speaker of legendary phrases like "nature loves courage" and "dream the impossible dream" could ignite a fire in our hearts. And though he thought our world was in crisis, he helped us find our light, love, and deep appreciation for this incredible gift of existence.
If you're ready to pour rocket fuel on your soul's embers and venture to the extremes of the knowable, we have 57 of his best insights, reflections and quotes for you to try.
Wait, this is going to be a fast, fast-paced ride.
nature and reality
“The syntactic nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made up of words. And when you know the words that make up the world, you can make whatever you want out of them."
"Nowhere is it written that great apes have to understand reality."
„Nature loves courage. You make a commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world won't bring you down, it will lift you up. That's the trick. That's what all those teachers and philosophers who really said, who really touched alchemical gold understood that. This is the shamanic dance at the waterfall. This is how magic is done. Plunge into the abyss and find it is a bed of feathers.
“Nature is not our enemy to be violated and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be valued and explored.”
"In trying to think conservatively about the possibility of non-human local intelligence, it seems to me that nature presents itself as intelligence in some way, that understanding nature is understanding complex integrated systems of such complexity that consciousness belongs to them to refuse is only a reluctance of the reductionist mind; This is obvious to anyone not burdened by this prejudiceNature is alive, conscious, reacting.”
I and individuality
“Chaos is what we have lost touch with. That's why it gets a bad rap. It is feared by our world's dominant archetype, the ego, which is being crushed because its existence is defined by control.
"Unless the ego regularly and repeatedly dissolves into the boundless hyperspace of the transcendent other, it will always slowly drift away from the sense of self as part of the greater whole of nature. The ultimate consequence of this drift is the fatal boredom that now pervades Western civilization.
“You are an explorer and you represent our species and the best thing you can do is bring back a new idea because our world is threatened by the lack of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of unscrupulousness.”
“What is needed is a spirit of dissolving boundaries, between individuals, between classes, sexual orientations, rich and poor, men and women, intellectual and sentimental types. If this can happen, we will create a new world. And when that doesn't happen, nature is quite ruthless and has a place for us in the shale of this planet where so many have gone before us.
"I think that's the job of each of us: to show off our best toys and tricks that take us and our friends to ever higher levels. This startup process is endless. The future of the human mind and body, and the future of human beings together, is infinitely bright."
“The word 'I' is as great a mystery as the word 'other'. It's just a polarity between two mysteries."
“My speaking voice is a monkey's mouth making little mouth sounds that convey an agreed upon meaning, and it is the meaning that counts. Without the meaning, you only have small sounds in your mouth.
culture and society
“The dominant culture is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its perfecting of subliminal controls. And I don't mean anything grandiose and paranoid. I just want to say that the drama of a dying world has become a soap opera for most people through press releases and sound bites and enforced television idiocy. And they don't realize that it's their story and that they'll eat it up in the final act if they don't get up on their hind legs and cry at some point between here and the final act. And that doesn't happen through the organization. This is not done by vanguard parties or cadres of intellectual elites. This is done by simply walking away from it all: reclaiming your identity, reclaiming your vision, your essence, your intuition, and then acting on it with no regrets. Clean. No regret."
“We need to create culture, not watch TV, not read magazines, not even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The context of space and time that you are in now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you care about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or anyone else, then you have no power, you cede everything to icons. Icons cultivated by an electronic medium to make one want to dress like X or have lips like Y. That's crazy, that way of thinking. All of this is cultural fun, and what's real is you and your friends and your associations, your euphoria, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And they tell us “no”, we are not important, we are peripheral. "Get a degree, get a job, get that, get that." And you're a player, you don't even want to play in this game. You want to take back your mind and free it from the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked idiot consuming all this crap that's made from the bones of a dying world."
“Imagination is the goal of the story. I see culture as an attempt to literally achieve our collective dreams.”
"Not knowing your true identity is like being a soulless, crazy thing, a golem. And indeed, this disgusting Orwellian picture applies to the masses of people living in high-tech industrial democracies today. Its authenticity lies in its ability to obey and follow the massive style changes propagated through the media. Immersed in junk food, junk media, and crypto-fascist politics, they are doomed to a toxic, low-conscious life. Soothed by the prescribed daily dose of television, they are dead, lost to anything but the act of consumption.
“You are not naked when you take off your clothes. You still carry your religious assumptions, your prejudices, your fears, your illusions, your delusions. When you shed the cultural operating system, you are essentially left naked to inspect your own psyche... and from that position, a position outside of the cultural operating system, we can begin to ask real questions about what it means to be human, what circumstances are we trapped in and what kind of structures, if any, can we put in place to soften the plan and emphasize the glory and wonder that awaits us right here in that narrow space of time between the birth canal and the open grave. In other words, we must return to the first premises.”
“If you are a person of decent intentions and moderate intelligence, reading the great minds of your culture and studying their thoughts is insufficient, as they are all bound by the illusion of language. The whole enterprise of culture is this illusion of language. Homer was just as ill as Heidegger. So there is no going back, no classic review. What we have to do is go beyond any kind of experience. [Our understanding] must be anchored in an experience.”
"The spiritual atrophy of contemporary culture may be largely due to its loss of sensitivity to the processes of the collective unconscious."
"Every culture that has ever existed has been under the illusion that they understand 95% of reality and that the other 5% will be delivered in the next 18 months, and from Egypt onwards they walk around believing they have things perfect grip. and yet we look back on every society that has come before us with great satisfaction at how naïve they all were. Well, it never occurs to us that we might as well whistle in the dark! That the universe is stranger than you CAN assume, and that the openness that brings insight is a great joy, a great blessing, for then you can live your life not in the service of any fascist metaphor but in the service of the living mystery: the fact that you will not understand; it will not yield to logic; or magic; or any other technique that has been developed..."
"You don't get on your knees to ask the official culture for your rights. you have to take her
“Culture is a perversion. It fetishizes objects, creates consumerism, preaches infinite forms of false happiness, infinite forms of false understanding in the form of squirrel religions and silly cults. It invites people to demean and dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines.”
“The great adventure is in claiming your authentic, true being, which is not culturally given to you. The culture will not tell you how to be a real person. It will tell you how to be a banker, a politician, an Indian chief, a masseuse, an actress or whatever, but it won't tell you who you really are."
“We cannot develop faster than our language. The limit of being is the limit of meaning, and somehow we must push the limit of meaning. We have to extend it."
“Part of what is wrong with our society, and therefore with ourselves, is that we consume images, not produce them. We have to produce media, not consume it.”
"Although the 19th century had to grapple with the idea that humans descended from apes, today we have to accept that those apes were stoned apes."
“Part of what psychedelics do is decondition you from cultural values. That makes him a political hot potato. Since every culture is some kind of cheating game, the most dangerous candy to hand out is one that makes people question the rules of the game."
"A hallucination is in the presence of something you couldn't imagine before, and if you couldn't imagine it before then there's no reason to think you created it of your own accord."
"Sometimes people say to me, 'Can't these conditions you're talking about be achieved without drugs?' and my answer is, 'My God, who would do that?' things without drugs? If the things I am talking about happened to me without drugs, I would be very, very concerned and alarmed. And I also think it means something that we can't do it alone. That if you want that spiritual vision, if you want the Gaia Matrix to welcome you, humble yourself to the point of making a deal with a plant. That's the key."
“The movement of a single atom from one known position to another known position changes an experience from nothing to overwhelming. This means that mind and matter rotate together at the level of quantum mechanics.
"The only difference between a drug and a computer is that you're a little too big to swallow. ... And our best people are working on this problem as we speak."
“The reason for the emphasis on shamanism and other techniques is that when you go into deep water you need techniques. And they can make your life very easy and save you from unnecessary suffering. Not all suffering is necessary. Maybe there is no need to suffer."
"Inevitably, out of the psychedelic experience comes not despair, not complacency, but a wild idealism that is the inevitable product of any psychedelic-driven social process."
“LSD swept across the murky domain of the stuffy bourgeoisie like the angelic herald of a new psychedelic millennium. Since then we have never been the same, and never will be, because LSD has proved even to skeptics that the mansions of heaven and the gardens of paradise lie within each of us."
"The psychedelic experience is simply a condensed instance of what we call understanding, so living psychedelic is trying to live in an atmosphere of ever-evolving understanding, so that each day one knows more and sees things more deeply than before. . This is an educational process.”
Science and Antidogma
“Science challenges us to believe that the entire universe came into being from nothing and at one point for no apparent reason. This notion is the borderline case of credulity. In other words, if you can believe that, you can believe anything."
“The main difference between our world and the world that science tells us we live in is that science denies the weirdness, the weirdness, the cosmic giggles, the grand conspiracy, utterly improbable, utterly odd.Humorthat ties everything together, and that makes it more than just an engine in which “atoms race blindly,” as Whitehead puts it.
"My technique that I recommend is not to believe anything. When you believe in something, you are automatically prevented from believing the opposite.
"I've been vehemently accused of not believing in anything by people who didn't understand me. I don't believe in anything This is not a statement of existential hopelessness for which you should light a candle for me at night. It's a strategy not to get bogged down in a weird journey. After all, what is the basis for believing something? I mean, you have to understand: you are a monkey. In a sort of biological situation where everything has evolved to serve survival economics, this is not a philosophy course. Faith, then, is a curious reaction to the present at hand. It is unbelievable, it needs to be treated, experienced and modeled.”
life and death
"The problem is not finding the answer, but facing the answer."
“[I often like to think that] our map of the world is so wrong that where we have focused on physics, we should actually be placing literature as the central metaphor from which to work. Because I believe that literature has the same relationship to life as life has to death. A book is life from which a dimension has been torn. And life lacks the dimension that death will give it. I imagine that death is a kind of liberation of the imagination, in the sense that we experience an unimaginable dimension of freedom for the characters in a book.
"The life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience on which original shamanism is based is a trivialized, a denied, an ego-enslaved life."
"Right here and now, a quantum away, rages a universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien... What drives religious sentiment today is the desire for contact with that other universe."
“The task of the artist is to save the soul of mankind; and all else is hesitation while Rome burns. For the artists who choose themselves to be able to travel to the other, if the artists don't find the way, then the way cannot be found.”
“There is light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is that this tunnel is in the back of your mind. And if you don't put your mind to it, you'll never see the light at the end of the tunnel. And once you see it, the task is to strengthen it in yourself and in other people. Spread it as reality. God has not retired to the seventh heaven, God is a kind of lost continent IN the human spirit.
"We are the heirs of a million-year struggle for the unspeakable."
"The most important thing we need to understand is that we are trapped in some kind of work of art."
"I don't think consciousness is created in the brain any more than TV shows are made in my TV. The box is too small.
"You must take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, for the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding."
“We have to realize that the world is not formed and finished, so as perceivers we walk like visitors in a museum; the world is something we create through the act of perception.”
"There is nobody who is so enlightened that he does not have to work on himself."
"If we could feel what we are doing to the earth, we would stop immediately."
"We can make the perfect future come true by becoming a microcosm of the perfect future."
"If the words 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' don't imply the right to experiment with one's conscience, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it's written on."
"We have changed. We are no longer, as I said, two-legged apes. Instead, we are a kind of cybernetic coral reef made of organic components and inorganic technological components."
“Time is a topological manifold. it is a surface on which events flow like water over land, and like water flows over land when the earth is flat the water becomes reflective and moves slowly. When the landscape is disturbed, the water moves faster and chaotic attractors appear and new types of activity arise and from this new activity arise the new states that define the future.
“We are conscience. We may not always be cute."
Terence believed that you are a being of unimaginable power and light, that you are a cosmic explorer and represent the ongoing results of an incredible process billions of years in the making.
For a heroic dose of Terence McKenna's wisdom, see: