Sunday, June 9, 2019

An interview with Terence McKenna


Terence McKenna

I really need to get around to doing some serious reading of Terence McKenna. But in the meantime I read an interesting interview, "The Rollercoaster of Transcendence," that I found out about on Twitter the other day. 

His suggestion that psilocybin mushrooms were created by aliens is interesting although obviously speculative. But I was particularly struck by this question and answer, which in the epidemic of fentanyl and other terrible synthetic opiates seems prophetic:

Gyrus: As far as that concept of prosthesis goes, you’ve talked about machines and cultural artefacts as an extension of humanity, and you condemn laboratory-manufactured psychedelics to a large extent. Why would they not fall into the…

Terence: Well, I don’t condemn them out of some kind of purist “Plants are good, chemicals are bad”… No, I condemn them for very practical reasons. First of all, a white powder drug. You have no idea what it is. You can be fairly sure it was manufactured in an atmosphere of criminal syndicalism where the major goal was to make money. That’s not a very reassuring statement of drug purity and chemical attention to detail. And the other thing is, the vegetable psychedelics, we have our human data—five thousand years of mushroom use in Mexico, and so forth and so on. With a new drug, since it’s illegal to do research on it, we have no human data. And sometimes it takes a generation or two to see what the consequences of exposure to a compound are. So I don’t have an absolutist position against laboratory drugs, it’s simply that if we’re trying to get to a certain place—which is the dissolution of the ego, and the entry into psychedelic space—at this stage, the vegetable psychedelics are just simply more effective, better track record… they work.

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