Terence McKenna - Exploring The Abyss

My name is Terence McKenna. My training is in Shamanism, Botany and Ethnography, and my interest is in hallucinogenic drugs. More especially, the use of plant hallucinogens in a shamanic context. What impels me to speak to a room full of people like this is the belief that the major important point regarding hallucinogens has been largely overlooked, even though we’re now 15 or 20 or 30 (depending on how you count it) years into the psychedelic age.

The central point about the psychedelic experience is the content of the experience. This has been occluded or obfuscated by the behavioral-statistical-scientific methods that have been brought to bear to study the hallucinogenic experience.

What I’m going to address this evening is, essentially, my own experience with hallucinogens and how I extrapolate it into the world. Before I get into that, I want to clarify something about shamanism.

There are two schools about the basis of shamanism. The oldest school is exemplified by Mircea Eliade, who holds that all narcotic shamanism is decadent. He prefers drumming, dancing, self-mutilation, even ordeal poisons. All supersede the efficacy of hallucinogens. He believes they are resorted to when the tradition is vitiated and people are grasping at straws. I take this to be a cultural bias of the school of anthropology that he exemplified and the time in which his work was done.

Gordon Wasson has taken the opposite tack and takes the position that non-narcotic shamanism is decadent, because it is on its way to becoming ritual. In other words, drumming, fasting, flagellation, all these things work to a degree and sometimes, but they are not dependable in the same way that hallucinogens are. This plays on Western people’s biases in favor of the idea that you have to work hard to get somewhere, and if you don’t work hard then it isn’t useful.

My own experience of non-narcotic shamanism in Indonesia and in Nepal is that Wasson’s intuition was correct. There is a grasping after, and I see that grasping after blending into the evolution of all higher religions. In other words, experientially, there is only one religion and it is shamanism. However, this is very difficult to maintain in an agrarian context. Hunting and gathering societies, which have much less structured social hierarchies, seem to be able to function with the hallucinogenic experience embedded in them. As soon as you rise even to the level of primitive agriculturalism, it becomes much more important to be able to get up in the morning and go to work than it does to have these ecstatic experiences, because the plants have to be tended, the fields tilled and so on.

I formed these opinions about non-narcotic shamanism early in my career. I didn’t contact narcotic shamanism until I went to the Amazon Basin in 1971. Although I was familiar with the hallucinogenic state from growing up in the counterculture in Berkeley, what I found in South America is that the family of drugs constellated around tryptophan, specifically DMT and psilocybin, these substances have a relationship to reality far different from all the other hallucinogens.

I wanted to take my conclusions tonight and contrast them with the modern predicament, and try to make a model using the hallucinogenic experience, a model that makes more palatable some of the anxieties of being human in the 20th century. To this end, I want to evoke a number of abysses, a number of empty places that our minds tend normally to shy away from. First to invoke them, and then to integrate them through the idea of what is conventionally called the UFO experience.

There are basically four abysses embedded in a fifth. They are: the biological abyss that is represented by death and dying, that is the central crisis of every individual existence and, almost as a reflection of that crisis on a higher plane, the historical abyss, represented by the end of History and the apocalypse – and possibly the millennium – but in any case, the end of history that Western religion, whether it be Judaism, Christianity or whatever, has appointed to our world and made basic to Western Man’s view of things and which now, because of the existence of nuclear weapons and this kind of thing, poses a terminal threat to the culture. Two abysses: the biological and the historical, the latter being symbolized in the apocalyptic crisis.

Third, the psychological abyss that is represented by dreams (in general experience) and by hallucinogens. It is this casting off from the moorings of the ego, making the night sea journey into the Other and being at the mercy of the collective unconscious, the Overmind of the species, what have you.

The fourth abyss, which is one whose emergence is unique in our time, is the physical abyss which surrounds this planet for light-years in all directions, because suddenly now, because of our level of technology and and scientific mapping, we realize that it is there, and we realize that it is a source of our cosmic loneliness. We realize that it presents an immense challenge of the sort we like to accept as a Western culture. Challenges of energy, engineering and distance. These are the four abysses. The physical abyss of space, the biological abyss of death, the psychological abyss of the psychedelic experience and the abyss of History.

These four categories are embedded in a subtler, more general category which is the abyss of the unspeakable. We use language to cast nets against these gulfs and return with various cognitive maps. However, you can’t put much trust in these maps unless you’ve carried out a thorough analysis of language. Once that is done, you will definitely not trust any of these maps, because the thinness of the symbolic web on which it all is hung will be readily apparent.

My approach, whenever I am confronted with opposites, is to try to unify them. To create a coincidentia oppositorum, as was done in Alchemy. Not to force the system to closure, but to try and leave it open enough that its differences can resonate and become complementary rather than antithetical. Here, I would like to unify not two dualisms but these four opposed – these pairs – you could think of them as the quadripartite elements of a kind of mandala.

The means to unifying this experiential mandala is integration of the psychedelic experience. The tryptamine hallucinogenic experience appears to be much more assimilable to the science-fiction metaphor of a parallel universe than it is to the Freudian metaphor of the repression of desire, or even the Jungian metaphor of a collective species-wide memory and experience bank.

In order to erect the intellectual edifice of these past thousand years, this possibility of a parallel continuum of existence has had to be ignored, much in the way that you would apply Occam’s razor to a situation and just say “Well, we will not admit the more complex phenomenon because we should form a theory that is true to the simplest phenomena first, and then build out from there.” This has worked in a demonic kind of way, in the sense that we have taken command of the atomic world – which is a very simple world compared to the variables that you meet in sociology or biology – at the cost of formulating theories of the world that hardly ever come tangential to experience.

We are in a bizarre situation where our best models of reality are kept for us by the priesthood of science like exhibits in a museum, because they cannot be mapped onto the simple fact of the individual experience. Shamanism, on the other hand, is this worldwide tradition, since paleolithic times, which says that you must make your own experience the centerpiece of any model of the world that you build. No amount of readings from meters is going to to satisfy you. Once you understand that, the task becomes making sense of these metaphors (so-called) or myths (so-called) that are the pre-Western, pre-print, pre-literate mappings of the world.

An example of how this situation distorts other problems is when examining reports of extraterrestrial contact. The way science presents the problem of extraterrestrial contact is that we are alone, and that to assuage our cosmic loneliness we should build large radio telescopes and million-channel signal analyzers and sift the radio noise coming from the stars and eventually if a signal is found, an immense philosophical turning point will have occurred and we will then place ourselves in the context of the cosmos.

This is actually a red herring type of argument, because outside of the highly technical Western societies that have evolved in the last three hundred years, people have been talking to the Other since Man began. Angels, demons, fairies, sprites, elves, all of this is as phenomenologically a part of human experience as, let’s say, birds of paradise, which I’m sure most of you have never had anything to do with, but believe inflexibly that such creatures exist, because it is allowed by the experts that they exist.

What psilocybin focuses as a problem that these other hallucinogens do not, is that it allows a dialogue with the Other that is full of give-and-take. In other words, there are entities in the hallucinogenic world that psilocybin and DMT and a few other not well known or widely distributed plant hallucinogens induce. I think it was William Blake who said: “Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.” This is the kind of information that is coming through the psilocybin experience. It is information that you have to believe because it has this ring of authenticity. It is the Logos. It is the Word, somehow. What is being said is that our alienation from ourselves has caused us to set up a number of strawmen that are keeping us from building a mature model of how the universe really works.

The content of the dialogue with the Other indicates that Man’s horizons are infinitely bright. As Thomas Vaughn puts it: “The body is the placenta of the soul.” This fact has not yet been assimilated because it runs counter to Western reductionist-materialist empiricism, but this idea that the body is placenta to the soul is not an object of faith or of dogma, it’s a program for activity. The activity that it implies should be undertaken, is a familiarization with the soul.

The soul has been banned from Western thinking about the self for almost 400 years, at least in leading circles, but I take this concept very seriously. Alchemy – if any of you are familiar with its literature – is about the generation of a psychic construct, a wholeness, a thing which has many properties, which is paradoxical, which is both mind and matter, which can do anything. This is the last gasp of the soul before it submerged completely. In other words, it became trapped in an association with phonic matter in the last historical epoch before it disappeared completely from Western consciousness.

Psychedelic drugs, especially psilocybin, allow a searchlight to be thrown on these deeper levels of the psyche, as Jung correctly stated, but it is not a museum of archetypes or psychic constructs as he seemed to assume. It is a frontier of wholeness into which any person so motivated and so courageous as to wish to do it, can go and leave the mundane plane far behind. It is a dimension of vertical gain that is real and present in all of our lives and that we do not acknowledge except as an anomaly because we have been told that it’s an anomaly. We have been told that these perceptions have to be devalued. The result of this is to so distort the psychic life of the species in the present historical context, that we have this UFO disease, which is essentially a rupture into three-dimensional space of this archetype of wholeness. It haunts time like a ghost, and it haunts human experience in the 20th century, because it is a symbol of alienation.

The word alien has in fact come to be applied to this thing. It is alien, it comes from the stars, it is totally non-human, it has great potential for mankind but it can barely be Englished at all. Actually, what it is, is the Self in the form which is most accessible to the ego, given the ego’s programming, with all the scientific garbage about the density of life in the universe, the distance to the stars, the probability of chemical evolution occurring here and there and yonder. In other words, it is something which, in order not to alarm, us has disguised itself as an extraterrestrial being, but is in fact the collectivity of the human psyche signaling a profound historical crisis.

I talked about this before. I talked about the danger of succumbing to belief in UFOs because of the damage it did to free will and that, yes, the UFO is making war on science because science has created such a masculine overbalance in the intellectual life of the species that this automatic mechanism has been triggered. A history-stopping archetype is being released into the skies of this planet and if we are not careful, it will halt all intellectual inquiry in the same way that the Christos archetype halted intellectual inquiry in the Hellenistic age.

I don’t want to go into this too deeply, but it’s clear to me that Hellenistic science was destroyed by the Christos archetype because the Democritean materialists who ran Roman civilization had no patience whatsoever with this superstition that was being circulated among the servants about a man who rose from the dead and all that went with it. But, before they knew what had happened, their whole civilization was in ruin, because that archetype had frozen the forward thrust of this masculine-dominant, ethically-depotentiated, technologically-obsessed, slave-built society and for a thousand years, hydrostatics, mathematics, metallurgy, you name it, that was nothing. Only the words of one Galilean radical could occupy the time of any intellectual successfully.

We have now, 2000 years later, fought our way somewhat clear of that situation, but the problem it solved, which is the problem of this masculine overbalance and this obsessive technological thrust, this dehumanizing thrust, has reached an even more intense peak, and now appears the flying saucer with the capacity of undoing that, by again destroying science by simply being a miracle. That’s all that is required to wreck science, a miracle visible worldwide, because scientists say that that can’t happen. Consequently, if it does happen, their house is in real disorder.

I touched on this before, any of you who heard me. Tonight, I want to talk more about the flying saucer, not from the point of view of the people who are going to get the whammy when it appears unbidden, but from the point of view of an insider. In other words, one can do more than simply say, “Oh yes, I understand what this is, the overmind is visibly manifest in the skies of Earth in order to skew History toward an eschatological mode that will stifle inquiry, in order, basically, to preserve the species from extinction”. A mature humanity, however, could get into a place where we no longer require these metaphysical spankings from messias and flying saucers that come along every thousand years or so to mess up the mess that has been created and try to send people off on another tack. The way to do this, is to look at the abysses that confront Man as species and as an individual and try to unify them.

I think that psilocybin offers the way out, because it allows a dialogue with the overmind that you won’t read about in Scientific American or anywhere else, you will carry it out. The carrying out of this dialogue will essentially eschatologize you as a person, and lift you out of the historical context. It’s like Stephen Dedalus said in Ulysses, “History is the nightmare that I am trying to awake from.” I would turn it around a bit and say, “History is what I am trying to go to sleep from, in order to get away from it.” In other words, the dream is eschatological, the dream is zero-time and outside of History. Escape into the dream. Escape – a key thing charged against these drugs, that they are escapist. I think the people who make this charge hardly dare dream to what degree they are escapist! Escape, escape from the planet, from death and from the problem, if possible, of the unspeakable.

To say a bit about death and dying. If you leave aside the last 300 years of historical experience as it was handled in Europe and America, and examine the phenomenon of death, the doctrine of the soul in all its ramifications: neo-platonic, Christian, Dynastic Egyptian, etc. I’m sure you are all familiar with some or all of these. What you get is the idea that there is a light body or an entelechy, that is somehow mixed up in the body during life, and at death or at dying is involved in a crisis in which these two envelopes separate and one loses its raison d’être and falls into dissolution, metabolism stops, and the other one goes we know not where. Perhaps nowhere if you believe it doesn’t exist, but then you have the problem of trying to explain life, which by the way, though science makes claims and has done very well in systems of nuclear particles and even simple atomic systems, the idea that science can make any statement about what life is or where it comes from is preposterous. Science has nothing to say about how you can decide to close your hand into a fist and yet it happens. This is utterly outside the realm of scientific explanation because what we see in that phenomenon is mind as a first cause. In other words, it’s an example of telekinesis. Matter is caused by mind to move. So, we need not fear the sneers of Science in the matter of the fate or origin of soul.

My thrust into this has always been the psychedelic experience, but I’ve been thinking recently more about dreams, because dreams are a much more generalized form of experience of the hyper-dimension, or the mode, in which life and mind seem to be embedded. Looking at dreams and looking at what people in shamanic traditions say about dreams, you come to the realization that experientially for those people it is a parallel continuum. The shaman accesses it with hallucinogens or other things which I mentioned, but most efficaciously with hallucinogens, but everybody else accesses it through dreams. Freud’s idea about dreams was – I forget the German term, but he called them “day residues”. He always felt that you could trace the content of the dream down to a distortion of something that happened during the day or during waking time. I think that it’s much more useful to try and actually make a kind of geometric model of consciousness and to take seriously the idea of a parallel continuum, and to say that the mind and the body are embedded in the dream, and the dream is a higher order spatial dimension, so that in sleep you are released into the real world of which the world of waking is only the surface, and in a very literal sense it’s the surface, it’s the surface in a geometric sence, that there is a Plenum, and recent experiments in quantum physics tend to back this up.

There is a holographic Plenum of information. All information is everywhere. Information that is not here is nowhere, and that information stands outside of historical time. It’s like Plato said: “Time is the moving image of eterity.” Eternity does not have a temporal existence, even the kind of temporal existence where you say it always existed. It does not have temporal duration of any sort, it is eternity. We are not primarily biology with mind emerging as a kind of iridescence, a kind of epiphenomenon at the higher levels of organization of biology. We are in fact hyper-dimensional objects of some sort which cast a shadow into matter, and the shadow in matter is the body. At death, what happens basically is that the shadow withdraws or the thing which casts the shadow withdraws and metabolism ceases, and matter, which had been organized into a dissipative structure in a very localized area, sustaining itself against entropy by cycling material in and degrading it and expelling it, that whole phenomenon ceases, but the thing which ordered it is not affected by that. When I make these declarative statements, I’m making them from the point of view of the shamanic tradition which touches all these higher religions, everything basically except rationalism holds to some version of what I’m saying.

So then, the dream state and the psychedelic state acquire great import, because there is then a task to life, and the task to life is to become familiar with this thing which is causing being, and to be familiar with it at the moment of passing. In other words, the metaphor that is used by several traditions is of a vehicle, an after death vehicle, an astral body or something like that, and shamanism and certain yogas, Daoist yoga, claim very clearly that the purpose is to familiarize yourself with this after-death body in life, and then the act of dying will not create confusion in the psyche. You will recognize what is happening, you will know what to do and you will make the clean break, and there does seem to be the possibility of a problem in dying. In other words, what I’m telling you is not that you’re condemned to eternal life, I’m saying it’s a possibility that you can muff it through ignorance. In other words, at the moment of death, there is a kind of separation, it’s like birth, the metaphor is trivial but perfect. There is a possibility of damage, of incorrect activity. Again, William Blake said that as you start into the spiral, there is the possibility of falling from the golden track into eternal death. But it is only a crisis of a moment. It’s a crisis of passage, and the whole purpose of shamanism and of life correctly lived, is to strengthen the soul and to strengthen the relationship to the soul, so that this this passage can be cleanly made.

Okay, this is not anything Earth-shaking, it’s well-known, it’s a traditional position actually, but now I want to assimilate one more abyss into this model, one less familiar to us as rationalists, but well familiar to us just one level deeper in the psyche as Christians and Westerners. That is this idea that the world will end, that there will be a final time, that there is not only the crisis of the death of the individual, there is the crisis of the death of the species. What this seems to be about is that from the time that there is an awareness of the existence of the soul – we’ll say circa 50,000 BC until the resolution of the apocalyptic potential – there’s something like 50,000 years, which in biological time is only a moment, but it is the entire span of history times five. In that period, everything hangs in the balance, because it is a mad rush from monkeydom to starshiphood. In the leap across those 25,000 years, energies are released, religions are shot off like sparks, philosophies evolve and die, magic arises, science arises, all of these things which control power with greater and lesser degrees of ethical constancy appear. There is the possibility, as in the metaphor of dying, there is the possibility of mucking it up, of aborting the species’ transformation into a hyper-spatial entelechy. There can be no doubt that we are now in the final seconds of that crisis, a crisis which involves the end of history, the departure from the planet, the triumph over death and the release of the individual from matter. We are, in fact, closing distance with the most profound event a planetary ecology can encounter, which is the freeing of life from the dark chrysalis of matter. The old metaphor of psyche as the butterfly is a species-wide metaphor. We must undergo a metamorphosis in order to survive the momentum of the historical forces already in motion.

If you know anything about evolutionary biology, you know that man is considered to be an unevolving species. In other words, sometime in the last 100,000 years with the invention of culture, the biological evolution of man ceased and evolution became a cultural phenomenon. Tools, languages and philosophies began to evolve but the human somatype remained the same, so we are very much like people a long time ago. But, technology is the real skin of our species. Man correctly seen in the context of the last 500 years is an extruder of a technological shell. We take in matter that has a low degree of organization, we put it through mental filters and we extrude Lindisfarne Gospels, space shuttles, all of these things, this is what we do, we are like coral animals embedded in a technological reef of extruded psychic objects, and the tool is the flying sauce or the soul exteriorized in three-dimensional space. It’s as James Joyce said, it’s the problem of how man may be dirigible, and how man may be dirigible is basically by turning himself inside out. In other words, the body must become an interiorized holographic object embedded in a solid-state, hyper-dimensional matrix which is eternal, so that man wanders through Elysium in his body – this is a kind of islamic paradise that I’m drawing here – wanders through Elysium in his body, experiencing all the pleasures of the flesh, but not realizing that he is a holographic projection of a solid-state matrix that is micro-miniaturized, superconducting, and nowhere to be found. It is part of the Plenum.

All history is about producing prototypes of this situation with greater and greater closure toward the ideal, so that airplanes, automobiles, condominiums, space shuttles, space colonies, starships of the hardware speed of light spin-dizzy drive type, all of these are as Mircea Eliade says, “self-transforming images of flight” that speak volumes about man’s aspiration to self transcendence, so that our wish, our salvation and our only hope basically is to end the historical crisis by becoming the alien, by ending alienation by recognizing the alien as the self, in fact. Recognizing the alien as an Overmind which holds all the physical laws of the planet intact in the same way that you hold an idea intact in your mind. In other words, all these givens which are thought to be so written in adamantine are actually merely the moods of the god, if you will, which we happen to be. The whole thing about human history is recovering this piece of lost information so that man may be dirigible or, again, to quote Finnegans Wake (Moicane is the red light district of Dublin) –

“Here in Moicane we flop on the seamy side, but up n’ent, prospector, you sprout all your worth and you woof your wings, so if you want to be Phoenixed, come and be parked.”

It’s that simple, you see? But, it takes courage to be parked when the Grim Reaper draws near. A blessing in disguise, Joyce calls him. To me, what psychedelics point out and where I think society will go once they are integrated to the point where large groups of people can plan research programs without fear of being persecuted for it, is that it models the after-death state. It may do more than model it. It may essentially reveal the nature of it, that our mind, what we each call our mind can be, the modalities of appearance and understanding can be shifted so that we see it within the context of the One Mind. Then, problems like the existence of extraterrestrials and that kind of thing become trivial because the One Mind that I’m talking about contains all experiences of the Other. There is not the Newtonian universe deployed throughout the parsecs and kilocosms of physical space and the interior mental universe, they are the same thing. We perceive them as unresolvable dualisms because of what is called, or what I call the quality of the code. The language we use to discuss this problem has these built-in dualisms. This is a problem of language. All codes have code qualities except the Logos. The Logos is perfect and therefore it partakes of no quality other than itself, but so long as you map with something other than the Logos there will be code qualities and the dualism built into our language makes the death of the species, the death of the individual, seem to be opposed things. Likewise, the problems biology and by extrapolation exobiology pose by examining the physical universe versus the angel- and demon-haunted world that depth psychology is reporting on is again set up as a dichotomy.

All that is needed to go beyond an academic understanding of what I’ve been saying, is to have the experience of this tryptamine induced ecstacy. In other words, for reasons which I leave to my brother, the tryptamine molecule has this unique property of releasing the structured self into the overself. Each person who has that experience undergoes a mini apocalypse, a mini entry and mapping into hyperspace. For society to change in this direction, nothing is necessary except for this experience to become an object of general concern. Now, I’m not saying everybody should rush out and take mushroom, in case you thought that’s what I was saying! But, I am saying that these fields of information, which – I don’t know if you’re like me but my experience of these things is basically literary, I read Platinus, I read Heraclitus, I read all this stuff and I try to integrate it intellectually – but it is a plane of experience that is directly accessible.

The role that each of us plays in relationship to it determines how we will present ourselves in the final transformation that this hints of. In other words, in this theory there is a kind of teleological bias. There is a belief that there is a hyper-object called the Overmind or God or what have you, that casts a shadow into time, and History is the experiencing of this shadow. As you draw closer and closer to the source of the shadow, the paradoxes intensify. The rate of change change intensifies, because what is happening is that this hyper-object is beginning to ingress into three-dimensional space.

One way of thinking of it is that the waking world and the world of the dream begin to become one, so that the school of flying saucer criticism, which has said flying saucers are hallucinations, was in a certain sense correct, in that the laws which operate in the dream, the laws which operate in hyperspace can at times operate in three-dimensional space when the barrier between the two modes becomes weak. Then, you have these curious experiences sometimes called psychotic breaks, which always have a tremendous impact on the person they’re happening to, because there seems to be an exterior component that could not possibly be mental. What I’m talking about is when coincidences begin to build and build and build until you finally say, “You know, I don’t know what is going on but it’s preposterous to claim that this is a psychological phenomenon, because these are changes in the world!” – what Jung called synchronicity and made a certain model of, but what it really is, is that an alternative physics is beginning to impinge on reality and it is the physics of light, essentially.

Light is composed of photons, and photons have no antiparticle. This means that there is no dualism in the world of light. If you try to imagine the experience from the point of view of a thing made of light, and I’m sure you are all familiar with the conventions of relativity which say that time slows down as you approach the speed of light, but what is never said about that is that if you move at the speed of light there is no time whatsoever. There is an experience of time zero. So, if you imagine for a moment yourself to be made of light or in possession of a vehicle which can move at the speed of light, you can traverse from any point in the universe to any other with a subjective experience of time zero. This means that you cross to Alpha Centauri, time zero, but the amount of time that has passed in the relativistic universe is whatever it is: four and a half years. But, if you move over very great distances, if you cross 250,000 light-years across to Andromeda, you still have an experience of time zero. The only experience of time that you have is a subjective time that is created by your own mentation, but in relationship to the so-called Newtonian universe, there is no time whatsoever. You exist in eternity. You have become eternal. Now, of course, the universe is aging at a staggering rate all around you in this situation, but you perceive it as a fact of the universe, the way we perceive Newtonian physics as a fact of this universe. So, you have essentially translated into this eternal mode that I mentioned. Time as the moving image of eternity. You are then away from the moving image, you exist in this static mode.

I believe that this is what technology pushes toward and that there is no opposition between ecological balance and the people who want to leave the planet, between the hyper-technologists and the hyper-naturalists, all of these are red herrings. The real historical entity which is becoming imminent is the human soul, that the monkey body has served to carry to this moment of release, and it will always serve as a focus of self-image, but it will exist in a world made by the human imagination. This is what the return to the Father, the transcendence of Physis, the rising out of the Gnostic universe of iron that traps the light, all these metaphors, this is what it means. It means release into the human imagination. Very shortly, as it were, a dry run for this phenomenon will take place in the form of space exploration and space colonies, because there, the coral reef-like animal called Man that has extruded technology all over the surface of the Earth will be freed at last from the constraints of anything but his own imagination and the limitations of materials. So that, for instance, the earliest space colonies – of course, there will be an effort to duplicate the ecosystem of Hawaii and this and that, you know, these exercises in ecological understanding to prove you know what you’re doing – but as soon as this is under control, we will be released into the realm of art, which is what we have always striven for.

We will make our world, all of our world, and the world we came from will be maintained as a garden. What Eliade indicated as these endless metaphors of self-transforming flight will be realized momentarily as the technology of the space colony. What is lining up right behind that, of course, is the fact that the transition from Earth to space is a staggeringly tight genetic filter, a much tighter filter than any previous frontier ever has been, even the genetic demographic filter represented by the New World. It’s said, you know, that the vitality of America is because only the dreamers and the pioneers and the schemers made the trip across. This will be even more true of the transition to space, and the technological conquest of space will set the stage then for the interiorization of that metaphor, and the conquest of inner space and the collapse of the state vectors associated with this technology deployed in Newtonian space, and then Man will have become more than dirigible.

I think a break here is in order?

(Break.)

I’d like to say a couple more things and then there seem to be a lot of questions, so I’ll throw it open for questions, but before I do that, I mentioned this book, the Invisible Landscape that my brother and I wrote. I’ll say just a bit about it because it relates to what’s been said. I spoke in general terms about the technology which would interiorize the body, exteriorize the soul, spoke of it as a long-term technological goal, meaning visible within the next hundred or so years, following on to space travel, that sort of thing. But, what the Invisible Landscape is about is an effort to short-circuit that chronology and to actually, in a certain sense, force the issue. It’s the story, or rather it’s the intellectual underpinnings of the story of an expedition to the Amazon by my brother and myself and several other people in 1971, in which my brother formulated an idea that involved using harmine and harmaline. These are compounds which occur in Banisteriopsis Caapi which is the woody vine that is the basis for Ayahuasca, and Ayahuasca is one of these plant hallucinogens that releases you into this dimension I’m discussing.

An effort to use harmine in conjunction with the human voice in what we called the experiment at La Chorerra which, basically, you can take as very loose science or very tight magic. It was an effort to use sound to charge the molecular structure of these harmine molecules, metabolizing in vivo, in the body, in such a way that they would bind preferentially into certain molecular structures. Our candidate at the time was DNA. I think Frank Barr has convinced me that there’s as great a likelihood that it involves binding into melanin bodies. But, it involes binding into a molecular site where information is stored, so that this information is then broadcast in the mind in such a way that you begin to get a readout on the structure of the soul. In other words, this was an effort to use a kind of shamanic technology to bell the cat, if you will, to hang a superconducting telemetric psychedelic device on the Overmind so that there would be a continuous readout of information from this dimension, and the success or failure of this you may judge by reading the book. The first half of the book describes the experiment, the theoretical underpinnings of the experiment. The second half of the book describes the theory of the structure of time that derived from the bizarre mental states that followed upon the experiment. I don’t claim that we succeeded, I just claim that our theory of what happened is better than any theory any of our critics have been able to bring forward. Whether we succeeded or not, that kind of thinking points the way. In other words, when I speak of the technology of building the starship, I imagine it will be done with voltages far below the voltage of a common flashlight battery. This is after all where the most interesting phenomena go on in nature. Thought is that kind of phenomenon, metabolism is that kind of phenomenon.

I think that an aquarian science, or a science that places the psychedelic experience at the center of its program of investigation, should move toward a practical realization of this goal. The goal of eliminating the barrier between the ego and the overself, so that the ego can perceive itself as an expression of the overself, so that the anxiety of being cast into matter, of apparently facing a tremendous biological crisis in the form of death, of apparently facing a tremendous species crisis in the form of the apocalypse, the crisis of limitation in physical space by being planet-bound, all of these things can be obviated by cultivating the soul. Basically, by practicing shamanism, using these tryptamine drugs that I’ve described. My plea to scientists, administrators and politicians who may be listening to my voice is to look again at psilocybin, to not lump it with the other psychedelics, to realize that it is a phenomenon unto itself and that it has an enormous potential for transforming mankind, and not simply transforming the people who take it. It is like an art movement or a mathematical understanding or a scientific breakthrough. It holds the possibility of transforming the entire society simply by virtue of the information that is coming through. This is a source of gnosis and the voice of gnosis has been silenced in the Western mind for at least a thousand years.

I like to think that when these Franciscans and Dominicans arrived in Mexico in the 16th century, they immediately set about stamping this thing out. The Natives called it teonanácatl, the flesh of the gods. Well, the Catholic Church has a monopoly on theophagia, and was not pleased by this particular approach to what was going on. Now, 300, 400, whatever it is, years after that initial contact, I think that Eros, which retreated from Greece and retreated from Europe with the rise of Christianity, retreated to the mountains of the Sierra Mazeteca essentially, and then was finally pushed into seclusion there, it now re-emerges in Western consciousness and our institutions, our epistemology. All of these things are so shakily founded and so misconstrued, that with the help of shamanically-inspired personalities, we can release this thing once again. The Logos can be unleashed once again, and the voice that spoke to Plato and Parmenides and Heraclitus, that voice can speak again in the minds of modern people and when it does, the alienation will be ended, because we will have become the alien.

This is the promise that is held out and I realize that it may seem to some a nightmare vision, but all historical changes of immense magnitude have had that quality because they propel people into a completely new world.

Are there any questions?

1:02:44 End of talk, beginning of Q&A.

yes discovering that in reality you want me to comment on that I agree with you that this is a strongly held position I always in my relations have recourse to my own experience and I’ve not had good luck with any of these text me I spent time in India practiced yoga scoured the various species ROS she’s geisha is the day she had to offer and I believe they must be talking about something but it in my experience it is so far removed from the actual closure with the intense to me nice to see that I don’t love it and I am willing to believe these things are possible I just must be a very grounded for instance claims to be that’s what time is the shortcut and they might be on the right track sexuality orgasm these things do have tryptamine this qualities to them but the main thing about assignment and I stress is information immense in my experience like LSD the nation seemed largely to be somehow related to the structure of the optic nerve or they are essentially trivial they are geometric patterns but unless by another drug the classic psychedelic experience that started it all those people I believe 200 micrograms of LSD and 30 milligrams of mescaline and I would believe that that would deliver visionary experience the difference is but still is not colored lights and moving shows shoe laces jungles cities sheen’s bullets architect of incredible complexity just click click click there is no possibility that this could be construed as fact the most highly ordered visual information that you ever experienced much more highly visual experience I’m having at this moment is this room no no I talked about this last time that finally today’s talks about what he calls a more perfect Logos he says some workers would be beheld rather then heard in other words the formulation you get in the Gospel of John Kerry d-mass the beginning was the Word yes in the beginning but this is a strange trying to forward it is the word which is officially be held and the language in which the Northeast communicates is a language of the issue such that there is no ambiguity about me because there is no recourse to a dictionary defines signification it is purely be held this is why it’s very hard to bring that information because it is hard to English and the reason it’s hard to me because it’s like trying to make a three-dimensional rendering of a fourth dimensional object through the media can be perceived that’s why it’s so interesting and I should have maybe talk more about it that some assignment and ayahuasca which is this regional drug which uses tryptamine to make it run there’s a telepathy which years there is a shared state of mind because the unfolding hallucination is shared in complete silence you know it’s very hard to prove this to the scientists but if for people are having this experience you know one person can like monologue and then cease the monologue and another person will take everyone is seen and this is the quality of being visual information to answer your question arthur seems to make this Logos believable in the way that I quoted William Blake when he said the truth cannot be told and you do believe you do believe it oh yeah I went home I would say this is the same other things without ever crossing and yet this seems impossible it seems illogical impossibility because it is either one or the other and yet when you actually have the experience you see it is thought becomes more and more intense until finally its intensity is such that with there being no jumper glitch you now holding it and this is very typical yes the body takes me a long time to experience and I feel you know I never have lost my respect for him and i really feel is one of the emotions I always feel as I approach because I have no faith that my sales won’t be ripped this time I always make the medical sailing out onto it dark ocean and your little kid and you know you may use the moon rising severely a black water or something the size of freight train may roll through your scene clutching an or and I don’t know astrology is may be helpful in figuring out when to go to go but there needs to be a way to figure out how your question about the dialogue I I need this very literally it speaks to you you speech to it is I don’t know how many of you have read my book that my brother and I wrote under pseudonyms the magic mushroom grower sky introduction there there’s a rap about old fifty times older than thought in your species and I came from the stars you know I just was writing it furiously and sometimes it’s it’s very human I mean my approach to it is great that we argue about what it’s going to cost it is and I say well look you know I’m the girl or home to the flying saucer 45 minutes to figure out how it works sometimes like a very toned dick sort of pawn broker and I asked at one time what are you doing honor and it said well you know it’s quiet neighborhood history is the shock wave of eschatology in other words we are living in a very unique moment twenty thousand years where this cements transition is happening and the object the end then beyond history which is the human species transformed into this eternal superconducting over Mainz space craft thing is casting a shadow of that through time and all religion philosophy all wars are because people do not get the message right and that’s because both the forward flowing stream of the causal determinism and the interference pattern that is formed against them by the backward flowing fact of this eschatological hyper objet throwing its shadow across the landscape so we exist there is a great deal with this situation call history is totally in need will only last for a moment it will only last for a moment but in that moment there is like this tremendous burst static as the monkey goes to godhood and there is this crossing the day I don’t like to call it because you a street but the efficacy of the eschaton this finalists illogical launching and forward flow and truck that circumstance get it for you maybe something to do with certainly life is necessary that like this we it is not the idea that we have been used to assign any assistance that are actually know this is a very important part of the cycle it is it is a filter remember a dimension that I thought that there was the possibility of extinction there was the possibility of falling into place and so in that sense the medical all is valid there is a spiritual obligations asked me down those following a serious somebody else’s rules is enterprise is primary obligation of being in this and everyone has to read our texts are studies biochemistry to make the transition most people make it nine by but we we are intellectuals track in the world we cannot we cannot expect to crossed the Rainbow Bridge through the act of contrition we have to understand why it hits understanding because he feared death and the deal is to not understand planning that is fine land which announces art poetry myth making these are things that plant the lay on the ground that is what choice means when he says man become a man may be released into the realm of the imagination is this this is where we come from and it is only to be approached through cognitive activity and it is and we were able to which it has first and then is rather than able only to cast a shadow into files seized reflection and I don’t come very close hear classical millinery and the libertarian thought my you love the rate at which change is accelerating and the way the giant is tightening causes me to think and the wave predicts this that it is not law it is 25 years 30 years then this event will occur it is the entry of the species into hyperspace but it will appear to be the collapse of the state vector in the end of physical the release of the mind into itself and all these other images the star ship the space colony all that these are pictures again the idea that history as the shock wave as you close distance with the eschatological object the reflections itself and in the final moment God and there are no more reflections the mystery the mystery and all its nakedness is seen nothing else but what this is decency can safely scarcely