Terence Mckenna speech transcribed from a video of a talk by Terence McKenna, originally titled: ‘A Psychedelic Point of View’.
“What we are trying to do is return the focus of attention, into individual experience. We need to empower, experience. We have been slave too long to ideology transmitted hierarchically and based on a tremendously alienating instrumentality. That’s what science depends on now, a tremendously alienating instrumentality.
What we need to do is empower experience. This is where the psychedelics come in because citizens don’t take psychedelics because it’s illegal. Neither do marionettes. Neither do robots. None of these well-behaved and mechanistic reductionist images of humanity take psychedelics – because it’s misbehaving. Misbehaving is a great sin. In fact it’s enshrined as the first sin. You’ll regard that the psychedelic issue was there in Eden. Somebody misbehaved and then they got tossed out forever, and their children’s children, into the chaos of history.
It’s interesting to read in Genesis why this was. It was because they will become as we are, says Yahweh, they will become as we are if they eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. I suggest to you that this is precisely what we should seek to do. And that this we is the voice of hierarchy. The voice of paternalism, the voice of the male ego, finally right up into the storm god, the volcano god, who lies back there in the origins of Monotheism.
We empower our experience by insisting our authenticity. It’s a wonderful thing to learn to be able to stand up and yell ‘bullshit’. I did it first when I was about 18 years old and it was the meme of the hour. And it blew their minds, it did blow their minds, it was uncivil! It lacked polity. It was rude and crude and correct. Correct. Because so much has been slung and nobody is talking about the primacy of experience and the dignity of the individual.
The dignity of the individual: we went a long way with this in America before we betrayed it. And it wasn’t only betrayed by the clowns in Washington. It was also betrayed by anybody who clusters themselves around the feet of some self-proclaimed nabob.
Because the fact of the matter is: No-body knows what’s going on. Nobody knows, nobody has the faintest idea. The best guesses are lies, you may be sure of it. And so to pretend that one human being will lead another out of the dark night of ignorance and into the shining light of truth is ludicrous. Absolutely grotesque. A product of this empowering of the human image that has gone on through several thousands of years of dominator culture.
If you want a teacher, try a waterfall, or a mushroom, or a mountain wilderness, or a storm-pounded seashore. This is where the action is. It’s not back in the hive. It’s not in the anthill, it’s not knocking your head against the floor in front somebody who claims that because of their lineage and whose feet they washed and whose feet they washed, that you should give credence to them.
Knowledge is provisional. And we are yet to approach even the first moment of civilized understanding. The way it is to be done is by trusting yourself, trusting your intuition. Reject authority, authority is a lie and an abomination. Authority will lead you into ruin. It’s not real.
Don’t get the idea that it’s this Liberal rap about how everybody has a piece of the action. You know, the Jews know something the Buddhas know something the whizoo know something – nonsense! Rubbish! Nobody knows anything. These are different kinds of shell-games that have been worked out by a priestly caste of people to keep things under control! Institutions seek to maximise control! Control, control! That’s what they’re into.
Did you think they were in the business of enlightening you? Saving your soul? Forget it, CONTROL is what this is all about. And to the degree that we commit ourselves to ideology, we are poisoned. Any ideology, Marxism, Catholicism, Objectivism, you name it – rubbish! All rubbish. What is real is experience. What is real is this moment.
And so then what it becomes about is what ARE the frontiers of experience? How much of THAT has been taken away from us by these dominators, by these priesthoods, by these cults, by these philosophical shell-games? Well, a lot. That’s the whole story of history. “Our growing unease… our growing dis-ease… our malaise… is all about the fact that we are kept from the well-spring of experience!
We are sexually repressed. You may not feel it but look back a hundred years to a world where pianos wore pants! Maybe we’ve made a little progress on the sexual thing, maybe not. Maybe more or less than we think. “But we are repressed in all of these areas. And we are particularly repressed in the area that relates to the psychedelic experience. Because it is Raid to the dominator insect invasion. They can’t take it, they can’t stand it. Because it empowers the individual, it dissolves the cheerful model of science. It’s just exposed as – you know – a nice story.
It enriches the accessible universe tenfold, a hundredfold, a thousandfold. It makes the individual complete within his or herself.
And this completion of the individual is extremely destructive to the plan of the dominators – which is that you will be a cog in a machine. You will participate in a life of an organisation. Not your life – the life of an organisation. You will go to some bullshit job, you will pour the best years of your life and your genius and hopes into this, you will serve an institution. You will serve… serve, serve, serve!
Well, it’s a bad idea for free people to go along with this. A much better idea would be to insist on the dignity of human beings, to recognise that the freeing of slaves, the giving of the vote to women, the ending of public whippings – that this programme of political enlightenment must then also include ‘hands-off on how people want to relate to changing their minds’.
We are not interested in being sexually regulated by the state, and we are not interested in being intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, manipulated by the state. The state should stand down in this issue. The state is acting as the enforcing arm of the dominator culture – specifically fundamentalist screw-balls, who are horrified by all this. By the notion that people would claim the authenticity of their own minds, that people would stand in the light of nature and reject original sin and the guilt from Eden and the sins of the fathers and all this rubbish, which is handed down.
What the Archaic Revival is going to have to mean, if it has teeth, is the re-empowering of the individual. And a consequent lowering of the profile of institutions, especially government.
We need to think about these things because we have bought into the idea that we have to serve and behave and be enslaved, else chaos will engulf the world. We need to carry out our analysis of the situation to the point where we can embrace chaos. And see that chaos is the environment in which we all thrive. That’s how I’ve done it for years.
You think I would have gotten away with this in the Soviet Union? I don’t think so. I require a society on the brink of social breakdown to be able to do my work! And I think a society on the brink of social breakdown is the healthiest situation for individuals.
I don’t know how many of you have ever had the privilege of being in a society in a pre-revolutionary situation but the cafes stay open all night, and there’s music in the streets, and you can breathe it, you can feel it, and you know what is happening: the dominator is being pushed.
It never succeeds, it never is able to claim itself, but on the other hand history is young, we may have a crack at this. A global society is coming into being, a global society made out of information that was not intended to be ours, but which IS ours through the mistaken invention and distribution of small computers, the printing press, all of this stuff.
Information is power, and information has been spilled by the clumsy handling of the Cybernetic Revolution by the dominator culture, so that it is everywhere.
Never has the situation been more fluid. Never have the opportunities for infiltration, insurrection and hell-raising been more present at hand. But we have to seize the opportunity.
If we continue as we have, then, you know, we are doomed. And the judgment of some higher power on that will be: ‘they didn’t even struggle’. ‘They went to the box cars with their suitcases and they didn’t even struggle’. This is too nightmarish to contemplate. We’re talking about the fate of the whole planet.
Why are people so polite? Why are they so patient? Why are they so forgiving of gangsterism and betrayal? It’s very difficult to understand.
I believe it’s because the dominator culture is increasingly more and more sophisticated in its perfection of subliminal mechanisms of control. And I don’t mean anything grandiose and paranoid. I just mean that through press-releases and soundbites and the enforced idiocy of television, the drama of a dying world has been turned into a soap-opera for most people. And they don’t understand that it’s their story. And that they will meet it in the final act if somewhere between here and the final act they don’t stand up on their hind-legs and howl!
And it’s not done through organising and it’s not done through vanguard parties and cotrays of intellectual elites. It’s done through just walking away from all of that. Claiming your identity. Claiming your vision, your being, your intuition, and then acting from that without regret. Cleanly, without regret.”