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42 Enlightening Quotes From Psychedelic Ambassador Terence McKenna

 

 

Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American philosopher, psychonaut, ethnobotanist, lecturer, writer and author of several books. He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, culture, technology and the theoretical origins of human consciousness. He was also the creator of a mathematical theory of time based on patterns found in the I Ching which he termed novelty theory.

 

1. “The purpose of life is to familiarize oneself with this after-death body so that the act of dying will not create confusion in the psyche.”


2. “Half the time you think your thinking you’re actually listening.”

3. “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.”

4. "The message of psychedelics is that culture can be re-engineered as a set of emotional and spiritual values rather than products. This is terrifying news.”

5. “The imagination is the goal of history. I see culture as an effort to literally realize our collective dreams.”

6. “You simply have to turn your back on a culture that has gone sterile and dead and get with the program of a living world and the imagination.”

7. The male dominant agenda is so fragile that any competitor is felt as a deadly foe.”
– Terence McKenna

8. You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness.”

9. You are a divine being. You matter, you count. You come from realms of unimaginable power and light, and you will return to those realms.”

10. Stop consuming images and start producing them.”

11. “If you don’t smoke cannabis, you may spend your evening balancing your checking account. If you do smoke cannabis you may spend your evening contemplating the causes of the Greek Renaissance.”

-Terence McKenna

12. “If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”

13. “I think of going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience like going to the grave without ever having sex. It means that you never figured out what it is all about. The mystery is in the body and the way the body works itself into nature.”

14. “Ego is a structure that is erected by a neurotic individual who is a member of a neurotic culture against the facts of the matter. And culture, which we put on like an overcoat, is the collectivized consensus about what sort of neurotic behaviors are acceptable.”

15. “Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coersion, brainwashing, and manipulation.”

16. “Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet.”

17. “Nothing comes unannounced, but many can miss the announcement. So it’s very important to actually listen to your own intuition rather than driving through it.”

18. “Some kind of dialog is now going on between individual human beings and the sum total of human knowledge and nothing can stop it.”

19. “It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.”

20. “My technique is don’t believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite.”

21. “People are so alienated from their own soul that when they meet their soul they think it comes from another star system.”

22. “Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”

23. “What civilization is, is 6 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation.”

24. “Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existance is defined in terms of control.”

25. “Culture is not your friend. Culture is for other people’s convenience and the convenience of various institutions, churches, companies, tax collection schemes, what have you. It is not your friend. It insults you. It disempowers you. It uses and abuses you. None of us are well treated by culture.”

26. “We are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination, and when you step outside the mass hallucination you see it for what it’s worth.”

27. “Matter is not lacking in magic, matter is magic.”

28. “Nothing lasts but nothing is lost.”

29. “The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer”

30. “The apocalypse is not something which is coming. The apocalypse has arrived in major portions of the planet and it’s only because we live within a bubble of incredible privilege and social insulation that we still have the luxury of anticipating the apocalypse.”

31. “Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coersion, brainwashing, and manipulation.”

32. “My technique is don’t believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite.”

33. “We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.”

34. “The shaman is not merely a sick man, or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself.”

35. “If you’re not the hero of your own novel, then what kind of novel is it? You need to do some heavy editing.”

36. “If you keep yourself as the final arbiter you will be less susceptible to infection by cultural illusion”

37. “The purpose of life is to familiarize oneself with this after-death body so that the act of dying will not create confusion in the psyche.”

38. “The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”

39. “The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. If artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.”

40. “Part of what psychedelics do is they decondition you from cultural values. This is what makes it such a political hot potato. Since all culture is a kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is one which causes people to start questioning the rules of the game.”

41. “We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”

42. “The future of communication is the future of the evolution of the human soul.”