Imagine a planet-wide community of seamless intelligence where you could log on to the mind of a coral reef as easily as you could log on to the Internet.

Future of Art (1998)

Portrait of Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna

Ethnobotanist, Psychonaut, and Author
November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000

Terence Kemp McKenna was an American ethnobotanist, mystic, psychonaut, lecturer, author, and an advocate for the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic plants. He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, philosophy, culture, technology, environmentalism, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness. He was called the Timothy Leary of the nineties, one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism, and the “intellectual voice of rave culture.”

For a more comprehensive database of McKenna’s lectures and presentations, visit Ask Terence McKenna. It’s a fantastic website!

WIKIPEDIA ➦

Frequently mentions:

Marshall McLuhan  35× Alfred North Whitehead  33× Timothy Leary  28× Rupert Sheldrake  26× Mircea Eliade  23× Ralph Abraham  20× Aldous Huxley  16× Albert Einstein  15× Ludwig Wittgenstein  14× Ilya Prigogine  12× Erich Jantsch  12× Hans Moravec  11× William James  10× Pierre Teilhard de Chardin  Herbert George Wells  David Bohm  John Burdon Sanderson Haldane  Conrad Hal Waddington  Jacques Ellul  Allen Ginsberg  Ludwig von Bertalanffy 

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A Calendar for the Goddess

(Ecology of Souls)

Beginning with a comparison of reason and logic to intuition, Terence works his way towards exploring the idea of a purposeful goal in the universe which evolution is progressing towards, and humanity’s role in this journey. Next, in a nod to the solstice which occurred at the time of the lecture, he plays with the idea of a precessional calendar and argues that it would remind us of the one constant in life, which is flux. Q&A topics include future social myths, morphogenesis, globalization, and psychedelic encounters with the dead.

A Crisis in Consciousness

Terence argues that a solution to our collective planetary crisis has emerged, and it lies in a commitment to shamanistic, feminized, cybernetic, and caring forms of being—to take what each of us is in our very best moments and extend it to fill whole lifetimes.

A Few Conclusions About Life

In his signature wide-ranging style, McKenna explores culture, shamanism, psychedelics, and humanity’s collective journey through spacetime. He advocates embracing the ineffable mystery unfolding through us, moving toward a hyperspatial cyberculture. To rediscover our shared humanity, we must trust the transformative wisdom of psychedelic plants.

A Psychedelic Point of View

Buck the status quo! Rebel philosopher Terence McKenna shook things up in this closing speech after a month of being scholar-in-residence at Esalen, arguing that reality escapes our rational grasp. He chided science and philosophy’s paltry models that diminish nature’s infinitude. Seeking to spur his audience from passive acceptance, McKenna called to revere expanded consciousness. He urged toppling the assumptions bolstering dominator culture to midwife more liberated, psychedelically-attuned societies. By trusting our intuition’s cosmic tether, we can transform reality into something stranger and more wonderful than we suppose.

A Weekend with Terence McKenna

“Healing the inner elf through trance, dance, and diet”—the session for true McKenna enthusiasts: twelve hours with the bard himself, in which he touches upon practically all of his trademark topics.

Alchemical Youth on the Edge of the World

Can magic mushrooms save the world? Terence McKenna makes the case that today’s global youth culture is reviving ancient shamanic techniques to dissolve ego boundaries and empower imagination. Tracing this impulse back to prehistoric mushroom use, McKenna sees history fast approaching a transcendental tipping point. To end the modern era’s disequilibrium, he argues we must reconnect with the mystical power of psychedelic plants. McKenna paints a mind-bending vision of how neo-shamanic youth, guided by plant teachers, can lift humanity into a new golden age of ecological harmony and psychic unity.

Alien Love

An Ocean of Ideas

Terence traces the force of novelty through cosmic evolution, from the birth of the universe to the emergence of life, culture and technology. He speculates wildly about humanity’s fate, musing on virtual worlds, interstellar travel, and miniaturization into fairy folk. These phantasmagoric visions reflect the inspirational power of psychedelics to unlock imagination. McKenna emphasizes open-ended thinking to envision new futures, warning against rigid ideology and fundamentalism. Ultimately he explores how psychedelic experiences can catalyze novel perspectives on existence itself.

Appreciating Imagination

Join Terence McKenna in this weekend workshop as he takes us on an imaginative journey into the depths of human creativity. Through eloquent exploration of psychedelics, virtual worlds, and shamanic states of consciousness, McKenna reveals how embracing our imagination allows us to envision and manifest alternate realities beyond cultural conditioning. By cultivating our creative faculties with mathematical reasoning, intuition, and immersion in nature, he guides us toward transcending ideological limits into an enlightened future of compassion. Ultimately, breaking boundaries through the power of imagination will inspire us to reach new heights of understanding and connectivity.

Awakening to Archaic Values

A weekend workshop in which Terence encourages humanity to return to harmonic habits which have been lost in the tide of time.

Build Your Own Damn Wagon

(Laws and Freedom, Habits and Novelty)

"Do not watch, do not consume," implores Terence McKenna, inviting us on a thought-provoking journey to reclaim our humanness. By building our own conceptual wagons, rather than riding ready-made vehicles of meaning, we can travel along unique paths of critical thinking. Once within our own virtual worlds, the wonder of our distinctive minds will be open for discovery.

Cannabis Trialogue

This trialogue explores the various effects and cultural significance of cannabis use. Potential benefits for creativity, spirituality, and personal growth are discussed, as well as concerns about possible negative consequences like lethargy and addiction. The debate also revolves around the merits of legalization versus decriminalization and the role of governments in drug policy.

Conversations on the Edge of Magic

Terence’s first workshop at Starwood Festival XIV, where he brings a unique perspective to being in the world that assumes an impending transformation of the human world involving everyone. With humor and in depth we will examine human attitudes toward the Other, time and its mysteries, the nature of language, and the techniques of ecstasy that have developed in non-Western societies to navigate to and from invisible worlds. We will discuss making reasonable choices about spiritual development and techniques. Terence explains that what he calls the “Archaic Revival” is the process of reawakening awareness of traditional attitudes toward nature, including plants and our relationship to them. The Archaic Revival spells the eventual breakup of the pattern male dominance and hierarchy bassed on animal organization, something that cannot be changed overnight by a sudden shift in collective awareness. This is a think-along experience for those who have taken a few moments to chill out from the dance of life.

Countdown Into Complexity

Briefing for a Descent Into Novelty

At his weekend workshop Terence led attendees on an intellectual odyssey traversing psychedelics, virtual reality, technology, culture, spirituality, and the evolution of novelty over time. Blending philosophy, futurology, and mysticism, he explored humanity’s relationship with nature and machines, challenging participants to think critically, create freely, and keep an open mind. The goal was to expand consciousness and uncover deeper truths about existence.

Culture and Ideology are not Your Friends

Delivered at the Whole Life Expo, Terence focuses on one of his favorite questions: what does it mean to be human in this cosmos?

Cover image for Dreaming Awake at the End of Time

Dreaming Awake at the End of Time

Join Terence for an eclectic think along the deconstruction of the deepening worldwide weirdness. With his characteristic hope and humor, McKenna examined time and its mysteries, the nature of language, the techniques of ecstasy, high technology and virtual cyberspace, the role of hallucinogenic plants in shamanism and the evolution of human cultures, and the foundations of postmodern spirituality.

Dynamics of Hyperspace

Abraham and McKenna explore the limitations of traditional maps of consciousness, like those of Freud and Jung, in understanding psychedelic experiences. They propose that psychedelics offer access to a hyperspace beyond the human dimension, requiring new languages and metaphors to map and share these experiences. They discuss the role of consciousness evolution, potential guidance from higher intelligence, and the challenges and opportunities presented by technology and social structures in navigating this uncharted territory.

Eros and the Eschaton

(What Science Forgot: The Importance of Human Beings)

Delivered in Kane Hall at the University of Washington, Terence points out the universe’s peculiar tendency to seek out complexity and novelty, and that humanity seems to be the focal point of this process.

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Evolving Times

This evening address is one of Terence’s funniest, in which much is said about monkeys, mushrooms, plants, and people. The question and answer session gets good and lively, with his unique analysis of UFOs, governments, and possible evolutionary pathways for us and the planet.

Cover image for Food of the Gods: The Search For The Original Tree Of Knowledge

Food of the Gods

The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge

An exploration of humans’ symbiotic relationships with plants and chemicals presents information on prehistoric partnership societies, the roles of spices and spirits in the rise of dominator societies; and the politics of tobacco, tea, coffee, opium, and alcohol.

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From Psychedelics to Cybernetics

Timothy Leary journeyed through Europe as head of the psychedelic revolution and consciousness research movement, and he invited some of his tagalong friends to this evening lecture held at the "Alte Feuerwache" in Mannheim to talk about the future evolution of humanity.

Future of Art

Terence McKenna prophesies a future where technology obliterates barriers between imagination and reality. Psychedelics combined with VR could unleash humanity’s collective artistic genius. AI superintelligence may already be awakening on the internet, rendering us obsolete—or granting us godlike abilities to merge with the planetary mind. McKenna envisions downloading consciousness into machines, uplifting animal sentience, and the human diaspora splintering into cyber-cultures. While uncertain outcomes loom, he beckons us toward an unconstrained existential canvas where biology and technology intertwine to manifest our wildest psychic dreams.

Global Perspectives and Psychedelic Poetics

Behind closed eyelids, an inward odyssey unfolds to the ancestral logos, beckoning with alien glossolalia. In the self-revealing chaosmos, we are the culture-jammers, launching meme-madness, art-bombs heralding the Archaic Revival. The great mother calls us home through the green, organic internet. Dance the cosmic giggle or perish amidst the ruins of history.

Cover image for Hallucinogens: Before and After Psychology (Monkeys Discover Hyperspace)

Hallucinogens: Before and After Psychology

(Monkeys Discover Hyperspace)

What mushrooms uncover is the slumbering Lógos, the primordial inner voice, psychedelics’ telepathic tidings heralding our exile’s end. Visionary technologies shall synergize humanity’s dreams, fusing inner and outer worlds, truth and imagination reconciled. To break ancestral chains, we must meet the paradoxical with minds ablaze, escaping platitudes’ prisons through ecstasy’s portals, whereby we’re transfigured, phoenix-like, rising renewed from the ashes of history—life’s fiery genius unbound.

Having Archaic and Eating it Too

Feeding back to the psychedelic community of Los Angeles, Terence McKenna delivers colorful and astounding visual transformations. He weaves a galactic tapestry of art-tickled articulations of the history and future of psychedelic alchemy, the government/ culture clash, and the surging general ordering of chaos from UFOs to archaic shamanism. This recording will amuse anyone interested in subjects ranging from eco-tourism to techno-junkies.

History Ends in Green

The coming together of dream, film, and psychedelics in the twentieth century set the stage for the archaic revival. McKenna gives us a look through the window of our potential as humans. He helps put the hysteria of our time into perspective and gives a path that could help us to deal with this strange and wonderful world we live in. A must-listen seminar for those interested in human potential.

Hot Concepts and Melting Edges

A weekend workshop held at Esalen, with the alternate titles of Deeper and Broader Questions and Eros, Chaos, and Meaning’s Edge.

Imagination in the Light of Nature

Terence claims that “the boundless creativity of the human mind will be tapped into and come to our aid.” His bold statement is followed by an inspirational pep-talk about how miraculous the appearance of consciuosness in this universe is, and what a valuable potential humans represent in future cosmic evolution.

In the Valley of Novelty

Journeying through multiple dimensions of psychedelic consciousness, Terence McKenna’s visionary weekend workshop invites us on an entheogenic voyage to the frontiers of the mind and its imminent conquering of matter. Blending scientific insights with shamanic wisdom, McKenna argues that natural plant medicines like psilocybin and DMT provide portals into mystical realms and alien dimensions, catalyzing revelations about nature, reality, and the human psyche. He urges us to courageously explore these consciousness-expanding substances, seeking the gratuitous beauty and truths they unveil. For McKenna, the psychedelic experience holds secrets to our world and ourselves—if only we dare lift the veil.

Intentionality of Meaning

McKenna takes us on a mind-bending ride about language, questioning if words unveil reality or cloak it. He suggests peering behind the linguistic curtain with nature and psychedelics, helping reveal life’s magical depths where fairies and elves await to make deals that unleash self-transforming possibilities. But he cautions, the storytelling mushrooms can dupe you with their wit. Tread lightly.

Interview with Erik Davis

The final recorded interview of Terence McKenna, conducted by Erik Davis for Wired magazine.

Light of the Third Millennium

Speaking at the Whole Life Expo in Palmer Auditorium, Terence says our task is to surf the accelerating wave of novelty to dissolve cultural delusions. Psychedelics and technology can download new perspectives, stripping away outdated assumptions. Through imagination, language, and art we can meet the eschaton: the transcendental object at the end of time. Our task is liberate ourselves, take responsibility for our ideas, make visionary art, and find community without fear.

Limits of Art and Edges of Science

Terence McKenna proposes a radical view of history as a self-limiting process, driven by an attractor pulling us toward a transcendent, alien encounter that will transform human experience. He advocates the transformative power of psychedelics to unlock our collective potential, urging a forced evolution of language and consciousness to navigate the looming collapse of civilization and embrace the cosmic destiny of our species.

Linear Societies and Nonlinear Drugs

Speaking on the first day of the 1999 Palenque Entheobotany Conference at the Chan Kha Hotel, Terence McKenna probes the mind-blowing philosophical revelations of psychedelics. He contends these consciousness-expanding substances can shatter Western rationality, unveiling mystical realities beyond mainstream paradigms. Psychedelics may hold the key to reimagining society’s connection with nature and technology. McKenna passionately argues these drugs can catalyze new ways of thinking, fueling an intellectual revolution to change the world.

Lógos Meets Eros

Speaking at the Wetlands Preserve club, Terence McKenna glimpses both peril and promise as civilization hurtles toward an uncertain future. Technology untethers tradition, psychedelics unleash inspiration from narrow cultural confines, boundaries dissolve, categories collide, contradictions mount. What strange attractor lures us through this unfolding existential adventure? In McKenna’s view, dystopia or utopia will emerge based on one driving factor—our collective capacity for creativity, courage, and compassion as we navigate the quantum unknown. With open minds and loving hearts, a brighter tomorrow awaits.

Man Thinks God Knows, God Knows Man Thinks

What if language could be seen instead of heard? McKenna fancies a linguistic lark where lexicon becomes a dance of light. Words incarnate as rainbow octopi, their very skin shimmering significance. In the verbosity vortex we spin, until, lo, meaning and matter tango into one, with word becoming flesh and flesh becoming word in the ultimate semantic samba.

Cover image for Man and Woman at the End of History

Man and Woman at the End of History

This seminar examined how one of the most fundamental human relationships, that between male and female, shapes our relationship to technology and ultimately to culture and nature. It looked at the forms of relationship between women and men in the shift from a society based on domination to one based on partnership. This is an exploration of how feminism, technology and the telling of a new story will contribute to rescuing us from history.

Megatripolis Opening Night

Terence McKenna discusses the discovery of a new legal psychedelic compound from the salvia divinorum plant. He argues that humanity is on the brink of a cultural transformation driven by the accelerating production of novelty in the universe, enabled by psychedelics and technology. He envisions a transcendental future where boundaries dissolve and consciousness evolves.

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Metamorphosis

Join McKenna, Sheldrake, and Abraham on an imaginative journey into nature’s creativity. Surfing the chaotic waters of psychedelic states, they catch glimpses of the Gaian mind behind Earth’s being. Here, in imaginal realms beyond rationale, novelty is born. By relinquishing egoic control and surrendering to an unknowable creative force, we tap into the divine imagination—the eternal wellspring of nature’s endless becomings. Immersing ourselves in this flow, we reunite with the cosmic creative essence.

Metaphysics of Psychedelics

Terence McKenna delves into the enigmatic realm of ayahuasca, unveiling its technological complexity and potential to unlock hidden dimensions of consciousness. His captivating discourse explores the interplay of mind, matter, and the imagination, hinting at the possibility of accessing realms beyond our ordinary perception.

Mushrooms, Evolution, and the Millennium

Terence McKenna asks the fundamental question concerning natural hallucinogens: is it an accident of nature that certain plants and mushrooms can alter human awareness in profound ways? He argues that man and hallucinogenic plants and mushrooms have co-evolved. These botanicals provide a way for people to experience their spiritual nature, and throughout history have been used by shamans whose function is to enter altered states in order to perceive the spiritual causes behind ordinary reality. Delivered at the Masonic Temple during a gathering of the Los Angeles Mycological Society.

Nature Loves Complexity

Terence argues that psychedelics reconnect us to archaic values like community, reverence for nature, and direct felt experience. He sees psychedelics as part of nature’s tendency to conserve complexity and novelty. McKenna critiques science’s misapplication of probability theory and suggests time itself fluctuates, finally proposing an ethics of aligning with nature’s creative unfolding.

Nature is the Center of the Mandala

Presented at the Shared Visions bookstore, Terence talks about humanity’s path towards greater consciousness, and attempts to take a glance at what comes after the Omega Point.

New Maps of Hyperspace

An edited transcript of a talk given at the Berkeley Institute for the Study of Consciousness. McKenna proposes that history is a nightmare we must awaken from, and psychedelics can unveil a parallel reality: a hyperspatial realm where the human soul transcends physical constraints. He envisions a transformative future where technology catalyzes our species’ metamorphosis into a hyperspatial entelechy, blending mind, matter and the mystical. This radical exploration of consciousness, time, and the Apocalypse offers a profound, mind-expanding journey into the esoteric frontiers of human potential.

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New and Old Maps of Hyperspace

Beyond perception’s veil lies a hidden reality accessible through sacred plants. At the Institute for the Study of Consciousness, McKenna describes fantastical tryptamine journeys to alien dimensions, encounters with self-transforming machine elves, and the Overmind behind reality. These shamanic technologies induce total revelation, ecstatic communion, even our apocalyptic transcendence. McKenna demands science and religion gaze again into psychedelic infinity’s abyss where something mysteriously beckons.

Opening the Doors of Creativity

This far-out lecture held at the Carnegie Art Museum riffs on art, shamanism, psychedelics, and saving the planet. Terence sees artists as modern shamans who can reconnect us to the Gaian mind. He thinks we’re an infant species held in nature’s arms, but we’ve got to get our act together fast and let the irrational muse guide us, or we’ll trash the place. Heavy stuff, but optimistically visionary.

Our Cyberspiritual Future

Terence holds court on our civilization’s journey toward the eschaton at this weekend Esalen gathering. He riffs on topics from psychedelic states and alien intelligences to time travel and VR. McKenna argues we’re evolving toward an unimaginable state of accelerating novelty, propelled by advancing technology. A mind-expanding ride for the open-minded psychonaut or armchair traveler, guided by one of the twentieth century’s most eclectic thinkers.

Permitting Smart People to Hope

McKenna traipses through a mélange of scientific and technological folderol—the detection of the top quark, swift progress on sequencing the human genome, newfangled theories about the origin of the moon, quantum bafflements like non-locality, the proliferation of the internet and information technology, speculations on the nature of time from Prigogine, and sundry other bamboozlements. He elucidates how these breakthroughs in diverse fields might converge to profoundly transform human civilization, culture, and consciousness in the imminent future.

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Plan, Plant, Planet

McKenna urges us to look at plants more deeply and find within their biological organization a model for sustainable modern civilization.

Plants, Consciousness, and Transformation

Prague Gnosis

Part 1

Shot on location in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during the International Transpersonal Conference in June 1992, this two-part series features Terence McKenna in dialogue with some of the foremost thinkers of the Global Consciousness movement of the time: Ram Dass, Angeles Arrien, Kenneth Ring, Rupert Sheldrake, Jill Purce, David Whyte and Alexander Shulgin.

Cover image for Prague Gnosis (Part 2)

Prague Gnosis

Part 2

Shot on location in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during the International Transpersonal Conference in June 1992, this two-part series features Terence McKenna in dialogue with some of the foremost thinkers of the Global Consciousness movement of the time: Ram Dass, Angeles Arrien, Kenneth Ring, Rupert Sheldrake, Jill Purce, David Whyte and Alexander Shulgin.

Cover image for Psychedelics and Mathematical Vision

Psychedelics and Mathematical Vision

Through visions and swirling fractal forms, three trailblazers embarked on a cosmic journey to the furthest frontiers of consciousness. Seeking to map the mathematical landscapes glimpsed in psychedelic states, they pondered perplexing philosophies and disputed the deepest quandaries of science and spirit. Though technology promises portals to enchanted realms of pattern and meaning, can cold silicon chips ever capture the warmth of Gaia’s embrace?

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Psychedelics and the Computer Revolution

Psychedelics unlock the mind’s eye, let mathematicians fly
To landscapes unseen, where patterns careen in colors serene.
As symbols may hide truths inside, these vines we must untwine.
With psychedelics we’ll refine new ways for minds to shine:
Computers give form, classics reborn, realms to adorn.
Together they’ll fuse, creativity diffuse, inventions produce!
So let inhibitions loose, imagine the use, as we choose the hues
Of mathematical views, and virtual worlds that enthuse!

Cover image for Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines

Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines

Humanity is metamorphosing through the synergy of psychedelics and machines, transcending biological constraints to become a galactic, immortal intelligencia. Print defined our ego boundaries, but electronic media and plant allies are dissolving those illusions. Merging with superintelligent AIs, we’ll birth an alchemical singularity—a spiritual, universe-taming mind born from techno-shamanic ecstasy. History crumbles as novelty’s virus engulfs the old operating systems, unleashing our wildest potentials. The felt presence of boundless experience awaits!

Rap Dancing into the Third Millennium

(Packing For The Long Strange Trip)

Terence’s second workshop at Starwood Festival XIV. The approaching new millenium, its perils, and its promise will be the theme of this intimate workshop. We will analyze and review the past thousand years with an eye to trends and opportunities that the future may bring. Western civilization is caught in a phase transition to the first planet-wide, species-wide civilization. Does the emergence of a shared set of universal values—democracy, free markets, and the dignity of the individual—have to mean the end of diversity and pluarlism? What does human self-imaging through technology portend to each of us? Is the human race down for the count, or on the brink of its greatest adventure? Psychedelics, virtual reality, and the transformative power of magic and language will be topics for discussion.

Cover image for Reawakening our Connection to the Gaian Mind

Reawakening our Connection to the Gaian Mind

In a passionate plea, McKenna urges us to embrace psychedelic experiences as a means to dissolve boundaries, connect with the Gaian mind, and find the vision necessary to address the ecological crises threatening our planet. Advocating a radical shift towards eco-consciousness, he calls for a global community built on love, responsibility, and reverence for the wisdom of nature.

Reviving the Archaic

A New View of Evolution

Terence McKenna unveils an “archaic revival” that could save humanity and our planet. He makes the controversial claim that psychedelic plants catalyzed the emergence of human consciousness, language, and our fertile imaginations eons ago. McKenna advocates reviving the shamanic practices and partnership values of our prehistoric ancestors to transcend the isolated ego and re-establish a symbiotic relationship with nature’s “great piece of integrated linguistic machinery.” His boundary-dissolving ideas shatter conventional thinking about our past, present, and the transformative possibilities for our collective future.

Sacred Plants as Guides

New Dimensions of the Soul

Terence McKenna takes us on a journey through history, exploring the powerful role of psychedelic plants in human evolution and consciousness. He argues that these plants offer a gateway to hidden realms of reality, inhabited by enigmatic entities and offering profound insights. McKenna suggests that reconnecting with these ancient allies could be the key to solving our modern problems and unlocking a brighter future for humanity.

Seeking the Stone

What if psychedelic plants sparked humanity’s awakening? McKenna (speaking at the 1991 Whole Life Expo) contends these mind-altering substances dissolved the egos of early humans, bonded communities, and revealed cosmic consciousness, catalyzing rapid cultural progress. He asserts modern society suffers from severing this link to nature and spirit, and calls us to reclaim this “archaic revival” before consumerism leads civilization over the brink.

Shamanism, Alchemy, and the Millennium

A whimsical reflection on humanity’s journey toward ever-greater connectedness, from the cosmic singularity to the noosphere’s fanciful manifestations. Could the shamanic alchemist’s mythic intuition, the goddess’s wisdom, and capitalism’s impatient urge together guide us to the stars and back to Eden? An optimistic revelry.

Shedding the Monkey

Presented at the Shared Visions bookstore.

Speaking Metaphorically

Terence McKenna explores how psychedelics can alter language and consciousness, unlocking a transformative phenomenon at the heart of human evolution. He envisions a shift towards a visible, gestalt-like language of meaning that will profoundly reshape culture, enabling our species to transcend earthly confines and venture into the cosmos. Proposing psychedelics as a pheromonal regulator for collective consciousness, McKenna suggests this archaic linguistic revolution holds the keys to our future, bridging the gap between nature and technology in ways that could determine the very destiny of humanity.

Spirituality and Technology

Terence McKenna discusses psychedelic philosophy and the interconnectedness of all things, referencing Moby Dick as an allegory for the quest for transcendental truth.

State of the Stone

In this talk, McKenna gives one of his more hopeful presentations about love and the state of humanity at the end of the millenium.

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Synesthesia

Terence visited Granary Books’ exhibition of books and prints by Timothy C. Ely in July 1991, and his empathetic and eloquent understanding of Ely’s work inspired a collaboration. Philip Gallo typographically interpreted McKenna’s text, which was printed letterpress on Rives BFK. The text appears on, around, and between Ely’s original painted and drawn images, which Ely describes as “articulated glossolalia refracted from the writing.” Only 75 copies were printed.

Taxonomy of Illusion

This lecture explores the role of psychedelics in human evolution, consciousness expansion, and addressing global crises. Terence argues that psychedelics dissolved boundaries among our ancestors, fostering human traits like language and altruism. He advocates for their responsible use to transcend cultural illusions, enhance creativity, and catalyze the radical changes needed to confront environmental catastrophe and birth a new human order.

The Birth of a New Humanity

Terence McKenna explored themes of accelerating complexity, impending radical shifts in human reality, and the continuity between our changing relationship with Earth and a new cosmic modality transcending our fragile ecosystem. He posited history as a self-limiting 25,000-year process reaching its climax, suggesting individual acts of “midwifery” can ease this epochal transition. He also cautioned about combining psychoactive compounds without proper expertise.

The Edge Runner

A presentation revolving around the question: what is going on in the universe? Special emphasis is given to the human condition, the accelerating complexification of the cosmos, and options for the human collectivity as it faces the future.

The Evolution of a Psychedelic Thinker

Terence recounts his lifelong fascination with the transcendent, psychedelic realm, arguing that these mind-expanding experiences are central to the human condition and hold the key to understanding and transforming our troubled world. Drawing on personal anecdotes and a deep dive into the history and science of psychedelics, he makes a compelling case for embracing this forbidden, yet vital, aspect of our shared reality. If allowed to blossom, it could inspire a cultural renaissance and guide humanity’s transition to an ecological partnership society.

The Evolutionary Importance of Technology

McKenna discusses how rapidly advancing technologies like nanotech, biotech, and the internet are converging and taking on a life of their own, bootstrapping information to higher levels of connectivity. He sees this leading to a virtual world where we can share inner visions and dissolve differences.

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The Evolutionary Mind

What could have been the cause for the breakthrough in the evolution of human consciousness around 50,000 years ago? Part of the Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable held at the University of California.

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The Future of Humanity

McKenna, Abraham, and biologist Rupert Sheldrake contemplate humanity’s bumpy ride towards transcendence. McKenna unveils his theory of an impending "eschaton" when history will culminate in a boundary-erasing recovery of unity, fulfilling religious anticipation. However, approaching this "zero point" will be increasingly chaotic. Abraham and Sheldrake greet McKenna’s vision with skepticism tinged with hope. Probing global crises, the trio spiritedly grapple with miraculous visions for transforming society, from psychedelic revival to empowering women. Their speculative voyage reveals turbulence ahead, yet yields glimmers of our journey’s destination.

The Gnostic Astronaut

Going off the deep end at Shared Visions Bookstore in Berkeley, trailblazer Terence McKenna plunges into freaky psychedelic phenomena that unravel consensual reality. He describes gonzo techniques for sparking glossolalia on ’shrooms—speaking pure alien word salad in an ecstatic state beyond language. McKenna argues these kooky experiences expose the limits of our linguistic operating systems, suggesting our minds are hardwired into a deeper bio-lingo. He ponders far out connections between psychedelics, paranormal events, and alien contact, and emphasizes riding the wave of raw experience over textbook pharmacology in grokking the psychedelic sphere.

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The Invisible Landscape

Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching

A thoroughly revised edition of the much-sought-after early work by Terence and Dennis McKenna that looks at shamanism, altered states of consciousness, and the organic unity of the King Wen sequence of the I Ching.

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The New Psychedelics

Held at the Ego-Soft event, Terence presented his philosophy and eschatology rap in accompaniment with a rhythmic didgeridoo and bell performance.

The Plot Thickens, the Stakes Rise

McKenna discussed his theory that humanity is accelerating towards a transcendental object at the end of time, propelled by ever-increasing novelty. He argued that the internet and new technologies like virtual reality are expanding consciousness in this trajectory. McKenna was especially excited about the legal psychedelic salvia divinorum, urging people to explore it and other plants as allies toward reaching higher states of awareness before the culmination of cosmic evolution.

The Primacy of Direct Experience

In this, the closing session of a June 1994 workshop, Terence McKenna tells us directly what he thinks this human life is actually about: the primacy of direct experience; a focus on the present-at-hand.

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The Psychedelic Society

One of Terence’s early presentations at Esalen—shocking, astounding, and amusing his audience with outlandish ideas.

The Rites of Spring

Terence McKenna theorizes that ingestion of psilocybin mushrooms catalyzed the emergence of human self-reflection. He argues that psilocybin enhanced visual acuity and symbol processing in early hominids, leading to the development of human consciousness. Psychedelic plants can accelerate cultural change by deconditioning rigid mindsets, according to McKenna. He envisions a future where machines have consciousness and visible language communicates meaning directly. Ultimately, McKenna foresees the impending transformation of humanity through imagination and connection with the mysterious Other.

The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge

The Syntax of Psychedelic Time

Terence McKenna weaves a tapestry of ideas exploring fractal time, the psychedelic mushroom’s potent voice, and humanity’s impending transcendence into a galactic, post-biological singularity. Brace yourself for a journey through the uncharted realms of novelty and consciousness expansion.

The Winter King

This talk was recorded during the time that Terence McKenna and Sheldon Rocklin were filming the Coincidencia Oppositorum: A Union of Opposites documentary for Mysic Fire.

Cover image for The World Wide Web and the Millennium

The World Wide Web and the Millennium

Seldom do we have an opportunity to test the accuracy of oracular predictions, but this fascinating conversation between two great thinkers has already proven to be right on target. Speculations include the future evolutionary development of the Internet, whether it is an embryonic intelligence, whether it will merge our minds into a planetary consciousness, or whether it is an alien brain waiting for humanity to cross an evolutionary threshold. Let the bard and the chaos theorist weave an exquisite cybernetic fantasy for you in this evening seminar.

The World and its Double

This workshop, held at the Nature Friends Lodge, revolves around how psychedelics dissolve boundaries, connect us to the transcendental, and reveal the novel realities underlying our perceived mundane existence. Terence explores how shamanic techniques give access to higher dimensions of consciousness, and describes history as an ever-accelerating process approaching an eschatological transformation or singularity.

Toward the End of History

“We are transcending ourselves faster than we realize:” Terence McKenna delves into his theory of novelty, psychedelics as catalysts for cognitive evolution, and the internet’s potential to disrupt power structures and empower marginalized communities. He paints a tantalizing picture of humanity’s inevitable leap into a transcendent future.

Towards the Unknown

McKenna doth insist mushrooms assist
Our minds to resist what we thought we had missed.
Beyond normal ken, psychedelics send
Our thoughts to transcend, our culture to mend.
Though seen as a vice by the mainstream to chide
These compounds provide portals to sights inside
That propel our race to a posthuman place
By opening space for our minds to embrace.

Cover image for True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise

True Hallucinations

Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise

This mesmerizing, surreal account of the bizarre adventures of Terence McKenna, his brother Dennis, and a small band of their friends, is a wild ride of exotic experience and scientific inquiry. Exploring the Amazon Basin in search of mythical shamanic hallucinogens, they encounter a host of unusual characters—including a mushroom, a flying saucer, pirate Mantids from outer space, an appearance by James and Nora Joyce in the guise of poultry, and translinguistic matter—and discover the missing link in the development of human consciousness and language.

Understanding and Imagination in the Light of Nature

The Great Mystery whispers through psychedelics as it unfurls revelations beyond language’s grasp. Here, ego-bound shells crack open as cosmic minds reborn beyond confines of space and time. We thus commune with the endless Imagination—holographic spirit-stuff whereof worlds are wrought. Invariants of the eternal suffuse temporal shadow-play, the mundane ever aflame in subtler dimensions. All form awakens, ascends, drawn unto consummate transcendence as history’s fever dream blossoms into timeless infinitude.

Understanding the Chaos at History's End

Delivered at the end of McKenna’s first month as scholar-in-residence at Esalen, when he began a new phase in his public speaking career. This weekend workshop provides an early glimpse at Terence’s description of the looming “transcendental object at the end of time,” and the psychedelic insights which led him to become an oracle.

Unfolding the Stone

Making and Unmaking History and Language

Also published under the title Empowering Hope in Dark Times, McKenna explores the philosophical underpinnings of alchemy and Hermeticism. He argues that these esoteric traditions promote the inherent divinity of humankind and the overcoming of fate through magic. Psychedelic plants and mystical experiences are positioned as means of glimpsing liberatory truths. McKenna ultimately seeks to empower his audience with a hopeful worldview and a sense of human potential, even in difficult times.

Vertigo at History's Edge

Nothing Comes Unannounced

As we approach history’s climax, McKenna heralds the inevitable complexification of existence. He foretells technology and pharmacology’s fusion into higher consciousness and collective awakening through boundary dissolution. Still, the human spirit yearns freedom from constraints of belief, non-experience. McKenna beckons: reclaim your mind, body, and world! Destiny awaits our willful shaping. The cosmic hourglass empties; shall we awaken?

Virtual Reality Interview

While attending the 1990 Cyberthon event, Terence answered a few questions about virtual reality before heading to the stage.

Virtual Reality and Electronic Highs

On Becoming Virtual Octopi

Terence discusses virtual reality technology, which allows people to have immersive experiences in digital worlds. He describes the state of VR in the 1990s and speculates on its future implications, both positive and negative. He reflects on how VR could lead to new forms of communication and imagination, but also trivial entertainment. If used thoughtfully, he concludes, VR holds tremendous transformative potential.

Walking Out Of The Ordinary

(Speech at Sunshine Gardens)

Journey with Terence McKenna into the mystical depths of the psychedelic experience, where alien dimensions beckon and unseen vistas await. McKenna describes fantastical realms beyond ordinary conceptions of reality—worlds that hold promise for expanding human consciousness. He argues persuasively that plant medicines like psilocybin can serve as a key not only to self-knowledge, but to rediscovering our cosmic belonging. McKenna’s uncanny ability to articulate the ineffable allows him to initiate audiences into the revelatory power of psychedelic states. Join him on this quest, and you too may glimpse the infinities within.

What I've Learned from Psychedelics

McKenna describes his encounters while in the DMT state, theorizing that the beings he met are ancestor souls communicating from beyond death, offering reassurance about the afterlife to ease anxiety over mortality. He says psychedelics catalyze an expanded consciousness, unfolding awareness into a higher dimension where one can behold this ecology of souls, and sees this expanded awareness as helping to midwife humanity’s transition to a new stage of being.

Mentioned in 2 documents

Donald Dulchinos

Neurosphere

According to Donald Dulchinos, the real action on the Internet isn’t in the realm of commerce. It is, plain and simple, in the realm of religion. But not exactly that old-time religion. This book is about the spiritual impact of our increasing ability to communicate quickly and with enhanced evolution. It's about our search for meaning, our hunger for a glimpse at humanity's future development in which, frighteningly or excitingly, the trend is clearly toward increasing integration of telecommunications and information technology with the body itself. Electronic prosthetics, direct neural implants, and the brain's control of electronic and mechanical limbs move the boundary that used to exist between human and machine to some undefined frontier inside our bodies, our brains, and, perhaps, our minds.

Erich Jantsch

The Self-Organizing Universe

The evolution of the universe—ranging from cosmic and biological to sociocultural evolution—is viewed in terms of the unifying paradigm of self-organization. The contours of this paradigm emerge from the synthesis of a number of important concepts, and provide a scientific foundation to a new world-view which emphasizes process over structure, nonequilibrium over equilibrium, evolution over permanency, and individual creativity over collective stabilization. The book, with its emphasis on the interaction of microstructures with the entire biosphere, ecosystems etc., and on how micro- and macrocosmos mutually create the conditions for their further evolution, provides a comprehensive framework for a deeper understanding of human creativity in a time of transition.