Shamanism, Alchemy, and the Millennium

August 22, 1985

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.



This morning I wanted to sum up or sort of review what we’ve been talking about over the past few days. We’re definitely now in the full flow of whatever this is, and I hope the questions that you brought with you are being answered, or that you’re forming new ones.


The process of trying to figure out what it is—which is what this seems to be, and what consciousness seems to be—is a process that has been gathering strength for a very, very long time. It appears that the tendency for systems to complexify and to multiply the connectedness within them is some kind of ontological characteristic that pervades not only organic existence, but pre-organic existence, even pre-molecular existence. The universe begins in some kind of singularity. I mean, this is the teaching of physics in all its forms: that the universe begins in some kind of singularity—which is not greatly different nor greatly easier to imagine than simply that God made everything. It is essentially that statement clothed in mathematics and abstraction.


What is unexamined in all these models that project the whole scheme—from the largest to the smallest, from the earliest to the most recent—is an awareness that, apparently, the describing apparatus is unable to emerge from itself. That everything is somehow self-description. And it’s interesting that self-similarity is this property that you encounter in the fractals, and then that you encounter in nature or complex phenomena once you examine them with the fractal idea.


So what is this peculiar tension between individuality and the general case? After the lecture yesterday we were talking about the phenomenon of elves that is experienced with some hallucinogens, and wondering if perhaps at last the fractals didn’t bring into our kin the possibility of an explanation of what this is. That what it is, is that you perceive at last the fractal nature of yourself: so that you see that you are yourself, but you are also all these little selves—which Jung actually mentioned this in one essay. He called them autonomous psychic entities. Mischievous bounding forms of ontic energy. And this is what is is. And this can be viewed as a kind of fragmentation if it overwhelms the coping ability. But, on the other hand, it is a perception that is probably primary.


I’ve noticed in my own encounters with elves that they have a curious relationship to my own body image, in that they can jump in and out of your body. They are autonomous psychic entities, but also autonomous linguistic entities. The fact that they seem to be made of a material which is made more of meaning than light—in other words, that they carry their meaning on their surface—is indicative of the fact that they are made of the material of the self, if you want to think of it that way. In other words, that they are as ontologically primary as you, the perceiver.


Well, once in that extremely altered state you have touched this notion of the fractal nature of the self, then you bring it back, and you see it all around you. I mean, for instance, ourselves as social creatures: I am myself. I could be someone else—you or you or you. And likewise, you could be anybody. Our individuality is a uniquely felt thing, but few people would argue that someone looking down from a flying saucer would probably see us as interchangeable the way we see ants as interchangeable. The ants are a fractal example of an animal population, because all ants appear more or less alike. And all ant societies of the same species appear more or less alike. Yet, from the point of view of the monad at any level in the modular hierarchy there is a unique perspective and a unique centering process which creates an individuality, a point of view, a self which is sustained in time.


But then, when you turn toward this temporal dimension which the self is sustained in, you discover what I mentioned in another context yesterday: that time also has this fractal quality. One minute is rather like another. One day is rather like another. One year is rather like another. And yet, each day, each moment, each year is different. And so there is this strange tension between the self-similitude of temporal flow and also the differentiation in it.


But what emerges slowly out of this is the perception that all of these flows, all of these fractals, all of these self-similar processes are embedded in similar (naturally) fractal processes at higher and higher levels of expression in space and in time. So that the universe in its entirety—from big bang to heat death or recollapse into another super black hole state—is a kind of tone, or a kind of waveform, which is then reiterated on many levels of duration which are successively smaller and smaller and fall away from the pattern of the primary waveform.


And so when you look at the history of the universe on a vast scale, what you see is an initial state of great indeterminacy; an inchoate state of such high energy that everything is just flying to pieces. There is no bonding energy that can overcome the kinetic energy of the system. Then, as time passes and temperatures fall, eventually nuclear chemistry is possible. Electrons settle down into orbits around the nuclei of atoms. Then, a still much later point in time, the temperature in the universe in certain areas has fallen, and the stars have cooked out a more complex species of [atoms]—carbon—and suddenly very complex structures can arise.


And this tendency toward complexification—which describes the history of the entire universe—also describes the history of the twentieth century, your life, the past six months. All of these processes have this tendency to go toward an endpoint of extreme complexity. And this has not—it’s obvious, and it’s part of our literature and our art. This is why the apocalyptic and millenarian tendency is built into the Western religious tradition. This is, I believe, the yearning which Western religion satisfies in people that is not satisfied by science. In other words, that Western religion sanctifies death as some kind of culmination and conclusion, but the larger implication of that—which it explicitly makes—is that the whole history of humanity is moving toward an endpoint, an apocalypse, a momentous event which will cast everything which preceded it in some kind of new light, and make everything new, and morally exonerate the horror that was necessary to reach that moment—in other words, to make the Earth pure and clean and new.


And science is not into this. Science’s technology may be like a disloyal child of science which could be captured by the millenarian dream. But science itself takes the view of time so far that it is a plastic medium but not highly variable on the local scale that we inhabit, and therefore, essentially, trivial. But this revolution in thinking that begins with Jung’s clarification of the notion of synchronicity and then comes up through all the delvings into the irrational in the twentieth century (and certainly Jung and Freud’s exploration of the unconscious) exonerates a different notion of time—or at least the validity of entertaining different notions of time.


Technology—arising out of the application of science to the conquest of nature—nevertheless is susceptible to millenarian expectations. The French sociologist Jacques Ellul was a radical technological sociologist, and he had a famous aphorism which was: “There are no political solutions, only technological ones. The rest is propaganda.” And this is certainly a radical expression of it, but it may well be true. I believe—



He wrote The Technological Society.



The Technological Society.



It’s still in print; paperback.



And Propaganda is another good one. Technology in the form of cybernetics is becoming the coral reef or the technological excretion that is the truly hardwired portion of the unconscious now. And I see this as the feminine; the goddess reemerging into three-dimensional space in the form of what Teilhard de Chardin called the noösphere, but which is more correctly identified as Sophía (the emanation of wisdom as a feminine spirit), as puruṣa, as electricity which completely girdles the planet and transforms it into the alchemical stone; the entity. It is the planet which is the thing that is being worked on. This is why alchemy and history can be seen to be the same thing. This is why this conference is called Shamanism, Alchemy, and the Millennium: because it’s my conviction that the historical process mirroring intuitively these larger cosmic processes and smaller cosmic processes of complexification is an actual intentionalization of the creation of this overmind—or not so much its creation, but its invocation into matter. To save us is essentially why this is happening. In other words, it’s a gnostic myth of the descent of the overmind into matter to recover what was lost into matter, which is the spark of being the oversoul in ourselves. To return to the imagination without having to pass through the narrow gate of death.


And shamanism is related to the millennium because the shaman exemplifies the millennium before history. Eliade makes this clear: that before history, in illo tempore, everything was perfect, and people flew and talked to the animals, and there was abundant food and no disease. The shaman is the only person who has retained this superhuman quality that existed before the fall into profane time. And the shaman—in all of his/her many adumbrations as alchemist, as scientist, as magician, as poet—has been the catalytic enzymatic personality which has sculpted the historical process and led it forward. And it has been mediated by the relationships to plants, which mediate a relationship to an undefinable, intelligent force that you can call God or the Genus loci or the extraterrestrials. The fact of the matter is that the depth and nature of it can apparently not be known; that it is controlling what is revealed about itself, and that people throughout history have discovered this. It is, in fact, what religion is in the absence of institutions. And in the presence of institutions religion isn’t. This is why Taoism is so attractive: because it understood and retained the idea that you could be in history, and you could still know about the Tao and be in the Tao, which is really to be outside of history. And I think that there may be many ways to do it. What gatherings like this seem to indicate is that discursive thought is being given another chance from having been abandoned for a decade or so.


So that this kind of noetic archeology can be used to try and map out the human condition. The emergence of the feminine in this cybernetic matrix—and Ralph made this point yesterday—is paralleled by these breakthroughs in mathematics. Really, cybernetics is simply a branch of applied mathematics at this point, and will become more so in the future. Space is the void into which this Gaia matrix, this maternal mama-matrix, is going to expel the human entelechy. It is a birth process. It is traumatic for the planet and for the people undergoing it. But it is natural and it is necessary. And it is important, I think, to have faith that it’s going smoothly.


We can now see the future in a way that even fifteen years ago people couldn’t see. I mean, if we keep our ducks in a row, the next hundred, two hundred years can be seen fairly clearly. All that we have to argue about is how fast you run the movie. In other words, will it be starflight by 2010 or will it take until 2050? Will we have complete ability to transfer and integrate human consciousness into machines in shared states of group telepathy by the year 2000 or 2025? What is happening is that political—it’s almost parallel to the situation in Europe when the wars of religion finally dragged themselves out, and where people just finally… the way the late medieval stasis was broken up was, people just got sick of it. They didn’t have any great moral awakening, you know? They just said: bullshit! We don’t care anymore whether you’re a Huguenot or a Catholic or a Cal—you know, we just had it. Enough already.


And I think that this kind of impatience is in certain places already, and will grow; that capitalism is very impatient with the stodginess of mass media-manipulated so-called democratic societies. And capitalism wants to forge ahead—who knows how humanely. But they do see the potential in the future. And many Western institutions see only the potential for despair in the future. To my mind the future is endlessly bright. And the things that are going to be done are truly astonishing, but today imaginable. And it is only persistence that will bring them to be.


That’s why it’s very important to preserve through any dark age—whether it lasts months or years—the psychedelic notion; a core of people who understand the amazing creativity that is resident in the human mind. Because space is the human imagination calling us forward. Those structures can be built there. These paradises can be erected. There can be a millennium, there is no question about it.


Any of you who are fans of science fiction know that science fiction is just a plethora of worlds and cultures and aliens and bizarre political situations. Well, it takes six light-hours for a radio signal to go from the inner planets to, say, Pluto. And that means that within twelve light-hours of the sun these O’Neill type habitats—which everybody agrees are technically feasible—could be erected. And that means a fantastic proliferation of experimentation in human social forms. I mean, it’s possible to envision the solar system as a kind of human swarm world with thousands of these colony worlds, each pursuing the social dynamics that they had evolved or were interested in exploring, all suspended in a sphere of electronic communication and data transfer such that they are living in the same day, the same solar system day, because it only takes twelve light-hours for light to cross the solar system from one edge to the other. And this is a conservative future; a future which does not rely on any new technical breakthroughs or discoveries of great new natural principles—of which you may be sure there will be such discoveries.


So if we can lift the lethal beast off our backs, we can go forward into a future that is endlessly bright. And we’ve heard all kinds of solutions suggested: from relaxing to dissolving it with analysis, and discovering that everything is alright the way it is and everything is working out the way it is. I lean to believing that eighty percent of the time and worrying a great deal the other twenty percent of the time as a way to hang on.


Anyway, I think I wanted to take this time this morning to say these things because I think it makes more immediate what to some people may have seemed very arcane yesterday, which was all the mathematical stuff. Someone said to me yesterday, “If there’s a narc listening in, what do you think he thought of the day-long exploration of higher mathematics?” So…! Are there questions about this or anything, or anything that anyone wants to say?



[???] cybernetics?



Cybernetics. Yes, well, I said earlier that I thought a network like Myconet is essentially—Myconet is this computer network on the source that we have organized for people with interests in this area where you can log in, and then, using a pseudonym, interact in any way you want. In other words, it’s a new kind of public or quasi-public space where, once you have entered into the network, you are totally anonymous—which means totally free. There’s a Japanese saying: “The tourist need have no shame.” Well, this is…






No, it’s absolutely true. So the tourist on the computer network need have no shame. You can say anything. No one can find out who said it. And so you can speak your mind and communicate freely. That small beginning—typing away at the keyboard, and sending e-letters to various mailboxes, and interacting in this funny way which is faster than the mail but slower than the telephone—is is the beginning of a neural network which, in a few years (four years, five years) will have the ability to process visual data and much more high-resolution forms of data. Even at the present level you are able to upload papers, and people can download them and read them. You can upload programs which people can run, but not download, but comment on—or download and comment on. In other words, it creates a kind of instantaneous linking-together of people—which, you know, I hate the mechanics of the computer. I just think it’s completely obnoxious. But it’s like learning to drive—but it’s tougher than that. It’s like learning to drive a sports car. But once you learn to drive it, then there are these thrills. And I think if people will cooperate and actually use the network and force themselves in a way to use it—in other words, don’t call somebody, use the email; just make it part of your life—then the kind of community that we produce when we’re here at Esalen can be carried over not at such an intense level, but we won’t each fall, then, back into our own groove.


This, then, is going to be repeated on a massive scale, and is being repeated. Nine million computers a month are being hooked into communications systems, and most of these are for the networking purposes of small management groups. This is the new organism which is taking shape that is the organism which survives: our electronically linked groups of like-minded people who have clearly defined their goals and are working together to achieve them. By being able to search and find people, and then stay in touch with them, we become much more powerful on the sociopolitical dimension where this kind of progress is made.


Okay, so that’s one aspect about cybernetics. The more generalized aspect for society is that mind-machine interaction is going to become a major frontier for development and redefinition. And when that happens, the accretions of technology—the keyboard, the video display—all of this will begin to disappear. And it’s not unreasonable to expect that eventually you will just access by thought almost. In other words, I take the hallucinogens as the model for the ideal computing system—the hallucinogens when they’re working perfectly. You know, when you can say in a psilocybin state, “Art Deco,” and millions of Art Deco objects begin drifting slowly through your field of vision, tumbling slowly, each one the most perfect delineation of the Art Deco aesthetic that you’ve ever seen. And then you say “Hieronymus Bosch” and you’re there. This kind of interaction with an invisible dimension of vast intelligence is coming to be.


Now, I think that it’s always existed in wetware form. This is what shamanism is. This is what all societies end up building—whether they build it out of mushrooms, morning glories, and tobacco smoke, or silicon, copper, gold, and plastic, you know? Everybody ends up erecting a cybernetic global network of information for transferring the information that they have culturally validated and seek to preserve. And we look at the people in the Amazon and say: how quaint, how primitive, so forth. We haven’t the faintest notion of what’s actually going on, how they know what they know, how they do what they do.


When we were at La Chorrera it was uncanny how much the Witoto knew about things 100–125 miles away. I mean, we would visit the priest and be standing there when, over the radio, you would hear that an airplane had landed at Mission So-and-So, but then you would walk back to your camp and meet someone, and they would say, “I was just talking to this Indian. He said those people that were expected at So-and-So came today.” You know? Well, what is going on there? Each technology appears to the savants of another technology as magic.


—to the shaman who were doing that trick in the Amazon. But nevertheless, the erection of this network is very important. And I see it as a feminizing thing. People have a lot of trouble with that because they tend to think of computers as machines. Computers are machines now, but computers don’t need to be machines. Computers are arrangements of arrays and elements that can exist in any medium, and we’re simply passing through a phase where they are machines. Very soon they will probably be created by DNA and be rather like bone tissue or something like that. Once the biological and the cybernetic come together, why, the division between machines and life will be seen to be like the difference between a snail and its shell. I mean, the shell is not much like the snail, but to say that one is alive and one isn’t is a little begging the question.


And also, the cybernetic revolution is going to allow the modeling through things like what Ralph is doing—and Ralph didn’t even talk yesterday about his Hollywood project—is going to allow the modeling of psychedelic states and even theoretical psychedelic states (in other words: configurations of consciousness which no drug, synthetic or natural, can cause to happen) can be elicited by creating hypothetical brain state situations. Modeling of the brain is going to create a complete understanding of the fine-grained nature of consciousness. It will not answer questions about the soul and free will and being, but it will answer what are all these things made of, you know, and how do they work at the formal cellular level?


So cybernetics, I think, came along just in time. It is the knitting-together, and it is—you know, I think that the notion of drug is a fairly stupid one. I mean, I identify—the first psychedelic drug I ever took was science fiction, and I took it daily for years. And rocketry was a big high, too. I was one of those people who stuffed potassium perchlorate and sugar into stainless steel piping and take it out on the football field, and blow enormous craters in the pitcher’s mound. And it was somewhat late that I came to what is formally known as drugs. And cybernetics is one of these things, you know? It’s an exocompound: you don’t put it into your body, you interact with it at the keyboard. But, you know, the keyboard is entirely an illusion of this very early mechanical stage that we’re in of interacting with the machine. I mean, think how it would be if the keyboard were not there and nothing were there, and just to use a computer would be to sit down and just compose yourself in a certain state of mind, and then you would be in the network and able to word search the Library of Congress and all of these things. This is obviously coming. This is what technology seeks to do—and we need unobtrusive technologies.


So the psychedelic research which we’re doing—and which seems somehow we don’t know whether we’re millenarians or whether we’re mystics or whether we’re escapists—but actually we are pioneers in creating the parameters of the kinds of states of consciousness that will be institutionalized (cybernetically and bio-pharmacologically) in the next century if we’re to survive. Because the kind of chaotic, propagandized, mass-minded, atomized, competitive, egocentric, patriarchial tendencies that are in all of us at present are lethal. And, you know, they’re more present in the leadership than anywhere else. So the situation is critical, and exotic solutions must be the only ones that one can put one’s faith in, because logic has outrun itself. The whole mess is a creation of the logical mind. I mean, it seems so clear back there in the seventeenth century, you know? Universal rights of man and so forth. But it turned out rather badly. And it’s because a masculine, one-sided undertaking—as Western civilization had been since the suppression of the goddess, and the breakup of Eleusis, and the going underground of ecstatic states where you get in touch with the overmind and get the historical juice; the direction for the historical process. Now this is coming again. But let’s hope not too late.


I don’t think so. I think that it’s just going to be a hair-raising, hell-raising experience, but that we will be reborn, and that it’ll come to pass that the human future is secured—perhaps for tens of thousands of years—in our lifetime. It has to do with defusing the political situation, dispersing people through the solar system, and unleashing capitalism in a humane environment, which means an uninhabited environment of unlimited resources—which means nowhere on Earth. It can’t be on Earth. If I had the power to do it, I would turn the Earth into Botanical Dimensions, meaning: the Earth should be a botanical garden, a repository of lifeforms, a carefully tended and cultivated treasure; the greatest treasure which being ever gave to the human race. And no matter how far we go and how many planets fall under our sway, it will be the gene swarm of the home planet that will eventually determine how well we do out in the galaxy.


And so, you know, as I said, it is the alchemical pearl. It is the concrescence. And saving the planet, saving ourselves, saving the destiny of generations of people yet unborn is all tied up in this climactic moment of historical complexity when we not only leave the planet, but leave the primate form that we have been locked in for a million years; leave our historical foolishness behind. It is time for the human race to grow up, and the end of childhood, and the beginning of a broader horizon of being that we intuit in the imagination: in our poetry, in our art, in our religion. But these are merely glimpses over the landscape, and now we have crossed that desert of history and we are on the brink of these things. There is an opportunity for the millennium. The problem is within the human heart. And the answer is all around us in various ways. The question and the task is to realize it, and then realize it again, and then again, and alchemically condense it so that, finally, it all becomes this one thing; this alchemical quintessence which makes everything new, and transforms, and makes us safe, and ends strife, and ends difficulty, and rescues somehow all the things that went on in the past so that they have meaning. And all, then, is understood as having been toward this end, which is now achieved, so that we can now rest in the peace which passeth understanding.


So… is there any questions? Let me explain what’s happening the rest of the day. This afternoon, Michael and Cynthia—together, apart; I’m not sure—will present all kinds of things that they know best, and it will be very good, I’m sure.



I’d like to say: a number of people had expressed interest in [???] or purchasing [???] in the Amazon, so maybe this afternoon I could come early before the session [???] before and after [???].





What time is it?


Three thirty, I think.



So I’ll come at three.



I’m going to hand around—how many of you know the work of Hieronymus Bosch? Yes, well, I’ve been into Bosch since I was eleven years old. But very recently I came across a really astonishing book, and what’s astonishing about it is that The Garden of Earthly Delights is photographed in actual size in a series of shingles. So that, if we were to get two copies of this book and tear them both to pieces, we could reconstruct it natural size. And it relates to the millennium. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to relate it to the millennium. It’s a feast for the eyes, and I’ll just hand it around and people can look at it. And it’ll be up here.


Let’s see, now. What does anybody have on their mind? You just had fair warning, but if you don’t have anything on your mind, you’re going to get Hieronymus Bosch, so… you better get crackin’!



In your rap this morning you struck on something you’ve been discussing behind the scenes for a while. It was with the [???] and the MDMA bust, and the scheduling, and the LSD bust. That it’s sort of The Empire Strikes Back seems to be the place we’re in right now. The call to arms is not so much to a militaristic sort of violence, as a call to a metaphorical arming ourselves—in the sense that if we can catch everybody’s hearts and minds, [???]. And I think we’ve got an opportunity here, especially in the psychedelic community, to really begin to move consciously in some of the directions that you describe in the millenarian sort of way. That we’ve finally got a chance to really influence ourselves and other people in the direction of moving towards unlimited space, unlimited time, unlimited resources. The ability to take the [???] into space with us instead of thinking [???] something that’s planet-bound; that’s seen as within each one of us and can come along. And I think the idea of turning the Earth into a park is wonderful, but we’re going to have to get off to be able to do it, because we’re just too much of a burden on it [???].



Yes, well, Gerard O’Neill has suggested that we could lift all heavy industry off the planet by 2050. This is not an unreasonable notion, you know? I mean, I’m sure that if there is a world 500 years in the future, when they look back on the twentieth century, it will just be looked upon as the most unbelievably toxic period in all of the human experience—the way we look back at, say, the fourteenth century and say, “There were no sewers in London. People were dumping raw sewage into the street.” They’ll say, “People were dumping raw sewage into the rivers, radioactive waste into the ocean. It’s amazing anybody survived it.” So yes, it’s very true.



I think we’ve got three major advantages, too. One is: we have the best minds of our generation on our side. I mean, if you listen to the people who are one of us, as you’ve put it in your context earlier, there’s brilliant people working in very psychedelic ways. whether they’re into the psychedelic substances or not. And we also have that [???] opportunity become unfettered from social convention, from narrow reality tunnels, from conventional institutions, from a closed-in way of human thinking.


We were discussing fractals last night, and one of the things you see in evolution is: if you’re adapted beautifully to a particular kind of fractal environment, and suddenly a discontinuity comes in and changes it, the premium is not in being able to understand that fractal and finding a way around the Amazon, for example, beautifully, but to change quickly. So that when that environment changes, you do not become obsolete and extinct. So we have that on our side: the flexibility of being able to undo old ways of thinking and do new ones.


And I think the biggest thing we’ve got is: we’ve got women on our side. For the first time there’s—the power of half of humanity has been untapped for 2,000–5,000 years, and all of a sudden that becomes available. And in a sense we have a chance to build something that’s never been seen before. It’s the idea of a hero for the goddess, the idea of a female hero coming in and not [???] more than meeting swords and plowshares, of really being able to go out and saying, “This is what we want to do, and we can do it consciously, and we can do it [???].”



Yes. A super-fractal analysis of history would say that, when you live with primitive people like in the Amazon, what’s happening is: the men go out and they hunt and they kill meat and they bring it back, and when they’re a little ways from the village they make a great noise, and all the women come out to meet them. And at that point they hand over the meat. Because the meat is poisonous, often, until it is cooked. Okay, so that’s what people do. The men go out, they get the meat, they bring it back, they give it to the women, they cook it and make it palatable and food. This is what history is. It’s now time to hand over the meat. The masculine force has gone out into history, captured the noetic beast; the beast that brings understanding and control. Now, at the end of the cycle, we’re coming back and the thing captured has to be given over to the women to be cooked. And when it is cooked, then there will be the millennium. And this cycle—which is enacted over and over again in these primitive societies—is being prolonged by history to an excruciating degree. But eventually this is what has to happen. And this cooking by the women is the alchemical transformation of a nuclear armament society into an ecologically conscious, spacefaring, humane kind of society.



[???] beg to differ a little bit on that. I think that division of labor is in and of itself a somewhat patriarchal remnant view. I think it’s going to be much more integrated than that going forward. And I think it’s more than hand-in-hand. I think it’s bound in an embrace. And I think we’re all going after the meat, and I think we’re all going to learn how to cook it. And that one of the things we’re learning to do is to be able to do all those things.


One of the things that struck me about the dance performance last night was the—I guess it was the third piece with the three dancers in loincloths—was the really beautiful androgyny they showed in terms of moving together with great strength without losing any of that sexual differentiation, but making it into an artistic and aesthetic statement instead of a desperate way to get twice as much work done as you could otherwise.



Well, yes. You’re right. It’s the feminine in each of us to which this thing has to be handed over. It’s certainly all these men in positions of power—this is what they have to do. They have to see that the time has changed, that it’s a different place in the play, that they have to be different relative to this thing.

Anyone else have anything?



Well, in this millennium paradigm there is [???] evolution [???] ecological problem [???] think about this very practical [???] difficult aspect of things. But I would guess that if there is a future in 500 years, and if ourselves in 500 years went back to this time it would not be the [???] so much as the [???] of toxic waste. [???] is the time of rejection of the cure of the problem. That, whereas it's true that we have women on our side, and we are women on our side, we are intellectuals, we are ideas on our side—what we're lacking for the cooking is the fuel and the monetary power. See, the gross national product is wasted on the military-industrial complex. The defense budget is [???]. So, as a matter of fact, how many resources are devoted to the survival of evolutionary bottlenecks? How many? A drop, you see? And I think it has arrived at this situation, which may well be remembered as the key [???]. Somehow, the resources, no matter how much [???] the awareness of the problem, and everyone will express their concern about it, and so on. That the resources are [???] how can it be that [???] place like Esalen Institute or Ojai Foundation [???] institutions [???] to the change of consciousness starving for a lack of resources when there are many people among us, you see, who may [???] birth or whatever be billionaires, or be involved in huge corporations, or have a finger on the direction of enormous resources.


Well, giving ten or fifteen cents—well, giving maybe a fraction of the lifetime [???] in such way as to divert huge power of mind; the fuel to do the cooking. Instead of these ideas [???] actually, I have no doubt, [???] already. The solution to the problem is here on Earth among us, waiting for the divine [???], male nor female. See, everything is already here, maybe. We don't know until we get a chance to try. So basically nothing is being tried because there is no fuel [???].


When it might happen, we might see in the newspaper the day after tomorrow there's some huge gift by a totally unknown person has been made to such-and-such foundation, or “Botanical Dimensions has received 14.5 million dollars for its operating budget for this year.” Let us see, you see, that the fuel is put under the well-prepared pot, and see if we cannot go down a future [???]. So I think that there is going to be a catastrophic moment some time in the future when resources are massively diverted to this alternative survival strategy that Terence has summed up under the name “exotic solutions.”



Sir, I disagree completely. There are a large cadre of people [???] technology who are subverting [???] of resources. Corporations that I work with to raise millions of dollars will sit down and tell me that, 25 years from now, they want to build the first starship. They are well aware of what they are doing [???] computers and high technology, and we are taking over. We are taking over the technology [???] feel that what we talked about. We are still too young to control those capital flows. But both Ellen and I make decision on millions and millions of dollars a year in terms of who gets what kind of money, and we are not alone. We may take more tryptamines than any of those people, but we don't have any different views over what Ellen just expressed, or what over what Terence just expressed. One of the guys whose only drug of choice is cocaine is saying that he is saving up the space to retire to a lunar city that he plans to build with his millions that he's making. There are people there. This whole [???]. Most of that money is going to be spent in such a way to promote the industrialization of space.



That's good to hear, Rodney. That's good to hear.



And that's my lot in business, is making that happen.



Right now, the state of the science and technologies they use to pinpoint marijuana crops in California—


It certainly is.



—wiretaps, the use of wiretaps led to the largest LSD bust in history. And one hears that the military was experimenting with most of the psychedelic drugs. [???], for example, thirty years ago. [???] synthesizing [???] in central Europe.



But if we all divorce ourselves and become politically correct and politically pure, we'll all be destroyed.



And I have to sully my hands by working with people who have defense contracts. But is it better to get a few million dollars for something that's going to create robots that can build [???], or for me to go off and sit in the corner and do DMT every day for the rest of my life—which I'm economically capable of supporting myself to do that. We talk about how we're going to have this happen. We really need [???] society will destroy us if we do not co-opt.



Well, I agree with you that the strategic defense initiative is a co-option of the military. It is entirely—billions are going to be spent on things which won't work, but you're going to have to put 20,000 people into space to figure this out. And once you figure out that it doesn't work, they'll all be there. And in the meantime you will have figured out all kinds of nifty things that will work, which make the original idea seem childish and stupid.


I really do think it's a Trojan horse for starflight. I mean, I'm not defending it entirely, because I think it was fairly cynical. These Fortune 500 corporations that Phil was talking about said: well, if we had a twenty-trillion-dollar investment over twenty years, we could produce a space-based civilization. But we don't have that kind of money. No private company or consortium of companies has twenty trillion dollars. So what can we do? Well, why don't we create the notion of an arms race and loot the American taxpayer's pocket to pay for it? We'll just get all those people riled up and take the money, and downstream we will have transformed capitalism so that it can survive for another thousand years.


I'm not hopeful that millions of dollars will come to Botanical Dimensions, but I feel that me made out a budget of around a hundred thousand dollars for each of the next two years, and I'm reasonably hopeful that that can be met. In other words, we've only been fundraising six weeks. Our initial goal was 10,000 dollars by December. It appears that we've exceeded that goal now. I think that it will go. Arthur Young once asked me what would I do if I had twenty million dollars, and I said give fifteen of it back to whoever gave it to me, because I can't manage twenty million dollars. My plan is this plan; five million dollars.


But it is true that I think all of us that work in ideas—like, I have other projects in my life not related to Botanical Dimensions—that I will not and could not apply that money toward, but that I apply my own money toward (publishing, I'm thinking of). Ralph is in the same position. You're probably in the same position. We all have starved-to-death little ventures which piddle along as we can. Nothing moves faster than us getting the money together. And there are many, many people like this in this position. So the point is well taken that if some of the money could be broken loose—well, it's just the tragedy of the twentieth century is that the most wealthy age in history is the most destructive, and the amount of capital tied up in the standing crop of metals and armaments is like nothing ever before seen in the history of the planet. It is irrational carried to the n-th degree.

Terence McKenna

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