All quotes from Terence McKenna’s

Conspiracy theory is a kind of epistemological cartoon about reality. I mean, isn’t it so simple to believe that things are run by the Greys, and that all we have to do is trade sufficient fetal tissue to them and we can solve our technological problems. Or, isn’t it comforting to believe that the Jews are behind everything, or the Communist Party, or the Catholic Church, or the Masons. Well, these are epistemological cartoons. It’s, you know, kindergarten stuff in the art of amateur historiography. I believe that the truth of the matter is far more terrifying. That the real truth that dare not speak itself is that no one is in control. Absolutely no one! You know, you don’t understand Monica? You don’t understand Netanyahu? It’s because nobody is in control. This stuff is ruled by the equations of dynamics and chaos. Now, there may be entities seeking control—the world bank, the communist party, the rich, the somebody-or-others—but to seek control is to take enormous aggravation upon yourself. Because this process that is underway will take the control freak by the short and curly and throw them against the wall. It’s like trying to control a dream, you see. The global destiny of the species is somehow unfolding with the logic of a dream.

What I see is that the carrier of the field of the cosmic giggle in most people’s lives is love. Love is some kind of output which messes with the entropic tendency toward probabilistic behavior in nature.

I think the primary insight that has been secured here at the end of the twentieth century—the primary contribution of twentieth-century thinking, if you will—is to have understood, finally, that information is primary. That this world, this cosmos, this universe, this body and soul are all made of information. Information is a deeper and more primary concept than space, time, matter, energy, charge, spin, angular momentum.

I have realized that cultures are like operating systems. We are like hardware. The human animal is a piece of biological wetware/hardware.

I think that the design process—whatever that means—must become conscious, global, integrated. The entire human domain (which means the entire planet and its surrounding near space) should be enclosed and included in a coherent plan driven by human values and a thirst for transformational beauty.

It’s really strange to me that science is in the act of flinging open the curtains on a staggering vision of what it is to be alive in this cosmos. I mean, we now can look back through the Hubble and other telescopes thirteen billion years, to within six-hundred million years of the primary explosion that presumptively created this universe. Meanwhile, we’re tearing open the nature of the human genome, the nature of the heart of the atom. This is the great, great age for the expansion of the scientific vision. But the population is somehow incapable of staying up with what’s going on, and so we have the greatest proliferation of occultism in all forms since the 16th century. It’s almost as though there’s a bifurcation of the culture. The scientific—the makers of new science are going deeper and deeper in a direction that the rest of the public not only cannot follow them into, but is actually headed the other way. And it’s a condemnation of our educational system that people have not understood that science, for all its flaws, is the only tool for understanding the nature of reality that has any kind of track record whatsoever. The others just have a story to tell.

We are such ephemeral creatures in time. We’re like mayflies or something. Mayflies, who only live for seven days. In other words, our temporal window of perception is so extreme—I mean, people say, “Well, nothing much ever seems to happen.” Well, a hundred years ago there were no movies, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, Internet, atom bombs, antibiotics, DNA sequencing—you know, it’s endless. So, in the space of… and yet, people say, “Eh, nothing much ever seems to happen,” you know? An incredible ability to not register radical change seems to be a precondition of existing in the presence of radical change.

The first thing which science has not taken on board is the fact that, as you get nearer and nearer the moment in time that we call the present, things become more and more complicated. Now, that may seem like a trivial statement, but there’s no reason for the universe to work like that. Why does the universe go from simple to complicated? Why do you get, at first—moments after the big bang—an ocean of free electrons at such a state of temperature and energy that no molecular bonds can form, atomic systems can’t even form because the bond strength is overwhelmed by the thermal energy in the system. Then it cools down and atoms condense—a more complicated thing than electrons by orders of magnitude. Further cooling, further nuclear cooking of the most primitive elements—hydrogen and helium—in gravitationally aggregated masses called stars cooks out the heavier elements. They emerge. They were never seen before until fusion began to occur in these hydrogen masses. And these fusion processes cook out iron, sulfur, carbon—bingo! Carbon. Molecules! Now, an order of magnitude in their complexity greater than atoms as atoms are to compared to electrons. And then, you know—and I’m compressing 13 billion years of emergence here into 30 seconds—then, out of the molecular soup, you get long chain polymers. Out of the long chain polymers you get molecular transcription systems, i.e. pre-biotic stuff. Out of that you get non-nucleated DNA. Out of that: nucleated DNA. Out of that: membranes, organelles, organisms, higher organisms, differentiation of tissue, our dear selves, culture, language, technology, and the eschaton.

Why doesn’t science take that on board as a major problem in the description of nature: the emergence of complexity? Well, you ask a scientist, they say, “Well, you see, these are separate domains of nature. How atoms become molecules has nothing to do with how animals become human beings.” This is bullshit! This is just some kind of compartmentalized thinking where you don’t want to come to grips with the overarching metaphors that are working on various levels.

Let’s look at what the competition is peddling. What the competition would have you believe is that the universe sprang from nothing, in a single moment, for no reason. Well, now, whatever you think about that theory—in the interests of being awake, please notice that that is the limit case for credulity! Do you know what I mean by that? I mean that, if you can believe that, you can believe anything! That is the most improbable proposition the human mind can conceive of. I challenge you to top it. You know, I mean—I know the Scientologists think God is a clam on another planet, but I don’t think that tops this idea that the universe sprang from nothing in a single moment for no reason. That is article of faith number one.

This idea says: no, people matter. You are the cutting edge of a thirteen-billion-year-old process of defining novelty. Your acts matter. Your thoughts matter. Your purpose? To add to the complexity. Your enemy? Disorder, entropy, stupidity, and tastelessness.

The hardest thing to imagine is human history going on for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of more years. That’s impossible! We see around us the processes that make of history a self-limited game. The clock’s ticking, folks. You think we can do gene-splicing and Internet and psychedelic drugs and manipulation of our genetic material and starflight and anti-matter and quantum teleportation and all these things? You can extrapolate that five-hundred years into the future? Don’t be ridiculous! No, history is some kind of a phase transition. It only lasts about 25,000 years. Some people think that’s a long time, some people think it’s a short time. It depends on where you stand. I think of it as, snap! You know? One moment you’re hunting ungulates on the plains of Africa, and the next moment you’re hurling a gold ytterbium superconducting extrastellar device toward Alpha Centauri with all of mankind aboard in virtual space being run as a simulation in circuitry. You know? It’s just first the one thing, then the other thing.