Terence McKenna (November 1946 - April 2000) is a modern-day seer who lived outside of the mainstream and advocated the exploration of altered states of consciousness through natural psychedelic substances found in plants. In many ways he was an unconventional genius who was rejected - and understandably so - by more "serious" socially-sanctioned critics and thinkers. His words are eloquent and quite poetic in critiquing the social paradigm in which we live. He takes the world to be a mind trip, full of enchantment and paradox. If nothing else, McKenna encourages us to explore the world of imagination, which is the essence and vitality of human life, and reject any authority imposed upon us from the outside.
Among his works are:
The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching
The Archaic Revival
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge - A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution
A short video:
"We have to recognize that the world is not something sculptured and finished, which we as perceivers walk through like patrons in a museum; the world is something we make through the act of perception."
"The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish."
"We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR; create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world."
"What good is a theory of how the universe works if it’s a series of tensor equations that, even when understood, come nowhere tangential to experience? The only intellectual or noetic or spiritual path worth following is one that builds on personal experience"
“Ego is a structure that is erected by a neurotic individual who is a member of a neurotic culture against the facts of the matter. And culture, which we put on like an overcoat, is the collectivized consensus about what sort of neurotic behaviors are acceptable."
"Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet."
"We are so much the victims of abstraction that with the Earth in flames we can barely rouse ourselves to wander across the room and look at the thermostat."
"Right here and now, one quanta away, there is raging a universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien."
"Chaos is what we've lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control."
"The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas. It is the night sea journey, the lone fisherman on a tropical sea with his nets, and you let these nets down - sometimes, something tears through them that leaves them in shreds and you just row for shore, and put your head under your bed and pray. At other times what slips through are the minutiae, the minnows of this ichthyological metaphor of idea chasing. But, sometimes, you can actually bring home something that is food, food for the human community that we can sustain ourselves on and go forward."