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The Shamen Re:evolution (Terence McKenna)

  1. Apr 22, 2004 #1
    Taken from "The Shamen" Boss Drum album, I always thought that this guy was on the ball with his pilisophical ideal. Maybe a bit wacky :)

    Has anyone heard of this guy "Terence McKenna" and know of any other books written by him?

    I would be interested also in your opinion of the following:

    "If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.

    Human history represents such a radical break with the natural systems of biological organization that preceded it, that it must be the response to a kind of attractor, or dwell point that lies ahead in the temporal dimension. Persistently western religions have integrated into their theologies the notion of a kind of end of the world, and I think that a lot of psychedelic experimentation sort of confirms this intuition. I mean, it isn't going to happen according to any of the scenarios of orthodox religion, but the basic intuition, that the universe seeks closure in a kind of omega point of transcendance, is confirmed.

    It's almost as though this object in hyperspace, glittering in hyperspace, throws off reflections of itself, which actually ricochet into the past, illuminating this mystic, inspiring that saint or visionary, and that out of these fragmentary glimpses of eternity we can build a kind of map, of not only the past of the universe, and the evolutionary egression into novelty, but a kind of map of the future.

    This is what shamanism is always been about, a shaman is someone who has been to the end, it's someone who knows how the world really works, and knowing how the world really works means to have risen outside, above, beyond the dimensions of ordinary space, time, and casuistry, and actually seen the wiring under the board, stepped outside the confines of learned culture and learned and embedded language, into the domain of what Wittgenstein called the unspeakable, the transcendental presense of the other, which can be abstracted, in various ways, to yield systems of knowledge which can be brought back into ordinary social space for the good of the community.

    So in the context of ninety percent of human culture, the shaman has been the agent of evolution, because the shaman learns the techniques to go between ordinary reality and the domain of the ideas, this higher dimensional continuum that is somehow parallel to us, available to us, and yet ordinarily occluded by cultural convention out of fear of the mystery, I believe. And what shamans are, I believe, are people who have been able to decondition themselves from the community's instinctual distrust of the mystery, and to go into it, to go into this bewildering higher dimension, and gain knowledge, recover the jewel lost at the beginning of time, to save souls, cure, commune with the ancestors and so forth and so on.

    Shamanism is not a religion, it's a set of techniques, and the principal technique is the use of psychedelic plants. What psychedelics do is they dissolve boundaries, and in the presence of dissolved boundaries, one cannot continue to close one's eyes to the ruination of the earth, the poisoning of the seas, and the consequences of two thousand years of unchallenged dominator culture, based on monotheism, hatred of nature, suppression of the female, and so forth and so on. So, what shamans have to do is act as exemplars, by making this cosmic journey to the domain of the Gaian ideas, and then bringing them back in the form of art to the struggle to save the world.

    The planet has a kind of intelligence, that it can actually open a channel of communication with an individual human being. The message that nature sends is, transform your language through a synergy between electronic culture and the psychedelic imagination, a synergy between dance and idea, a synergy between understanding and intuition, and dissolve the boundaries that your culture has sanctioned between you, to become part of this Gaian supermind, I mean I think it's fairly profound, it's fairly apocalyptic.

    History is ending. I mean, we are to be the generation that witnesses the revelation of the purpose of the cosmos. History is the shock wave of the eschaton. History is the shock wave of eschatology, and what this means for those of us who will live through this transition into hyperspace, is that we will be privileged to see the greatest release of compressed change probably since the birth of the universe. The twentieth century is the shudder that announces the approaching cataracts of time over which our species and the destiny of this planet is about to be swept.

    If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.

    The emphasis in house music and rave culture on physiologically compatible rhythms and this sort of thing is really the rediscovery of the art of natural magic with sound, that sound, properly understood, especially percussive sound, can actually change neurological states, and large groups of people getting together in the presence of this kind of music are creating a telepathic community of bonding that hopefully will be strong enough that it can carry the vision out into the mainstream of society. I think that the youth culture that is emerging in the nineties is an end of the millenium culture that is actually summing up Western civilization and pointing us in an entirely different direction, that we're going to arrive in the third millenium, in the middle of an archaic revival, which will mean a revival of these physiologically empowering rhythm signatures, a new art, a new social vision, a new relationship to nature, to feminism, to ego. All of these things are taking hold, and not a moment too soon."
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2004 #2


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    This man is indeed a bit wacky.
  4. Apr 22, 2004 #3
    yep, Also I have just discovered that he is a bit dead also... Died in 2000... so there you go... Anyway good read if you ask me :)
  5. Apr 22, 2004 #4
    I don't feel too crazy at all now, thanks. I don't understand this but I do know that everybody has to believe in something and that usually claims of great knowledge add up to a good salary in writing books.
  6. Apr 22, 2004 #5
    It is a bunch of flash-word nonsense from a druggie.
  7. Apr 23, 2004 #6
    Yep the guy is a good oritor.

    People have been practising shamenism for thousands of years! So to call him a "druggy" is a bit extrem, he work revolved around using Naturaly occuring substances to discover enlightment regarding the world around us...

    I do think that some of His ideas are a very left field, but then again some seem ok to me!
  8. Apr 23, 2004 #7
    How is making your thought process more nebulous by drugging yourself going to help you become "enlightened"?
  9. Apr 23, 2004 #8
    I have read some of Mckenna's stuff, sorry he is dead, or shall I say, sorry that he has lost the use of his body, and now has to be a full time energy creature. He had some interesting theories, including a neurosymbiotic relationship with fungus, and the evolution, and enhancement of knowledge. I read another guy who was a ayhusca, and tropical alkaloid person, who made extrememly interesting statements about symbiosis, between Medicine Men, South American Shamans, and the plants they use for healing. These guys have glimmers of insight, here and there. The second of these writers was saying that the entwined serpents symbol of healing, is actually a symbol of DNA gathered from direct experience of Shamans with in the very small world of DNA. He said that the healers of South America know about plants because they travel inside the genetic make up of plants and communicate. The properties of these big molecules are explained to them, by the plants themselves. Even if they are totally mad, I think there is information to be gained from the view, from the ceiling.

    Often my favorite thinkers and writers, are those that are willing to deconstruct reality, and rebuild or rehypothesize from the ground up. One of my favorite all time writers, and who changed my way of thinking entirely, was John C Lilley, major experimentor, amazing travellor of the psyche.
  10. Apr 24, 2004 #9
    Have you tryed it dan?
    By your post it seems to me that you havent. So why do you feel you are in a position to totally dissmis his work?

    To be honest, I am not saying that what he thinks is right, I just will not flipently dissmiss it as "It is a bunch of flash-word nonsense from a druggie"... Some of what he says is interesting.

    As I said before people have been taking Fungus for Thousands of years and I aggree with Dayle in that "Even if they are totally mad, I think there is information to be gained from the view, from the ceiling"....

    I read some of that John C Lilly stuff, was interested in the Hardware, Software model for the brain! :-)

    On a side note, I read an interesting artical regarding Rave Culture. A Buddest Monk was invited to a Rave, and conculded from his experience that the people at the rave where in a "Trance like State" not dissilmilar to what monks do everyday through meditation to gain Religious enlightment
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2004
  11. Apr 24, 2004 #10
    read Castenada and the adventures of Don Juan.

    IMHO, the use of drugs simply makes it easier to view reality from a broader persective. done slowly, via mediatation, you can visit the same places at a much more understandable rate. this is why drugs tend to be damaging.

    anyone know a current practicing shaman?

    love & peace,
    olde drunk
  12. Apr 24, 2004 #11
    Ya they are strange people who use great quantities of craziness to sometimes find a better way or even more craziness, still it would really be crazy for someone to not use drugs these days to expand their mind. Although I don't endorse it, I'm fairly sure Descates started out just pretending the devil was out to decieve him and it grew into a self stimulating merry go round that spurred his mind onward with a red hot poker for better and for worse.
    Certain slow movement rythmic sounds can stimulate greater plant growth, and affect which types of brain waves dominate, it wouldn't suprise me if trance synthetic type music looked similiar on an EEG as meditation.
    In a way trance or techno or rave or whatever it's called now isn't much different from classical forms of music except the instruments differ I wonder what that means...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2004
  13. Apr 24, 2004 #12
    The medium is the message:)
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2004
  14. Apr 26, 2004 #13


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    olde drunk

    "anyone know a current practicing shaman?"

    Joseph Campbell said to look to any schizophrenic in any tribe - there is the medicine man!
  15. May 5, 2004 #14
    I heard that Mckenna is deceased. His books are wonderful and preposterous, as only a dedicated and brilliant mushroom head, could write. He caused me to ponder a number of things, one other book I read, along his lines was about the serpent symbol of healing, being the shamans ability to actually perceive the DNA of healing plants. That book was called, The Cosmic Serpent DNA and the origins of knowledge, by Jeremy Narby. This man took a lot of ayahuasca. He also had some very interesting experiences, and observations. Terrence Mckenna made me laugh outright on many occasions, reading his material.

    The world is full of academics, and intellects that worship their processes, and findings. They respect no other means, and patiently condescend to people on the street, so to speak. I am always saddened when I watch some intellect contort to extend maximum condescension. These people have chosen the safe route, with handy little papers, and licenses that shout out about their ability to follow the person just ahead in the graduation line, and their ability to carefully guard the big construct, where in they find their safe niche. It takes all kinds, the John C Lilleys, the Hawkings, the guy on the street that finishes your thought as he passes, the academics that guard the doors of fine schools, oh yes and the Mckennas, and Narbys, and Castanedas that go after some "other cultural" means, of knowledge gathering.

    The end product of either method is not a medicine that any of us has to take. It is the more organized types that approach the mystical and come back with atomic weaponry; Mckenna left the fungus, and us behind, alive and well.
    Last edited: May 5, 2004
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