||Mill Valley, CA
[faint intro music]
Kat Harrison: In the two books that you have written I have read of ufo inferences. Would you expand upon those things?
Terence McKenna: Yes, well actually in the, in the first book the ufo reference is few and far between, I think it's only touched on once. I deliberately suppressed it from The Invisible Landscape because It was already lit up like a Christmas tree with bizarre ideas. And I would save that particular ornament for its own treatment later.
But in the second work, uh, down to earth: psilocybin and the ufos I deal with that directly because, uh, it seems to me that, uh, in psilocybin and the tryptamine hallucinogens generally we actually have a, uh, state of mind that is very similar to the state of mind reported to accompany the, uh, the ufo contact, and that these things could somehow be co-mapped one onto the other. That at, uh, at active, uh, levels of psilocybin there is, uh, visionary ideation of spaceships, alien creatures, alien information, a general futuristic saucerian kind of quality to the place it conveys you to that, uh, seem to be coming from the same place, uh, as the modern myth of the ufo, if it is a myth. And, uh, we discovered in our exploration to the Amazon in 1971 that this was quite true, that, uh, involvement with these tryptamines as they accumulated in your system, you seem to acquire the ability to, uh, eh, inhabit more than one world at once, as though superimposed over reality there was, uh, a super-reality, a hyper-dimensional world where information was, uh, accessible in magical ways. And, uh, in the wake of that experience I just, uh, went through the literature of the mystical experience and the saucer experience and, uh, ideas like alchemy and that sort of thing, and, uh, eventually saw that these w- they were all talking about the same thing, that there is an experience which is gaining ascendancy from modern man which is called contact with the ufo, but it is not, uh, reducible to any of the things that the, uh, main people who've written about it have said it can be reduced to. It is not, strictly speaking, a contact from a space-faring race that has come from the stars. It is not, uh, mass-hysteria. It is not delusion either. There is, in fact, something very odd going on, something which is as challenging to modern epistemological notions as, uh, you know, a uh, US air force jet transport landing on some field outside a village in New Guinea.
In other words, uh, here is an area that is close to the experience of people in that a very large percentage of people claim to have seen flying saucers, an area close to the experience of people where science is totally helpless. Is seems as though reality is haunted by a spinning vortex that renders science helpless. And the spinning vortex is the ufo, and it comes and goes, uh, on a mass scale, haunting history like ghost. Umm...
KH: You mean the records in the, uh, the Aztec records and the whole thing about coming, and...the white men coming to the new world in space ships?
TM: Well, all these cases have been made for saucer intervention but actually no, I'm speaking more specifically about the post, uh, World War II spinning silver disc in the sky and the myth that accompanies it of the large, pointed-eared, cat-eyed, uh, It has numerous variations, but, uh, it's clearly an idea complex emerging in the psyche. Uh, and the question is what is it? Is it prophecy? Is it a vision of the human future? What is it? And, uh....the postmodern phase of flying saucer speculation is the phase which recognizes that the saucer is somehow mixed up with human psychology, that it is no mere light scene in the sky, that when you go back and question the people who see these things, that right before they saw it, they were thinking something very odd and unusual which they didn't normally think about, or right after it and, in other words, it seemed to be a kind of ideological catalyst for some purpose, and uh, Valllee in a book called The Invisible College was the first person to suggest what I would call the 'cultural thermostat' theory. He said that the flying saucer was an object from the collective unconscious of the human race that appeared basically to break the force of any ide- any set of ideas that were gaining dominance in their explanatory power at the expense of their ethical force. In other words, that it was like a confounding which would enter history again and again when history would build to a certain kind of boil the confounding would occur-
KH:??? does that too.
TM: This is a similar idea, right. And he suggested that perhaps the career of Christ was an earlier
'confounding' where Roman techne and Roman militarism and all these things was unseated by, you know, a peculiar religion which no educated Roman could take seriously for a moment. I mean, an educated Roman was a Democratean atomist and, uh, well-versed in, uh, in Epicureanism and Sophism and, uh, and yet the servants were telling stories about a Rabbi who had risen from the dead and had somehow reopened a gate that had been closed since creation so that the soul of man could again be reunited with God, and uh, this stuff made no sense to the Roman authorities and yet it quickly overwhelmed the Empire.
The modern s- context is very similar to that in that science, now it can be seen to have replaced Roman imperial aspirations as a dominant mythos of control, and uh, it has these neat and tidy explanations of the world, yet persistently from the folk there come stories of lights in the sky and strange beings and bizarre encounters that they cannot quite lay to rest. And-
KH: And you do have experiences yourself?
TM: Oh yes, it's a real- whatever real means- I mean, it is a real experience. It is phenomenologically real. In fact, my contention is that, uh, psilocybin induces it, and that perhaps on a mass scale i- it's as though there is an event at the end of history of such magnitude that it casts miniature reflections of itself back into time, and these are these apocalyptic concrescences which haunt the historical continuum, igniting religions and various hysterias and, seeping ideas into highly tuned nervous systems.
KH: How does it do that?
TM: Well, it's as though the- it's, uh, like Plato said, "time is the moving image of eternity". It does it because in its dimension all these things have- are somehow coexistent in time or outside of time. They have already happened. History is the formality of viewing this hyperdimensional object in a 3-dimensional way by transecting it many many times until you've built up an entire picture of it. But, uh, the, you know, the mushroom evokes a profound planetary consciousness that shows you that history is just this froth of artefact production that has appeared in the last 10 to 15 thousand years, spread across the planet very quickly, but that mind in man just goes back and back into the darkness, you know. And one of the things we were saying in The Invisible Landscape was that there are powers in the human body or avenues of understanding that have not been followed because of epistemological biases, so that for instance the idea that you could use your voice to effect molecular changes in your own nervous system. It sounds on one level preposterous. On the other hand it's simply a formalized way of noting the fact that sound is energy, that energy can be transduced in a number of ways and then when you direct it against your body, you obviously do make changes.
KH: Well that's the typical chanting, uh...mantra [?]
TM: That goes on in shamanism worldwide. [Q: Uh huh] Well, these people are navigating themselves in a space which we have lost touch with...that for us as- I'm speaking now as a society - only erupts in the weakened situation of a weakened psychic constitution where there is the element of panic in the mythological sense of Pan bursting through from the underworld, the emergence of the flying saucer. What it is is it's an autonomous psychic entity that has slipped from the control of the ego and is approaching laden with the otherness of the unconscious, so that, you know, as you look into it, as you behold yourself your world, your information field all deployed in this strange, distant, almost transhumanly cool way which, uh, links it to the myth of the extraterrestrial. The extraterrestrial is the human oversoul, uh, in its general and particulate expression on the planet, which doesn't rule out the possibility that the mushroom places you in contact with extraterrestrials somewhere in the galaxy actually circling other suns, but it probably means that that communication is mediated through the oversoul.
The oversoul is, uh, some kind of field that is generated by human beings but that is not under the control of any institution, any government, any religion. It is actually the most intelligent thing on the planet, and it regulates human culture through the release of ideas out of eternity and into the continuum of history. And what the ufo is is an idea to confound, and its purpose is to confound science because science has begun to threaten the existence of the human species, leave alone the ecosystem of the planet. And at that point, uh, a shock is necessary for culture, a shock equivalent to this culture to the shock of the Resurrection on Roman imperialism, and the myths that are building are like the messianic myths that preceded the appearance of Christ, and what they are of is of an intervention by a hyper-intelligent entity that comes from the stars, and reveals the right way to live and, uh, wrecks science by a series of demonstrations that make it apparent that the purpose of human history is nothing less than total immersion in the teachings of the saucer. And, eh, once this message is slammed home via worldwide TV hookup and that sort of thing, it will just disappear. And in the wake of that you see what you have is, uh, this hysteria of abandonment similar to the hysteria of abandonment that swept the Christian communities when, after the crucifixion, the resurrection, the coming of the millenium was postponed century after century, and, uh, sci- the development of science will cease. This flying saucer-oriented religion which is definitely the emergence of an archetype of enormous power will hold sway in the same way that Roman science was stymied for a thousand years by the immersion in the words of one, one rabbi.
KH: Scientists are not gonna like your opinion.
TM: Well, they should be forewarned. Vallee was saying this in another book of his called "The Invisible College." He was more alarmed than I am because he is of the tradition of French Rationalism and he was quite frightened to think. He didn't believe it was, I should say, the oversoul of mankind. He actually believed it was a politically-oriented group of human beings who had an advanced technology that was allowing them to do this. I reject that as total paranoia, and I am not as concerned with him to pull science's chestnuts from the fire. I think that science has betrayed human destiny to some degree and that, uh, you know, we are led to the brink of star flight but we are also led to the brink of thermonuclear holocaust, and, uh, bu- but, the conclusion, the political implication that I draw from all this is that, uh, scientists will be swept away by the revelation of the flying saucer. They have always been the ones to be like the apostle Thomas and want to put their hand into the wound. And, uh, if the wound is offered, meaning if the saucer comes and is seen by hundreds of millions of people, they would go over, uh, immediately.
Uh, so, the political insulation, the political conclusion to be drawn is to preserve your freedom of thought by deconditioning yourself to the flying saucer religion before it happens.
KH: Is this [??] can we approach
Q2[Who is this?]: Most inspired inspired scientists might be most intrigued in this situation.
TM: Oh, they would go over first. You see, a religion operates by law of large numbers. As long as 80% of the people believe, it can transform a civilization. Therefore, if you're one of the 13% who don't believe, it's ok. So you always want to stand where the high water won't reach, um, but I, I think the flying saucer experience is tremendously powerful and that it really is the, uh, is somehow linked to the psychedelic experience in a way that will not, perhaps, be understood for some time. But that, uh, the futuristic hyperdimensional world of these tryptamine hallucinogens and the persistent message from the unconscious in the form of these spinning idea-complexes with the alien creatures inside are definitely expressions of the cutting edge of the evolution of consciousness, and it's very interesting. A voice has been silent, and a voice that guided and revealed has been a silent phenomenon for about 1700 years now in Western civilization. Before that there was such a voice, I mean it was called the 'Logos' and all philosophers strove to invoke it, and it was a voice which told you the truth, the self-evident truth you had only to hear it and you knew you were hearing the truth. And uh, with the passing of the eon, or something, the death of the Pagan gods, this phenomenon faded out. However, it is still available, uh..
KH: and you found it...[?]
TM: ...through the mediation of these compounds.
KH: Now how can you say these same words, how can you say them and have people feel like they want to invite to dinner to tell if this doom and destruction of mankind and the toppling of science especially when it is only right now science- scientists and scientific people who understand what you're saying.
TM: Well, see what I'm saying is if we would intelligently examine these dimensions that the psychedelic drugs make available, we could, as it were, get in touch with the oversoul and, and leave the era when man is disciplined by flying saucers and messiahs and progress is halted for millenia at a stretch just because people can't evolve their ethics and their technology at the same rate of speed. if we would have a dialogue with the Other we would understand all these things and become in contact with the Tao of the ancestors, and, uh, you know, this is what a shamanic civilization or a shamanic culture is. It's where certain people mediate the r- the group racial experience that is available, somehow deployed in mind-space.
KH: Have you, have you done a controlled experiment whereby you can bring a number of people to the college of psilocybin or however it is that the message can come across, have you done that?
TM: You mean in regard to triggering these ufo-type experiences?
KH: Yes, have you been able to..
TM: Well, only in the sense that, uh, we've ascertained by questionnaire that, uh, this is a very frequent motif, perhaps the most frequently mentioned motif ev- um, by people who take psilocybin recreationally is that it's about outer space and flying saucers and aliens, little green men. And these are people who are taking, you know, 15 milligram type doses. Sufficient doses to elicit the full spectrum of the compound. DMT is similar, I mean it conveys you into an elf-infested space where, uh, you know, wild and zany things are going on. It's as thought there are continuum- a reality that is beyond this reality, a linguistically as well as spatio-dimentionally so that you have to turn to a different language channel, and then with this language pouring through your head you observe the other place, the alternate reality, and it is...
KH: That's what Sanskrit says too.
TM: Yes, although this alternate reality is surprisingly far from most traditions about what alternative realities are like. I mean, it doesn't prepare you for its crackling, electronic, hyperdimensional, interstellar, extraterrestrial, saucerian, mighty peculiar, all this. These highly polished and curved surfaces and machines and beings and language transformations and machines undergoing geometric transformations into beings and thoughts that condense as visible objects...this is a theme that's very interesting to me is the, uh, the hyperdimensional language, a language that is ehh, fulfills Philo Judaeus' quest for the more perfect Logos. Philo said that a more perfect Logos would be beheld rather than heard, and this is what happens on DMT, you hear a language which is very faint and far away, and as it gets louder and louder you realize that without ever going over a quantized transition it is becoming a phenomenon not of the audial field but of the visual field, and that it is in fact a fully evolving synesthesic hallucination of extremely realistic and utterly bizarre, uh, proportion. I mean, it's like an Arabian maelstrom of color and form and you somehow sense, you know, that you're in the Sistine Chapel, you're at the Kaaba, you're at Konorak, you're at all these places and- but, you know, it's a hyperdimensional infundibulum, if you will [Terence chuckles] It's just a little place to dance, and uh, then you see, you know, that there is alien information, this saucerian information is deployed everywhere in this other space, and that the really astonishing thing is that, uh, human history and art reflect so little of it.
KH: But it does. You do see it.
TM: Y- oh, you see it, but, uh, very very faintly.
KH: [?] you have to perceive it to see it though.
TM: When you see the real thing you just think [Q: yeah, then you can see it elsewhere] my god, I mean how do they keep the lid on this stuff? This is raging right next door? And, uh, you know, the m- modern epistemological methods are just not up to dealing with an elf, with chattering, elf-infested spaces. I mean we have a word for those spaces, we call it schizophrenia and slam the door. But, you know, these, uh, these dimensions have been with us since ten thousand times longer than Freud and, uh, people just have to come to terms with them now it's, uh, because of an- accidents of botany and history, European man has been away from the psychedelic dimension since a while, you know, from the dimension of the tryptamines and psilocybin since perhaps the closure of the last glaciation. So now we've accomplished marvelous things with techne and this and that, but here it is, uh, you know, many cultures around the world have kept the flame burning and the, the, uh, discs which haunt the skies of earth indicate that the unconscious cannot be kept waiting forever. These things are going to have to be dealt with, uh. And what it seems to me to point out is, you know, that the dime- the imagination really is the ground of being and this is the great discovery which will change things, it will be as if man had discovered fire for the second time. The imagination is the, uh, the golden pathway to everywhere, and when we cease to try and cross to the stars by, uh, crude rocket and engineering schemes and realize that deployed in the imagination is the entire universe- and that to-
KH: How do you think to go about to instigating, uh, the launch off- the launch.
TM: Well you have- I think that what the task of history can now be seen to be is what I call turning man inside out. The body has to be, uh, ex- interiorized and the soul has to be exteriorized to create, uh, you know, a golden disc. A, uh...
TM: By magic. [Terence laughs]
This matter of the flying saucer gives me an excuse to read a favorite poem of mine which answers your question about the future of man and the psychedelic experience. He says "once out of nature, I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing, but such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make of hammered gold and gold enameling to keep a drowsy emperor awake or set upon a golden bough to sing to lords and ladies of Byzantium of what is past or passing or to come." And this is the idea of becoming, you know, a golden object after death.
TM: Yeats, this is Song to Byzantium
KH: [??] ..could you do it again?
"Once out of nature, I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing, but such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make of hammered gold and gold enameling to keep a drowsy emperor awake or set upon a golden bough to sing to lords and ladies of Byzantium of what is past or passing or to come." In other words, a golden bird, a hyperdimensional object of Grecian gold enameling, and-
Q: [??] movement
TM: this is what the flying saucer is, it is the soul become object. This is the secret of alchemy. Uh, it's interesting, you see, that the s- great flowering of alchemy, great last flowering of alchemy in the 16th century was coincident upon a level of understanding of, uh, natural chemistry approximately equal to our modern understanding of the role of life in the universe. In other words, mostly speculation. So that what for us moves off into the sky as the flying saucer told to us to be possible by science but highly unlikely is like the 16th century mind's relationship to the, uh, philosopher's stone, which was said to be highly unlikely but not impossible, and so all this imaginative effort was exhausted in trying to produce the philosophers stone, and the focus was upon chemical hardware, heating alembics, watching swirling gla- gasses in cloudy glass, and now in the modern context it has gone into the sky. The sky is the dimension of the other for 20th century man. We feel we understand natural chemical processes. There is no mystery there. Or miners no longer encounter gnomes when they go into deep mines the way they did in the 15th and 16th century. Those gnomes have been stilled, but the sky is still haunted. This is where we are told it might-
KH: The sea too [??]
TM: -be possible for it to come from, and the sea, the sea is obviously co-mapped to the unconscious. But the sky, because our scientists tell us, you know, that somewhere out there just possibly it might be so. But I think what's being missed is that a whole dimension of, uh, communication is being ruled, uh, inadmissible as evidence simply because it doesn't conform to the epistemological biases of the people who are asking the question, and that is all these voices in the head that guide shaman, that obsess lunatics, that, uh, make poetry and, uh, in other words the muse, the muse is real! I mean, if you have not experienced the muse, that doesn't mean anything, you may not have climbed mount everest either, but I tell you, out there in life there are experiences which, uh, cause a need for new definitions. And, uh the m-
KH: Everyone has had up whether they're willing to admit it, I think of one sort or another.
TM: An intimation of the other..
KH: Yes , uh huh.
TM: Well, imagine a compound that elicits this, uh, should you choose to use it. Well, one could talk endlessly about this subject, I suppose, but, uh, until it's resolved, all of man's epistemological dealings with reality will be haunted by this faint spookiness which can't be gotten rid of.
So to start off, uh, this continuation of the discussion of flying saucers, I'll read Yeats again. "Oh, sages standing in god's holy fire, as in the gold mosaic of a wall, come from the holy fire, pern in a gyre and be the singing masters of my soul. Consume my heart away, sick with desire, and fastened to a dying animal, it knows not what it is and gather me into the artifice of eternity." And it's that phrase, the artifice of eternity, which, uh, again invokes, uh, this strange mechanistic yet spiritualistic future into which the archetype of the flying saucer is calling people. You see, m- what's happening is man is becoming a, uh, trans-planetary creature, and this is something which takes about 10,000 years from the first, uh, you know, the earliest machines to leaving the planet, and it-
KH: How do you know it's 10,000 years?
TM: Give it- give or take 3,000 years! But it is, as H. G. Wells said of history, it is a race between education and catastrophe because these more and more destructive chemical and atomic processes are released as the species realizes its aspirations are alien to the ecology of the planet, and that it and the planet must part. And this i- the, the transformation of man into a space-faring race is on the biological scale the great event that history is about. I mean, the coming of agriculture, the coming of urbanization, these things are peanuts compared to what is going to happen to this species, to these monkeys as they leave the planet with their computers and their atomic physics and all this. I mean, you see what is happening and why the psychedelic experience is so important is because, uh, information is loose on planet 3. Some kind of very strange thing is going on. The world is not made of quarks or electromagnetic wave-packets or the thoughts of God. The world is made of language, and language is replicating itself in DNA which, at its culmination, is creating, uh, societies of civilized and intelligent beings which posess languages which possess cybernetics, which possess machines, which use languages so that, uh, extending off a light-year or two from this system what seems to be happening, what is unusual about Earth is that language has literally become alive, it has infested matter. IT is replicating and defining and building itself, and it is in us. My voice speaking is a monkey's mouth making little mouth noises that are, uh, carrying agreed-upon meaning, and it is the meaning. Without the meaning you only have little mouth noises. The meaning is a crude form of telepathy because as you listen to my voice my thoughts become your thoughts, and we compare them and there is what's called communication, understanding. Uh, it's all about codes, and that's why I've said at times the flying saucer problem is like a grammatical problem, it's like a dangling participle in the 4th dimensional language that makes reality, and therefore it's not reducible to any of these, uh, very simple-minded approaches. It is somehow embedded in the machinery of epistemic knowing itself.
KH: So we won't be able to find it if we go out rocket ships?
TM: No. It is, [Q: ah] it is within. It is the soul of man. We won't be able to find it until we somehow come to terms with, uh, the hidden part, you know, the unconscious, the collective unconscious, the overmind, the fact that there is a level of hierarchical control being exerted by the human species as a whole. That the destiny of man is not in the hands of governments and corporations and communist party apparat-chiks. It is in the hands of a weirdly democratic, ameboid-like, hyper-intelligent superorganism which is called, uh, everybody. And, uh, as we come to terms with this, as we take our place embedded in the body of everybody, and information flows more freely and the reality of this informational creature is seen more clearly, the fact that we are- it, it's an organism. We are having a symbiotic relationship with an organism made of information. And this is, uh, what psychedelics, uh, reinforces I think very strongly. It's in the psychedelic dimension that you finally can key in to the voice of the organism and say 'hey what's happening?' and then it explains to you that things are not as you took them to be at all, and that there is in fact layer and layer and layer upon interlocking meaning, and that there's very little else other than that, and that the imagination is the true ground of being, and that there is a, uh, dimension parallel to time, outside of time, that is accessible to you as much as you want it to the degree that you can decondition yourself from the history-bound cognitive systems that have carried you to that point. This is why it's be- always been said of psychedelics that they were ord- socio, uh, sociological catalysts.
KH: What about the shaman?
TM: Well.[Clears throat]
KH: Because the shaman brings the message to the tribe.
Yes, but it's, eh, the tribe is a system set up to receive the message. W- we have a different way of doing it [KH: What's that?] which is that power elites in political control pass down state-approved philosophies which are then applied, and this [??]--
KH: The statist shaman.
TM: The statist shaman, the statist mediator of God's holy will. Um, rather than uh, a personal, a protestant approach, if you will, a personal relationship to the overmind. Uh, and the flying saucer, what it represents basically is, uh, an instance of crisis between the individual and the overmind where the overmind breaks through the oppressive screen thrown around it and comes to meet the individual and it is, you know, like an interview with an angel or a demon. It's a very very laden with, uh, heavy psychological resonances for the person experiencing it. It is a numinous experience. It is...
KH: But is ever moment of recognizable creation then falling into that, uh, category of the seepage from the overmind, where you get a synthesis of, uh, information which becomes your creative thought, your discoveries.
TM: Yes, well our theory of time basically mapped the idea that novelty was what you call this standing wave of eternity, and that it seeps into time at a variable rate which can actually be mathematically described using the I Ching and other techniques. It's that sort of thing, yes. It's as though, you know, where the flying saucers come from is eternity. They don't come from the stars unless space and eternity encompasses the idea of being able to move instantly to and from the stars, but the flying saucers come from a dimension- you could almost say that they come from beyond death. They come from a dimension somehow totally different form our own but are tied up with human psychology and human psyche in a way that is puzzling and alarming and reassuring, and, uh, shaman- it's very hard. This is a question, uh, to what degree non-participants in 20th century civilization perceive this, meaning people who take mushrooms that have nothing to do with 20th century society, whether they accept that always, since paleolithic time, this super-futuristic dimension has been present so that in any century people could have had this commerce with the end of time, with the far future, with the place where, as James Joyce has said, man becomes dirigible. The place where, you know, we have bootstrapped ourselves to the point where we leave the planet, leave the monkey shell, leave all earth-bound conceptions of ourselves behind and push off into the pure imagination.
TM: Scary. Gnostic, perhaps, as someone said "it sounds like megalomania to me, Martha!" [terence laughs] But you know the future always, I mean, how [chuckles] how mad would the 20th century have sounded recited to anyone in the 19th? [Q:chuckle] IT- what it comes down to is, uh, trying to have faith that man is good because what's happening is whatever man is, man is taking control of the definition of being human, so that through genetic engineering, through drug design, through probing of, you know, these weird psychedelic dimensions, through cybernetic interface, through activation of information, man is going to become a mirror of his deepest aspirations, and the question then becomes what are man's deepest aspirations, you know, what will it be? Is it some kind of mephistophelian nightmare? Is it the Nietzchean superman come back to haunt us in a way that makes the Third Reich look like a picnic, or is it, uh, you know, the element of care and, uh, control- the aesthetic element, the wish to escape into a m- a universe that is in fact art. This is what it holds out, that man could become, uh, an inhabitant of his own imagination because with the technology for space, uh, for building large habitats in space it is possible to imagine the complete galaxy of science fiction created in a sphere less than 12 light-hours in diameter with the sun at the center of it, so that you would have 50 or 60 thousand independent habitats pursuing social experiments of every sort, spatially independent, doing a very long-term slow orbit from the sun and the outer planets, but informationally linked in a bubble of time 12 light-hours in diameter, and, the current engineering thinking on building these large habitats is that, uh, right now you could produce the Hawaiian environment 6- up to 14 light hours from the sun which is several light-hours further out than Pluto. So that means that essentially the entire solar system has become habitable real-estate. If we can simply transform the human imagination to realize that, uh, getting high is not a metaphor. Getting high is what the whole ballgame is about, that, uh, you know, it's true that the Earth is the cradle of mankind but you don't remain in the cradle forever. And this is what beckons the- it's been, you know, 25, 30, 50 thousand years since our shamanic ancestors began to much the mushrooms and glimpse the vision of man radiating out through the galaxy as a perfected superintelligent force for light. And, uh, this is the 15-round slug out, uh, leading to whether or not that happens or not.
KH: Uh, Timothy Leary [hm] maintains similar positions from a different...
TM: Similar but different, but, but right, he, he talks a lot about the DNA. I'm not...well, it's the DNA on one level, the genetic information is stored in DNA. Where these visionary worlds, the information that allows them to be just, uh, shown to you like movies hour after hour, where that information is stored is, I think, a very very interesting question and certainly a challenge to molecular- enthusiasts of molecular, uh, memory models.
KH: Well now, uh, is it not so the [Terence takes a drink], the muse is a sort of a catalyzing of the imagination in a way...
TM: Precisely [KH: the inspiration], it's an ecstasy.
And the claim is made that these things can be attained various ways, but, uh, there are very many different kinds of ecstasies. I think that the peculiar, uh, spacey, extraterrestrial dimension that these tryptamines convey you into is not the standard ecstasy of the mystics, or we would have, uh, more of a reflection of that in our literature. In fact, one of the most puzzling things to me is why the, uh, the bizarre motifs of the DMT flesh have not, uh, made their way into any culture anywhere as far as I'm aware.
KH: Well, um, would that make either an image of people being fearful of the- of these, um, visions when they have them and so keeping them under cover or an idea that they might be going insane in some way. I mean, what is the, the, uh [TM: Yes] the way out of that.
TM: Well, I think the change is so radical and the implications so hard to digest that you're right, people either feel their own sanity is being threatened, or they recognize it as a challenge to the - to the, uh, reality myth of their society, and so they just repress it. They have very little to do with it. It's very hard to, to, uh, contact these contradictory realities which throw into doubt everything you know about the reality you're inhabiting. I mean, what a strange strange world it is if there are these alternative continuii operating all around us filled with strange alien information, floating around. And yet, uh, why, why pose it in the, uh, in the future? It is so that this is what's going on. IT's just, then, how much time you care to spend thinking about it, uh.
KH: But these are science fiction theories too. I mean, one comes across this smattering here and there. And, um, you are saying that it's actual, and this is the way it is. This is your mission, basically, your rap.
TM: Yes, well I'm not saying that this is the only way it is, but I'm certainly saying that, uh, these tryptamine drugs elicit an experience that is extremely peculiar, that has more relationship with the ufo experience than with classical mystical experience or other hallucinogenic drugs, and that, um, societal attitudes and other things have conspired to, uh, uh, keep this under wraps. It has not been well looked at, and yet, uh, basically because people who are interested in flying saucers are not interested in drugs, the great majority of people interested in flying saucers are hardware nuts and just for sure want to prove that it's a machine from Zeta Reticulii, you know? Just nuts and bolts, and, uh, these [KH interjects] the psychological explanation is not welcome anywhere particularly. Meanwhile the community of drug researchers feels they're laboring under enough of a stigma to not ally themselves with flying saucer people, which is just like, uh, adding an albatross to an anchor.
So, uh, you know, it's not a popular point of view. So since I'm outside of all of that, I can just say, you know, I read a lot of shamanism and I think these people did a fine job, and, but I don't catch the flavor from any of this orthodox anthropological reporting on shamanism that anybody has ever come to grips with how strange the psychedelic experience is and that it poses problems not only for these so-called primitive people who use it and are being studied. It poses fundamentally equally deep problems for our society though we can no more assimilate the content of the psychedelic experience than can a villager in the New Guinea highlanders or a Witoto in the Amazon. In fact, we have less of a basis for coming to terms with it. So our culture is in, in a very, uh, desparate crisis. Birth crisis, terminal crisis, uh, if, if we are not fully informed as to the nature of reality, we should correct that oversight, and this is my motivation.
KH: Well, I'm disappointed that we can't, uh, create our other.
TM: Well, I guess you greet your other, um, when you meet them in that dimension, and...
KH: Have you ever gone anywhere with another human to these places and actually been able to say, have a parallel...[TM:experience?] combined experience?
TM: Well, I think that happens, uh, certainly in taking ayahuasca with, with groups of people in the Amazon where the shaman is singing you definitely have the feeling that, uh, you're all being carried through he same space and being shown the same things. And when you take psilocybin with just one other person you're lying together 'bemushroomed' as Gordon Wasson says. Uh, you have the feeling, you know, that you're just flowing there together, and sometimes, you can even one person can describe and then leave off and then the other one can begin to describe and it's all flowing together, yes. I am totally convinced that, that telepathy occurs on these drugs. I'm not sure how to go about making it a repeatable phenomenon, but, uh, it certainly happens.
You see, psilocybin was made illegal just as an afterthought when, in the panic when everything was being made illegal, it never had any hearing or was, uh, examined by itself. It was just a hallucinogenic agent, therefore illegal. But, uh, for, for throwing a light on the psyche for, uh, for catapulting the imagination into these futuristic spaces, it needs to be, uh, looked at very closely.
KH: How do you see it being organized in order to, uh, educate people?
TM: Well we need to have, what's always been lacking in psychedelic research is, uh, uh, an examination of the content of the experiences, so we need to give it to very intelligent people who are willing to work with it not in a clinical setting but in a setting where you ask the question 'how does it change peoples' lives when they, uh, can be involved in it in a a open, non-stressed sort of environment. We found that going in to the Amazon, which is not exactly a non stress-filled environment, but as we would go up these these jungle rivers and inevitably contact these small rivers where these mushrooms would be available. That, you know, reality is transformed. Reality truly is made of language and of linguistic structures which you hold unbeknownst to yourself and your mind, and which under the influence of psilocybin just begin to dissolve [KH] and you begin, you begin to perceive, right, beyond the unspeakable. You- the contours of the unspeakable begin to emerge into your perception and you can't say much about the unspeakable and yet it can color everything you do. you live with it. it is the invoking of the other, the other has become the self. All these various forms of estrangement are healed. That's why it's so, you know- but the term 'alien' has these many connotations.
KH: What's the next step?
TM: Well, the next step is to confirm some of what I've said to, uh, form a consensus among a group of researchers to then try and, uh, figure out a strategy, chemical or otherwise.
KH: Who would you invite? [To work on a problem like that?] ...to, to participate
TM: Oh, people like Frank Barr, mm, Sasha Shulgin, my brother, John Lily, if he would behave himself [Terence laughs]. All these great people, you know, would have a great interest in this. This is the question that has not been dealt with, the botany has been dealt with. The taxonomy, the chemistry.
KH: How would you set it up?
TM: How would I set it up... well, we need to, um, explore this linguistic phenomenon [KH: How?] somehow. Specifically I think not by giving drugs to volunteers but by giving drugs to researchers who are actually going to grapple with the problem because all this talk that orbits around the psychedelic experience by scientists..how many of them have had a psychedelic experience?
KH: So you would do it with people who have already had, or you would try to get un-
TM: I think the early approach with psychedelics, which was the Baconian approach, the logical approach, uh, was the correct one. Which is very intelligence thoughtful people should take psychedelics and try and understand what's going on. Not batteries of prisoners, uh, not, uh, schoolchildren, uh, but intelligent people. And, uh, share their experiences. See, I say it's too early for a science. What we need now are like the diaries of explorers. We need many diaries of many explorers so we can begin to get a feeling. Uh, the hit I get off of it is that it is very important for human culture that it is no coincidence that this is coming to Western man just as we acquire the technological capability to leave the planet. That the mushroom and the transformation of the human image by going into space are all things that are spun together, that nothing less is happening than the emergence of a new...
TM: Yes, a new human order. A, uh, telepathic, uh, humane, universalist kind of human culture is emerging which will make everything which preceded it be the Stone Age.
KH: Will the overview, monad, uh,oversoul whatever resume the personality, knowledge that's gained within one lifetime and therefore that is what you see as ufo reincarnation or would you say that, uh, it's a terminated at that terminal's termination? In other words, the personality which inhabits your form is, when that license is up, it re-forms itself in that the form is what the personality is carried by?
TM: Well, when consciousness is finally understood it means that the absence of consciousness will be understood, which means the study of consciousness leads inevitably to the study of death. Death is both a historical and individual phenomenon about which we as monkeys have great anxiety, but what the psychedelic experience seems to be pointing out is that actually the reductionist view of death has missed the point, and that there is something more. It isn't simple extinction, that the universe does not build up such complex forms as ourselves without conserving them in some astonishing and surprising way that is perhaps related some way to the intuitions we have from the psychedelic experience. The ufo comes from this murky region beyond the end of history, beyond the end of life. It is both super- supra-historical and supra-organic. It is, uh, uncanny, alien, it raises the hair on the back of your neck. It is both the apotheosis and the antithesis of the monkey's journey toward mind. It is like the mind revealing itself. This is what all religion is about, is, uh, shock waves given off by this even at the end of history, which we're now very close to and which psilocybin can, uh, help us to understand because it conveys you into the, uh, place where it is happening constantly. Where the, uh, the millenium is a standing wave in eternity, not an anticipation. And so the mushroom stands, uh, at the end of history. It's an object that pulls all history toward itself. It's a causal force that operates to us backwards through time. IT's why things happen the way they do, because everything is being pulled toward a nexus of transformation
[brief ending music]