I was going to, uh, mention just three books—I might mention more as time goes on—but these three are, uh, central to understanding what I’m going to be saying this month and they’re very different books. Some of you–many of you–may have read this one which is,
The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler. And this is the book that talks about the partnership versus dominator model of society and gets the gender tension inherent in the matriarchy/patriarchy way of framing that problem. It gets that out of the way because it just says: dominator and partnership. And, she believes and offers evidence that there never was a matriarchy, that that whole notion of a pendulum moving between patriarchy and matriarchy is not, uh, valid, and she and I are in agreement in that we both see something very important happening to human beings around the emergence of pastoralism, around the time when the domestication of cattle became a major concern of human beings.
Uh, this great goddess, uh, religion that was worldwide in prehistory is inevitably, uh, a cattle religion. And, uh, she talks a lot about this and she talks a lot about early cultural accomplishments - uh, she’s trained as an archeologist - early cultural accomplishments such as Çatalhöyük. This is a civilization in southern Turkey that is important for my argument, too, because it was very, very early and achieved a sudden and extreme flowering of culture like nothing that would -- nothing would rival it for several thousand years. Mary Settegast calls it, uh, a premature burst of complexity and brilliance.
And, uh, Riane Eisler uses, um, dynamic theory borrowed from modern mathematics - borrowed from, uh, uh, Ralph Abraham who I’m sure many of you know – to make cultural models. And so, there’s been a lot of excitement about this book among feminists, but what has been sort of overlooked is that this is the first time there was ever a mathematical, uh, application of dynamics to human history. So, this is a good book and she is not psychedelic. She and I did a weekend together at Ojai which was -- where she was wonderfully generous and tolerant of my dancing around in the middle of her parade ground because I’m saying, you know, that the dynamic that drove this cultural transition had to do with psychedelics, and that this goddess cattle religion had to be also a mushroom religion. And later today even maybe we’ll talk more about that.
The second book, which I think you’d enjoy—and I don't know, maybe they have -- they have this at the bookstore, they should have this—it's called,
The Creative Explosion: An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion. Now, notice that both of these books that I’ve recommended contain long passages about sudden outbursts of creative brilliance on the cultural level. This is very interesting to me because this is, uh, the stuff called "novelty" that we talked about a little bit yesterday. And tracking these outbursts of brilliance and complexity in cultures and in our own lives is the way we confirm for ourselves the existence of this, um, topological manifold over which probabilistic, or previously thought to be probabilistic events, are flowing. What Pfeiffer, John Pfeiffer is saying in this book is -- it’s a study of the cave art of Spain and southern France - and what he’s saying about it is, you know, that some of these things are hundreds and hundreds of feet underground down very narrow passages and you have to go through all these contortions to get to them. Anyway, he’s saying that this was a, uh, manipulated environment, that these were created and placed in this way to evoke very strong emotional responses from people. And certainly even today, with very high-powered flashlights and nylon ropes, and all of this stuff, it’s a very big deal to descend hundreds and hundreds of feet into the ground. You could imagine people who had tallow lamps. And, it appears that they went into these places and made these things, uh, and then only returned very briefly, uh, on a cyclical basis, uh, afterwards. In other words, they didn’t inhabit these places; these were ceremonial places and what he’s talking about is the high Magdalenian, which is, uh, 19,000 to 17,000 years ago when, for the first time, there was, uh, bone and antler technology. In other words, the Stone Age is ending and there’s a bone and antler technology and there’s this tremendous, uh, outpouring of creativity, mostly vented on a depiction of these animal images of animals that were in, um, a state of semi-domestication or balanced upon the probability of domestication. So, what we’re seeing are herds of deer and cattle and, uh, primitive sheep and this sort of thing. So, both of these books point to unexplained outbursts of creativity in the human past and document them very well, but without offering a causal mechanism.
Now, on a partly more practical bent and this directly addresses the psychedelic issue. If you’re at all interested in psychedelic plants, this is, uh, the bible. It occurs in several different forms. This is,
The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens by Richard Evan Schultes and Albert Hofmann. Schultes was the Harvard botanist who basically single-handedly created the field of ethnopharmacology. And, uh, early on, Schultes understood that what, uh, native peoples were saying about disease and plants was very, um, touched with folklore and cultural factors, but what they said about psychoactive plants, you could rely upon. And, so, he reoriented his career towards the psychoactive and through the 50s, the 60s, the 70s and the 80s, he and his graduate students basically shed light on a previously completely unexplored area of botany and we know through books like this and you may have seen his more popular book,
Plants of the Gods, uh, these basically list and discuss the major psychoactive plants of the third planet from the sun and, uh, if you need -- if you need information, this is where you go and there are extensive bibliographies. This is the first edition and it’s now been issued in a second edition. But, this is pretty indispensible.There are a few other books, too, but this is the one to start with. So, that’s sort of business. People should be directed toward books that then expand the basis of what’s being said. Does anyone want to say anything about yesterday and go back over any of that?
I thought I would talk a little bit today about, uh -- see the way I imagine this happening is, if there’s nothing else going on, then there are facets to this thing. And they may not appear to be connected to you at first, but I will just then choose one of these facets and, uh, talk about it. So, a facet that was brushed on yesterday that needs to be really brought forward and understood clearly is, um -- it kind of comes under the general, uh, banner of the feminine. That from several different points of view, I want to talk about how the psychedelic experience reflects on and relates to the feminine.
First of all, a lot of this has to do with how I think of the origin situation. I think everything was set then. And, uh, women, I think, well -- it happened like this: That there was specialization in these early proto-hominid and hominid populations and it generally divided along the lines of that the women, because they almost always had babes at breast, were more collectivized and more traveled less. The men hunted and the women kept the children and all that together, and the women were gatherers–this is the important thing–that the women were gatherers and that what they were gathering was food and what they were gathering was plants, primarily. So that, uh -- I’ll show you something here. This is a description of a plant. You see, before the era of color lithography, botanists tried -- had this need -- to be able to exactly describe and differentiate plants, one from another. So, here is just a bit of a description of a plant. The plant is, uh,
Methysticodendron Amesianum, and this is what is called, "The Taxonomic Description":
Tree up to twenty-five feet in height, leaves membranaceous, dark green, very narrowly ligulate, apically acuminate, basically long attenuate, marginally commonly subundulate or undulate, 20 to 26 mm long, 1.3 to 2 cm wide, minutely and irregularly pilos on both surfaces, flowers up to 28, usually about 23 cm long, apically 10 to 13 cm in diameter, very strongly sweet scented at sundown, calyx spathaceous green, papyraceous or membranaceous, 2 to 5 fid with acute teeth, 3/5ths as long as corolla, very minutely pilos, corolla divided 2/3rds to 4/5ths it’s length, usually with 5 lobes but usually 4/6 membranaceous, white spatulate or subspatulate, rhombiform
, long accumulate and circinate.
That’s half of the description.
Now, the point of this is, the need to describe a plant puts tremendous pressure on language to accommodate itself to difference; that’s what they’re doing there. They’re attempting to create a word picture that will make it possible to tell this thing from any other thing. Well, women who were gatherers in this early situation were under tremendous pressure to elaborate a vocabulary of visual distinctions. You know, you eat the thorny one, not the smooth one. You eat the one with the leaves that have the crinkle on the edge, but not the one with the leaves that have the furry underside. And this kind of need put on real pressure for language. Men, in the hunting situation had, strangely enough, the pack-signaling repertoire that we came down from the trees with. It's pretty sufficient for a pack-hunting situation. In other words, you had forty or fifty barks and yells, and you can direct a complex hunting operation. You don’t have to have this tremendous stress on adjectives, you know. Uh, and the major stress in hunting is often stoicism and silence. You know, I mean, it’s not a rappy undertaking [audience laughs] and, to this day, it’s thought to be a sexist observation, but when you go into villages of native people and they always speak of the chattering of the women. And this is true. I mean, women chatter a lot about the details of ordinary existence. This is what they are heavily linguistically programmed to be into, is the details of, uh, ordinary existence and especially in this matter of food.
Well, um, the way in which the mushroom fits into all this is that, um, when the African continent began to dry up–this happened over a very long period of time and it wasn’t just a gradual phenomenon; there were glaciations and interglacial periods–but, generally speaking, over a past half million years, Africa has experienced a progressive, uh, aridity, and this forced our remote ancestors down onto an evolving grassland situation. Simultaneously, with all these changes going on in the proto-hominids, a lot of ungulate mammals were evolving in this sudden, rich grassland environment. Um, and in the dung of these particular mammals, the psilocybin-producing mushrooms found a suitable environment. They are that kind of mushroom, which is called coprophilic, means likes dung. And the, uh, the mushrooms used in the Indian cults of central Mexico are not coprophilic mushrooms with one exception. They are ephemeral, deep forest mushrooms and indemnified, um, um, community of species that seem to have evolved there. But, the exception is in the genus Stropharia where you get these coprophilic mushrooms, Stropharia Cubensis and its, uh, conspecific species, and they appear wherever there are cattle of the Bos indicus type, which is the zebu, the humped white cattle. This is a very primitive form of, uh, Asian cattle, probably the nearest living relative to Bos primigenius, which was the prototypic Ice Age, uh, cattle. So, um, the mushroom occurs then in this situation in the manure. Well, the pressure on the environment is for protein is intense and I saw myself in Kenya, tribes of baboons on the veldt and they would go over and examine cow-pies and flip them over looking for grubs underneath them. So, it’s in the repertoire of the behavior of these apes to associate these things, and the mushroom presents itself as a completely startling phenomenon in the natural environment. I mean, I’ve seen them in pastures in the Amazon the size of small dinner plates and on stocks 11 inches high, you know. So, we’re talking a hefty, uh -- a hefty piece of protein. The question is, can you eat this thing?
And the, um -- what happens, you see, when you eat a little bit of psilocybin–and this was shown by experiments by Fisher years ago–is that there’s an increase in visual acuity. It’s very slight, but measurable. Well, this means that it gives you an evolutionary adaptation in the hunting situation. You have better eyesight than other members of your group, and than you, yourself, had before you admitted this item into your diet. Well, you know, this is a self-reinforcing situation on a scale of thousands and thousands of years. Very quickly, those not availing themselves of this quote/unquote “artificial” augmentation to sensory clarity will be bred out because, uh, there’s just no percentage in poor vision.
Uh, at slightly higher doses, the psilocybin causes, uh, sexual arousal. Well, again, you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist to understand that the number of successful copulations that you complete has a direct bearing on the success of your reproductive strategy. And, these are all numbers games, you know. Those who fuck more, have more children is what it comes down to. So, if a certain dietary, uh, item is causing sexual activity, well, then, we’re going to see more and more of the children of the people who indulge in that dietary item and this can be very unconscious, you see.
And then, the third thing, of course, at higher doses gives way to this mystical tremendum, or this entry into hyperspace. What this has to do with the feminine is that, uh, I think, that the women would have been the gatherers of the mushrooms. The women were the keepers of the reproductive mysteries, anyway. This cow cult that got going, it’s very clear to me that from the primitive -- from the point of view of a preliterate person, the mushroom comes from the cow. I mean, you can’t explain it any other way. It has no seeds. I mean, this was puzzling to people up until the 16th century. They couldn’t figure out where these things ever came from. They were accustomed to the notion of plants having seeds. But, these mushrooms which sprang up over night, just seemed mysterious. So, I think very early in prehistory there was a religion, which was a -- a celebration of the feminine, a psychedelic religion, an orgiastic religion to take account of this arousal factor in psilocybin. It was in this environment over thousands and thousands of years that humanness emerged. And environment of boundary dissolution of, uh, uh, where erotic connection was actually the basis of community, and where there was a constant exposure to this unlanguageable, unassimilable, um, mystical tremendum and the psilocybin was acting then as a tremendous catalyst for language. Because, remember, I think I said this – that it’s primary role in prehistory and in the present possibly is as to catalyze linguistic shifts because linguistic shifts then give culture permission to follow and erect whatever edifices it wants.
Now, throughout prehistory, this vegetable goddess is a, uh, horned goddess. It is a goddess of the moon, a goddess of cattle and a goddess of plants. And, what I’m suggesting in this book I’m writing and I should try it out on you because I won't -- you’re my best shot is the notion that, um -- and I said this before but I repeat myself and things make more sense when heard again -- that the natural human condition is actually a condition of symbiosis with this hallucinogen, this particular hallucinogen. That the mystery of who we are and the mystery of why we are so bereft and why history and why all this malarkey, is because things went on 15,000 to 25,000 years ago that we have not -- we have repressed and never faced the implications of. That we actually had a symbiotic relationship on the mental level with some kind of feminine over-mind. And, you know, never mind all the questions which this raises about where is it, what is it, how does it do it, but just that the Gaian, uh, process is more than a process; it is a self-reflecting, uh, entelechy of some sort. How can we pass judgment on this? What do we know?
The Earth is five billion years old. Intelligence may come in many forms. Self-reflecting awareness may come in many forms. Uh, but, what seems clear is that, uh, there was a dialogue with this other, and there was balance and there was wholeness, and there was a way of being which, well, it was paradisiacal. That’s why we are so haunted by the loss of it. That’s why all of our ontologies are the story of how something was taken from us. Something was lost and, uh, it’s nobody’s fault exactly. I mean, it really has to do with the processes of the planet, that this partnership paradise that arose as we came to consciousness in the cradle of Africa was dependent on the continuation of this extremely rich grassland environment, which was, in fact, a transient phenomenon. So, that by 8,000, 10,000, 12,000 years ago, visible pressure was being felt by these populations in Africa. And, you see -- each time there has been an interglacial period over the last 100,000 years, uh, human populations–and in the older strata proto-hominid populations bottled up in Africa–have radiated out across the Eurasian continent. But, only in the last interglacial, 20,000 years ago, were those people leaving Africa true pastoralists. They had flocks. They had skin tents. They had a religion. They had language. We know this, I mean, there is just no doubt about it. Before that, they were, uh, nomadic hunter and gatherers.
So, this relationship to the mushroom and the relationship to the cattle–actually, the first payoff–was an entirely new order of civilization. The symbiotic relationship with the cow, which made life much, much easier either fueled by or fed into the symbiotic relationship with the mushroom which gave more successful hunting, better sex, and religion. So, there were all these factors feeding into this situation. Now, when these people got out of the Middle East -- I mean got out of Africa and settled in the Middle East -- it was a much dicier situation. And, if you know anything about Middle Eastern archeology, in Palestine, there is a great puzzle because, uh, before 9,500, it’s virtually empty. This is the interglacial, uh, ice reached as far south as Sidon in Lebanon and this area was all frozen up. But, that as the glaciers retreated, suddenly there are people at Ain-Saba and later at Jericho and at several places, and it's always been assumed by, uh, archeologists on basically chauvinistic grounds that this must have been an outpost of old Europe, that the Balkan Yugoslavian area that Marija Gimbutas has written so much about. Because these people are so advanced, they’re called Natufians and they appear very suddenly in the archeological record 9,500. A thousand years later, they build Jericho, which is, at that time, the most advanced, uh, city site on the planet. And, uh, but, before they build Jericho, their habit of building was under rock escarpments. And, this is the same style of Neolithic, uh, building that existed in the Tassili Plateau of Algeria.
So, in the absence of much archeology to support either side, I think it’s reasonable to think that these people may have come out of Africa. And, in fact, there is some evidence of this because there is what’s called, uh, uh, Burnished Sudanese Ware Four, is found in these Natufian places and Burnished Sudanese Ware Four comes, uh, from deep in what is now Ethiopia. So, there was, at least, trade and I think, based on -- and the people who write about all this, have commented on the African motifs because, uh, -- while we don’t have much art from Jericho, these people a thousand years after Jericho, by now it’s 7,500, they built Catalhoyuk in southern Anatolia, and this is truly a science fiction civilization. I mean, it’s freakish. It's 7,500 BC, uh. The pyramids lie 3,000 years in the future. So what about that? Well, we don’t know, but, uh, one of the -- one of the questions that will remain unanswered in this month is why? Why is there this synergy between the plants and the human being? Is it chance? Is it just that this is how it works out and now we are now self-reflecting enough to be able to unravel the threads that went into the confluence of, uh, influences that created us. Or is it plotted somehow? And this is then the extra-terrestrial gene theory. Is this thing somehow strewn in our way?
Because, you see, I don’t buy any of the extra-terrestrial intervention theories that have them landing on the White House lawn or projecting images into the minds of people who live in trailer courts or all these things they’re accused of doing. The one thing I grant extra-terrestrial intelligence is: great subtlety. And probably a long time scale to do whatever they want to do. It’s possible to reach a point of, uh, deconditioning–it’s a kind of reconditioning, but also deconditioning–where it seems obvious that the planet must be monitored. It is, after all, such an interesting planet. It seems that if anyone could monitor, they would. I mean, we’ve already now, through the probes we’ve sent into our own solar system, seen about thirty-three worlds. And they all fall into various classes, and not one comes anywhere near to what we are. We are what astrophysicists have given the charming acronym: We are a WHORE. A WHORE is a water heavy, oxygen rich world and water heavy, oxygen rich is rare, rare, rare, rare, rare.
So, it may very well be that every one of these is closely monitored. Well, once you allow that notion, then the presence of the psychedelic genes, the psychedelic, uh, activator in the environment begins to look more like a sort of biogenic engineering. It is curious that what these psychedelics do on a -- on a scale of the community is they release new ideas. You become a bearer of new ideas, or new tools, new techniques, new ways of doing things. And that this is how culture moves forward. That culture is a phenomenon dependent on the generation of ideas, plans, notions, connections. Well, this is precisely what these compounds are doing. So, is that a coincidence or is that, uh, part of the regulator? Are we, in fact, somehow managed towards some point? And then the question becomes, of course, for what? And then it devolves into the realm of science fiction. I had a -- I had a professor once who had a fairly grim view of things. His notion of what human history was all about was that, uh, it was a, uh, radioactive minerals mining project. And that when we finally had all these nuclear weapons stacked up like cordwood, somebody would come from another world and say, "Thank you very much! [audience laughs] This is what we wanted and you’ve done a good job" [audience laughs] [Terence laughs]
All of human history was to get to stockpile plutonium for somebody else’s very good reasons. Well, I don’t think it’s anything quite so Jack Armstrongish as all that because what I sense in the mushroom is a tremendous heart -- a tremendous, you know. It’s well beyond all of that. It’s a -- it's an emotional, intellectual, feeling toned kind of thing. But, is it a benevolent, galactic monitor? Is it the beating heartbeat of Gaia? Is it this entelechy that I spoke of at the beginning of the hour that is somehow the sum total of process on the Earth? Or, is it possible that I have been, uh, remiss in my assessment of the capacity of human beings and that this is nothing more than us? It doesn’t seem to me like us. It -- It doesn’t look like that to me.
I got into this game originally as a kind of an art historian, and art historians are -- you track motifs over centuries or decades depending on your bailiwick. And you -- what it really is, is the exploration of the human unconscious viewed as art. Art -- you learn what people have made, can make, and do make in the realm of images. Well, the thing that was most astonishing to me about these high game psychedelic states is how unfamiliar it is. How totally unfamiliar it is even if you’ve made a study of the productions of the human mind in the visual dimension. So that, it -- to me, and again this may be my own psychology, what is always left out of descriptions of the psychedelic state, the deep psychedelic state, is how weird it is. I mean, a hair-raising oddness that adheres to it that is, I call being in the presence of the other. The other wants to be as acceptable to us as possible. It doesn’t want to frighten us, it doesn't want to to appall us, but it’s very hard for it to perceive what our parameters of expectation and bearability are. I mean, that’s very, very clear.
Uh, one of the things after years of smoking DMT and trying to form a metaphor for it, I finally realized that this place that I kept bursting into was, um, the equivalent, it was somebody’s idea of a playpen. It was somebody very weird! This was their notion of what a human being would feel most comfortable with. And so, you know, it was rounded, enclosed, there’s a low hum and it’s white, and these, uh, language elves that come hopping out of the woodwork to transform themselves. Those are the equivalent of what you hang over a baby’s cradle. You know, bright colors, moving lights; that will keep them busy! [audience laughs] While -- and, and, and, it was a shock to me to realize this because I realized it profoundly. It’s true, that’s what it is. It’s some kind of environment designed for a human being who has just been transported across hyperspace and is going to be observed for two minutes and fifteen seconds, and then sent back.
And, uh, why should it be that way? Does this really have anything to do with the spiritual life or is this some skewed off other tack entirely? I don’t know. There are suggestions, there are hints, but by no means has the support of a broad river of tradition. For instance, um, the 56th fragment of Heraclites who was a great guy and was one of us. He would be comfortable with this situation, I’m sure. The 56th fragment of Heraclites says, "The Aeon, the Aeon, is a child at play with colored balls." This saying is 2,600 years old, what is it talking about? Who knows? But, then you break into this place and you see the Aeon, and it’s a child and it’s playing with colored balls. You say, "My God, you know, it’s like you’re not meant to know this stuff."
The Cabeiri in alchemy are the children that are generated in the alchemical process—not the homunculi—but these are the little elves of the metals that come out of the retort and can be seen dancing, uh, in the fire. These -- this archetype or motif, whatever it is, is hair-raising when you encounter it because it doesn’t look like an archetype or a motif; it looks like a little man eleven inches high, or a self-transforming jeweled basketball, or an object from a -- another dimension. Very puzzling. The parameters cannot be known, or at least are not yet known. I mean, perhaps it’s foolish to say the parameters cannot be known. We are like explorers. We–anybody who goes into this psychedelic dimension–we are all going to go into the books as pioneers because it’s too early for us to be anything else. There’s no maps, no finished database, just anecdotes of the crazy, crazy stuff that goes on. That’s why it’s so important to, uh, to try and share this stuff.
[Question]: Doesn't the comparison of -- it sounds to me that the DMT experience and you’ve said other people have had very similar experiences with the languages and the elves and all this. Does your comparison with that and other hallucinogens help you draw a conclusion as to maybe this particular one is more off the wall and more...?
No, I think it’s a place that you approach by different strategies because a high dose of psilocybin will eventually put you into a place where you have to say, "My God, I can’t tell it from a DMT flash." And a high dose of ayahuasca will eventually carry you exactly to the same place. The difference is that the DMT -- if you -- the only way you can evade the DMT is mechanically. That means, only if you take too small a toke will it fail. If you can take a big enough toke, it will deliver the goods. While with the psilocybin mushrooms, with the ayahuasca, you have to be a navigator. You have to know how to tack, and breath, and descend, and level and maybe a little mantric flash and dash – it’s trickier. But, uh, with the psil -- with the DMT, you know, by God, it has you if you get enough of it.
You know, they used to say during the Mughal dynasty - they used to say of the city of Isfahan in Persia that it was half the world because of the beauty of the vaulted ceilings of its mosques. Isfahan is half the world. Well, DMT is half the world. It's just -- I would be totally despairing if it didn’t exist because it holds back the premise of the mundane. The premise of the mundane is shown to be ludicrous beyond belief and not worth a moment’s trouble. It’s just ruled out of bounds, you know. The world is - I’m sure you’ve heard me say this: The world is not only stranger than we suppose; it’s stranger than we can suppose. I mean, think about that. It is stranger than we can suppose! And when you sit down with a notion like that and let it sink in, you realize that any conservative habit of thought is totally skewing you away from the quintessence. And, it’s personal, that’s the other thing. The world isn’t this unbelievably strange thing which is out there. The world is this stranger than we can suppose thing, which begins from the core of us out. That means nothing can be taken for granted. It can be taken apart. It can be put together many, many ways.
I mean, I really -- a short definition of Tantra–you probably all have some notion of what Tantra is–a short definition of it is, it’s the shortcut, that’s what they say in India. The premise of Tantra is that a single being can attain enlightenment in a single lifetime. That’s the premise of Tantra; that in a single lifetime you could attain enlightenment. Well, imagine if you took that seriously? How much more engaged you would be with the problem of figuring it out? What if the only place you can figure it out from is a living body? And so, you get eighty, ninety years in a living body, and if you haven’t figured it out by that time, well then your dead and that’s it. But, during that time, you had a crack at the big one. There was nothing holding you back from figuring it out and then transcending such absurd notions of life and death and here and now. So, it’s like an opportunity. You get to walk out on the court, they pitch you the ball, and you have a chance to make an eighty foot set shot, and if you don’t [audience laughs] – into the bin with that one! [Terence laughs]
Oscar Janiger, who was a great old LSD researcher and who runs the Albert Hofmann library in LA -- when he and I first met we were sort of testing each other and he has a famous reputation for being irascible and we were sort of fiddling around and then I mentioned DMT and he just beamed and lit up, and said, "Now, that’s something, my God!” And, this is what everybody says when you push them. They -- it's, like, admit that it is what it is, but it never occurred to them to go further, to look into it and to see what could be done with it. Of course, it’s sneered at them from two directions. It’s called the businessman’s trip because it’s so short. The old thing in the 60s was that you could do it on your lunch hour. Well, what I want to know is what business are these businessmen in? [audience laughs] Because -- and then the other thing that was said of it was it fries your brain. Well, that’s a subjective statement about what it is like to have it happen to you. It doesn’t fry your brain. The fact that it reverses itself in seven minutes shows that it probably can compete with the world’s five or six most innocuous drugs because that’s a way of thinking about how your body handles a drug. My God, if it can return you to the baseline of consciousness in seven minutes, then it’s just immediately turning this stuff into harmless byproducts that go into the urine. It means it’s safe. Well, you see, we’re reaching scary conclusions here. We’re reaching the conclusion that the strongest of all hallucinogens is the safest of all hallucinogens. That would carry with it a certain implication about doing these things.
And yet, what is on the line when you do DMT is not your body, but your maps, your structure, your belief system. I’ve never seen it hit anybody quite as hard as it hit me, but I was transformed in a moment from a Marxist skeptic scientist. I just -- it was then and I will say it still is now; it is pure 100% magic! It’s magic! It’s not a drug; it’s an event. It’s not something that you do; it’s something which happens to you. And people come out of it saying,"What happened? What happened?" You say, "You did it!" They say, "That’s what happened, I did it? I just smoked that. That’s it?" You say, "Calm down, the trip is over." They say, ‘"Trip? You must be crazy to call it a trip. It’s not a trip. It’s a -- it's a -- it's an event. It’s like being struck by lightening!" Have you ever had one of these things? It’s a lot like an automobile accident. An automobile accident is a very interesting thing because you’re going along, everything is ordinary and then reality just begins to unpeel. You have this very, "Oh, man! God, I can’t believe it." [audience laughs] It continues to go on and you say, "Wow! It’s really happening." [audience laughs]
It’s exactly like that. You know, I mean, it’s just a collision with another modality. I have, uh, on DMT made sounds, the intensity and purity of which it would immediately convince you that no human being could do this. I mean, it’s just not the way humans do it. It has this synthesizer steady and I’ll bet the wave is absolutely flat down as far as you care to look into it. It’s as though we don’t know what we are. It’s as though this is the control panel in the human animal and you discover, you know, the monkey form, the third planet from the sun, all that was a mere fiction. And the reality is this other thing. And then why is it -- why does it have the character that it does? For instance, both ayahuasca and mushrooms approach this place from different directions, but the DMT and the psilocybin have this unexpected science fiction aspect to them. This is what the art historians left out. This is what you don’t get in Hildegard Von Bingham. You don’t get the machine, the deep, iridescent, highly polished surfaces that are clearly made somewhere, manufactured. You don’t get this cosmic viewpoint where the history of the solar system and the local history of the galaxy is being called upon to validate what is being said. In short, why is it so cosmic? It’s different from ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is a heart-opening, earth-centered, earth tones, uh, pastel, flowing water, organic form, fish in the river, mothering, canoe, animal type thing. It’s that even in Hawaii or British Columbia. It isn’t the Amazon unless the morphogenetic field is amplified without subject to the universe-square law.
Well, this is really mysterious stuff that human cultural forms should be scripted in to plants - what exactly is going on here? Uh, one of the things you can do with psilocybin and, uh, ayahuasca that’s very puzzling and should be studied, is you can, um, when you get equilibrium in the state, uh, project a motif. Let’s say art deco. Suddenly there will be thousands, thousands of art deco objects: water pitchers, cigarette lighters, automobiles, hood ornaments, uh, sculpture, grill work, and then you can just instantly -- you can say, "Italian Baroque" and in a single moment, you know, you’re at the church at Santa Maggiore and seeing all this gold work and all this stuff. And then you can say, "Surprise me." So, what kind of a dialogue is this and what kind of an entity is this? Is this part of the spiritual quest? Is it off in it’s own domain?
The language of ayahuasca, a way in which ayahuasca and psilocybin slice it differently, is psilocybin actually speaks. There’s an informing voice. It tells you. The language of ayahuasca is visual. It shows you. You become like the eye of the cinemascopic camera and after a good ayahuasca trip, you just feel like your eyes are sticking out of your head. I mean, it’s like going to Madison Avenue to buy art or something. You’ve looked at so many prints and you just look and look, and you’ve been looking and looking because that’s how it does it. And, you know, what I said on Friday about the more perfect logos, this thing which is visually beheld? See, what we’re doing is mucking about in the domain of profound mystery and I really can’t help you. I don’t have answers. My one answer is my little time wave which I’m willing to share with you, but, uh, ideas in this domain are a dime a dozen. I mean, my dream was always to catch an idea because I saw that’s what the psychedelic thing was. And, some of the ideas are tiny ideas, amusing and preposterous, but utterly worthless. And then the large ideas leave you just, "bubububu" like that because they go by and tear your nets to shreds and your main concern at that point is to row for shore. But, every once in a while, there comes one of manageable size that you can actually wrestle into your little boat and take back to astound everyone in the village with.
And the time wave -- I have the feeling that in the DMT
ecstasis that the time wave gets about a minute -- about three seconds because they say, "Look at this." You say, "Oh, wow! That’s amazing!" Then, they say, "My God, but look at this." "But, look at this!" And each one of these, your amazement is genuine and your reaction is correct. You are being shown the most amazing things you’ve ever seen. It’s simply that you cannot retain what they are. So, the goal is, first of all, to be there, to know about it and to draw strength from the evidence for magic. But, then the higher calling is to be a hunter. To find something, to bring it back. If that’s a little too meaty a metaphor for you, well then think of yourself as a noetic archeologist. We want to bring back an object: a flower from hyperspace, a machine from another world. Apparently, the easiest things to bring back are ideas. And so, we have to pay a lot of attention because ideas can cross the barrier - very little else can, but if we pay sufficient attention, I think all -- much of these ideas can be brought across and we can bring -- nothing is unfair. I mean, computer graphics, voice operated tape recorders, uh, anything that works and this is -- we’ve hit the main vein of ideas out there in hyperspace and the goal is to just fill our knapsacks as full as we can and then get back to base with this stuff. [audience laughs]
I guess really, I mean, I’m about wind it down now. The real point of this month and I have to keep clearing it back and reminding myself and you – is that we’ve discovered something and that we don’t know what it is. And we’re like the monkeys in
2001 dancing around the monolith, but this is important! I mean, that’s almost all we can say at this point. But, it’s very, very important. The world will never be the same once the implications of this are worked out and since I believe a lot of this impact is going to be in psychotherapy and I see you guys, that probably many of you will be psychotherapists, or therapists or doctors; you’re going to have an impact and be involved in this. But, basically we’re just clearing a space for a discovery. And it’s a hard discovery to announce because we don’t know what we’ve discovered. We just know we’ve really discovered something. Fire must have hit with this kind of impact and look how long it took to work out what you could do with it.
Well, that’s it for today. Thanks very much!