A good interview with Terence McKenna was published today in the San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner Sunday Magazine. The cover title is "Apocalypse Soon: Psychedelic Anthropologist Terence McKenna Takes on the Brave New World" but the article itself is titled "Millenium Witness."
For those who are interested but can't manage to look up a copy, here are some of the juicier quotes gleaned from the interview:
"Drugs are about dulling perception, about addiction and about behavioral repetition...What *psychedelics* are about is pattern- dissolving experiences of an extraordinarily high or different awareness. They are the exact opposite of drugs. They promote questioning , they promote consciousness, they promote value examinations, they promote the reconstruction of behavioral patterns."
"The important thing about cannabis is its consciousness-altering efffect, and I think the Establishment is perfectly aware that that's the issue. They're keeping cannabis illegal because it causes people to question the social values that they're being programmed with."
"Bill Clinton is an international corporatist, exactly as George Bush was an international corporatist. There is only one agenda for the American Establishment - that is to dominate the world and wring its resources from it in order to create an unconscionable amount of wealth for a tiny number of people.That's the game that's being played even as the signs accumulate that this will ruin the planet. The great struggle that looms ahead ...(unless) we die under anesthesia from 700 channels of MTV ... is the struggle between capitalism and ecological values: Do we turn everything into products? Do we destroy all resource bases in order to deliver junk to people who are made unhappy by it? Or do we begin to limit consumption, redefine what an upper-class lifestyle really means and attempt to get hold of ourselves?"
"Nobody ever went to hell on psychedelics, or very *few* people. (For) hardcore dissipation ... you go to Jack Daniels, methedrine, coke, junk (heroin), and pills."
"I founded (with my ex-wife in 1985) ... a botanical preservation project designed to locate rare, endangered plants with a history of shamanic usage and preserve them all in a botanical garden in Hawaii."
"To cut the costs and research cycle for drug companies. In other words, drug companies will not have to mount an Amazon expedition. They can simply order 100 kilos of this plant from us for lab analysis."
There is, of course, much more about cosmic giggles, plant gnosis, and the evolution of the human brain and civilization as hinging on the effects of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, etc.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about Terence. In many ways I agree with his critiques of the economic and political order and I am sympathetic to his calls for an "archaic revival." On the other hand, alot of his cosmic mushroom theorizing strikes me as the ravings of a guy who is tripping hard and trying to convince me that his hallucinations are "real".
Also, I detect a bit of self-contradiction (perhaps hypocrisy?) as evidenced in the quotes above. In one, Terence decries the turning of everything in the world into marketed products while at the same time he is commodifying the most sacred shamanic plants in order to assist drug companies in their pursuit of profit. Is't he "selling out" to the "Establishment" he so vilifies or is he just being realistic?
Oh, by the way, Terence predicts that the world as we know it will be massively transformed in the year 2012. We only have to wait 18 years to find out whether he's a visionary or just another crackpot!