Terence McKenna was a genius

I’ve been recently watching and listening to the late Terence McKenna. He was a Genius. I’m wondering why I haven’t found out about him before this, but I guess stumbling upon his speeches is part of my Spiritual Growth during the last year or so.

Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna

The flow and speech of Terence is something I haven’t heard before. His voice is hypnotizing in it’s flow and he almost never struggles in his forming of sentences with intricate and interesting use of words. His speech just makes sense. I’m almost sure he could explain almost anything to me and it would make perfect sense inside my head. Good thing he only speaks straight from his heart and seems very sincere in his ways.

One particularly interesting speech is Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines, which is a must watch if you are in any way pondering in the subjects of human consciousness, evolution or technology in general. Don’t be fooled by the negative views modern society has put on the word ‘psychedelics’, as usually the general mass view of things is tilted and everybody should do their own thinking. This applies to most things in Life.

I really liked the point of view McKenna took on the subject of plants, animals, humans and technology. Let’s take for granted that plants developed animals for a means of free transportation around the world, sort of growed themselves a flock of artificial legs to spread around. Humans are part of the same group, spreading plants around the world in our travels, when walking in the forest and generally when moving Anywhere. Good deal from the plants point of view. The interesting analogy McKenna makes from this perspective is that Technology uses Humans to Populate around the world too. We invent machines, build computers, network them, program them and generally put them anywhere we can. Sounds good from a machines point of view, eh ? :)

According to McKenna this is a way for the earth and earths materials to develop intelligence for themselves. We use different materials from the earth to build these machines, basically processing the materials to a more intelligent state, a more complex state from which consciousness could be imagined rising from. We try to create life everywhere we see, we want to organize, simplify, quantify, take samples of the world around us. Create life through perfection of forms, processors and processes.

McKenna puts it so much better than I can ever describe. Too bad people like him will never appear in mainstream media (bah! who needs mainstream media anyways?) at least here in Finland. But good thing we have this network .. That lured us to build it, so information can reach people like Me and You. Can’t be too bad if it provides such insights into life itself ?


7 thoughts on “Terence McKenna was a genius

  1. I’m a major fan of McKenna. He used to be a regular guest on Art Bell’s radio show Coast to Coast AM. His excitement and curiosity was infectious. He had one of those voices that was easy to listen to.

    I suppose he never quite made it into the mainstream even here in the US. But, within alternative culture, he was definitely very well known. He was the direct heir of Timothy Leary, but psychedelics had fallen outside of public attention in recent decades.

    McKenna was quite a thinker. His interests were wide: psychedelics, spirituality, culture, nature, ufos, technology, philosophy. He gave many interviews and talks and so I’m sure he spoke about many topics over the years. Even though he gets thrown in with psychedelic proponents such as Leary, he was much more wide-ranging. He is somewhat in the category of Robert Anton Wilson, but I think he is most similar to Philip K. Dick. McKenna was wrote about his feeling a special bond with PKD.

    By the way, have you read any of his books. His writing is as enjoyable as his speaking.

    • Yeah, from my point of view he is popular. But I guess with his wild ideas and use of different substances to look at things from a different viewpoint he never could have appealaed it to the actual mainstream audience. He had the potential definitely, though. I haven’t had the pleasure yet to read any of his books (not really something you find in a library here), but they’re on my list definitely :)

  2. I feel a need to throw in William S. Burroughs. He was another innovative American thinker who was a counterculture commentator on drug use and who had an awesome speaking style. Of course, Burroughs was more of a cynic but still spiritual in a Gnostic way (he identified as a Manichaean). I’m sure Burroughs influenced McKenna as Burroughs influenced many people including Philip K. Dick.

    I’m not sure how many US libraries would carry McKenna. I’d guess most city libraries would have his books, but probably not in rural areas (except maybe rural areas on the West coast). I live in a small liberal college town in Iowa and I’d be surprised if several copies of his books weren’t on the shelves. I think I first came across his books in a local bookstore.

    So, which American authors do you find in your local library? Would you only find classics or would you be able to find some alternative authors? I can’t say offhand that I’ve ever read a Finnish author, but it’s possible as I read alot. Who are some famous Finnish writers?

    • Hi again Benjamin, thanks for your informative comments. I’ve got to definitely check out Burroughs too now, I’ve of course heard about him but haven’t read any of his books neither. Luckily a friend of mine has quite an extensive library on the books conserning this subject, so maybe I’ll just loan some from him (after I’ve finished the current ones on loan ;). I somehow would categorize myself into looking at the world from a viewpoint of a gnostic, but somehow I still feel that it’s not the correct view of point, somehow it feels too much defined to be a really free kinda way of looking at things.

      Well, we of course find all the mainstream authors, like all the really top sellers etc. And we have the classics with most of them available only in translated to our language, Finnish. It’s harder to find the original versions than the translated ones. And that’s probably one reason why you don’t find McKennas books here in Finland, the subject is kinda on the border of being thought about conserning usage of illegal substances and such, and they don’t really want to promote any of that here in Finland. You can say we have freedom of speech, but still, it’s kinda limited when edging on some subjects that are set into the Finnish mindset.

      So it’s really hard to tell which authors (or I just don’t remember names that well ;)) are or aren’t absent from our local library, but I can say that it’s pretty hard to find anything conserning alternative states of consciousnesses unless it is somehow related to religions (Christianity, Buddhism, etc). Closest I’ve discovered are Castanedas books (translated), and some books about shamanism etc. But luckily we have the Internet where you can order almost anything :) And luckily my friends library on the subject grows every day more so I don’t have to buy all those books ;)

      I would say the most famous Finnish writer would be Mika Waltari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mika_Waltari) based on his success with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Egyptian. If you read one Finnish book, read this one. Very detailed journey through Egypt during one of it’s ancient periods, very colourfully detailed text. Funny thing is that this guy from this totally different culture can describe another one so well and get it sounding very lifelike.

      Anyway, thanks again for your comment :) Nice to exchange ideas about these things.

  3. I hope I’m not bugging you. I just like talking about these types of things. And I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone from Finland.

    I must admit Finland isn’t a country that I know much about. Is Finland more of a conservative country? Or just conservative about drug use? Are there alternative writers who are popular in Finland? Is there an active alternative movement there? It sounds like you’re lucky to have a friend with a growing library.

    I checked out the links. Waltari’s The Egyptian looks interesting. I didn’t realize that it used to be the most sold foreign novel in the US which is impressive. So, a hollywood movie was made of it? Have you seen the movie version?

    By the way, I’ve found audio of Burroughs online and it probably wouldn’t be hard to find. I’d recommend listening to him speak before reading him because not all of his books are easy to get into. I heard him speak first and it was because I fell in love with his voice that I then read his books. There is also a nice film biography of him that I remember liking and the film adaptation of Naked Lunch is interesting, but I doubt either could be found online.

    Also, since you have some interest in Gnosticism, you might enjoy the radio show that can be listened to at the following site. The radio host interviews some interesting people from biblical scholars to counterculture types.


    I’m curious about what American radio stations or shows you’re able to pick up in Finland. Can you listen to Coast to Coast AM? It’s broadcast in some other countries, but I don’t specifically know where. It’s supposedly one of the most listened to night talk radio shows. I used to listen to it all of the time when McKenna was a regular guest.

    • No not at all, it’s delightful to find somebody who is interested in the same topics and from a totally different side of the world :) Which state do you live in btw ? I’ve been to California couple of times, but that’s my experience of the US.

      Finland is pretty open if you compare it to some other countries, at least that’s what Finland wants to portray. But in reality it’s a different thing. Generally it’s ok to say your mind about things, but the media and press here is so anally fixed with their view of things that in most cases they tend to overreact to anything that challenges the mainstream view of things. Generally people are treated as like they don’t know how to think for themselves and this leads to actually people not thinking for themselves, which is kinda sad. The goverment wants to take care of everything and if you want to make any real changes to things, it has been made really hard for you to do so.

      Open discussion about things is also really hard, because almost immediately you are claimed to be something that the thing you are trying to discuss represents in some peoples head. For example, if you would talk about the rights of gay people, you would be tagged as being a pro-gay gay dude who likes gay people, probably. Probably something to do with the relatively small country who until 100 years ago still lived in the middle of the forest, in the dark cold winters, alone and isolated from most of the other Finns.

      There has been some opening up from the younger generation, but the people who are still in charge like to very much oppose any change or progression. In some ways, Finland is a really good country. We value honesty, good buildmanship (cold winters, can’t build crappy stuff) and the nature to some degree. In some ways it’s also a very crooked society where materialism reigns in the mainstream and creativity is not approved. A lot of young, talented people are unemployed because of this, they have the skills but the system doesn’t encourage any free thinking or different ways of doing things.

      No, I haven’t seen the movie version, I think it was made in 1954, not a really fan of that era Hollywood movies. I heard it’s kinda crappy anyway, but maybe I’ll check it out as a curiosity some day :)

      Yeah, I’ve heard that Burroughs can be kinda cryptic to read. I have to find some audio clips from him, speaks or such. I’ve heard that Naked Lunch is a a really bizarre creation, so maybe I’ll have to check it out just to see out for my self :) I don’t really listen to any radio (other than DI.fm) but I occasionally check out some podcasts, for example from http://www.matrixmasters.com/index.shtml who have a ton of podcasts there.

      You don’t happen to know any good communities in the web that support open discussion about consciousness and life in general looked from the viewpoint of a person interested in how stuff works ? We have Tie^2 (http://www.tietoiseen.fi, tie = way, road, tietoinen=knowledged, it’s a pun on words) here in Finland, but it’s finnish only so not really any use to a foreigner.

      Thank you for your insights :)

      • Hello again.

        I’m living in Iowa, the land of corn and soybeans. People living on the coasts would refer to Iowa as a fly-over state, but we are close to some big cities such as Chicago. Specifically, I live in Iowa City. It’s a liberal university town. It’s known as being a major center for writers or at least it’s known that way by writers. I grew up here some as a kid, but I’ve lived in other parts of the country. For some reason, I’ve never travelled outside of the US. I’m not big into travelling I suppose.

        I was just looking at the Wikipedia entry for Finland. So, it’s a relatively large country for the number of people living there. The article said that most of the population is concentrated. Does that mean most people live in cities? Is there much of a technological industry there?

        It’s interesting how the internet is allowing for connections that would never been possible in the past. Do most of your friends use the internet? I’m very curious how the internet will influence the generations growing up right now.

        The Matrix Masters website is new to me. It looks like a good resource.

        Do I know of any good communities? Hmm… I’ve belonged to many communities over the years, but I’m not sure what would fit what you’re looking for.

        Related to the god above god website, there is a forum that has some interesting discussions but it isn’t an extremly active forum (here is the link: http://www.palmtreegarden.org/ptgforum/). Some communities that are interesting involve integral theory. The type of person interested in integral tends to have wide interests. There are quite a few integral forums arund the web, but it’s been a while since I participated on those forums and so I don’t know which ones are active. There is a very large community on http://www.gaia.com/ which has a wide variety of people including many interested in integral. I used to blog on Gaia and I met some very interesting peple there. Another large community is http://www.beliefnet.com/. It has some main forums and people also start their own forums on the site.

        I used to spend a lot of time on forums, but it’s hard to find a community of people with similar interests. I usually get tired of a commuity after a while. My curiosity is too wide-ranging and so I get tired with the same old discussions. I’ve been spending my time on my blog instead. When I desire a little discussion, I just check out other people’s blogs. I find blogs by checking out the WordPress tag listings, but another good way is checking out blog listing sites such as http://www.blogcatalog.com/.

        I hope some of that is helpful. It was nice talking to you.

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