Archive for Valley of Novelty

Podcast 310 – “Introduction to the Valley of Novelty Workshop”


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:

[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“Basically, for me the psychedelic experience was the path to revelation. It actually worked on somebody who thought nothing would work.”

“What I like to talk about, and what I have very little competition in terms of talking about, is the content of the psychedelic experience.”

“I have a skeptical and cranky side, and I’m forever puzzled why people believe the, seeming to me, dumb things that they choose to believe.”

“Psychedelics are actually a kind of miraculous reality that can stand the test of objective examination.”

“Actually, these things [psychedelics] reveal scenarios, modalities hierophanies of emotional and poetic power that are very emotionally moving, and sometimes leave in their wake powerful ideas, ideas as powerful as any of the ideas that have moved and shaped civilization.”

“The good news about psychedelics is that they are incredibly democratic. Even the clueless can be swept along if the dose is sufficient.”

“History, call it 15,000 or 25,000 years of duration, is the story of an animal, some kind of complex animal, becoming conscious.”

“One has attained a very fortunate incarnation, I think, to be in a culture, in a place, in a time when psychedelic knowledge is available.”

“The reason for the emphasis on shamanism and on other techniques is, you will need techniques if you go into the deep water. And they can make your life very simple and save you from unnecessary suffering. Not all suffering is necessary. Maybe no suffering is necessary.”

“The thing that is so powerful about the psychedelics is that they perform on demand, which almost in principle you cannot expect of a mystical experience because that would be essentially man ordering God at man’s whim, which is not how it’s supposed to work.”

“Part of what the psychedelic point of view represents is living a certain portion of your life without answers. Just accepting that certain dilemmas will never resolve themselves into some kind of a complete answer. That’s why psychedelics are so different from any system being sold, from one of the great elder systems like Christianity, to the latest cult out of Los Angeles.”

“So part of what being psychedelic means, I think, is relentlessly living with unanswered questions.”

“Ecstasy is not simply joy. Ecstasy is an emotion of great complexity that hovers almost on the edge of terror sometimes.”

“Once you get to this place on what we might metaphorically call your spiritual quest, once you get to the place where you hear about psychedelics, the issue is no longer then about where is the gas peddle on the spiritual vehicle. The issue suddenly becomes, where is the brake? Because this is the fuel to go where you want to go. This is the power to lift you where you want to be lifted.”

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Terence McKenna and Ralph Abraham discuss
“The World Wide Web and the Millennium”

Podcasts of
Into the Valley of Novelty Workshop


<style=”text-align: center;”> Weekend of June 15-17, 2012
“Terence McKenna: Beyond 2012”

Esalen Workshop

with

Bruce Damer and Lorenzo

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Podcast 036 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 10)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


In this last of a ten part series, Terence McKenna closes this workshop with some thoughts about psychedelics as time machines, the forest of the Internet, the erotization of our technology, a form of circus called the DMT experience, and ending with some practical tools you can use to prepare for a psychedelic experience.

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Podcast 035 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 9)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


In just 50 minutes, Terence McKenna talks about how great cultures can lose their way, transforming machine-elves, the story of psychedelic psychotherapy, the Balkanization of epistemology, the UFO community as a social phenomenon, the role of psychedelics in the world corporate state, nanotechnology, time machines and the singularity. . . . See if you can keep up with this Niagara of ideas.

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Podcast 034 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 8)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


Terence McKenna talks about:

  • The evolution of art representing the human form
  • The impact of psilocybin on human sexuality
  • How to build a gravity bong
  • More thoughts on “the AI” being an obvious consequence
    of the Internet
  • Further discussion about the Timewave Theory
  • How his thoughts about the eschaton affect his daily life
  • Psychedelics and the end of your spiritual childhood

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Podcast 033 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 7)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


In this installment, Terence McKenna continues his discussion about schizophrenia, and then he goes on to discuss his involvement in the rave scene, the possibility of psychedelic mushrooms being messengers from an alien intelligence, culture as a conn, and a suggestion for reversing the destruction of our Earthly environment.

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Podcast 032 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 6)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


(Minutes : Seconds into program)
1:05 “I think that Maxwell’s Laws of Thermodynamics are only part of the story, and that you also have to look at the work that Ilya Prigogine did in the 60’s and 70’s where he showed that there is this principle-which they called different things, but, basically, it was random perturbation to higher states of order… Sometimes systems spontaneously organize themselves into more complex forms.”

2:30 “Language is in conquest of dimensional expression-or, something is seeking to manifest itself in a domain of time and space of higher and higher dimension.”

2:50-4:33 Terence uses Novelty Theory to describe the history of biological evolution in terms of an increasing ability to exist in and perceive higher and higher dimensions of being.“…better eyes, better muscles, better coordination, better ability to move through this revealed topological manifold with a temporal axis.”

4:40 “What spoken language is about is the recovery of memory at a later date-it’s a data recall system. And you talk about the past… and you strategize from it… When you get to writing, this time-binding function is now totally explicit, the game is out in the open-the purpose of these endeavors is to keep the past from slipping away.”

5:42 “The primate conquest of time (through time-binding technology) is the phenomenon that we call human history. This is apparently what we’re about, this is why we speak, why we write, why we invent phonetic alphabets and mathematical notation-because we are binding time. Well, you can then propagate that process forward to say, ‘What would satisfy this drive?’ Well, nothing less than a complete conquest of time itself.”

6:54 “To make this leap to the full-coordination of 4-D requires some kind of machine symbiosis… It requires that we redesign and extend our nervous system over the entire planet, and that we undergo some kind of metamorphosis, and become, instead of semi-cannibalistic primates, machine tenders of a global nervous system, some of which is gold and copper and glass, and some of which is flesh and DNA and neurons, and this whole thing is in a state of self-designing foment.”

7:55 In the preceding podcast (In the Valley of Novelty – Part 5, 35:27), Terence says that two important facts about nature have been overlooked by science. The first one (discussed in Part 5) was the increase of Novelty/complexity through time. Now, Terence begins talking about the second one (the acceleration of this complexification).

8:05 “This process of producing Novelty… is not going on at a steady rate. It’s going on faster and faster as we approach the present. It’s like what mathematicians call a cascade… The early history of the universe is dull news… stars are condensing, galaxies are ordering themselves-this is the stuff of millennia, tens of millennia, greater spans of time… Once you get down to the last 500 million years on this planet, biology is the main show.”

9:42 “When you reach the last million years, it’s as though this process of the emergence of Novelty both concentrates itself in nature into a single line-the hominids-but it also intensifies itself by orders of magnitude. So change is then happening on a scale of hundreds of years-languages are changing, pottery designs [are changing]-and as we approach the present, this becomes more and more furious. What Novelty Theory is saying is: this is not an easily explained phenomenon.”

10:56 “Human history is the shockwave of some greater event about to emerge out of the order of nature. Human history-25,000 years is all it is-is like a shimmer, an aura, something that flashes across animal nature in the geological millisecond before the thing goes cosmic, or whatever it is that it’s going to go.”

15:08 “We even talk about downloading [sic] ourselves into machines. Well, as we sit here [in the summer of 1998], we’re functioning at about 100 hertz. If you were downloaded [sic] into even today’s desktop computer, you’d be running at 200 megahertz. Suddenly 2012 would appear as far away as the bust-up of Pangaea is in the other direction, because you would’ve stretched time. All time is is how much you can jam into a moment. It’s very easy to suppose that we’re on the brink of a kind of weird pseudo-immortality, where time spent in circuitry is essentially time spent in eternity…”

16:08 Terence acknowledges how much he was influenced by Teilhard de Chardin and Cardin’s conception of the ‘noosphere’.

17:32 “What I call ‘Novelty’, you could arguably call ‘Information’. What I call ‘Habit’, you could arguably call ‘Noise’.”

18:11 “The amount of order and disorder in any situation is dictated by the unique configuration of the local struggle between these two forces [novelty and entropy]… But the good news is… these two forces are not quite equally pitted. Over time, novelty wins… Order triumphs over disorder, and builds higher states of order. So, in a way, you could think of the whole process as what engineers call ‘a damped oscillation’.”

19:10 “A lot of the words that I use to talk about this are taken out of Alfred North Whitehead, who is, to my mind, the great unread philosopher of the 20th century. He wrote a book called ‘Process and Reality’ in which he tries to build a general vocabulary for talking about Being, and it comes off as very psychedelic and very chaotic dynamical…”

23:15 “Information is more primary than time and space, more primary than light and electromagnetism. Information is the stuff of Being… It’s almost as if it has a syntactical life of it’s own… it’s a virtual life-form running on a primate platform.”

23:58 Terence mentions an idea from Danny Hillis, writer of The Connection Machine. “We were early parasitized by a kind of virtual life-form that lives only in syntax and is essentially time-sharing and piggy-backing our nervous system… So now we can think with this linguistic symbiot that shares our brain-space.”

26:40 Terence highly recommends George Dyson’s Darwin Among the Machines.

29:40 Terence talks about how his Novelty Theory and Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields are related, but different-which leads into a discussion of causation and freewill.

31:49 “Novelty Theory is not predestination.”

34:28 “The internet is a huge-and not fully comprehended-cultural step that we have now totally committed ourselves to. It’s nothing less than the building of a thinking nervous system the size of the entire planet, and… everything is running on this strange companion that we built to be indestructible… It has no nodes of control, and it’s the most complex thing ever put in place on this planet since DNA cooked itself out of the primal ocean.”

35:47 “To the degree that people are psychedelic, they will be less anxious about what will happen, because what psychedelics show you is that there is life after history, there is something outside of culture. If you don’t know that, by one means or another, then you will define what’s happening as the end of the world, the literal apocalypse, the collapse of everything… [but] it’s just the collapse of historical, print-based cultural models and models of the self and the psyche. I embrace it. We’re not about to blow-out here, or go extinct…”

38:03 In the course of a six minute response to a statement about the will of god, Terence talks about the anti-Deism motivations of Charles Darwin and other 19th-century evolutionists; summarizes Darwinism; touches on post-Darwinian developments in evolution-theory; and points out the discovery of ‘basins of attraction’ in chaos theory.

43:57 “…and so, it [now] seems less
outlandish to us, I think, to suppose there is ‘a purpose’.”

44:20-49:00 Terence discusses astrology, the King Wen sequence of the I Ching, lunar cycles, sunspot cycles, and Chinese calendar systems.

50:46 Asked for his views on schizophrenia, Terence mentions his affinity for the opinions of Jung and R.D.Lang. “It turns out that [schizophrenia], which we pathologize pretty confidently, actually is not that different from people who are having real, legitimate breakthroughs and understanding their lives in new ways. It’s a shifting and reordering of the dominance of the psyche…”

51:35 “My really strong conviction [is that schizophrenia] should not be interfered with by depressive drugs. It’s some kind of a process, of a healing, of an acting out, and the biggest favor you can do the person is to let them, to the greatest degree possible, do what they want to do, and not interfere with them. And if you medicate them, and incarcerate them, the thing is aborted, and squashed, and distorted, and then they have a great deal of trouble ever getting their act together… How many psychiatric residents have even seen an untreated schizophrenic? The minute these people hit the front door of a hospital they’re given stelazine or lithium or something.”

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Podcast 031 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 5)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


NOTE: All quotations below are by Terence McKenna

(Minutes : Seconds into program)
2:10 “Civilization has made us uncomfortable with our human-ness because these various technologies and phonetic alphabets and things like that have rearranged our sensory ratios from what they were in Paleolithic times. In a sense, [psychedelics] hit your reset button, they address the animal body, they address a deeper level than cultural conditioning, and so you feel and experience these atavistic images and feelings that civilization has repressed or transmuted in you.”

3:53 “Cubism is created when Picasso brings African masks to Paris… Freud announces that… right beneath the surface… extremely violent, primitive impulses are [in us]… Jazz introduces syncopation… Women begin to display more of their animal nature through flapper-dancing… The whole of the 20th century is a turning back toward these values that had been repressed for millennia.”

7:15 “Once you get to this place on what we might metaphorically call your spiritual quest, once you get to the place where you hear about psychedelics, the issue is no longer about, ‘Where is the gas pedal on the spiritual vehicle?’ The issue suddenly becomes, ‘Where is the brake?’… The doorway stands open, and all it requires is courage. Which is not to say it doesn’t require a lot…”

8:30 “I’ve [taken psychedelics] many times. There are many people here who have done it many times. And, the survivors are not confident. It doesn’t build hubris in you. It doesn’t promote bravado, because you know how quickly and horrifyingly it can cut you down to size…”

9:02 “Sometimes the issue of magic and power comes up-I wouldn’t get near that… My goal is to see more, to understand more, and what I do on a trip is damn-near absolutely nothing.”

9:38 “It’s an incredible statement about our human-ness… that within us, under the influence of these plants, we have, literally, Niagaras of alien beauty…”

10:04 “When I take mushrooms, I see more art in twenty minutes of behind the eyelids hallucination… than the human race seems to have produced in the last thousand years. On one level, that’s an incredible statement about the human capacity to generate and be in the presence of beauty. But the paradox is that so few people know this.”

11:50 “[The ‘gratuitous grace’ of the psychedelic experience] is like a secret of some sort. And it’s a true secret, in that telling it does not give it away. I know this because I’ve been trying to tell this secret for twenty-five years, to anyone who would listen…”

14:20 “If you study the mystical literature… it all triangulates toward unitary states. ‘Bodhi mind’, ‘the white light’, ‘the ineffable’, ‘the unnamable’, ‘the radiance’. Vocabularies… which indicate some kind of homogeneity. …[but] when you push [psilocybin] there seems to be… a revelation of multiplicity, of detail, of complexification within complexification… an overwhelmingly bewildering profusion of phenomena.”

17:08 “…the great confounding fact that I’ve brought back from my excursions in these places is that there is an organized intelligence in there… far more alien than the cheerful pro-bono proctologists that haunt the trailer-parks of the less-fortunate… What does it mean that our culture has sealed us off from this information?”

19:46 “What is the implication for the future [when] in this dark hour of complete over commitment to technology, economic solutions, rational reductionism, materialism, and so forth… this news [of psychedelics] arrives from these repressed aboriginal people that we have marginalized and humiliated in the process of building our own version of a global culture?”

21:28 “…where [psychedelics] hit us hardest is in the domain of art and invention and novelty, and we have built a culture that-however hostile it may be to the psychedelic experience-is incredibly friendly toward novelty, innovation, creativity, cultural evolution, celebration of difference…”

22:14 Terence notes science’s triumph over the methods of alchemy, but suggests that the alchemical ideal that, “…humanity is a full partner in creation, and that what God has brought into being, the human imagination can perfect…[is] a necessary faith for our time, because the power that we have is so great. If the power that science has given us does not serve a transcendental ideal, then it will serve some kind of fascist ideal…”

25:26 “We have come to a place of bifurcations, immense choices. The decisions and the processes that are put in place in the next twenty years will probably put the stamp on whether humanity and this planet are made or broken as a cosmic concern. Well, consciousness is the key. What is dragging our boat is an absence of consciousness.”

26:01 “You know, we have one foot in angel-hood, and one foot in the identity of a carnivorous ape, and the tension between these two, on a global scale, is excruciating.”

26:20 “If there is [even] one chance in a thousand that [psychedelics] contribute an increased measure of consciousness to this situation, then they are a precious gift, a resource, an option, a possibility to be explored.”

27:17 “An idea is not sufficient to transform us. It’s about an experience. And [the psychedelic experience] is the only experience I know that, in the time given to us, on the scale given to us, we have a hope of actually cutting through the detritus of our historical experience and building a true human community.”

29:58 Terence spends the next 17 minutes of the podcast giving an overview of his Novelty Theory and its ramifications, beginning with how the theory came to him.

30:22 “These psychedelic experiences… when correctly managed, end up giving you a big idea. That’s a really successful psychedelic experience.”

31:10 “These flights into this realm of the logos-the real stamp of authenticity on them comes when you bring back a new idea, something brand new. That proves that you’re not just talking to yourself.”

31:28 Terence talks about how science emerged/evolved from mysticism and mythology, mentions Thomas Kuhn’s book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and tells the story of how René Descartes founded scientific materialism at the behest of an angel.

34:45 “I don’t say I channeled [Novelty Theory], because I find that vocabulary infantile and obnoxious. But, on the other hand, I don’t take credit for it in the way that I don’t feel elevated by my genius for having done this. It was definitely unfolded for me at a conversational speed by an intelligence for which I was little more than the secretary.”

35:27 “Two [related] facts about nature have been overlooked by science… The first one is: As you go back in time from the present moment, the universe becomes a simpler place.” NOTE: Terence doesn’t mention the second thing until 7:55 into the next podcast (In the Valley of Novelty – Part 6).

36:20 Terence spends a few minutes describing cosmological evolution in terms of the increasing complexification of matter that began immediately after the Big Bang and eventually culminated in the emergence of biology.

40:18 “One of the things which makes this idea radical is that it doesn’t simply assume that history and becoming is the unfolding of causal necessity. It assumes instead that there’s some kind of attractor, that events are not just bubbling forward probabilistically and randomly, but that they’re actually caught in some kind of field that is pulling everything toward a conclusion.”

41:09 “This is a huge law, if true, because it’s a statement about physical matter, it’s a statement about organic organization, it’s a statement about culture and society, it’s a statement about your own psychology. Things complexify through time. But science has never said this. The theory of evolution says biological systems grow more adaptive through time, but there’s been a real phobia against any teleological implication from that.”

42:14 “…nature, on all scales, is some kind of an engine which produces complexity and then conserves it, and uses it as a platform to proceed deeper into complexity.It’s a kind of anti-thermodynamic flow… it’s what’s called autopsies by one school.”

42:46 “…this tendency has been completely overlooked by science-in fact science’s most secure statement is Maxwell’s Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says all systems tend to disorder over time. But what it means is closed systems. All closed systems tend to disorder over time. Well, biology is some kind of a loophole in the laws of physics and chemistry…”

43:56 “…physical chemists look at this and say, ‘Well, it’s ephemeral, but it just happens on the surface of the Earth, and it’s very fragile and death is everywhere.’ It’s a fluke, basically, is what they’re saying. But this is just their professional bias. Because you can go into the rocks of this planet and discover life in a continuous fossil record 4.83 billion years deep. The stars that you see when you look out at the Milky Way at night, the average star lasts 500 million years. …life on this planet has already proven more tenacious than the stars themselves… You can’t discount biology. Biology is clearly a player on a cosmic scale in this universal game of capturing energy and resisting entropy.”

45:42 “We, then, look different to ourselves by this theory, because we are the most novel phenomena around… If, in fact, we have identified nature’s purpose as to create and conserve complexity, then suddenly… we are returned, for the first time since the sixteenth century, to the center of the cosmic stage of a universal drama of salvation and redemption.”

48:49 “…so much power is being given to man, or taken by man from the universe, through the power of scientific understanding, that we are becoming the masters of the planetary destiny whether we want to be or not.”

50:15 Terence quotes the French sociologist Jaques Allule:“There are no political solutions, there are only technological ones. The rest is propaganda.”

50:54 “…we have to deal with the fact that we have built institutions that do not serve human purposes, but that are like automata or golems among us: corporations, religions, cabals, ethnic tribalism… These things are like the psychotic architectonics of the unconscious that the information age is causing to suddenly emerge for the inspection of those who have eyes to see. Our humanness is not endangered by machines, it’s endangered by these institutional entities…”

51:58 “Corporate capitalism has the intelligence of a termite, at the organismic level, and all it understands is its agenda, and its agenda is to take cheaply extracted raw materials and fabricate them into expensive finished products… and it can’t propagate that cycle on the closed surface of this planet much longer without the contradictions becoming unbearable. But it doesn’t know that.”

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These program notes were compiled by Bill, who joins us in the Psychedelic Salon from his home in Japan.

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Podcast 030 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 4)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


(Minutes : Seconds into program)
[All quotations are by Terence McKenna]

3:05 “Basically, for me, the psychedelic experience was the path to revelation. It actually worked—on someone who thought nothing would work.”

4:06 “What I like to talk about [at these gatherings]—and what I have very little competition in terms of talking about—is the content of the psychedelic experience, which is very difficult to ‘English’, or to bring into any other language.”

4:39 “…that was sort of my core specialty, if you will: the ethno-pharmacology of consciousness and the phenomenology of the states there derived. But, after 25 or 30 years of doing this, it bleeds into all kinds of larger categories, like, ‘What is art?’, ‘What is human history?’, ‘What is the religious impulse?’, ‘What is the erotic impulse?’, ‘What is mathematics?’… ‘What is the future?’…”

5:50 Terence gives a brief personal history (childhood-1998).

9:20 “…psychedelics are actually a kind of miraculous reality that can stand the test of objective examination …there’s nothing ‘woo-woo’ about it. It has to do with perturbing states of brain chemistry and standing back and observing the effects wrought thereby.”

12:49 “…I think a lot of people who have never taken psychedelics have the idea that it’s thermodynamic noise, that it’s just the brain isn’t working right, it’s firing randomly, and then some portion of it is trying desperately to lay gestalts of meaning onto this random firing, and so you get this kind of surreal careening from one supposed illusionary perception to another. Anybody that’s taken psychedelics knows this is not a very apt or cogent description…”

14:01 “I do not say that this is the only path out of the mundane coil of blind casuistry and entropic degradation. I don’t say it’s the only path out—it’s the only path I found. And I checked some of the other major players… Perhaps yoga can deliver this, perhaps Mahayanist metaphysics can deliver these things. Perhaps I was impatient, or lumpen, or simply not intelligent enough. But the good news about psychedelics is that they are incredibly democratic—even the clueless can be swept along if the dose is sufficient.”

15:30 “…[the historical process] is inevitably ramping up into more and more hypersonic states of self-expression… and this is what’s causing this ‘end of history’ phenomenon, this eschatological intimation that now haunts the cultural dialogue. There is something deep and profound moving in the mass psyche… now exacerbated and focused by new communications technologies that are essentially prostheses, extensions of the human mind and body…”

18:10 “…at least since I read McLuhan and assimilated his notion of tools as things which have a feedback into how we see the world, it seemed to me that the psychedelic state was then like a predictive model for what human history wanted to do. Human history wants to break through all boundaries, to somehow have a realized collective relationship with deity, or with that which orders nature…”

18:56 “[The depth/meaning of the psychedlic experience] is all in the ‘implications’. It has to do with how much intelligence you bring to it in the beginning. If there’s no mind behind the retinal screen, then it’s just mental pyrotechnics. It’s how much we can make of the phenomenon that makes it so rich.”

19:30 “[Aldous Huxley] was asked at one point: ‘What is the psychedelic experience?’ and he said, ‘It’s a gratuitous grace… It is neither necessary for salvation, nor sufficient for salvation.’ But it certainly makes it easier… One has attained a very fortunate incarnation, I think, to be in a culture, in a place, in a time when psychedelic knowledge is available.”

20:20 “It’s a kind of paradox that… the hubristic enterprise of white man anthropology carried back all these medicine kits and mojo-bags and sacred plants and so forth and grew them in university botanical gardens and kept the stuff in locked drawers—it was like a Trojan Horse brought inside the city walls of Calvin’s Troy, and now the genie is out of the bottle.”

26:24 “…the reason for the emphasis on shamanism and other techniques is: you will need techniques if you go into the deep water; and they can make your life very simple and save you from unnecessary suffering. Not all suffering is necessary. Maybe no suffering is necessary.”

26:54 “One of the things that I’m keen to talk to you about is [that] there are various models of the psychedelic experience: that it’s the Jungian unconscious, that it’s the ancestor world, that it’s this or that. The one that I’m most struck by is [that] it’s the world of the Platonic ideals, it’s a world very closely related to mathematics. And in a way the shaman is a hyper-mathematician—not in that he proposes theorems and solves them, but that he perceives hyper-dimensionally.”

28:58 “My motivation is, basically, curiosity… I’m fascinated that we’ve gotten this far. I mean, given that the most economical situation would be pure nothingness: What is this [reality]? Why is nature doing these things? Why does organization have such tenacity? What does it mean that we appear so late in the process and represent such a difference in nature?”

29:44 “We get used to reality because it’s so stable, but in fact, it’s an absolutely confounding situation.”

30:15 After Terence mentions an Evelyn Underhill book on mysticism: “…I wanted these [mystical] experiences at a younger age… The thing that’s so powerful about the psychedelics is that they perform on demand, which, almost in principle, you cannot expect of a mystical experience, because that would be, essentially, man ordering God at man’s whim.”

31:23 “[The psychedelic] seems magical in the sense that it seems to respond to human will. One decides whether this is the evening or not. And sometimes people have said to me, well, don’t you want to achieve these things ‘on the natch’? Well, to me, that suggests a certain degree of out-of-controlness…”

32:22 “…it’s the difference [between] waiting in an attitude of the expectant supplicant, or being the hierophant… and being able to call down the power, or go up to the power, at will. And that’s a fantastic thing, and a responsibility.”

34:44 “Part of what the psychedelic point of view represents is living a certain portion of your life without answers. Just accepting that certain dilemmas will never resolve themselves into some kind of a complete answer. That’s why psychedelics are so different from any system being sold, from one of the great elder systems like Christianity, to the latest cult…”

36:20 Terence spends about six minutes discussing the pharmacology of DMT, focusing on plant sources and synthesis.

44:10 Terence recommends the the work of Mayan calendar expert John Major Jenkins.

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These program notes were compiled by Bill, who joins us in the Psychedelic Salon from his home in Japan.

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Podcast 029 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 3)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


(Minutes : Seconds into program)

3:08 “…the story of the universe is that information, which I call novelty, is struggling to free itself from habit, which I call entropy… and that this process… is accelerating… It seems as if… the whole cosmos wants to change into information… All points want to become connected…. The path of complexity to its goals is through connecting things together… You can imagine that there is an ultimate end-state of that process–it’s the moment when every point in the universe is connected to every other point in the universe.”

4:43 “On one level, I think there is a cultural singularity… a place in our cultural development where we can’t predict or understand what will happen to us… a kind of flip-point… or doorway… or revelation…”

5:20 “The human adventure has become the cutting-edge of cosmic destiny, but it won’t always be so…”

7:04 “…we wished for transformation. Western civilization built it into it’s cultural agenda… and now, under the aegis of market-capitalism… somebody is going to put something together that is just going to completely redefine and rewrite the nature of reality itself… I’ll bet you it’s some kind of technology/drug-type thing… It may already be here.”

8:18 “What do you do when you can do anything? That’s really the question at the end of history. Once you have overcome all limitation, what is the human agenda?”

8:53 In response to a question about the role of individuals who are becoming aware of the approaching cultural singularity: “…I think we’re more than watching–I think that we spin it. We’re the spin doctors of the thing. In other words, if there’s a prophecy that must be fulfilled, it’s a kind of general prophecy… [It] is open to human definition through specific acts of creation.”

9:34 “The levels of novelty or habit in any given moment will be fulfilled–but how they’re fulfilled is a matter of human decision.”

11:00 “The strangeness of our condition signifies the nearness of the attractor. The reason that our world is accelerated… is because of the nearby presence of this cultural black hole, this singularity of technology and biological intent, that is feeding backwards into time these apocalyptic images…”

11:55 “In the collective unconscious–in which, each of us shares a part–the thing at the end of time is spinning… and it’s throwing off scintillations, which are distorted images of itself. The transcendental object at the end of time infects the history that precedes it with the images of its approaching unfoldment. This is what I mean when I say, ‘History is the shockwave of eschatology.’ The presence of history on this planet means this thing is moving beneath the surface–this protean form. When it manifests, it will shed the institutions of history the way a butterfly sheds a chrysalis.”

13:32 Terrence suggests that Novelty Theory might explain the apparent existence of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ in the universe.

14:25 “…I don’t believe that 90% of the matter in the universe goes unobserved… It’s not that there’s mass missing–it’s that there’s a law missing.”

15:01 “…Why does the Milky Way tend to stay the Milky Way? The answer is: because, as a spiral galaxy, it’s a more complex organism, a more complex structure, than it is as a dissipated, homogeneous mass.”

15:42 “…the Novelty Constant… is the constant that then causes large-scale structures to persist through time, for no other reason than that they represent higher orders of organization.”

16:40 Finding support in contemporary astrophysics’ postulation of an anti-gravitational factor that causes the universe to grow outward forever (and not collapse on itself), Terrence notes that: “…one of the things Novelty Theory says is [that] the universe never goes back to its initial conditions.”

20:36 “You can’t conceive of information in a way that the hallucinogens can’t then see your bid and raise the ante.”

21:15 Terrence gives a seven minute summary of how his interest in the I Ching developed into a mathematical analysis of the King Wen Sequence, culminating in his Timewave theory.

28:12 “I don’t say, ‘If you take mushrooms, you’ll find yourself caught up in the dynamics of the Mayan calendar.’ But you might. Many have.”

28:25 “I’m more rational than I may sound, here,,, because I doubt. I know absolutely how flakey this sounds… I’m not here to found a cult. I just had a very wiggy experience… The problem with most people’s really wiggy experiences is that it never gets down to the nitty-gritty…”

30:03 “…[but] the good thing–in my view–of what happened to me is, it actually got down to a mathematical proposition… a hypothesized law…”

30:40 Terrence compares his ‘discovery’ of the Timewave to another “mathematical download”: ‘The Myth of Er’, and Plato’s description of the ’spindle of Necessity’, from the 10th book of Plato’s Republic.

32:00 “[the I Ching] is a mathematical notation system… for the purpose of creating a physics of Time…based on human observation, and… it arises in a context, we presume, of shamanism and proto-Taoist values.”

32:57 “The essence of understanding Time lies in understanding organism. So it yields to a very low-tech, observational style of natural science, which we call yoga. By looking inside the body and the mind, as you still gross physiological functions, subtler and subtler shells of vibration and emanation and physiological activity come into view, and… my hypothesis is that, eventually, if you do this with sufficient care and attention, you get down to… the level of the primal quantum-mechanical vibrations that lie behind everything. In other words, you are in the realm of the primal patterns, whose activity downloads and eventuates as the macro-physical world.”

35:32 “Time is not (as Newton thought) pure duration, some kind of intellectual abstraction necessary for a serial universe. Time is a real thing. It’s as palpable as electricity. It’s as real as radiation. It’s a thing. And so, what’s going on is: Objects which arise in time carry the impress in their structure of the medium in which they arose. And so organism becomes a microcosmic downloading, a mapping of the architectonics of Being.”

40:20 “…Life is undergoing some kind of conquest of geometry. I almost picture it like protoplasm flowing into a crystal landscape–we conquer this geometry by assuming its shape, in some sense. So, it transforms us, even as we overrun it.”

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These program notes were compiled by Bill, who joins us in the Psychedelic Salon from his home in Japan.

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Podcast 028 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 2)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


(Minutes : Seconds into program)

1:50 “Whether meditation and psychedelics are the same thing I think depends on your meditation and your psychedelics. Different meditations strive for different things. Much meditation is about emptying the mind of phenomena. This would certainly not be a description of the psychedelic state.”

4:14 “Ultimately, the meditation path and the psychedelic path must somehow lead to the same kinds of data if the claims of both are to be respected, which is that they give deeper knowledge about reality.”

6:03 “The chemistry of DMT suggests that, in deep REM sleep, it’s possible every single night you have a DMT flash, but it does not transcript into short term memory.”

6:20 “…or imagine a drug that allowed you to enhance long-term memory, so that you could slip into reveries of a summer day 30 years ago, and play it back, moment by moment by moment. Again, this is not shooting for the moon, pharmacologically…”

6:58 “It’s a false dichotomy, the idea that somehow you should be able to achieve these things ‘on the natch’, and they’re not authentic if you achieve them through psychedelics. This is just a con…”

7:55 Terrence tells the story of how his ‘gringa’ friend telepathically knocked a Peruvian shaman’s nephew off of his feet.

10:30 “Where the problem area lies–people think it lies in taking too much– [but] it lies in taking too little, because if you take too little, you can resist it, you can struggle with it…”

12:17 Terrence describes how he takes mushrooms.

14:00 “The most mind-boggling parts of it are just not possible to bring out of it, because language fails, because English–there are no words…”

14:30 Terrence talks about fear during a psychedelic experience, and how to deal with it.

15:39 “The thing to do is to sit up, and to sing.”

18:53 “…the ego feels threatened by the boundary-dissolution… and it can actually say to you, ‘You are dying, and here’s the evidence.’ And you have to say: ‘No, it’s unlikely,’ and sing your way through it.”

22:24 Terrence speculates that some psychedelic-seeming aspects of Tibetan/Mahayana Buddhism may have actually resulted from ancient experiences with psychedelics and/or cannabis.

26:39 “What always fascinated me was hallucination, because it was, to me, the proof that I was dealing with something outside myself. …a single image would have taken me hours to draw and figure out…”

28:49 “The impression you have when you smoke DMT is: This isn’t a drug… this is something else… this is a doorway into another modality that exists all the time, independent of my thoughts or feelings about it… It certainly doesn’t seem to be a place designed to fit human expectations.”

32:18 Terrence speculates about the future of the ‘free individual’ in the electronic/information age: “…[whether] each of us will become a kind of god… [or will we become] …a socialist gas… a hive-mind…”

36:28 “Part of the thing I found with hanging with shamans… is that, once you get past the language barrier… shamans… are simply curious people–intellectuals of a certain type.”

37:05 “…the shamans, who are the keepers of the cultural values, are also… keepers of the secrets of the theatrics of the cultural values, and so they live their lives in the light of the knowledge that it all rests on showbiz.”

37:41 Refering to Shamanism: The Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy and History, The Eternal Return, two books by Mircea Eliade: “…the shaman is socially marginal… and is feared by the people… [but] then the shaman comes forward in this critical role as… mediator between the cultural mind and the real world.”

40:17 “…the logos–the alien A.I., the higher and hidden god that is trying to reach down to you and deliver the message–is a collagist. It can’t really compose the message except out of bits and pieces of what you already posses.”

44:20 Terrence tells his story about the “good shit” miracle.

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These program notes were compiled by Bill, who joins us in the Psychedelic Salon from his home in Japan.

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