the gaian mind
cut-up from the works of Terence McKenna

gaia The planet is some kind of organized intelligence. It's very different from us. It's had 5- or 6-billion years to create a slow moving mind which is made of oceans and rivers and rain forests and glaciers. It's becoming aware of us, as we are becoming aware of it, strangely enough. Two less likely members of a relationship can hardly be imagined - the technological apes and the dreaming planet. And yet, because the life of each depends on the other, there's a feeling towards this immense, strange, wise, old, neutral, weird thing, and it is trying to figure out why its dreams are so tormented and why everything is out of balance.1

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The planet has a kind of intelligence, it can actually open a channel of communication with an individual human being. The message that nature sends is, transform your language through a synergy between electronic culture and the psychedelic imagination, a synergy between dance and idea, a synergy between understanding and intuition, and dissolve the boundaries that your culture has sanctioned between you, to become part of this Gaian supermind.2

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The psychedelic experience is far more than instant psychotherapy or instant regression to infantile traumatic situations, far more than simply a kind of super-aphrodisiac, far more than simply an aid in formulating ideas or coming up with artistic concepts. What the psychedelic experience really is, is opening the doorway into a lost continent of the human mind, a continent that we have almost lost all connection to, and the nature of this lost world of the human mind is that it is a Gaian entelechy. It turns out, if we can trust the evidence of the psychedelic experience, that we are not the only intelligent life forms on this planet, that we share this planet with some kind of conscious mind - call it Gaia, call it Zeta Reticulians who came here a million years ago, call it God Almighty, it doesn't matter what you call it, the fact of the matter is that the claims of religion that there is some kind of higher power can be experientially verified through psychedelics. Now this is not, in Milton's wonderful phrase "The God who hung the stars like lamps in heaven" - it doesn't have to do with that, in my opinion - it isn't cosmic in scale, it's planetary in scale. There is some kind of disincarnate intelligence. It's in the water, it's in the ground, it's in the vegetation, it's in the atmosphere we breath, and our unhappiness, our discomfort, arises from the fact that we have fallen into history and history is a state of benighted ignorance concerning the real facts of how the world works.3

"What the psychedelic experience really is, is opening the doorway into a lost continent of the human mind, a continent that we have almost lost all connection to, and the nature of this lost world of the human mind is that it is a Gaian entelechy."3

Now, why it is that when we dose ourselves with a human neurotransmitter like DMT, why we then encounter armies of elves teaching us a perfected form of communication, this is a very difficult question. When you go to traditional cultures, shamanistic cultures in the Amazon and put this question to them, they answer without hesitation when you ask about these small entities, they say "Oh, yes, those are the ancestors, those are the ancestor spirits with which we work all of our magic." This is worldwide and traditionally the answer that you would get from shamans if you were to ask them how they do their magic - it's through the intercession of the helping spirit who is a creature in another dimension. Well, we may have imagined many different scenarios, a future technological and social innovation, but I think very few of us have imagined the possibility that the real programme of shamanism would have to be taken seriously, and that shamans are actually people who have learned to penetrate into another dimension, a dimension where, for want of a better word, we would have to say the souls of the ancestors are somehow present. It isn't, you see, as though we penetrate into the realm of the dead, it's more as though we discover that this world is the realm of the dead and that there is a kind of higher-dimensional world with greater degrees of freedom, with a greater sense of spontaneity and a lesser dependency on the entropic world of matter, and that that other universe is attempting to impinge into our own, perhaps to rescue us from our historical dilemma, we don't know - perhaps shamans have always had commerce with these magical invisible worlds and it's only the sad fate of Western human beings to have lost touch and awareness with this domain to the point where it comes to us as a kind of a revelation. You see, I believe that the whole fall into history, the whole rise of male dominance and patriarchy really can be traced to a broken connection with the living world of the Gaian mind, and there's nothing airy-fairy about this notion; the living world of the Gaian mind is what shamans access through psychoactive plants, and without psychoactive plants that access comes as an unconfirmable rumour.4

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"The Gaian mind is what we're calling the psychedelic experience. It's an experience of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet - and without that experience we wander in a desert of bogus ideologies. But with that experience the compass of the self can be set."5
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References to the works of Terence McKenna:
  1. Spacetime Tsunami, bOING bOING #10
  2. Re-Evolution
  3. The Camden Centre Talk
  4. The Camden Centre Talk
  5. Alien Dreamtime - The Archaic Revival

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