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Terence McKenna on Art Bell, 4/01/1999

Conversation about the power outages which intermittently stopped the interview is not included in this transcription unless it led to speculation about the y2k computer bug. Amusing nonsense from callers to the program is included.

Art Bell: All the way across so much water we go, to connect now with Terence McKenna, who is safely tucked away on the side of a volcano or something—isn’t it, Terence?

Terence McKenna: That’s right, Art. How are you this evening?

AB: I’m fine. God, it’s great to hear your voice again.

TM: Yes, I think it’s been about a year.

AB: It’s been about a year. That’s right.

I’m curious—don’t hold back—I’m sure that you have been watching or at least listening to or vaguely aware of what we’re doing in Europe right now, and I thought I’d start out by asking you your comments.

TM: Well, I’m glad I listened in on you’re reading of your statement so I know where you’re coming from. As you said, it’s a complete mess. For the third time in the Twentieth Century, the Balkans appear to be the place where Europe could potentially push itself into some kind of war nobody could foresee the end of.

I read analysis of Milosovik and his regime five years ago that predicted that this would be the End Game, that Kosovo was where push would come to shove, and now here we are, with only a few months left in the Twentieth Century—but time for one more atrocity, apparently.

AB: Apparently. And now I understand there are seven Russian warships on the way to the area to, they say, observe, but I don’t know. You got seven Russian warships, and of course the Russians are not at all happy with us. They’ve been rattling all kinds of sabers about this. The old days of "duck and cover," you remember that, Terence?

TM: (laughter) I think Viet Nam gave the Domino Theory a bad name, but I think in the Balkans, the Domino Theory may well have something to say. Watch Macedonia. Watch Albania. As the destabilization spreads, Greece and Turkey could be pulled in. The Russians are beginning to move toward it, and don’t think anyone is in control of all this. As you say, what’s the exit strategy? It’s easy going in. Nobody knows how you get out of this kind of thing.

AB: Yeah, we’re throwing these cruise missiles, firing these cruise missiles. We’re beginning to run out of them, incidentally, but we are firing what we have. When they run out, that means more airplanes. And then eventually, when that strategy fails, then you’re faced with a choice of either retreating—and it’s another Viet Nam—or putting in ground troops and starting down the same horrible road of no return.

TM: Well, and remember, ground troops couldn’t make a difference in Viet Nam, either. Uh, yes, I think aerial bombing—how many times in the Twentieth Century are we going to learn that it’s insufficient and it’s a very weak-kneed approach if you’re talking about all-out war with fascists?

AB: And then, Terence, also, even if we did bomb them—which I suppose is conceivable—to the point where they said, "Okay, we’ll talk about peace," and then we move peace-keepers in there, there’s no exit strategy at all. Look at Bosnia; they said we’d be there for a year, a year-and-a-half. And then on and on and on—we never get out. And then when we do finally leave, they will resume the same thing they were doing!

TM: Yes, well, NATO seems to have become a kind of military arm of the world corporate state that many people feared.

AB: Yes. What the Serbs are doing there’s no way to countenance, but I’m not so sure I’m so happy with this new world of ours.

TM: Well, as you say, you can’t countenance what happening in Kosovo. On the other hand, what happened in Rwanda, what happened in Cambodia; these things didn’t raise anybody’s radar.

AB: No, it’s really—rarely does something political grab me these days. I’ve been really bored to death with politics, especially the whole damned "Monica thing." Thank God that seems to be over—maybe.

TM: (laughter) Well, you remember you and I talked when we were about six weeks into it last year, and I said that I didn’t think this going to bring happiness to the Right Wing.

AB (laughter) Well, it didn’t. As a matter of fact it kind of tore the Right Wing all to pieces, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a very interesting election, coming up. What do you think will happen?

TM: I assume that if the Democrats can’t win this one, after what’s the country’s been through, then they’re probably finished. But I think it’ll be an easy win for Gore. I think the Republicans are flirting at the end of the Twentieth Century with the kind of fate the Whigs were looking at the end of the Eighteenth Century. They need a program and an agenda. Running against the President has gone about as far as it can go.

AB: That’s right, and I think a lot of people are just running away from that one now.

Look, there’s a whole new audience. I probably have added a hundred affiliates since the last time I talked to you, so maybe we ought to take a second, and you should tell everybody who Terence McKenna is.

TM: Who Terence McKenna is.

AB: That’s right. If you were to have to answer that, which you do now. (laughter)

TM: Well, I guess my bio says writer and explorer. "Explorer" means explorer of hallucinogenic plants, strange usages of exotic plants by exotic people and then coming back and talking about these things and advocating them.

Alteration of consciousness leads to all the big philosophical issues: What is culture? What is history? Where are we going? How are we gonna get there and what’s gonna be so great about it when we get there?

So, I’m an itinerant philosopher at the end of the Twentieth Century.

AB: Well, the average Joe out there—maybe drivin’ a truck across Indiana somewhere—probably is saying to himself right now, "Well, why should I listen to anything emanating from this drug-scorched brain?"

But of course that’s the only problem with you, Terence. Your brain doesn’t appear to be drug-scorched, and it should be. If what the establishment tells us about drugs is even partly true, you should be a basket case!

TM: (laughter) Well, maybe I am… ,

AB: No, you’re not! (laughter)

TM: (laughter) …but I think the guy driving his semi across Indiana, he may be a little scorched, himself.

AB: (laughter) He’s scorched in a different way, tryin’ to keep his eyes open, you know, and get the load delivered.

TM: The stereo of the cannabis enthusiast: Can’t think straight, can’t remember where they put the keys. I’ve never felt that way about these things. I think cultures choose the drugs they want to stigmatize, and then they glorify others, and it differs from culture to culture. The social consequences differ according to the choices made. But alteration of consciousness by human beings is as old as human beings themselves.

AB: That’s quite true. Do you think that it would be fair to suggest—it would be something that would get us in a lot of trouble—that there some hallucinogenic drugs that do in fact give people legitimate—underline that word—insights that they would otherwise perhaps not realize?

TM: Oh, absolutely. You give me a lead-in to talk about one of the things I’m doing at the moment, which is, after a conference in Mexico on hallucinogenic botany this year, a couple of friends of mine and I decided to organize a conference on the theme you just stated, a conference on the creative process and hallucinogenic substances because there’s a huge amount of the art, design, and fashion world that has for years been using these things to fuel the engines of creativity, and it’s all been in the closet.

AB: We’re at the bottom of the hour, and we’ll pick up on this when we come back. Terence McKenna is my guest




AB: The old myth is this: If you think your creativity is heightened when you’re on some sort of hallucinogenic drug, then make notes. Write a story. Paint a painting. Conduct some music. Play some music. Sing. And see if, when you’re down it was really as good as when you were up. (laughter) That’s kind of what we’re talking about here, in a way, isn’t it, Terence?

TM: Yeah, well, most of it probably would come in on the low end of that scale, although there are some spectacular counter examples. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote Kubla Khan stoned on opium. The insight to the structure of the benzene molecule came to someone after a cognac inspired dream.

The character of the of creative breakthrough is like a revelation, the "Aha!" experience. Sometimes it’s a bump on the head, and sometimes it’s a hallucinogenic experience, but it always has the character of sort of arising in a completed form, you know what I mean?

AB: Yes. Why are there so many striking counter examples. That’s the question you never hear dealt with in public. In fact you never hear about it at all. They suppress that information. Why, sometimes, is a drug a key to creativity that you would not have otherwise?

TM: Well, I think it’s because of the larger effects of these drugs, which is that they dissolve boundaries. And many of the boundaries which enclose us are boundaries of habit, convention. Under the influence of the drug we see beyond those boundaries. The job of artists has always been to sort of be an antenna into the future, and bohemians have always been associated with drug taking to some degree. So I think it’s a very understandable process, it’s simply that we’re now beginning to understand it. And we have to because the number of substances available and being discovered all the time is beyond the power of the courts and the scientific establishment to really manage.

AB: Well, I don’t know. If you go to a doctor, you will notice, these days—I don’t know if you ever go to doctors—the doctor will say, "You know what, I know you’re in a terrible amount of pain, and I really wish that I could prescribe more to keep you out of pain," because that’s the way a doctor feels, you know. They’re trying to ease your suffering, but the doctor will tell you frankly that "the DEA is lookin’ right behind my shoulder, and a number of my colleges have lost their licenses, and so, frankly, I can’t really give you what you need."

TM: Oh, well, this is a part of the drug problem. The hysteria on drugs has made so many different people and institutions crazy in so many different ways. On the general, larger question of hard drugs I’m quite despairing. So many people in institutions make money off the present mess, you know. The prison builders, the rehab people, the criminal syndicates, the bought-off cops, the paid-off judges. Everybody is making money on this racket that they pretend to wring their hands over.

AB: That’s absolutely correct. Heaven knows what the police would do if they couldn’t chase narcotics people. They would literally have about ten percent or at most twenty percent of their jobs left, and I think our prisons would be more or less about sixty or seventy percent empty, just compared to their present content.

TM: The courts would un-clog, and lawyers would have to find honest work

AB: (laughter) So, in other words, it’s never gonna happen.

TM: You got it, Art. (laughter)

AB: What are you doing in terms of researching this interesting creative truth? How are you going to do that?

TM: Well, I don’t know if I’ve ever talked to you about this, but I’m interested of course in what these substances do to me and other individuals. But then there’s a whole other area, which is: What has been the impact of substances and drugs been on large populations over long periods of time?

I’m willing to argue that the evolution of human language and complex cultural forms themselves were cause by disruptions in the ordinary mental functioning of perfectly happy primates about a hundred and fifty thousand years ago. In other words, the evolution of complex human culture based on language is actually an effect of brain perturbation and unusual states of consciousness that were eventually assimilated and became part of the behavioral toolkit of early human beings.

AB: So you’re saying it’s actually a part of and a continuing part of evolution itself.

TM: That’s right. And the important thing for modern people is: "a continuing part of."

So, when you talk about drugs, you know, today, we’re focusing on the drug of the day—whatever it is, heroin or methedrine—but in fact, over the past thousand years it’s been drugs that have built the empires that created Western civilization. Sugar, tobacco, alcohol, opium, tea, chocolate, these are the drugs that shaped civilization.

AB: Coffee.

TM: Coffee, another big one. And of course we don’t think of these as drugs. We call them foods or whatever we call them, because "A drug is a bad thing, a food is a good thing." But eventually people are going to wise up to this racket. And they need to because we need to educate our children about this complex area of human behavior. There are dangerous drugs. There are drugs that, if used carefully, can be a tremendous enhancement of life. But you have to know what you’re doing. It’s not something you just blunder into. And all generalizations will have exceptions.

AB: And they do indeed.

As you well know, we have a drug czar. And recently our czar actually came out and made a couple of really remarkable statements. He said that he thought the debate over medical marijuana was now a legitimate one, and he even went further and he said that it may well be that the use of marijuana recreationally may be a valid debate for our society to have. I almost fell on the floor when I heard him say that.

TM: Well, it would be a wonderful thing for Clinton to do for Gore and the country, to make some headway at the end of this administration on this issue, so that it doesn’t all have to be left to the first term of a new democrat. I mean how long are we going to dog this matter? It really should be part of the agenda of the new century to make drug suppression a twentieth Century phenomenon along with racism, fascism, aerial bombing of civilians, and so forth and so on. As I said, it’s a racket. The insurance companies know the people who smoke cannabis are not at greater health risk.

AB: Well, you know, that’s a good point because they always ask whether you smoke. They don’t ask whether you smoke pot. They always ask whether you smoke cigarettes. They’re really concerned about that.

TM: Well, they’ve got the numbers on that.

AB: Yeah, in fact, in a lot of cases you can’t even get insured if you are a smoker.

TM: The fact is cannabis is such an effective stress reducer, whatever effect the tar in it is having on you is more than offset by your low blood pressure, excellent digestion, good sleep, and so forth and so on.

AB: Do you think that there will be any progress soon based on the recent statements made? Is there going to be some sort of—even my state, Nevada, Terence, does not look kindly on even marijuana. It is a felony in Nevada. And recently we had a state-wide initiative in which the people of Nevada said yes to, you know,


AB: Once again, Terence McKenna. You know… I talk frequently with Dr. Michio Kaku, and it is his view that the odds of our making it through to the other side in dealing with the discovery of element 92, that our odds are very teenie-weenie indeed. In other words, when any civilization—and there must be many out there—discovers element 92, inevitably, almost inevitably, they end up destroying themselves. Any thoughts on that? Think we’ll make it through?

TM: Well, I think it’s remarkable that we’ve had atomic weapons for over fifty years, now, and they were only used very shortly—within weeks—after their perfection. And after that, somehow, in all the wars, revolutions, and posturing that’s gone on we’ve never resorted to the nuclear option. So I would argue that maybe the discovery of the trans-uranium elements had a marvelously sobering effect on carnivorous monkeys like ourselves. But I can usually find the silver lining, Art.

AB: Good. Then you may want to find one in the fact that seven Russian warships are now headed to meet up with—or, in their words, "observe," what we are doing with regard to the bombing of the Serbs.

TM: Well, you just keep going back to that. (laughter) I think that’s a case of trying to make a purse out of a sow’s ear.

AB: That’s exactly right. Anyway, I hope that we make it through. I have great doubts.

TM: Well, there are many other challenges. I mean I’m sure you probably discuss on your program the terminator gene.

AB: Oh, yes. Isn’t that wonderful?

TM: That’s a good one. There’s the "grey goo" scenario of a nano-technological break-out. You know, you’ve got "Earth changes." I guess we’ve probably talked about how Alfred North Whitehead has said "the business of the future is to be dangerous."

AB: Well, we’re doin’ good business, then, because it’s a dangerous world out there. It’s a really dangerous world.

(reads from a fax) Here’s somebody who asks, "Art, would you please ask Terence if the drug DMT, which occurs naturally in our bodies, is released at death. And if it is, could this possibly account for some of the near-death experiences that people report?"

TM: Well, yeah, I think that’s a very reasonable suggestion. I first heard that notion put forth from Rupert Sheldrake, and I think he called it a "necrotogen," a drug which simulates the symptoms of near-death. Certainly the near-death experience is a dramatic analog to the DMT experience, but I also think we produce DMT in deep dream states. I would lay money on that. I mean it’s known that it produces cerebrospinal fluid at the same time that there’s high REM activity in the brain, which usually indicates deep dreaming.

AB: If DMT is indeed the coach that gives NDEs, then what does that tell us, if anything about what does or does not lie beyond this short mortal life?

TM: Well, I’ve thought a lot about that. If we take the evidence seriously, the DMT state seems to indicate some kind of higher-dimensional matrix that is actually inhabited by some kind of language-using form of energy that can at least relate to the presence of human beings. I’ve said maybe these were dead souls, an ecology of souls. This is certainly what shamans would claim. If that’s true and can be verified by something as simple as a psychoactive drug experience that lasts fifteen minutes, then we really, scientifically, at the end of the Twentieth Century, have been looking in all the wrong places. I think we have been looking in all the wrong places, and that the real frontier of science is the human mind and its potential. We’re not going to unlock that until we get over all this queasiness and hand-wringing on the issue of drugs and drug research and drug use and so forth and so on.

AB: Well, I guess you could either view the use of some of these hallucinogenic as a peak at the other side, a peak at what lies beyond the physical. In other words there are a lot of things I believe our brains can do, after all, and I think it’s Princeton and other prestigious universities—they’re proving that the mind can affect random number generators, that we can do that. The proof is quite substantial, actually. But that’s something that a conscious mind does. It’s not something that a dead mind does.

There are many other things that a living mind can do. For example, they can enable us to travel outside our bodies. I did it once. I know it’s true. You can be outside your body. But I have not decided yet, Terence, whether that experience represents something that I will find after my mortal…


AB: …bear with us everybody. Once again, here is Terence… Anyway Terence… I was, I guess, approaching what I know about the conscious mind and what I wonder about, and of course what I wonder about is whether there really is some sort of continuation. What’s your view?


AB: Terence?

TM: Yeah, I know. I’m formulating my thoughts, here.

AB: I understand. Uh, on a night like this, long pauses probably mean the power has gone out.

TM: (laughter) Well, I agree that you can’t be sure that DMT is showing you the great beyond. It may be showing you the dying brain. It may be taking you to the very edge of death, but that is not death itself.

AB: It may be showing you the great within, that’s what it may be showing you.

TM: Yes, and it doesn’t settle the metaphysical questions, except it certainly is strong evidence that every thing we’ve been told about entities, about the capacity of the human mind is that things are a good deal more complicated than that. To me it’s the great exception to all rules. What it itself says, other than that all rules have exceptions, I’m not sure.

AB: Terence, if the power were to go out and stay out—I’ll pick Honolulu, alright? That’s a big city close to you—If the power went out and stayed out for a month in Honolulu, what do you think would happen, socially?

TM: Well, in any city, I think push would come to shove in a hurry because water pumps would not work, and so the city water supply would be only what was in the pipes, and you can take the scenario from there.

I live on an island hundreds of miles from Honolulu and thankfully so. I am not a survivalist—at least not consciously, but I’ve certainly built a system that is redundant, off-grid, wireless, and capable of maintaining itself without any help from anybody else.

I’m concerned about people in cities. Even if y2k does not bring the end of the world, in very dense population centers like Tokyo and Manhattan, where simply the number of embedded chips is exponentially high, the possibility of some kind of chain-reaction failure is consequently high as well. So I think people should give consideration to moving out of those kinds of areas, even if just temporarily.

AB: That’s quite a bit of advise. Now, understand that as you dispense that advise you’re being heard right now in every major city in America. Every single major city. New York City, Atlanta—I won’t even go through them all. Every single major city in America. You’re speaking to these people, so that’s some serious advise you’re handing out there.

TM: Well, one of the things on this y2k thing, Art—and today is an interesting day to discuss it—, is it should clarify as we get closer. There are going to be a couple of rollover dates this month, the big rollover date in August. I can’t believe that we’re just going to slam into the Millennial date with half the population thinking it’s the end of the world and half assuring us it’s no big deal. Is it not going to become more clear?

AB: I guess it is, but in the end, your advise is, you think there are going to be problems in cities. How long do you think that threat of civilization would last? A day? Half a day? Two days?

TM: Seventy-two hours, in most places. And then, you know, of course you—what the concern is, I suppose, is that the grid will fail in areas where there is bad weather and deep snow, and it will be very hard to get it up and going.

I am not an electrical engineer. I don’t think anybody who isn’t can make an informed judgment on that.

AB: Yeah, I can. And I’m accused of being "gloom and doom" about all of this, but I do see what would occur. At least I think I know, frankly, what would occur if we lost our power. There was a movie called The Trigger Effect. Did you ever get to see that? Probably not.

TM: I didn’t.

AB: It really shows how quickly civilization would deteriorate and people began to conclude it wasn’t going to come on any time soon. And people reverted to early animal states rather quickly. A matter of days, as you just said.

TM: Well, you know, all these disaster scenarios raise the opportunity for people to imagine that civilization will just slide out from under us.

I went through a flood in Northern California years ago, where the power was off for six-and-a-half—and it did…


AB: Once again, here is Terence McKenna.

Terence, how much of a loner are you, there on your volcano?

TM: Well, I’m somewhat of a hermit. I live up here with my girlfriend, up a four-wheel-drive-road that’s, uh, pretty hairy, and we try to go town on Mondays and Fridays, and that’s the life-style when I’m not out on the road. When I’m on the road, I feel like I’m running for president. (laughter) So it’s always a pleasure to get that treatment.

AB: What takes you on the road?

TM: Lecturing. That’s where I make my money. That’s what butters the bread.

AB: When you lecture, what do you lecture about?

TM: I lecture about technology, shamanism, hallucinogens, human evolution, language of the Virus from Outer Space, syntactical aliens, epistemic balkanization, stuff like that. (laughter)

AB: Jeesh. That’s a lot to lecture about. Do you generally serve up a smorgasbord when you do a lecture of all of these things, or do you do specific lectures? Or both?

TM: Oh, I do both, but usually my audiences are familiar with my material, and they come primed with questions, and it’s usually pretty easy to get a self-generated discussion going based on what people there are interested in.

AB: I am very, very interested in time. Really interested in time. And this has been one area I know that you’ve talked a lot about. What do you believe about the nature of time, Terence?

TM: Well, what I believe about it that is different from what you’ll hear anywhere else. I believe that probability actually fluctuates in time, that time is not an abstract idea. It’s actually a medium and that there is an ebb-and-flow in time on many scales of what I call Novelty and Habit. And that over time, novelty is in ascendancy. You could say that the cosmos is a novelty-producing-and-conserving system of some sort. So, the evolution of higher animals and human culture and high technology is all in response to this universal for complexification, which I call "Novelty."

Mathematically, we’ve produced graphs of this that allows you to predict where in historical time and where in the future there should have been great advances in novelty.

AB: I think that I’m beginning to grasp the concept of Novelty. If I understand it correctly, then you can look back and you can see what occurred with novelty as we have evolved, and then you should also be able to look ahead, should you not?

TM: That’s right. Nobody would argue that the development of novelty has been even in the historical past. It’s obviously proceeded in spurts and then periods of quiescence. And when you apply that to the future, you see the same thing except that it leads to an observation which you and I have achieved by different means. You call it "The Quickening," I call it "The Concrescence," but I think both our notions have been drawn toward the idea that this explosion in novelty will keep accelerating. Things become more and more and more novel, faster and faster. And this is really the character of the world that we’re living in, and it’s destined to become ever more intense in this particular direction.

AB: Surely it is headed toward a climax of some sort. Or perhaps even a series of climaxes, if you were able to look down, two, three hundred years, four hundred years, a thousand years. A series of climactic occurrences and changes.

TM: Well, I think we’re mastering energy, we’re mastering our genetic code, time, and space. Yes, I agree. A series of climaxes, each one more awesome and unimaginable than the ones that preceded it. And this is becoming the dominant characteristic of human existence, the anticipation and then the experiencing of these surges in the system toward ever greater self-expression of novelty.

AB: What great examples of spikes up out of the noise in novelty would you site in the past?

TM: Well, the Italian Renaissance, the Greek Enlightenment that gave us Plato and Aristotle and mathematical theories of nature, eras where invention, movement of people, and the birth of ideas were very concentrated. You know, there was a forty-year period in the Fifth Century BC when Lao Tzu, Mensius, Confucius, Parmenides, Ezekiel, and several other luminaries, all, if they had air tickets, could have had a dinner party together. Well, that’s phenomenal!

AB: It is phenomenal. Are we able in any way, based on what has occurred in the past with regard to these spikes, able to predict where this particular cycle is going? In other words, what’s coming?

TM: Well, I’ve noticed in trying to track difference things with these curves that I produce—I look at movement of languages, emigration of people, energy production—, what the curve describes best is technological innovation. So I’ve come to see human history as a kind of alchemical process of boot-strapping ourselves to higher levels of what I supposed you’d call spiritual existence, but through machines, through prostheses.

The machines, far from being alienating and "other" is in fact basic, somehow. The machines are the prostheses of the new human. Of course, the new human is the prosthesis of the new machine. This is all going to take some getting used to.

AB: Are we headed to some Brave New World where machines might even one day take the initiative from us and in fact become our masters, as many worry? You know, the coming miniaturization of everything, the possibility of sentient computers, all the rest of it—that kind of world?

TM: Well, I don’t know if they will take control, but I think within twenty years, Art, you will encounter machines that will claim to be smarter than you are and be able to convincingly behave as though they were. And the issue, "Are they more intelligent than the average human being? Are they sentient entities?", that will just be left to philosophers to sort out.

AB: But right now in Europe we are again demonstrating how we kill each other over religious, ethnic differences. We have always done that. And would not some machine that became at least as intelligent—if not more intelligent and coldly logical—conclude that something has to be done about this (laughter) and begin to, if it could, take steps?

TM: Well, I read a very interesting book by a guy named Michael Delanda—who would make an excellent guest for you. He wrote a book called War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, and if you want a hair-raising look into the future this is somebody who can give it to you.

There’s a lot of debate among the AIs, the artificial intelligence people about what this superintelligence that seems to be emerging will be like. If it doesn’t have the ethics of Buddha, the human race may be down for the count.

AB: Precisely. Or at least controlled for the count.

TM: Well, yes, it’s very hard to imagine what superintelligence would actually look like and what it would make of us.

AB: Well, certainly it would conclude we are acting irrationally, damaging ourselves. It would look at that coldly and logically, and then it would begin, if it could, I think, to take some steps.

TM: Well, maybe by thinking along these lines we can anticipate and take them ourselves in a gentler style. In other words, the first thing any superintelligence would conclude about human beings is there are too damned many of them.

AB: That’s correct. That would be one of the first steps, Terence.

TM: (laughter) Well, so, are we to turn ourselves into hamburger, or shall we have a gentle program of sexual education on the subject of abstinence and restraint?

AB: Well, uh, do you think you would be invited to speak at the Vatican about that?

TM: (laughter) No, probably not. My Polish is pretty rusty, Art.

AB: (laughter) There are a few things that stand in the way of that reality. I suppose an intelligence might conclude, Well, the wars do seem to be serving some purpose in limiting the numbers.

TM: Well, it’s a testament to our own primitive state if we have to rely on primitive Darwinian culling of the herd to keep us vital. It indicates—it’s a failure of civilization, is precisely what it is. It’s a reversion to barbarism. The Twentieth Century is has been embarrassingly scared by these episodes, where very supposedly advanced civilizations with long histories have slipped into the darkness, and we need to understand what causes that, because, as weapons grow more deadly and population more restive, this becomes a recurring problem.

AB: And the consequences more final.

Have I spoken with you about Matthew Alper?

TM: I don’t believe so.

AB: Matthew wrote a book called The "God" Part of the Brain, and it simply concludes that man’s greatest fear—long ago and certainly now—is of death. It is our greatest fear; it is the one fear our minds cannot contend with. It is the fear we cannot face, and, therefore, in the process of evolution, our brains have developed what he calls a "God" part of the brain which demands that we worship something and believe in an afterlife. And without that, there would be virtual anarchy. And yet that is the very thing that causes us to kill each other constantly.

Even when you go down into the wilds of Brazil, and you find a tribe that has never encountered civilization before, sure enough, inevitably, you find they worship something, Terence. Interesting theory, huh?

TM: It sounds like he’s sort of working off some of the theories of Julian James. He suggested—in a book about the evolution of consciousness in the bicameral mind, James suggested that as recently as the time of Homer people had no egos. They actually—God spoke directly to them in situations of crisis and stress, and that it was only after centuries of this God-consciousness part of the psyche was incorporated into the structures of the psyche as the human ego, and that it’s actually an invention less than three thousand years old.

AB: Do you believe that travel in time in any direction—actual travel in time—will be possible, or perhaps go out on a limb and suggest that not only is it possible, but no doubt we are being visited now?

TM: Well, I certainly believe it’s possible to travel in the forward direction. I think Kurt Godel, as early as 1949, pretty well nailed that down. Cultures create our mental confinement in time. This goes back to the psychedelic statement that psychedelics dissolve boundaries. Really a shaman is a human mind capable of traveling in time, so I think when we understand our own consciousness time travel will be a part of that understanding, and we’ll just kick out as a natural part of it.

I’m sure you probably discuss on your program these quantum teleportation experiments over the past couple of years. Well, that’s a way out science that nobody expected that for a thousand years.

AB: A lot of people may not know, but IBM actually has done some very crude teleportation. They’ve actually moved—can you describe what they did?

TM: Yes! You’re absolutely right. They moved photons. In some kind of teleportation experiment they moved them several meters at greater than the speed of light. In fact at a travel time of zero, as far as anybody can tell. And apparently, the quantum-mechanical equations which allow this effect don’t prohibit larger objects or even living objects. It’s just a matter of scaling up the power input. Well, good lord, if we’re five or ten years away from being able to teleport objects and possibly human beings—you can’t even begin to imagine the sociological and political consequences of something like that.

AB: Well, it would completely change everything we know and do. Every concept we have, nearly, would collapse, and it would indeed be a whole new ballgame, wouldn’t it?

TM: It would be a whole new ballgame. And the concept like that has to compete with a concept like nanotechnology or digital copying of human beings or cloning, or—there are half a dozen of these potential technologies out there, any one of which would remake the world beyond recognition if it were to be perfected.

AB: Oh, you know, Terence, I think we’re already cloning. You know they already absolutely have the technology. Now, they claim they are not doing it. And they’re doing it with sheep, and we see Dolly, and we see this, and we see that, but they have the technology, now, to clone human beings, and I don’t for one second think that somebody somewhere in some lab—and I don’t exclude our country from this—is cloning. What do you think?

TM: It wouldn’t surprise me at all. It would surprise me if it was happening inside the United States, because then there’d be hell to pay. But somewhere in the Middle East, somewhere in India or Indonesia…

AB: But Terence, We’ve always done stuff that gives us hell to pay later!

TM: True. The trick is to make it much later. (laughter)

AB: Yeah. Usually something disclosed about fifty years later. When they don’t want you to know something, they wait about fifty years.

TM: That seems to be the half-life of hot information.

AB: (laughter) That’s right, that’s right. Wait until most of those who are going to be really angry die off, right?

TM: That’s right.

AB: So, I wouldn’t be surprised—How could we allow ourselves in the black budget world, to be behind the cloning curve? I just can’t imagine that.

TM: Of course. And people talk about the perfect soldier. Out of fifty infantrymen, find the right one and then make fifty thousand out of that guy.

AB: That’s right. That’s exactly right, and so we have all these dark, black military budgets, and so what are they doing with them? Well, they’re not going to want to duplicate Mother Theresa. You can be sure of that. Deep underground somewhere, they’re not turning out more Mother Theresas. They’re trying to get the perfect killing machine.

TM: Well, but they’re going to tell you, Art, that if they clone every soldier, there’ll be a nice crop of organs back on ice in the clone ward for him.

AB: Well, that’s what you tell the perfect soldier, I guess, to keep them happy.

TM: That’s what you tell the public relations officer.

AB: (laughter) So, we’re moving very rapidly toward all sorts of things that are going to require—are we really up to making the proper moral decisions? Is all of this keeping up with technology?

TM: Well, uh, this is the great question. You know, H.G. wells—a hundred years ago he said history is a race between education and catastrophe.

AB: (laughter) God, you’re a blast to talk to. Hold on, Terence. You’ve got a good break here….


AB: Once again, Terence McKenna. Terence, it looks like we’re okay to go, here. Power has been on for almost an hour, now.

TM: Feeling confident, are you, Art? (laughter)

AB: That’s just when it gets you, I know… I’ve got a bunch of people on the line who would like to say hello to you. It’s a rare opportunity, so let’s do a bit of that. East of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna in the wilds of Hawaii.

Caller: This is Adam from Austin. I have an experience I’d like to relay to Mr. McKenna. I’ve been experimenting with visionary substances, now, for several years, and recently I tried DMT for the first time in free base form , and I, quite frankly, was mesmerized. It shook me. All I can say is it hit me in the soul. I did experience the self-transforming elf machines, and…

AB: What?

Caller: What Terence refers to as the "self-transforming elf machines."

AB: Well, maybe somebody could help me out, here. Either one of you. Self-transforming elf machines. Terence, please?

TM: Well, it’s not an elf, and it’s not a machine, but it’s rapidly changing from one to the other right in front of your eyes. It’s interesting to hear your story. Yes, when it works, it makes an instant believer out of you. I’m not sure a believer in what. A believer in the power of possibilities, I would think.

Caller: Oh, absolutely. And the part of the experience that hit me hardest was, they were actually attempting to translate to me your Timewave Zero theory. The acceleration of technology to the point of just—I’m not sure.

TM: Integration/Disintegration.

Caller: Exactly.

TM: Yes, well, the strange thing, Art, about these plant psychedelics is the sense at high doses that they want to communicate something, something very specific. It’s not "Love one another." We have that message. It’s some kind of very specific message about time and genetics or humanity or something.

AB: What is Timewave Zero, actually?

TM: Well, Timewave Zero is this set of theories, that I alluded to a few minutes ago, that take the position that time is this flux of novelty and habit that has been built into the genes and natural processes from the quantum-mechanical get-go, way back at the Big Bang, and that probability is actually a kind of blurred lens for looking at nature, and that until we understand the actual fractal nature of time, where the same patterns are repeated at many, many different scales, and creates an interference pattern that then accounts for what we experience as reality.

AB: What does the "zero" part of it mean, Terence?

TM: The "zero" part of the Timewave theory is that this interference pattern, which keeps pushing habit and novelty around over very long periods of time—novelty begins building up faster and faster, and eventually it reaches infinity. In other words, habit falls to zero, and you get the notion of everything happening at once or somehow all possibilities becoming realized, that being the only logical consequence of this tendency of the universe to complexify itself faster and faster.

And I don’t know if you and I have ever talked about it, Art, but the most fascinating scientific discovery of last year, according to science magazine, was this cosmological conference called Omega—I’m sure Michio Kaku can talk to this—, but the discovery that all of space and time is ruled by an outward-expulsive force that’s embedded in the space-time matrix itself—and the interesting thing about that force is—like the Timewave I theorize—, it accelerates through time. It’s moving faster and faster. So the new cosmology, this eight-month-old, holds that the universe is basically going to undergo this kind of inflationary expansion like the Quickening, like the Novelty Concrescence that we’ve been talking about. This has now emerged as the paradigmatic notion in astrophysics after being resisted for fifty years.

Einstein played with the idea, called it his biggest blunder and dumped it, but now, observational astrophysics is forcing them to realize this is actually—this force exists, and it is, in time, going to emerge as the dominant force shaping the physics of the universe.

AB: Fascinating. West of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna…

Caller: Hi, Art. My name is Maureen. I’m calling from Redding California…. Hi, Terence.

TM: Hi. How are you?

Caller: I’m fine, thanks. I was just wondering, are you familiar with contrails at all?

TM: With who?

AB: Contrails? That’s something we’ve been discussing on the show.

Caller: Right.

TM: Oh, is it the thing about the large numbers of contrails that people think are a viral seeding or nanotech project?

Caller: Absolutely.

TM: Well, fortunately, I only know of this because I follow the internet. I haven’t seen any contrails here. We’ve got a photograph of a DEA helicopter where you could see the rivets on the sucker yesterday morning but no contrails.

AB: (laughter) Was that over your house, Terence?

TM: Oh, yeah. They fly this neighborhood like crazy. They’re true believers. But they’re not supposed to come closer than two hundred feet to the ground, and this guy was well under two hundred feet.

AB: Yeah, well, they make the rules.

TM: "For the wise men and the fools."

AB: I’m not oblivious to the possibility to the possibility that, for example, if our government thought that we were on the verge of a biological attack of some sort and they had what they thought was a remedy for it—in terms of some sort of mass-inoculation. I don’t think for a second that they would not consider for a second an inoculation without our specific permission. And what better way to do that than to add to what, to most people, are just harmless little contrails cutting across the sky. So that’s one possibility. There are other more sinister ones, but that’s at least one that would make sense to me.

TM: Well, do you remember those experiments that came out a few years ago, where they spread powder in airports and railway stations, back in the Sixties? Some kind of bacterial powder that they could then follow with some study of possible contamination.

AB: New York subways, Terence, San Francisco—gee whiz, they did a whole bunch of that sort of stuff.

TM: Yeah, well, so it would be nice to think that they’re inoculating us for our own good against the evils hatched in the laboratories of Serbian fasisti. I like that scenario. Let’s do the movie.

AB: (laughter) Alright. First time caller line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna. Hello.

Caller: Is this me, Art?

AB: Only you know that for certain, but it sounds like you.

Caller: I think what I wanted to do is compliment this person. He’s awful good… I wanted to ask him if he thought this would work over in Yugoslavia: …give the president over there, the dictator, three weeks to… eliminate all the people in his town—Belgrade?—so they could all move out, like they’ve moved everybody from Kosovo. They would have a chance to get away from that town.

AB: And then we would do what to Belgrade?

Caller: Well, we would destroy it, like they’ve destroyed those villages. Would that work?

AB: I don’t know whether it would work or not. What do you think of that idea, Terence?

TM: Well, I think the word "quagmire" comes to mind. I also think that Belgrade may be being destroyed as we speak. I keep going over to Reuters top stories—but I don’t think anybody’s going to be given three weeks. I think it’s tonight or tomorrow night, judging by the pace of things.

Will it have an effect? I don’t know. Dictators are extremely immune to popular pressure. Unless their generals come to them and lay their pistols on the table, these guys have a tendency to hang on. I think we’ve bitten off a hell of a lot to chew, and I’m certainly in favor of confronting fascism, but I think you need to chose your fights carefully.

AB: Well, I also think that some of the people who make these decisions, these good-will decisions to go and bomb until there is peace, should be required themselves to do some of the heavy lifting. But they just make the intellectual decision and spew out the orders to those who must go and do the work.

TM: Well, and it’s a strange way of handling the problem, isn’t it? I mean we’ll spend probably half a billion dollars, a lot of peasants will be pushed around, some people will be killed. What do we have covert operations for? What do we have special forces for? The guy to get is Milosovik.

AB: That’s right, and I would also note that this horrid flood of refugees really did not seem to begin until our bombing did. Did you notice that?

TM: Yeah, well, people are just trying to get out any way they can. I think ethnic cleansing in Kosovo is fete accompli at this point.

AB: Yeah.

Wild card line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna in Hawaii. Hello.

Caller: The question I have is in regard to marijuana use, and I don’t know if that’s one of the topics he was talking about.

AB: Absolutely. Go right ahead.

Caller: Okay, because I heard the other caller talking about DMT. I’m not sure what that is. What exactly is DMT?

AB: That’s a good question. What is DMT?

TM: DMT is dimethyltryptamine. It’s a human neural transmitter and an alkaloid that occurs in plants, and it’s a kick-ass hallucinogen that you smoke.

Caller: Oh, okay. So, is it contained in marijuana?

TM: No, no, no. Marijuana is THC and various cannabinoids. But what was your thought on marijuana?

Caller: I’m twenty-five years old, and I’ve experimented with marijuana since the age of eight (laughter). I can’t say "experimented." More than experimented. But I stopped for several years. I did some military service, so I wasn’t able to do that. But I did notice that when I stopped, I experienced some depressive anxiety… I went over to smoking cigarette and drinking alcohol, which was a substitute for it…

TM: So part of what you’re saying here is that marijuana was a gateway drug for you to alcohol.

AB: What he’s saying is that when he couldn’t do pot anymore, then he resorted to smoking and booze.

TM: Yeah, well, most drugs are used by most people to relieve stress. You know, if you only smoke cannabis once a month or something, it’s pretty spectacular, mentally. But if you smoke it every day or two, you’re basically using it to handle stress, which is legitimate, of course. I mean, that’s why somebody has a drink in the evening, or even watches TV. I mean, TV is a drug that is used to relieve stress, although, arguably, long-term, it may actually add to your stress.

But, yeah, habits are difficult to break, and chemical habits are the most difficult habits to break. Nature sets us up to chemically addict us to the people around us, our routines, the foods we prefer. This is something that, as I said earlier, we’re not facing and talking about and educating our kids about. It’s like the Nineteenth-Century approach to peoples’ sexual fantasies and desires is sort of the way we approach our relationship to drugs. We’re not really owning up to how complicated it is.

AB: Yeah. Let me ask you a straight-out question. Why? In other words, what is it that our government, our elected leaders, our institutions can’t handle about people doing drugs?

TM: Very simply, drugs are, for mysterious reasons, deconditioning agents. And they cause people to question cultural values, and every political system on Earth is in the business of maintaining cultural boundaries. So it’s an implacable opposition, there, that’s not easily negotiated away. It’s a very brave, self-confident society that can legalize all drugs because it means that society is not afraid of looking in it’s closets and playing with a fair deck.

AB: Are there examples we can point to where such a policy is in place and working well?

TM: Well, everyone talks about the Netherlands, you know. Legal prostitution, lowest AIDS rate in Europe. Legal heroin, lowest heroin addiction rate in Europe. No prison building going on. Young people are using cannabis, yes. They are not using hard drugs. The connection between the soft and hard drugs seems to have been broken by legalization. But our own drug czar completely distorted the Dutch position in a public statement to the point where he later had to publicly retract what he had said.

AB: Yeah, I know. It was horrible. It was absolutely horrible.

TM: Yeah, it was a disgrace.


AB: Now, back to Terence McKenna in beautiful Hawaii…

Alright, Terence, here we go. West of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna…

Caller: …I have a question for Terence. Terence, can you hear me?

TM: Sure.

Caller: Okay. Talking about Desmanthus illinoensis. I’m growing some this year. I’ve been growing it for the last three years. But the last time I tried that stuff, It scared the hell out of me. I thought that Jay Leno was talking about me on TV, and I thought it was like a Philip K. Dick novel, where they were sending out the telepathic police.

TM: And your question is? (laughter)

Caller: What’s been your experience with it, and what is it trying to tell you? Because it doesn’t seem to be a very friendly teacher.

TM: Well, it’s certainly different, chemically and in terms of its effects. But I’ve found it very interesting. I know most people seem to be smoking it. I did most of my experiments with it a few years ago. I enjoyed chewing it. I laid down in silent darkness, and it swept me away to a very interesting sort of colored, flexing, three-dimensional kind of place.

Caller: …I gotta say also that I think the history of drug enforcement in this country is sort of like a series of unhappy accidents. They used to say that Social Security was the third rail of American politics, and now it’s drugs. I don’t think we can do anything about it, and what really gets me is, they start talking about kids using solvents. Well, I think there’s a natural urge to go out there and break down those boundaries because language encodes stuff for you. And I think part of the reason people take psychedelics is because it breaks down the barriers, and you get to see stuff real again.

TM: Well, in Shamanic societies, you know, they take the young kids out, and the men give the young boys psychedelics, and the women initiate the young girls. And instead of the taking of a substance being a symbol of the rejection of social values, it becomes the doorway to the full acceptance of social values.

Caller: My answer to the drug problem is "grow your own." I think they should just make everybody pay a marijuana stamp tax, and we can just all grow our own, and that would cut the black market right out of it.

TM: If the profit were removed by any means, either by legalization, grow your own, or what have you, the drug problem would shrink to a whole new dimension.

AB: Here’s an interesting bit of email. Ken, from Bloomington Indiana says, "Hey, Art, when I was in the army, we used to say, ‘killing for peace is like whoring for virginity.’"

TM: (laughter) Well, remember the logic in 1984? "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength."

AB: That’s right. That’s exactly right. First time caller line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna in paradise.

Caller: Art? This is Cathy, in Texas.

AB: Hi, Cathy in Texas.

Caller: I’ve been listening to you for about six months, now, and I love your show…


AB: Terence, are you there?

TM: Yes. I’m sorry we lost the lady in Texas.

AB: …Every time this occurs, it dumps everybody.

TM: Crazy.

AB: Yeah, crazy is right.

West of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art

Bell. Hello.

Caller: Hi. This is Sharon from Boulder Colorado. I’m wondering if Terence could talk a little bit about what the Mayans predicted would happen in the year 2012 and how that might coincide with his ideas about what might happen then, too.

TM: Well, that’s very interesting. It’s funny that you’re from Boulder because Boulder is the home of John Major Jenkins, who wrote a very interesting book this past year called Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, and in that book he discusses the various interpretations of the end of the Mayan calendar. Basically, what happens in 2012 is it’s the end of the thirteenth Baktun. And Baktuns are periods of longer than five hundred years. Thirteen of them make of a full cycle of the Mayan calendar. And it appears that it was linked by the Mayans to a certain astrological configuration where the winter solstice sun helically rises at the galactic center. This is sort of technical stuff, but that’s it in a nutshell. It’s an alignment with the galactic center and the winter solstice rising sun that pegs the whole Mayan world-machinery, and it’s coming around after twenty-six thousand years in about fourteen years. Thirteen years.

Caller: So what sort of implications does that have? What’s supposed to happen then?

AB: Good question.

TM: Well, you know, very little of the literature of the Maya survives, so we don’t know. The best guess is that for the Maya, the end of the thirteenth Baktun indicated the beginning of the first moment of true creation. So rather than seeing it as the end of the world, they saw it as some kind of beginning of an era of perfection. Sort of like the thousand year—the Millennium predicted in Revelation.

So, I think we can’t know. But what we can know is that if you wanted to peg your calendar to the largest cosmic cycle that human beings have observed effecting the Earth, you would choose this twenty-six-thousand-year processional cycle. And they chose it with great accuracy, even though their own civilization didn’t live to see the coming of that particular time. But we will.

AB: (To the caller) How’s that?

Caller: Thank you.

AB: Alright. Here’s another email. This email says, "Art, there have been power surges and outages up and down the entire Western US during the last half-hour. This was written at one AM. It just fried my computer. What’s going on?", so we may be getting a little taste, here, Terence.

TM: Yes, I’m fascinated by it. There was no report on the text page at Reuters of any problem in Europe or the East Coast today, because I checked before I came on the Program. But maybe the April 1 rollover is biting in the West Coast.

AB: Maybe it is.

First time caller line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna. Hello.

Caller: Hey, this is Michael calling from Oregon. Long-time listener. I just want to say first, Art Bell, I think you’re a god.

AB: No, I’m not a god. I’m not a god.

Caller: Well, I mean—personal opinion.

And my question for Terence is, do you think that with the way that technology and people’s self-knowledge is progressing that we are going to reach a point in time when all of our mental boundaries will be broken, and we’ll just be free of thought?

TM: I think we’re going to see all kinds of group mind activities and complicated games that will slowly teach us how to operate as group minds the way flocks of birds and schools of fish do.

I’ve been recently spending more time in the virtual and interactive world on line, worlds where you dress up as an avatar and meet other people in designed worlds. And if you haven’t checked in on that lately, it’s gotten a lot better. And you can see the potential for people creating worlds and then sharing them with other people on line. So that, really, we’re peeling open our heads and letting it all hang out, and it’s going to have a real impact on community and the human self-image and the way we think about the individual in the community.

Caller: Definitely.

TM: Definitely.

AB: Alright, caller. Thank you.

Terence, by email, "Can you shed some light on why some people have such creative enlightenment… Damn!


AB: …Terence, welcome back.

TM: Yes, I’m glad we’re still hanging on, Art.

AB: …Wild Card line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art Bell. Hi.

Caller: Hi, this is Richard from Los Vegas. I had a question for your guest. Does he think that due to the fact that the government is losing control of information through the internet and the cable news and everything, that it’s going to try to become more repressive in other ways, like in the drug enforcement and things like that?

AB: …Terence? Ach, we lost Terence again… I’ll dial him again. Watch this…

TM: Hi, Art. Maybe we should pack it in. What do you think?

AB: Tell you what. The next time it occurs, we’ll pack it in.

TM: Okay. I’m game.

AB: …Boy y2k, here we come.

TM: Yeah. It’s 2:30 in the morning where you are. The load on the system is very low. It shouldn’t be happening now.

AB: That’s exactly right…

West of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art Bell. Hi.

Caller: This is Eric from Los Angeles… my question is, Terence, through all of your inter-dimensional traveling, do you have any concept of what the afterlife for you would be?

TM: No. We’ve discussed this here, in the last twenty-four hours and I was shown to be inadequate. I have noticed in virtual reality that sometimes the landscape fills out ahead of you, if you have good processors, and you can actually watch the landscape springing into existence. I can sort of imagine the end of life as like that process in reverse, you know, because more and more is subtracted. And my Ketamine experiences have convened me that a consciousness without a body an entertainable idea. Consciousness without a body is simply the volume of your mind turned up until it’s all there is. And then I can imagine this unfolding into thought without a spatial locus. But does that go on forever? That’s a little hard to feature. Of course nothing that we know of goes on forever, so to imagine that when you find out what lies beyond death, you’ve found out what eternity is may be—

Caller: Maybe that’s why we reincarnate. Do you believe in reincarnation?

TM: Well, if reincarnation occurs, it’s a way of getting away from this paradox of eternally existing as a conscious form in some other dimension.

Caller: One more question. Has the other side ever communicated to you through lights? Or have you ever seen the All-Seeing Eye from the Egyptian times?

TM: I think that these entities communicate with sound and light, sounds which you can see. And they seem to have some kind of a language which has more dimensions than acoustical language. It’s not telepathy, but it’s something that is sculptural. You experience it as a visual medium.

Caller: A mosaic.

TM: At a high bandwidth, yes. You could be on the brink of engineering something like that as a human mode of communication, if we could unleash psychopharmacology and really understand what’s going on in the mind.

Caller: Right. We live in incredible times. Do you think all these prophecies and all these things from the past are ways for us to be moving into this new dimension, this new paradigm?

TM: Well, we’re at the end of a thousand-year period, and we’re at the climax of the agenda of modern science. And we’re moving off the planet, and we’re going digital. There are so many transformative tendencies in play that I think you would have to really be resisting the tide to not see that we’re ready to make some kind of leap.

Caller: Right. That’s incredible. I really see that this paradigm of thought is overtaking the old paradigm, and the old paradigm needs to firmly hold control. And I just think—just keep doing what we’re doing, like with Art’s show, and everything is going to be alright.

TM: Everything’s going to be alright.

Caller: And that’s not through rose colored glasses, either, Art.

AB: Alright. I appreciate the call, Sir.

Here is another one by email, and somebody wants to know your opinion on Tim Leary’s work with prisoners and the reasons his findings were suppressed. What do you know about that?

TM: I don’t know a whole lot about that. I assume this refers to Vacaville. What I know is, there was a whole wing of Vacaville in the Sixties that was basically a CIA laboratory for experimenting on controlling and programming people with drugs. What Tim Leary had to do with it—I’m not a historian of his life—I couldn’t say. I do think that Sirhan Sirhan passed through that facility. So did Charlie Manson. So did General Cinque, the character who lead the Symbionese Liberation Army. Remember them?

AB: Oh, yes.

TM: So, you know, it’s well documented that there was CIA interest in all these things. Recently, you probably noticed, Art, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, who ran that MKULTRA program—he died recently.

AB: I heard that, yes.

TM: Yeah. He took a lot of secrets with him, I’m sure.

AB: What would you imagine would occur to somebody given LSD unsuspecting—totally unsuspecting, given LSD?

TM: Well, it depends again on the circumstances. If you were out in public, I think most people would lead to the conclusion, first, that the had been poisoned, and then, a few minutes later, that they were losing their mind. I think it’s one of the most fundamental violations of a person’s dignity to give them a drug without discussing it with them and them being fully consensual.

AB: Boy, do I agree. There is no more fundamental invasion of privacy.

TM: William Burroughs once said, "There is only one commandment, and it was, ‘Thou shalt not blow pot smoke in thy pet’s face.’" (laughter)

AB: (laughter) I’m gonna remember that one, Terence. Thanks.

First-time caller line, you’re on the air with Art Bell and Terence McKenna in Hawaii. Hello.

Caller: Hello to you. I am in Silicone Valley. Yeah, just here doin’ the computer thing. What I’d like to ask is, a few of us are going to take a trip down to Mexico, and we’re going to be doing the Mayan thing down there, and I was wondering if I can get any direction on which way to go. Simple as that.

TM: Well, the Mayan ruin of Palenque in the State of Chiapas overlaps mushroom territory. It’s a little late, but there still may be mushrooms there this time of year. That’s a beautiful ruin. Uxmal in the Yucatan, that’s a beautiful ruin. You get down to Belize, Xunantunich, out in the west end of the country. Those are my favorite ones. And Tikal in Guatemala. But Palenque in Chiapas is the gem of Mayan archaeological sites.

AB: Oh, it’s way down South. Can you go that far down South, Caller?

Caller: Yeah, we’re pretty much—we just got back from the Andes, and what I thought we’d do is hike in the mountains.

TM: Yeah, well, the Sierra Madre is some of the roughest country in Mexico, with some of the world’s deepest caves. But of course there’s political problems back in there. The Mexican army is leaning on the Indians pretty heavily, so you want to know your turf.

Caller: Did you find any problems down there, when you were in there in January?

TM: Not at the ruin, but in the mountains, which begin immediately behind the ruins, all bets are off.

Caller: Huh. I got ya.

I just want to offer thank you very much for the electronic music culture that’s going on, for the work that you’ve done and, I guess, the spoken word that you’ve done with them.

TM: Well, thanks very much.

Caller: Yeah. You are definitely in our consciousness around here in the Silicone Valley.

TM: Thanks for calling.

AB: Take care.

Wild card line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art Bell.

Caller: My brother did slip me some acid when I was eleven years old, and I have that experience I can share.

AB: Oh my God.

Caller: Four-way window pain. And I was never a heavy drug user during my life, but that was a real radical experience…

AB: What happened to you on this uninvited acid trip?

Caller: Uh, well, what happened was, my brother was into some kind of Satanic rituals with his buddies, and he thought it would be a great joke to go ahead and slip me four-way window pain. And I remember getting really violently ill, initially, because I didn’t know what was going on. I was spinning. I laid down, and I laid down in a water bed. And the vacuum started running on itself, and it started vacuuming the room methodically, you know? So I knew at that point that my brother and his friends had obviously done something to me, you know? What they had done, I don’t know. They didn’t tell me at that time.

Then I started changing colors, okay? Like blue, green. Then I started going into what they would say was kind of like a bad trip, but I was still basically barely able to keep sensory outlet, you could say, because that’s a pretty serious dose at that kind of age.

AB: And I guess in youth you would handle such a thing better, but I would imagine, Terence, not only would somebody who had that done to them feel like they were losing their mind, but probably could actually slip out of reality and stay out of reality under such conditions. That would be one possibility, wouldn’t it?

TM: Well, the fear thing starts a cascade, and then people do desperate or foolish things. No, it’s a really dumb thing. Well, this caller comes from a typical dysfunctional American family. Satanic rituals, siblings dosing others with LSD. This is why we need drug education.

AB: We are a dysfunctional nation, aren’t we?

Alright, hold tight. Maybe the power will stick with us…


AB: Alright, once again, here we go… Terence, welcome back.

TM: Good to be back.

AB: You are there.

TM: (laughter) I am, I am.

AB: First-time caller line you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art Bell, on a weird night but fun.

Caller: Hi, hi, hi. This is frank from Cotati, California… and I read in Timothy Leary’s autobiography, Flashbacks, about some experiments that he had done at some prisons back east, I think when he was still at Harvard, using Psilocybin to rehabilitate inmates, and the thing about it was, they had a far lower recidivism rate, and that just basically got covered up and ignored, and then he got bounced out of Harvard, so it just kind of disappeared. I thought that was one thing that was pretty interesting. And I want to put in a book by Dale Pendell. It’s called Pharmako/Poeia, and it’s an excellent explication of all the varieties of mind-altering substances, I think he might be an interesting guest for you.

AB: Is that something you’re familiar with, Terence?

TM: Yes, Pharmako/Poeia. Dale Pendell. He’s an interesting character, and he can spin a line of rap. He would be an interesting guest. That’s an excellent book.

AB: Alright, Terence, maybe you ought to construct a list of interesting guests and how to get hold of them an email it to me or something.

TM: Sure, I’m happy to do that.

AB: I would love that because it sounds like you’ve got a lot of very interesting suggestions…

Wild Card line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna. Hi.

Caller: Great, I made it. This is John in Los Vegas… I talked to you guys last year on March 19th. I called and related the experience about the dream and the geometry book. And I wrote a short story about it called Times Square. I sent you a copy, Art. Did you get it?

AB: I got it.

Caller: Oh, okay. Terence, if you would care to receive a copy, I’d love to send you one.

TM: Yeah, go to my website at levity.com, and my email button is right there, on the Terence McKenna page.

Caller: I’m not really wired…

TM: My P.O. box is there, too.

AB: Okay, I’ll tell you what. We’ll even do you another favor. Why don’t you give out you P.O. box, Terence?

TM: Sure. It’s P.O.B. 677, and the name of the town is Honaunau, Hawaii 96726…

AB: East of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art Bell. Good morning.

Caller: Good morning, Terence, and good morning, Art. I went through Vacaville and another state mental institution in California. They have used those mental institutions, not only for programming, but to destroy any political prisoner that they deem a "threat to society."

TM: And when were you in Vacaville?

Caller: I was in from to ‘91 until ’94.

TM: So that was well after all these things that were charged about the Sixties. But I’m sure all this work goes on. I mean, as Art said, these black budget agencies wouldn’t be fulfilling the tax payer’s mandate if they weren’t pursuing all these horrifying technologies and possibilities. This is always the argument.

Caller: Yes, they continually do their little tricks of the trade. I was very aware of it due to some connections that I had prior to going in, and that’s one of the reasons that I was in. And they in fact held me six and a half years illegally, without due process of law.


AB: Silence? Are you there?

TM: Well, I’m just wondering how much of this goes on that we don’t hear about, you know. I mean we have a tendency—you and I mentioned it earlier—to expose the sins of twenty-five years ago. But what’s going on tonight?

AB: You know what, Terence, I wish that I believed that we had had some great transformation, that we are now this moral, ethical government that we thought we had years ago and now have found out, of course, we didn’t have. But I don’t think anything has changed. I think the players have changed, and I think twenty-five or thirty years or fifty years from now we’ll find out all the crap we’re doing now.

TM: I’m sure that’s true, and I think it’s a very cynical game. I think anybody who thinks we emerged into the light with Watergate or something like that has bought a very obvious establishment line.

AB: Here, here.

West of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna. Hello. Where are you?

Caller: I’m in beautiful Vancouver, BC… One of the things I wanted to ask you is about, specifically, DMT, and I’ve read most of your books, and they’re amazing. Have you looked into a connection between tryptamines and what was known as soma?

TM: Well, the soma fight continues, you know. I mean there’s endless discussion about what was this fantastic hallucinogen that inspired the writing of the Vedas. In a recent issue of Elucid, Jonathon Audry views all theories, including my own and finds mine inadequate and everybody elses’ as well. I think it was pretty clear it was Psilocybin. Some people want to say it was Amanita muscaria, but Amanita muscaria is an unreliable and sometimes dangerous intoxicant. If it was neither Psilocybin mushroom nor Amanita muscaria, then the candidates are not very promising. So this is an area that needs to be looked at. It was all regarded as settled, and that Watson had figured it out, but now we know that he—there was a lot of evidence that’s come to light since he did his work that pushes the argument in a new direction. I talk about this in Food of the Gods. There are two chapters related to soma.

Caller: Yeah, I was asking if anything new has come to light since then.

TM: Ah, well, Giorgio Samorini, who studies the iboga cults in Gabon told me that in the inner mysteries of these iboga cults there is mushroom symbolism and use of the colors red and white. So that’s evidence of a possible mushroom cult connected with hallucinogenic substances in Africa. That was a previously missing piece of the puzzle. But no, I wouldn’t say this argument has advanced dramatically. I think until Algeria is politically stable enough to permit archeology in the Southern Sahara, the early human use of hallucinogens in Africa and the Middle East is going to remain unclear.

AB: (To caller) Alright?

Caller: Thank you.


AB: Wild card line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna. Good morning.

Caller: Hi. My name is Michael, and I’m in California.

AB: Hi, Michael.

Caller: Terence, a few years ago, this month, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Honaunau, (garbled), getting ready to go to my draft physical.

TM: Well, so you know Honaunau. Yeah, well it hasn’t changes that much. It’s a well-kept secret. With a spelling like that, we figure we’re off the map.

Caller: (laughter) I love Captain Cook, the whole area. Something additional to the DMT lore is out of, uh, Sleeping Beauty. Kiss the frog. Turn him into a prince.

TM: Right.

Caller: Well, you know, toad—DMT source, right?

TM: Well, yeah. This is something we haven’t mentioned, maybe, on the air.

Caller: I’ve done every (garbled). Not to many toads left.

TM: (laughter) Well, we don’t want to deplete the toads, but there are near relatives of DMT in some toads. Let’s just put it like that.

Caller: Well, I thought the woman turning the frog into the prince might have something to do with that.

TM: (laughter) That’s right.

AB: Thank you.

East of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna and Art Bell. Good morning. Where are you?

Caller: I’m in Wisconsin… I’ve been growing psychoactive fungus and plants for a number of years, now, and I’ve recently been trying to find plants which contain DMT. I used the plant, "mimosa," and then grew that, and it contained the substance, but not in high enough quantities, and I was wondering Terence could recommend any obtainment plant sources for a source of DMT.

AB: Okay.

TM: Well, Psychotria viridis is the preferred source of DMT in the amazon. I know it’s hard to get and hard to grow. The Mimosa hostilis and the Mexican conspecific species—the name of which escapes me because it’s so late at night. Those two, in the root bark, are pretty competitive. There is also Anadenathrera perigrina. The seeds of that also contain a high concentration. Acacia confusa is an Eastern—meaning an oriental—Acacia that has a lot of DMT in it. But Psychotria viridis, if you can get it.

Caller: Okay.

AB: Alright. Wildcard line, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna in the waning moments.

Caller: From Vancouver again.

AB: Yes, Sir.

Caller: Going back to the Mayans… and the coming event of the 2013, do you see, Terence, the realization of galactic citizenship as a precursor or a result of that time?

TM: Well, I can fly with that. In other words, technologies seem to be converging toward opening up the Bell-non-local quantum realm, where, presumably, all the intelligences of the universe are communicating in some kind of standing wave form. I don’t know how it is that it’s key to this conjunction with the Galactic Center, but I do think that we will fulfill the dreams of the ancient Maya. We’ll fulfill the dreams of the medieval alchemists. We are on a collision course with some king of revelation of our own place in the cosmos, and exactly how it’s all gonna hang out, we can’t say. But it is happening, and it’s visibly evident all around us.

AB: How close do you think we are?

TM: Well, I still feel comfortable with 2012. I still think that gives us ample room to put in place the understanding, the technologies. I think we have to get over the Millennial speed bump. I think a lot of squirrels have seized the high ground, and we have to sort through the prophecies and the revelations one by one. But the wiser voices will be discerned in this process. This is something you contribute to, Art, by letting everybody tell their story and letting the Darwinian selection of these means take place.

AB: Indeed. Indeed I do that.

Alright. West of the Rockies, you’re on the air with Terence McKenna. Hello.

Caller: …I have a question. What about people who take prescribed drugs, and they don’t get the right one? Is that anything like that—like you’re talking about?

AB: No.

TM: You mean in terms of the kind of effects?

Caller: Yeah.

TM: No, I think we’re talking about something—well, bad medication can go any direction, but psychedelics are certainly more than misprescribed responses to drugs. Is that what you mean?

AB: I think that is what he means.

Do you think that drugs ought to be prescribed at all? And if you do, then should psychedelics be prescribed?

TM: Well, see, we don’t have any place in our culture or our medical practice for the concept of self-administered recreational drugs. Our culture sets us up to think drugs are for sick people.

AB: I know, but in some greater future that we might sit here and imagine for a moment.

TM: Well, I think we’re going to see psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. In fact that already flourishes in an underground form. Ah, sure.

AB: So, you could see it go that direction. In other words, there would be legitimate use, legitimate prescription. You would go to the doctor, and you would say, "I’m depressed" or whatever, and then they would prescribe something that would literally alter your perception.

TM: Well, the cure rate of chronic alcoholism with one trip of LSD in the early sixties was fifty percent.

AB: Really? Oh my God.

TM: One trip. Yes. At Saskatoon Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan. All this was published.

AB: Where? And why don’t we read about it, now?

TM: Well, because, once LSD was demonized, the idea that it might cure addiction to the drug of choice of the culture contained too many contradictions for the scientific and medical establishment to want to plow ahead with it.

AB: Terence, we’re out of time. Listen, thanks on a really rough night for hanging in with me through all the bumps in this road.

TM: It was white water training, Art.

AB: (laughter) Ah, of course. We’ll do it again one day. Thank you, Terence.

TM: Alright. Goodnight.

End of interview
Transcription by Jack Shandy

Terence McKenna Land
The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension