Terence McKenna on Art Bell, 5/22/1997
(Some of the banter has been left out ... and there is a hole or two during tape changes, but it's pretty complete...)
AB: You have a theory about time. Time is one of my favorite all-time topics, so before we launch into what you think about time, tell me what you think time is. In other words, is time our invention, or is time a real thing ... I realize we're measuring it, but in the cosmic scheme of things, is there really time?
TM: Yeah, you give me a perfect entree to launch into this thing. See, in the west we have inherited from Newton what is called the idea of pure duration, which is simply that time is sort of a place where things are placed so that they don't all happen at once; in other words, it's used as quality-less, it's an abstraction. In fact, I think when we carry out a complete analysis of time, I think what we're going to discover is that like matter, time is composed of elemental, discrete types. All matter, organic and inorganic matter, is composed of 104, 108 elements ... there's some argument. Time, on the other hand, is thought to be this featureless, qualityless medium, but as we experience it, as living feeling creatures, time has qualities. There are times when everything seems to go right, and times when everything seems to go wrong ...
AB: That's absolutely true. I've wondered about that all my life. There are time when, in effect, you can do no wrong, and there are other periods of time when you can do no right, no matter what you do.
TM: Well, so in looking at this, I created a vocabulary ... actually I borrowed it from Alfred North Whitehead ... but I think I'm on to something which science has missed, and it's this; it's that the universe, or human life or an empire or an ecosystem, any large scale or small scale process, can be looked at as a dynamic struggle between two qualities which I call habit and novelty. And I think they're pretty self explanatory. Habit is simply repetition of established patterns, conservation, holding back what has already been achieved into a system, and novelty is the chance-taking, the exploratory, the new, the never-before-seen.
And these two qualities--habit and novelty--are locked in all situations in a kind of struggle. But the good news is that if you look at large scales of time, novelty is winning, and this is the point that I have been so concerned to make that I think science has overlooked. If you look back through the history of the human race, or life on this planet, or of the solar system and the galaxy, as you go backward in time, things become more simple, more basic. So turning that on its head, we can say that as you come towards the present things become more novel, more complex.
So I've taken this as a universal law, affecting historical processes, biological processes and astrophysical processes. Nature produces and conserves novelty, and what I mean by that, as the universe cools the original cloud of electron plasma, eventually atomic systems form, as it further cools molecular systems, then long-chain polymers, then non-nucleated primitive DNA-containing life, later complex life, multi-cellular life, and this is a principle that reaches right up to our dear selves. And notice, Art, it's working across all scales of being. This is something that is as true of human societies as it is of termite populations or populations of atoms in a chemical system. Nature conserves, prefers novelty. And the interesting thing about an idea like this is that it stands the existentialism of modern philosophy on its head ... you know, what modern, atheistic existentialism says is that we're a cosmic accident and damn lucky to be here, and any meaning you get out of the situation, you're simply conferring. I say, no ... by looking deeply into the structure of nature, we can discover that novelty is what nature produces and conserves, and if that represents a universal value system, then the human world that we find today with our technologies and our complex societies represents the greatest novelty so far achieved, and suddenly you have a basis for an ethic--that which advances novelty is good, that which retards it is to be looked at very carefully.
AB: Let me stop you right there. One of the first things we talked about tonight is that you have a 128 baud connection from your mountain top secret location. As we are discussing your theory, which is fascinating, of novelty, I'm taken to ask you about several pages written by Michael Chriton with reference to the internet. It is Michael Chriton's contention that the internet, which one might consider to be novelty exemplified, is going to result not in more novelty but in fact in a slowing of the process of evolution or novelty as you see it, because there will be a commonality, there will not be innovation, there will not be entrepreneurship, there will be main ten ideas in America and Hong Kong and Moscow and so forth ... how would you address that?
TM: Well, I'm astonished ... I hardly know what he is talking about..
AB: Okay, let me rephrase it. He's saying the internet will stifle diversity and that diversity is critical to advancement.
TM: Well, what I see happening, and I spend hours a day on the internet, is I believe it's a great force empowering marginal and minority points of view to come along in centuries. In other words, before the internet, the great establishment ideas already had the machinery of the media to communicate their positions. What has happened is that the common man has gotten into the game with technology that I don't think was ever intended to fall into (his hands).
AB: You bet it wasn't.
TM: So, I don't know what Chriton is talking about. I believe what the internet is doing is dissolving boundaries between people, idea systems, classes, and factions, and we're getting a much richer evolutionary interplay between ideas and this sort of thing, so I see it as a very fertile place with a lot of mutation in hardware, in how people view it, ideology, this sort of thing. I just don't know where he's coming from.
AB: Well, uh, I might expand on it this way: He suggests, for example, that if you were to take an otherwise deserted or barren desert island, and if you were to put a species on it, that species, because there are so few of them, would by necessity be very innovative, would change very quickly in trying to adapt and live and stay alive. On the other hand, if you put many many creatures on that island, that process would be far slower. He uses that as a parallel to the internet. I'm not sure that I agree with it either, I just found it an interesting take on the sociological implications of the internet.
TM: Well you see when people talk about the internet, they're usually talking about the internet that was, because it's moving so quickly. For example, I just read a paper by a guy name Alexander Chezlenko (sp) out of the media lab at MIT, and he's talking about plug-ins that will translate web sites in one language into another. Well, now imagine when people can put up web sites and Telugu, Weetoto, Russian, French, you name it, and you can automatically slide into those web sites and see what's going on ...
AB: You're describing Michael Chriton's nightmare and your, uh, best dream, I believe.
TM: Well this is the thing about technology ... it tends to polarize people. Let me make one point here before we leave this time thing ... I said I'd identified a tendency in the universe which science had missed, which was to conserve novelty. And then you asked about the internet, which sort of led me to the second half of the observation. Not only does the universe have this preference for novelty, but each acceleration into novelty has preceded more quickly than the one which preceded it. So for instance the slow cooling out of the universe lead to the slightly more rapid appearance of organic chemistry which led to the quite rapid evolution of higher plants and animals which led to the hysterical pace of human history, and I see no reason to suppose that that process of acceleration will ever slow down.
AB: Is it a linear process or is it an exponentially acceleration process?
TM: It's an exponentially accelerating process which leads to a kind of end-of-the-world scenario which has led a lot of people to place me out with the squirrels because I'm saying that this process of novelty is now moving so quickly that within our own lifetimes it is going to accelerate essentially to such an intensity that we will be experiencing more novelty in a few weeks or days than we've previously experienced in the whole life of the cosmos.
AB: You have described precisely what I have just written about ... I wrote a book called the quickening ...
TM: Someone showed me your book and I said yes, this guy is onto this.
AB: I'm on to it I guess in a more pedestrian perspective than yourself after listening to your first half hour, but we're talking about exactly, precisely the same thing. I've been this talk radio thing for about 13 years, you know, that all-night show, and I am a trained observer of events and people, and every night I've had to watch the news and dissect what's going on in our world to prepare for this program. And in that 13 years, unmistakably socially, politically, environmentally, you name it, in every one of those areas of human endeavor, things are beginning to accelerate. There is simply no question about it, and that sounds exactly to be the same thing you're proposing here.
TM: Yes, where I've gone further than most people is, a lot of people have noticed the "time is speeding up" phenomena, but they tend to give credit to science or media or something like that. What' I'm saying is that this is built into the laws of physics.
AB: I think you're right, Terence. ...
AB: I sat here as I listened to the first half hour, in shock, because I realized you were describing exactly what I wrote about, and what I did, Terence, I realize that a lot of people will say that this quickening, or whatever you want to call it, is a by-product of mass communication. And I began to realize, uh-uh, it is not a product of mass communication. Yes we're hearing about it more, and more volumes about it, but in fact, what you are describing is really going on, and I documented that much in my book in each one of these areas and many more ... I documented the fact that it is not mass communication which is beginning to quicken things, but there is another process at work. Now, I don't know what that is, and I don't know where it is leading. People will say, well, when we finally get to this crunch point, whatever that is, what will happen? And I don't have that answer ... I'm just a talk show host, and observer, but maybe you do. When we finally reach what you call Time wave zero, um, what is going to happen?
TM: Well, the only way to predict what will happen is to look at the quality of what has happened as the quickening, as you call it, has begun to accelerate. What it's been characterized by is the dissolution of boundaries between classes of people, bodies of knowledge, pools of capital, language groups, and so forth and so on, and so it seems to me ultimate novelty must be a situation where all boundaries are dissolved .And of course, what that looks like, I don't know. I don't know if it's a virtual reality where you become god through the public utilities or exactly what it is, but it's clear to me that the human nervous system is globalizing itself, building a model of conscious thought on a planetary scale. Tens of thousands of people are participating in this, none of them has a real notion of what it's all about, but everyone is observing this sort of unfolding grand design and I think the emergence of alphabets is part of the quickening, I think the emergence of hominids out of more primitive primates is part of this quickening, I think this is the business that this planet has been about for a very long time.
AB: Uh ... Are you able to discern any time-lines to time wave zero?
TM: Yes, we've been talking about this as a metaphor ... what makes me, I hope, a little different from some of the other prophets in the marketplace is, I've got a formal mathematical theory that ... you know, I mentioned habit and novelty, this dualistic flow ... well, because it is a dualistic flow, it can be portrayed like the ebb and flow of the price of a stock, or something like that, in other words, it can be portrayed as a line graph. So I've written computer programs which produce what I call novelty waves ... in other words, a time-scale wave that pictures the ebb and flow of novelty. And by fitting known historical and paleontological and geological data into these waves at different scales, I was finally able to discern a best fit. But the conclusion that it led to was very startling to me, which is: this ultimate novelty, this transcendental object at the end of time, isn't millennia in the future, it is in fact slated to collide with historical necessity some time in late 2012.
Now, I know you have some interest in the Mayan calendar ... I didn't know when I calculated this date that it was the same end date as the Mayan calendar ... to the day ...
AB:: Let me ask you this... what did you, uh, input to your data base for this computer program? In other words, what did you start with?
TM: Well I had a very academic interest in the I Ching, which is the Chinese method of divination, and everyone who's looked at this thing has been struck by the fact that it seems to work ... and so I carried out a mathematical analysis...
AB: I don't know what Ching (sic) is, and I know a lot of other people don't either. What is it?
TM: Well, it's existed for thousands of years in China ... it's sometimes done by throwing fifty stalks, or sometimes done with coins, but it's a method of producing a thing called a hexagram which made up of either broken or unbroken lines--six on top of each other -- so if you're a mathematician you can figure, if it's made up of broken and unbroken lines and there are six of them on top of each other there must be a possibility of 64 of these things ... And thousands of years ago in China there was a vast body of literary commentary built up around these hexagrams, and they have always been presented in a traditional order, a certain way that they are always presented. And I was studying a very academic question, which was, is this order of these hexagrams a true order, in other words, governed by rules, or is it simply a random jumble sanctioned by tradition?
And this very obscure academic question led ultimately to the discovery that the I Ching was a 384 day, thirteen lunar cycle calendar. And then from there I realized that this 384 day calendar was actually a (something) subset in a fractal time-keeping scheme that is really more accurate and more sophisticated than anything in the west. So what I'm really suggesting here is that in the same way that the west conquered the nature of matter through the elaboration of modern science, about 4000 years ago in China a deeper analysis of time was carried out than has ever been undertaken in the west, and that the mathematics of this thing became buried then in this fortune-telling system. And I basically teased it out, and in my book The Invisible Landscape, and at my web site, all this stuff is explained.
AB: Terence, what is your web site?
TM: It's at levity, it's www.levity.com and then just click on Terence McKenna.
The interesting thing, Art, is that with a wave like that, you can do what's called retrodicting. In other words, if you have a wave of novelty that describes the past, you have to correctly predict the Italian renaissance, the Greek enlightenment, the modernity of the 20th century, so by predicting the past, we've gained confidence that this wave predicts the future.
AB: That sounds quite scientific, in other words, science is repeatability, and if your can repeatedly demonstrate that you can mathematically show the events of the past, then yes I would imagine that you can project.
TM: Well, so I've been active since 1975, but the theory is in a sense very conservative. It never says what will happen, it says when interesting things are highly likely, and when you're just wasting your time.
AB: Um, when you project toward 2012, um, what is the magnitude of the spike or the difference there? Uh, if you can give us an idea of the magnitudes along the way ...
TM: There is only one point in the entire cycle where the level of habit drops to zero; effectively then novelty becomes infinite. And at that point occurs on this solstice date in 2012. Now it's very interesting ... there are some people on the net called singularists, and they're hard-headed engineering types, and they take rates of energy release and rates of data storage, this sort of thing, and draw all their curves out, and they can see that some time between 2008 and 2020 everything will produce infinite amounts of energy ... we pack infinite amounts of data into infinitely small spaces, in other words, the same sort of things where, because of the acceleration built into the unfolding of this novelty process, we're gonna cross more territory between here and 2012 than we have crossed between the Big Bang and getting to here.
It kind of explains what is happening, that it isn't the old-style religion, that it isn't the sterile steady-state of science, it's that the universe is actually evolving some kind of process of self-metamorphosis, and human beings indicate that we have crossed some boundary into some new era, a new epoch of ever greater acceleration into this process of self-revelation. This is what religions are raving about, this is what every prophet on the street corner is trying to articulate, and I think it's real. I think we're getting a lot of static because people can only deal with it through images that they know ... you know, Marshall McLuhan said we drive into the future using only our rear view mirror, and that's sort of what it is. But I call this thing the transcendental object at the end of time, and I think in a sense, religion, Christian revelation, it will all be fulfilled in a way none of us ever suspected, because nature has this appetite for novelty and acceleration into novelty.
AB: So then again I ask, uh, at this moment that we speak of, uh, 2012, what do you actually think will occur?
TM: Well, I've thought about this a good deal, and there are hard and soft scenarios, but I've noticed that what the time wave seems most coherently able to track is technology. Somehow technology is very important, it's the transformation of the human relationship to the world through tools. And so what I'm thinking would fulfill this entire scenario without requiring God Almighty to put in an appearance is time travel. I think that we are moving toward ... you know if you look at biology over huge scales of time ... hundreds of millions of years ... it is a kind of conquest of dimensionality...
AB: Alright, let's consider that ... somebody recently said, and I have been considering since I heard it, a very simple question. If time travel is possible, then where are the time travelers?
TM: Well, when I asked that question to my sources, they said you can only travel as far back into the past as the moment of the invention of the first time machine. Because before that there were no time machines.
AB: Uh ... Let me think about that ... you can only travel back as far as the invention of the first time machine, because before that there was no capability ...
TM: It's like trying to drive where there are no roads. It also means that when you invent the first time machine, instantly time machines will appear by the tens of thousands, having come through time back to see the first flight into time.
AB: That's incredible ...that's a whole new line of thought for me ... about that question. And it might make sense ... uh, and your analogy is that you cannot drive where there are no roads.
How long have you been residing on the side of the volcano there?
TM: Well, continuously now for about three and a half years. I've had land out here since '77.
AB: Since '77. And before that?
TM: I grew up in western Colorado and I had my children and my marriage and all that in California, lived 35 years in northern California ...
AB: Um, you knew Timothy Leary, yes?
TM: I knew him ... we appeared in public mostly in Europe together a few times, and he certainly was a huge influence on me. I only came to know him in the past seven or eight years, but as a kid growing up in the 60's he was an enormous influence on me.
AB: You are now being called by many his heir apparent, his heir, now ...
TM: Well, I think not by many, but I was called it by him ... everybody else kept their mouth shut. Well, my message ... I am very interested in the psychedelic experience. I was raised catholic, and what I kept from that was an enormous thirst for the paranormal, the miraculous, the supernatural. And I went to India and I made the rounds of the gurus and the (gayshays?) and I didn't find what I was looking for. But when I went to South America, to the jungles down there, I discovered that LSD was only the tip of the psychedelic iceberg, and what I had taken to be modern science and modern chemistry was actually a tradition of shamanism and religious use of psychedelic plants that was thousands and thousands of years old, and that fascinated me because I actually ... it worked with me. Most people who seek the mystery with ...
AB: Listen ... let us pick this up after the top of the hour ...
AB: Here's what was written to me about Terence McKenna before we invited him on the program: "Art, have you heard about Terence McKenna's theory called Time Wave Zero? He suggests that as we get closer to Time Wave Zero, we are experiencing tachyon radiation from it. Evidently, the impending event is so colossal that it will emit such intense radiation that some of it will take the form of faster-than-light-speed tachyon particles, or waves, that, uh, can travel faster than light, and that they're actually being hurled backward in time. The closer we get to the event, the greater the radiation density, and somewhat more frequently and intensely we experience paranormal phenomena associated with it. This could be the mechanism behind what you call the quickening. The event we are approaching will probably be something tantamount to a white hole or a mini-big bang. It will, for all intents and purposes, be the end of time for us. Terence believes it will occur consistent with the Mayan calendar in the year 2012. By the way, he has derived this, uh, independently from the Mayan calendar ... he simply has discovered that it coincides with it.
He goes on ... "It is not unreasonable to assume that ET's possessing UFO's, if they exist, will be flocking here to research, or rather, to presearch, the phenomenon. It is also believed that tachyon bombardment would have bizarre effects on the human nervous system--visions, that sort of thing--as well as physical manifestations in the environment, like the Clearwater virgin, bizarre mutations like the Chupacabra, and heaven knows what else ... all the stuff you attribute to the quickening might be explained by this." And after listening to the first hour, I might agree.
Terence, I'm stealing one more bit of time to read you a fax that I think relates and challenges you a bit. It is from Steven in Wichita, and it's well thought out. Um, here it is: "Art, I'm not sure that you can equate novelty with either acceleration or complexity. Nature has always been novel, and surprisingly so considering earlier periods in earth's history. Given that over 90% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct, and the exotic body designs, it would seem that novelty is a given. But in order to be effective it must have a survival advantage and be passed on. Once the novelty becomes a hindrance, it disappears. Acceleration may be more a factor of population density. Virtually all of the social problems we face today have been duplicated years ago in rat population density studies. Our novel inventions of this century have simply artificially allowed us to compress distance and time by modes of travel and communication. Profit motives have directed and limited the novelty of our civilization in this century as never before, and we are becoming a hindrance. The higher the population density, the more the acceleration seems to be, anecdotal but relative, compare the case of a small country town to a large city with its population density and resulting problems accelerated by stress and profit motives." That's from Steve in Wichita. What do you think, Terence?
TM: Well, I don't disagree with all of that ... I think there's certainly been ebb and flow of novelty within the 20th century, parts of it more novel than others. But I think to argue that it isn't among the most novel periods of time is a pretty uphill battle. The question is whether novelty is something that simply adheres to statistical dynamics, or whether it's a real direction, a real arrow that's directing process, and that's what I maintain. I think it's not true to say that the biota of the earth today is not more novel than it was in the past. Certainly there are novel forms of life that have undergone extinction, but the proliferation of human life, which is an advanced animal plus a culture-creating creature, indicates to me that we are at a level of novelty that this planet has never before experienced. Of course, it's an arguable opinion, because history, which is what we're always comparing these waves to, is not yet a quantified thing ... I mean, how do you compare the War of the Roses over Queen Anne's War or something like that. But nevertheless, though we don't have an absolute quantification of history, there is general agreement among historians that events like the renaissance, the Greek Golden Age, the 20th Century, are periods where a great deal of novelty in social forms and technology was concentrated.
AB: Alright, you, uh, put together a computer program which was able to trace the ebb and the flow of this novelty and in effect chart major events in history. Uh, how many, if I might ask, hits and misses ... were there any misses in the model, or did you hit each, uh, major moment on history on the nose?
TM: Well, by my understanding of this theory, there can be no misses. In other words, it's not a statistical theory, we're not okay if we're right two-thirds of the time, so we have to be right all of the time.
AB: So you're telling me you are.
TM: I submit to you and to the world for your examination and critiquing the fact that yes, the time wave with it's end point December 21, 2012, describes with as great an accuracy as I am able to discern the actual vicissitudes of novelty and habit in history and natural history ... that's the claim.
AB: Uh, Terence, have you submitted this ... I mean, this is serious science that you're discussing. Have you submitted this to peer review?
TM: Well, among mathematicians, yes. And there's a lively debate raging on the internet about that.
Let me say something here though about science and why exceptions to the time wave can't really occur under the tent of ordinary science. You have mentioned repeatability ... repeatability is the idea at the very basis of the scientific method, at the very basis of experiment. It's what's called restoration of initial condition. But now notice that what the time wave theory is saying is that every moment in time is a unique moment.
AB: Is unique and will not specifically repeat. But what you are suggesting is that you can plot the highs of novelty throughout history.
TM: Yes, you can, but you cannot assume that you're doing it probabilistically. In other words, essentially when you really understand philosophically what the time wave is saying, it's an enormous attack on probability theory. You know, the way science works now, if you want to know how much energy is flowing through a wire, you take a thousand measurements, you add them together and you divide by a thousand. And then you have the current flowing through the wire. But notice that that assumes that it doesn't matter what time you make the measurement. And so much of science is like this, to the point where I'm redefining science by saying that science is the study of those phenomena so coarse-grained that the time in which they occur does not affect them. And that leaves out then history, love affairs, corporate takeovers, empire building, everything interesting in the human world is too fragile, to finely embedded in the context of its time to be open to that kind of scientific modeling.
AB: So, they're really small, insignificant events that don't enter into the larger measurements that you're making of this ebb and flow?
TM: Well, for instance, on a given day when the chart says novelty will be high, certainly somewhere in the world someone is having a very unnovel day ... it's a statistical thing, a Bell curve, no reference to you, Art ... but a bell curve where when the wave is predicting high novelty most people, most systems will experience that novelty, but of course some will not. It's the idea that probability is ebbing and flowing ... you know, when you study statistics the first thing they teach you is when you flip a coin the odds are 50:50 heads or tails. If that were true, the coin would land on its edge every single time. That's the rarest of all results in a coin toss. So what's really happening is that what are called secondary or tertiary factors are causing the coin to be heads or tails. I say, no, there are zones in time where heads are favored and zones in time where tails are favored. The idea that time can be described as a perfectly smooth surface which can be dealt with statistically is just a first pass with Greek idealism, and careful examination of nature shows that it could be inadequate, in the same way that perfect circles were inadequate for describing planetary motion.
AB: You are therefore saying that conventional science does not have and cannot have with its present course of investigation, a proper understanding of time?
TM: That's right ... beceause it assumes that it can bbe analyzed with statistics, and that flattens out and denies the difference between various times and types of times.
AB: Terence, how long have you been working on this?
TM: Since 1971.
AB: You told me that you were originally from Colorado ... family and all that ... then finally exile ...
TM: Well, essentially yes, then I got myself to the University of California at Berkeley right at the time of the anti-war movements and all of that ... it was like a kid in a cultural candy store ... and studied philosophy, art history, and then went off to Asia, basically to check out the hash dens and the gurus. The hash was fine but the gurus just wanted into my pockets, and so then I went to south America, and as I mentioned, that's where the shamanism thing really grabbed me.
AB: What part of south America, Terence?
TM: Southern Columbia, the Cutamayo River basin. And, you know, it's the psychedelic plants that are so fascinating to me, because .... you mentioned repeatability ... here's a technology, a technique that lets you, repeatedly and with relative safety, journey into alien worlds filled with alien forms of intelligence. And it's the only thing I've found that does that, in other words, I've investigated flying saucers, crop circles, and all that, and it doesn't turn me on.
AB: Let me quickly stop you there and ask you about crop circles. Many many people feel that they are fractal in nature, and if you're on the internet I know you've seen photographs of some of the more amazing ones. They do appear to be fractal. What is your thinking there?
TM: Well, I was thinking, you know ... I don't know if it's been published in this country, but this wonderful book called 'Around in Circles" by Jim Schnabel, to my mind, that blows the lid off the whole crop circle thing ... you and I could spend a whole evening, Art, discussing the relationship of the media to the human psyche to how people handle evidence and .. because I really think the psychedelic community has evidence to give on these paranormal questions that has never been properly heard and evaluated because the ordinary society's attitude toward people who use psychedelics is that they are automatically unreliable. But I think we're not gonna crack stuff like UFO abductions and that sort of thing unless we admit the psychedelic evidence. And if we do admit it, suddenly the whole thing begins to look very very different.
AB: Alright, Terence ... I don't reject it, um, and a lot of guests I've had on who've been into the very same areas that we're into now, very politically correctly rejected out of hand ... you don't need it to accomplish this, they say, you can do it within yourself, and I don't reject that thought either, but I would like to hear the case that you would present, um, for psychedelics opening the doors that you're talking about, um, that in fact they do. How would you make that case?
TM: Well, I hear what you're saying is that you're equating spiritual techniques like yoga and prayer and meditation ... I'm not sure there's a connection, I mean , it does help to be an ethical person to take psychedelics, but for instance, the psychedelic that's fascinated me the most over the years is DMT--dimethyltriptamine. Now this is not a well-known substance ...
AB: No it isn't ... what is it?
TM: Well, that's what it is ... dimethyltriptamine. It occurs in a number of plant species throughout the world, it's utilized by native peoples, and in the pure form out of the laboratory, when you smoke this stuff, you find yourself inside the flying saucer that all these dazzled people are raving about. But you've found yourself there by initiating an action on your own, in other words, repeatability. And after about three minutes of spending time with the self-transforming elf machines and their technology, you're deposited back in your apartment pretty much none the worse for wear.
Now, let's give this stuff to the leading lights of the UFO community, or anyone else who has an interest in unusual psychological or paranormal phenomena ...
AB: Okay, hold on ... another break ...
AB: And now from the Island of Hawaii and a very unusual individual .. Terence McKenna. Terence, I've got a question for you ... have you ever watched Star Trek?
TM: Oh, yes ...
AB: You're familiar then, with the prime directive ...
TM: Um, thou shalt not interfere is I believe the prime directive ...
AB: Now, what you are saying is so serious and is such a large revelation, is it not possible that you are in a sense, doing what you are now, violating the prime directive?
TM: Well, you know it's only been about a hundred years since the means began to arrive in the lap of western civilization that there were these psychoactive plants gathered around the world. The first one was the peyote cactus, and in 1888 mescaline was extracted from that. I think it's not without implication that right at our moment of greatest cultural crisis when we're destroying the environment and uprooting the rain forests and so forth, that out of those same rain forests comes a phenomenon that, if we will face it squarely, offers a severe challenge to our notion of how reality works and how the world is put together ...
AB: And what if we miss it? What if we finally burn down enough of the rain forests that that one plant that we could have used, is destroyed?
TM: Well, it may have already happened in the sense that three are many know cases of people collecting promising plants from only one known source and then returning a few months or years later to find the whole thing paved over.
AB: Alright, then tackle this one: "Very interesting. Terence describes a workable scenario. But my question with it is this; is this a universal process or only a localized affect? I believe that one of the theories of modern physics describes that observations affect the process or thing being observed. Isn't it possible that the data, the random sticks in China is being somewhat skewed by what is being determined as to time? Hasn't everybody noticed the phenomena of time being perceived to slow down depending on, for example, how frequently you look at the clock. Cooks have noticed the same effect with boiling water. The quickening may be happening because we notice certain events and then notice more of the same as time goes along. In other words, we cause the process to occur at least from our point of view.
TM: Yes, well, I think it's a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. I think we are contributing to it as we discover it within ourselves. Something is calling us toward itself, and as we approach it, we become more like it. Something is sculpting out of the primate body over all these millions of years an entirely different kind of creature. And as we go to meet this thing, which I call the transcendental mystery at the end of time, we are taking on more and more of its characteristics, it's god-like power, its ability to span (expand?) space and time. And when we finally do reach it, I imagine there will be a kind of effortless moment of merging and recognition.
AB: Signposts along the way, life on Mars, maybe Europa, cloning ...
TM: The rise of the internet, virtual reality, nanotechnology, possibly alien artifacts, all that and more. One image I carry into this thing, Art .. you know those mirrored balls they hang in dance clubs that send scintillations racing around the walls ... well the scintillations are distortions of the thing ... so as we approach this transcendental object at the end of time, there will be more and more breakdown of ordinary reality and more and more distorted scenarios of what it is.
AB: That clearly is a process that is underway now ...
TM: Yes, and everyone is, through their own fears, religious training, hopes, they are trying to project ... what is it? What is it? And there's a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty. I am not afraid of it, I would really like ... one of the great things about the psychedelic aliens is they don't vibrate with the strange vibes of the (feeble?) trading grays of popular media vibrate with ... it's a much more upbeat and affirmative kind of alien contact that occurs through the plant.
AB: This one plant or this one drug that you describe ... DMT ... I don't know what that is ... um ...
TM: Well, what makes it so attractive in a discussion like this, Art, is it's one of the most powerful of all the psychedelics, but it only lasts five minutes ...
AB: Five minutes ...
TM: Five minutes. So someone who has spent a lifetime dissing psychedelics or denying the existence of the paranormal for that matter, should at least be willing to invest five minutes. We've never lost anybody, you pick yourself up and go on about your business ..
AB: Uh, the effects ... could you describe them to much of my audience that I know can recall the effects of LSD or, uh, various mushrooms.
TM: It's very different. LSD is a kind of psychological self-examination and strange thought processes and insights. What happens with DMT is that there is the unmistakable feeling of having gone to a place ... in other words, it comes on in about 15 seconds, and suddenly you're in a place, and this place is full of what I call self-dribbling jeweled basketballs that are intelligent in some sense ... they're like badly trained Rottweilers, they come bounding forward, and what they're doing is that they're conducting some kind of a language lesson. Because they have a language which you can see, is the only way I can explain it.
AB: What is the source of DMT? Is it a manufactured drug?
TM: It can be ... but it's source is really in nature, in plants like (psicotrio viridis, desmenthacellanoianthus), there's a whole bunch of this Latin salad. Most of these are south American plants, but every ecosystem on earth has DMT sources in it. In fact, the human brain naturally produces it. Why? We don't know, but I'd say there's a strong clue. Here's a drug that causes people to see little creatures, and this same substance occurs naturally in the human brain. Now, I'm not saying that's the answer to these UFO phenomena, but how many people have looked at this and pursued this?
AB: Well, let me ask this ... uh, there are many who claim to have been abducted, and if DMT is a naturally occurring substance in the brain, uh, your theory can probably be verified by measuring those who have claimed to be abducted. Uh, would such a measurement be scientifically possible?
TM: Well, the problem, you'll recall I said it only lasts five minutes. So unusual amounts of this in the body are very quickly brought down to base line. It's one of the most transient drugs in the body ever observed, so ... and an interesting thing about it, Art, is when they measure its presence they look at human cerebrospinal fluid, and they've discovered that it reaches its greatest concentration there between three and four in the morning. Well that's when people are doing the intense REM dreaming, and so I think ... You know, the Australian aboriginals have this concept of the dream time, and I think when you put the dream time, the chemistry of DMT, the abduction stories together and the depth with which modern media has programmed and messed with people, you're very close to being able to talk about the alien phenomenon. I think there are aliens, but I think they can only reach us through our minds. They don't cross the universe in ships of titanium, they don't even project holograms of themselves in the desert air. They come through the human mind, and if you look at the human mind, in all cultures and in all times and places, except western Europe and a few intellectuals in the past 200 years, the human mind has always been haunted by sprites, gnomes, nixies, elves ... so I don't see the UFO the modern way that's anything more than the latest wave of this mysterious relationship that we have with disembodied minds through the imagination.
Well, then people say, well, this is the old psychological reduction argument. No, because when I say the human imagination, I don't mean some paltry psychological function, I think the human imagination is the largest part of us, and where we're going to spend most of the rest of human history.
AB: How is such a theory greeted by the majority of people who listen to you? Right now I'm getting a lot of faxes and a lot of people are really hearing what you're saying, even though you've got to listen very carefully, they're hearing what you're saying, Terence, and a lot of them are agreeing with you, but there's gonna be a big body of very violent disagreement too, isn't there?
TM: Well, yes, there are some very large eggs at stake in this game. I mentioned science and the need to revise probability theory, there's a lot of vested interest in certain versions of what the UFO phenomenon is, but you see what I bring to all of this, and speaking for the psychedelic community, what we bring to all of this is not simply another rap, or another tall tale, but a message.
AB: Oh no, I hear that. So then would you suggest that sightings of UFO's, abduction encounters, if you could be there measuring a burst of DMT, you'd certainly find it at that moment?
TM: I think you would find it. And I think another place you would find it is at human death. I think this is very important ... I think as we die that we have, if we haven't had it, a DMT trip. I also think probably every night in these deep dream states we penetrate into realms from which we can remember almost nothing.
AB: Well, then that would be another moment at which we should be able to measure a spike in DMT level in the brain.
TM: Are you talking about death?
AB: No, no, uh, yes, yes, I'm talking about both instances you cited ... deep REM sleep and the moment of death ...
TM: Well, it's been confirmed in deep REM ... doing this kind of research on dying people has a lot of ethical questions ...
AB: I understand ... but you're saying it has been confirmed ... do you know where?
TM: In deep sleep ...?
AB: No, in what institution there has been confirmation ...
TM: Well, at the University of Mississippi a few years ago a team lead by a guy name Christian ... all those papers are in the literature, and in fact anyone interested in this should just search DMT on the internet and they may have never heard of this but they will be astonished ...
AB: Well, I've never heard of it but your chain of logic is making sense to me. Now, let us talk for a second about paranormal events. As we approach time wave zero, it is your contention that paranormal events ... ghosts, poltergeist, paranormal events of all manner and shape ... will begin to increase, which would suggest, I think, that DMT spikes will be increasing ... yes?
TM: That's a way of putting it, and certainly DMT is becoming more known in society, and there's almost a fad now in locating plants in one's environment and extracting this stuff and getting enough out to actually hit the money.
AB: Yeah, do we have laws against it yet? I guess I ought to ask ...
TM: Well, it's an interesting situation ... here it is, a human neurotransmitter, every single one of us has it in our bodies, and yes, this is among the most illegal substances ...
AB: It figures.
TM: It's a catch-22 ... we're all "holding," Art.
AB: Well the way things are going we'll probably all be tossed in the pokey for it, we'll have little roadside stops and DMT measuring devices ...
TM: Well, I think this was Adam's fall ...
AB: You made a fascinating statement ... I said if there's time travel where are all the time travelers ... your answer was, they will not be here until the first time machine was invented because you could not go back to a time prior to the invention of a machine that would enable travel. Your parallel was that you cannot travel where there are not roads, and there are not roads back that far in time. If time is to virtually end by 2012, Terence, where would you see the invention of a time machine between now and then.
TM: Well, I don't think it's between now and then ... I think it's then. In other words, if what the time wave zero thing is showing is that events can be portrayed in this linear way as a line on a graph, that suddenly in 2012 for some mysterious reason this can no longer be done, it must be because in 2012 time ceases to be linear. And that must mean that because a technology is created which causes time to lose its linear and serial quality, and that could only be time travel.
AB: And you believe that at that moment, tens of thousands, or even millions, who knows, of time travelers will suddenly show up.
TM: Well, actually that's my conservative model of what would happen. What's against that ... I'm sure you've heard this ... is the well-known grandfather paradox, which is ... time travel is always said to be impossible because you travel back in time and you could kill your own grandfather. How do we avoid this? I think we avoid this by actually ... what happens when the first time machine is invented is the rest of universal history happens instantly. This is the only way paradox can be kept out of the picture. So I call it the God whistle scenario.
AB: So in other words, linearity ends at that instant ...
TM: And the rest of the history of the universe occurs in a few milliseconds. It's sort of the reverse of the Big Bang where you get a lot of action in the first few nanoseconds of the universe's life. In this model the universe undergoes half of its morphogenetic unfolding in the last few milliseconds of its existence.
AB: Is that, then, the moment that the human race, in effect, joins those that we contemporarily now visit only with something like DMT?
TM: Or, that the human race joins those that have passed over into the Great Beyond, or both. That's what I think it is ...
AB: Are they one and the same, in your view?
TM: They may be ... I've thought that these DMT creatures ... what are they? And the conservative position, since we know there are human beings is, they must be some kind of human beings, but what kind? And the only answer I can come up with is souls. I resisted this, but is it possible that shamans have been using plants to peer into the great beyond and that there is a kind of ecology of souls out there? When you ask a shaman, they say "well, you weren't listening ... we told you we did it with ancestor magic." We say, "Oh, I get it ... an ancestor is actually a dead person."
AB: We're gonna go to the phone lines, and that should be an interesting adventure in itself. But I want to ask you Terence, about souls. You mentioned souls, so I have two questions. One is, there was a medical study in which a medical doctor actually endeavored to set out and prove, in days when it was politically okay to do this sort of thing, that the soul could actually be measured, that at the very instant of human death, and he went through a whole big trip--I put the medical report up on my web site-- uh, the human body loses about three quarters of an ounce ... uh, not due to gases or anything else you might imagine in your mind, no physical cause, all of that accounted for ... and he published this medical study suggesting that the human body, at the instant of death, loses three-quarters of an ounce of weight. Uh, do you have any reaction to that?
TM: Well, looking at it through the eyes of novelty theory, I think nature is very reluctant to give up a complex ordered form once it is achieved. I've noticed that the difference between living organisms and things like chairs and tables is the chairs and tables don't metabolize. In a sense the soul is something that is manifest in time ... it's almost as though organisms have a hyperdimension .. they're objects with time folded inside of them, and at death, what seems to happen is this complex morphogenetic field if you will simply withdraws back into whatever higher dimension it came from in the first place. It's not that it falls apart or dissolves, it's that it retracts from matter. It clothed itself with matter for some decades and now it's simply releasing its organizational power over matter. But it isn't being destroyed ... that's my personal feeling.
AB: I absolutely agree with you, uh, but by your description, it would suggest that there could not be physical weight to it, or could there be?
TM: No, I think there could be ... I think we don't know what it is or of what it consists. This is all, as you pointed out, because the social attitudes and different ideas of medical ethics, these areas are very difficult to get data on.
AB: Alright ... next data point. I don't know if up there on the mountain you've got television ... do you have television?
TM: Well we have it but we don't do much with it.
AB: Well, 20/20 about a week ago did a truly fascinating segment ... maybe you heard me talking about it on the program ... they followed a 57 year old woman who received a heart and lung transplant from a teenage boy. When she uh woke up from the operation, she had the immediate cravings of a teenage boy. And if that's not enough for you Terence .... she of course had no idea who the donor was, but she had a dream ... uh ... in one of the successive nights in which she dreamt the name of the donor. All of this was chronicled on 20/20. Now, again it goes to the question of the nature of the soul, but these are physical body parts, and the obvious implication here is that some essence of that boy, uh, was transferred to this boy. And this is not the only case of this ... it has been noted again and again in transplant cases. What does that suggest?
TM: Well, you know we have memories, and we've never located ... though we believe they're in the brain, we've never proven or demonstrated that. My friend Rupert Sheldrake, the British physicist, he believes everything has a kind of memory--objects, organs, ideologies, and that these things surround objects like auras and follow them in time. But you can't move a heart or and organ from one body to another without some of the--dare we say it?--karma associated with it coming with it. I don't see how it could be any other way.
AB: Sure we dare say that .. no problem, and I think it's fascinating. So it again, is really evidence of, I don't know if I dare use the word soul, because I'm not sure that is the soul, but it certainly is some sort of transference that is occurring that indicates that maybe our soul, or our being, is in no central location but rather a total part of us. Yes?
TM: Absolutely yes.
AB: Alright, I would like to begin taking some calls here and let them ask you some questions ... first time caller line, you're on the air with Terence McKenna ...
Caller: Yes, Terence, I got so many ideas I want to question you about but I'll try to limit it. As far as souls go, would we agree that electrochemical energy in the brain has to go somewhere after death?
TM: Yes, this is what we're saying. But in a sense it withdraws into what I call hyperspace. In a way you could say that the body is a lower-dimensional sectioning of a higher dimensional object which is the soul/body complex.
Caller: And the other point I wanted to touch on ... as far as your uniqueness curve, how do you account for the chaos theory that there are random particles in the universe affecting the interaction of particles, that they come by ... I will agree with you that nature as a large system is circular, it recirculates, I mean, there are cycles ...
AB: I'm not sure that that's what the time wave zero theory suggests at all.
TM: No, I think this word you introduced into the question--random--this word is a word out of probability theory and statistics. I mean, there may be random processes in the universe, but so far the only ones we've ever found have been inside random number generators produced by mathematicians. In other words, it's a nice simple supposition to suppose that there are processes that can be described as random, but the more we look at nature, the more we find order. Chaos theory is misunderstood by a lot of people as using the old notion of chaos as disorder, but what chaos for modern mathematicians is is almost a super kind of order, a super-fecund medium out of which perturbations of higher states of order can spontaneously emerge. This is what Ilia Pregosian and Ralph Abraham and all these people are talking about.
AB: Um, I want to ask you something, Terence. I interviewed a scientist, uh, who now has a private company called Pear Inc. He produces a computer program which is a gigantic random number generator designed to run on a good, fast computer, and it enables you to pull down two pictures. For example, one of random absolute noise, on the left, and the other, it wouldn't matter, the scene of a mountain, or any other physical photograph that you might want to bring down. You put them side by side, and then a process of randomness will begin in the computer, and your job is to sit in front of the computer and cause the random noise to disappear bringing the picture into perfect clarity, or you can cause the picture to be completely consumed by the random noise. And the suggestion is, and there is a rating given at each sitting, and the suggestion is that you, with your mind, are able to affect a rapidly generating random number sequence ... generator ... whatever. And by God, you can sit there and do it.
TM: Yes, there's a site on the web called the Retro-Psychokinesis site where they claim you not only can move these random number generators around, but you can move them around in the past. In other words, they invite you to .. numbers are being flashed on the screen ... they invite you to concentrate on the numbers being odd or even. And then they demonstrate to a small percentage that people can actually push this in the direction they want it to go.
AB: So what does that suggest ... it's really the same method I just described to you ... same thing.
TM: Well, but then there's another wrinkle. They tell the people they're generating the numbers in real time, but they've actually made a tape three weeks before and put it in a vault and the people are still able to push it the way they want. In other words, in some sense, they accomplished what they set out to do before they set out to accomplish it. So yes, there's lots of discussions, statistical studies, and it's very amenable to being demonstrated on the web., and what it really brings Art is the sense that physics, which was the paradigmatic science in terms or rigor and reason, the inmates have taken over the asylum. And the word hasn't reached biology yet.
AB: But that is a form of time travel to the past ...
TM: I think what we're going to discover is that how you move around in time is not determined by the law of physics but is determined by cultural programming. And that this is what's gonna tear open shamanism and yoga and some of these other things. We are far more imprisoned by cultural conventions than we are by physical laws.
AB: Alright Terence. Wild-card line you're on the air with Terence McKenna ... where are you?<:P> Caller: Good morning Mr. Bell, this is Robert in the San Joaquin Valley in California. I have two questions, but Mr. Bell, I want to say first that I heard earlier on the news that scientists have discovered a substance in cats brains that enable them to, when they take cat naps, when they wake up it's instantaneous, and they're very alert. They say that this will lead in two or three years to a sleeping pill for humans without side effects where when they wake up, they will wake up instantly and alert.
AB: And we shall call it the cat nap pill.
Caller. Terence, fascinating, sir ... I have two quick questions. The first one, for most of my life, I've heard people say that everyone has dreams. I never, ever remember, never recall the dreams. And about eight years ago there was a scientific report that stated that there is approximately 5% of the population that do not have dreams. When I got to sleep, it's like a rock. I wanted to mention that, and then I'll give you my second question and listen to you on the air. The last question, Mr. Bell had a guest, Ed Dames, remote viewer, he mentioned that in his remote viewing, that he could not see beyond, was it 2012, Mr. Bell? And Christians refer to the rapture. I was just wondering ... what your take would be on all of this?
AB: Alright, both good questions. Let's tackle the easiest one first. Dreams. I'm not aware of a study that suggests that 5% of the population doesn't dream. Most of the people I've talked to suggest that everybody dreams. Maybe 5% don't remember them. And we were talking about dreams earlier with respect to DMT ... could there be people in your opinion Terence, who do not dream at all, and therefore have no DMT spikes at all?
TM: Well, it's interesting ... I would have thought, as you suggested, that everybody dreams, bit some people don't remember it, but it is true that I would guess one in twenty don't respond to DMT. This is very puzzling ... they simply do not respond to it. And of course, this has never been studied because it's an underground drug, but there may well be.
And it may be that dreaming is something that's recently arriving in human evolution and not something we can just take for granted.
AB: So then are we to presume that those who do not dream have not sufficiently evolved?
TM: Well, I wouldn't put it that way ... everybody has different genetic strengths and differences, maybe they've got a helluva backswing ... I don't know ...
AB: Or, to be fair, perhaps we can suggest that they are the ones who have evolved past the need for it?
AB: What realm are remote viewers operating in, in your view? Is it the same realm that one might achieve by various methods, including the chemical method you refer to?
TM: Well, I'm sure you've heard about Bell's non-locality theorem and the rise of the idea of non-local information in quantum physics. I think what we're gonna have to face is teh idea that through the imagination, all information throughout space and time is somehow accessible. The body can localize consciousness because consciousness associated with the body has developed to protect the body, basically as a threat-detection device. But the imagination, which we tend to think of as something we 'make up' or we create, I think is actually something we're imbedded in, and if you can filter out the noise sufficiently, something like viewing at a distance or remote viewing ... these things are a commonplace in these shamanic and psychedelic societies.
AB: But even aside from those, in the discipline ... now, when I say remote viewing, I refer to the discipline that the armed services came up with to spy. Naturally, you know the armed services are going to use it for military purposes. Now, in that process, there are very specific protocols that endeavor to erase the imagination, ensuring the purity of the information received.
TM: Well, this is the projected imagination of the individual meeting the incoming signal of the great beyond, the great 'whatever it is', and yes, I think a talented remote viewer is someone almost empty of projection, so that they can actually feel or intuit the incoming signal. I imagine that it's a very delicate thing, but I also imagine with the proper kind of feedback to tell you when you are doing well, it's probably the kind of thing that can be coaxed out of most people. As I said in the last hour, we are more imprisoned by what we think of as culture than we are by the laws of physics.
AB: Alright, wild-card line, you're on the air ... where are you.
Caller: I'm Richard and I'm in St. Peters MO Mr. McKenna has been giving me some insight. I have been working with a system of divination called geomancy, and it consists of the generation of figures consisting of points, I use dice to generate the figures. Once the figures are generated, a reading, in other words, a combination of figures, gives insights into future events. It would seem as though ... I've been working on this for three years and I've got it down to the point where I've got a card-reading system which is self-programmable. Which to me is fascinating because my clients have in some ways focused on the dice to create the pattern, and by creating the pattern I get insight into when things are going to occur and what things will be happening to them, and it's on the money. I'd love to say it's 100%, but it seems to me, other than synchronicity, that consciousness with a simple focus--dice--can travel through time. Which I believe is what Mr. McKenna is talking about.
AB: Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. It's the same idea, or sounds like the same idea, but without the same documentation, and a flawless performance. Terence?
TM: Well, all over the world there are these different divinatory systems. ... the Chinese geomancy, tarot cards, the Maya have a system of throwing crystals and small rocks. And skeptics who deal with these things which are usually anti- the paranormal always come back and say, 'Well it's uncanny, it seems to work.' And I think the world-wide presence of these divining systems that seem to work but which we won't admit work because we can't imagine a scientific principle that would allow them to work, they're really signaling to us that the universe is really more complicated than our scientific principles are able to make room for.
AB: So, he's on the right track ...
TM: He's on the right track. It's always about a set of defined elements, whether they're hexagrams, cards, stones ... and then a randomizing of them--either a shaking or a tossing or choosing or something like that--and then out of the human imagination comes associative projections which are always strangely right on the money. And this indicates to me there's a resonance between the human psyche and the world which is invisible to the ego, and that can only be coaxed into an observational state by tricking the ego through a kind of random process like drawing cards, or dice.
AB: Sounds to me like you have a far more refined process but I heard the similarities. Okay, here's another one for you ... back to time travel ... just a thought to ponder regarding time travel ... you're going to have to listen carefully ... Terence made a statement regarding the possibility of eliminating your own existence by killing your own grandfather, as an example. If time travel was possible, it would be impossible to eliminate yourself by killing your own grandfather. The reason for this being that if time travel is possible, then time would be kind of like a loop tape which is constantly replaying itself ... by killing your own grandfather you would cease to exist, therefore as the loop replays itself you would not exist to be able to kill your own grandfather. Consider it. You travel back in time, point a gun at and shoot your grandfather to death prior to his ever having children. You instantly cease to exist, but if you cease to exist, who would pull the trigger on the gun as the time loop replays itself? Confusing, but interesting, and worth pondering.
TM: Well that is the grandfather paradox. They perfectly stated it. I don't exactly hear it as an objection to what I said. That is a perfect stating of why many people have thought time travel was impossible, or that you could only travel forward into the future.
AB: Okay, east of the rockies you're on the line with Terence McKenna ... hello.
Caller: Hello ...Terence, from what I heard, you are obviously a disciple of Satan, and I have to say that I want to know why no scientist has ever disproven the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
AB: Okay Terence, Oh, disciple of Satan ..
Caller: Yes, he is a disciple of the devil ...
AB: Okay, well, let's get his reaction to that ... we're talking of these matters so it is worth some consideration ... Terence, how do you respond.
TM: Well, if I am a disciple of Satan, it's an unknowing disciple. I am ... at your break someone said I was a heretic ... I certainly am a heretic.
Caller: You're not a heretic ... you're deceived ... you're deceived by Satan. When you die, you will know that Jesus Christ is God.
TM: Well, perhaps ... my position on all of this is that we're not in this world to choose between good ideologies and bad ideologies; I think that sort of ... I don't know, maybe this is middle age setting in on me, but I've come to the conclusion that all ideologies are the enemies of human freedom, and we haven't made progress when you choose existentialism over Christianity or anything over anything. Real maturity begins when you notice that these ideologies are cultural furniture.
Caller: So Jesus Christ was a liar ...
TM: No, no ... he was a piece of cultural furniture inside western civilization. But let me turn to this question of the resurrection for a moment which I find a little more interesting ... I can't remember in which gospel it is ... the caller probably can tell us .. but when the Mary's go to the tomb the morning after the resurrection and Christ is there, he says to them as they approach, he says "Women, touch me not, for I am not yet fully of the nature of the Father." And I have never heard any Christian enthusiast discuss exactly what this means. It's a fascinating statement. Here is Christ, resurrected, having overcome death, standing alive at the side of the tomb, but saying "I am not yet completely of the nature of the father." And what this suggests to me is some kind of cryptobiological process that we're dealing with here. I don't think science can prove or disprove the resurrection because science never deals with unique events. If we had a thousand resurrections, I suppose they could statistically examine it and make a judgment, but these unique historical events are more properly the study of historians.
AB: Let me ask you in your own little way as a historian, as you have looked back to develop your model, when you get to the time of Christ, what kind of a peak do you see?
TM: Fascinating question ... At that point in the wave there is a unique signature that doesn't occur anywhere else in the wave. So in a sense it does indicate the life of Christ as being incredibly unique. But recall I said it never says what will happen, it just says where to look. And what makes the call on Christ a little difficult is that Christ shared the earth with Augustus Caesar; in fact, the story of Christ's birth mentions that Joseph and Mary were going because of the census of the world that Caesar has called. Well, Caesar Augustus is one of the greatest military and political geniuses of all time, so he's in the same part of the wave as Christ. I don't know how to tease them apart, but I can certainly tell you that the time wave tells us that the period from 15 BC to 40 AD was extremely novel.
AB: I have spoken with a number of remote viewers, and they have made a unique statement ... many of them ... that approximately at 2012, uh, they can look no further, they run into a sort of a brick wall, if you will, and there is nothing beyond. But what they do see and describe is a gigantic spiritual event of some magnitude which they're unable to discern the precise nature of.
TM: That's ... I could climb aboard all of this. I think we're headed for everything we can imagine. In other words, the resurrection and the life, the overcoming of 3-dimensional space and time, time travel, dark light, immortality, planetary telepathy consciousness out of the body ... it will be delivered by human hands out of the human imagination under the prompting of the gods and the entities and the forces in the human unconscious.
AB: It is fortuitous, Terence, that we are doing this program and recording all of this for history, for the time after they toss you into the volcano. West of the rockies you're on the air with Terence McKenna ... hello.
Caller: I'm in Prince George, B.C., way up here in Canada, friendly neighbor to the north. I'm just getting a little disheartened by these weird Christians, but that's beside the point. I wanted to ask Terence if he'd ever read any Castaneda?
TM: Oh yeah ... I read a lot of the early stuff.
Caller: There's a later one called the Fire From Within, and for any viewers out there who are digging this, which I am ... I'm only 21, but I've been waiting a thousand years to hear this program.
AB: Look I mostly have listeners ... I'm not saying some are not viewing ...mostly listeners.
TM: The ones who are of my persuasion might be viewing, Art.
Caller: Anyway, I just wanted to say that the Fire From Within covers exactly what's been discussed here tonight, and for any listeners out there, I'd just like to say that if they're into it, and maybe Art yourself, if you're diggin' what Terence is saying tonight, maybe you should read that book ...
AB: Maybe I should read that book ... Ah, so Terence, you've not read that book?
TM: Not that particular one ... I've read the early Castaneda things ...
Caller: What do you think about it?
TM: Well, I think in the early ones he was truer in his description of the message. In other words, I think that any claim to be able to penetrate these places regularly and effectively that isn't psychedelically based, in other words, that doesn't involve alteration of consciousness, has to be looked at very carefully. And what goes on in those Castaneda books is that he starts out talking about datura and peyote and this and that, but then in the later books it becomes more about these techniques and quasi-yogic stuff ...
AB: But why is it not possible, Terence, that once one is introduced through the chemical method to these alternative realities that one eventually may not discern a path without their use?
TM: Well, in principle it's possible. It's just simply in a lifetime of looking into this I've never seen it in a convincing form. And a point that needs to be made here is that the psychedelic experience is not like meditation .. it's not like anything else. Meditation is pretty ... you know, nobody goes to the ashram in the morning with their knees beating together in terror over what's about to overcome them ... on the other hand, DMT test pilots are dry-mouthed and white-knuckled. This is the real thing.
Caller: He says it becomes a matter of saving and rechanneling energy ...
TM: Well, if you can do it without the plant ally, I take my hat off to you. If I found it happening to me not in the presence of the ally, I would be extremely agitated and upset. I don't want to be able to achieve these states on the 'nach' ... they're too titanically alien and strange ...
AB:: Oh, that's interesting ... you are suggesting that uh, uh, that you are very comfortable with the chemical avenue, because uh, to have it otherwise would be so disconcerting as to possibly challenge one's, uh, sanity?
TM: Exactly. You've said it all, Art. It's so nice to have a control on it. No, I won't be abducted tonight unless I take this ...
AB: I'm not sure, Terence, but it may bother me because I understand you so well ...
TM: I thought it might ... I thought you and I were kindred souls when I looked at your book about the quickening. Art, I think anybody who is stretching into this stuff comes to the same conclusion, that things are moving faster and faster in a very bizarre direction ...
AB: Wildcard line you're on the air with Terence McKenna ... where are you?
Caller; This is Tony in Las Vegas ... I wanted to ask you a couple questions ... I think one reason that people, like remote viewers, lose credibility is because like psychics they have a distasteful track record and don't predict stuff like the Oklahoma bombing or a bank robbery before it happens ... do you think that time machines might have something to do with something that's very normal in nature such as extreme shock wave technologies and just normal physical things that happen generally in the mainstream physics that will create synthetic time travel realities?
TM: Well, I don't know from what direction time travel is going to come. It used to be completely unrespectable to discuss it in the scientific literature, and if you run literature searches now, you'll find that in the past ten years this has gone from unmentionable to quite respectable. There's a book called Time Travel in Physics and Science Fiction by (Natham) that will definitely bring you up to speed on the many approaches to time travel. It's been known since 1948 ... there was a paper by Kurt Goedel with a scheme for time travel that would work ... it simply required that you spin a cylinder half the size of the solar system at the speed of light ... but everybody agrees that if you could do that and then travel along its transverse axis you would be moved back in time. So sort of in the way we started with vacuum tubes and now go the Pentium we have now very Rube Goldberg approaches to time travel, but I'm sure by 2012 we will have brought this to a kind of perfection.
AB: And do you suspect Terence that time travel, uh, will manifest itself from the physical, from physics, or that time travel, uh, will be manifested, uh, from within?
TM: I think we're going to find a way basically to obliterate the difference. You know, it's only been 500 years since some Europeans sailed over the horizon and found the lost half of this planet, and I think the human imagination is as solid as the real estate you're standing on., Art, and then when this is understood, there will be a kind of migration into the human imagination. And this ... time travel, space flight, immortality, we have these terms for these things, but what is really coming is going to be all this and more. Our way of talking about it is inevitably incredibly quaint, because we talk about it inside the very culture it's going to make obsolete.
AB: It sure would do that. Terence, a lighter question ... this comes from my wife at the beginning of the program ... she knew that you were the one to follow on in Timothy Leary's footsteps, so she thought she would ask you ... it is rumored, or it is perhaps a legend, that Timothy had squirreled away like a treasure trove at some secret location 25,000 hits blue Sandoz ... where is it? Do you know where it is?
TM: My goodness, Art, your wife follows these things ... where is the blue Sandoz .... well, my lips are sealed When they open the tombs on Cydonia I'll issue a press statement.
AB: Alright, we'll leave it right there. West of the rockies you're on the air with Terence McKenna, hello ...
Caller: Hello ... I am in San Francisco, my name is Ryan ... It is great to talk to both of you. I am of the belief that two types of people in the world --people who have had psychedelic experiences and people who haven't--- the vast difference in their ways of thinking once they have had a psychedelic experience ...
AB: That's why it's illegal ...
Caller: Yeah ... I wanted to ask, what is the direction that he sees this state now where it is illegal and why it is keeping, I think, our civilization down to its dreadful state ... I think that it, you know, through mass awareness somehow ... I just wish it could be legal so that people could go to the next level that we are coming to so fast ... like things speeding up ...
AB: Did you say next level? You're calling from San Francisco, not Rancho Santa Fe, right?
TM: Let me say this ... I mean, I'm a bit of a pessimist on this subject. Because I take psychedelics so seriously, I can't imagine them ever being really legal unless there's a total social transformation because my analysis of it is, the reason everybody from a Marxist state to a Christian oligarchy to a high-tech industrial democracy can get together and agree that psychedelics are a terrible terrible thing is because the social effects of psychedelics being taken by large numbers of people is a kind of deconditioning from the cultural myths, whatever they are. It's no knock on any given society, it's just that if people start taking psychedelics, they start questioning what they've been told about reality. And culture is in the business of keeping you inside a set of predetermined answers to those questions.
AB: Well, based on that, then, perhaps legalization day is 2012 ...
TM: There you go, Art, there's an apocalypse that would shake our world and leave the heavens intact ...
AB: The day the drug war ends ... fist time caller line ...
Caller: Hi Art ... I'm actually also from San Francisco ... I just wanted to say that I am a professional stand-up comedian, in the vein of Lenny Bruce, so I do a lot of research, and I've read a lot of your writing, Mr. McKenna, including The Archaic Revival and Invisible Landscape, and also the CD you have with Space Time Continuum ...
TM: Oh yeah ... the alien dream time ...
Caller: Yeah, and I'm also familiar with Mr. Sheldrake's writings as well, and I would say to the 25% dissenter faxes that you've been receiving Art, that they are probably saying that because they are not familiar with what Mr. McKenna is saying.
AB: Well, and a lot of them never will be, it'll go right past them, and they hear one thing only and they see devils, and that's okay ...
Caller: Actually, in relation to what you're saying there, with the gentleman who considered Mr. McKenna to be in league with Satan ... the truth does not have an ideological agenda or anything like that. My question to you is, you're familiar with the writings of John Lily?
TM: Sure ...
Caller: In my neighborhood there's actually an isolation tank center and I go down there regularly with mushrooms ... I'll hop into the tank while I'm doing mushrooms and whatnot ... uh, I'm very fascinated with your writings on DMT, and what I'd like to know is ... how would I be able to locate DMT or the plants that it comes from?
AB: Now I don't know that we can tell that on the air ...
TM: Well, we can say something ... we've already said that it's right behind your eyebrows, so that's one thing ... the other thing, the real practical answer is, go to the internet, in terms of ... if you want to locate plants in your ecosystem ... there's a vast discussion of this, and incredible enthusiastic community, but as Art says, we've already pushed the envelope, I don't think we can start peddling Schedule 1 substances on the air, nor would we wish to.
AB: Nor would you want me to, sir, because then you might not hear me anymore ... uh, look, it's a lot less dangerous than a lot of other crap on the internet ... building missiles and bombs and all the rest of that, so uh ... use a search engine ... that's what they're there for. Uh, wild card line, you're on the air with Terence McKenna ... hello ...
Caller; Wow, I actually got through ... from Madison, WI ... first of all, I talked to you about a year ago, and you were telling me that I was doing myself a lot of harm by using psychedelics. I think Terence is good proof that someone could turn out alright ...
AB: No, I didn't tell you that ... I didn't tell you you were doing yourself a lot of harm ...
Caller: I thought you did ...
AB: I wouldn't make that judgment ... that's something that only you could conclude ...
Caller: But also, I want to make a suggestion for a guest, I think Terence might have heard of him. Have you ever heard of Douglas Rushkoff?
TM: Oh, yeah, I know Doug ... just what he needs: more publicity ...
Caller: Terence, I have a video called Alien Dreamtime, and I really like it.
TM: Yeah, that's a thing I did a few years ago with a band called Space Time Continuum.
AB: What was the essence of it, Terence?
TM: Well, it was a rave in San Francisco, and if you can imagine this, I talked about the impact of psilocybin on human evolution to a back beat. This is something we haven't gotten into here, Art, but I have a whole other rap on how mushrooms actually impacted and caused the breakthrough to self-reflecting human consciousness. We'll have to save that one till next time ...
AB: I guess so .. east of the rockies ...
Caller: This is Larry in Peoria ... this is very interesting because I just recently read excerpts from the Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary, , a take-off on the Tibetan Book of the Dead ... and I missed the first part of the show so I might have missed this, but I want to know what is the difference between DMT and LSD?
TM: Well, LSD lasts hours and hours and tends to be, I think my own phrase is, abrasively psychoanalytic. Essentially, I think LSD does what most people think psychedelic drugs do ... they cause you to review past memories, they cause you to see your life in a different light, and so on ... DMT is not like that, it seems to go beyond the personal dimension, it doesn't matter who you are or where you started from ... it carries you into its own world -- a world that is alien in its own terms and doesn't have a lot of information in it about your psychology or your dilemmas. So it's less useful for psychoanalysis and more useful for exploring what I consider to be pretty dramatic paranormal dimensions, considering they're so easily accessed.
Caller: All this talk about dimensions going to the next level ... I just had a psychedelic experience recently when I had a meditation on the nature of the universe as being like a geometric structure that's so immensely more vast and diverse than you can really explain.
TM: Well, I think you know there's the vastness of space and time that we know about, but then we look into the microdimension and we see how much there is in the atomic and subatomic world, I mean, the world is an amazing and dynamicplace ... and this is why I am so down on ideologies, because I think they're dusty mirrors to hold up to the splendor of the self-presence of the living universe ...
AB: Uh, here's, I believe, a McKenna quote: "Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet."
TM: Yup ... and what I think I was referring to there was resource extraction, propaganda, pollution of the atmosphere, and this sort of thing. If we continue to practice our cultural values as we have practiced, we're going to make the earth unfit for our children, which is a sin and a tragedy of such magnitude we don't even have a name for it.
AB: Boy, I sure agree with that. And then this: "LSD is a drug that occasionally causes psychotic behaviorin people who have not taken it." Terence McKenna quoting Tim Leary in Los Angeles in 1991. Accurate?
TM: Well, I tried to give that quote to Tim, and he swore to me he'd never said that, so it's sort of hanging out there in the air. But it's a very funny quote because I think it makes it clear to people how agitated you can become by drugs you haven't taken. And how often the people the people who have the most negative drug reactions are the people who didn't take the drug.
AB: And one last as we head toward the bottom of the hour: "The mind rests on a foundation of chemical machinery."
TM: Yes, it RESTS on a foundation of chemical machinery, it is not simply the product of chemical machinery, any more than I am an automobile when I drive it.
AB: Timothy Leary, as you well know, has been launched into orbit with a number of other notables, and once again referencing that 25,000 hits of blue Sandoz, do you suppose it's possible that Timothy had them launched with himself and that orbital decay will provide one great blast of acid rain at about 2012?
TM: Well, he did want to prove that you can take it with you ...
AB: Alright ... caller?
Caller: Terence, I've read, I think, all of your books, if not most of them, and in True Hallucinations there's a part where you have a mushroom in the hut with you and your brother and he makes a sound that you describe as "unless you were there you wouldn't understand the sound" ... makes the mushroom glow, or appear to, and you were speaking before about human consciousness interacting through resonance with the universe around us. Could you explain how those two things tie in, and in doing so, have you read The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbott?
TM: I have read it, he was a friend of mine who unfortunately died a few years ago. Resonance is the principle--almost magical--of action at a distance ... you know, we can play an open note on the cello and the piano fifty feet across the room will sound in the same octave. So resonance, we know it exists, it's a musical phenomenon, but what we need to realize I think is that resonance is built into time. Time in a sense, you could say that a given moment in time is a kind of hologramatic interference pattern of past time. And I consider those past times to be in resonance. And one of the things Art and I haven't discussed tonight about my time wave is that it does allow you to look at a certain period of time and decide what it was in resonance with in the past and those past epochs that are influencing it, their influence can be seen in popular fads, furniture styles, what movies are out, that sort of thing.
Caller: Now, with DMT, you say it's produced in our bodies. Can the DMT molecule in the brain change our electron spin resonance in the molecules in our brain, and can that possibly make our brain act as an antenna which allows us to see all those other things that you're talking about?
TM: Well, these are the kinds of ideas that my brother and I were playing with clear back in the early '70's, and one of the tragedies of the repression of psychedelics was not that they were taken out of the hands of the curious public, but that they were made off-limits to scientific research. Not that anybody put up a sign, but it was very clearly understood that pharmocologists who specialized in psychedelics could expect to be passed over, not promoted, not given the plumb jobs. I could spiel off a dozen questions, very interesting central questions about the mechanism of psychedelics that we could answer with ordinary clinical studies. It's just that how can you do ordinary clinical studies on substances that the government has made illegal? It's impossible.
Caller: I've played around a lot with EEG the last few years, and I find that I do serendipitous things, unplanned. What physicist is it who says that time is nature's way of keeping things from happening all at once? I wanted to get back into physics ... almost cosmic physics and having to do with black holes ... and I wanted to ask you about how you felt about the black hole being the ultimate recycling device in the universe?
TM: Well, it certainly is this ... anything which falls into a black hole is deconstructed down to spin and angular momentum, and all other information is stripped out of it. I think, you know, if there can be gravitational wells like that, then I think there can also be the kind of novelty wells that I'm suggesting.
Caller: Novelty wells?
TM: Statistical probability is not a very clear way of looking at the universe. If in fact probability varies through space and time of any given event, then there will be areas of extremely high improbability and conversely, probability. So I think we've gotta get past this idea of time as a smooth surface, and begin to think of it as a kind of landscape, as a place where some things are more probable in some places, and other things more probable in others. You know, you look for water in the bottom of a valley, you look for glaciers up on the slopes. I think time has a topography, it is a topological surface of some sort, and science in the west has just completely sailed past all this.
In Newton it's described as pure duration, in other words, perfect flatness. Then Einstein comes along and he says, well, no, in the presence of massive gravitational objects, space-time has a very smooth and slight curvature. What I'm saying that even at local scales, time is quite variable, and when we explode time at any scale we discover the same fractal patterns as we're seeing on scales far above and far below it. So really, what it is is a fourier transform or something like that, it's a holographic matrix that is self-similar on many scales. So the organization of a galaxy, the organization of an atom, these things in my theory are morphologically linked; they look that way because they are linked across scale and across space and time by an underlying architecture of the universe.
You know, there's a big mystery now in cosmology that's that dark matter mystery ... where is 90% of the matter? For the galaxies to hang together under the laws of gravity, 90% of them must be missing. Well, I say there's no missing matter ... what's missing here are some laws ...
Caller: Could it be consciousness itself?
TM: Well, it's this appetite for complexity that every particle in the universe participates in. The galaxies hang together as spirals because it's a more novel thing to do, not because they are under the pull of gravity, but because there is a cosmic law of aggregation for novelty that we've missed.
Caller: Would Fourier be a way of measuring that, a fourier measurement of the brain itself, or eeg?
TM: Well, you could measure it in a fourier matrix, you could measure it in many different kinds of matrices. The point is to demonstrate it to somebody outside the system who's looking at it. I think the great breakthrough in mathematical modeling of nature in the last 20 years has been the discovery of fractals and self-similarity on many scales. And this is part of that.
What I'm saying really is that time is a fractal structure. It can be defined by a limited set of variables and then iterated on the microscale, the macroscale, the human scale ... they're all operating on the same architectural constraints but at different scales.
Caller: When I talk to my friends in the eeg world, they think I' m nuts... when I speak in these terms, it's like in a big hall ...
TM: There's a lot of confusion in the sciences right now ... the complexities people are not talking to the dynamics people, the poor materialists have all been crowded into biology, meanwhile over in quantum physics they're talking like occultists, and none of the news has reached psychology and sociology yet. The house of science is in incredible disarray, and it's because science's wish to describe nature, they've now dispensed with all the easy stuff, now we're asking questions like what is language, what is mind, what is process. These are very deep and difficult questions, and I think they're going to cause a revolution in science and a reformation in its methods or science is not going to be adequate to the game.
AB: Well, perhaps after some period of anarchy. East of the rockies ...
Caller: I just want to start by sayings thanks ... I wanted to start by commenting on a couple of things ... I'm looking forward to 2012, and looking forward to being part of human evolution, and being in control of that. I want to say about the throwing out of the rocks. It seems that God has already thrown out the rocks on this planet, that's the way things are, that's the planet as we have it. I've had some psychedelic experiences and I'm not finished yet, but my personal belief is that you achieve true enlightenment after being sober and meditating in sobriety and getting inside yourself. The truth is not outside, it's inside.
AB: Terence, do you contemplate the possibility that your trip will be complete before 2012, your personal trip? That you will conclude at some point that you've done as much as you need to do and know what you need to know, and don't need to do any more?
TM: I can imagine that ... What I would like to do is take my ideas and turn them over to a general community of interested people, and let the chips fall where they may. You know, science is the only human endeavor where you actually get points for proving you're wrong. And I love that approach. I'm not interested in pontificating or building dogma or founding a cult, I'm interested in the ongoing adventure, which is a collective adventure, of generating ideas, testing them against reality and the evidence, discussing them with other people, and then going on to build a better idea. And I cannot believe that time wave zero is finished or complete because I have finished with it. I'm hoping that like work done by greats in the past, this thing can be validated as a real insight into how nature works.
AB: Right, well that would have been an arrogant attitude, and I'm glad to see you not displaying it.
TM: Yes, I would like to see this thing broken on the wheel of rational discourse, or progressively advanced to new levels.
Caller: Quick question ... I just read Food of the Gods, about early protohominids encountering psychotropic plants, psilocybin being the catalyst for this incredible leap in human consciousness ... what about the next step in our evolution? Do you see it coming as a result of some psychoactive substance that we've either yet to develop or encounter?
TM: Well, I think that we have encountered these things. I think the enormous creativity of the last half of the 20th century is a direct consequence of the rise of psychedelic chemistry and the breakdown of barriers between cultures. In other words, most of the people designing and building the internet have psychedelics in their past. Most of the people in the music business, in fashion, in media, in scientific research, medical research, architecture, the dirty little secret about the creativity of 20th century civilization, at least in the last half of the century, is that it rests so firmly on a psychedelic base, and yet we deny that.
AB: I've got one final question that I have to pose to you, with regard to our discussion on the internet. I interviewed Charles Ostman, an expert in nanotechnology ... he predicts within the next few years, or even less, we will begin to encounter sentient entities within the internet.
TM: Artificial intelligences ... I believe that will happen. Hans Moravick has written a lot about this ... he'd be a guy for your show, Art ... he's talked about how these AI's, these artificial intelligences, they learn 50,000 times faster than the human being. Well, if you turn one loose on the internet, where it can talk to all these computers, it can make 50,000 years of progress in one year. Moravick say's we're not even gonna know what hit us when these things come into being.
End of interview
Terence McKenna Land
The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension