Terence McKenna was a forward thinker. His trade was in ethnobotany, but he was also a writer and philosopher, and spent much of his career giving lectures on a wide range of subjects which are now mostly all available on YouTube.
He was a wholly remarkable man, with a youth that is the stuff of legend. When he was just out of adolescence, he and his brother and a few friends (the average age of the group was something like 21) left whatever they were doing and flew down to the Amazon. They all had their personal reasons, but what they were looking for were the native Amazonians who would be able to provide a psychedelic substance capable of providing an intense visual experience. That expedition eventually launched this hitherto aimless and slightly reckless boy into his eventual career.
Prior to that he had been all over the world, from smuggling hashish in India to learning Tibetan in Nepal to catching butterflies in Indonesia to teaching English in Tokyo, and he spent most of it on the run from Interpol. Yes, his smuggling activities had earned him a price on his head.
He certainly wasn’t your average young adult.
His life and work revolves around psychedelics, particularly naturally occurring plant hallucinogens used in a shamanic context. Throughout his life and career, he has done pretty much every substance possible, particularly the psychedelics, and particularly the Stropharia cubensis mushroom which he seems to favor.
But he’s not just some stoner with a degree. His talks often revolve around understanding the human consciousness, understanding our role in nature, and creating a society that holds up the best aspects of humanity. He speaks with passion and compassion about these things, and he is quite a genius and a very, very well read and articulate hands-on academic.
You will learn many new things listening to his lectures, and he articulates things beautifully. Give it a try. He speaks extremely knowledgeably on history, psychedelics, quantum physics, shamanism, technology, world religions, literature, mythology, botany, pharmacology, chemistry, and he’s got a hell of a sense of humor too.
There are plenty of great excerpts from his lectures with a nice visual background to make it easier to digest. Here’s a little bit on life by Terence McKenna to get you started (at the top of this post). It has a nice video to watch so you don’t get too bored. I’m hoping you will move on to listening to his full lectures which are full of his insights and wisdom, but they are long and only audio. There’s a way to listen to these things in your free time which I’ve already put up on this blog, so now you have no excuse.
Also, many of the comments or phrases you may read on this blog you will also hear in his lectures if you should take to listening to them. This blog and myself owe a lot to McKenna. Ardent McKenna fans will recognize such phrases as “true enough,” “the limit case for credulity,” and “you don’t have to sweep up at the ashram for 12 years.” Those who are just starting out on McKenna will come to hear these phrases and possibly love them the same way we love certain movie dialogues.
If you like the below video, there are several compilations like this on YouTube. Check out the one who posted this, Life Eternal.
Also if you like the trippy artwork used in the image of this post, check zensages.com for more trippy stuff by the same artist.