Poets and Prophesiers

Last Updated: 15/09/18

Date Location Words
9 May 1996 Unknown 5525

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Pam Burton: Good afternoon. You're listening to KPFK Los Angeles at 90.7 FM. This is Pamela Burton for the Pacifica Radio Archive Hour, and many of you are familiar with my guest today, someone who we've presented on the Archive Hour, uh, often enough, and that's Terence McKenna, in town for an event that sounds like it's going to be truly interesting. And, uh, lots to talk about with you, Terence, especially because you predicted it. I know it's been a few years ago. This was going to be the week, this and last week, when a lot of events were going to be happening.

Terence McKenna: This is the hottest week of the 90's according to the Timewave. And, uh, I'm certainly living the prediction myself. I don't know about other people, but, uh, things feel pretty novel.

PB: [laughter, Terence laughter] And this Timewave we've talked about, uh, over the years. Many pr- people are familiar with that but for those of you just tuning in let me tell you that Terence McKenna is, ah, an author of, uh, a number of books and very interesting, uh, uh, looking at the , uh, oh, things about our beginnings as human creatures, uh, what it meant for us to live on the plains and eat certain kinds of foods. Uh, you've been an explorer of, uh, mind, and, uh, oftentimes we've had gatherings with you when you've, you and your brother Dennis have talked about different, uh, chemicals and how altered states of consciousness are evidently essential, historically, for human beings. And right n- and one of the things you have, have talked about is this Timewave Zero. It goes back- we go back to, is it Mayan calendars that you predicted this on?

TM: Well...

PB: How was it you put that together?

TM: It's not based on the Mayan calendar. After I figured it out, I discovered that it reaches the same conclusion date as the Mayan calendar, but actually it's based on, uh, studying patterns inside the I Ching. And what it is is by some mathematical sleight of hand you get out an algorithm that a tabletop computer can use to draw maps of novelty in time on any scale, a thousand years, uh, two weeks, whatever. And then of course the game becomes to use the wave to predict where in the future interesting things will occur. And it just so happens that it predicts that the most interesting and novel period of the entire decade of the 90's is, uh, began in February, has reached its most intense level right now. Right now. And will continue, uh, with very little slackening of weirdness on well into the Fall. And so I scheduled a tour of four cities during this period in order to talk to audiences about it while it was happening, and, uh, Los Angeles is my last stop on this four city tour, and we're certainly experiencing novelty even for our ordinary visits to, uh, this city. This is extraordinary.

PB: And does this, would this have predicted that I would have- my comp- my accounting computer would have gone down, uh, last week?

TM: Basically what it predicts is roving balls of chaos [Pam giggles] moving through systemic order. So that helps in some areas and hinders in others but it's definitely a reshuffling of the deck. That's what's going on this week, and we'll be sorting out the changes for months.

PB: And in trying to get some, uh, material facts to me yesterday I had three fax machines go down, not one...

TM: That's amazing, [Pam laughs] that's amazing!

PB: And a number of other things! Now, i- is there anything going on planetarily that you could tell us about? Are planets in retrograde in at this point or something?

TM: Oh, you mean astrologically?

PB: Yes.

TM: Uh, that's actually not my bailiwick. I have been keeping track of, of weird and novel events over the past 60, 70 days, and uh, just some highlights off the top of my head, uh 40, 40 billion new galaxies discovered, uh, three extra s- uh, solar planets discovered, that means planets around other stars, uh, the completion of the preliminary mapping of the human genome, the production of anti-matter, um, the discovery, the announcement that this large asteroid impact in Canada delivered enormous amounts of Buckminsterfullerine to the Earth's surface meaning that that's an organic molecule, therefore proving that uh, lots of organic material is delivered to the Earth from space. Uh, so in areas of deep scientific discovery, discoveries that will remake uh, human medicine, our model of the universe uh, and perhaps in the antimatter discovery, the ways we produce energy, all these things have occurred in this remarkably short period of time. Uh, there has not been what some people think of as massive novelty. China did not invade Taiwan and trigger World War II and you know, there were some similar other opportunities for old-style catastrophe that didn't happen. But you have to remember novelty is novelty. It's new more than catastrophic. I mean, catastrophes are in fact rather hum-drum. They come around all the time. Wars, cyclones, floods. What we're experiencing is the emergence of new kinds of connectivity and order in the human world, and uh, and then what we are experiencing as individuals if we're in resonance with the collective timewave is I think just wild fluctuations of, of opportunity, of debt and profit, of love and hate, of uh, you name it. [Terence laughs, PB Laughs]

PB: Now you're on this tour around the United States and I did get one of your brochures. I want you to tell the audience about what you're hoping to um, be able to bring people to on this all- um, 2-day weekend. Sounds like it could be kind of an intense time.

TM: Well I'm very concerned to communicate these mathematically-based ideas about the structure of time and what their implications would be if they were found to be uh, true, and so this is not something that can be done in an hour radio interview or an evening lecture. It's uh, a pretty steep learning curve. And, and I'm interested in communicating that and having people critique it. I mean, we're reaching the place in the historical meltdown of Western society where if something like the timewave actually works, I think it's time to move it to a higher level of public awareness, and that means exposure, collegial debate, possibly experiments of some sort, and then uh, discussion. So I'm just sort of touring the country saying "I predicted this was a novel time, how does the first ten rows feel about that?" And then can we get a discussion launched based on that?

PB: What have been the responses in the two cities you've done this in?

TM: Well, I've done it in three cities. We were in New York, Santa Fe and Boulder. People were very enthusiastic. Uh, it went smoothly, uh, but there were uh, good crowds and very intelligent discussion. Um, the situation here in Los Angeles is uh, a little peculiar. Uh, we're locked in righteous battle with the Veterans Administration, and uh, UCLA right at this moment because uh, the Veterans Administration which owns the large auditorium- what is it...

PB: Wadsworth.

TM: Wadsworth auditorium ordered UCLA which leases this building from the VA to cancel the event uh, just for, just Monday morning. So this has suddenly raised a whole bunch of free speech and advocacy issues. Uh, the VA's only reason for canceling Wadsworth Auditorium was my record on advocating uh, drug reform and social reform of psychedelic policy. UCLA chose not to act like a great public University and defend free speech and the Constitution but instead cravenly caved in to the VA, and uh acted as their heavy, and canceled the event and offered us a venue at uh, Griffin uh-

PB: Commons

TM: -Commons, that's right. And-

PB: And this is for Friday night. The actual weekend event is all scheduled at Paramount ranch. Correct?

TM: Yes, the weekend event is not affected by this, but the large uh, the, the chance to talk to the public at less than uh, a fair chunk of money is definitely being squeezed by someone at the VA who is being protected by the uh, events department at UCLA. They refuse to identify this person uh, so we've gone several routes at once. We have mobilized the media. We've mobilized the internet. Uh, the office of Senator Paul Wellstone, who is on the Senate committee that oversees VA affairs has made an inquiry, we understand. And the US attorney and uh, other interested parties in Southern California traditionally associated with defending free speech are uh, at this moment trying to turn the VA around uh, by friendly persuasion, whatever that means. Or if that fails I think we'll all be in court tomorrow morning seeking an injunction on them to cease and desist and we will- we're now assuming that the Veteran's Administration and UCLA are going to be forced within the next few hours to uh, allow this event to go forward at Wadsworth. If I'm wrong then it will go forward uh, at uh, Griffith Commons. But my feeling, I have to tell you Pam, is that actually there is a Constitution in this country and people can go- these government agencies can go just so far, and then uh, mechanisms swing into action and even these anonymous federal bureaucrats who would seek to control the dialogue, the agenda of public dialogue on these sensitive issues, are put in their place, and I'm pretty confident that we're going to have a Wadsworth auditorium event.

PB: Well, I'm trying to get tickets earlier in the week. They'd actually um, Ticketmaster said that someone had come and pulled the tickets when we were trying to uh, you know. And they had told us it was moved to the commons and at that point, I mean we, you know, there was no explanation at the Ticketmaster. So there's another problem in terms of people trying to get tickets. It's regretful.

TM: Well yes, UCLA has behaved hysterically in this situation. They gave us a three hour ultimatum. We were in Colorado. They gave us a three hour ultimatum to accept this smaller venue. We held a conference and decided we had no choice. We accepted the ultimatum, got on airplanes and flew to California to arrive at our hotel to receive a fax in which they claimed they had not received our acceptance of their ultimatum and had therefore canceled their event.

PB: I see.

TM: And then some two hours later at 8 o'clock at night we received a fax from them saying they had, in fact, found our acceptance of their ultimatum. So their level of professionalism and the l- depth of uh, s- understanding of the situation that they've exhibited has uh, left a certain amount to be desired.

PB: I want to let the listeners know that they're listening to Terence McKenna. This is Pamela Burton and we're bringing this hour to you on the Pacifica Radio Archive hour and I thought it was a very important reason to go live today because of the unfolding of the events, and as uh, we've been speaking about here today, Terence has been on a nationwide tour. You haven't had trouble in any other city? Nobody else has been frightened by what you have to say?

TM: No, apparently.

PB: Just my alma mater, huh?

TM: My alma mater as well. I'm out of the Cal system. I went to Berkeley. Now I'm figuring out why. [laughter]

PB: But you know, in a, in a strange way uh, again having gone back a few years with you and the discussions about your timeline. This was the week that this would happen in terms of the timewave zero predictions, correct? You just didn't know what was gonna happen.

TM: Well the funny thing about novelty theory is it tells you where the weirdness lurks but it never tells you what it will be. So uh, yes. Surprise, surprise. Well, I'm very happy. I love a good free speech battle. I think defending the constitution is uh, right up there on my agenda with uh, staying straight with psychedelics and studying advanced mathematics. I'm- it feels good. I think everybody- I think what we're going to do is do a great favor for UCLA. They- this is their moment of truth. Are they a great public university defending uh, free speech and advocacy, or are they the craven puppet of faceless federal bureaucrats? It's time for them to decide. As the contracts are presently written as UCLA on the Wadsworth, the VA could cancel anyone at their pleasure at a moment's notice and UCLA would have no recourse. So, I think we're doing them a favor. This is obviously a situation that needs to be corrected.

PB: And I know you haven't been in California uh, for a l- some of our current fight with Affirmative Action, but no we have- the regents have voted to uh, to put an end to all affirmative action programs in the UC system and at the same time it's been revealed that there are many many instances of affirmative action for alumni for letting kids in the back door because mom and dad are alumni, and, and uh UCLA in particular of course is faced with their incredible hypocrisy. Uh, academics, I think, in general when you think about many of the departments in this country that have been shut down o- or gutted of, of anybody had any- Marxists for instance have been taken out of academics. Uh, and I- and it does seem like a good time for us finally to uh, to uh, you know, fight the good fight.

TM: Well, UA- UCLA assigned a young guy yesterday to be our liaison with them on this matter and I blew my stack and raved to him for about 10 minutes until I realized I just made a convert. Nobody over there likes doing this kind of dirty business. They're all educated liberals. They know that this is nonsense, but they're paid these fat executive salaries basically to carry out uh, orders that uh, no- nobody familiar with the tradition of free speech could be comfortable with. So uh, yeah, I think it's a, it's a fine moment to do this little bit of dirty laundry in public and probably better policies will emerge out of it.

PB: Are you letting us know anything about the guest that will be at your weekend?

TM: [Laughter] your?

PB: In your little brochure it was announced that there would be some special guest.

TM: Uh, I'll actually have to check with the uh, department of propaganda. It's so special a guest my dear that I have no idea what you're talking about.

PB: Well, one of the things I would like to do- I'm going to open up the phones and let some of the folks- we, we've- since we knew that you were gonna be here today, um, I did let a few folks know that you'd be on. And so um if people are interested in calling up and having a conversation and enjoying the conversation here with Terence McKenna, uh, we'd love to hear from you, and we are at 818-985-05735, 985-KPFK. I can never keep him all to myself, he's just far too interesting and- I always know the people that call in and ask you the questions are uh, very interesting. But I would like to ask your organizers to be sure to give me the information as far as who we're gonna call. You can write that down for me and um- cuz I know a lot of people are going to say well, so what about this event? I haven't heard about it before. I didn't know that this was gonna happen. But as far as the weekend you could write down the information for phone number if we have to call Axiom or whatever. But go ahead and write it down for me and bring it when you can and we'll clarify that. Uh, tell me a little bit about what you've been doing. I heard that your book is going to be uh, brought out in paperback. Is this, is this true?

TM: You mean True Hallucinations?

PB: Yes, yes.

TM: It's already out. Uh huh.

PB: In paperback again?

TM: Yeah I've been doing all kinds of different crazy things. Not that high profile. I was in a Portuguese science fiction movie with Robert Anton Wilson and Rudy Rucker.

PB: Oh woah.

TM: Not to be playing soon at a theater near you [PB laughs] and I had just released a video uh, called Metamorphoses in which Ralph Abraham and Rupert Sheldrake and I kid around for a while and uh, that was lots of fun. These days what I'm really interested in is maintaining a very large website. Uh, I'm educating myself to be a webbie, and uh, I have a very large and fun website that I'd like people to uh, visit. Would it be alright to-

PB: Sure I'd love you to tell- I've been lookin at it and it is fun.

TM: Alright here's the URL for the Terence McKenna website. It is, of course, http://www.levity L-E-V-I-T-Y . C-O-M slash eschaton, E-S-C-H-A-T-O-N slash. And that's really my fantasy, to live out in Hawaii with high technology in the rainforest and uh, build a kind of cigar store indian version of myself and my ideas that people can relate to and wander around in and leave comments and we're gonna put the Timewave on in a Java application. We're building a chronological database. Uh, I'm very bullish on the web these days.

PB: Well, if you haven't gotten tuned in, listeners, to the web, you haven't had a chance to check out some of the wonderful things that are going on. Uh, maybe this will be the reason that you'll do it. We're always encouraging people. We're always giving out these outrageous addresses like the one you just gave. I'm waiting for this young uh, clever person right out of school probably who's gonna come up with a shorthand for all of our incredible um, addresses. And the information about your weekend- and I know many people are going to be interested if they haven't gotten a flyer from Axiom. Saturday and Sunday, it's gonna be at the old Piermont Ranch Theater, but to get information you should call Axiom at 1-800-762-9466, that's 1-800-762-9466. And uh, let's go ahead and take a phone call here from somebody calling in on line A. Are you there?

Caller: Yeah, hi Pamela.

PB: Hi.

Caller: Um. I just wanted to give you some astrological information.

PB: Uh huh.

Caller: Uh, Uranus went into um, Aquarius, which it rules in uh January, January 12th. And um, it's now retrograde along with Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune. And uh, Venus goes retrograde later this month, so there's a lot of that kind of energy happening.

PB: And when we talk about this a lot of people always go "oh no, we don't want to hear about this," but what does retrograde mean?

Caller: Well, retrograde is a review time. It's a transition between the old pattern that existed with the planet, planet representing a function, uh, and it's a transition so that it can be sorted out, reviewed and internalized so that when it goes direct, uh, later, you can start uh, operating with a new kind of, um, relationship to the, to the function.

PB: Mm.

TM: Well, so that's basically what's happening. I think what you're describing is a shift of gears.

Caller: Yes, absolutely. Uranus of course, is, is very consistent with what you're talking about with the timeline, being that Uranus always brings about transformation and pains through disruption, disorder and also illumination. Uh, it acts like thunder and lightning which illuminates the horizon and then you have to go uh, find out what it's all about, or it acts like an earthquake which shakes everything up and breaks down the foundations and you have to rebuild from scratch.

TM: Well, for both of these systems to be right they have to be consistent with each other. I don't- my theory is fairly conservative in that all it says is where the novelty should cluster and where habit and conservative retention of pattern is more likely to dominate, but I've noticed before that there are very close correlations between astrological uh, gestalts of situations and the situation with the timewave.

Caller: Yes. To me it all issues from the same source, it's just different patterns and different ways of uh, points of focus you can derive information from.

TM: Exactly. Right on.

PB: Yeah.

TM: Thank you.

Caller: Thank you

PB: Hi. You're on the air.

Caller: Oh hi. Great to hear you there. I'd like to encourage all the listeners out there to call our congress members and senators and complain about what the VA is doing.

TM: Yes.

Caller: Good time to call right tomorrow morning.

TM: I would appreciate that as well, and I would also add that if alumni of UCLA are concerned that the university they went to seems to be going down the wrong road, uh, it would be very useful for people associated with UCLA to let, uh, the office of management of uh, public affairs know what they think.

Caller: Thanks Terence. Good luck!

TM: Thank you! Hope to see you at the get together

Caller: Bye bye.

PB: You're encouraging everyone to go out Friday night, whatever it's going to be.

TM: We're having an event Friday night and uh, if I were a betting man I'd bet that it'll be at Worchester, and if I lose that bet I'll apologize from the stage of Griffin commons.

PB: That's Wadsworth.

Caller: Wadsworth

TM: Wadsworth

Caller: Wadsworth.

PB: There you go.

TM: Wadsworth!

PB: And Griffin commons is the new building in the dorm area.

TM: Yeah

PB: For those of you who might be like me 20 years ago at UCLA. Hi, you're on the air.

Caller: Oh, uh. I wanted to tell ya that what UCLA is doing is just kindling more into...Terence who I think is utterly magnificent. Uh, and what I wanted to say is that I've been lamenting to all of my friends that this is the worst week that I can remember in years. I can't think of anything that hasn't gone wrong, and I ___ moon. So what it really is is Aquarius. Uranus and Aquarius, and Uranus is the planet of accidents and sudden happenings, and a breaking down and starting over just like the man said. And the retrograde means that when you make a mistake you gotta do it over- it means step back and wait for it, or step further back, and this is really the he- you hit it right on the head Terence. This has been a week. I can't imagine anything more that can happen. And everyone I've talked to- I haven't talked to a soul who hasn't experienced the same thing. So it's all relative, it all relates, and I'm surprised you haven't got into astrology because it- it's just part of- it's just one of those spokes in the wheel and it gives you another angle, and it's really very revealing if you could just get into it. It's very easy, it's all analogy and it's very important to unerstand and I think anybody who's going into the new age or the new era, the enlightened era, should understand astrology. It's a, it's a method to a- of self awareness and consciousness, self-consciousness raising. In other words, understand your own character and your potentials, et cetera. Anyways I just want to thank you for being here. I'm really missing that you aren't here more often and I hope you come soon again

PB: Thank you.

TM: Thank you. Thanks very much.

PB: Yeah. And uh, good time to become political it sounds like too! Hi, you're on the air.

Caller: Hi, I want to give UCLA's main number. It's 310-825-4321. I called, asked to be connected to the chancellor's office not knowing what office to go to. And tey took my complaint and said somebody would get back to me about it.

PB: Good.

TM: Good, that's great.

PB: Thank you.

Caller: Ok. Bye

PB: Again you can join in with the conversation. This is Pamela Burton. You're listening to KPFK Los Angeles at 90.7 on your FM dial. My guest today, Terence McKenna. Uh, there was an article about you in the Times. I have not seen it. It was, I guess, last week that they ran something in the calendar.

TM: I think.

PB: Did they say how wonderful you were and how you're coming to town to enlighten us all?

TM: Well, they said what a wild man I was. I think probably that article is what started this bonfire. Um. Let's just say that it could've gone deeper and could've been broader. I'm sure the guy who wrote it was an enthusiast but uh, I think he scared somebody to death in, uh, the VA. But it stressed my concern over psychedelics and my concern for uh, legal reform. And my lack of respect, I suppose, for the ordinary professional channels of discourse. I mean, I've felt that we have wonderful psychedelic researchers. Uh, people like Dave Nichols at Purdue, my brother, Sasha Shulgin. Uh, we have- the science is well under control if the government would stop repressing it and stop propagandizing this issue. And so my role is gadfly, and i'm comfortable with it. And uh, I think there should be more people holding the establishment to account and just simply pointing out the absurdity of their attitude in these matters. We need research and we need education and we need reform, and if that message threatens the integrity of the United States government as the VA claimed it did in canceling this thing, then things are far out of kilter and we need to redress that.

PB: Let me invite you to call in and have a discussion again- and join our discussion here at KPFK. We're at 818-985-5735, 985-KPFK. I just saw the new documentary on hemp. you know, we're so far from being able to accept the importance of that and here you know we have the military involved hemp for victory and of course destroying all the films made by the war department, I would assume, at that time. We're so far from using that that would make such a difference to this planet right now. You know, now we have the new gasoline additive uh, going into the air in some of the states. You know, it just- it does seem like they are so far into neanderthal, you know, thinking because of the corporations and the profit the corporations would stand to lose. We're so far from addressing that issue. You know, I- it's- it's it's gruesome to think. I want to give you a chance to talk a little bit more and defend yourself in terms of this whole thing about taking drugs, etc, but let's take another call from a listener.

Caller: Listen, terence. A couple of years ago I talked to you on the Roy Tuckman show..

TM: Uh uh.

Caller: About- I wanted you to turn me on to Science Fiction. I've never read it and you were nice enough to give me the name of William Gibson and a guy named Ian Watson. Of the two of them I find Gibson to be terrific. Watson not so good. if you could give me a few more?

TM: Uh. Try Neil Stephenson- Stephenson. He wrote Snowcrash.

Caller: Oh I've heard of it.

TM: And The Diamond Age. And uh, try the short stories of uh, Lucius Shepherd, especially a book called The Jaguar Hunter and other stories.

Caller: Lucius who?

TM: Shepherd. And if you want to go for something gritty and not terribly optimistic but very interesting, try the new-

Caller: What I"m looking for is literature.

TM: Try Vurt. V-U-R-T, by Jeff Noon.

Caller: Hang on. hang on.

TM: A- and uh, definitely take a look at Love and Sleep by John Crowley.

Caller: Noon. N-O-O-N-E?

TM: N-O-O-N.

Caller: OK.

TM: Jeff Noon. Vurt. V-U-R-T.

Caller: I got- I got Vurt. And what's the last one?

TM: Love and Sleep by John Crowley.

Caller: Are these- of the group how many are English?

TM: Um, none.

Caller: They're all American.

TM: They're all American.

Caller: Gibson's Canadian, you knew that.

TM: Yes.

Caller: Crowley. Hang on. Now, the other thing is, and then I'll hang up and kinda get your answer off the air. Uh, I called up Roy one night and I said "where is Terence?" Because you used to come on rather regularly and it was terrific. I mean, two or three hours. Your taped talks. Actually there is another one. Where can we get your tapes of your talks?

TM: Where can you get the tapes of my talks?

Caller: Yes.

TM: Well, uh, Sound Photosynthesis in Mill Valley is an outlet.

Caller: Ok.

TM: Um. Uh, oh my god.

PB: We have a few in the pacifica radio archive

Caller: You have a- you have a place in Berkeley.

TM: I- l- I think really the place- Mystic Fire Video out of New York City has the newer stuff. They have that thing, um, uh. Surfing on Finnegans Wake and uh, Riding the Range with Marshall McLuhan, and this Metamorphosis video that I mentioned.

Caller; Right.

TM: Uh, and uh, they have a very interesting catalogue of other material too. You should check them out, it's quite a resource.

Caller: What was the name of it again?

Terence: Mystic Fire Video uh, in m.. in.

Caller: New York City.

Terence: New York City.

PB: Yeah.

Caller: Alright, and the other Sound Photosynthesis. And the last thing is uh, as I said I called up Tuckman one night and I said what happen to Terence, and his answer, which I won't repeat...uh..

TM: [laughter]

PB: Ok

Caller: Wa- uh, you know.

PB: Ok well let's not go into that tonight, right?

Caller: I don't intend to but I just wonder can you give me in a kind of easy way what the deal is and is there a chance of you getting back on the long format as it were. And I'll hang up and than you both very much

PB: You're welcome.

Caller: Bye.

TM: Well I think the short answer to that question was that he got sick and tired of me [laughter]. Which-

Caller: Too many of those weird stories in the middle of the night.

TM: Which, which uh puts him in a lot of good company.

PB: Hi, you're on the air.

Caller: Yeah, Hi Terence. I've been listening to you for probably over a decade now.

TM: Uh huh.

Caller: And um I just want to say it's funny I was watching a webpage and realized about this period being such a special period, and I was looking towards the news and not seeing, as you said, any real catastrophes going on besides the usual amount. And um, I just want to say In my own life amazing things are going on.