TMK: I’ve been traveling a lot and speaking a lot to different kinds of people and most recently in Europe where it was a tremendous kinda bridge-building thing to get everything rhetorically lined up and squared around to where I could even introduce the subject of psychedelics. So I see that I’ve returned to the home congregation here. And, because you know, it seems to be the overwhelming focus of this group, which is interesting, it’s even some times even confining to me, because I would wonder maybe in other directions, but every prophet is the captive of its earliest ideological expression. You know, I mean, Lenin couldn’t do much about leninism once it had passed a certain point, so in hearing what people’s interest were, trying to think about it in new ways, you know the uniting thing in the 20th century, I think one of the things that sets the 20th century really apart from previous times, if not ontologically then by degree, is the focus on the moving image, and the role that this has had in shaping 20th century culture. And it comes really in 3 forms. It comes in the natural and the available form of the dream, which always to some degree has shaped human culture, but for Freud and Jung and the earlier 20th century and their followers the dream took on a whole new significance that it had never had before. It was seen as cryptic messenger from a hidden world, and as these things seem to work out concomitantly a technology of the moving image was developing, which was film. And film, and the dream, then become almost the two defining poles of the aesthetic of the 20th century over the first half of it, we’ll say. And then in 1953, because that’s when Gordon and Valentina Wasson discovered the mushroom, or earlier if you want to date it to Hoffman’s discoveries in Switzerland, or the German work in the 20ies, or later if you want to date it to the discovery in ‘56 of DMT by Szàra, but anyway at some point the third triad is introduced, which is the hallucinogenic or psychedelic experience. And all three of these areas of concern have adumbrations in the primitive. The stress on dreaming, even the magic lantern, and prestidigitation feats of renaissance magic have a relationship to early film, and of course the psychedelic experience is absolutely archaic. Nevertheless the coming together of these three concerns in this particular fashion in the 20th century set the stage I think for an important part of what I will call during this weekend the archaic revival. And the archaic revival is nothing less than a strategy for cultural survival on a global scale. And it’s a strategy that it’s taking place in the animal body of mankind, it’s not an intellectual strategy or a rational strategy. This is what happens whenever a society is slammed to the wall, it unconsciously reaches back through its history or its mythology for a steadying metaphor. Now the last time this happened in the west and worked was at the time of the collapse of the medieval Christian eschatology at the time of the rise of urbanization and banking and secular society. The model of the Christian universe was no longer serviceable, and very suddenly philosophers, politicians, social planners, reached onto the past for classic models. And this was in the 16, 15th - 16th century, and they created classicism. The revivification of Roman law, Greek architecture, Greek [politic], all of this happened a thousand to fifteen hundred years after these things had been completely abandoned. But then they became the basis for modern secular civilization and our laws are Greco-Roman and our architecture and our aesthetics, and so forth and so on. [6:23] Well the way this is happening in the 20th century is, number one at a much more deep and profound level, because it’s a global reflex, the entirety of modern civilization has shot its wad in some sense, you know from the perspective of 500 years, a society that cannot put bread on its grocery shelves, such as the Soviet Union, and a society such as our own that is 3 trillion dollars in debts, the difference is negligible, I mean both of these societies are functionally bankrupt. So we’re living through, and have been living through throughout the 20th century, an experience of the dissolution of boundary and form, everything has been in a state of flux throughout the 20th century, I mean it opens with the concept of the Edwardian gentleman lady firmly in place, class structure, class privilege, rage privilege, sex privilege. The entire structure of the assumptions of the post-medieval world are in place and functioning. Now, 90 years later, none of this is in place. And to my mind the major factor working to achieve this end has not been the two World Wars or the exploration of the unconscious by Dada surrealism, or the breakdown of classical design morays or any of this stuff, it’s been the psychedelic experience. The psychedelic experience is a genuine paradigm shattering phenomenon. We claim that we want this, this is what lies behind the love of the flying saucers and you know the loch ness monster and all of this, we want a paradigm shattering object, piece of evidence, body of testimony, something like that. But what we don’t realize is we have it. We have it as somebody over here on this side of the room said, you know, it’s a matter of courage. And this place is in a special mode. It’s not something where we can just validate it and then, you know, found an institute and appoint experts and expect them to issue a report, it’s something actually at the centre of our being. And my motivation for talking to audiences like this is simply that I cannot conceive of mature human beings going from the cradle to the grave without ever finding out about this, I mean it’s like not finding out about sex or something, you know, it’s just too weird, it’s part of our birthright, it’s not a cultural artifact, it’s not like being able to ride a bicycle or something like that where you can imagine that Pigmies or Amazonian Indians go from birth to grave they never ride a bicycle and they never miss it, but this is a little more existentially front and centre than that. I mean this is, as far as I can tell, the dimension in which we most fully experience ourselves as ourselves. Well, you know, culture, we have to be very careful about the corrosive effects of culture, some of you may know about these, it was reported in Time magazine about a month or two ago, about these forms of salamanders that never if the conditions of alkalinity in the lakes are at a certain level, they never mature into adult form, they actually can reproduce in a juvenile form so there can be generations of these salamanders that don’t even suspect the existence of an adult form that lies beyond the sexually mature functional adult form, and this is how I sort of think of what the effect of human culture has been on us. Starting about fifteen or twenty thousand years ago, for reasons that we’ll discuss tomorrow, ego began to emerge as a factor in human societies for the moment let’s just say it has to do with the concern for tracing male lines of paternity. In other words, once men had it enough together to understand the role that sexuality was playing in child bearing than it became this concern to trace male lines of descent and suddenly sexuality had to be very carefully controlled and the concept my women, my food, my territory. Before that there was a kind of orgiastic polymorphic sexuality that did not promote this kind of boundary formation at the edge of the body’s effectiveness. You know, in other words the ego was not a concept as rooted as it was in us, and I think that the shift from this boundless group-oriented consciousness which was psychedelic, to the ego-centric materialistic consciousness that typifies western society clear back to simmer, that this is the neurotic wrong turning. And that when we look back into the causes of it, we can see and argue fairly persuasively, that it has to do with an abandonment of this relationship of ecstasy induced by plants, that it was almost a kind of symbiotic relationship between early human beings and plants, specifically psychedelic plants. And that this relationship is not something airy-fairy, unclear, or operationally undefined for its participants, you put yourself lined up with and arranged correctly in relation to this thing by taking psychoactive plants, and that this is how human societies were regulated over, let’s say, a million years, and there was nothing magical or untoward about it, it was simply that these evolving primates had a population regulatory mechanism that integrated them into the larger body of nature. And this is what has been lost in the historical process so that human culture has become, you know, charitably a random walk, uncharitably a kind of cancerous exponential cascade of unstoppable effects. Now the thing is that we are in a position to understand this now, if not actually do something about it. H. G. Wells said history is a race between education and catastrophe, well, never more so than today, because the world is set on a course of catastrophe, the emotional constipation and rigidity of the past thousand years that has set us up as territorial apes with thermonuclear arsenals, all of that is just set to, you know, go critical. Nevertheless, we are minded creatures in the presence of an evolving and rapidly shifting landscape of problems, and I think that it’s a very hopeful sign to look around and notice that the only barrier to the solution of our problems are intellectual barriers, barriers in our own mind. We have the money, the technology, the mass communications, the scientific expertise, the remote sensing telemetry, what we don’t have is the will to self direct all of this technical apparatus toward a rational solution of our problems. But that means that the solution to our problems lies almost entirely in the human domain, and the human domain is the area where we observe the highest rate of unpredictable perturbation. So I don’t see the situation as terminal or desperate at all. The mushroom’s take on the chaos at the end of history is “this is what it’s like when a species prepares to depart for the stars”. It is chaotic, but it is not disordered, it is more like a birth than anything else. [17:10] I mean there is rending of tissue, there is a sense of crisis, of unstoppable forward motion, but it turns out all according to plan, all good end. The trick is to somehow attain this vision of the ordered correctness of what it’s happening of what it seems so chaotic and then to template it, to strengthen it, each for ourselves, and then to replicate it, and communicate it as a meme. Because there is no percentage in paralysis here at the brink, the only possibility is some kind of forward escape. You know a forward escape is when you attain the goal by simply rushing through the gauntlet. And I think that this history that is raced between education and catastrophe is going to turn out to be a forward escape, there will be a moment of complete abandonment to the irrational, and we will look tomorrow at the time wave, and look at Saddam Hussain and his role in all of this, but he is not the final act, this is somewhere late in act 1, all this malarkey that we’re having to put up with. But ‘up nient’ which in this case means downstream in time we will sprout all our worth and woof [...] fly through before we get there. [19:03] I guess I should say about my - how I got into this, and curiosity is probably the ultimate value in my cosmology. It’s what’s gotten me anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s the only impulse that I trust completely. And it’s alive in most people as children, but it gets somehow squelched or misdirected or something. So when I look back through my own life I see the psychedelic impulse before there was ever a word or a name for what it was, and I try to think back, as far back as I can, and I have very early memories, to the 8th month, but they don’t seem to relate to this, but I remember in - it must have been, I was born in ‘46, it must have been in late ‘48, I found a magazine of my father’s which I now must have been the October 1948 issue of Weird Tale, and it had these illustrations in it, and one of the illustrations was of a hooded figure gazing into a cradle, and this, I got this, somehow, as an image of the strange, the other, the [uhtra], and I think this is the other thing that for me was the hook into the psychedelics, was a kind of deep Irish love of the weird from the very get go. So, curiosity and the love of the weird, the edgy, the bizarre. And this led me into, and I guess maybe a certain degree of obsessive character. I mean I’m spending time on this because I’m trying to understand the psychedelic personality generally, but I did really have a tendency to really focus in on whatever I was into. And I think the first thing was rocks. And this was, you know, for me an introduction into the size of time, because it wasn’t just any rocks that interested me, it quickly became clear that it was fossils, and I lived in western Colorado and I could go out in these dray arroyos and bring back datable objects 170 million years old, you know, and stack them up and look at them. So I got this dizzying sense of the depth of time and you know there are those little museum pamphlets where it shows a billion years, and then the last million years appear and then it goes down year and then it spreads out, and then the last 10 thousand years - I got that, I assimilated this notion of deep, deep time. And then, you know, it was almost like an intellectual ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny because the rocks, the inanimate, mineral world soon couldn’t confine this restless imagination. So then it became about insects: butterflies specifically, moths, especially as an excuse to alone in the middle of the night around bright lights, you know, with cyanide. And I don’t know if any of you have ever been touched by this particular obsession, but because we’re insectivores, because our food-getting habits are wired into a brain 50 million years old and the insect gathering habit, you know, this is a very deep almost orgasmic response that you can touch in the human organism. And I pursued it again and again in life to the point where I did it as a professional in the jungles of Indonesia and the Amazon, and you know, it’s horrifying to tell in Buddhist company, but when you come upon one of these long-winged, iridescent ornithoptorids, of the sort that Baron [Geed] De Rotschild sent its collectors out for in the late 19th century, when you come upon one of these things hanging under a leaf, looking for all the world like it weighs at least half a pound, and you know, wrestle it into your net it’s as close to having a heart-attack as I ever want to get. And then this thing, at some point, I did a lot of reading, and at some point I discovered that I defined myself narrowly, and I was turning into a scientist, and I was reading people like Henry James, and Aldous Huxley and they were sneering at what I was becoming and talking about a mysterious realm of human thought called the humanities, which I had no notion of what this was, I couldn’t even figure out what it possibly could be. Well then I discovered, it meant: music, painting, architecture, dance, philosophy, design, in short the human world. The human world as opposed to the natural world. So then, you know, I just turned upon that, with a vengeance, left off the bugs and the minerals, and became about henry James, and [Fraganar], and mannerism, and all of this stuff, but the transition, because I was hitting adolescence at that point, was rocketry. And the pineal joy of launching potentially semi-fatal projectiles into space at twice the speed of sound, you know, a whole gravity’s rainbow cycle that I was very consciously aware was about the thrill of lift off, all this tormenting of mice and cutting up of aluminum chaff into stuff to be dumped out at the top of the trajectory was just to satisfy physics teachers and anxious parents and all that, and the real thing was, you know, this amazing moment of launch when this potassium perchlorate and sugar fuels would just propel these things with ear-splitting intensity. And then at that point, all this curiosity, all this edge work led me because I fancied myself also developing as a novelist to read all of Aldous Huxley. Well I should know it moves from a spectrum of these polite novels of English society like after well, Chrome Yellow and Antic Hay, and through works like After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, to then the sexual dystopia of Brave New World, and then finally to the Doors of Perception. And when I read the Doors of Perception that this was something huge, because he was claiming, you see, what was happening to me as an intellectual, and I think it happens to most people, is exploration of reality was leading to the conclusion that it was a no exit situation, it was some kind of rational labyrinth from which there was no exit. No exit meaning no magic, no possibility of a miracle, that you know there weren’t 25 thousand year old cities under the sands of Arabia, there weren’t flying saucers under the Greenland ice cap, it didn’t work for me, for me rationalism was more powerful than, you know, sort of menopausal fantasy as it’s currently practised, and so there was drying up. The miraculous was just turning into ordinary reality. And then I discovered psychedelic plants. It was like the descent of an Angel into a desert of reason, because… that’s an interesting sort of metaphor, the descent of an Angel into the desert of reason. As you probably know when Descartes was 21 years old he shipped out in a Habsburgian army to kick some ass in Europe and learn some manly, soldiering skills and he was in home in Southern Germany in August of 1620, home later to be the birthplace of Einstein, and Descartes who was completely wet behind the ears, didn’t know anything, had a dream, and in the dream an angel, this is a propo of the metaphor, an angel appeared to him and said the mastery of nature is to be achieved through measure an number. So what’s interesting about that then is that he went on to found modern science, which was to be the very temple of rationalism and reason, but it was based on the revelation of an angelic being who spoke to him from another dimension.
[30:11] Well this was the kind of impact that the psychedelic experience had for me, it was as though there was a doorway, a literal doorway out of the completely otherwise flawless set of cultural assumptions that kept me, you know, a [cathic altar] boy in a small Colorado town in a western democracy in a context of anti-communism, religious fundamentalism, consumer capitalism, so forth and so on. The whole bag of tricks and illusions was suddenly exposed for that and beyond that you see, like that traveler sticking the head out through the world system and seeing a whole different set of rotations and revolutions, you see another dimension of some sort. And then for me the question became of what sort, what is this? Number one what is this, number two how did they manage to keep the lid on it, and number three what can you do with it? Well, coincidentally upon all this, or let’s call it coincidentally, society was just going bananas around somewhat similar issues because I was born in 1946 so that means in 1966 I was 20 years old and somehow fate had conspired to put me in Berkeley, California. So I happened to be at like the ground zero of the cultural explosion. But I had followed this stuff for years, it just seemed to me a weird parallelism that my internal growth and obsessions were now somehow becoming the obsessions of society generally. Being 20 years old I just thought it was a kind of vindication. You know, I knew I’ve been right since I was 16 so here was the payoff, but then you know, it didn’t exactly work out like that. The concern moved through society like a wave. And then other, stronger, what the Iching calls prepotent systems of arrangement, reasserted themselves, and instead of a kind of psychedelic utopia there was a kind of anti-psychedelic dystopia and everything that psychedelics had tended to call into question, which were the great sins of the 20th century, the misuse of propaganda, the abuse of imagery, the distortion of information, I mean these are all uniquely modern new sins if you will. And I talked last night a little bit about connections between dreams, the unique province of 20th century psychological theory, film, and the psychedelics. All of these things, and I see it also active in art, that as soon as you move beyond impressionism the whole history of art in the 20th century is about dissolution, deconstruction and attempt to reconstruct the image. So that, you know, movements as different as analytical cubism, and abstract expressionism all are seen to be struggling with the dissolution and re-emergence of the image. Well, what it means is, what all this constellation of cultural effects is saying is that the previously assumed to be… oh I don’t know how to say it — existentially prepotent order of society, of linear society, it’s actually an illusion, and that we can move beyond it, we can dissolve it. Not only we can, we cannot not do this. So then the goal becomes, and this is where McLuan is important, to try and raise into consciousness the process that we’re undergoing before it is a fait accompli, before we are in the act of looking back then at a historical event. Because I now am convinced that the impulse that I feel in myself and that I see in other people toward the psychedelic experience has to do with its potential historical impact, even though, god knows we’re all aware, this is how religion has always been practiced, yet somehow this million year old sociological phenomenon, orgiastic, group-minded, shamanism in a context of nomadic pastoralism, this phenomenon was only interrupted 10 of 15 thousand years ago, and is apparently the state of dynamic equilibrium where we function at our best, where we feel at our most human. What has happened to us is a kind of false bottom in our social dynamic. It’s a series of self reinforcing situations of disease. It begins with what I talked about last night, with concern for male paternity, that once men wanted to trace the descent line of the male genes, previously self expressive, orgiastic, group-minded sexuality became compartmentalized into concerns of territoriality, ownership, so forth and so on. But then that wasn’t the end of it. There are then the rise of the hierarchical kinship, the amazing — you see the problem with human beings is that we ride very close to a kind of bifurcation point in terms of whether our loyalty is transferred to the group or to the individual, and this can be sent either way. I mean if there were to be landslides at both ends of Highway 1 and a food shortage, you know, we would coalesce marvelously into a survival machine where we would all place group values higher than our own needs, and nobly so, this would happen. But in situations of abundance and non-scarcity it’s like a slime mould without the formality of coherency, we just then dissolve into this sort of every man for himself egocentric style. And then, you know, another bad break along the way, that may or may not fated, may have just been a bad break, is the evolution of the phonetic alphabet, which created a tremendous distance between cognition and the objects of linguistic intentionality and this gives permission to all kinds of forms of brutalization, it actually gives permission to ideology. Ideology to my mind is the denial of the obvious, and the substitution for something else where you say “no that’s not how people are, we have a Marxist model” or “we have a Freudian model” or “we have —you know— John Stuart Mill’s model” who knows, but somebody’s model. So, ideology—someone said language was invented in order that people could lie. And in large measure this is true, that we proceed by deception. I will defend this at some point in this weekend because another word for it is modeling. You know, we model. But we also fall in love with these models, and it’s the falling in love with the models that then turns it into an agenda where it was not a freeform projection of the flow of facts toward a conclusion, but then it becomes instead an agenda, a synthetic criode, high walls down which you would expect to see a process poured and confined. So ok.
[39:56] So in spite of the fact that this phenomenon has been around for a long time, why then does it appear so important? Well, it’s because the small group-minded sexually amorphous psychology, the psychology, not the model itself, is what we have to recover I think in order to survive. And, you know, I’m not so interested in talking about the odds of making it, it’s just this is the only thing that will work. And I said last night, you know, the good news is that the domain in which we must operate is all within our own minds. You know, if we can change our minds we can take hold of this process and halt it. I believe that the presence of the psychedelics in the plant metabolism, in the biosphere, allowed a kind of informational symbiosis between human beings with highly [inaudible] capacity, and the biosphere generally, and that we have no word for this that we’re comfortable with. The closest word we have for it is somehow tied up with the concept of religion, religio. But for us religion is some kind of abstract dialogue carried on with a philosophical principle. That’s not what it is. Religion originally was the dimension of the self that directly interfaced nature, or the other self. And this happened through the use of the psychedelics. So the reason the weekend is called History Ends in Green, and what this whole Gaian awareness thing is to my mind, is it’s not an airy-fairy attempt to recast a new image for religious ontology, it’s the actual discovery of the minded presence of the planet, which has always been here, which is real, it’s an existential fact, like chlorophylle, or you know the moons of Saturn, the planet has a biological mind of some sort. Once you articulate this notion it doesn’t seem that unlikely, after all the planet is clearly a boundary defining topology, it had two billion years to make itself meta-stable, undergo all kinds of autopoiesis, we see the evidence of this around us in the form of the climaxed biome of the planet, we see that biology and water chemistry has been very active, but what we don’t see is that as active as the chemistry of water or electron transfer, have also been the invisible alchemies of, you know, call it spirit, call it mind, call it the morphogenetic field, whatever it is, and that is the frontier of our awareness. Every society in history has had the erroneous belief that it just requires 6 more months and 5% more data and they would have the full picture of reality. But, you know, the fact of the matter is our society at its present state of sophistication, the only science we have that can be given any serious creditability at all is physics, the most primitive of all sciences, the science of momentum and moving bodies in three-dimensional space. When you move on to biology, you know, essentially what we have is a series of interlocking fables and a few bright spots of light in certain areas, when you move on to psychology, what you have are shouting charlatans, you know, each claiming domain over its special area, I mean it’s like a medieval fair. So, the believe that our intellectual maps are somehow adequate it’s just whistling past the graveyard, and the way we’ve achieved this illusion of good maps is by tossing out all the disturbing and unintegratable phenomena. For instance, dreams were trivialized and ignored for centuries, madness was something that you confined away, like criminality, was not to be looked at, sexuality I don’t have to remind you that as recently as a hundred and twenty years ago people were putting bloomers on piano legs to preserve youths from impure thoughts. I mean, you talk about a rejection of style toward reality, I mean we have just begun to open our eyes to what is around us. Well, so then [finting centre] when we begin to explore, let’s take the conservative position toward exploring the universe, let’s explore from the centre outward, that means from within the confines of the mind-body system. Before we generalize about tectonic plates or the motion of the rings of uranus or something like that, just start from the body out, well immediately you discover total terra incognito. Psychology gives us a flickering model of ordinary consciousness under ordinary circumstances and everything else is up for grabs, and then we discover that at the centre of human concerns is this weird itch about invisible worlds and higher order entities and sources of hidden knowledge, and we discover that people have been like that for a hundred thousand years and the centre piece technique which is to trigger these non-ordinary states of consciousness, with all our sophistication we have no better grip on what this is than people in the late neolithic. They knew more than we did, because they’d logged more time on in the real modality. I mean we have models, we say, you know, the drug molecule is translocating to the synapse and displacing ordinary neurotransmitters and raising therefore the endogenous level of electron spin-resonance, this is not any kind of explanation of what’s going on, this is just the chant, the incantation. The people who are logging time in there they come back with maps of reality that fit very uneasily with our cheerful Cartesian, democratian, atomistic, causal, entropic models. And they say “no, no the universe is an infinite honeycomb, each honeycomb ruled by different spiritual forces, each commanded through different languages, magical techniques, gestural repertoire”, everything is language, everything holds information for man, everything is somehow constellated on the presence of observing mind. Well in the west we thought we got cosmogonic myths with the Ptolemaic universe, even before Copernicus. But now it turns out that the centrality of mind gets reintroduced, not only by the evidence of the psychedelic experience, but for instance the school of scientific, philosophy of science around L. L. White and people like that, have pointed out that if you use your index complexity than you suddenly discover that human beings have moved back to the very centre of the universe, that the most complex physical material in the universe in terms of density of connectedness is the human cerebral cortex, that if novelty and density of connectedness is what is being conserved, then somehow we are central. Well, so then, you know, other issues are raised. If we are central, then the modern model of history, which is, I don’t know if it’s ever been explicitly stated for you, but the modern model of history is that it is trendlessly fluctuating. This is the largest structure in which we find ourselves embedded, call it the last 10 thousand years and the best guess of the people who spend most time looking at it is that it trendlessly fluctuates. That means it’s like a drunk on a random walk, you see, that processes our channel toward conclusions, that in the evolutionary, well leave that aside for a minute, in the realm of physical chemistry you see that the progressive cooling of the universe allowed more and more complex chemistry, first electrons could settle down into stable orbits around the atomic nuclei, then molecular bonds could form, at still lower temperatures polymerisation could form and therefore templating-type molecules like DNA, the universe seems to be an engine for the conservation of complexity. Until we reach the social sciences, where they want to tell us that history has just dropped into this process, willy-nilly, it’s not fractally modelled on anything that precedes it, does not express an internal coherence, and is a completely trendless process, yet notice that this completely trendless process is atomically composed of the most complex matter material organization in the universe: the human cerebral cortex. Well, I mention this because part of what I’m interested in with this weekend is trying to get a handle on, you know, what is history? What does it mean? It began only 15 hundred generations ago, which if we were fruit flies it would be 3 weeks ago. So, you know, it’s not something really basic to human beings, but it’s a process that got started about 15 hundred generations ago, and it’s a clearly accumulative, runaway process, it’s outside the realm of ordinary genetics. Ordinary genetics change is very conservative and slow. This is a cancerous-type process, but in the cultural domain, it’s an epigenetic process, meaning it’s not scripted in the genes, but writing, tv, and painting, it goes on outside of the genes. Well where does it go on? Well, it goes on in the domain of language. And to my mind language is the critical area to focus on in terms of where the psychedelics are operating. And how, if your interest is to trap them doing their elfen work, then the place to look is in the domain of language. Why? Well, first of all, look at what language is. It’s a kind of ancillary add-on process to the human organism. No other monkeys do it in quite the same way I don’t argue that there is not linguistic and grammatical activity in monkeys, dolphins, termite, what have you, but it’s very different from what goes on in human beings. Obviously, for instance, you probably know that the soft palate of the human being drops lower in the foetal form than in any other primate by 40% or something. The embryological interpretation of this is that the human animal is hard-wired for language. And if you notice what it is, it’s small mouth noises. Rapidly modulated small mouth noises, and it’s a conventionalized, it’s a highly conventionalized style of behavior, which allows transduction of thought. It’s a form of telepathy, a striving toward a crude telepathy. Because if you analyse what’s happening in the linguistic act it’s that we’ve all gotten together and we agree that there are these small mouth noises, and we agree that a given set of small mouth noises means a certain thing. And we are, we spend so much time together and so conventionalized our responses to each other that your dictionary of small mouth noises is theoretically supposed to match my dictionary of small mouth noises. So the words going through the air impinge upon your ear, you make a rapid search of your dictionary and you come up with what you assume it’s a one to one match. And we rarely get together to check out just exactly how good a match it was. Occasionally one will ask a question and we will see that they understood that the match, and so that the match was good. Because I see a lot of transcripts of my talks I know that typists hear the most amazing things, and without ever questioning what they hear they type these things that when I read then they’re complete malapropisms. But this is what was heard. And as the level of discourse rises, or the density of the technical language increases it becomes much much shakier, I mean I just had the experience of lecturing in Czechoslovakia, in Prague, at the film academy, and you know, you can go a long ways on sincerity but there’s a long way still to go, just nodding and smiling doesn’t do it. Especially when the concepts are fine tuned, and it’s when they’re fine tuned that they’re always interesting, it’s in the nuances of it. Well, I think probably that this activity was originally stimulated by the use of psychedelics, that in fact most of what is human about us has to do with our, the presence of psychedelic and mutagenic compounds in our diets, when we made the transition from being fruitarian, vegetarian, arboreal tree dwellers to becoming, you know, nomadic pastoralists. If you think about it you can see how this would work quite neatly. The reason animals specialize their diets is to hold on the amount of exposure to mutagenic chemicals, so most animals have specialized diets, but because they can develop pathways to sequester mutagens or to just avoid the exposure to them initially, but if you put pressure on an animal on its original food source where it’s actually facing a situation of possible extinction, or dietary transformation, it will begin experimenting, expanding its repertoire of foods. Well, this brings exposure to mutagens, in a very steep curve, and this means consequently more expression of mutagenic genes become available for natural selection and so this is the situation in which you might then see a sudden punctuated movement forward in the evolution of adaptive traits of the organism. [58:13] Well, how this worked in the early human situation was drying up of the African continent forced proto[...] types onto the grassland where they began foraging for… and insects had been part of their diet in a canopy situation, they began foraging, it’s also that they began perhaps predating on [carian] kills, killed by larger carnivores like lions. In any case they began forming a relationship that had them following along behind these evolving ungulate herds of mammals on the African veldt, and in that situation they encountered the coprophytic mushrooms, the mushrooms that grow in cow dung preferentially and many of these contain psilocybin.
[59:49] Well, psilocybin once encountered in the diet acts very quickly to outbreed non-psilocybin using individuals because like many indoles if there’s a small amount of psilocybin in the diet visual acuity is measurably increased and Roland Fisher did work on this in the early ‘60, well you can see that if an animal that is living by predation and also it’s thought by the non—by the people who disagree with this theory, the people who do not think that mushrooms played a major role in human evolution, believe that the throwing arm is the unique human capability, and that when you see a pitcher get a ball across a plate how far is it from the pitcher’s mound to the plate? 60 feet, that kind of control on an object hurled at that speed, no other animal could do anything, even approaching that, and that this hand-eye coordination gave us our leg up, literally, or a arm up to be able to knock out large animals at a distance. Well even if you believe that theory, you see, it too depends on a very close coordination of hand and eye. Well if you bring into this a chemical factor in the diet which increases visual acuity, animals that are allowing this item in the diet will very quickly outbreed the non-mushroom users. And I submit that this happened, then further accelerating the tendency toward preferential use of mushrooms is the fact that at higher doses, but still sub-psychedelic doses these same mushrooms will trigger arousal, general CNS, central nervous system arousal, but this also includes then sexual arousal and erection in male. Well, so what does this mean, it means that it’s a party drug at that dose. It means that there is this impetus to copulation. In a situation in which the better hunters have been successful at getting food so this increased copulatory activity and subsequent increased number of births is happening in an environment with an increased food supply. So you see all these factors are converging to outbreed the non-mushroom using individuals. Well then the final culminating factor in this is at yet higher doses the mushroom ushers into the boundary-dissolving ecstasy that we call the psychedelic experience and that in that kind of a social small group situation would have led I think to primitive religious observance, ritual, group sexuality, food sharing, mate sharing, so forth and so on. And I really believe that this lifestyle if you will of nomadic pastoralism, goddess-oriented religion driven by psychedelic indoles in the diet, that for 50 thousand, approaching 75 thousand years this is how people lived, and they were fully realized people. I mean there was a tremendous oral poetry, epic works of art and theatre, a complete realization of human potential, in the dynamic context of this nomadic relationship to nature. I mean this was Eden, this was when we were at peace with our humanness. Well then you know, what happened is there search for scapegoats, who’s to blame. And the answer is nobody is to blame, the very process which brought this paradise into being, which was the drying up of the African continent and the forcing of our proto-human ancestors onto the veldt and into the bipedal nomadic tribal language using mode, the very forces which created that, destroyed it, because eventually the great grasslands of the Sahara, the huge water holes, the vast herds of game gave way to encroaching dunes, shrinking water holes, the mushroom festivals, which I imagine at one point were probably lunar festivals, became then yearly festivals because of the scarcity of the mushroom. And there became then anxiety about availability of mushrooms and therefore certain cultural pressure to find methods of preserving them. And this need turned naturally to the preserving powers of honey. And so there was a transitional phase of not-fresh mushroom festivals, but preserved mushrooms in honey. Problem is honey itself has the capacity to turn into a psychotropic substance, through fermentation it becomes mead. But the imprinting that takes place in a mead culture, mead cultures are cultures of male dominance, repression of female sexuality, hierarchy, warfare, wheelchariots, the whole shtick, and so, you know, this all happened over thousands of years, this very gradual transition, there was never a conscious moment of tragedy. But you see, what was happening was a new psychic function was taking hold in the human animal. In the situation of the monthly boundary-dissolving group mushroom festivals ego was not allowed to form. And I really view psilocybin as almost an inoculation against the formation of ego. It is an egolitic compound. So, notions of male dominance, of possession of property, children, domesticated animals, or women, none of this went on in the situation where the boundary dissolution was reinforced by frequent mushroom use. But as soon as the mushrooms become less available, this thing begins to grow in the human personality, literally like a cancer, or a tumor, it’s a calcareous growth on the psyche, that if we do not have this embeddedness in the vegetable matrix of Gaia, then anxiety arises, a lot of it sexual and related to self-identity, and I don’t have to discuss this with you, just refer you to Freud and the whole gang, everybody understands how bent we are. The question is why, and I think this is why. Because we have been in a permanent state of neurotic disequilibrium for 15 thousand years. And every move to attempt to correct this has pushed us further away from the goal that we want to have. So now we arrive at the late 20th century, nuclear arsenals fully in hand, we have made since the 15th century a demonic pact with matter that has allowed us great insight into the destructive properties of matter, made us, you know, handmaiden to the devil, and yet we are still completely dark about our own motivations, how to educate our children, how to put in place a set of values that don’t lute the future, and all of these problems appear to be getting worse. So you know, I don’t know. Well, my response to this is to advocate the only thing that I think will work. But it’s not a political position, because a political position always implies willingness to compromise and negotiate with the other side. And there really is no willingness to negotiate on the part of the psychedelic position because it’s pretty non-negotiable. We are at the end of a process call it 2 thousand 5 thousand, you know choose your date, but a long process of denial of human nature and then war against human nature. And it goes so deep into our culture that we don’t even know where the basement level is. I mean, for instance to my mind monotheism, which is the great intellectual edifice of the west, touches the three major religions of the west that have developed in a continuous strain since Abraham, monotheism is the institutionalizing of this ego-centric model. And it has a certain philosophical appeal. One God, you know, everything, all roads lead to Rome, you can trace everything back to the ur-source, the ur kveller, but that anal retentive appeal in itself takes place within a context of values of male dominance, print-created linearity, uniformity, so forth and so on. And I think what we have to get into is a real permission for sloppiness, for loose endedness, for the abandonment of any myth of closure, that there is no closure, there are models and there are questions, but all models are provisional. And anybody who says they have answers is highly, highly suspect. And too many people claim answers. What’s being claimed here is a technique and then you figure out your own questions, and your own answers. And it’s different for everybody. There really is no ideology associated with psychedelics, I mean if you look at the people who’ve been involved with it they said completely different things, and contradictory. And some are rationalists and behaviouralists to this day, and others are, you know, spiritual visionaries, hierarchical shamanic types. The main thing is to reclaim the experience as the first step toward being politically empowered in order to act. In other words we’re in an—and I indicated this last night, although more gently—that we’re in a state of enforced infantilism about the capacity of our minds, that the culture we’re living in is an infantile culture. Now, we look back at the Victorians putting pants on the piano legs and we just shake our heads and say, you know, “those poor misguided people”. Well, but that’s only four generations ago. We have similar weirdness in our own culture, but about the mind. I mean, we look askance at the mind in the same way that a victorian nanny is uncomfortable in the presence of bear furniture, we fear it, we don’t want to look at it and to my mind many, most of the techniques that come out of the new age are based on a guaranteed lack of success, that’s offer, because the last thing anybody wants is real change. Because real change is uncontrolled change. The issue that hovers around the psychedelic experience, it was mentioned last night, it’s strong in my life, I haven’t found any real solution other than hold your nose and jump, but the issue is surrender. This is something real. You don’t find people going into the ashram in the morning to meditate with their knees knocking in fear ‘cause of how terrifying and profound that meditation is going to be, that if they were going in there to smoke DMT they would be fully riveted on the modalities of what was about to happen. I mean we can tell shit from shinola, it’s just that we don’t always prefer shinola. And I’m not, I don’t advocate it, you know, people, sometimes there are people who are disappointed because they say “well how often do you do it?”. Well the answer is “not very often”. I mean if I can get it in a couple or three times a year I feel like I’m hitting it pretty hard. And the more successful it is the less often you have to do it. I mean I know people who say DMT is their most favourite drug and when you say “well when was the last time you did it” they say “well 1967”. It only lasted four minutes, they’re still processing it. And they are still processing it, they are not just whistling dixie, I mean it is to my mind just the most… well I mentioned this earlier, how do they keep the lid on this stuff? And I supposed here I’m preaching to the converted, because many people last night said they had an interest in this kind of thing, but they don’t keep the lid on sexuality. No society has ever had it so under control that people didn’t have sex. I mean might have had sex under weird conditions and under, you know, ritual strictures and this and that. But we are like this salamander has the option of never developing into its mature form. And to my mind that’s a tragedy because this is our birthright and somehow our inability to get a grip on our global problems has to do with this immaturity about our mental state. The two, I feel very strongly, are linked. And that of course we can’t get control of the world, because we are children in some profound way. And we don’t like being children, but the culture has reinforced a form of infantilism. And the way I explain it to myself is a kind of unwillingness to go it alone on a certain level. I don’t know how many of you remember in Brave New World, Huxley’s brilliant dystopia, but there’s a scene in there where Bernard, who is the guy who is out of is in the novel because in his foetal fluid they got an alcohol contaminant and so he’s different from everybody else in this society and he occasionally has original thoughts. And he and his assigned girlfriend for the evening, or whatever she is, are in a helicopter and they sweep out past the crematorium where they’re recollecting elements for re-use and he suspends the helicopter over the black bay and she immediately becomes very agitated, restless, anxious, and pleads with him to return to the city. And what it is it’s her anxiety over being alone in the presence of nature. She literally can’t take it. And I think there are a lot of people in our society and each of us in our own way, at different times, who have within us this neurotic and infantile creature that can’t face it alone. And that this going it alone thing is very important. You know, Plotinus the great neoplatonic philosopher, he spoke of the mystical experience as the flight of the alone to the alone. And in the psychedelic experience there is this issue of surrender, because a lot of people want to diddle with it, they want to be able to say they did it, but they don’t ever want to face an actual moment where they put it all on the line. And yet the whole issue with this stuff is to let it lead, to let it show what it wants to show. So, somehow, individually we have to reclaim our experience. The real message, more important even than the psychedelic experience, the real message that I try to leave to people in these week-ends is the primacy of direct experience, that as people the real universe is, you know, within your reach, always. Everything not within your reach is basically unconfirmed rumour. And we insert ourselves like ants or honey bees into hierarchies of knowledge, so we say “well, what’s going on in the world? Well, turn on CNN”. And then somehow we are ordered, then we say “ah ah! Ok it’s 85° in Baghdad and the wind is out of the north-east at 15 miles an hour” and we feel somehow better now, because we’re getting the information. But what we have done is sold out direct experience. And all institutions require this of us, that we somehow redefine ourselves for the convenience of the institution, and this redefinition always involves a narrowing, a denial, so that you know, if you wanna be in marxist society, if you wanna function in marxist society you have to define yourself as a marxist human being. Well, it turns out in a marxist society there are no homosexuals because that happens in decadent societies, so then you know, if you happen to notice any tendency like this in yourself you have to deny its existence because this just doesn’t happen in a marxist society. And similarly every society has this. In our society if you hear voices we have mental hospitals for you, if you have vast visions of the future, you know, we have drugs that can help you and make this go away. So then somehow, in modern society, the discovery of psychedelics is the discovery that all this cultural machinery is just wizard of Oz stuff. You remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the curtain is swept back and they see the little guy there and he says, booming out over the loudspeaker “ignore the little man pulling the levers, ignore the little man pulling the levers”. Well the little man pulling the levers is what sweeps into view with psychedelics, and you discover “ah ah! Culture is provisional”. You know, whether we have nine wifes or three, whether we tattoo ourselves blue, whether we eat insects or not, all of these things are just decisions that we make, and then we congratulate on our wisdom, and we live within that and we hunt down and then kill all the people who disagree with this. And that’s called having a culture, having a way of life, being somebody. [1:22:21] But with, you know, I don’t see history as a wrong turning, I see it, the metaphor that I like is that of the prodigal son, that there was a reason for this long descent into matter, this peregrination. It was a shamanic journey of some sort, you know, the shaman goes into the world pool, or ascends the world tree to go to the centre of the access of the cosmos, to recover the pearl, the pearl or the gift or the lost soul, and then return with it. And this is what history was I think, it was a descent into the hell worlds of matter, energy, space and time, for the purpose of recovering something that was lost. It wasn’t lost by us it was lost by the breathing, the disistole of the planet, just climax of climate moved us into paradise, and then moved us out of paradise. I mean note that the story of Eden is the story of history’s first drug bust. I mean it’s the story of a story of a whole lot of tension over who’s going to take or not take a certain plant which confers knowledge, and Yahowa wandering in the garden says to himself “if the man and the woman eat of the fruit they will become as we are” the issue was co-equality, co-knowledge with the creator, well where do we stand, you know, in man’s existential march? How does that work? Can we always accept the subservient infantile position? I mean is knowledge to be dispensed by Gods, and if not Gods then the institutions that appoint themselves as Gods over us? Or is it actually that maturity begins with somehow claiming this birthright. And it is a birthright. And I don’t know if the society can survive the claiming of this birthright by a large number of people. Certainly in the 1960s everybody got agitated and then it was frozen out. In so-called primitive, or preliterate societies there is the office of the shaman, and the shaman is deputized to act for all of us. In the same way that we have airplane mechanics to fix jet engines, we have shamans to explore these hidden and fairly terrifying other dimensions. The people who self-select themselves into a group like this, in a society like that, would be the candidates for this kind of shamanic voyaging. Well then what is it finally all for? Or is it for anything? Is it just maybe my problem that I think it’s my problem? Well, it is and it isn’t, I mean, see we have real problems, we could perish from this problem in some kind of radioactive petroleum war and it wouldn't change the fact that shamanism did exist, that these dimensions were there and were explored by courageous high-minded people for thousands of years. But I think that the scientific mind and maybe even the American mind can bring something special to it, that somehow technology has a role to play, and I think that maybe what this has to do with is… I talked a bit in the past, a lot in the past, of what I call visible language. Visible language is something that I encountered in psychedelic states, could never have dreamed it up by myself, encountered it as an existential fact, then had to sort of reason backward from it to what would it be good for. Well, what is visible language? Well it’s very simply, it’s language which you look at rather than hear. Don’t ask me how this can happen. It obviously has something to do with synesthesia in the brain, with swapping neuro processing units and somehow shunting a stream of data which would normally be audially interpreted, instead it goes to the visual cortex, and this occurs often in DMT intoxication and it has a long and noble history in the Amazon, in Ayahuasca shamanism. Ayahuasca as you probably know is a combinatory drug made of a vibe combined with the leaves of another plant and it makes DMT orally active. Normally DMT is destroyed in the gut, but you take it in combo with this other thing, beta-carboline, and then it’s active. Well in the Amazon these people sing what they call Icaros, magical songs. And these magical songs are given to them by the spirits, whatever those are, invisible entities. But the magical songs are invariably criticized pictorially and sculpturally and musically. Nobody ever talk about how these things sound, people only talk about how they look. And I had read about this, and heard about it, and went down there, and spent time, again curiosity is the only method, poking around, finally got somebody who knew how to brew this stuff to make this happen. And, you know, I had seen it before on DMT, but on DMT it’s somewhat out of control, it’s as though your entire syntactical engine has sprung out of your chest and is rattling around on the floor in front of you.
[1:29:30] Well first of all notice language, ordinary language, what a weird thing it is and yet we do it with such facility we almost all of us can do it. It’s a very severe impairment on your humanness if you’re language deficient in any very serious way. Blindness is as nothing to being seriously language deficient, so forth and so on. So, it’s really the defining thing for us. And yet it’s almost like a half miracle. I mean, you can study it, there’s no problem with taking vast samples of it. Tape recordings, we can analyse it syntactically, there have been many theories of syntax, philosophies of syntax, and yet what is it? How can we make meaning with such facility with the rest of nature seems totally unconcerned with this? And what is meaning anyway? Why is it so important to us? We say if there is no meaning, if life has no meaning it has no meaning it’s not worth living. Well, how do handsome bees and scallops stack up on that opinion? Do they also feel that meaning is the quintessential aspect of reality? And yet we make it, we make it out of ourselves and then we get together with somebody else and we try to make meaning. We say, you know, you and I could have an affair, or you and I could start a business, this will have a lot of meaning for us, we’ll make money and buy more meaning. Well, whatever it is, and [C. V. Brad] wrote a book called the meaning of meaning which deals with it in about 400 pages, but whatever it is it very important to us and it seems to have different modalities, for instance dance can have meaning, painting can have meaning, spoken or textual words have meaning. But, because of biases in ourselves as an organism, what seems to have the most meaning is what we can see. Our visual, we have a tremendously rich sense of visual input. Well, for some reason, under the influence of these psychedelic drugs and certain exercises, who knows what else it takes to shake you out of your cage, but suddenly, syntactical organization, which has been invisible in the background in the program of meaning, becomes visible, and you actually see engines of syntax, you actually behold the machinery of meaning itself. And for some reason this is very satisfying, it’s like an ecstasy, it’s like an affirmation of some sort that is transcendental. There is a recognition in it that transcends the felt apperception of ordinary meaning. You know, in other words, that you’re gazing somehow on the naked face of truth and beauty. Well, it seems to me that what all this suggests, and by all this I mean the human capacity for the psychedelic experience, the human facility for switching these linguistic channels from the beheld to the seen, what all this must mean is that history is nothing more than the transition phase from felt intuition, the mute intuition of the animal body to fully expressible three-dimensional meaning, and that the descent into matter that technology represents is because you can’t do this entirely on the natch, there has to be a certain augmentation of the human organism in order to do this, it may be pharmacological, it may be neurological, it may be nanotechnological and then some part of the other two. But whatever it is is we are coming up under the underbelly of meaning, boring from beneath and that, you know, we are just about to hit the jackpot. And this is what the historical process is, and the proliferation of media, the discovery of perspective 500 years ago, oil painting, airbrushing, digital sound, all of these techniques are this summoning of the image. So we are actually moving toward a kind of self-fulfilling process. It’s something that we’re defining for ourselves as it approaches. And it is defining itself for itself as it approaches. You actually experience this on psychedelics sometimes. I mean the way it works for me on mushrooms and sometimes DMT is there is a black space, and then I hear what I call the elf music, or the Irish band, and it’s far away. And as it comes closer I, like, see light. And as it comes closer it both gets louder and the light fills the stage of awareness until finally the sound is subsumed under the visual impression of the thing. And then it’s all around you, and it is, you know, this domain of self transforming language. I mean, I call them language elves, but what they may be is nothing more than self-reflexive compound complex sentences, it’s hard to tell what they are because we’re not used to having our senses standing up and embrace us. But nevertheless the nature of reality is fractal and it can’t have been lost upon any of you that in a fractal universe text is composed of characters, the characters of a given alphabet, but reality is also composed of characters, the characters like you and me that live out some kind of plot. Well, when you get characters into a text, in other words, characters made of characters then you begin to feel the textual richness, and the linguistic richness that seems to be not on the forefront of reality but actually to lie behind it. I mean the final conclusion, not the final conclusion, that would be preposterous, but the most recent conclusion that I’m coming to looking at the psychedelic experience is how phenomenally text-like reality is. I mean it’s more text-like than one should decently say. We are much, this is much more like a work of art than anything recognizable from my physics class. I mean my physics class was about atoms and electrons, and momentum and conservation of energy. My literature class on the other hand was all about personality, motivation, history, precursive active, anticipation of action, willful suspension of disbelief, these are the things that I see actually going on around me. And so it’s strange as we decondition from the being sold from the top worldview of Time magazine, and Scientific American, and the Wall Street journal, what we discover is ourselves active as art in a work of art. This is what the reclamation of experience seems to give back to us. Is ourselves as very complex objects. You see, in the institutionalized world we are defined always in ways that stress our similarity. We hear about voters, and I’m a voter, and we hear about women, and many of you are women, and we hear about yuppies and we hear about the middle class, and we hear about those with liquidy in their portfolios, but everything is presented as the member of a class, we are always presented to ourselves as members of some class, and yet we experience ourselves as unique objects. But there is no reinforcement for that experience of uniqueness. I mean, you have a lover and they say, you know, I think you’re wonderful and very special, that’s about all the reinforcement for your uniqueness you get, and your mother other also tells you this. But then you take a psychedelic plant and you discover you know, “Hey I’m Christopher Colombus, I’m Magellan”, I could be anybody, I’m not defined in these narrow ways, there are doorways in my reality to areas of experience as large as the area of experience that Christopher Colombus or Magellan took as their province. But this new freedom is achieved by directing attention back at the individual. So a lot of the debate and talk that I hear is about saving and restructuring institutions, and that sort of thing. I’m not very much interested in saving and restructuring very many institutions. I think institutions have done us about all the good we can stand at this point. And you know, but then the wave the black flag of anarchy in front of you and say “oh you’re just an apostle of chaos and madness”. Chaos yes, madness maybe, but disorder never. You know, the surrender issue, when translated out of the realm of the individual and into the realm of the collectivity, we all as a society must also surrender to what is happening to us, because I think history is some kind of psychedelic experience and it isn’t… there’s nobody around that had the right plan. So it isn’t about how we need to locate the people with the right plan and then give them a lot of money and get out of their way, it doesn't work like that. The right plan will emerge almost simultaneously in everybody’s mind at the same moment and in the meantime we all are going to have this sort of half-baked plan that we can’t articulate that we can’t quite bring out. It’s a quality of the time. I’m going to talk this afternoon more about the quality of the time. But we can’t think anymore clearly at the moment when we’re thinking at our best. Part of what history is is a clarification of the human situation, and I think you have to press the envelope, you have to keep your nose against the glass, forcing the definitions into ever new territory, but not anxiously, it’s just like a growth process. We can’t evolve any faster than our language evolves, the language is the thing in which we’re embedded. So the use of technologies like virtual reality or drugs like psilocybin and DMT, or practices of various sorts if they prove effective to put pressure on the evolution of language. All spiritual disciplines properly analysed can be seen to be language courses. You know, to get you to think a certain way, to get you to carve out of the background of undifferentiated data certain things which you previously couldn’t see, auras, or acupuncture meridians, or you know, states of disease, I mean it could be anything. But the mind sensitizes itself to phenomena by following language into the forest, into the forest of the unknown. And most people have no stomach for this kind of thing, prefer to stay back in the village and just kill time grinding wheat and drying meat around the fire. But, you know, you can almost make a kind of a fractal quasi-reductionist argument and say that people are like electrons and you don’t learn what electrons really are until you get just one of them off by itself somewhere in a magnetic field in a vacuum and then you see what electrons are. If you have millions of electrons then you have an electrical current, and an electrical current operates to laws and rules and constraints completely different from an electron. And what we have done very perversely as a society is taken the laws of large numbers, how a million people act, how ten million people act, and then we applied it back to ourselves as individuals. So well why am I not happy? You know, 70% of everyday does x and I don’t and I’m not happy then. You know, try to redefine yourself as against a very large body of statistical data—all of this is dehumanizing, all of this is bad mental hygiene. Usually quickly cleared away by psychedelics, because what they show you, you know, is that you are unique. That you are unique and that the confluence of space and time that you’re operating in is unique, and that any model that is put forward is, number one, provisional, provisional means it can be abandoned at any moment, and then the second and most important thing is any model you can’t understand is useless. So, you know most of us can’t understand most of the models. I mean, who here would care to walk to the blackboard and begin to describe the first stage of quantum electro-dynamics to us? And yet we all know that our world is supposedly hung on these very well thought out theories that experts are in charge of. But notice, no pun intended, but notice that if experts are in charge of it you’re not. It’s absolutely useless to is, you know nothing about it. Well, so when you start peeling away and say “what do I know?” it turns out it gets into soup rather quickly. This is no cause for despair. This doesn’t mean you should go back to night school and study quantum physics, that’s the wrong conclusion. It means that all of this stuff that you thought were the high walls of reality are just smoke blown by somebody else, these constraints are not binding upon you at all. [1:46:11] Somebody said to me once their father had been a professional scientist and he said once “I never would have seen it if I hadn’t known it was there”. And we all are in the habit of seeing all kinds of things because that they’re there. And in many cases they’re not there and you just walk through and you discover all kinds of things. I mean, I am convinced that anybody that has a major psychedelic trip at some point in their trip their eye falls on things no human eye has ever seen before or ever will see again. You know, it’s that big in there. It’s not at all clear that we’re mapping a generalizable reality. It may be that it’s just so huge in there that never do we pass through the same matrix twice. Well that means that you can give up on closure, you can give up on any theory that will ever give you very much more than a provisional handle on what’s going on. And I think this is probably a good step to take, to open ourselves to the freedom that lies beyond culture. Culture is a kind of prison and the only way that we know to get beyond it is to dissolve its boundaries. Now, you can do that with psychedelics, and then you really explore the baseline of being, or you can dissolve it with travel, but then you dissolve your own cultural programming only to discover you fitted yourself into somebody else’s cultura programming. And this, while definitely educational, is like a psychedelic drug I’m not that fond of. I do a lot of traveling but it’s not the same thing as replacing space and time with some kind of alternative, that comes from, you know, doing the hard work on 5 grams in silent darkness. And really what you see I think is the morphogenetic field, the invisible world that holds everything together, the nit of it all, not the nit of matter and light, but the nit of casuistry, of intentionality, of caring, of hope, of dream, of thought, and that all is there. But it’s been hidden from us for centuries because of the exorcism of the spirit that took place in order to allow science to do business, and that momentous and ill-considered choice then has made us the inheritors of a tradition of existential emptiness really. But that has impelled us to go back to the jungle and to recover this thing. It’s all of a piece, you see, I mean these people in the Amazon and whatnot where keeping this cultural flame burning, but these cultures are now all dead. They’re either dead or in a state of advanced suspended animation. I mean, the best anyone hopes for when they go to a rainforest culture is that it be somehow resisting the change all around it. There is no forest culture that is elaborating new forms and thriving on its own terms. So, all the things that were learned, the legacy of the ancestors is now laid basically at the feet of this high-tech electronic society. And the question is, you know, can we dream a dream sufficiently noble that we give meaning to the sacrifices that have been made to allow the 20th century to exist. I mean, my god the amount of blood shed and, you know, infectious diseases spread around, metals ripped out of the earth, mountains moved, railroads laid across continents, all of this stuff has the means to reclaiming the human birthright that science hides from us. It’s a very strange enterprise, I mean it’s hard to put it across, because the thing is it’s real, you know. And we are in the habit of thinking that the mind can move unobstructed from one edge of the universe to the other, that there are no secrets, but actually there are secrets. At least these are secrets. And hard to tell. I mean, I tell them, and you hear them, and we seem to have been allowed a cosmic dispensation, but why that is is very hard for me to understand. I would have thought this would have been headline news 20 years ago and right up until the present, instead it’s very tentative. Apparently this is very threatening to us. We’re not as eager to sail over the edge collectively as we think we are. So then it becomes the function of the shaman, the gadfly, the go-between to carry information back and forth between these worlds. I’m convinced that if there were no shamanic pipeline there would be no human life as we know it on this planet. I mean, that could be climaxed animal life, there is no need for this higher order linguistic style of self-reflection to come into being, it’s that something has plotted, something is working itself out in us, we are the cells of a much larger body, and like the cells of our own body it’s very hard for us to glimpse the whole pattern the whole of what is happening, and yet we can sense that there is a purpose, and there is a pattern. Well, the way you connect the pattern with the lower level is by dissolving the boundaries of the ego and the self into this larger thing, and then it’s found to be there reflective on many levels. It’s not, it doesn’t require a mechanism. Everything is obvious. If things don’t appear simple to us, I think it’s because we haven’t thought about it long enough. Well, so that’s sort of a survey of some of this stuff. Thank you very much.
[1:54:31] So, there were questions outstanding when we parted this morning so why don’t we just take that up then
Q: [...] shutter that paradigm. Is it our fault?
TMK: Well, I mean, as somebody who lived through all that I guess it was the hardest lesson that we had to learn, was how big a revolution you can have and how quickly they can toss water on it and have business as usual. Erich Jantsch introduced me to the term meta-stable. And it certainly is true that many many things are meta-stable. I mean, you think it looks easy to push it over, but when you start pushing it you discover that the leaning tower of Pisa goes 800 feet under ground or something and it’s not moving anywhere. I don’t know, I think there is a real constipation in the historical process, we talk about how the 20th century is this century of tremendous change and innovation, but actually they’ve been remarkably successful in forestalling any true outbreak of the future. I mean the most science fiction moment in the 20th century, or one of the most science fiction moment to-date is probably 1939. I mean if you think about 1939, if you think about the V2 rockets raining down on London and Germany in the grip of a leader with a genetic race theory that he plans to establish for a thousand year, this is science fiction style talk, rocket bombs and master races and robot armies and all that stuff. Well so then it was quenched. Fascism was sort of quenched, actually it infected everybody who’d gotten near it to the point that everybody was a fascist, but also everybody went back to work realizing very self-centred ideals. In the United States who had happened was that paradise had been promised. The generation that would defeat fascism. But because it isn’t easy to deliver paradise it had to be tacky. So then you get levittown, and the suburbs and modular building and bauhaus styles of design, this is an effort to create a proletarian paradise. The marxists talked proletarian paradise, but the American middle class actually created it during the ‘50s. Then in the ‘60s what happened was, well the precondition for social upheaval seemed to be an extremely unpopular war being prosecuted thousands and thousands of miles from home. And then LSD, which was a unique phenomenon because so much could be made so easily. I mean, there are few weapons on earth, even gas, it’s hard to create enough poison gas to kill a million people, a guy with a small bathroom can create enough LSD to stone a million people. But I think that what, the lesson I drew from the ‘60 is that history can’t be rushed, and that history is not made by individuals, even righteous individuals, that you know what Shakespare said, “all the world’s a stage and its people merely players” they have their entrances and their exits and each man in his time plays many parts. It is a work of literature somehow. And the ‘60 for all of what it was it must be that it was only prelude. And they managed to get the lid back on. But I think at great detriment to themselves, because change is like a gas, you know, if you plug the keyhole it comes in under the door, if you plug under the door it comes in over the transom, there’s no end to it. And forestalling it makes it more violent. I mean what I would like to see would be a conscious engineering of change where you actually anticipate social change and try and make it easier, as a perfect example is the stupid situation now in the middle east. It’s been known since the early Carter administration that we should put policies in place which de-emphasize our need for middle-east oil. So for 20 years they looked at that situation and never did anything, now they say they have to fight a world war because of that. Well, it’s just bad management is what it is. But I think that this crisis in the Soviet Union and in these block countries which was presented as a crisis of marxism is actually a crisis of centralized institutional control everywhere and that a lot of Americans assumptions will be swept away. It came first to places like Czechoslovakia and Poland, but do you think that United Arab Emirates and Qatar and places like these can be far behind? I mean these are oligarchic ruled by single families, dynastic lines, it’s the most reactionary form of government you can have. So what I see happening in the world is fragmentation on a vast scale. To be applauded in all cases, this is not a bad thing, this is what McLuan said would happen. It isn’t going to be a world federal state ruled from Geneva with a space-port in Antarctica and all that malarkey, it’s just going to be thousands and thousands of local, and somewhat integrated, like the European [knock] model it’s interesting because there it’s simultaneously falling to pieces and integrating itself at the same time. Integration of currency and economics, but preservation of cultural diversity seems to me to be what’s happening. But nobody has to shout and nobody has to go into the streets, it’s much bigger than that. And as far as the thing in the middle east is concerned I think probably, well I’ll talk more about it this afternoon. But it has an inevitably to it, but it’s huge. The United States is in the process of playing a fairly desperate hand. They could just stand so much of all that disarmament and troop reduction stuff and they just finally couldn’t stand it anymore and… but I think it’s good news that nobody is in charge of the historical process, because even the best motivated people have the wrong idea. You know, more faith in the unconscious has gotten us this far, god knows. Yeah
Q: You talked about syntax and language and being able to go back on the other side and look at it, you know, and Chomsky wrote books about what [...] syntax look like, [...] what you saw when you went on the other side
TMK: Well Chomsky’s ideas, which he called transformational grammar, was he eventually he dreamed of being able to write the rules not only for English, but for all rationally apprehendable languages. And he felt there were 15 rules of deep structure. I never could really understand the fine print on Chomsky, it seemed pretty tormented to me. What I discovered most spectacularly in the DMT state is there are these entities there, which I call self-transforming machine elves and they looked sort of like dribbling jewelled basketballs and they have a linguistic intentionality, they want to communicate, the songs that they sing condense as objects in three-dimensional space, I’ve compared them to the eggs of Fabergé, but that does them... they’re much more interesting than that. They’re like crystal and jewelled semi see-through opaque movemented things which look like sculptures but you can tell while you’re looking at them they’re actually sentences. And the sentences are saying themselves in some weird way. And in the way that a good sentence, a good long sentence has all its clauses operating and its articles rotating smoothly and its gerunds running up and down their tracks and everything, you know, in the same way that a good sentence does that these little objects have this kind of linguistic coherency. Well then what the entities in this space are doing is they’re urging me, the percipient, to explore this and to do it, to sing these songs, to make these objects condense. And I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what this could possibly be about. In terms of new ideas about it, the only new idea I’ve had about it is it’s occurred to me with some force over the past year and a half or so, that the conclusion that I never looked at carefully ‘cause my mind tried to shy away from it was that maybe these things have something to do with the dead, that if you were to ask a shaman what these entities were, he would just say without hesitation “oh these are the ancestors, these are the spirits of the ancestors”. There’s a hair raising quality to contacting these things, they are both very familiar and yet somehow freakishly bizarre, and the presence of the familiarity with the bizarre creates a kind of cognitive dissonance that’s very.. Well there’s just nothing else that feels quite like that. I wrote an introduction recently for a reprint of Evans Wence’s book The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries and I discovered when I re-read that book that the doctrine of purgatory which is good church-doctrine it’s a realm where souls go to be cleansed for a few millennia, they’re not so sinful that they go to hell but they go to purgatory for a few thousand years before they enter heaven, well I always assumed that this idea came out of the Roman contact with Gnostic ideas, but I discovered in writing the introduction for the Fairy-Faith that St. Patrick invented the idea of purgatory and he invented it when he was converting the Irish to Christianity, he did it as a way to christianize the notion of fay, of fairyland. And the Celtic pure belief is that the dead go to a realm that is co-present all around us, we can’t see them, but that all around us is just jammed with souls in wild states of activity and that if you have the eye, you know, a certain talent, you can see these things. Well Patrick in order to have an appeal to these Celtic peasants made purgatory part of the Christian cosmogonic scheme, but when you actually smoke DMT you burst into a space which seems very much to fit the description of this elfen inhabited space because if you think about what is the gnosis of elves, elves are artifices, they make things in metal and jewels and glass, this is the archetype of the elf, that they are underground craftsman and they are humorous, but their humour is highly unpredictable and sort of not necessarily running in your favour, they’re somewhat cruel and boisterous, and like that. Well when you break into this space you discover, you know, that you’re in fairyland, you’re in fairyland as much as Darby O’gill or any of the rest of these people who ever made it across, and that the secret of the elves, what they really fabricate, is language. This is why in Irish mythology if you get elves on your side you can make great poetry, because they are the keepers of linguistic artifice and getting elves on your side makes you a master poet. Well it’s interesting then that in the Amazon where there’s a tradition of taking DMT there are these things called Heruke and they’re actually described as bouncing demons, and the Heruke you’re supposed to get, they come into being when you’re stoned, then you’re supposed to get them into your chest you’re supposed to invite them into your chest somehow, well then the number of these things have inside of you determines what kind of a real man you are, and this is generally a male practice. Well, I notice that these DMT types they jump in and out of your body too, they seem to be trying to teach you about your body image or their relationship to your self-identity, and all the time they’re saying, you know, “make these objects, do what we’re going”. Well then yo go down to the Amazon, to the icaro-singing ayahuasqueros, and they are using voice to make objects. So what we’re on the track of here is a physiological ability or a pharco-driven physiological ability to transduce language as something seen. Well now you see, if you could see what I mean it would be as though we were the same person. Seeing what I mean is a much more intimate relationship to my intent than hearing what I mean. You can hear what I mean and go and look it up in your dictionary and get it all wrong if your dictionary and mine are different, but if you see what I mean we will be in agreement because I see what I mean too. So, if meaning were something that one could sculpturally command in three-dimensional space. Well part of what I was doing in Linz in Austria was trying to get these virtual reality people hooked into this as a concept, because you see with the present virtual reality—do you all know what virtual reality is? Everybody knows what it is. Virtual reality is a technology where you put on a helmet and you have little, and then you think you’re in this place, some other place, under engineering control—well what you could do is you could slave the parts of English speech to geometric objects. So that for instance every time you use the word ‘and’ a rotating turquoise dodecahedron appeared over your left shoulder, similarly all the parts of the dictionary could be slaved to physically, or to visually beholdable objects, well then as I would speak this thing would be happening over my left shoulder, a kind of self-constructing grammatical tinker toy. Well I maintain that very quickly people would stop listening and start looking and that they would be getting it, in fact they would be getting more than if they were listening because the way in which these syntactically visible parts of speech could be connected and shaded and presented and emphasized and italicized and underlined and brightly colored and set in different fonts, and so forth and so on. In other words, many more dimensions to be intent to communicate could be brought into play. And this, I think this is what technology is probably driving for and what the psychedelic experience will inspire, is this kind of sculptural linguistic modality where meaning is something that we behold. Yeah [..]
[2:13:51] Q: [...]
TMK: Well we have to find out whether there are visual types, and audio types, or whether there are generalized human biases embedded in cultural conventions. You know, McLuan talked about how at the inventing of printing there was a shift from the eye culture, as he called it, to the ear culture, that before printing if somebody gave you a piece of manuscript it was in cannabula, it was written, it was manuscript, and therefore you had to look at it, after printing was invented every ‘e’ looked like every other ‘e’, and so print acquired uniformity, and uniformity you don’t, when we read we don’t look, you don’t look at the page, you read it, and your eye [..] don’t linger over each letter and try to piece out how it’s different from the other ‘Fs’ on that line and stuff like that, but in manuscript culture you do. Similarly, print created an expectation then of uniformity, in the way that the eye expected the letters to always present a uniform appearance there began to be the idea of uniformity of social appearances. And previously the largest social class had been beguiled, but suddenly you get people talking about the ruling class, the middle class, the lower class, white collar, blue collar, these are linear uniform terms for describing lots of non-linear, non-uniform phenomena. And then finally of course with the machine age you get the idea of the intercheability of parts. This is an idea that would never emerge in a… could only emerge in a print culture, because in a print culture the interchangeability of the parts of print becomes an established convention. So then you say “well you wanna make tractors or hay mowers, so let’s not just make one hay mower, let’s make 50 of them, and let’s make them all at once, and let’s lay out the pieces and then let’s assemble them in teams; this kind of thinking arises out of the bias of a technology. McLuan talked a lot about technological biases.
[2:16:33] Q: [...] just going back to the Chinese [...] 50 thousand symbols at one time and now they only allow 5 thousand in the newspaper and the average person only knows that much
TMK: Well, yeah I mean language is becoming more glyphic, reality is becoming more iconic. When you travel in Europe you’re aware that you’re skating along on a thin surface of icons that if you’re careful will never break through and let you down. You know, you can’t read all this international jargon about where the dog can’t poop, and not to smoke, and not to open the window, and so forth and so on. Yeah, we need an iconic language, and we’re tending back toward it. Now an iconic language like Chinese has also undergone huge amounts of local conventionalization, so I don’t think we’re all gonna end up learning Chinese unless it’s going to return more to its ancient form. Mayan it’s an interesting case, because Mayan is a rebus language where you use icons not to symbolize things but sounds. Do you see the difference? So for instance if you wanted, in rebus language you could put a picture of an eye, a saw going through wood, an ant running across the ground, and a rose, and that would be a sign which said “I saw ant rose”, the icons symbolize sounds, don’t symbolize meaning. This makes it hellishly difficult to reconstruct a lost language that is written this way because the language, what you have are the symbols of sound, and you don’t have the sounds anymore, so how can you reconstruct the language. This is the problem Mayan decipherment has had to grapple with.
[2:18:42] Q: [...] when they try to teach you some language they keep saying think in pictures, stop think in [...] think in pictures, have you ever had any contact with those people
TMK: Not with the community, I’ve known death people and yes you’re right this thinking in pictures, this is something that happens at a certain point in most psychedelic experiences, you realize that the quality of our ordinary thought, or at least in my case, it is language, it’s a stream of words and then it can become this much richer fuller imagistic type thinking. This is very elusive, I mean it’s so close to the level of human organization that probably there are some people in this room that are doing it right now, there are art movements like the pre-raphaelites, the romantics that put great stress on this kinda thing, even had exercises to elicit this kind of thinking. I mean, I think that we’re, and you know, McLuan has tried to get at this by talking about the effects of technology, it’s that we haven’t realized just how fluid the mental modality is. You know, Thomas Aquinus in the middle ages was thought to be a great saint. And he would prove his sainthood by they would come to him with a bible or a work of theology and they would open it in front of him and let him look at it for a few minutes and then close it and question him about it and he could answer questions. And they thought that this was a proof of his sanctity. And all he was doing was silently reading. He was the only man in Europe who could silently read. And everybody else had to sound the words. Well, we can’t quite wrap our mind around that because for us this is just something you do, you know. It’s not even as hard as riding a bicycle. Well how [...] are there where we are down between narrow walls of expectation and just a little tweak of our programming would make a real difference. One of the things that fascinates me about the psychedelics that we haven’t talked about at all this morning cause it’s kind of on a technical bent is how close the most interesting ones are to ordinary brain chemistry. It isn’t that the strangest, weirdest drugs give the strangest weirdest experiences. No, the drugs that are most like what you have in your brain at this moment give the strangest, weirdest experiences, the ones that are just one tweaked atom away from ordinary consciousness are the ones that give the profound world-dissolving experiences. So, this suggests to me that what we deal with when we deal with psychedelics is future chemical states of mind. Future rations of neurotransmitters in the human brain. Is it that 5HT2 and -A receptors for serotonin are slowly over time—centuries—being swapped out for a receptor that will accept a more energetic molecule like DMT. We know that DMT occurs in ordinary human metabolism, but we don’t why. Is it increasing over time? We don’t know, because we’ve only been measuring it 20 or 30 years. I mean, this place where evolution is going to be visible is in consciousness because this is where the chemistry is most delicately poised to augment or suppress function, so we’re very well set up to observe evolution and shift in conscious modalities. And this is no neutral, cooled out scientific endeavor, the rate at which we can do this probably determines the rate at which we can save our selves and our planet from ruin
Q: Ehm.. music, you haven’t mentioned the function of music in a non-linear communication [...]
TMK: Well, music is, you know, this very old form of art which appeals to this thing I’m talking about, not quite with the kind of linguistic specificity that we would we desire ultimately, but music is a language of emotion that hovers between the scene and the herd pretty ambiguously. I mean, for the romantics, you know, they were one of these groups of people who talked about synesthesia, this is this technical term for the senses moving from one modality to another. Tasting colors, feeling music, hearing light. And a lot of the talk in the 19th century among symbolists and pre-raphaelites and romantics was about these synesthetias and how to trigger them. And strangely enough this led to the first bout of psychedelic—quote on quote—psychedelic drug experimentation. It was the romantic pursuit of synesthesia through opium that created the first wave of opium addiction in literate English society. I mean Coleridge and DeQuincy and these people were quite consciously trying to use drugs to create and push the definitions of art out further. Somebody said architecture is frozen music, from which it must follow then that music is unfrozen architecture. Liquid architecture. The architectonic quality of hallucinations when they are driven by music is very striking and the way in which all these things come together has almost kind of Gothic elegance. The way tone can be used to create impressions of large vaulted space and this sort of thing. I mean it’s really and unexplored thing and I think technology is going to teach us a lot about making that kind of art in particular. Yea
TMK: [...] couldn’t see me because he had Margaret Thacher. It’s true! … frozen architecture. No, I mean, Czechoslovakia is an interesting case because you can see, you know, Prague’s reputation before the revolution was that it was the gloomiest city in Europe, and you can certainly see that it would have been a gloomy city if people had been marching around in uniforms and there had been bread lines and fear and loathing. With communism gone, people stay up all night and dance in the streets and suddenly it just looks charming and unwashed and we just need to get the [...] of industrial grime off all this [...] and art deco and architecture and it will be just fine. The thing about Czechoslovakia is you know if you scratch a Czech you find a Celt, because the Celts were there a long long time ago, building fortresses on all the hills and when you look at the people in large crowds, which my god they know how to get crowds together, there’s crowds of them everywhere, they have that same Celtic cast that you get a west coast Greatful Dead concert, you know, I mean everybody has brown hair. Czechoslovakia was exciting because all these places have an opportunity to redefine freedom, to be even more free, to push it further. And what I was doing there to have a mission, to have a reason to be there, was visiting the national museum department of mycology and leaving off spore prints and growers guides with people in the department who I thought might like to grow psilocybin mushrooms. And being good slavs they were very open to this, and very excited by the idea of growing mushrooms. You know, cultures can be divided into mycophilic and mycophobic, and mycophobic cultures are like the English for whom all mushrooms are toadstools and you should put it down because you don’t know where it’s been. This is the basic English attitude. Well then Slavs and Celts there are hundreds of words in these languages for mushrooms, and mushrooms outing and people go out on Saturdays on mushroom forays. In Czechslovakia the national bestseller is a guide to the mushrooms of Czechoslovakia, no home can be without it. So you can imagine that it’s a different attitude. Prague is further west than Vienna. It’s the real centre of old Europe, and of course because of Rudolf the second it was the court of this alchemical, protestant alchemical political plotting and lots of intrigue. That’s why we’re called bohemians. It’s because that radical style of free thought began in the principalities of Bohemia, with people deciding nobody should wear clothes or we should get rid of money, and then everybody would do this until the local bishop would get an army together and come and kick some sense into everybody, but over and over in Bohemia this outbreak of radical free thought was typical. Yeah
Q: [...] year ago [...] this visions were all taking place inside of tape, a large giant tape [...]
TMK: Well it’s an interesting question. Why do drugs have identities? Like this. And do they have them? And the answer is yes they certainly do. And it’s one of the puzzling pieces of information that I always keep in front of myself when trying to understand these things, that it’s irrational, that for instance no matter who you are, you know, Viennese, Jew, Icelandic ski instructor, Irish pub owner, if you take Ayahuasca you will see large snakes, large cats and dancing black people, in this order of statistical frequency, with black people being not as common and cats and snakes, cats being not as common as snakes, snakes being the most common. What’s going on here? How can it be that a chemical compound that can be defined down to the quantum mechanical positions of the atoms nevertheless seems to carry informational content of some sort? Well I don’t know, but here there is one possibility and maybe there are others. Maybe this is support for Sheldrake’s hypothesis of formative causation, that actually around the drug a complex of ideas has accreted itself in some kind of psychological hyperspace, a pattern has been worn in hyperspace, which is the pattern of how this drug works, and it’s really in some sense a composite of all the trips, of all the people who ever took it. Well, since for the first 20 thousand years all the people who ever took Ayahuasca had snake and jaguar fear as a major source of anxiety, we discover that upfront. But of course now why the dancing black people? This becomes less easy to understand
[2:33:24] Q: [...]
TMK: Well this is the other possibility, see, that the reason these things are so message-specific is that this is the plant, that this is it’s presentation. Like with ayahuasca particularly its language is visual, I mean after a strong ayahuasca session your eyes are bugging out of your head. It’s like a visit to Madison Avenue to buy prints. I mean you’ve just looked at so many prints and looked and looked and compared the Breugel to the Baj and the Baj to the [...] all this stuff, you know, look, look, look, and… but then for instance with mushrooms it’s actually verbal, it speaks, it tells you things in plain English in a conversational mode. I don’t understand the more I live, the longer I see of all this stuff, the less I feel that I understand what is going on
Q: but don’t you think is a consciousness in the plant?
TMK: You mean a psychedelic plant like that?
Q: well maybe all sorts of plants I don’t know but it depends
TMK: Yeah but why would it have one presentational mode over another?
Q: Because of its particular chemical composit[...] life force or [...] in that it has its own consciousness
TMK: Well, I guess this is what we’re left with, that these are the masks by which we understand these things. What happens with the mushroom is it always has a presentational personality. But then when you enquire you discover that this presentational personality is created for your convenience and that behind it lurks god knows what, and then when you begin to talk to it about that, that’s when the trip turns off to the left and it begins to get peculiar because you’re enquiring into its inner nature. I mean, with the mushroom you can actually say “show me more of what you really are” and immediately the trip will take a turn away from the dancing mice and all that cheerful hypnagogic riff raff and towards something you know ‘whooo’, say ok, that’s enough of who you really are, reassure me now. So yeah, these things are like personalities, minds. But the question for me is it’s such a strange way to communicate that here is a life form that it can’t communicate unless you eat it, unless it’s inside you. And then somehow big moray of its being and your being mesh together and then these images spring into being, but it is in the very act of passing away, being consumed in your metabolism, it’s like some kind of act of love or something
TMK: What is it like to take a person? Well I asked once what it wanted to be called. And it said “Call me Dorothy” … Dorothy. And I said “Why?” and it said “because this seems like Oz to me”. I just report these things, I don’t know why it wanted to be called Dorothy.
TMK: You mean how to stir it through these places?
Q: Well or why did you wanna turn back
TMK: Well you have the feeling, it’s a very complex feeling when you deal with the other. It’s your friend, sort of. And it’s predictable, sort of. But everything has this vibe about it where you don’t wanna push too much. I mean, I’ve given a lot of thought to trying to think about where I’ve had this feeling that I have when I meet the DMT elves, and it’s a feeling of exhilaration, but caution, accomplishment but doubt. And I decided that where I knew this feeling from was my dissolute youth as it [...] in the back streets of Bombay [...] into these labyrinths where these guys with shining eyes and deformed limbs would take us back into these warrens of streets, and they would know that we had enough money on our body to ransom them all for 5 years income, and we would know that they knew, and yet we would be there to conclude a business deal over a psychedelic substance, and this feeling of meeting the mean traders, and they would always say, they had this wonderful line calculated to put you completely at your ease, they would say “I am your friend, I am not like all the others”. Oh great! Wonderful, I feel so much better now! And that’s what these elves are saying, they’re singing out “don’t listen to him or her, I’m your friend I’m not like all the others” and you know, you’re clearly the new kid in town, I mean you can barely sit up and they’re able to pick your pocket from 10 dimensions you didn’t even know exist, so you try to sort this out in good order
Q: I wanted to go back to the idea of simulation that in order to [...] process of digestion [...] and that’s actually true of all experiences [...] but anyways everything that you do [...]
TMK: Well maybe this has to do with the notion of boundary dissolution, that to be digested by something is actually become it. It becomes you. Yate said we become what we behold. And yeah, I mean it’s fairly profound when you think about it, I didn’t really lean on this thing this morning, well I mentioned about the diet and the copulation and the religion and the psilocybin, but the notion here is that feminism is actually a state of dietary neuroregulation in the species if you want, and because the feminine I associate with the state boundary dissolution or potential state of boundary dissolution because feminine sexuality is based on the acceptance of penetration and the experience of giving birth as the experience of heavy boundary organization and so forth, so the earth actually talked to the human beings through the diet. I mean it’s crude and awful to say it that way but, you see, because the psilocybin was in the diet, because the people were tribal, because there was pressure on hunting success and sexual success, the people were in a state of maximal attention directed toward the environment, and coming at them out of the environment was a mind. Not an abstract mind, not as we imagine god, an old man with a beard and abstract prints and all of this, but actually, you know, a friend and a comfort, a feminine thing, not remote at all. Not the creature of theology, but a creature of experience. And these feminine values were the values of the human group and they were a kind of objectification, realization of the values in nature itself. And getting away from that broke this bond that was very real, and this breaking of this bond traumatized us. I mean you can even use the language of dysfunctional relationships, childhood trauma, abuse, that sort of thing. That in the infancy of the human species there is a tremendous traumatic event, that tearing away of the human tribal family from this embeddedness in larger vegetable nature. And then once that happened we had to make it up by ourselves. And we, you know, did a botched job of it, I mean religion just became a way of berating people, ethics became control, government became coercion, education became the inculcation of [...] mistakes, so forth and so on. Understandably, because you could almost think of us as an ant society whose queen has been killed, but we don’t notice it because it’s not part of our species. We actually were an incipient symbiot to this invisible thing and it still exists. It still exists in whatever dimensions are its own. I mean, is it the mushroom, is it some total of organic life on the planet, is it an extraterrestrial mind somehow here so long that it’s as old as the continent? Whatever it is it’s still there. Well then what human history and outbreaks of messaionic hysteria and the prompting of visionary dreams and all of this stuff that sets us sitting both upright in the middle of the night is, you know, this thing can reach into the human world, haltingly, hesitatingly, but pointively, probingly, trying to bring us back calling us to some kind of return, trying to reconnect the broken circuit of history. And this is what is the cause of all the nostalgia for paradise, you know, the belief in a vanished Eden, a lost Atlantis, so forth and so on, and all the utopian yearning, the belief that, you know, the extraterrestrial will come and kiss it and neck it well, that we will somehow rescued from our own folly, that dead Galilean politicians will walk again among us, all of these ideas that are overthrow of natural law for the purpose of saving us in a drama of cosmic redemption, well it’s like a psychological process, it’s like somebody digging into their stuff. And you know, we all start out with the assumption that our childhood was perfectly normal and our parents were fine people and you start digging and separating and working and looking and then the picture becomes much more complicated. The human attitude toward drugs, the fact that we can addict to 40 or 50 substances, and do, I mean other animals form addictions of various sorts, but nothing like this, I mean clearly we’re in a state of permanent chemical disequilibrium, I mean we would [nod] door handles, sniff paint thinner, tobacco, heroine, you name it, thousands of alkaloids, bury you know, dig up stuff the pig wouldn’t eat, and then pickle that, and then eat that. I mean, all this anxiety and disease around the problem of food is that we’re looking, we’re looking for something. Well then every time somebody finds it then a huge shriek goes up from the body politic that it’s illegal what you found, it’s unacceptable, this behaviour cannot be tolerated, people who smoke joints of marijuana the chief of police in Los Angeles wants them shot like dogs in public places in order to keep public order. Well what we’ve got here folks is a lot of serious anxiety around states of mind, clearly.
[2:47:46] Q: [...]
TMK: You mean a rupture into history of this material?
Q:[..] separated from psychedelics and from [...] organic life [..] and then they’re open to synthetic reality
TMK: Well it’s an extreme case of alienation over like a thousand years. I mean yes, we’re so alienated that we don’t even know how alienated we are. I mean, things built into our language like the subject-object dualism, the assumptions of science, you know that spirit exists, this is what they’ve been busy at for the last 400 years, is exorcising spirit, in that from the late medieval cosmology we inherit a world entirely animate with spirit and angelic beings, running up ladders and performing all kinds of miraculous tasks. And then with Descartes you get this grudging admission that well maybe the soul touches matter at just one place, in the pineal gland of each one of us there’s this magic trip hammer, and there the little angel performs the forbidden transduction and so, and then 50 years after Descartes then they say “well, no, no, that was the naive part of his thinking, we’re gonna get rid of that and now we understand that spirit was an illusion of the ontologically naive mind and there’s only force and momentum”. Then you have permission to commit all kinds of atrocities against nature. Although the permission to commit these atrocities has been present in the western tradition for a very very long time. I mean you go back to Gilgamesh and you discover that what’s going on in Gilgamesh is Gilgamesh rejects the goddess and the goddess sends the bull as her emissary to Gilgamesh which I take to be a symbol of the mushroom obviously, and Gilgamesh rejects the cosmis bull, rejects the goddess, and then he gets his shaman friend Enkidu who’s very reluctant about this enterprise and he says “you know what we need to do, I have a great idea, let’s get into the wilderness and you’ll help me and we’ll cut down the tree of life” and this is what they do. This is [tuniform] tablets that are dug out of the ur level of our civilization. And what they’re plotting and scheming is two [clowns] want to cut down the tree of life. So this alienation goes very deep, that’s why the psychedelic experience is illegal and repressed and suspect. It’s because nothing less the whole kit and caboodle of this civilization hangs in the balance against it. It is forbidden to know that the dynamics of the mind have such depth and breadth. We are supposed to live in a narrow canyon of consciousness, walled in between awake and asleep, and anything else is considered pathological. And we make a little place for artists as long as they don’t get too uppity or obscene and otherwise it’s all closed off. Well breaking through this is this recapture of the birthright that I’ve been talking about. Other comments, yeah
Q: Every time I eat mushrooms [...]
TMK: Well even in the pharmacology textbooks the yawning gets in for psilocybin, it makes you yawn they say, and it certainly does make you yawn. The tearing, it also makes your nose run a little bit about at the 40 minute mark. The tearing I associate with the actual moments when the visions are occurring, it seems as though your eyes produce a lot of water. And the tone is yeah, pretty basic to the presentation of these things. The way it works for me usually is I take it on an empty stomach in silent darkness and at about the hour and ten minute mark there’s visual streaming. Nothing much before. I mean, running nose, restlessness, need to go to the bathroom. One of the things you don’t wanna do is once it begins I think it’s very important to stay still. And you will get into loops where it would be better to be downstairs, it would be better to be on the other side of the room, it would be better… this is the small tinny voice of true madness trying to push you off your point. And you just say “no, no, it wouldn’t be better downstairs, and it wouldn’t be better across the room, and it’s better right here”. And then at an hour and 20 minutes you get visual streaming, which I’ve also noticed they occur after orgasm, they’re like purple after-image, kind of amorphous, jelly bean shaped lights that are passing by, not very interesting. But they indicate the onset of something is happening, the synapse is coming to the potential for the thing. And then, I usually smoke cannabis to sort of push it over the edge. And at a certain point I know that if I now will take a huge hit of cannabis the whole thing will just come apart over moments. And then it does. And it usually is.. You sort of see it coming, you know, like a sand storm or something, I mean it’s 10 miles high and 100 miles wide and it just rolls toward you and there’s nowhere to run. And I usually have a few moments to lie down, is what I basically do, that seems a good strategy at that point, ahaha.. A plan! A lie down! So then I do that and that sort of helps a little, and then it just hits. And you would swear that you know everybody from Vancuver to San Diego just hurled themselves underneath their desk because it’s like an asteroid striking the earth or something. I mean, everything gives way, you have these images of first there’s light, then there’s heat, then the instruments which record light and heat themselves disintegrate and vaporize and begin to move outward, and it’s just, you know, a linguistic zero zone, where language will not operate, it’s like ground zero. And then this goes on for a long long time, and the viewpoint keeps telescoping back until finally the viewpoint is outside the blast zone. And then you can begin an inward description of it, say, you know “oh it’s like this, it’s like that, it’s telling me this, it’s telling me that”. Other times it’s this Irish elfen band thing where they come literally tip-toeing through the tulips, you know, and you hear it far off, like the tinkling of bells, and then it just gets louder and louder and nearer and nearer and then you see it, and then it’s around you, and it’s… well, it’s like a bugs bunny cartoon directed by Tristan Szara or something like that, I mean it’s quite zany, unpredictable. The thing that always impressed me about psychedelics was the way in which it could convince you that you could never think of this. You know, and that was the stamp of authenticity, the fact that it was moving faster than your own imagination, astonishing you, making you laugh, frightening you, leading you on, teasing you… it’s very strange. I mean there’s nothing else like it, it’s like you know the Arabs used to say of the city of Isfahan in Iran in the 10th century, that it was half the world because of its vaulted domes and [minner] hats, that if you hadn’t seen Isfahan half the world lay before you. Well, it’s literally true of psychedelics. I mean, half at least of the world lies over yonder in these strange dimensions, and they’re not inaccessible, you know. They’re very accessible, you don’t have to spend 20 years around the ashram and yet my goodness we maintain decorum around them and don’t break protocol and behave ourselves in the presence of. I mean even those of us who are supposed experts or accounted great explorers of it spend 9 times as much time talking about it as doing it you may be sure. So, you know, it’s just a kind of a cultural blind spot. Into a person like myself, very important, to someone else extraordinarily trivial. I mean there was even a book published on the drug problem recently called America’s Great Drug War by Tred...lock, Tredwell, who’s a good guy, he wants legalization, he’s a good guy. But there’s no entry for psychedelic drugs, no entry for LSD, no entry for mescaline, it’s not what they’re talking about, not what they’re worrying about. Even the people who want drugs legalized do it with this kind of “ok,—you know this attitude—we’ll defeat it, we’ll legalize drugs, screw it, that’s it, go ruin yourselves now”. There’s no notion of hope, no notion of a pharmacological engineering of consciousness to any reasonable end, it’s just you know if you’re not willing to go it alone with God’s grace well then you just can sign to the road to hell. Yeah
[2:59:45] Q: I had some friends that have used MDMA or ketamine, or 2CB [...]
TMK: MDMA with mushroom? Ehm.. let me see if I can remember.. I can’t really remember anybody specifically doing that. All these things get done. I always, I sort of try to warn people off of these things and I’m a terrible party-pooper because I am just such an obsessed person, that all I really care about is this really narrow psychedelic effect. There are a lot of weird states of consciousness around, many of them drug-induced and a whole spectrum of them alcohol-induced… yeah.. How was that?
Q: Well I thought that, right away that the mushroom felt solid
TMK: Who is this [...] … yeah synergies are sort of unexplored area, because there are so many of them. You all understand synergies are what happens when you rub two drugs or more together and very weird things happen but they’re not very controllable or repeatable. My, what I always say to people about choosing drugs and strategies for bringing drugs into your life and your program of spiritual development or self exploration, whatever, is the most interesting drugs are the ones that occur in plants. That the occurrence of a drug in a plant shows that it has a certain affinity to organic life, but that doesn’t mean that there are hellaceous toxins in some plants, I mean there curare, there’s strychnine, there’s cyanide, these are plant by-products as well, but nevertheless as a first pass it’s important that a compound occur in a plant. Well, then the next thing is: does it have a history of human usage? And the interesting ones almost all do. Psilocybin used in Mexico for millennia, other parts of the world it’s probably for a very long time although the evidence is less clear; [mess] peyote has a long history of usage in the American south-west; cannabis goes back millennia; so does opiate use. So then, do these things have a history of human usage, and even specifically shamanic usage? And then, to my mind, the really interesting question, do they have an affinity to ordinary brain chemistry? Because, have I mentioned this this morning, the strongest drugs are the ones most like ordinary brain chemistry. The most extreme case being DMT. DMT only lasts 7 to 10 minutes and yet it’s the most profound dislocation of reality that you can undergo. Well why is it that it is both so profound and so quickly quenched in the organism? It’s because in the human brain bio-pathways exist which recognize and degrade this very readily because they are there all the time performing this function on DMT. So, to my mind it isn’t that you sail out toward the most synthetic or complex or keylated molecules, but that in fact these things are highly suspect, that what we’re trying to do is actually tweak consciousness, do reverence to the physical brain, but tweak consciousness as little as possible to get the desired effect. One of the fascinating things about DMT I think is that once someone has smoked it, once someone has had this experience you can have a dream in which it is introduced into the dream as a theme, DMT, and then you actually smoke it in the dream and it actually happens in the dream. And I don’t know of any other drugs that this is true of, and what it says to me is that, even though this is an extremely radical psychedelic experience, apparently the chemistry that is the precondition for it is just under the surface almost within reach of conscious awareness. I mean I sat down at times and thought about smoking DMT and trying to invoke it, and never succeeded the way I’ve succeeded in a lucid dream doing that, but it shows I think that the chemistry is very close to ordinary metabolism.
TMK: Yes, it’s closely related, in the chemical family of the hallucinogens you have the indole family, which is a fairly large family and it includes the lysergamides, that are the LSD-type drugs, the beta-carbolines which are MAO inhibitors and occur in banisteriopsis caapi, and the iboga alkaloids, which are psychedelic aphrodisiacs from west Africa, and then the tryptamine group, and the tryptamine group is the largest group and it comprises psilocybin in the mushrooms, and DMT that leaves of certain bushes and in the barks of certain south American trees, and then it also occurs in other plant genera but not in very high concentration.
TMK: 5-methoxy DMT occurs in toads. 5-methoxy DMT is interesting. It recently had a kind of vogue because people discovered they could collect the exudate from the toad and dry it on their wind-shield and scrape it off and the smoke it up or sell it for about 80 dollars a gram
TMK: It’s a big thing in Florida. Well, nobody actually licks toads, that’s just a slander. What you do is you milk the toad onto the glass of your four-wheel vehicle windshield and then let it dry in the sun and then scrape it up and collect it in a film canister. I know people who really like 5-MEO DMT, I don’t care for it, I find it weirdly empty. It’s not visionary like DMT. DMT it’s a chaos of hallucinations. It’s the most hallucinogenic compound there is. I mean, it’s just hallucinations stacked on top of each other. In every angle tiny demons seem to be performing elaborate calisthenic exercises, and you know, much else is happening. But when you do 5-MEO DMT, for me at any rate, it was like this feeling, yes, it feels like DMT, yes, my heart is racing just like, DMT, yes, yes, yes, no, no, nothing happened. It didn’t do the thing. The other piece of information that I feel obligated to pass onto you as a spoil sport is that 5-MEO is fatal in sheep, they just fall over with their little pointed feet trembling in the air. And you know, I guess it’s a way to tell whether or not you’re a sheep. But it’s a little alarming that a mammalian species, so substantial and whooly and so forth falls over dead when exposed to this stuff that you and your friends are furiously smoking up in the den… why? They don’t know exactly, it’s neurotoxic. These neurotransmitters fall into narrow ranges. Sheep are sensitive to a lot of stuff, that’s why they’re always dropping nerve gas on them and stuff like that, because they seem to have a fairly narrow tolerance to neurotoxins
[3:09:21] TMK: It’s somewhat alarming, you know, not.. 5-MEO DMT, not DMT
Q: how different is it
TMK: Well, just the difference of that methoxy group in the 5 position. But, you know, this is why sheep get staggers and die, because they’re eating filaria species, grass species, with low amounts of 5-MEO in them, and they’re always getting staggers and getting problems with them. Anything else? Yes
TMK: Physical side effects on the mushrooms. Well one of the things you have to understand is that research on psychedelics is illegal and not even encouraged among professionals. So, a lot of what’s known is anecdotal. Whenever you talk about the side effects of any drug you have to realize that people are highly variable. So tolerance… and drugs are the area where these differences between people show up dramatically. Generally, psilocybin is thought to be a generally safe compound. In terms of crude measures of its safety it’s very safe. I mean for instance, the way pharmacologists talk about drugs is they talk about what’s called the LD50, this is the horrible concept of if you have 100 mice, how many, how much of this drug do you have to give these 100 mice so that 50 die? The LD50, the lethal dose 50. Well for psilocybin it’s huge. I mean hundreds of milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight. So that’s not a possibility. That’s the cheerful news from the world of reductionist pharmacology. The problem is that when you get out there the whole religion of taking these things holds that science doesn’t know what it’s talking about. So when you get out there and you have the complete and total conviction that you’re dying then you have to grapple with this. And the thing is it’s always completely convincing. And this is just something that seems to put one through occasionally. You don’t get much sympathy from straight people. They say “well psychedelic drugs isn’t that the bit you think you’re in heaven, then you think you’re dying, then you think you’re god, then you think you’re dying, I thought that was what is supposed to happen”. Well, as we know you try to stir around that. If there are episodes of fear the only thing you can do is sit it out and breathe it out and sing it out. The one thing people shouldn’t do is clench up and hunker down and just go to the foetal position. What you want to do is circulate a huge amount of energy and oxygen by singing. This is what shamans do when they get into difficult places, they sing their way through it. And it is ambiguous, it is complicated to go into these places, I don’t think anybody voyages repeatedly into these psychedelic spaces without getting into some fairly weird stuff.
TMK: What kind of songs do I sing? They’re usually based pretty much on the tonality of the situation. And finding a tone that I can ride out of the situation. So, and they’re synesthetic I mean, a tone like huuuuuuuuuuuum…. You know, you’re feeling it’s doing something to you, and you can stir your way through weird stuff with this. Then usually you become distracted by the act of making the sound itself. Because the sound, first of all, you either have or had the illusion that you have tremendous control over the production of tone, your ear gives you a tremendous ability to differentiate these tones, and they’re appearing in front of you as colors if you’re loaded enough. So, this is the modality in which you can experiment with the visible language, you try to syntactically construct out of tonality and glossolalia some kind of convincing modality. Most of you have probably heard ayahuasca songs. I mean…. Uane uane uane te, singe te, singe singe singe te… they’re driving, is what they are, they’re repetitious and they’re driving and you discover in yourself, you know, the capacity for glossolalia, which you can ride, you can lift the meaning governor off of the language machinery and just let it spin, and it’s indefensible as art, but ecstatic to do. I mean, I tend to do glossolalias which are more conversational, and I like them because they play with meaning. So that kind of stuff sort of sounds like… eeee de ge dem uai uoxy pi pi in if nuidem uau ede eee keba mam uau ede chikipidi…. Yeah I do this alone in the dark, and what it is it’s it places an edge for the light to follow, and you discover meaning in the absence of context. I mean you discover like the source of meaning before it is contextually located. Don’t ask what this kind of words mean, this is how I learnt to talk hanging out with these semiotic people. But it’s something like that you know. And I think people did this for hundred of thousands of years for each other as a form of performance art, long before somebody got the nuts and bolts notions that you could connect an action in the world or linguistic intent to a sound, that we’re just set up for this, these small mouth noises and it’s tremendously under the influence of psychedelics you know you can make language get up and walk around, I mean you can literally peal off the ceiling and set it dancing in your presence. If any of you have read Robert Graves’ book The White Goddess, he talks in there about what he calls an ursprache, a visibly beheld language of primal poetry, and he thinks that our anxiety has to do with the fact that we have lost the true speech, and that if you speak the true language, the ursprache, it’s a beheld language, it doesn't require the conventionalization of dictionaries, you know what you mean, and the loss of this genetic language is what made us so maladaptive and at unease with ourselves. Yeah
Q: [...] prepare oneself and strengthen oneself [...]
TMK: I don’t know, I mean I always go into it with knees knocking, and just terrifying to me. I know someone who says the attitude they take mushrooms with is each time they pray that they can stand more. And then some people don’t feel that, and feel that it’s easy, and it’s silly-cybin, but it isn’t all silly-cybin, I mean it isn’t all dancing bunnies and all that stuff.
TMK: Oh, its all, it’s very complex, it’s almost an x-ray of your horoscope, it’s your own expectation, the time can be wrong, I’m convinced that if the time is wrong you can be a saint and it will shake your teeth out. And yet what is the wrong time, how do you find it? I used to always throw the Iching going into it, and if the Iching said don’t do it I just wouldn’t do it. There psychic weather, there’s low energy, there’s personal anxiety, there’s also even I think the state of collectivity, that you know, go into it when half the world is on the brink of war and you know, it’s complex, and it’s getting more complex in there because of all this knitted together stuff. It’s like skin diving or sailing, one of these things where you have to carefully judge the initial conditions, the initial conditions largely determine the end state. And then this is what shamanis is, is this ability to judge those conditions and call it right. Yeah
Q: [...] ayahuasca diet helps?
TMK: yeah I think that what [...]’s referring to is in the areas where ayahuasca is a happening thing indigenously the shamans say that the diet is the real precondition for doing it, and how long you kept this diet. And yeah, I think shamanism, psychedelically practiced, is the art and science of human physiological transformation, you know, and that with, by manipulating indoles, and by manipulating growth hormones, a kind of super-human condition becomes available, and this is what these people figured out in these climaxed rainforests, they had nothing else going, they weren’t into metallurgy, they weren’t into the purification of chemical elements, these other directions that we followed were alien to them, and what they gain was a tremendous facility with natural chemistry and diet, using the human body as the primary retort, the baseline, the alchemical furnace in which all these transformations were going on. I’m convinced that in its native setting ayahuasca is a telepathic drug. I mean, people, small groups of tribal people, and making group decisions based on group hallucinations, based on the collective database of the tribal group. They’re seeing the information from a higher-dimensional space, but this is a kind of telepathy.