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The Non-Ordinary Conhibition Rhetoric of Terence McKenna
by Zaptotec Blue
Feb 19, 1995
Originally published on
"We're playing with half a deck as long as we tolerate that the cardinals of government and science should dictate where human curiosity can legitimately send its attention and where it cannot. It's an essentially preposterous situation. It is essentially a civil rights issue because what we're talking about here is the repression of a religious sensibility. In fact not 'a' religious sensibility, *the* religious sensibility. Not built on some con game spun out by eunichs, but based on the symbiotic relationship that was in place for our species for 50,000 years before the advent of history riding priestcraft and propaganda. So it's a clarion call to recover a birthright, however uncomfortable that may make us. A call to realize that life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience that primordial shamanism is based on is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego and its fear of dissolution in this mysterious mama matrix which is all around us and which apparently extends to infinity and where our historical future actually lies. This is the other thing.

It is now very clear that techniques of machine-human interfacing, pharmacology of the synthetic variety, all kinds of manipulative techniques, all kinds of data storage, imaging and retrieval techinques, all of this is coalescing toward the potential of a truly demonic or angelic kind of self-imaging of our culture. And the people who are on the demonic side are fully aware of this and hurrying full-tilt forward with their plans to capture everyone as a 100% believing consumer inside some kind of beige furnished fascism that won't even raise a ripple. The shamanic response in this situation I think is to PUSH THE ART PEDAL THROUGH THE FLOOR."

"Years and years ago before the term "psychedelic" was settled on there was just a phenomenological description. These things were called "consciousness-expanding" drugs. I think that's a very good term. Think about our dilemma on this planet. If the expansion of consciousness does not loom large in the human future, what kind of future is it going to be? To my mind the psychedelic position is most fundamentally threatening when fully logically thought out because it is an anti-drug position, and make no mistake about it, the issue is "drugged." How drugged shall you be? Or to put it another way: consciousness. How conscious shall you be? Who shall be conscious? Who shall be unconscious? Imagine if the Japanese had won World War II, taken over America, and introduced an insidious drug which caused the average American to spend six and a half hours a day consuming enemy propaganda. But this is what was done. Not by the Japanese but by ourselves. This is television. Six and a half hours a day! Average! That's the average! So there must be people out there hooked on twenty-four hours a day. I visit people in L.A. who have one set on in every room so they're racking up a lot of time for the rest of us.

You see what is needed is an operational awareness of what we mean by "drug." A "drug" is something which causes unexamined, obsessive habituated behavior. You don't examine your behaviour, you just do it, you do it obsessively. You let nothing get in the way of it. This is the kind of life we're being sold on every level: to watch, to consume, to buy. The psychedelic thing is off in this tiny corner, never mentioned and yet it represents the only counter flow toward a tendency to just leave people in designer states of consciousness, not their designers, but the designers of Madison Avenue, the Pentagon, so forth and so on. This is really happening. It's only a matter of how tight you draw the metaphor that you realize it. I've been coming and going from Los Angeles a lot recently and when the plane swings out over the eastern part of the city looking down is like looking at a printed circuit. All these curved driveways and cul-de-sacs with the same little modules installed on each end of them and you realize that as long as the Reader's Digest stays subscribed to and the TV stays on these are all interchangable parts. This is this nighmarish thing which McLuhan and others foresaw, the creation of the public. The public has no history, has no future, lives in a golden moment created by credit which binds them ineluctably to a fascist system that is never criticized. This is the ultimate consequence of having broken off our symbiotic relationship with the vegetable, feminine, maternal matrix of the planet. This is what ended partnership. This is what ended balance between the sexes. This is what set us on the long slide."

"So now the culture crisis grows ever more intense. The stakes rise ever higher. If there were ever a time to be heard and be counted in order to clarify thinking on these issues it would be now because there is a major attack on the Bill of Rights underway in the guise of a so-called "Drug War" and somehow the drug issue is even more frightening than communism, even more insidious. McCarthy told America that communism was under the bed, he was wrong. Ronald Reagan and George Bush tell America that drugs are in the living room and they're right! It is here. It is real. It is the hydrogen bomb of the third world. The quality of rhetoric emanating from therapists and psychologists and psychoanalysts is going to have to radically improve or we are going to have happen to us what happened to genetics in the Soviet Union. We're going to be Lysenkoized. We're going to be made lilly-white and all opportunity for exploring this dimension is going to be closed off - almost as a footnote to the supression of these synthetic poisonous narcotics which are mostly dealt by governments anyway. But the psychedelic issue, as I said, it's a civil rights issue. It's a civil liberties issue. The reason women couldn't be given the vote in the nineteenth century, there was a very simple overpowering reason that was always given: it would destroy society. This was also the reason why the king could not give up a divine right, chaos would result! And this is why we're told drugs cannot be legalized, because society would disintegrate.

This is just nonsense. Most societies have always operated in the light of various habits based on plants. The whole history of mankind could be written as a series of made and broken relationships with plants. Think about the influence of tobacco on merchantilism in 17th and 18th century Europe. Think about the influence of coffee on the modern office worker, or the way the British influenced opium policy in the far-east to rule China, or the way the CIA used heroin in the American ghettos in the 1960s to choke off black dissent and black dissatisfaction with the war. History is about these plant relationships. They can be raised into consciousness, integrated into social policy and used to create a more caring meanigful world, or they can be denied the way sexuality was denied until the force of the work of Freud and others just made it impossible to maintain the fiction any longer. This choice of how quickly we develop into a mature community able to address this issue is entirely with us. Certainly people like Stan Grof and others have worked valiantly to keep this kind of thing alive but, my god, you can count them on the fingers of one hand."

"I should mention that DMT is an endogenous neurotransmitter. Yes, DMT, the most powerful of the hallucinogens occurs in the human brain as a normal part of metabolism. It also is a Schedule I drug, so you're all holding and this _might_ be the basis for some kind of case. To just show what absolute poppycock all this nonsense is: People Have Been Made Illegal!"

From Terence Mckenna's Non-Ordinary States Through Vision Plants