This is turning, serendipitously and by design, into a Year of Dangerous Ideas for me, and i must say, it’s thrilling.
These days i’m listening heavily to the lectures of one Terence McKenna, to whom i was introduced by former Toff-boy S-Ray Jay while heading north in his right-hand-drive Delica en route to a honey farm to collect dead bugs for some nefarious purpose.
McKenna’s a relic from the psychedelic 60s, except that, far from being an addled drug burnout, he strings radical and deeply subversive ideas together with a facility that argues well for alien intelligence. Here are a few of many, many galvanizing words from his 1987 lecture, Light of Nature (part 3, abut 42 minutes in):
[W]hat is really happening is a return to the primacy of feeling, and feeling is not something you can convey to people the way you convey facts to them. Facts can be handed down every week through Time magazine and the latest of Science News and Nature. But feelings will not lend themselves to that marketable, hierarchically distributed system. And consequently feelings represent a back[lash] against that.
Yet feeling is the modality in which we all operate. So as long as we are under the umbrella of the print-created, linear, post-Medieval institutions that promote the myth of the public, the notion of the atomic individual, the notion that we are all basically alike, then we are going to be unempowered.
Just so you know what you’re getting into if you decide to pursue McKenna’s ideas, he precedes that paragraph with the following:
The answer to self-empowerment lies in the psychedelic experience. The answer to dissolving the hierarchically imposed set of mythical conventions that disempower us lies in the psychedelic experence.
Whew! You hear enough of this (and i’m on about my ninth hour of listening and relistening) and you want to start crawling around in the forest looking for mushrooms.
Instead, though, i’m going to crawl around the Sunday wilds of Thunder Bay, looking for the transcendence of breakfast and a good café.
And lest the man be considered a fringe lunatic or pleasure-seeker, here’s a quote (from the Wikipedia article) that shows him to be pretty gounded:
It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. These are the two things that the psychedelics attack. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war. But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.
—Terence McKenna, “This World … and Its Double”