Terence McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American philosopher, ethnobotanist, lecturer, writer and author who spent much of his life speaking and writing about a variety of subjects. He was very passionate about shamanism, psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, metaphysics, language, environmentalism, culture, technology, and the nature of human consciousness as a whole.
You can learn a lot from spending some time reading through some of his words or giving a listen to some of the many discussions available online.
As an introduction to the great mind of Terrence here are a handful of some amazing quotes to get you thinking!
1. “The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. If artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.”
2. “I think of going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience like going to the grave without ever having sex. It means that you never figured out what it is all about. The mystery is in the body and the way the body works itself into nature.”
3. “If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on."
art by Alex Grey
4. “You are a divine being. You matter, you count. You come from realms of unimaginable power and light, and you will return to those realms.”
5. “Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”
6. “We tend to disempower ourselves. We tend to believe that we don’t matter. And in the act of taking that idea to ourselves we give everything away to somebody else, to something else.”
7. “The shaman is not merely a sick man, or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself.”
8. “If you don’t have a plan, you become part of somebody else’s plan.”
9. “Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”
10. “My technique is don’t believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite.”
11. “It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. 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.”
12. “We have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the scientific know-how, the love and the community to produce a kind of human paradise. But we are led by the least among us – the least intelligent, the least noble, the least visionary. We are led by the least among us and we do not fight back against the dehumanizing values that are handed down as control icons.”
13. “What civilization is, is 6 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation.”
14. “Personal Empowerment means de-conditioning yourself from the values and the programs of the society and putting your own values and programs in place.”
15. “Nothing lasts but nothing is lost.”