ACCELER8OR

Jan 08 2012

2012 And The Failure Of Imagination

By James Kent



Advocates of psychedelic drugs often claim that psychedelics expand consciousness and stimulate the imagination. To demonstrate this point a few famous examples are often repeated, such as Francis Crick envisioning the spiral shape of DNA while high on LSD; Kerry Mullis coming up with his Nobel Prize winning PCR DNA replication method while high on LSD; or Steve Jobs seeing a world of people connected by Apple computers while high on LSD. There is some truth to these few examples, enough truth to make hipster comedian Bill Maher exclaim that taking LSD makes you a genius in a rant about how putting LSD in Halloween candy might actually be a good thing. After decades of bad press and public mockery, it seems that psychedelics have finally escaped the fringes and are ready to be embraced by the mainstream as miracle cures. More and more average people are reading about the healing properties of psychedelics, and more public figures are warming to the notion that psychedelics can create powerful and lasting spiritual experiences. Scientific publishing in psychedelic research is at an all time high. And then there is something about Mayans and 2012.

Whatever else you have to say about psychedelics, the meme of 2012 is now inseparable from psychedelic thought. Just like the term “entheogen” has replaced the term “hallucinogen,” the meme of a catastrophic or epic evolution in human culture has now replaced peace, love, and unity. Concepts of freeing your mind and seeking inner peace have morphed over the decades into dramatic tales of impending apocalypse and revolution, ending in a singularity that will engulf and change history forever. And this event may or may not happen on December 21, 2012, which happens to be at the end of the great cycle of the Mayan calendar, which coincides with our sun aligning with the galactic equator during the winter solstice, which only happens once every 26,000 years, or so the mythology goes. But the exact science doesn’t matter. What matters is that instead of eating mushrooms and having a good time, or imagining a cure for cancer, or visualizing a cleaner car engine, you instead get pulled through a singularity and come out thinking your an immortal astral shaman waiting for reality to fold inward on itself at the end of time. And then you think you have discovered the biggest secret in all of human history and you call yourself a genius, and become obnoxious about how prescient you are. And then you think you might be crazy, but then read a dozen trip reports just like yours on Erowid or The Shroomery and you wonder if everyone else has already taken mushrooms and seen this movie. And the answer is yes; we have already seen this movie.

It is easy to point to Terence McKenna as the originator of the modern psychedelic 2012 myth; his Timewave Zero idea was first introduced in “The Invisible Landscape” in 1975. McKenna’s idea came from a mushroom trip in La Chorrera, Columbia, in 1971, and was mostly ignored as insanity for many years. When McKenna’s popularity peaked twenty years later in the mid 1990s, the 2012 meme had already been adopted by Jose Arguelles and John Major Jenkins, and the Mayan connection kicked the meme out of the psychedelic underground and into astrological and New Age subculture. By the time of McKenna’s death in 2000 the 2012 mythology had become so firmly embedded in fringe culture it was even mentioned in the 2002 X-Files TV finale as the date of the impending alien invasion, the hidden secret root of all evil government conspiracies. Even though the details of the 2012 singularity, or the Eschaton, were never well defined, the apocalyptic tinge of the mythology took on a life of its own. The doomsday prophecy is a common theme in human history, and the 2012 myth fit easily into recycled bits from other ancient doomsday prophecies that people are still waiting for. 2012 is a fascinating piece of modern mythology, fascinating enough to be taken seriously by a large group of people. Fascinating enough to become a global meme.

Popular psychedelic mythology may be fun and exciting, but analyzing the worth of the 2012 meme poses some hard problems. For instance, instead of studying physics or biology or computer science and making Nobel prize winning breakthroughs in biochemistry, like the examples mentioned above, many geniuses in the psychedelic underground turned instead to studying Mayan calendars, UFOs, and crop circles, and look everywhere for signs of the end times. This is what I call the first failure of imagination. Instead of following the paths of the few rare individuals who took psychedelics and produced discoveries of great scientific importance, young psychedelic explorers turned instead to tales of stoned apes, machine elves, mushroom aliens, Mayans, 2012, and the transcendent hyperdimensional object at the end of time, as if these were matters of great importance. If taking psychedelics is supposed to turn you into a genius, then all the geniuses taking psychedelics should have been able to distinguish scientific reality from the quasi-spiritual historical fiction comprising the 2012 mythology. It’s not enough that psychedelic imagination starts with the discovery of DNA and ends with everyone connected by iPads — that is not enough. There must also be a global paradigm shift. We won’t be happy unless we get our global paradigm shift. And the global paradigm shift must be so dramatic that it renders all previous human history as obsolete. And we want it to come on an exact date, in an exact year. And it will play out just like revelations with famines and floods and plagues and catastrophic global upheaval.

Which brings us to the second failure of imagination, which can be blamed on the media and popular culture in general. Of all the memes to come out of modern psychedelic thought none has gotten more popular traction than the meme of 2012 and the “end” of the Mayan calendar on December 21st, 2012. Talk shows and news programs run stories on 2012 and the Mayan calendar; conspiracy theorists pick up whatever thread they want and tie it to 2012, and prophets point to 2012 as a time of transcendence, when the impoverished illiterate masses of the world will spontaneously realize we are an enlightened tribe of mushroom children all dancing to the same cosmic drummer. There was a movie about 2012 called 2012 that was horrible, and all the documentaries on History or Discovery channel are so obsessed with apocalypse its hard to tell which end-time prophecy they wish would hit us in the face first. What does this say about the quality of intellectual property coming from the psychedelic meme pool? Of all the progress that has been made in psychedelic research, of all the shamanic exploration through the rainforest, the thing that gets the most imaginative play is how we will destroy ourselves when the big dial on the Mayan calendar clicks over to the next pictogram? Pinning your mythology on an arbitrary, rarely occurring cosmological event seems like a desperate move to me, the kind of thing you pull out of your ass when you’ve run out of good ideas.

If you remember back to the early days of psychedelic experimentation, there was a period of time before McKenna where taking psychedelics was for fun. People turned on, tuned in, dropped out, listened to music, partied, had sex, freaked out, had bummers, got crazy, and found their inner freaky flower child. Now people take psychedelics and get serious; they seek the shamanic cure to every modern malady, or that hole at the end of time where all of history collapses and everything happens all at once. Earnest psychedelic advocates preach about the coming evolution in global consciousness where paradigms shift and the planet transcends into utopia or chaos, or the technological singularity ushers in dystopia or immortality, or something along those lines. For a group of people who used to be so focused on “being here now,” the psychedelic community morphed into a group of New Age future watchers always getting hooked on the next big hype that can never quite live up to its promise. And the biggest hype of them all is 2012. We’ve lived with the promise of 2012 for so many years, how can anything less than elves of chaos erupting out of fractal wormholes possibly satisfy us? Is there any way 2012 can possibly deliver on the outlandish promise of the prophecy?

When McKenna first presented the Timewave Zero meme it was a novelty, it actually came in a package marked “Novelty Theory.” And for many years the 2012 meme was fun and interesting because it was like a thought experiment; it was something you could fiddle with like an algorithm or a piece of software. The 2012 meme allowed all kinds of people to have quibbling discussions over the i Ching and mathematics and Mayan prophecy and Bible prophecy and ancient aliens and so on. The 2012 meme lived on past McKenna’s death and was recycled by New Age writers looking for a new hook into astrology, spirituality, prophecy, movie screenplays, and so on. The 2012 meme was such a convenient hook that people didn’t need to use their imaginations anymore — the screenplay for the future had already been written. That is fine for a thought experiment or for a whim of the popular imagination, but now it is actually the year 2012 and it will be the year 2012 all year long. I was sick of the year 2012 fifteen years ago. I’m not sure how much more 2012 I can take. The closer the December date becomes the more fixated the public consciousness will become on what it all means. The inventory on the shelves of our modern mythology cannot move forward until then, our imaginations are stamped with an expiration date, and we will be forced to eat the same old 2012 apocalypse transformation meme over and over again until it expires at the end of the year. No new memes are allowed until then. There is a singularity in time blocking any planning forward into 2013. It is a blurry space clouded by the dark side of the Force. All we can do is ride out this disaster movie until it’s over, and then its over. When 2012 passes without major incident the public imagination will be bankrupt, our modern mythology will be devoid of meaning, and we will be forced to think about what happens next. And that is scarier than having to deal with any singularity.

Latching on to a science fiction end-times prophecy is not genius. It is not expanded consciousness. And it is not a triumph of imagination. 2012 is lazy thinking and empty ideological fatalism with no hope of delivering on its promise. The 2012 meme represents the most infantile aspect of psychedelic thought; the wish to get something for nothing, believing that major change will happen by doing nothing more than waiting for a date on the calendar. By adopting the 2012 meme the psychedelic community went from being that tie-dyed hippie saying “Peace and Love” to that tattooed burner with a sign reading “The End is Near” in under two decades. That a group so fascinated with love and peace would adopt such a nihilistic and grandiose mythology and that the public consciousness would be attracted to this meme over any other offering from the psychedelic community demonstrates a fundamental failure of public imagination. It is impossible to say how many millions of people have taken psychedelics in the past few decades, but if the 2012 meme is the fittest idea to come of the psychedelic community since 1971 than we are in trouble. The mushroom’s gift to humanity has trapped us in an end-time prophecy awaiting the impending singularity. That is just embarrassing. The mushrooms clearly need new writers. But that’s too bad, because new ideas are embargoed until 2013, when our imaginations can go back to work. We’ll need a bunch of new memes for the rest of the 21st century. Our old memes have expired.

  • By Valkyrie Ice, January 8, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    There is a global paradigm shift underway. It’s just that it is neither one that will take place immediately, nor one that will occur in an instant, but one that is instead a steady evolution from one economic and social model towards another economic and social model. While this evolution does mean the “End of the World as we know it” it is neither an apocalypse nor an armageddeon, though it will certainly seem psychedelic to a lot of people.

  • By Marcus Pinceer, January 9, 2012 @ 3:27 am

    Read some Jacques Vallee, he is a real scientist (an astronomer); he is an excruciatingly careful and thorough researcher and journalist. And what he has to say about the UFO phenomenon is of great importance.

    Psychedelics are for introspection, not “fun.” The rave culture killed off the psychedelic movement by creating an environment where it is totally impossible to experience introspection – ie jumping around along to hideous noise like unto a wind tunnel or some kind of actual physical torture by sound.

  • By Ron, January 9, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    “Latching on to a science fiction end-times prophecy is not genius. It is not expanded consciousness. And it is not a triumph of imagination. 2012 is lazy thinking and empty ideological fatalism with no hope of delivering on its promise.”
    Wonderful! Bravo!
    I remember seeing surrealist filmmaker Stan Brakhage speak in the late 80s, and he just hammered on MTV as a serious misuse of the tools that the surrealists gave us. I think that the same could be said now about how we have ruined things with the tools that psychedelics have given us. We’ve squandered it all into one big groovy time where every single one of us is shackled to a smart phone or computer terminal of some sort. about the only thing going for psychedelics now is we have better computer graphics on tv and film now. our escapist media is well-oiled.

    and don’t get me started on Pinchbeck! (McKenna wasn’t even cold and Pinchbeck jumped right in there filling that void!) Claiming to be a “shaman” and insisting that he and his Psychedelic Supermen will blast off to the future, leaving the rest of us behind to rot! A lonnnnnng way off from McKenna saying that we either ALL go to the future or none of us go at all!! Yeah, the “new shaman” is a selfish me-generation mutation that should stay on the petrie dish until it’s done properly mutating.

    And what else? People calling themselves “shamen” and going to South American on these psychedelic tours to basically rip off and destroy MORE aboriginal cultures! Great job, people! I hope that Ayuhuasca trip paid off and cured you of your neurosis!

    Pay attention, trippers! We’re a long way from getting anything straight. Time to get serious and quit playing around. Time to go deeper and deeper and come up with some solid material that will actually help this planet, nature, and the human species. Or else.

  • By Rasa, January 9, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    Yikes! Some pretty absolutist comments about an article taking a fairly balanced critique on prophesy and 2012. “There “is” a global paradigm shift underway?” “Psychedelics “are” for introspection, not fun?” I guess there is always someone willing to tell you how to think. May I humbly suggest a dose of Maybe Logic? For safety’s sake, click here: http://soul2soultreasures.com/mayan_cloak/index.htm
    As for the article itself, I agree, one thing seems certain: we need new memes, often!
    As for the Rave scene – pretty harsh critique, Marcus. Any new art form can be diminished by unthinking conformity, but “hideous noise” seems like a personal subjective view. Woodstock looked barbaric to many, but the experience transformed nonetheless. I had a puzzled reaction to Rave when I first encountered it, but I soon understood that the experience was not supposed to be about introspection, even though there seemed to be a lot of it when chilling afterwards. Rave was explained to me and later experienced as ritual dance where a continuous precise beats per minute helped to induce an ego-less trance state. MDMA also served as a means of diminishing ego. I appreciate most forms of music, but some forms require a little understanding if you don’t immediately appreciate them experientially. Rather than “killing off the psychedelic movement,” it seems to me that the Rave culture simply offers another permutation of psychedelic exploration. I think psychedelics are for whatever you can get from the experience, and like Leary, RAW and others, I agree that while introspection seems to be crucial, the initial value lies in an orgasmic unfiltered flood of information that totally bypasses the scrutiny the ego, that sneaky little bastard.

  • By star0, January 10, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    Yes, the end of 2012 will neither bring an apocalypse nor a revolution in `consciousness’. But I do see a great deal of disruptive change coming down the pike in the next few years — things like 3D printing; in-vitro meat; improvements in smartphone technology, and their proliferation in the developing world; artificial organs; life extension; Broad-Group-type building construction; domestic robots; etc. etc. This change will bring about many of the things that believers in a “positive singularity” have been looking forward to, and without even the need for strong AI or mind uploading.

    I have often wondered what drives people in the New Age to believe the things that they do, and I have discovered that there are several pernicious memes at work. Here are a few of them that I have noticed:

    1. One meme is what I like to call “false unification”. This meme starts with a belief that everyone sees a little bit of The Truth, and that The Truth is a unification and integration of all these perspectives. It’s reminiscent of Robert Anton Wilson’s “reality tunnels” monologue, together with a kind of relativism — that everyone is right, noone is wrong. So, you have all these New Age documentaries that interview a resrespeted scientist, alongside an astrologer, alongside an economist; and you get writings that say things like, “Our world is made up of matter and forces, or maybe it’s spirit and thought; or it’s both.” The end result is: massive contradictions and paradoxes that lead to no useful conclusions or ways forward, like trying to go East and West at the same time.

    2. Another meme is “natural is always better than artificial”. This leads New Agers to give up on such technologies as GMO’s and, I bet, will it will lead them to reject in-vitro meat, even though it would be in their best interests to embrace it.

    3. Another meme is “the ancient ways are the true ways”. I trace this back to a fear of death, ultimately (long story…). The end result of it is that you have, for example, people poring over ancident Hindu texts seeking evidence that they understood Quantum Mechanics.

    4. Another meme is “no pain, no gain”, as well as it’s converse, “if I’m in pain, it must mean that I’m gaining something.” In some contexts, these are actually true; but that doesn’t mean that in other contexts one can, through a small application of intelligence and creativeity, obtain gain with very little pain (e.g. effort). As a result of these memes, New Agers reflexively reject certain technologies to make people’s lives better, convinced that there must be environmental destruction somewhere behind it (even if they can’t see where it is), or a weakening of `soul’ caused by disconnection from Mother Gaia, or that it benefits powerful elites more than the 99 percent.

    5. Lastly, and this isn’t really a meme, but there’s a tendency for New Agers to feel disempowered by advanced technology: they want to participate in its creation, to make it with their own hands; or, failing that, to feel they understand how it works. And they resent the fact that they don’t have the advanced science and engineering backgrounds to do this. So, you will see them writing things like, “Have cellphones and computers really made our lives better?”, and then they will write how farming, metalworking, the plough, and other understandable technologies are all we really need.

  • By Michael Garfield, January 10, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    James, I agree that we could be a damn sight more imaginative, and that pinning global transformation to a specific date is foolhardy (the more eminent among contemporary psychedelic elders, like Stanislav Grof, are quick to point out the silliness of trying to squeeze cosmic timescales into human ones).

    But if this is the last year we play this specific game, wouldn’t it be a relief? After all, you said it yourself: music is dead. Taking your place as the official curmudgeon of the future and all people declare to be “new,” I’d think you were just as eager as the rest of us for a change of pace. 😉

    Certainly, you can appreciate WHY it is that all the plebeians have invested themselves in the idea of coordinating behind something bigger than nations, bigger than ideologies.

  • By Alan Mason, January 11, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    James, thanks for the excellent critique/thought-piece. When a meme starts showing up on the Discovery Channel, its usually time to run away from it as fast as possible. Keep up the good work.

  • By Erial Ali, January 12, 2012 @ 12:26 am

    Very interesting and thought provoking but ultimately as empty as the charge that we’ve somehow lost our way and can’t think new thoughts any more. A critique is just that. Where is your genius? Where js your new model of reality? Critics are important social agents no doubt, but instead id seeing the incredible cultural innovations under way in art, music, computer graphics etc etc you focus in the most obvious pop culture memes when you were supposed to be inventing the future like many of the rest of us….

  • By Marcus Pinceer, January 12, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    You want a new paradigm, and one consistent and compatible with quantum theory, (and WRITTEN by one of the founding fathers of quantum theory) ? Then go and study some David Bohm.

    http://www.david-bohm.net/

  • By James Kent, January 16, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

    Erial, I am not merely an empty critic, I have contributed plenty of imaginative new memes to the psychedelic meme pool.

    http://psychedelicinformationtheory.com

  • By Lamont Granquist, January 17, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    Heh, got sick of all the wishy-washy science (and outright abuse of quantum theory) in the community and goofy navel-gazing crap like timewave zero more than a decade ago.

    All the displacement of religion onto psychedelics or “entheogens” is another bit of navel gazing as well. If they help you, great. Use it and move on with your life. Don’t construct your life entirely around them, that’s not healthy to do with anything.

    And I took acid and studied David Bohm 20 years ago… That is just more intellectual masturbation…. Take some actual graduate-level quantum mechanics and move on with your life…

    I’m cave diving, trying to lose ~50 pounds, working out, helping out with water conservation efforts trying to start something locally, and watching what the LHC actually produces with some interest…

  • By Marcus Pinceer, January 17, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    ummmm…. duder… David Bohm WROTE one of the most important textbooks on quantum theory, still an important and constantly used and referenced text. You need to stop telling Granpa how to suck eggs, kid.

    so, yeah, I am like REFERENCING a “graduate level quantum mechanics” … textbook. You fail in so many ways it hurts to even contemplate….

  • By jake, February 3, 2012 @ 1:49 am

    Now kiss & make up…. Gooooooood
    member: Love is for giving / Love is forgiving

  • By Audun, February 3, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    OK, open your mind up real wide, and try to take in this emotional rant about how it’s all going to be aaaalright in the end:

    The peace and love memes aren’t gone at all. This world is changing rapidly, as more and more people are taking direct action to at least try to gather and make their societies work out in a new way depending less on the general sheep mentality and more each member’s participation and responsibility to function.

    Even if this isn’t the ultimate answer, it’s at least a step in the right direction with the required degree of awakening or consciousness expansion to speak of a global tipping point just around these days.

    When those who take responsibility for certain crucial societal changes grow together with those who find deeper existential meaning in the teachings of the plants, and with those who create art (a new art, not the negative “anything, even crap and dying animals, is art”-art, but truly creative art that does something deep to you), and with those who teach us to love, and with those who understand advanced science and technology, and with those who teach us about the balance of Gaia and how we are part of it, and many more that for reasons of limited imagination don’t occurr to me right now, when all these (i.e all of us) start growing together and influencing each other through these efforts of creation and connection that we clearly have started to make, then it may be fair to conclude that there certainly was a change in global consciousness with a crucial tipping point around 2012, for which it is just to honor many great people that influenced the different groups that would grow together into a meaningful world.

    Terence McKenna, IMHO, is among those visionaries, but many of his lazy followers are not, yours truly included if he doesn’t get up off his ass and do something right soon. I understand the criticism in this article to be about such a group of people, but it fails when applied to McKenna himself as a thinker; that’s when you wanna say: “you really aught to listen to and read McKenna more thoroughly before criticizing him on the basis of such a shallow understanding of him.” Well this is what we all need to be told if we consider ourselves to be “McKenna”-fans, and somehow think that this means we should do nothing to better the world we live in, since it’s all about to end soon anyway in a spectacular mass death where all the ignorant ones won’t come along with all of us initiated ones to the other side where paradise of lazy fantasies awaits us. (He clearly distances himself from such a position in the Earth Trust talk, when he says something to the effect that we must act as if all depended on us, but feel as if this is not so, meaning (as I interpret it) that events will unfold regardless of our illusions of having control over them, but we are part of these events and we are meant to care and act in a responsible way according to what we learn on the way, yet letting ourselves be stressed, worried and guilt ridden about the way these events will unfold is not such a grand part of our task.)

    I started studying McKenna only four years ago, and for me it obviously meant the transformation of my life. In the beginning I did conclude that unless you understood and were initiated into the McKenna-Nous Sphere, by 2012 it would be lights out for you. I felt terrible for my uninitiated friends and family, and for my wife more than anyone. I decided to stay with them all and talk about these things, and the day of the rapture I would pray for their passage and try to convince them to come with me to the other side, or something to that effect.

    Of course I am not of that missionary religious conviction anymore. McKenna’s famous last words were: It’s all about love. And he also mentions it many times in his talks. Long before hearing McKenna for the first time on YouTube sometime in 2008, I was convinced that love is one of the most meaningful and mysterious forces relevant to us living beings on this planet. One may conclude that love is not about to abruptly separate the “enlightened” ones from “the rest”. And it’s not about to isolate me emotionally and intellectually from my closest ones.

    What is more, it is often among “the uninitiated” ones or those who don’t fumble so much with highly advanced intellectual models of their reality and meaningful position in it, that the ones who most selflessly and whole-heartedly are able to live and be love are found. We who reflect upon their importance and high value often aspire to love like they do, but we get distracted by our intellect buzzing on about these things, like an undercover ego agent that nods in approval at ego-death but still seeks to affect decision-making in us.

    I hope for a long and wonderful future in which i can contribute with a life not wastefully lived: meaning I wish to stop over-consuming the recourses of the planet, stop producing waste, start making my life and my surroundings beautiful and meaningful by making an effort and not idly letting ugliness engulf us (which means recycling, composting, constructing, growing, gifting, working, taking care of people, loving, wishing, tripping, meeting others, learning, teaching and so on). I want to be creative, write funny, exciting, scary, and thoughtful texts, make music, make images and movies.

    I wish to openly declare something that up till now has been criticized by hippie-o-phobes as a soft-minded and unrealistic position (which is true when seen in conjunction with the ruling paradigm that we may not know whether love, care and meaningfulness are illusions caused by matter, and that we’re better off letting money and profit be the forces that move the world. Yes, the hippie paradigm fails to be productive in such a world, but then again it’s becoming clearer and clearer that love, care and meaningfulness fail desperately at being illusions; even if they are illusions they maintain a powerful and significant value in our experience, and it’s time we based our societies on such values.)…

    So what i wish to openly declare is that i wish to be friends with you all, and with all plants and animals and aliens and machine elves and on and on, and that I wish to take my responsibility as friend as serious as I am able to, seeking to respect and do as little harm as possible in cooperation with everyone.

    The above statement illustrates what being a fan of McKenna has done to me. Perhaps it’s a softening of the mind (as if our minds weren’t hard enough already), but it’s not a giving in and resigning passively to circumstances thinking they are of no consequence; I see how an introduction to McKenna can leave you in such a state of mind, but a thorough study of his message coupled with your own sound judgement, initiative and effort should bring you to a far more hopeful and useful state of mind and action.

    I recommend the podcasts form the Psychedelic Salon produced by Lorenzo Hagerty for a detailed and nuanced understanding of the insights of the psychedelic society from before the hippies up till now, coupled with an equally deep understanding for what the Occupy Movement potentially represents and may achieve.

    So:

    No reason to despair, no call to give up on “the rest of us”, we are A L L in this together, and we are not about to squander the care and the love that potentially exist in all of us, now that we are finally starting to act as if we understand the importance and relevance of them.

  • By ape, February 3, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    A wonderful comment, Audun.
    I’m disappointed by the article, however, and the rest of the comments. After such an introduction to McKenna and his ideas… I feel it would be rather hopeless to start a serious discussion. Or, I guess, it would be awkward to try. Another way of discussing things is to take time to address each other individually, much preferably in private. If your goal is to introduce people to your understanding of the world, you should already know their mindset and study the varying range of personalities beforehand. From the article, it seems obvious that the author assumed this knowledge was available to him. But then, of course, he resorted to communicating memes and general ideas to the readers, NONE of which can, even remotely, explain the individualistic properties and content of one’s mind. Again, then, unless it can be somehow confirmed that you have gained a scholarly understanding of people’s minds, a sort of which McKenna possessed, and which many of you must surely also expect to have, you should be attempting to make it easier for yourselves. Actually begin talking to each other, instead of sending chunks of information to the far-off cyberspace in hopes of them finding the definite receiver… that’s not at all how to connect with people, and to make them understand. You need to exchange ideas as something viable, and quite possibly correct them, if not completely transform them into something else. Like the 2012 TM “meme”, for instance, how much of the math and the I Ching did you really study and “understand”? In what way, shape and form do you visualize the theory? I’m sure it’s completely different from my picture, so there’s no need to make it so personal. I will only recognize your analysis as ego tripping, and that’s no good, for anyone.

  • By Audun, February 4, 2012 @ 12:48 am

    Thanx Ape!

    Some comments to your also very wonderful comment, and some general thought buzz for the general far-off hyperspace;)

    I think the article was good, though, and I admire James Kent for his critical voice. I feel it is a good test, if you consider yourself to have been led to just about the most important great deal of insight of your life by Terence McKenna and/or psychedelics and the Psychedelic Society, to see if you can read it through and still say you feel good about your points of view. I sure think some could need to read this article in order to unass their supposedly ego shattered heads, hehe, and I’m sure they need to have a good laugh about it too, if they are to cope with the fact that they actually have a future to worry about.

    The people who made the other comments have maybe had to suffer some epic jerks advocating McKenna as an excuse to do nothing but fun drugs, and even claim that such lethargy can be meaningful. Again it’s easy to defend the man himself, paraphrasing from the talk called The Psychedelic Society when in the Q&A part he is asked about how one should go about the illegality issue:

    “Any ambassador of psychedelics should lead such impeccable lives and go forth as such good examples that the idea that there should be anything shady about these things must seem utterly preposterous.”

    It is not easy to meet such requirements for being a “McKenna-approved” advocate for the legality and importance of using psychedelics, and still get away with doing nothing for anyone but yourself since the world is about to end anyway.

    Even if the world DOES end in 11 months, I don’t think it would be cool to face the other side like one who gave up on this life and the responsibilities in it. Similarly to knowing the end is near, I know for pretty sure that I WILL die SOME day, and I would like to do as much neat stuff as I can possibly fit into my schedule before leaving this place (and that does not mean dedicating myself to making selfish trips into worlds that my friends are excluded from understanding and entering, and I am too weary to explain to them).

    You must be right that we all get the message in a personal and different way, but I think WE who could read the article, and not feel that it conflicted with our passionate and keen interpretation of McKenna, have in common that we are rather hopeful for the future, and eager to contribute to it too:)

    How do you suggest we start actually talking to each other more? I’m kind of hoping that you and I are doing that now, but I am also kind of sending a chunk of information into hyperspace, do you mean those two things are not compatible?

    As Lorenzo Hagerty always says:

    Be well, my friend!

  • By Bruce Damer, February 10, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    All excellent thoughts here! Something to add to the bucket is the following video which I produced for our recent Terence McKenna: Beyond 2012 series which is running all year at various venues. The film was shot at Terence’s house in Hawaii with me introducing him to the medium of virtual worlds. We had a late night discussion of why singularities probably cant happen (me explaining gently) and later Terence confessed to me that he hoped people wouldnt take this 2012 thing too literally. Anyway watch and enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7Itu48M4fc

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