Terence McKenna fascinates me. After hearing him speak in some various YouTube clips, I found him an infectious lecturer and was curious to check out his writing. Now, I consider myself a "pseudo-pschonaut" in that it's been many years since I dabbled in any hallucinogens. My tendency toward anxiety makes that a tricky pursuit. But I've long been interested in lucid dreaming and various topics in consciousness.
True Hallucinations reads like a mad scientist's journal, and for that I enjoyed it. It excites you. Running with ideas is fun. Though in some parts, hearing someone rant about a mushroom trip while you're not on mushrooms yourself can feel a little like being sober in a packed bar, for that it can also get a little exhausting. In the end curiosity in his point of view propelled me further.
I'm intrigued to check into The Invisible Landscape where the McKenna brothers seem to go deeper into the actual Time Wave Theory, whereas True Hallucinations is more so an account of their drug adventures. But an idea that resonates for further exploration is the notion that perhaps alien life has already colonized our planet in the form of certain plants and mushrooms. These mushrooms serve as a sort of star ship for voyages deep into the universe itself. Yeah it sounds a little crack-pottish, and McKenna is a crackpot, though he admits to it and has fun with it. If the book lacked his humor and self deprecation it would have been more difficult to humor back and go for the ride. The universe is crazy, so fuck it, let's explore the nooks and crannies. Ah, the fringe sciences.
Here's a quote to give you a sense of the sort of thinking, that whether you're into hearing about other people's drug stories and mind blowing stoner thoughts, well, the beautiful intricacy of the physical world deserves a little trance-like observation from time to time.
"[Sand dunes] bear a resemblance to the force that created them, wind. It is as if each grain of sand were a bit inside the memory of a natural computer. The wind is the input that arranges the grains of sand so that they beam a lower-dimensional template of a higher-dimensional phenomenon, in this case the wind. There is nothing magical about this, and it does not seem mysterious to us: wind, a pressure that is variable in space. In my thinking, the genes of organisms are grains of sand arranged by the ebb and flow of the winds of time. Naturally, then, organisms bear the imprint of the inherent variables in the temporal medium in which they arose. DNA is the blank slate upon which the changing temporal variables have had their sequin and relative differences recorded. Any technique that saw into the energetic relationships within a living organism, such as yoga or the use of psychedelic plants, would also give a deep insight concerning the variable nature of time." - Terence McKenna, True Hallucinations: Being An Account of The Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise.
I just finished this last night, so these are just some initial thoughts. As I digest, there may or may not be some more nuggets of brilliance or bullshit to sift through and write more about it. Even if there are more swells of bullshit, I have a lot of respect for Terence McKenna. He goes places and shares his experience, and I find nothing wrong with that. Mushrooms grow in shit and when life's circumstances or societal structures get to feeling like bullshit, hats off to someone who devours a delectable fungus and appreciates the show. Because what's behind the curtain may reveal some incredibly important cosmic knowledge we need someday to save humanity.