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Terence McKenna: "Culture is not your friend!'

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posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 06:27 PM
I have been a long time fan of Terence McKenna for various reasons, but this certain lecture he held in either Portland or Seattle (can't remember which) was about how culture is really just a way of compartmentalizing populations into groups, so that they can be more easily managed.

Now this may not be something designed by a shadowy elite - it probably has much more to do with human nature, and instincts. I do believe that the attributes of a culture are exploited heavily by the aforementioned elite (whether it be the modern day equivalent of Madison Avenue, or an actual smoke-filled room of people).

That being said, I would like to know what your thoughts are on this concept of culture as McKenna explains it, and what it is you think that's holding us back from the utopian society he describes as a potential (despite the fact that a utopian anything is not a good way to describe it, since it's ludicrous).

The main focus is on converting people into machines, complete dehumanization.

[edit on 20-11-2007 by scientist]

posted on Mar, 18 2008 @ 11:49 AM
The man was a prophet.

I could write 10,000 lines on why and how... but 9,999 would be against the rules here on this site... So I will just leave the one above that sums it up.

[edit on 18-3-2008 by SavageHenry]

posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 09:22 AM
how can turning humans into machines be dehumanization exactly? do you like the state of humanity now or something because its not doing great.

posted on Mar, 19 2008 @ 09:45 AM
I 100% disagree with TM. I believe he was just a misanthropic druggie whose distrust of what most of us consider normal came from a drug-induced maladaptive disconnection from reality.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 12:12 AM
Sorry, I'm not impressed with McKenna. He strikes me as one of those "re-invent the wheel types" who think we got it wrong the first time and if we could all just go back to re-invent society, then we could get it right by doing it his way. He's a totalitarian in the bud as far as I'm concerned. Another intolerant ideologue, a kind of Luddite. Fortunately he doesn't look that motivated. My two cents worth.

[edit on 21-3-2008 by ipsedixit]

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 01:00 AM
Many people become so wrapped up in a word they spend years or decades building around themselves, such concepts presented by Terrance are looked upon as wacky, arcane theories concocted in a mind manipulated by psychedelics.

Some of us must walk two paths, where we see the brilliance in his teachings yet many of the people we know and live around would think we are crazy if we started to talk about utopia and the poison of our materialistic world. Kids in Africa are giving up farming and bringing up live stock, instead picking up machine guns getting paid as mercenaries because for them it’s the path of least resistance; easier work then what their ancestors did for hundreds of years.

We become immersed in a culture broadcasted over T.V. where reality series and dramas tell us “this is the way we should live”.

Then you just have nasty people who are miserable and want to make everyone else miserable around them. Many will lie, cheat and steal unconcerned or sympathetic to the damage they cause others.

Don’t forget the have-nots that want everything and will do just about anything to get it, and the people who think they have everything yet they want more because they still feel unfulfilled.

We have many good hearted and loving people in this world but there is still too much evil, bitterness, anger, and greed to allow a utopia to exist. I guess its just human nature.

Keep your spiritual armor strong and don’t let the negativity of other penetrate it. Love and be righteous human beings, then maybe one day we will get there.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 01:30 AM
Culture is not my friend, culture divides some and empowers others. My real problem with Terrance's idea is this. We are meant to toil in the mud, we are meant to kill each other, we are meant to live in harmony with the planet. Living in harmony with the planet demands that we kill humans, if not kill them, let the weak die. I know I will get responses on this, so let me explain myself. no other animal is overpopulating the earth by the earths standards. We claim to hunt deer due to overpopulation, but they are only crowding in on what we humans believe to be our territory. We are not meant to own the earth, the earth has owned us from day one, any denial of that is to deny human nature. we don't governments to dehumanize us, we do it damn well ourselves. Techno-philes, couch potatos, we all work toward the same end, denying our natural habitat. I am doing my part to help stop overpopulation, no kids and I smoke heavily. We are approaching seven billion humans folks, that can't be healthy for the planet. let's give her a break.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 02:40 AM
I believe that, if urbanization and industrialization never happened the way it did, our world's population would still be at a somewhat healthy level. I don't know much about this guy, but isn't art a part of culture? It's certainly a part of my culture. I can create my own culture. Is that wrong?

Should we all be exactly the same? Or.... instead of insulting our cultures and saying that they shouldn't exist, or getting bitter and angry and violent towards those who don't except your imposition of culture upon the.... just let everyone be. Let culture be. I may not like rap or the "urban" culture very much, but I respect that this is the personal culture of people who grew up in rough urban areas. I can relate because I can empathize.

If you think culture is the enemy, well then just stop being who you are, and be the most apathetic tunnel visioned farting biological robot on this planet.

I tell you, it's psychadelic experimentation taken too far this can cause this sort of nihlism. I am not condoning any drugs, but I completely agree that dabbling once or twice is not harmful, and maybe a bit enlightening... but there's only so much you can learn about yourself when you're bending your mind to the snapping point. Psychadelics are very dangerous for that reason. People think they are being enlightened more and more each time, but they forget that this is a brain damaging substance, and after a while, your brain gets holes in it, and you either become a vegetable, go insane, or just become completely nihlistic and bitter. This guy seems to be just a tiny bit bitter.

We are all a part of creation, and in that sense, we are one... but we are here, experiencing what it is like to be OURSELVES, and being ourselves, as well as being naturally influenced by others, IS culture... and it's a natural thing.

Is nature not our friend now?

P.S> - I had to think about what he said for a minute, because he presents it like it's some really profound thought, and it almost sounded like it was gunna go somewhere positive... but I changed my mind quickly.

Respect to those who agree with him, but we all have our own culture. It's called a personality. Do you wanna de-personalize yourself? I don't. I like who I am.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 02:17 PM

You summed up alot...

to you!


You bring up some points that I feel I have to address..

To all those laying down a total judgment of the man based on this once tiny excerpt of one of his numerous lessons.. shame..

It takes a bit more then 5 minutes to even get close to getting a grip on Terrence McKenna..

Now .. I believe that we are where we are supposed to be.. culture played a part of that and I do not think that Terrence McKenna is lamenting on our direction for a minute... I do not think he is saying that we made the wrong turn and only IF this or that .. such and such would be a utopia....

What he is saying is that we certainly have made a wrong turn.. However this turn will foster us to correct the path, that our consciousness has to be here in order to realize how and why we should not be... This speech is spot on and 100% correct...

As for your take on Culture.. I think you may need to pull back a bit and view it from a Macro perspective.

What did he say here?...

We are lead by the least amongst us...

We do waste our resources...

Our current culture is sick and depraved and needs to be dismantled and or reformed in a very large way if we are to survive as a species.. Wasting our dwindling energy resources on killing and subjugating each other for control over it... Wasting our time with the inconsequential and mindless fluff that we do.. while ignoring the real problems we all face... IE: our news media spending 20 hours talking about Britney Spears or some other trivial crap... instead of talking about Peak Oil... (and that is a very small example of the situation that would take up 1000 pages to cover even partially!)

But that is what Terrence was talking about... not the micro cultures like Hip Hop or Art culture or anything like that you seem to be offended about... He is talking about our fabricated culture funneling our potential future down the wrong tube... What he is saying goes right to the heart of the matter..

I mean holding pride in a culture such as this makes no sense in anyway shape or form... It is akin and as futilely dumb as being proud of where you are born.. You were born where you were because your parents had SEX there... you had nothing to do with it .. just as you had nothing to do with the creation of the culture... you just have invested in keeping it going..

You just happened to be part of the lucky sperm club that landed you in one of the developed countries...

Culture is not your friend... it is a construct.. that can and must be changed...

You need to re-listen to this lecture I think... and perhaps find some of the others and give them some time.

As for your take on psychedelic drugs... lol

I will agree with you that they are not for everyone... however "holes" in your brain? lmfao.. please...certainly there are many who failed and these substances assisted..

However did they do them with the right intentions...or did they just want to "get fuked up maaaan"

Now think about it.. if they do them to get fuked up.. and get fuked up.. did it not work???

Personality is also not your friend.. as Personalities are defense mechanisms for our selves... They filter reality in a way that is harmful to the self...

Part of the venture of psychedelic experiences is to work your way into ego loss.. to become sure of yourself that you can be yourself and you have no need to create personalities...

You can be free.

I know that Terrence McKenna was not a nihilist... to say that is to prove you have no idea what he was about .. and not a single crumb of what he said was understood by you.

I blame culture for your resistance..

I blame personalities for your obtuseness..

As what he is showing us is a major threat to those fabrications... and those fabrications are a major threat to the survival of our species.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 02:27 PM
reply to post by SavageHenry

I'm not judging him based on this one mere clip, I know McKenna's work well and my judgment still stands.

posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 12:49 AM
Terrance’s message transcends far beyond psychedelics and his habitual use of narcotics. Many great actors, artists, musicians and other influential people in our culture were alcoholics and drug addicts. He advocates using psychedelics, because for him it unraveled a lot of things in his mind. Some people use Jesus or just a change in constitution. You spend twenty or thirty years thinking one way and then all off a sudden, for what every reason, the world is a different place and you see things in a new way.

Many great Russian writers wrote masterpieces through those long cold Russian winters with vodka by their side. Are you going to write off the brilliance of Crime and Punishment, maybe because Dostoevsky was inebriated while he wrote a portion of it? What about a criminal who finds Jesus and becomes a minister and Sheppard’s a whole congregation; are you going to say it’s just Jesus who turned him around? Jesus was the catalyst to change his mind, all of a sudden he's a new person looking through new eye's, with a different slant on the world. Part of who he was made him want to change and Jesus may have inspired it but he had to come to that realization and make that decision on his own. People achieve change in many ways, and what’s not important is necessarily what substance, religion, or philosophy they may follow, but what their message is.

[edit on 22-3-2008 by jojoKnowsBest]

[edit on 22-3-2008 by jojoKnowsBest]

posted on Apr, 13 2008 @ 09:50 AM

Originally posted by chromatico
what most of us consider normal

That is the problem in this society; what most people consider normal.
Like destroying the planet, waging injust wars, commercialising human culture, suppressing indigenous peoples and stealing their land, destroying spirituality in favor of entertainment and profit, brow-beating people who drees different into supplication, not doubting governemnt and victimizing the weak, supporting an elite who slowly takes away all rights, worst of all, allowing themselves to be transformed into consumer-sheep who dutifully hand in their money "because it helps economy", spying and telling on your neighbours, destroying nature, etcetera etcetera, I could go on for days.
What most of YOU consider normal, chromatico, is why we have sites like this, to try and find solutions and try and find the truth, because most people do not.
Terence mcKenna was definitely not a 'druggie', druggies are the sheeple, who consume rivers of coffee, seas of alcohol and toxic nicotine-smoke to not perceive reality. Drowning out their minds with worthless entertainment. Listening to leaders who have been lying to them from the start. Polluting the air and the airwaves. oppressing minority-groups, defending parasitical aristocracy. Deifying and adoring actors and populist politicians, adoring science as if it doesnt just catagorize nature's perfection. Not allowing the human species to evolve.
Terence mcKenna was one of those heroic people who decided to really search for a solution to the human dilemmas;

Should we progress naturally or technologically? Is it possible to integrate our technological progress in our human progress? Is there a true basis for the extended prevalence of humans? Are we interconnected with other realities? Can we, as a species survive? Are we a reflection of energies not visible in this dimension? Is there an end to time? Why have we progressed so much in this relatively short period?

And more of these kind of questions.
Important questions that need to be researched and answered, for they indicate some problems we could be facing soon. And other people do not ask them.

Call him a druggie if you have to, but this stigma doesnt reflect Terence, just your uninformed judgement of him. Nature doesnt make drugs; its humans who make drugs; nature just provides plants. Humans who randomly choose one substance over another, according to the dictate of their, usually parasitical, leaders.

Glad to see you have been banned.

[edit on 13-4-2008 by dervishmadwhirler]

posted on Apr, 13 2008 @ 10:51 AM

Originally posted by indierockalien
Respect to those who agree with him, but we all have our own culture. It's called a personality. Do you wanna de-personalize yourself? I don't. I like who I am.

I suppose 2 people could look at the same thing and come away with something totally different...even from what the original persons message was intended to say.

This is the beauty of communication - what is 'real' will resonate, or spin off and create a new 'realness' to someone else.

So there is your personality.
Not the items, thoughts, etc. that we claim is who we are.
Those are just what they are...objects, toys to play with - but not to make into an identity of a me vs. them.

Anything can cross the line of play into identifying with 'form'. (Again whether it be thought form of "I am this because of..." or object based form - "I wear this and I am this because...", or "Im the famous singer", etc.)

Sure you can enjoy being a famous singer without making it who you are.
This is where people usually get down and depressed because form is not making them something which they can never be...they are who they are. (Gods famous quote - "I am that I am")

People tend to be afraid of loosing something, or some kind of death if you take away their religion or culture. Again, its not really up to anyone to do this (take something away from someone), but they would find that if they let go...there would not be 'death' but life. They could fluctuate more freely between the opposite poles which create life...and enjoy life to the max.

Anyway...I see some merit in what he said, at least in how I perceived what was being said. Maybe not his approach, etc. But I tried to relay what it is I thought concerning this.



posted on Apr, 13 2008 @ 11:58 AM
First, a small amount of information on '___':

"Doesn't '___' cause chromosonal damage and other genetic defects?
This is a myth, originating from a single flawed study in the 60s which exposed cells in a petri dish to massive concentrations of the drug. In the same experiment, caffeine and aspirin caused greater chromosonal damage. But that isn't mentioned."

"Can '___' put holes in your brain?

"What is the addiction potential of '___'?"
Physically speaking, virtually zero. The typical amount of '___' ingested is microscopic (100 millionths of a gram) and tolerance builds up quickly - you have to wait 3 or 4 days before '___' will work on you again.

A common description of the '___' experience is one where the subject loses reality; is far removed from the external world and is generally out of it. This is a misconception. It is not true that the tripper is unaware of the real world. The truth is: '___' takes you so deeply INTO reality that normalcy seems distorted.

'___' has never been proven to create any holes in your brain or loss of cognitive function - unless of course you overuse it by doing it everyday for years - which there's no point to becuase it takes at least 3 or 4 days before '___' will have any effect on you again. And of course if you overuse anything, it will most likely harm you.

Terence McKenna never used narcotics - he wasn't a druggie. He was a shaman who explored areas of human consciousness that most people shied away from. He went to South America and learned how to use hallucinogens and entheogens safely and in the same way a shaman would. He lived with shamans for years to learn their ways. Shamans were healers who walked in between the worlds and could see things others did not. It takes alot of factors to make a good shaman, and only the best became the tribe's shaman, so that they could help people understand things that were unseen to them. Entheogens expand your consciousness so that you see MORE of reality, not less.

Because of this, McKenna could see things most of us miss. I agree with him, we live in a sick society. People think it's good to go to war, to be greedy, to have no compassion or caring for others and to destroy the Earth and her natural resources. He is fighting against this kind of brainwashing and thinking outside of the box. It is this kind of thinking that has led to some of the greatest discoveries of mankind.

Our govt has brainwashed us into believing that entheogens are harmful because they don't want us thinking outside the box and coming up with new, innovative ideas that will revolutionize humanity. They are afraid that if we aren't directly under their thumb, we might rebel and turn against them - which is exactly what they deserve. So the govt has spent beau coup bucks trying to convince us that it isn't safe. In reality, it's much safer than alcohol and far safer than the narcotics, such as heroin, diladaud and a host of other drugs that blot out pain. When you do that, you start to lose a grip on reality and some of them are extremely harmful. However, even heroin is not as destructive to the body physically as alcohol. Yet, a good many, if not a majority of the PTB in Wash. D.C. drink constantly and are alcoholics. These are the type of people running things and telling you that alcohol should be legal but no other forms of drugs, magickal herbs, etc. because they are "dangerous".
Anyone remember the old anti-cannabis propaganda film called "Reefer Madness"? Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

I think McKenna was a brilliant visionary who wasn't afraid to speak out. A helluva lot of people agreed with his views and these are the same people working to bring about a better, more peaceful and compassionate society. How do I know this? I know alot of people who were good friends with Terence, and that is the kind of people they are.
OK, end of rant.

posted on Apr, 13 2008 @ 12:03 PM
Culture is not your friend, it is your creation

Who makes culture? Governments? Madison Avenue? Hollywood? A shadowy conspiracy of rich and powerful men?

I'll tell you who makes culture. You make culture. You, and the rest of the human race.

The individual in that video, who seems for some reason unable to look his audience in the eye, burbles about 'putting the art pedal to the metal'. Yes, of course artists create culture -- they're famous for it. But so do teenagers who invent their own fashions and catchphrases, hungry folk who come up with a tasty variation on a popular dish by substituting one ingredient for another that is unavailable, and people who dream up and spread conspiracy theories.

Inventors who come up with new gadgets (skateboards, mobile phones, Mars rovers) are inventors of culture. So are people who take these gadgets and learn to use them in ways the inventors never dreamed of -- for example, the people who came up with mobile phones never dreamed that they'd end up being used mainly for sending text messages.

Folk from traditional cultures who, migrating from one county to another in today's globalized world, bring aspects of their home cultures with them and introduce them to their adopted societies -- the process that brought the world yoga, belly-dancing and the Chinese takeaway -- are likewise creators of culture.

As are the scientists who fashion new theories and the journalists who bring them to public attention. As are the philosophers who make us think and the comedians who make us laugh.

And yes, the people who work in Hollywood and Madison Avenue and Wall Street invent culture too. Of course they do.

And so do you.

This argument -- that culture is something imposed on people by other people -- doesn't stand up to the facts for even a second. Culture is the way a society changes and adapts and moves on. Culture is what we do. Culture is what we are all a part of. Culture is humanity.

[edit on 13-4-2008 by Astyanax]

posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 05:12 PM
reply to post by DuneKnight You need to listen to this again what you said makes absolutely no sense


posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 05:27 PM
No, *you* do not make culture and *they* do make make culture. Culture, like language, is something that grows up between us.

I happen to think McKenna was one of the most gifted and articulate speakers in the history of history. Now, does that mean I endorse all of his propositions? No, of course not.

It never fails to sicken me when I notice someone rejecting a good proposition, or set of propositions, based on how they "feel" about the person who is projecting the propositions. However, I know it is human nature.

To counter it, I'll add this link to a PDF document

2004 Consciousness Studies Conference, Tucson, AZ

Instead of being put off of ideas before you have a chance to savor them simply because they come from someone whom you have labeled "deviant" or somesuch from the outset, take a look at what scholars and important researchers in the field have to say about consciousness and culture.

If you reject their ideas, too, then maybe you must have a better set of interpretations, in which case I am all ears. By the way, here's one of my favorite excerpts from this tract:

"There are many reasons why social anthropology has a crucial role to play in consciousness science, but I have only space to mention two:
(1) Universals of human mentation and behaviour can only be established
by cross-cultural research.
(2) Cross-cultural data reveal that it is the job of human culture to obfuscate our view of ourselves and the world we live in."

Sound familiar?

[edit on 7-7-2008 by applebiter]

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 03:39 AM
reply to post by indierockalien

Actually, I would like to put something in defence of Mckenna...I personally also believe that culture is a mere temporary human construct and thus ultimately both fallible, flawed and pointless. In other words, it's bull#. As all human existence, I'd doubt the veracity of such statements pertaining to human devinity or that our existence were in any way critical to the universe itself. Of course you start becoming nihilistic when think about how huge this place actually is..To me, one way we perceive ourselves to be "the center" is for example by measures of size. We equal everything to ourselves and thus we differ between "small" and "big" whereas in fact EVERYTHING is big in a way. Imagine you were an ant or try discerning all the endless details in a piece of wood, details that surmount the number of its molecules.
I'm not saying our existence is pointless, I'm just saying you can't be sure what we're actually here for.

And as for McKenna...Yeah, cultural ambitions are infact easily revised. Just look at the media, "Network" conveys a huge inspiration for how your life should be going, or Bill Hicks' "Ride" analogy. That just part of our individual development, and as we start growing older maybe we can be safed from a process of lifelong conditioning without which we surely wouldn't have "known the way". But at some point there comes maturity, that's when you pinpoint what direction you're going to take. And that's simply personal development. And mine, as others do, is that I renounce something Joe Rogen would, in retrospective to his '___'-Trips describe as "pre-determined patterns" and our behavioural discipline ("go to school...listen to your mom..your dad is righ" -Intension, Tool, 10,000 days).

So yeah I'm no druggie but all I'm saying is you'd have to be pretty narrow-minded yourself to establish a personality on the set of culture, because you'd take the recurrent traits and protocols into concideration...How's that personal? That's where the personality disorders come into the game, they're defined as personality traits that differ much from conventional expectations from others..Alas the definition already concedes it is limited. And so is EVERYTHING about humans and everything hold dear, you dig?

I think it's okay to proclaim that we need to turn the clock back, because this is a decision everybody can make for themselves. I'm attending classes at a really right-wing catholic school in germany that's run by an organization that amounts to a sect and all I hear is about a clash of civilization because they fret for their culture..That's how you devide and conquer and I see no problem if you get rid of all the culture that's in the way of all humans not giving up their identity, but the bull# that they better didn't try to identify with.

posted on Mar, 13 2010 @ 02:31 PM
reply to post by jojoKnowsBest

As so often before, I find many valid and worthwhile points of view on the topic both of Mr. Kenna, and on the separate topic of his ideas, thoughts, worldview.

The supernatural is real, and some drugs open doors into it, in my opinion. Some of the drug-induced experiences are probably shaped by our own psyche, but why wouldn't they be? The decorations or lack thereof in our homes is also shaped by our own psyche. No big mystery to me there, personally. Like dreams, some of it is a take on what we are, who we are, what we fear, love, etc.

So, IMO, there are supernatural experiences which are so combined with our own projections that it's really no wonder we as a species are still debating the very existence of a supernatural force, experience, or power. We simply can't quantify it.

His thoughts or wishes for utopia could reflect an ancient memory of such a utopia, like the Garden of Eden, which, if real, would explain why this unattainable state of being would be so powerful in our thoughts. I can't blame the man for the longing for a better world, with room and tolerance and freedom for all. Who would argue against this? The state of our world begs the question: if not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Dropping out of culture meshes neatly with the Christian admonition to come out of society and the mainstream, to walk deliberately rather than be swept along passively. I cannot find one thing wrong with this, since it is a personal lifestyle that he is advocating, and which is often advocated and practiced by many here on ATS already. How can one argue with that?

Finally, the man's ideology doesn't change good ideas to bad ones. Something to think about.

[edit on 13-3-2010 by Copperflower]

posted on Dec, 6 2011 @ 03:36 AM
I want to thank the OP for posting this, I think that video is really very interesting.

Culture might be seen as a tool of social control and repression rather than an expression of human vitality.

It really made me think!

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