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Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge by Terence McKenna
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“Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coersion, brainwashing, and manipulation.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“We can begin the restructuring of thought by declaring legitimate what we have denied for so long. Lets us declare Nature to be legitimate. The notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridiculous in the first place.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Not to know one's true identity is to be a mad, disensouled thing — a golem. And, indeed, this image, sick-eningly Orwellian, applies to the mass of human beings now living in the high-tech industrial democracies. Their authenticity lies in their ability to obey and follow mass style changes that are conveyed through the media. Immersed in junk food, trash media, and cryp-tofascist politics, they are condemned to toxic lives of low awareness. Sedated by the prescripted daily television fix, they are a living dead, lost to all but the act of consuming.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Alcohol is used by millions of people, both men and women, and I will make no friends by taking the position that alcohol culture is not politically correct. Yet how can we explain the legal toleration for alcohol, the most destructive of all intoxicants, and the almost frenzied efforts to repress nearly all other drugs? Could it not be that we are willing to pay the terrible toll that alcohol extracts because it is allowing us to continue the repressive dominator style that keeps us all infantile and irresponsible participants in a dominator world characterized by the marketing of ungratified sexual fantasy?”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Even as the nineteenth century had to come to grips with the notion of human descent from apes, we must now come to terms with the fact that those apes were stoned apes.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“This is why the shaman is the remote ancestor of the poet and artist. Our need to feel part of the world seems to demand that we express ourselves through creative activity. The ultimate wellsprings of this creativity are hidden in the mystery of language. Shamanic ecstasy is an act of surrender that authenticates both the individual self and that which is surrendered to, the mystery of being. Because our maps of reality are determined by our present circumstances, we tend to lose awareness of the larger patterns of time and space. Only by gaining access to the Transcendent Other can those patterns of time and space and our role in them be glimpsed.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“No culture on earth is as heavily narcotized as the industrial West in terms of being inured to the consequences of maladaptive behavior. We pursue a business-as-usual attitude in a surreal atmosphere of mounting crises and irreconcilable contradictions.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“If the ego is not regularly and repeatedly dissolved in the unbounded hyperspace of the Transcendent Other, there will always be slow drift away from the sense of self as part of nature’s larger whole. The ultimate consequence of this drift is the fatal ennui that now permeates Western Civilization.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“I believe that the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms on the grasslands of Africa gave us the model for all religions to follow. And when, after long centuries of slow forgetting, migration, and climatic change, the knowledge of the mystery was finally lost, we in our anguish traded partnership for dominance, traded harmony with nature for rape of nature, traded poetry for the sophistry of science. In short, we traded our birthright as partners in the drama of the living mind of the planet for the broken pot shards of history, warfare, neurosis, and-if we do not quickly awaken to our predicament-planetary catastrophe.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Like the octopi, our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts. This is the essence of the more perfect Logos envisioned by the Hellenistic polymath Philo Judaeus—a Logos, an indwelling of the Goddess, not heard but beheld. Hans Jonas explains Philo Judaeus's concept as follows:
A more perfect archetypal logos, exempt from the human duality of sign and thing, and therefore not bound by the forms of speech, would not require the mediation of hearing, but is immediately beheld by the mind as the truth of things.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“From one point of view the Transcendent Other is nature correctly perceived to be alive and intelligent. From another it is the awesomely unfamiliar union of all the senses with memory of the past and anticipation of the future. The Transcendent Other is what one encounters on powerful hallucinogens. It is the crucible of the Mystery of our being, both as a species and as individuals. The Transcendent Other is Nature without her cheerfully reassuring mask of ordinary space, time, and causality.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“The war on drugs was never meant to be won. Instead, it will be prolonged as long as possible in order to allow various intelligence operations to wring the last few hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits from the global drug scam; then defeat will have to be declared. "Defeat" will mean, as it did in the case of the Vietnam War, that the media will correctly portray the true dimensions of the situation and the real players, and that public revulsion at the culpability, stupidity and venality of the Establishment's role will force a policy review.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Monotheism strenuously denies the need to return to a cultural style that periodically places the ego and its values in perspective through contact with a boundary-dissolving immersion in the Archaic mystery of plant-induced, hence mother-associated, psychedelic ecstasy and wholeness, what Joyce called the "mama matrix most mysterious.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Neither Bwitists nor Fang felt they could eradicate ritual sin or evil in the world. This incapacity means that men have to celebrate. Good and bad walk together. As Fang frequently enough told missionaries, "We have two hearts, good and bad." Early missionaries, aware of these self-confessed contradictions, evangelized with the promise of "one heartedness" in Christianity. But Fang by and large did not find it there. For many, Christian one heartedness was a constriction of their selves. While "one heartedness" is celebrated in Bwiti, it is a one heartedness which is coagulated out of a flow of many qualities from one state to another. It is goodness achieved in the presence of badness, an aboveness achieved in the presence of belowness. It is an emergent quality energized in the presence of its opposite.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Our estrangement from nature and the unconscious became entrenched roughly two thousand years ago, during the shift from the Age of the Great God Pan to that of Pisces that occurred with the suppression of the pagan mysteries and the rise of Christianity. The psychological shift that ensued left European civilization staring into two millennia of religious mania and persecution, warfare, materialism, and rationalism.
The monstrous forces of scientific industrialism and global politics that have been born into modern times were conceived at the time of the shattering of the symbiotic relationships with the plants that had bound us to nature from our dim beginnings. This left each human being frightened, guilt-burdened, and alone. Existential man was born.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“The twentieth-century linguistic revolution,” says Boston University anthropologist Misia Landau, “is the recognition that language is not merely a device for communicating ideas about the world, but rather a tool for bringing the world into existence in the first place. Reality is not simply ‘experienced’ or ‘reflected’ in language, but instead is actually produced by language.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods
“The Archaic Revival is a clarion call to recover our birthright, however uncomfortable that may make us. It is a call to realize that life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience upon which primordial shamanism is based is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego and its fear of dissolution in the mysterious matrix of feeling that is all around us. It is in the Archaic Revival that our transcendence of the historical dilemma actually lies.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Jean Baker Miller pointed out that the so-called need to control and dominate others is psychologically a function, not of a feeling of power, but of a feeling of powerlessness. Distinguishing between "power for oneself and power over others," she writes: "In a basic sense, the greater the development of each individual the more able, more effective, and less needy of limiting or restricting others she or he will be.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Wife beating without alcohol is like a circus without lions.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“The global triumph of Western values means we, as a species, have wandered into a state of prolonged neurosis

because of the absence of a connection to the unconscious. Gaining access to the unconscious through plant

hallucinogen use reaffirms our original bond to the living planet. Our estrangement from nature and the

unconscious became entrenched roughly two thousand years ago, during the shift from the Age of the Great God

Pan to that of Pisces that occurred with the suppression of the pagan mysteries and the rise of Christianity. The

psychological shift that ensued left European civilization staring into two millennia of religious mania and

persecution, warfare, materialism, and rationalism.

The monstrous forces of scientific industrialism and global politics that have been born into modern times were

conceived at the time of the shattering of the symbiotic relationships with the plants that had bound us to nature

from our dim beginnings. This left each human being frightened, guilt-burdened, and alone. Existential man was”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“There is no question that a society that sets out to control its citizens' use of drugs sets out on the slippery path to totalitarianism.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“From a historical point of view, restricting the availability of addictive substances must be seen as a peculiarly perverse example of Calvinist dominator thought - a system in which the sinner is to be punished in this world by being transformed into an exploitable, of his cash, by the criminal/governmental combine that provides the addicitve substances. The image is more horrifying than that of the serpent that devours itself - it is once again the Dionysian image of the mother who devours her children, the image of a house divided against itself.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Monotheism exhibits what is essentially a pathological personality pattern projected onto the ideal of God: the pattern of the paranoid, possessive, power-obsessed male ego. This God is not someone you would care to invite to a garden party. Also interesting is that the Western ideal is the only formulation of deity that has no relationship with woman at any point in the theological myth. In ancient Babylon Anu was paired with his consort Inanna; Grecian religion assigned Zeus a wife, many consorts, and daughters. These heavenly pairings are typical. Only the god of Western civilization has no mother, no sister, no female consort, and no daughter.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“It was warm and salty, chalky and bittersweet. It tasted like the blood of some old, old thing. I tried not to think about how much at the mercy of these strange people I now was. But in fact my courage was failing. Both Dona Catalina and the guide's mocking eyes had slowly gone cold and mantislike. A wave of insect sound sweeping up the river seemed to splatter the darkness with shards of sharpedged light. I felt my lips go numb. Trying not to appear as loaded as I felt, I crossed to my hammock and lay back. Behind my closed eyelids there was a flowing river of magenta light. It occurred to me in a kind of dream mental pirouette that a helicopter must be landing on top of the hut, and this was the last impression I had. When I regained consciousness I appeared to myself to be surfing on the inner curl of a wave of brightly lit transparent information several hundred feet high. Exhilaration gave way to terror as I realised that my wave was speeding toward a rocky coastline.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
“Not to know one’s true identity is to be a mad, disensouled thing—a golem. And, indeed, this image, sickeningly Orwellian, applies to the mass of human beings now living in the high-tech industrial democracies. Their authenticity lies in their ability to obey and follow mass style changes that are conveyed through the media. Immersed in junk food, trash media, and cryptofascist politics, they are condemned to toxic lives of low awareness. Sedated by the prescripted daily television fix, they are a living dead, lost to all but the act of consuming.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods
“The global triumph of Western values means we, as a species, have wandered into a state of prolonged neurosis because of the absence of a connection to the unconscious.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods
“If nature represents a principle of economy, then culture surely must exemplify the principle of innovation through excess.”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods
“Not unlike drugs or alcohol, the television experience allows the participant to blot out the real world and enter into a pleasurable and passive mental state. The worries and anxieties of reality are as effectively deferred by becoming absorbed in a television program as by going on a “trip” induced by drugs or alcohol. And just as alcoholics are only vaguely aware of their addiction, feeling that they control their drinking more than they really do . . . people similarly overestimate their control over television watching. . . . Finally it is the adverse effect of television viewing on the lives of so many people that defines it as a serious addiction. The television habit distorts the sense of time. It renders other experiences vague and curiously unreal while taking on a greater reality for itself. It weakens relationships by reducing and sometimes eliminating normal opportunities for talking, for communicating.9”
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods