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Terence K. McKenna

on the use of DMT in plants. DMT is a near–or pseudo-neurotransmitter, that when ingested and allowed to come to rest in the synapses of the brain, allows one to see sound, so that one can use the voice to produce, not musical compositions, but pictorial and visual compositions. This, to my mind, indicates that we’re on the cusp of some kind of evolutionary transition in the language-forming area, so that we are going to go from a language that is heard to a language that is seen, through a shift in interior processing. The language will still be made of sound, but it will be processed as the carrier of the visual impression. This is actually being done by shamans in the Amazon. The songs they sing sound as they do in order to look a certain way. They are not musical compositions as we’re used to thinking of them. They are pictorial art that is caused by audio signals.

DJB: Terence, you’re recognized by many as one of the great explorers of the twentieth century. You’ve trekked through the Amazonian jungles and soared through the uncharted regions of the brain, but perhaps your ultimate voyages lie in the future, when humanity has mastered space technology and time travel. What possibilities for travel in these two areas do you foresee, and how do you think these new technologies will affect the future evolution of the human species?

Terence: Some question. I suppose most people believe space travel is right around the corner. I certainly hope so. I think we should all learn Russian in anticipation of it, because apparently the U.S. government is incapable of sustaining a space program. The time travel question is more interesting. Possibly the world is experiencing a compression of technological novelty that is going to lead to developments that are very much like what we would imagine time travel to be. We may be closing in on the ability to transmit information forward into the future, and to create an informational domain of communication between various points in time. How this will be done is difficult to imagine, but things like fractal mathematics, superconductivity, and nanotechnology offer new and novel approaches to realization of these old dreams. We shouldn’t assume time travel is impossible simply because it hasn’t been done. There’s plenty of latitude in the laws of quantum physics to allow for moving information through time in various ways. Apparently you can move information through time, as long as you don’t move it through time faster than light.

DJB: Why is that?

Terence: I haven’t the faintest idea. What am I Einstein?

DJB: What do you think the ultimate goal of human evolution is?

Terence: Oh, a good party.

DJB: Have you ever had any experiences with lucid dreaming–the process by which one can become aware and conscious within a dream that one is dreaming—and if so, how do they compare with your other shamanic experiences?

Terence: I really haven’t had experiences with lucid dreaming. It’s one of those things that I’m very interested in. I’m sort of skeptical of it. I hope it’s true, because what a wonderful thing that would be.

DJB: You’ve never had one?

Terence: I’ve had lucid dreams, but I have no technique for repeating them on demand, the dream state is possibly anticipating this cultural frontier that we’re moving toward. We’re moving toward something very much like eternal dreaming, going into the imagination, ·and staying there, and that would be like a lucid dream that knew no end, but what a tight simple solution. One of the things that interests me about dreams is this: I have dreams in which I smoke DMT, and it works. To me that’s extremely interesting because it seems to imply that one does not have to smoke DMT to have the experience. You only have to convince your brain that you have done this,

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