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Terence K. McKenna

doesn’t want to help here, has nothing to say to me on the subject of biological death. What I imagine happens is that for the self time begins to flow backwards; even before death, the act of dying is the act of reliving an entire life, and at the end of the dying process, consciousness divides into the consciousness of ones parents and ones children, and then it moves through these modalities, and then divides again. It’s moving forward into the future through the people who come after you, and backwards into the past through your ancestors. The further away from the moment of death it is, the faster it moves, so that after a period of time, the Tibetans say 42 days, one is reconnected to everything that ever lived, and the previous ego-pointed existence is defocused, and one is you know, returned to the ocean, the morphogenetic field, or the One of Plotinus, you choose your term. A person is a focused illusion of being, and death occurs when the illusion of being can be sustained no longer. Then everything flows out and away from this disequilibrium state that life is. It is a state of disequilibrium, and it is maintained for decades, but finally, like all disequilibrium states, it must yield to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and at that point it runs down, its specific character disappears into the general character of the world around it. It has returned then to the void/plenum.

DJB: What if you don’t have children?

Terence: Well, then you flow backward into the past, into your parents, and their parents, and their parents, and eventually all life, and back into the primal protozoa. No, it’s a hard thing to face, but from the long-term point of view of nature, you have no relevance for the future whatsoever, unless you procreate. It’s very interesting that in the celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries, when they took the sacrament, what the god said was, “Procreate, procreate.” It is uncanny the way history is determined by who sleeps with whom, who gets born, what lines are drawn forward, what tendencies are accelerated. Most people experience what they call magic only in the dimension of mate-seeking, and this is where even the dullest people have astonishing coincidences, and unbelievable things go on –it’s almost as though hidden strings were being pulled. There’s an esoteric tradition that the genes, the matings, are where it’s all being run from. It is how I think a super extraterrestrial would intervene. It wouldn’t intervene at all, it would make us who it wanted us to be by controlling synchronicity and coincidence around mate choosing.

RMN: Rupert Sheldrake has recently refined the theory of the morphogenetic field–a non-material organizing collective memory field which affects all biological systems. This field can be envisioned as a hyper-spatial information reservoir which brims and spills over into a much larger region of influence when critical mass is reached–a point referred to as morphic resonance. Do you think this morphic resonance could be regarded as a possible explanation for the phenomena of spirits and other metaphysical entities, and can the method of evoking beings from the spirit world be simply a case of cracking the morphic code?

Terence: That sounds right. It’s something like that. If what you’re trying to get at is do I think morphogenetic fields are a good thing, or do they exist, yes I think some kind of theory like that is clearly becoming necessary, and that the next great step to be taken in the intellectual conquest of nature, if you will, is a theory about how, out of the class of possible things, some things actually happen.

RMN: Do you think it could be related to the phenomena of spirits?

Terence: Spirits are the presence of the past, specifically expressed. When you go to ruins like Angkor Wat, or Tikal, the presence is there. You have to be pretty dull to not see how it was, where the market stalls were, the people and their animals, and the trade goods. It’s quite weird. We’re only conventionally bound in the present by our linguistic assumptions, but if we can still our linguistic machinery, the mind spreads out into time, and behaves in very unconventional ways.

DJB: How do you view the increasing waves of designer psychedelics and brain enhancement machines in the context of Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields?

Terence: Well, I’m hopeful, but somewhat suspicious. I think drugs should come from the natural world, and be use-tested by shamanically oriented cultures. Then they have a very deep morphogenetic field, because they’ve been used thousands and thousands of years in magical contexts. A drug produced in the laboratory and suddenly distributed worldwide simply amplifies the global noise present in the historical crisis. And then there’s the very practical consideration that one cannot predict the long term effects of a drug produced in a laboratory. Something like peyote, or morning glories, or mushrooms

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