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Terence K. McKenna

have been used for vast stretches of time without detrimental social consequences. We know that. As far as the technological question is concerned, brain machines and all, I wish them luck. I’m willing to test anything that somebody will send me, but I’m skeptical. I think it’s somehow like the speech-operated typewriter. It will recede ahead of us. The problems will be found to have been far more complex than first supposed.

DJB: Don’t you think it’s true that the designer psychedelics and the brain machines don’t have much of a morphic field yet, so in a sense one is carving a new morphic field with their use, so it’s up for grabs, and there would consequently be more possibilities for new things to happen, unlike the psychoactive substances which you speak of that have ancient morphic fields, and are much more entrenched in predictability and pattern, and therefore not as free for new types of expression?

Terence: Possibly, although I don’t know how you grab the morphic field of a new designer drug. For instance, I’ll speak to my own experience, which is ketamine. My impression of ketamine was it’s like a brand new skyscraper, all the walls, all the floors are carpeted in white, all the drinking fountains work, the elevators run smoothly, the fluorescent lights recede endlessly in all directions down the hallways. It’s just that there’s nobody there. There’s no office machinery, there’s no hurrying secretaries, there’s no telephones, it’s just this immense, empty structure waiting. Well, I can’t move into a sixty-story office building, I have only enough stuff to fill a few small rooms, so it gives me a slightly spooked-out feeling to enter into these empty morphic fields. If you take mushrooms, you know, you’re climbing on board a starship manned by every shaman who ever did it in front of you, and this is quite a crew, and they’ve really pulled some stunts over the millennia, and it’s all there, the tapes to be played, but the designer things should be very cautiously dealt with.

DJB: It’s interesting that John Lilly had very different experiences with ketamine. Do you think that there’s any relationship between the self-transforming machine elves that you’ve encountered on your shamanic voyages and the solid state entities that John Lilly has contacted in his interdimensional travels?

Terence: I don’t think there is much congruence. The solid state entities that he contacted seem to make him quite upset. The elf machine entities that I encounter are the embodiment of merriment and humor. I have had a thought about this recently which I will tell you. One of the science fiction fantasies that haunts the collective unconscious is expressed in the phrase “a world run by machines”; in the 1950s this was first articulated in the notion, “perhaps the future will be a terrible place where the world is run by machines.” Well now, let’s think about machines for a moment. They are extremely impartial, very predictable, not subject to moral suasion, value neutral, and very long lived in their functioning. Now let’s think about what machines are made of, in the light of Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field theory. Machines are made of metal, glass, gold, silicon, plastic; they are made of what the earth is made of. Now wouldn’t it be strange if biology is a way for earth to alchemically transform itself into a self-reflecting thing. In which case then, what we’re headed for inevitably, what we are in fact creating is a world run by machines. And once these machines are in place, they can be expected to manage our economies, languages, social aspirations, and so forth, in such a way that we stop killing each other, stop starving each other, stop destroying land, and so forth. Actually the fear of being ruled by machines is the male ego’s fear of

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