The Invisible Landscape

 

The Invisible LandscapeMind Hallucinogens and the I Ching, New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

The Invisible Landscape is the most esoteric of the three Terence McKenna books reviewed here. Many of the topics he treats in his other books, he treats here as well, but he presents them under a slightly different light, or in more subtle language.

His standard theme psychedelics, for example, assumes a new dimension, together with his regard upon science:

Psychedelic drugs have always been and remain the most useful molecular probes available to science for exploring the relationship between the subjective experience of mind and neurobiological processes. /Preface XIX

Despite its pretensions to objectivity, science, like any other human institution, places a certain vested interest in its own self-preservation; thus it is likely to be less than enthusiastic, if not openly hostile, toward any investigative strategy that could potentially call its most basic assumptions in question. /Id.

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Food of the Gods

 

Food of the GodsThe Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishers, 1993.

Food of the Gods of perhaps the best book Terence McKenna has written, and I have read it with an enthusiastic participation that I have rarely experienced in my literary life. It was as if I was co-authoring the book while reading it.

And this book is much more coherent than The Archaic Revival, and much less esoteric than The Invisible Landscapethe book I shall review next. In fact, it treats a very important subject that is rather obfuscated in modern times: food. When I say obfuscated I really mean that most modern city dwellers have developed no consciousness of what they ingest on a daily basis; they are just gnawing away their very juice of life, with all the toxics that modern processed food contains.

While in ancient times food was medicine. You still have this philosophy in the Chinese food tradition where there are many dishes, for example a whole array of mushroom dishes, that originally were concocted for medical purposes but that today we eat just for enriching our daily diet. There is one rather esoteric dish among them, that is called the ‘black chicken.’  Continue reading

The Archaic Revival

 

The Archaic RevivalSpeculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFO’s, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess and the End of History, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1992.

In The Archaic Revival, Terence McKenna lays the groundwork for something like a psychedelic culture, a society based on new values.

In the etiology of the group alienation that is so typical for our culture, the author detects a basic denial of ecstasy.

McKenna’s views are deliberately political in the sense that he claims nobody can develop a sane mind within an insane culture, without rejecting that culture in the first place:

In addition to choosing to repress the strange abilities of the shaman and the psychic potential of contact with the Other, Western tradition has a built-in bias against self experimentation with hallucinogens. One of the consequences of this is that not enough has been written about the phenomenology of personal experiences with the visionary hallucinogens. /3

I am a political activist, but I think that the first duty of a political activist is to become psychedelic. Otherwise you’re not making your moves cognizant of the entire field of action./13

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Shamanism

 

ShamanismAncient Techniques of Ecstasy, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1989, First published by Pantheon Books, 1964.

Shamanism by Mircea Eliade is considered to be the classic on shamanism, and it remains a reference book. However, the book is not an easy read.

Especially when compared with Terence McKenna’s books, and those by Richard Schultes, Michael Harner or Ralph Metzner, Eliade’s book takes the appearance of a rather dry scholarly work, reference manual, or standard academia. But this is its value!

The book contains so many details that one single lecture will generally not leave very deep traces, except you dispose of a photographic memory. Continue reading

Science and the Akashic Field

 

An Integral Theory of Everything, Rochester: Inner Traditions, 2004.Science and the Akashic Field

Science and the Akashic Field by Ervin Laszlo is after the books of Paracelsus, Mesmer, Reichenbach, Reich, Burr, Lakhovsky, Capra, Emoto, Hunt and Sheldrake the most important book I have read on the integration of the energy paradigm—associated with the perennial notion of the ‘ether’— into the heart of modern science.

Deepak Chopra, M.D. wrote about this book:  ‘The most brilliant, comprehensive, and intellectually satisfying integral theory of everything that I have ever read.’

The author introduces the book with the following elucidation that I think is worth to be quoted in its integrality:

Akasha (â · kâ · sha) is a Sanskrit world meaning ‘ether’: all-pervasive space. Originally signifying ‘radiation’ or ‘brilliance’ in Indian philosophy akasha was considered the first and most fundamental of the five elements – the others being vata (air), agni (fire), ap (water), and prithivi (earth). Akasha embraces the properties of all five elements: it is the womb from which everything we perceive with our senses has emerged and into which everything will ultimately re-descend. The Akashic Record (also called The Akashic Chronicle) is the enduring record of all that happens, and has ever happened, in space and time.

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