Here is a forward from Fraser Clark which also is sent to posthuman@egroup:
The Prophet Unrecognised is gradually beginning to be recognised after his
death. One by one the various national media are making references to
Terence Mckenna's recent 'death'.
Too bad he had to die to get people's attention but, then, i suppose that's
life and i guess he's not the first prophet to have had to go through such a
process. i see him ending up as a 'Saint' to the New Culture over the next
decade or so, as more and more of the more and more new people start to
check him out as the Singularity rushes upon us.
below are the new york times' and los angeles times' obituaries. check the
tone of each. wouldn't you say the writer's tongues were scarcely in their
cheeks at all?! :-)
PS: don't quote me, but it seems PROBABLE that Megatripolis The Second
Coming will be launching at Heaven on thursday may 25th and we'll be
devoting the whole evening in the debatathon room to something like "Is
Terence, Arms Outstretched and Smirk In Place, Waiting for Us At The
Singularity At The End Of Time?" would anyone who knew his work well
contact the parallel-youniversity about speaking? i also have all his
favourit classic raps on DAT and we'll be unleashing a very rare and
// ======== //
NEW YORK TIMES OBITUARY
TERENCE MCKENNA, PATRON OF PSYCHEDELIC DRUGS
Terence McKenna, who so playfully and persistently pressed his message that
psychedelic drugs are mankind's salvation that Timothy Leary himself
christened him "the Timothy Leary of the 90's," died on Monday at a friend's
home in San Rafael, Calif. He was 53 and lived on the South Kona Coast of
The cause of death was brain cancer, said a publicist for his books.
"If psychedelics don't ready you for the great beyond, then I don't know
what really does," Mr. McKenna said in December in one of his last public
speeches, at the Esalen Institute. Death, he said then, felt close.
Mr. McKenna combined a leprechaun's wit with a poet's sensibility to brew a
New Age stew with ingredients including flying saucers, elves and the I
Ching. The essential seasoning was the psychedelic mushrooms that
transformed his life and that he recommended-in "heroic doses"-for virtually
He lived on the wild side of a wild generation. He dropped acid in San
Francisco in the 1960's, smuggled hashish in India and searched the jungles
of the Amazon for the magic mushrooms.
He told interviewers that he had smoked marijuana every day from the time he
was a teenager. In the 1990's, Mr. McKenna gained fame by delivering his
drug pitch to a new generation at nightclub "raves."
"My real function was to give people permission," he said in an article to
appear in the May issue of Wired magazine. "Essentially, what I existed for
was to say, 'Go ahead, you'll live through it, get loaded, you don't have to
In lectures, in recordings and in five books, Mr. McKenna made his case for
illegal substances that many experts consider highly dangerous. He had a
grand theory: that psychedelic mushrooms are the missing link in the story
of human evolution. Not until our primate ancestors began eating
hallucinatory psilocybin mushrooms, he contended, did they begin to acquire
Mr. McKenna, a lanky man with a salt-and-pepper beard and deep-set eyes,
also professed to know exactly when the world would end: Dec. 22, 2012. He
came to this conclusion through a mathematical construct he based on the I
Ching, the ancient Chinese book of divination.
The package he pushed struck a chord, at least among the usual suspects.
Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead called him "the only person who has made a
serious effort to objectify the psychedelic experience."
But experts on drug treatment attacked Mr. McKenna for popularizing
dangerous substances. "Surely the fact that Terence McKenna says that the
psilocybin mushroom 'is the megaphone used by an alien, intergalactic Other
to communicate with mankind' is enough for us to wonder if taking LSD has
done something to his mental faculties," Judy Corman, vice president of
Phoenix House of New York, a drug treatment center, said in a letter to The
New York Times in 1993.
Still others had big trouble with his self-consciously cosmic literary
style. "I suffered hallucinatory agonies of my own while reading his shrilly
ecstatic prose," Peter Conrad wrote in The New York Times in a 1993 review
of Mr. McKenna's book "True Hallucinations," published by Harper San
But many marveled at his stream of novel thoughts. "To write him off as a
crazy hippie is a rather lazy approach to a man not only full of fascinating
ideas but also blessed with a sense of humor and self-parody," Tom
Hodgkinson wrote in The New Statesman and Society in 1994.
Terence Kemp McKenna was born on Nov. 16, 1946, in a Colorado cattle and
coal town, Paonia. He was a youth given to memorizing passages of James
Joyce and reading Carl Jung's "Psychology and Alchemy," and his main
satisfactions percolated from his fertile imagination.
"I think my first encounter with psychedelics was looking at Colorado and
trying to understand that it was once the shores of an ocean with
hundred-foot-long sauropods tromping through the mangrove swamps," he told
Details magazine in 1993.
He found his way to San Francisco in 1965. According to the April 1993
issue of Details magazine, Barry Melton, the guitarist for Country Joe & the
Fish, introduced him to marijuana in 1965. Soon he tried LSD.
He enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley that year and was
accepted into the Tussman Experimental College, which emphasized
self-direction. After the two-year program, he embarked on travels around
In 1971 he and his brother, Dennis, journeyed to the Amazon jungle in search
of psychedelic plants. In a tiny mission settlement in southern Colombia,
they encountered, for the first time, what drug enthusiasts call "magic
In 1972, Mr. McKenna returned to Berkeley to finish college. He completed a
self-tailored degree in ecology, resource recovery and shamanism. His mind
was focused on, and certainly by, mushrooms. No one had yet figured out how
to cultivate the mushrooms in the United States, but the McKennas brought
the South American secrets home. They published them, and in the 1980's were
growing 70 pounds every six weeks. The operation ended when a friend was
arrested for his fungi farm.
In 1975, the two brothers published their first book, "The Invisible
Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens and the I Ching." Mr.McKenna began to lecture
both to old hippies and converts to the emerging New Age. According to
Wired, he drifted into the role of "charismatic talking head." He wrote four
books in the early 1990's. In addition to "True Hallucinations," they were
"Food of the Gods" (Bantam, 1992); "The Archaic Revival" (Harper San
Francisco) and "Trialogues at the Edge of the West," written with Ralph
Abraham and Rupert Sheldrake (Bear & Company, 1992).
Mr. McKenna met his wife, Kathleen Harrison, in Jerusalem in the mid-1970's.
They settled in Occidental, a small town north of San Francisco. They had a
son, Finn, who now lives in Jersey City, N.J., and a daughter, Klea, of
Santa Cruz, Calif. He is also survived by his brother, Dennis, who lives in
After a divorce in 1992, Mr. McKenna moved to Hawaii, where he and his
former wife owned property. Mr. McKenna built a modernist house, which is
topped with a huge antenna dish for the Internet communications with which
he became enamored.
"Without sounding too cliched, the Internet really is the birth of global
mind," he told Wired. "That's what a god is. Somebody who knows more than
you do about whatever you're dealing with."
When he fell ill last May, Mr. McKenna was enjoying a new life with Christy
Silness, a young woman he had met the year before at an ethnobotanical
conference in the Yucatan. He had medical treatment for glioblastoma
multiforma, a rare form of brain cancer, while friends and followers added
more esoteric touches.
A self-styled "grand kahuna of Polynesia" biked up the mountain to meditate
at his bedside. A Nevada disk jockey, Art Bell, asked his 13 million
listeners to send good vibrations. Wired said Mr. McKenna, like many
others, wondered whether a lifetime of drug use might be to blame for his
"So what about it?" he asked his doctors. "You want to hammer on me about
that?" They assured him there was no causal link. "So what about 35 years of
daily dope smoking?" he asked. They pointed to studies suggesting that
cannabis may shrink tumors.
"Listen," Mr. McKenna told them, "if cannabis shrinks tumors, we wouldn't
be having this discussion."
// ======== //
LOS ANGELES TIMES OBITUARY Friday April 7, 2000
TERENCE MCKENNA: PROMOTER OF PSYCHEDELIC DRUG USE
Terence McKenna, a psychedelic pioneer, radical raconteur and passionate
promoter of the mind-expanding powers of drugs, has died at 53.
McKenna succumbed to brain cancer at a friend's home in San Rafael on
Monday. A student of shamanism, virtual reality and the botany of the
Amazon, McKenna was a proponent of the use of psyilocybin, commonly called
magic mushrooms, and believed human civilizations developed after early
hunter-gatherers accidentally ingested psychedelic drugs.
He doggedly promoted that belief, as well as the idea that warfare developed
only after the original hallucinogenic plants began to disappear because of
climatic change. "Our dilemma is that, halfway on the way to becoming
angels, we stopped taking our medicine," he once said.
His notions on the power of the drug experience drew a loyal following among
members of the counterculture, including members of the Grateful Dead rock
band. "Most of us who have been involved in the psychedelic experience wish
we had the discipline and rigor of Terence McKenna," Jerry Garcia, the late
lead singer and guitarist of the Grateful Dead, once said. "[He's] the one
person who's made a serious effort to objectify the psychedelic
experience-and done a good job at it."
McKenna, who grew up in Paonia, Colo., moved to Los Altos, Calif., while in
high school. He attended UC Berkeley for two years and traveled extensively
through Asia, Europe and South America before completing a self-tailored
degree in shamanology at Berkeley in 1975. After college he made his living
dealing in Asian art in the East and as a professional butterfly collector.
He expounded his controversial theories claiming that psychedelic plants,
most notably psilocybin mushrooms, were the key to the evolution of human
consciousness in books including "Food of the Gods," "The Invisible
Landscape" and "Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide," which he
wrote with his brother Dennis. Another title was "True Hallunications," a
narrative of spiritual adventure in the jungles of the Amazon.
>From his home base in Hawaii McKenna also founded and operated Botanical
Dimensions, a non-profit organization dedicated to the investigation of
"ethnomedical" and sacred plants. He also established a gene bank of rare
species near his home.
A celebrity on the Southern California rave scene of the early 1990's
McKenna often appeared at all-night dance clubs where he delivered his
pro-drug message. He also gave lectures in more formal settings, such as
UCLA's Wadsworth Theater.
McKenna explained to a Times reporter some years ago why he got stoned a
lot. "My style of involvement [in drugs] is analytical and rational," he
said. "Most people would think that that would melt the mystery away.
That's not the case, actually. If you keep a rational mind when you explore
the more peculiar edges of things, you will find odd possibilities."
While calling for the legalization of controlled substances, he also noted
that they were not for everyone, including the immature or mentally ill.
"Drugs are heavy equipment and you have to learn how to operate heavy
equipment," he said. "We have driver's licences; we should teach people how
to operate drugs."
He is survived by his longtime partner, Christy Silness; his two children,
Finn, 22 and Klea, 19; and his brother Dennis.
// ======== //
Terence McKenna, in Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable (1998)
"I have talked before about shamanism anticipating the future. If you pursue
these psychedelic shamanic plants, you inevitably arrive at an apocalyptic
intuition. I think shamans have always seen the end, and that the human
enterprise in three-dimensional space has always been finite. In the same
way that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny as we look into the past, it seems
reasonable to assume that death, which we have spent a thousand years
turning into a materialist vacuum, is in fact not what we think. There's an
enormous mystery hovering over our existence, that's only unraveled beyond
"I would never in my life have thought that I would be pushed to this
position. I spent the first half of my life getting away from this kind of
thing. However, the evidence of the shamanic hallucinogens is in fact that
shamans have always done what they do via ancestor magic and
higher-dimensional perception, and that death is not what naive positivism
in the last 300 years has attempted to say it is. I realize that it's
incredible to suppose that here at the apex of materialist, positivist,
scientific civilization, we're going to make an orthogonal turn into an
understanding of what lies beyond the grave, but in fact, this is probably
the paradigm-shattering world-condensing event that is bearing down on us."
// ======== //
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