Re: Terence McKenna

James Rogers (
Tue, 22 Jul 1997 01:05:33 -0700

At 01:54 PM 7/21/97 PDT, Bobby Whalen wrote:
>As a general comment on this thread..I think there is more to
>extropianism than just technological progress. Technologies potential
>to augment ourselves, is well though out on this list. However,
>technology in <itself> provides more of a quantitative increase rather
>than a qualitative increase in our abilities. You have to ask yourself,
>what would you do with a an IQ of 1000, once augmented by technology?
>Would it simply be used to have better reason, or would you seek new,
>and novel qualitative mentations and experiences (so call
>'rigth-brained' stuff)? This is where tribal cultures have a lot to
>offer us. We are certainly more advanced technologically than they are.
>But do we have a qualitative advantage as well? I doubt it. If it
>wasn't for my psychedelic experiences this technological/evolutionary
>rocket we are riding, would become much more pointless - "more
>technology to go faster to get more technology to go faster to get

"Qualitative" and "quantitative" are differences in precision. These terms
are somewhat arbitrary and may be losing something here.

I may have missed something, but I fail to see how psychedelics would
improve the technology experience in any useful sense. Technology must
beget better, faster technology because my ability to think and create
using technology far exceed the capabilities of current technology. All
psychedelics aside, humans have the natural ability to devise interesting
and useful scenarios that exceed the bounds of current technology (read
that as "imagination"). The rapid growth of technology means the eventual
realization of everything I can conceive of creating. This alone is reason
enough for the forward progress of technology and is as qualitative as
anything I can think of.

My basic problem with the "psychedelic tribal etc. is qualitatively better"
meme, is that it tends to limit real advancement by promoting the beauty of
mysticism over the beauty of understanding ("ignorance is bliss" vs.
"applied knowledge can lead to bliss with hard work"). Psychedelic-rich
tribal communities solve few real problems. Their subjective
("qualitative") experiences lend little towards promoting the objective
quality of their lives, other than as a form of escapism perhaps.

-James Rogers