Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #18 – Conduit Interview (1998)

6a00e54fe4158b88330120a6205b79970cSince I’ve been a bit lax on posting lately, I’m doing a double-post today, along with the post about John Dee. This item from the archives is a brief excerpt from an interview with Terence McKenna (conducted by Kathleen McGee) for the alternative literary publication Conduit, which describes itself as “a biannual literary journal that is at once direct, playful, inventive, irreverent, and darkly beautiful” that has been “thwarting good taste, progress, and consensus for over twenty years.” If you’d help cover the cost of acquiring an original copy of Conduit #6 (Fall 1998), which is $10, please donate here, or check out our crowdfund offerings.

Conduit editor, William Waltz, informed me that he had, at the time, recently read McKenna’s Food of the Gods and was fascinated by the premise and decided to organize a themed issue (concerned with the “doors of perception”) around an interview with Terence. The official title of the issue is ‘Drunk Genius: Euphoria, Inebriation, and Creativity’.

In the excerpt offered on their website, Terence is asked about the implications of his Food of the Gods “Stone Ape” thesis for the relationship between psilocybin and poetry, which leads to speculations about what these general capacities might mean for the future of the species.


Of all animals we have the most complicated language behavior and we have the most complicated cultural behavior. There is some link there. It seems to me what we call the human imagination is a capacity in the human brain which these psychedelic plants stimulate radically, and it is out of the imagination that comes not only poetry but scientific invention, models of how the universe works. It’s almost as though the effect of these plants on our brains has over historical periods of time pushed us to develop complex culture and very complicated ideas about the world, and that’s still going on. It is very clear that the cyber culture of today was created by a lot of psychedelic people from the 60s and 70s…

The job of the artist is always to push language beyond the boundaries previously defined… Art is going to become more interactive, three-dimensional, multimedia-driven, and much more seamlessly part of ordinary reality…

The internet as we possess it in any given moment is not the internet of the next moment…

War is fading out, racism is fading out, but so is cultural diversity and non-market based value systems, so I think culture is losing and the individual is winning…

It’s nice that we love to see the Laplanders with their colorful caps, people in the South Sea Islands, but how pleasant is it to be these people? We can’t expect people to just function as museum dioramas.

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