Terence McKenna made an appearance in the 1995 film The Hemp Revolution, directed by Andy Clarke, and, as a result, comments about him appear in several published reviews of the film. Today’s random item is a Washington Post review (March 22, 1996) by Desson Howe and includes the following excerpt:
[I]n the last, briefest section, of the film comes the campy part, during which we see montages of stoned faces and hear about the joys of getting buzzed. “If you don’t smoke cannabis,” says the oddly cadenced “ethobotanist” Terence McKenna, “you may spend your evening balancing your checkbook. If you do smoke cannabis, you may spend your evening contemplating the causes of the Greek renaissance.” Or keeping your face off the floor. Contains brief nudity and footage of stoned people.
You can read the entire review on the Washington Post website here.
The part of the film that includes Terence can be viewed here, where he says:
It does carry a fantasy-inducing, thought-catalyzing quality. It allows the mind to rove and scan in a much more expansive domain of information than is normally the case…
More money has been spent trying to find something wrong with cannabis than any other vegetable material in human history, and what they’ve come up with is so pathetically thin that I am confident that it amounts to a clean bill of health for this stuff.
Cannabis is not a health problem. The problem is that it promotes social values and attitudes which are unwelcome in capitalist, market-based society; it’s just that simple. A drug like coffee, with a horrendous health profile compared to cannabis, is complete welcomed into the marketplace and the home and the lifestyle of modern people. This is simply that we value certain states of mind and we fear and suspect others and this is based entirely on value systems that are inculcated from above.
As I listened through the interview that I conducted with John Major Jenkins at his home in April 2016, I realized that there are a lot of very specific references layered into the interview, each of which would make a good post on its own. So, what I’ll do is go through the JMJ interview and create a series of annotations as individual blog posts, creating a link for each at the bottom of the original interview page, so that there is one page with the interview and links to each of the annotations.
The first reference, only 35 seconds into the interview is perhaps the most salient for people who know the connection between John Major Jenkins and Terence McKenna, namely that Terence wrote the Foreword to JMJ’s book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: the True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date (1998). Jenkins tells the story of how this came to be elsewhere in the interview. The short version is that the two had been corresponding since the early ’90s about material related to the Mayan calendar, as well as the I Ching (both had been members of an I Ching mailing list). Terence was giving a talk in Colorado in 1996, and JMJ went to the venue and ran into Terence who gave him a pass to the talk and the two ended up at lunch where JMJ asked about publishers for his book, and Bear & Company came up (with some reservations) as they had published the Trialogues at the Edge of the West book that contained transcripts of some of Terence’s conversations with Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham at the Esalen Institute. As JMJ entered negotiations with Bear & Company, he suggested the possibility of having Terence write a Foreword, and the idea was met with enthusiasm. Although Terence and JMJ both wrote about 2012 and mutually influenced each other, there ideas were fairly different (particularly in that Terence placed the fulfillment of the eschaton in a single dramatic moment at the end of the Timewave, where Jenkins offered a 36-year window, “Era-2012,” that would be a slow passage and an cosmic opportunity for transformation and renewal). Nonetheless, because of Terence’s contribution to JMJ’s book, their views have often been conflated, to the point that Terence had to publish a written response distinguishing their views. Nonetheless, it was, in part, Terence and Dennis’ suggestions in The Invisible Landscape that led to Jenkins’ interests and it was also, in part, Jenkins’ research in the mid-to-late ’90s that strengthened Terence’s convictions that he was onto something significant. So, despite the differences in idea, they were important collaborators and co-contributors to the spread of the idea that there was something significant about the year 2012 that was somehow built into the clockwork of the cosmos.
Here’s Terence’s Foreword to John Major Jenkins’ Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, written in January 1998 (screenshots from Google Books):