Today’s random item is a brief article from The Kansas City Star newspaper of March 16, 1997 on former Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan lyricist, Robert Hunter (who wrote songs like ‘Truckin‘, ‘Darkstar‘, ‘Friend of the Devil‘, ‘Ripple‘, and many others). The article describes Hunter’s career, including a mention of his (at the time) recent correspondence “with psychedelic luminaries like Terence McKenna.” Many of you may have seen those correspondences, which are available online and worth checking out. This newspaper article only offers a brief mention of Terence but gives another interesting avenue through which his name appeared before the public and from which people might have been inspired to look into him more closely.
Today’s random item from the Terence McKenna Archives is actually an interesting one. It comes through PR Newswire (a NY-based press release distribution service) and advertises an appearance by Terence McKenna on Talk City, The Chat Network, which is described as “the #1 chat service on the Internet, known for its civilized environment, wide market acceptance, and quality programming.” I’d recommend reading this article to get a clear sense of the significance of Talk City in the history of web-based communication. It appears that (at least part of) their MO, in addition to general-topic open discussion forums, was to host people of interest and invite people to come chat with them in a text-based forum. Terence McKenna participated as the guest of honor in such a forum on the 16th of October, 1997…..”Visionary scholar, prophet or madman; you be the judge.”
CHALLENGE FOR THE WEB-SAVVY: I wonder if there is any chance that this chat is still represented somewhere on the web (or in someone’s personal file collection!). This would be a great session to retrojectively eavesdrop on as it must have unfolded somewhat different than a typical Q&A at a lecture.
Magical Blend magazine #56 (August 1997) included the second part of an interview with Terence McKenna by John David Ebert. I’ve included some snippets of that interview here. There are also some advertisements spread through the magazine for companies which feature Terence McKenna as a selling point in the ad. This is also another example of the common ‘double-R mistake’: It’s Terence, not Terrence.
“Language is something very deep and general in nature. All of nature seeks to communicate, and that information is moved around on many levels. What is new and unique about human beings is speech. In standard English, speech and language are used almost interchangeably. I would like to see that change…language is something very old and very general.
…The future of communication is the future of the evolution of the human soul. As we communicate with each other with greater facility, the boundaries and the illusions of difference just evanesce and disappear.”
“I see culture offering cheap substitutes for authentic experience. Culture wants you to regret the past, anticipate the future and barely notice the felt presence of immediate experience. To my mind, this is the most toxic value that we tolerate: the devaluation of our feelings as they occur to us in the act of living in the moment in a defined locus of space and time. That’s who we are; that’s all we will ever be. And a world made out of hope and regret is a very pale substitute for that feeling of being vitally connected and present in the living world.”