Listen here: -www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaYPWHBmS1g&feature=youtu.be

Cutting edge conversation between Max Freakout and Cyber Disciple. In this episode Max and Psyb talk about Terence Mckenna's ideas, topics covered include:

Comparison between Terence Mckenna and Tim Leary

Tension between metaphorical and literal interpretation of Mckenna's ideas

Mckenna's 'Stoned Ape' theory of human evolution

Brian Akers' Lamarckist criticism of stoned ape theory

Differing views of Mckenna's motivations

Mckenna's criticism of scientism

Mckenna's emphasis on natural drugs and dismissal of LSD

Mckenna's feminist ideals

Mckenna's analogical model of psychedelic cognition (explicit representationalism)

Mckenna's model of time and reverse-causality and its relation to 4D block-universe determinism

Mckenna's 'timewave zero' equation

2012 as teleological eschaton

Mckenna's idea of accelerating ingression into novelty

Scientistic reliance on inductivist logic

Mckenna's DMT induced 'Machine Elves', comparisons with religious myths such as prophet Jacob's wrestling with an angel

Mckenna's concept of telepathic communication

Mckenna's rejection of psychedelic Christianity via dismissal of John Allegro and LEary's Good Friday experiment

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I think we demolished that Lamarckian inheritance argument in the Junk Science of Terence McKenna thread here. You know, I got a YouTube reply from Max Freakout where he said he was familiar with these threads here at the ThinkAtheist forum. I thought that was pretty cool. I listened to the entire podcast, and I was surprised to hear that Max leans towards Michael Hoffman's perspective rather than Terence's. He seemed to have a bias towards Hoffman's concepts, and Cyber Disciple agreed with a lot of the criticism on Terence. Terence did hold views on determinism, by the way, but I'd say he was indeed vague, but  no more ambiguous than the description of determinism in the podcast. It almost sounded like some vague in-between of a hard determinism and what Stephen Hawking calls "adequate determinism." Here's a clip of Terence on the topic of preordained determinism or what's also called "hard determinism."

Also, I'd like to say that a lot of people who dislike people like Terence tend to lampoon McKenna as though he had nothing credible to say. The most criticized idea of McKenna's is without a doubt his 2012 notion of an "asymptotic dissolution into the transcendental object at the end of time." The so-called "strange attractor" or eschaton or b'ak'tun 13. This concept is directly related to this Time-Wave Zero equation. Perhaps you're familiar with Lorenzo's "Psychedelic Salon" podcast. He did a workshop with Bruce Damer, perhaps you've seen it, where as good friends of Terence, respond to an audience member's question of how seriously Terence McKenna took Time-Wave Zero, and well… You can have a look for yourself. I'm not sure why Akers was given so much credit. If you go to the last few pages of the thread "The Junk Science of Terrence McKenna" (intentional misspelling), Bryan was banned by the MODs, and so his dialogue can still be seen through my responses to him, and all his arguments are totally crushed. His posts were deleted.

I thought Terence's Stoned Ape theory of human evolution was intensely interesting, and definitely deserves more attention than it was given in the podcast. Dennis McKenna has given lectures that invoke Terence's Stoned Ape theory, and I'll post one here. If you ask me, the greatest influence Terence McKenna has had in our culture is in his advocation of the "heroic dose." He has directed many people to that experience, including myself, and Max Freakout, and Bill Hicks, Joe Rogan, Brian Rose of London Real, and indirectly influenced perhaps thousands of others.

Another criticism they bring up in the podcast is the mono-drug fallacy that they accuse of Terence. I've heard Kilindi Iyi defend this point by emphasizing what Terence highlighted about mushrooms, and that is he considered them the "ere hallucinogen." There's no concoction involved. There's no preparation or synthesization. You simply have to pick them and chew 'em up. Whether it be psilocybin or Amanita. He did favor Psilocybe species over Amanita, but did not necessarily rule Amanita out for historical use. He simply claimed psilocybin-containing species of mushrooms were more reliable than Amanita muscaria.

One point you and I had disagreed on in the past, John Burrows, is whether this could be experienced naturally. Michael Hoffman seems to hold the belief that it is solely induced by entheogens. Where as these studies on mystical experience have emphasized that psilocybin can mimic naturally occurring mystical experience. What I find interesting is that they essentially use Terence McKenna's "heroic dose" and claim that this so-called "mystical experience" induced by this heroic dose is evidently the dose necessary to be used to mimic the naturally occurring mystical experience. Have you considered that? In other words, the implication being is that disciplines such as meditation or asceticism do, in fact, yield the potential to access these vast altered states, available through high-dose psilocybin, naturally.

Max pointed out that Terence used to say because of how extreme cultural crisis and the world is, "Business as usual cannot continue forever," and they elaborate on this metaphorical interpretation of Terence's 2012 concept. I feel this makes sense, too. There is a global awakening happening right now, and ayahuasca awareness is growing, people are becoming more and more aware of concepts like mystical experience, Perennial philosophy, ego death, etc. The logo-wearing slaves and tie-wearing servants doing the bidding of the 1% of the population that make up the "upper class" are finally starting to awaken to the unfairness and imbalance and waste of human resources, the poisoning of the atmosphere that we breathe, the bondage and suppression of the average human being.

There's an interesting analogy of Terence's of the "the still pool vs. the rippling pool" that they explore starting from 50m02s of the podcast which entertains Hoffman's Eternalism concept of "block universe" determinism. This relates to Ramesh Balsekar's view of enlightenment in eastern philosophy which he believes is the realization of the complete lack of free will. Are you, by any chance, familiar with Ramesh Balsekar's notion of determinism related to the enlightenment of eastern philosophy?

Most of this stuff is a bit woo for me.

Example:

What I find interesting is that they essentially use Terence McKenna's "heroic dose" and claim that this so-called "mystical experience" induced by this heroic dose is evidently the dose necessary to be used to mimic the naturally occurring mystical experience...

So, that means that the "mystical experience" is essentially a thing you experience during brain malfunction....and not sensing an alternate reality as much as having a misperception of actual reality.

And so forth.

:D

No, I believe that's the biggest misconception of these type of experiences. What you've said is essentially a very common cynical point-of-view towards these type of altered states. It's that very idea which tends to devalue and diminish the true potential for insight and value of these experiences. It is definitely not defined as a "brain malfunction" in these scientific studies.

The brain, in a way, in your ordinary consciousness is already a misperception of reality. That's why I mentioned the analogy of the "still pool vs. the rippling pool." To believe that your brain gives you a direct interpretation of reality is what is called naïve realism in philosophy. All our efforts in neuroscience point towards what's called indirect realism. That the brain creates a model of reality, it is not a direct interpretation. I've two other responses that would argue against the cynical point-of-view you propose here, TJ, and I'll link 'em below. I'll have you know there's no woo involved. These studies on mystical experience have been peer-reviewed and published in The Scientific Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Dennis McKenna on "The Cynical POV"

Graham Hancock on Societal views of altered states

Calling your perception of life, by definition, to be flawed, required for your counter argument/defense...means that you assume that when chemically altering that state, it corrects the misperception, and doesn't merely alter it.

IE: As an analogy, a magic mushroom is going to act as a lens...and, change your focus points.

Is this going to be the correct prescription to make everything clear, or, is it like trying on someone else's glasses, and they might help or hurt, or might blur part of the scene, while sharpening another, or give you a headache, etc?

The question is then, how do you know the alternate is any more "accurate" than the original prescription?

If I put on my wife's eyeglasses, I DO "see things differently"...but, not always "better".

It COULD simply make you THINK it is, but, if you can't trust your perceptions, as a given, how do you KNOW what you perceive when drugged is more meaningful than what you perceived when hit on the head with a rock, or, simply asleep...or, even simply awake?

:D

So, sure, as DARPA scientists find when trying to program a way to perceive objects in 3D, etc. are aware that we see in 2D, and then use algorithms to decipher what's out there, and, as optical illusions WORK, BECAUSE of the flaws in our perception of reality, the question begged is how do we know that drugging the computer changes the accuracy in a positive way?

Is there a test of this?

:D

What I have reviewed on this topic is too reminiscent of the cosmic consciousness-type woo.

Poorly interpreted data, portrayed as evidence.

Its just more woo....right down to the "you need to experience it to understand" parts, just like religions.

Calling your perception of life, by definition, to be flawed, required for your counter argument/defense...means that you assume that when chemically altering that state, it corrects the misperception, and doesn't merely alter it.

I'm not calling the natural perception flawed. I'm saying that the natural perception is not a direct interpretation, it's a model which our brains create. It's a model of reality that the human brain generates. Sure, it's all based on external input, but the point is that our conscious experience is not of the real world but of an internal representation of the world. This is referred to as indirect realism or representational realism.

IE: As an analogy, a magic mushroom is going to act as a lens...and, change your focus points.

Is this going to be the correct prescription to make everything clear, or, is it like trying on someone else's glasses, and they might help or hurt, or might blur part of the scene, while sharpening another, or give you a headache, etc?

The question is then, how do you know the alternate is any more "accurate" than the original prescription?

If I put on my wife's eyeglasses, I DO "see things differently"...but, not always "better".

I don't think anyone is arguing that the reality perceived in hallucinatory experienced induced by psychedelics is somehow a more accurate representation of reality. A better analogy would be that the brain being the generator of experience is now producing or giving an impression of having all experience at once, a kind of panaesthesia, and that's not to say that experience is the more accurate experience of reality, it's instead seen as an insight into the nature of consciousness. You're, by analogy, bending the circuits of the brain, and so no one would argue that would give you a clearer model of reality, but by messing with the circuits or synapses, then you could see the fashion in how consciousness comes apart and then returns to an equilibrium. Just as neuroscientists have learned vast amounts from people with certain neurological conditions, people who've had brain damage in one hemisphere that causes the other hemisphere to overcompensate, and so they end up with Acquired Savant Syndrome as seen in some individuals such as Jason Padgett, people who've had lobotomies, etc. Well, psychedelics induce this very interesting experience which has traditionally has been described in religion as a "mystical experience," but we're not understanding today that it is a very particular altered state of consciousness that seems to be a potential universal experience hard-wired into human beings.

It COULD simply make you THINK it is, but, if you can't trust your perceptions, as a given, how do you KNOW what you perceive when drugged is more meaningful than what you perceived when hit on the head with a rock, or, simply asleep...or, even simply awake?

Well, there's many facets to the mystical experience, and there are six characteristics highlighted in the Johns Hopkins study that are definitive of mystical experience; the core feature being this impression of a unicity. That all that exists is ultimately an interconnected unity. There is also a profound impression of unconditional love very akin to how agapé is described in Christianity, the supposed love Christ felt that is defined as spiritual (or if you don't like the term spiritual) then maternal in nature, without judgement, ever-forgiving, unconditional, etc. That is a possibility in the mystical experience, of course, it's only temporary in duration, but it is very possible to have an experience of unconditional love.

So, it's those characteristics which I believe people feel this experience is important or meaningful because it promotes unity. People involved in these studies have suggested that mystical experience implies a Perennial philosophy. In other words, Christ, Muhammad, Gautama, etc. were all mortal human beings, natural as you and I, who perhaps sometime in their lifetime had a mystical experience or even several of these experiences which prompted each of them to found a religion. However, as Roland Griffiths has pointed out, unconditional love and respect for everyone which is the core of this experience isn't always adaptive for personal survival. Think of Jesus or Ghandi or others who have persecuted for holding such world-views.

So, sure, as DARPA scientists find when trying to program a way to perceive objects in 3D, etc. are aware that we see in 2D, and then use algorithms to decipher what's out there, and, as optical illusions WORK, BECAUSE of the flaws in our perception of reality, the question begged is how do we know that drugging the computer changes the accuracy in a positive way?

Is there a test of this?

Again, I don't think those are the questions being asked in this type of study.

What I have reviewed on this topic is too reminiscent of the cosmic consciousness-type woo.

Poorly interpreted data, portrayed as evidence.

Well, I don't believe cosmic consciousness is regarded as "woo" these days. Cosmic consciousness was Richard M. Bucke's term for describing what William James later defined as "mystical experience." These are synonymous terms, and now these scientific studies have adopted James' term "mystical experience," and have concretely defined it as a very particular altered states which exhibits characteristics which are universal to this experience.

Its just more woo....right down to the "you need to experience it to understand" parts, just like religions.

Well, a mystical experience, as I pointed out to John, isn't easy to describe to someone who's never had it. William James had a lot of frustration in his life attempting to articulate this experience, and ultimately  concluded that while the revelations of the mystic hold true, they hold true only for the mystic; for others, they are certainly ideas to be considered, but can hold no claim to truth without personal experience of such. So, having the experience definitely does help, I wouldn't doubt that. Otherwise, you might misinterpret a mystical experience to be the feeling of awe one receives when standing near the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls or starring at a star-lit sky. That's not a mystical experience, but it's often confused for one. What Johns Hopkins is talking about is a very particular and titanic altered state of consciousness which they take the time to define quite particularly.

There's simply too much woo in his theories. His theory of timewave zero and the stoned ape have not only been heavily critiqued for their highly speculative nature, lack of sources, misuse of sources and accusations of pseudoscience. In a post modern sense I suppose that is okay...meaning the idea is far out there, probably unfalsifiable, difficult to understand, critique or test and shouldn't be taken seriously. The reawakining is about as postmodern a theory as you can get. So lofty and vague and impossible to anlyse qualitatively or quantitatively that you're left with an idea that can only rest on intuition,various forms of bias and even possibly faith.

“I think we demolished that Lamarckian inheritance argument in the Junk Science of Terence McKenna thread here.”

Could you elaborate on this? Akers’ main criticism of Stoned Ape theory is that it is Lamarckian, and that Lamarckism is generally not accepted.

“I listened to the entire podcast, and I was surprised to hear that Max leans towards Michael Hoffman's perspective rather than Terence's. He seemed to have a bias towards Hoffman's concepts, and Cyber Disciple agreed with a lot of the criticism on Terence. ”

This is not surprising in the overall context of the Transcendent Knowledge Podcast. The entire podcast is based on Michael Hoffman’s theorizing, cybernetic-deterministic ego transcendence, the psychedelic theory of religion, metaphorical psychedelic block-universe eternalism. Every episode

Both of the podcast hosts hold degrees in transcendent knowledge awarded by Michael Hoffman (see here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/egodeath/conversations/messages/6577, and here: https://cyberdisciple.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/against-brad-warner-...)

The podcast has been focused on critically deconstructing various popular psychedelic tropes from the point of view of metaphorical psychedelic eternalism. 

“Terence did hold views on determinism, by the way, but I'd say he was indeed vague, but  no more ambiguous than the description of determinism in the podcast.”

Terence’s teleological model of time and causality is strongly deterministic, he held that causality works backwards through time, with the future 2012 end-of-time singularity being the ultimate cause of everything. This is the precise inverse of the “big bang” model of time and causality which puts the ultimate cause of everything at the beginning of time.

Hoffman uses the 4D block-universe model to model the psychedelic ego death experience. In the intense mystic altered state time is perceived as if the future is closed (mono-possibility) in contrast to the ordinary state perception of open future (egoic steering capacity, navigating multiple future possibilities). This leads to the transformation of the mental model of time, self and world and leads to the dramatic “death” of the self that is perceived in the ordinary state as an autonomous controller.

There is nothing “ambiguous” about either model, but the crucial point that was being made in the podcast is that Mckenna defended the existence of free will, despite his 2012 determinism. He employed bad, philosophically naive pseudo-arguments to defend free will whilst at the same time espousing determinism.

“I'm not sure why Akers was given so much credit. If you go to the last few pages of the thread "The Junk Science of Terrence McKenna" (intentional misspelling), Bryan was banned by the MODs, and so his dialogue can still be seen through my responses to him, and all his arguments are totally crushed. His posts were deleted.”

Akers posts prolifically about the evils of Terence Mckenna and Amanita Muscaria mushrooms on reddit under the name “doctorlao” (see here: https://www.reddit.com/user/doctorlao/comments/), he is one of the main critics and sceptics of Terence Mckenna’s ideas.

“I thought Terence's Stoned Ape theory of human evolution was intensely interesting, and definitely deserves more attention than it was given in the podcast.”

The theory was covered quite extensively in the podcast, with a focus on how it relates, via metaphor/analogy, to deterministic ego death and worldmodel transformation.

“Another criticism they bring up in the podcast is the mono-drug fallacy that they accuse of Terence. I've heard Kilindi Iyi defend this point by emphasizing what Terence highlighted about mushrooms, and that is he considered them the "ere hallucinogen." There's no concoction involved. There's no preparation or synthesization. You simply have to pick them and chew 'em up. Whether it be psilocybin or Amanita. He did favor Psilocybe species over Amanita, but did not necessarily rule Amanita out for historical use. He simply claimed psilocybin-containing species of mushrooms were more reliable than Amanita muscaria.”

The crucial point mentioned on the podcast was that Terence was generally dismissive of LSD, whereas this makes no sense from the point of view of cybernetic ego transcendence, since LSD is no less ergonomic than psilocybin at triggering intense cognitive dissociation (psychedelic tripping).

“One point you and I had disagreed on in the past, John Burrows, is whether this could be experienced naturally.”

The “natural” way to trigger a psychedelic trip is to take drugs, there is no alternative method. Drug-free meditation serves as a method of *avoiding* the trip experience. Mckenna clearly agrees with Hoffman on this point. No drugs = no tripping.

“ Where as these studies on mystical experience have emphasized that psilocybin can mimic naturally occurring mystical experience.”

This ^ is incorrect, the psilocybin studies demonstrated that psilocybin triggers mystical altered-state experiences. The studies said nothing about "mimicking".

The “naturally occuring mystical experience” is precisely the experience that follows ingestion of psilocybe mushrooms (tripping).

“What I find interesting is that they essentially use Terence McKenna's "heroic dose" and claim that this so-called "mystical experience" induced by this heroic dose is evidently the dose necessary to be used to mimic the naturally occurring mystical experience.”

This ^ is incorrect, Mckenna placed overdue emphasis on extremely high doses, but you don’t need to take that much to trigger self-control seizure ego death, which is the ultimate naturally occurring mystical experience. The word “mimic” is entirely redundant.

“disciplines such as meditation or asceticism do, in fact, yield the potential to access these vast altered states, available through high-dose psilocybin, naturally.”

You imply here ^ that eating mushrooms is “unnatural”, and meditating is “natural”. There is no basis for this implication. The natural and time-honoured technique for triggering the mystic altered state is ingesting psychedelic plants and chemicals

However the point remains that meditating without taking drugs does not trigger the psychedelic trip experience. Meditating serves as a fully efficient method for *avoiding* psychedelic ego death and worldmodel transformation.

“There's an interesting analogy of Terence's of the "the still pool vs. the rippling pool" that they explore starting from 50m02s of the podcast which entertains Hoffman's Eternalism concept of "block universe" determinism.”

This ^ is inaccurate, Mckenna’s “still pool vs. rippling pool” analogy is directly applicable to the concept of psychedelic metaperception, explicit representationalism. It is only indirectly relevant to block universe determinism.

In the psychedelic altered state the visual appearance of the physical environment often takes on a wavy, cartoonlike quality which leads the mind to conclude that it is perceiving a subjective mentally projected representation of a world, instead of having direct perceptual access to an objective external reality (naive realism). Representation and referent become dissociated.

“This relates to Ramesh Balsekar's view of enlightenment in eastern philosophy which he believes is the realization of the complete lack of free will. Are you, by any chance, familiar with Ramesh Balsekar's notion of determinism related to the enlightenment of eastern philosophy?”

As i wrote previously in this post: www.thinkatheist.com/xn/detail/1982180:Comment:1405406

“Balsekar never mentions psychedelics, he is completely unaware about the potential of drugs to reveal determinism via mystical experience. The major difference between Balsekar and Hoffman is that Balsekar interprets determinism as something that is primarily relevant to the ordinary state of consciousness, whereas Hoffman claims that determinism is primarily relevant to the intense altered state. Balsekar is not a mystic like Hoffman.

But Balsekar's insistence on determinism/no free will sets him apart from all the other Indian Guru teachers.“

Both Balsekar and Hoffman assert that enlightenment = determinism.

Could you elaborate on this? Akers’ main criticism of Stoned Ape theory is that it is Lamarckian, and that Lamarckism is generally not accepted.

Have you read Food of the Gods, by any chance? Terence has a section in there titled "Steering Clear of Lamarck" where he'd encounter this accusation as a common criticism, but he retorts in a fashion that doesn't require a defense of Lamarckian evolution, and pours emphasis on behavior and diet. Dennis McKenna and Joe Rogan have a real interesting conversation on Terence's "Stoned Ape theory," and Dennis has given lectures on the topic of symbiosis between plants/fungi and humans. I'll place the links below:

Dennis McKenna on JRE podcast discussing "Stoned Ape theory."

Dennis McKenna - Free Your Mind Conference

This is not surprising in the overall context of the Transcendent Knowledge Podcast. The entire podcast is based on Michael Hoffman’s theorizing, cybernetic-deterministic ego transcendence, the psychedelic theory of religion, metaphorical psychedelic block-universe eternalism. Every episode

Both of the podcast hosts hold degrees in transcendent knowledge awarded by Michael Hoffman (see here:https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/egodeath/conversations/messages..., and here: https://cyberdisciple.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/against-brad-warner-...)

The podcast has been focused on critically deconstructing various popular psychedelic tropes from the point of view of metaphorical psychedelic eternalism.

I'm going to have to check those threads out, and listen to these earlier Max Freakout podcasts. I haven't listened in a while, but I did hear the episode with Michael Hoffman. Thanks for the links.

Terence’s teleological model of time and causality is strongly deterministic, he held that causality works backwards through time, with the future 2012 end-of-time singularity being the ultimate cause of everything. This is the precise inverse of the “big bang” model of time and causality which puts the ultimate cause of everything at the beginning of time.

Hoffman uses the 4D block-universe model to model the psychedelic ego death experience. In the intense mystic altered state time is perceived as if the future is closed (mono-possibility) in contrast to the ordinary state perception of open future (egoic steering capacity, navigating multiple future possibilities). This leads to the transformation of the mental model of time, self and world and leads to the dramatic “death” of the self that is perceived in the ordinary state as an autonomous controller.

There is nothing “ambiguous” about either model, but the crucial point that was being made in the podcast is that Mckenna defended the existence of free will, despite his 2012 determinism. He employed bad, philosophically naive pseudo-arguments to defend free will whilst at the same time espousing determinism.

What had thrown me off is a segment in the podcast where Cyber Disciple talks about how Michael Hoffman went from talking about the block-universe determinism to Eternalism. Aren't these synonymous forms of determinism? If so, then we're on the same page here. That's what I had originally thought about Hoffman's work, but I thought he was going off in some tangent when Cyber Disciple brought up what seems like a distinction between two models of determinism or it may not be, the two terms may be synonymous. Maybe you could clear that up for me.

Akers posts prolifically about the evils of Terence Mckenna and Amanita Muscaria mushrooms on reddit under the name “doctorlao” (see here: https://www.reddit.com/user/doctorlao/comments/), he is one of the main critics and sceptics of Terence Mckenna’s ideas.

I don't know how Akers has been given any attention. I'd say that Dennis McKenna is one of the main critics and skeptics of Terence McKenna, but in my experience here with Akers, he came off as bitter and immature constantly engaging in pseudo-intellectual snotty comments, and as I mentioned in my previous post, was banned for those comments from ThinkAtheist.

The Stoned ape theory was covered quite extensively in the podcast, with a focus on how it relates, via metaphor/analogy, to deterministic ego death and worldmodel transformation.

Yeah, I thought that was interesting. There's two areas where they talk about the metaphorical vs. literal translation of Terence's ideas. I'll link them here and here.

The crucial point mentioned on the podcast was that Terence was generally dismissive of LSD, whereas this makes no sense from the point of view of cybernetic ego transcendence, since LSD is no less ergonomic than psilocybin at triggering intense cognitive dissociation (psychedelic tripping).

I sort of disagree with this. I don't think Terence underestimated LSD. I've listened to just about every audio piece out there of Terence. To this day, I still find talks I haven't heard after listening to perhaps hundreds of hours of his talks. There's a lot of Terence McKenna on the internet. He has said that he's had more efficacy in producing hallucinations with psilocybin than LSD, and has also claimed that his best psychedelic experiences are those where he hallucinates. If he doesn't hallucinate in a psychedelic experience, although he may find the experience interesting, he's said that it's ultimately a disappointment if there's no hallucinations seen behind closed eyelids. I believe he once said of hallucinations, "That's what I love, that's what I live for."

The analogy I've heard Terence use is that of a Bull's eye where DMT is at the center; DMT being the most out-of-this-world experience you can have, and he does emphasize the tryptamine-family of hallucinogens in this analogy. So, where DMT is at the center of the Bull's eye, then as you ascend the concentric circles, next you'd have ayahuasca, followed by psilocybin, then LSD, but that's not to say that he underestimated LSD; all these psychedelics have the potential to induce what Johns Hopkins is referring to as "mystical experience" or what Michael Hoffman calls "ego death" or  the "loose-cognition state." Terence has also spoke about synergies (drug combinations) where he recounts vaping DMT at the height of an LSD experience.

The “natural” way to trigger a psychedelic trip is to take drugs, there is no alternative method. Drug-free meditation serves as a method of *avoiding* the trip experience. Mckenna clearly agrees with Hoffman on this point. No drugs = no tripping.

“ Where as these studies on mystical experience have emphasized that psilocybin can mimic naturally occurring mystical experience.”

This ^ is incorrect, the psilocybin studies demonstrated that psilocybin triggers mystical altered-state experiences. The studies said nothing about "mimicking".

I'm talking about Roland Griffiths work with psilocybin. He's stated numerous times that the experience induced with psilocybin looks identical to those states induced by meditation. In fact, some of the questionnaires used in Roland's research were originally designed to measure mystical experience occurring in mystics whilst in meditation. The volunteers who took psilocybin scored similar measures to those individuals who engaged this experience naturally via meditation. Listen for yourself

Terence held that opinion in his early years, later on in life, and I believe we have spoken about this topic before, Terence said that he had enough people come up to him during his lifetime and describe these states that they've encountered in meditation, so he eventually accepted that perhaps it could be engaged naturally through something like meditation or perhaps fasting. Terence also spoke about a dream where he was given a pipe filled with DMT, and when he vaped it, he had a full-blown DMT experience. This was another thing that convinced him that it could be induced "on the natch" as Terence used to say.

I know you seem, like Max, to subscribe to Hoffman's notion that psychedelics are the sole path to mystical experience. I mean, perhaps we could argue whether it could be induced naturally, but I will agree that psychedelics are far more effective. Meditation is a discipline that most people don't have the patience for, and it takes time. Terence McKenna once asked Ram Dass a very interesting question, he said, "Do you think that this can be done without psychedelics fast enough to have an impact on the global situation?" Richard Alpert replies that he could conceive that it could, but we all know Terence's answer to this which is a resounding 'no!' He'd often say that he has never seen anyone change their mind around on the dime as is often done with psychedelics. So, even if it can or cannot be induced naturally, I do agree with you that psychedelics are most effective for triggering this altered state, and we should pour more emphasis on the psychedelics. Dennis McKenna talks about a possible future where the drug laws are changed, and psychedelics are more accepted into our society to the point where you could go to a local psychiatrist and legally use psilocybin to cure your anxiety, your depression, your religious qualms, PTSD, etc. I'm sure you've heard the Terence McKenna quote, "These boundary dissolving hallucinogens that give you a sense of unity with your fellow man and nature are somehow forbidden. This is an outrage! It’s a sign of cultural immaturity and the fact that we tolerate it is a sign that we are living in a society as oppressed as any society in the past." Graham Hancock talks about how these drugs being illegal is basically a war on consciousness, that if we're not sovereign over our own consciousness, then we are ultimately not free.


“What I find interesting is that they essentially use Terence McKenna's "heroic dose" and claim that this so-called "mystical experience" induced by this heroic dose is evidently the dose necessary to be used to mimic the naturally occurring mystical experience.”


This ^ is incorrect, Mckenna placed overdue emphasis on extremely high doses, but you don’t need to take that much to trigger self-control seizure ego death, which is the ultimate naturally occurring mystical experience. The word “mimic” is entirely redundant.

I do it about once a year (take psychedelics). My last experience was about 16 dried grams of psilocybin mushrooms (well over Terence's heroic dose) and not much happened. I was mixing it with alcohol, and I felt as though the alcohol sort of dampened the experience. I do not recommend mixing psilocybin with alcohol. I vow to never make that mistake again, because I've had far more powerful experiences by taking much less than 16 dried grams, but I think the emphasis of the higher dose or what Terence called the "full-spectrum dose" is important. I believe it makes the difference to what Roland Griffiths calls mystical-type experience and full-blown mystical experience; full-blown basically meaning a mystical experience that meets all the criteria for a "complete mystical experience." They're actually using higher doses these days in the current study they're doing with psilocybin in Baltimore, MD. They're recruiting volunteers, by the way, too.


“disciplines such as meditation or asceticism do, in fact, yield the potential to access these vast altered states, available through high-dose psilocybin, naturally.”

You imply here ^ that eating mushrooms is “unnatural”, and meditating is “natural”. There is no basis for this implication. The natural and time-honoured technique for triggering the mystic altered state is ingesting psychedelic plants and chemicals

Well, the distinction I was attempting to make was the use of exogenous psychedelics as opposed to endogenous. There's evidence that suggests that the human pineal gland produces N,N-DMT, and when you compare psilocin (since psilocybin is converted into psilocin once it passes the blood-brain barrier) to N,N-DMT, you find that they're strikingly similar:

The implication being that the naturally occurring mystical experience may be mediated by endogenous released N,N-DMT.

However the point remains that meditating without taking drugs does not trigger the psychedelic trip experience. Meditating serves as a fully efficient method for *avoiding* psychedelic ego death and worldmodel transformation.

Yes, you've repeated this point-of-view. Let's consider for a moment that endogenous N,N-DMT is the culprit for naturally occurring mystical experience. If that is the case, then if you live in places like the U.S. then you're in a way subject to chemical suppression. We've got fluoride in the tap water that calcifies the pineal gland which is supposedly the natural source of our own body's entheogens. Not to mention myriads of other chemicals that probably calcify our pineal gland that's in the common food and drink at your local grocery store. This may be why monks living in temples and practicing strict vegan diets may have a greater natural ability to engage a mystical experience through meditation, because they're not exposed to this chemical suppression and perhaps their pineal glands aren't as tainted as those people who live in the states or other countries which use fluoride in the tap water. Just a thought, I do realize you do not believe the experience can be induced naturally, but that's just something to consider.


“There's an interesting analogy of Terence's of the "the still pool vs. the rippling pool" that they explore starting from 50m02s of the podcast which entertains Hoffman's Eternalism concept of "block universe" determinism.”


This ^ is inaccurate, Mckenna’s “still pool vs. rippling pool” analogy is directly applicable to the concept of psychedelic metaperception, explicit representationalism. It is only indirectly relevant to block universe determinism.

In the psychedelic altered state the visual appearance of the physical environment often takes on a wavy, cartoonlike quality which leads the mind to conclude that it is perceiving a subjective mentally projected representation of a world, instead of having direct perceptual access to an objective external reality (naive realism). Representation and referent become dissociated.

Terence also used the analogy of dropping ink into a bowl of water where the psychedelic is like the dye marker into the aqueous medium, and outlines the convection currents operating in the bowl of water. As though the ink tracing out the movement of water which otherwise would be invisible to us. He related this to Marshall McLuhan's quote of "Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn't a fish." Because a fish lives in that medium, and so in a way just takes it for granted. Well, we're fish swimming in consciousness, and yet we know it's there, and what most people don't realize is that it can be vastly perturbed. People don't know what to expect or what to think of to imagine what a psychedelic or a mystical experience is like, and that's because most people, atheists and theists alike, have not had such an experience.


“This relates to Ramesh Balsekar's view of enlightenment in eastern philosophy which he believes is the realization of the complete lack of free will. Are you, by any chance, familiar with Ramesh Balsekar's notion of determinism related to the enlightenment of eastern philosophy?”


As i wrote previously in this post: www.thinkatheist.com/xn/detail/1982180:Comment:1405406


“Balsekar never mentions psychedelics, he is completely unaware about the potential of drugs to reveal determinism via mystical experience. The major difference between Balsekar and Hoffman is that Balsekar interprets determinism as something that is primarily relevant to the ordinary state of consciousness, whereas Hoffman claims that determinism is primarily relevant to the intense altered state. Balsekar is not a mystic like Hoffman.

But Balsekar's insistence on determinism/no free will sets him apart from all the other Indian Guru teachers.“

Both Balsekar and Hoffman assert that enlightenment = determinism.

You know, now that I recall, one of my first psychedelic experiences gave me this impression of having no free will. It was as though I could "feel" my fatedness, and that everything that was happening was inevitable. I got on Google (after the experience, of course) to see if anyone was having similar experiences, and that's when I stumbled across Michael Hoffman's  EgoDeath.com website, and I do recall he mentions Balsekar a lot. Ramesh does talk about this "oneness with God" or rather Balsekar's word for "mystical experience" is what he refers to as "free samples from God." Of course, he died in 2009, and many gurus since then have been inspired by his work. Ramesh Balsekar was a very open-minded individual, I could imagine he would accept that psychedelics do offer a "free sample from God," but he would also add that whether you induce a mystical experience or not is according to God's will or for the sake of atheists, he'd say it'd be according to "Cosmic law." Or as Terence McKenna used to say, "The dose makes all the difference between sunyata and try again, Sam."

Hey, John, so that people can better dissect the podcast, I wanted to post time-stamped links for the topics listed. IF you can edit this into the original post, I'll delete this post, if not, I'll just leave it here for future references.

3:04 Comparison between Terence McKenna and Tim Leary
6:04 McKenna's "Stoned Ape" theory of human evolution
14:43 Brian Aker's Lamarckist criticism of stoned ape theory
16:04 Tension between metaphorical and literal interpretation of McKenna's ideas
19:03 Differing views of McKenna's motivation
27:22 McKenna's feminist ideals (& 1:11:35)
34:53 McKenna's emphasis on natural drugs and dismissal of LSD ("mono-drug fallacy")
49:30 McKenna's analogical model of psychedelic congition (explicit representationalism)
55:02 McKenna's model of time and reverse-causality and its relation of 4D block-universe determinism
59:10 2012 as teleological eschaton
1:04:16 McKenna's idea of accelerating ingression into novelty
1:05:04 McKenna's "Timewave Zero" equation
1:17:38 McKenna's criticism of scientism
1:21:56 Scientistic reliance on inductivist logic
1:22:24 McKenna's DMT induced 'Machine Elves,' (comparisons with religious myths such as prophet Jacob's wrestling with an angel)
1:24:56 McKenna's concept of telepathic communication via N,N-DMT
1:32:31 Max's Transition from Terence's McKenna's (%) thoughts to Cybernetic Ego Death theory
1:35:26 Literal vs. Metaphorical
1:36:16 What is telepathy?
1:46:03 Local self (ego) and hidden thought source (Absolute)
1:50:11 Even an Android would be able to understand the 'ego death theory'
1:53:21 Language that is beheld ( a common dictionary )
1:56:19 Pure syntax vs Leaky translation ( all translation is mistranslation to some extent )
2:04:07 Mckenna's rejection of psychedelic Christianity via dismissal of John Allegro and Leary's Good Friday experiment
2:24:59 McKenna's interpretation of the Edenic myth (History's first drug bust)
2:27:57 Metaphorical vs. Literal interpretation of McKenna
2:34:02 How do we account for Terence McKenna's popularity?

“Have you read Food of the Gods, by any chance? Terence has a section in there titled "Steering Clear of Lamarck" where he'd encounter this accusation as a common criticism, but he retorts in a fashion that doesn't require a defense of Lamarckian evolution, and pours emphasis on behavior and diet. “

I read Food of the Gods many years ago, i had forgotten that Mckenna explicitly addresses the lamarckist objection to the stoned ape theory, so i just had another look to remind myself. In that section of FOTG Mckenna spells out the standard “giraffe’s neck” illustration of lamarckist evolutionary mechanisms, then he claims that the stoned ape theory is not lamarkist by appealing to language and cultural development as a distinctive evolutionary process distinct from genetic evolution. He then makes some unsubstantiated claims about the pineal gland. I don’t think he succeeds in establishing that the stoned ape theory is not lamarckist.

I'm going to have to check those threads out, and listen to these earlier Max Freakout podcasts. I haven't listened in a while, but I did hear the episode with Michael Hoffman.”

Forget about the older Max Freakout podcasts (Psychonautica podcast on the Dopefiend podcast network) except for the interview with Michael Hoffman (episode 13). Those older podcasts are primitive and redundant compared to the Transcendent Knowledge podcast with Max and Cyberdisciple. I would suggest listening to the earlier episodes of TKP, this is a highly advanced and niche project.

“What had thrown me off is a segment in the podcast where Cyber Disciple talks about how Michael Hoffman went from talking about the block-universe determinism to Eternalism. Aren't these synonymous forms of determinism?"

It is crucially important to understand the difference between block-universe determinism and eternalism, these concepts are related, but they are not synonymous. Eternalism (mono-possibility) is contrasted with possibilism (multi-possibility). Block-universe determinism is contrasted with causal determinism, this is a separate contrast.

The pairing of eternalism and possibilism was a very significant development in Hoffman’s ongoing project of refining the optimal lexicon for modelling psychedelic experiencing and religious wordlmodel upgrade (for detailed clarification of this issue see here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/egodeath/conversations/messages/6765 and here: https://cyberdisciple.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/eternalism-superior-term-to-heimarmenecybernetics/).

Eternalism combines block-universe determinism (modelling time) with cybernetics (modelling control dynamics).

Eternalism is block-universe determinism from the point of view of egoic controllership, it is a way of modelling *thinking* as opposed to merely a way of modelling determinism.

Block universe determinism is contrasted with causal-chain determinism, but the more important contrast is between eternalism and possibilism. The central point in ego death theory/transcendent knowledge is the transition from possibilism to eternalism.

Possibilism is the idea that time has a single past, but multiple possible futures. The ego controller creates its own reality in the present by steering (control-power, free will) between the branches of future possibility at each moment. Time is shaped like a tree.

Eternalism is the idea that the future is singular and pre-existing, all moments in time exist simultaneously. Time is shaped like a snake.

Egoic thinking is possibilistic, Transcendent (God) thinking is eternalistic. These two forms of thought meet each other in intense psychedelic experiencing, the ego wrestles with the angel and loses, resulting in (ego) death.

Religious mythology describes the transition between possibilistic thinking and eternalistic thinking.

“I don't know how Akers has been given any attention. I'd say that Dennis McKenna is one of the main critics and skeptics of Terence McKenna, but in my experience here with Akers, he came off as bitter and immature constantly engaging in pseudo-intellectual snotty comments, and as I mentioned in my previous post, was banned for those comments from ThinkAtheist.”

Akers’ attitude and writing style ( = logghoreic keyboard-warrior) makes it impossible to engage in normal constructive discussion with him, but reading his rants does reveal some important opinions about Terence. Akers’ is involved in his own personal version of the exact same project that the Transcendent Knowledge podcast is doing, - critiquing and deconstructing popular psychedelic ideas.

“where DMT is at the center of the Bull's eye, then as you ascend the concentric circles, next you'd have ayahuasca, followed by psilocybin, then LSD, but that's not to say that he underestimated LSD; all these psychedelics have the potential to induce what Johns Hopkins is referring to as "mystical experience" or what Michael Hoffman calls "ego death" or  the "loose-cognition state." .”

Terence’s relative disparagement of LSD makes no sense from the point of view of transcendent knowledge, because LSD is no less effective than mushrooms or ayahuasca at triggering full intensity psychedelic tripping, in particular the experience of control-loss, ego death mind fragmenting psychotic bad trip.

“I'm talking about Roland Griffiths work with psilocybin. He's stated numerous times that the experience induced with psilocybin looks identical to those states induced by meditation”

 This ^ is incorrect, the conclusion of Griffiths’ study was that psilocybin reliably triggers mystical experience. Meditating without drugs doesn’t trigger psychedelic experiences. It would be entirely spurious to claim that meditating sober causes the same kind of experience that eating mushrooms causes. Mckenna made this point very clearly on many instances, he said something along the lines of “you dont approach meditation with your knees knocking in fear from what might happen to you”. The crucial point here is that you will never experience a bad trip control-crisis if you don’t take drugs.

 This confusion arises because of the vagueness and undefined ambiguity of the expression “mystical experience”. A far more precise and unproblematic expression is “psychedelic experience”, ie temporarily loosened cognitive associations (cognitive dissociation). This altered state of cognitive processing is caused reliably and repeatably via the ingestion of drug plants and chemicals, but it is not caused by meditating sober. People don’t trip when they meditate sober, if you were to meditate sober, you would not trip.

“ In fact, some of the questionnaires used in Roland's research were originally designed to measure mystical experience occurring in mystics whilst in meditation. The volunteers who took psilocybin scored similar measures to those individuals who engaged this experience naturally via meditation.”

You are repeatedly mis-characterising Griffiths’ study. It was about the efficacy of psilocybin at triggering mystical experience, it was not about meditating sober causing mystical experience.

“Terence said that he had enough people come up to him during his lifetime and describe these states that they've encountered in meditation, so he eventually accepted that perhaps it could be engaged naturally through something like meditation or perhaps fasting.”

I am unaware of this ^, Mckenna said in multiple places that meditating sober does not cause psilocybin-like experiences, that it is not possible to trip without drugs. If he said otherwise he was being dishonest. You only have to try both techniques yourself (psilocybin and sober meditating) to see that they are entirely dissimilar from each other, there is no basis of comparison between the two.

“Hoffman's notion that psychedelics are the sole path to mystical experience.”

The problem with this ^ is the ambiguity of the term “mystical experience”, it is more straightforward to say that psychedelics are the only technique that reliably and repeatably triggers temporary psychedelic (loosened) cognition.

“I mean, perhaps we could argue whether it could be induced naturally”

The psychedelic state can easily be induced naturally, via the ingestion of the appropriate plants and chemicals.

“Meditation is a discipline that most people don't have the patience for, and it takes time.”

Meditation takes as much time as you are willing to invest into it, but no matter how much time you spend meditating, you will never start tripping. Meditating is designed to *avoid* psychedelic experiencing, not to trigger it.

“I believe it makes the difference to what Roland Griffiths calls mystical-type experience and full-blown mystical experience; full-blown basically meaning a mystical experience that meets all the criteria for a "complete mystical experience." ”

These ^ are arbitrary and undefined distinctions which have no relevance to the phenomenology of altered state experiences. You are introducing these distinctions, they do not appear in Griffiths’ study.

“The distinction I was attempting to make was the use of exogenous psychedelics as opposed to endogenous”

The most direct way to describe the distinction is: intense tripping on psychedelic drugs versus not tripping during sober activities like drug-free meditation. There is no substitute for drugs if the goal is to experience the intense psychedelic trip. This can be easily proven simply by engaging in either activity (taking drugs or meditating) and observing the outcome. When you take drugs, you trip. When you don’t take drugs, you don’t trip.

“There's evidence that suggests that the human pineal gland produces N,N-DMT”

Endlessly repeating a falsehood does not make it become true. That is an important lesson which the pop-psychedelia crowd ought to learn.

This claim about the human pineal gland producing DMT is entirely false, there is zero evidence to suggest that the human pineal gland produces DMT, this is just pop-psych folklore aimed gullible psychonauts. This is one area where Akers is useful, he carefully checks pop-psychedelia claims.

“This may be why monks living in temples and practicing strict vegan diets may have a greater natural ability to engage a mystical experience through meditation, because they're not exposed to this chemical suppression and perhaps their pineal glands aren't as tainted as those people who live in the states or other countries which use fluoride in the tap water. Just a thought, I do realize you do not believe the experience can be induced naturally, but that's just something to consider.”

You are all wrapped up in the cliched falsehoods of popular spirituality like drug-free meditation and drug free monks. Terence Mckenna was much more clear-headed than you, he recognised the obvious difference between these things versus the *real thing* which is tripping out on drugs and experiencing the mysterium tremendum. Michael Hoffman goes even further than Mckenna in pointing out that drug-free meditation serves as a technique for perpetually *avoiding* the psychedelic altered state. There is good reason to avoid the altered state, as Mckenna was well aware it isn’t all “silly-cybin”, it has a serious side in the form of panic-attack frenzied psychotic bad-trip.

“Terence also used the analogy of dropping ink into a bowl of water where the psychedelic is like the dye marker into the aqueous medium, and outlines the convection currents operating in the bowl of water. As though the ink tracing out the movement of water which otherwise would be invisible to us. He related this to Marshall McLuhan's quote of "Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn't a fish." Because a fish lives in that medium, and so in a way just takes it for granted. Well, we're fish swimming in consciousness, and yet we know it's there, and what most people don't realize is that it can be vastly perturbed.”

This ^ is all very suggestive of metaperception, explicit indirect representationalism vs. implicit (naive) direct realism

“he would also add that whether you induce a mystical experience or not is according to God's will or for the sake of atheists, he'd say it'd be according to "Cosmic law." "

This ^ is precisely what is implied by block-universe eternalism: your eternal destiny puts the mushrooms in your mouth and makes your teeth chew them, which results in the mystical experience of eternalism cognition.

“I mean, perhaps we could argue whether it could be induced naturally”

This ^ is clearly a major point of contention in this discussion, there are several assertions mixed up in this issue:

  1. Meditating makes you trip

  2. Meditating doesn’t make you trip

  3. Taking psychedelics makes you trip

  4. Taking psychedelics makes you have a “mystical experience”

  5. Meditating makes you have a mystical experience

  6. Meditating feels like taking psychedelics

The apparent disgreement/argument over the outcome of sober meditation hinges on the lack of a clear definition of the following terms and distinctions:

Mystical experience, meditative experience, psychedelic experience

Endogenous vs exogenous

Natural vs. unnatural

Taking psychedelics vs. not taking psychedelics

Don’t fall victim to prohibitionist rhetoric propaganda about sober meditation. Clear up your thinking and writing, stop relying on ambiguous vague undefined terms like “mystical experience” which only distort and cloud the truth. Clear language makes truth easier to recognise. Does meditating sober cause you to trip? Does meditating sober make you have an experience like a psilocybin trip? Is meditating a calming experience? Is a psilocybin trip a calming experience? Do you experience psychotic panic attack control loss when you meditate too much? Do you experience psychotic panic attack control loss when you take too much psilocybin? Is meditating natural or unnatural? Is taking psychedelics natural or unnatural?

I read Food of the Gods many years ago, i had forgotten that Mckenna explicitly addresses the lamarckist objection to the stoned ape theory, so i just had another look to remind myself. In that section of FOTG Mckenna spells out the standard “giraffe’s neck” illustration of lamarckist evolutionary mechanisms, then he claims that the stoned ape theory is not lamarkist by appealing to language and cultural development as a distinctive evolutionary process distinct from genetic evolution. He then makes some unsubstantiated claims about the pineal gland. I don’t think he succeeds in establishing that the stoned ape theory is not lamarckist.

It isn't Lamarckist, though. I mean, in what sense do you think it's Lamarckist? You think Terence was talking about apes who munched on mushrooms for generations and generations that somehow practicing this diet over millions of years grew the brain in a similar fashion of that Lamarckian example of the giraffe stretching its neck over a long period of time caused its neck to grow longer? I don't believe that's what he implied. You spoke about language and cultural development as an evolutionary process as opposed to genetic evolution. Well, that's precisely what's happening right now in our culture globally via the internet, media, technology, etc. Michio Kaku claims we'll eventually evolve to a Type 1 civilization in about 100 years from now. As Bill Hicks used to say, evolution didn't end with the thumb.

However, we've only observed a very small slice of time, and Terence was talking about a span of about 2 million years; psilocybin as Terence claims was a powerful catalyst for language, dance, art, etc. in early human beings, and this opened the doorway into the "fall into history" as Terence used to say. So, this engagement with forebrain activity is what he argues is truly the culprit for the "missing link" or  Lumholtz'  "doubling of brain size." But that's only putting it in a nutshell. It's, of course, much more complex than that, and Terence did talk about it in great detail emphasizing what he referred to as the "third step." Lots of criticism here and by Brian Akers have been on Terence's 1st and 2nd step which Terence himself said would be entirely irrelevant to the theory since all the first and second step offer is adaptive advantages. While he said that all three steps were occurring simultaneously, I find it disturbing that people seem to nitpick the first two steps as though they are the crux of the theory itself. Well, step 1 and 2 can be completely disregarded, because what should be emphasized is step 3; the boundary dissolving, ego-obliterating experience that Terence claimed laid the basis for the initial religious impulse in our species. 

You see, hungry and foraging apes who stumble across a bed of mushrooms growing on the African plains wouldn't simply stop munching after a gram or so, they'd probably keep eating 'til their bellies were full, and Terence said that this could be analogized to history's first television set. Behind closed eyelids intense mandalic/fractal hallucinations begin to form, and as Terence claimed, often these hallucinations drove one to play with a kind of synaesthesia involving mouth noises and visual phenomena that would manifest from those sounds made by one's voice.

Nowadays, if you clicked the link of Dennis McKenna and Rogan discussing the topic, Dennis admits that there may have been other factors for the doubling of the brain size in that period of time, but we shouldn't rule out the possibility of psilocybin in the diet. After all, we know that the earliest forms of civilization and cultures practiced shamanism, the ritual consumption of entheogens. Why is it such a stretch to imagine that we may have had this ritual ingrained? As Joe Rogan said, "When did we lose all this? When did that go away?" Of course, we haven't truly lost it. Shamans, mystics, gurus, etc. have kept the torch alive, but now it's not so much esoteric or hidden knowledge, it's becoming more accessible.

Forget about the older Max Freakout podcasts (Psychonautica podcast on the Dopefiend podcast network) except for the interview with Michael Hoffman (episode 13). Those older podcasts are primitive and redundant compared to the Transcendent Knowledge podcast with Max and Cyberdisciple. I would suggest listening to the earlier episodes of TKP, this is a highly advanced and niche project.

I'll start listening. I went back to find some talks in order to respond to this post, and did a little research on Roland Griffiths work since you seem to think that I'm misrepresenting what he's talking about. I'm not so sure, but I suppose we'll dissect this stuff and find out what all this stuff really means.

It is crucially important to understand the difference between block-universe determinism and eternalism, these concepts are related, but they are not synonymous. Eternalism (mono-possibility) is contrasted with possibilism (multi-possibility). Block-universe determinism is contrasted with causal determinism, this is a separate contrast.

The pairing of eternalism and possibilism was a very significant development in Hoffman’s ongoing project of refining the optimal lexicon for modelling psychedelic experiencing and religious wordlmodel upgrade (for detailed clarification of this issue see here:https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/egodeath/conversations/messages...and here:https://cyberdisciple.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/eternalism-superior-...).

Possibilism sounds a lot like what Stephen Hawking calls "adequate determinism." So, when you say the pairing of eternalism and possibilism was a very significant development in Hoffman’s ongoing project of refining the optimal lexicon for modelling psychedelic experiencing and religious world-model upgrade; it seems Hoffman is not arguing for a rigid/hard determinism. Would that be safe to presume? I'll definitely review these links to further my understanding of Hoffman's notion of determinism, but I'd appreciate your feedback.

Akers’ attitude and writing style ( = logghoreic keyboard-warrior) makes it impossible to engage in normal constructive discussion with him, but reading his rants does reveal some important opinions about Terence. Akers’ is involved in his own personal version of the exact same project that the Transcendent Knowledge podcast is doing, - critiquing and deconstructing popular psychedelic ideas.

I suppose I can see that, but in this forum he wasn't given much credit, and in my perspective, it almost seems as though Akers was out to criticize McKenna for the sake of criticizing McKenna. He didn't really have any real criticism worth exploring, although he definitely made it seem as though he did with his logorrheic style of writing. The same accusation was made by Ralph Abraham in regard to Terence McKenna, that Terence's bard-like ability gave whatever he said more credit than it actually deserved.

Terence’s relative disparagement of LSD makes no sense from the point of view of transcendent knowledge, because LSD is no less effective than mushrooms or ayahuasca at triggering full intensity psychedelic tripping, in particular the experience of control-loss, ego death mind fragmenting psychotic bad trip.

I don't believe he disparaged LSD in the fashion that you're referring to. As I pointed out, and I took time to find these links, and I am looking for others. You've inspired me to re-listen to a lot of these McKenna talks, but I mentioned that Terence viewed the tryptamine-family as all having the potential to throw you into this state. He often used the analogy of a Bull's eye, and at the center you had DMT, and the idea behind this analogy was that if you pushed any one of these indole hallucinogens, they would eventually lead to a point where the hallucinations are indistinguishable from DMT His issue with LSD was that you had to take a pretty good amount to elicit these type of experiences he was talking about, and LSD tends to last longer, and so it wasn't as reliable as something like psilocybin or N,N-DMT. 

 This ^ is incorrect, the conclusion of Griffiths’ study was that psilocybin reliably triggers mystical experience. Meditating without drugs doesn’t trigger psychedelic experiences. It would be entirely spurious to claim that meditating sober causes the same kind of experience that eating mushrooms causes. Mckenna made this point very clearly on many instances, he said something along the lines of “you dont approach meditation with your knees knocking in fear from what might happen to you”. The crucial point here is that you will never experience a bad trip control-crisis if you don’t take drugs.

Terence McKenna made a wonderful point in one of his talks that I think we should point out here. He said, "One of the weird things about magnetic tape is that any opinion you've ever expressed will be marketed forever no matter how many times you change your mind. So, you know, causes I loathe and now denounce are furiously making money because somewhere else in hyperspace I'm furiously flogging and pushing it. One more reason you should be critical of everything you hear. You don't know whether it's fresh or rehash or what it is."

Yes, Terence made that claim in many instances in his earlier talks, but as I've pointed out he has changed his mind, and I'm trying to find the talk where admits that he did originally hold a very stern opinion that you couldn't have this type of experience without psychedelics, but later in life he had retracted that. I recall it's in a Q&A session and he's already been diagnosed with the fatal tumor, and I'll be looking out for it. He also claimed that he had given DMT to a Tibetan monk who seemed completely unfazed by the experience; that when he asked the monk what he made of the experience, the monk replied, "It's the lesser lights. It's as far as you can go into the bardo and be able to return." So, Terence thought the only reason westerners enter the ashram with their knees knocking is because they don't grow up with an eastern discipline that in a way prepares them for the experience. Perhaps this is why the monk was unfazed by the DMT experience. Richard Alpert also has a story like this where he gives LSD to a monk, and the monk simply sits in meditation, again, unfazed.

 This confusion arises because of the vagueness and undefined ambiguity of the expression “mystical experience”. A far more precise and unproblematic expression is “psychedelic experience”, ie temporarily loosened cognitive associations (cognitive dissociation). This altered state of cognitive processing is caused reliably and repeatably via the ingestion of drug plants and chemicals, but it is not caused by meditating sober. People don’t trip when they meditate sober, if you were to meditate sober, you would not trip.

I sort of get the impression you haven't been following this research very closely. Why would you think this term "mystical experience" is vague and undefined? That would seem to denounce decades of research that is based on a very concrete definition of "mystical experience." It started with the work of William James and Richard M. Bucke, and has building since then and continues to this day. This word is defined in great detail within these studies.

You are repeatedly mis-characterising Griffiths’ study. It was about the efficacy of psilocybin at triggering mystical experience, it was not about meditating sober causing mystical experience.

Are you sure about that? Because I never said his research was about sober meditation inducing mystical experience. You have misinterpreted what I've said. I was pointing out that the questionnaire they used in the psilocybin study was originally used to gauge mystical experience occurring in mystics, was it not? In other words, it's a questionnaire that had been around before the research done with psilocybin. Roland Griffiths often asks why, whether occasioned by psilocybin or not, are we hard-wired to have such experiences? He will often say that the psilocybin-induced altered state can trigger a mystical experience virtually identical to those which occur spontaneously or naturally. Why would he keep referencing a naturally occurring mystical experience if he didn't think such a thing was possible? He believes that these experiences are biologically normal. Here's another instance where mentions "naturally occurring mystical experience." What do you make of it if you think he's not comparing the psilocybin-induced mystical experience to naturally occurring mystical experience? Then what the hell is he talking about when he says "naturally occurring mystical experience"?

I am unaware of this ^, Mckenna said in multiple places that meditating sober does not cause psilocybin-like experiences, that it is not possible to trip without drugs. If he said otherwise he was being dishonest. You only have to try both techniques yourself (psilocybin and sober meditating) to see that they are entirely dissimilar from each other, there is no basis of comparison between the two.

Well, like I said, you can't hold McKenna to something he said pre mid-90s if he later retracted what he said, because he did change his mind about that (and if I can find that talk, I promise I'll post it. I am still looking) Meditation is definitely not easy, so the only way to truly compare the two is to be able to meditate in the first place. Simply sitting and closing your eyes is not meditation. Meditation as far as I can discern is the cessation of volition which, of course, is easier said than done. Thoughts are an obstacle in meditation, breath is another obstacle. In meditation, involuntary breath must take over so that you don't feel as though you're exerting your will to exhale or inhale. As one guru said, "Meditation is 'conscious sleep' and sleep 'unconscious meditation'." In other words, if you find meditation boring, that means you're still thinking. You're only bored when you think. There's speculation that DMT is released in the REM stage of sleep. Rick Strassman in "DMT: The Spirit Molecule" speculates that perhaps meditation is a technique to induce REM in a conscious state. Terence also had pointed out that when he'd watch people get a good dose of DMT, they'd immediately undergo what to him appeared to be REM.

These ^ are arbitrary and undefined distinctions which have no relevance to the phenomenology of altered state experiences. You are introducing these distinctions, they do not appear in Griffiths’ study.

Oh, but they do appear in the study. Alex Belser briefly describes what constitutes as a "complete mystical experience" in this link here. Roland Griffiths talks about it a little bit more elaborately here

The most direct way to describe the distinction is: intense tripping on psychedelic drugs versus not tripping during sober activities like drug-free meditation. There is no substitute for drugs if the goal is to experience the intense psychedelic trip. This can be easily proven simply by engaging in either activity (taking drugs or meditating) and observing the outcome. When you take drugs, you trip. When you don’t take drugs, you don’t trip.

As a disciple of Hoffman, have you considered that you may have a bias towards the psychedelic experience? I mean, I am in no way attempting to convince you that meditation does, in fact, induce a mystical experience, I'm merely pointing out certain things said by individuals that would seem to suggest so. However, there are certainly altered states outside of meditation and psychedelics that induce what sounds very akin to a mystical experience, to give you a few examples, perhaps you've heard of Jill Bolte Taylor's "Stroke of Insight" in which she describes undergoing a stroke which when you hear her describe it, it will sound as though she's describing a psychedelic experience; Alan Watts has spoken about what he calls a "natural satori," an extreme situation wherein which a mystical experience occurs spontaneously; Michio Kaku has written about the symptom hyperreligiosity of Geschwind syndrome in his latest book "The Future of the Mind" and speculates that mystics throughout history may have had such a condition that caused them to have these religious and spiritual visions, Richard Dawkins has partaken in the use of the so-called "God-helmet" which supposedly also can induce these mystical states via powerful magnets that are embedded in a modified motorcycle helmet. So, I don't believe this area of contention is limited to psychedelics and meditation. Do you dismiss all these other routes, too?

Endlessly repeating a falsehood does not make it become true. That is an important lesson which the pop-psychedelia crowd ought to learn.

This claim about the human pineal gland producing DMT is entirely false, there is zero evidence to suggest that the human pineal gland produces DMT, this is just pop-psych folklore aimed gullible psychonauts. This is one area where Akers is useful, he carefully checks pop-psychedelia claims.

Akers is once again absolutely wrong in this regard. I don't believe this is necessarily a falsehood nor do I believe there is ZERO evidence that would suggest this is so. To the contrary, are you familiar with the study done back in 2013 that showed that DMT is being produced in the pineal gland of rats? So, while we've no studies done on human beings, it's not far-fetched to suggest that human beings, too, are producing DMT in the pineal gland. Perhaps all mammalian species are doing this.

I really believe Akers is simply bias and falls into that category of people who, for whatever reason, seem to resist this idea that DMT could be elaborated in the human brain. Joe Rogan and Dennis McKenna discuss this resistance in people to accept that DMT could be produced in the human body. 

You are all wrapped up in the cliched falsehoods of popular spirituality like drug-free meditation and drug free monks. Terence Mckenna was much more clear-headed than you, he recognised the obvious difference between these things versus the *real thing* which is tripping out on drugs and experiencing the mysterium tremendum. Michael Hoffman goes even further than Mckenna in pointing out that drug-free meditation serves as a technique for perpetually *avoiding* the psychedelic altered state. There is good reason to avoid the altered state, as Mckenna was well aware it isn’t all “silly-cybin”, it has a serious side in the form of panic-attack frenzied psychotic bad-trip.

You know, I could say the very same to you. I mean, if you examine everything I've brought to the table here, especially all the links I've provided that argue against some of the points you've made, I could say that you've been bias towards the psychedelic experience as the sole route to bursting through to a mystic altered state. You also seem wrapped up in this resistance towards endogenous N,N-DMT. Now, I'd rather not engage in petty accusations, but instead foster healthy debate and a more constructive discussion on these topics.

This ^ is precisely what is implied by block-universe eternalism: your eternal destiny puts the mushrooms in your mouth and makes your teeth chew them, which results in the mystical experience of eternalism cognition.

Well, this is another area I'd like to understand of Hoffman's. I did read his original notion at EgoDeath.com, but Cyber Disciple seemed to suggest that he's slightly refined his perspective, but has it changed from what it originally was? So, block-universe eternalism is similar, perhaps not precisely synonymous, to Ramesh Baslekar's hard determinism. Eternalism seems to imply a hyperspace in which everything has already happened. I suppose this is referred to as an Absolute in philosophy which is interpenetrated by the relative, and it's the relative that gives us our impression of duration. What you said earlier sounded like what Hawking calls adequate determinism. So, as a disciple of Hoffman, do you subscribe to Possibilism or do you adhere to a more rigid determinism as in Baslekar's hard determinism?

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