A Crisis in Consciousness
Terence argues that a solution to our collective planetary crisis has emerged, and it lies in a commitment to shamanistic, feminized, cybernetic, and caring forms of being—to take what each of us is in our very best moments and extend it to fill whole lifetimes.
Acceleration of Knowledge
Throughout history we hairless primates have been jumping higher, living longer, and getting smarter every century. From Thai stir-fry to Roman roads, knowledge doubled faster as it drifted West—till now it jumps each year! Space migration? Check. Intelligence increase through yoga, drugs, or machines? You bet. Genetic tinkering? It's coming. And indefinite lifespans? We're on the yellow brick road to divinity, to roam the stars forever, to boldly go where no ape has gone before. The future's so bright I gotta wear shades. Keep hope alive and party on!
Join Terence McKenna in this weekend workshop as he takes us on an imaginative journey into the depths of human creativity. Through eloquent exploration of psychedelics, virtual worlds, and shamanic states of consciousness, McKenna reveals how embracing our imagination allows us to envision and manifest alternate realities beyond cultural conditioning. By cultivating our creative faculties with mathematical reasoning, intuition, and immersion in nature, he guides us toward transcending ideological limits into an enlightened future of compassion. Ultimately, breaking boundaries through the power of imagination will inspire us to reach new heights of understanding and connectivity.
Art Meets Science and Spirituality
This film features the Dalai Lama speaking on the nature of mind and on his personal feelings as leader of the Tibetans in exile, the physicist David Bohm, who explains his theory of the "implicate order;" and interviews with artist Robert Rauschenberg and Russian economist Stanislav Menshikov. Artists, scientists, spiritual leaders and economists gathered in Amsterdam in 1990 to explore the emerging paradigm of a holistic world view and the implications for a global economy. The five day confernce was inspired by the artists Joseph Beuys and Robert Filliou, and manifested by Louwrien Wijers, who called it a "mental sculpture."
Ram Dass investigates the effect of success upon our individual consciousnesses and how one may see beyond mere egocentric opportunism.
Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown
Over the course of nineteen essays, Alan Watts ruminates on the philosophy of nature, ecology, aesthetics, religion, and metaphysics. Assembled in the form of a mountain journal, written during a retreat in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais in California, Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown is Watts’ meditation on the art of feeling out and following the watercourse way of nature, known in Chinese as the Tao. Embracing a form of contemplative meditation that allows us to stop analyzing our experiences and start living into them, the book explores themes such as the natural world, established religion, race relations, karma and reincarnation, astrology and tantric yoga, the nature of ecstasy, and much more.
Culture and Ideology are not Your Friends
Delivered at the Whole Life Expo, Terence focuses on one of his favorite questions: what does it mean to be human in this cosmos?
When Alan Watts talked about the ‘mystical experience’ among scientific circles, he preferred to call it ‘ecological awareness’—referring to a state of mind in which a person ceases to feel separate from the environment in which he or she exists.
Everything I Know
Visionary inventor Buckminster Fuller explores humanity's evolution and role in the cosmos in this far-reaching lecture. He celebrates the human mind's ability to grasp universal principles, contrasting this with the brain's focus on discrete data. Fuller champions a "synergetic" systems perspective focused on wholes rather than parts. He examines patterns in civilization, especially relating to travel and geography. Throughout, Fuller aims to inspire an eternal, all-encompassing understanding of our existence.
Everything I Know
In this talk Richard Buckminster Fuller contemplates humanity's cosmic purpose. Rejecting assumptions like the need to earn a living, he sees humans as empowered problem-solvers with the ability to employ principles and participate in the universe's flow. Fuller advocates fully dedicating oneself to assisting humanity and nature's overall aims. He shares his personal journey, trusting the universe's integrity and coordinating with its intellect. Fuller encourages examining beliefs, focusing on lived experience. He envisions humanity awakening to its cosmic purpose, consciously evolving in harmony with nature's symphony, our full potential realized through unity with the universe's aim.
General System Theory
In his seminal work, biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy outlines a theory of systems that breaks down disciplinary boundaries and argues that there are general principles and laws applicable to systems of all kinds. He contends that phenomena should be viewed not in isolation but as components of systems interacting with their environments. Bertalanffy proposes that there are commonalities across biological, physical, and social systems that can be explored through systems thinking. He suggests the need for an overarching systems science to uncover these universal system principles. The book develops key concepts like open and closed systems, steady states, growth, feedback, homeostasis, differentiation, hierarchy, and emergence. General System Theory was groundbreaking in its interdisciplinary approach and helped foster the growth of systems theory across academia and society.
History Ends in Green
The coming together of dream, film, and psychedelics in the twentieth century set the stage for the archaic revival. McKenna gives us a look through the window of our potential as humans. He helps put the hysteria of our time into perspective and gives a path that could help us to deal with this strange and wonderful world we live in. A must-listen seminar for those interested in human potential.
Hot Concepts and Melting Edges
A weekend workshop held at Esalen, with the alternate titles of Deeper and Broader Questions and Eros, Chaos, and Meaning's Edge.
In the Valley of Novelty
Journeying through multiple dimensions of psychedelic consciousness, Terence McKenna's visionary weekend workshop invites us on an entheogenic voyage to the frontiers of the mind and its imminent conquering of matter. Blending scientific insights with shamanic wisdom, McKenna argues that natural plant medicines like psilocybin and DMT provide portals into mystical realms and alien dimensions, catalyzing revelations about nature, reality, and the human psyche. He urges us to courageously explore these consciousness-expanding substances, seeking the gratuitous beauty and truths they unveil. For McKenna, the psychedelic experience holds secrets to our world and ourselves—if only we dare lift the veil.
Linear Societies and Nonlinear Drugs
Speaking on the first day of the 1999 Palenque Entheobotany Conference at the Chan Kha Hotel, Terence McKenna probes the mind-blowing philosophical revelations of psychedelics. He contends these consciousness-expanding substances can shatter Western rationality, unveiling mystical realities beyond mainstream paradigms. Psychedelics may hold the key to reimagining society's connection with nature and technology. McKenna passionately argues these drugs can catalyze new ways of thinking, fueling an intellectual revolution to change the world.
In the interdisciplinary tradition of Buckminster Fuller’s work, Gregory Bateson’s Mind and Nature, and Fritjof Capra’s Tao of Physics, Metapatterns embraces both nature and culture, seeking out the grand-scale patterns that help explain the functioning of our universe. Metapatterns begins with the archetypal patterns of space, both form-building and relational. Tyler Volk then turns to the arrows, breaks, and cycles that infuse the workings of time. With artful dexterity, he brings together many layers of comprehension, drawing on an astounding range of material from art, architecture, philosophy, mythology, biology, geometry, and the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences. Richly illustrating his metapatterns with a series of sophisticated collages prepared for this book, Volk offers an exciting new look at science and the imagination. As playful and intuitive as it is logical and explanatory, Metapatterns offers an enlightening view of the functional, universal form in space, processes in time, and concepts in mind.
Mind and Matter
Based on the Tarner Lectures delivered at Trinity College in Cambridge, Mind and Matter is Erwin Schrödinger's investigation into a relationship which has eluded and puzzled philosophers since the earliest times.
Neuralink and the Brain's Magical Future
On Nature and Media
Marshall McLuhan explains the effects of accelerating communication speeds on human society.
Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
In this essay on man, Mr. Fuller expresses what may well be his penultimate view of the human condition. Here, in a mood at once philosophical and involved, Mr. Fuller traces man's intellectual evolution and weighs his capability for survival on this magnificent craft, this Spaceship Earth, this superbly designed sphere almost negligible in dimension compared to the great vastness of space. Mr. Fuller is optimistic that man will survive and, through research and development and increased industrialization, generate wealth so rapidly that he can do very great things. But, he notes, there must be an enormous educational task successfully accomplished right now to convert man's tendency toward oblivion into a realization of his potential, to a universe-exploring advantage from this Spaceship Earth.
Order out of Chaos
Belgian philosopher Isabelle Stengers and Ilya Prigogine, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1977 for his work on the thermodynamics of non-equilibrium systems, make their ideas accessible to a wide audience in this book, which has engendered massive debate in Europe and America. Stengers and Prigogine show how the two great themes of classic science, order and chaos, which coexisted uneasily for centuries, are being reconciled in a new and unexpected synthesis.
Our Cyberspiritual Future
Terence McKenna holds court on our civilization's journey toward the eschaton at this weekend Esalen gathering. With humor and eloquence he riffs on topics from psychedelic states and alien intelligences to time travel and VR. McKenna argues we're evolving toward an unimaginable state of accelerating novelty, propelled by advancing technology. A mind-expanding ride for the open-minded psychonaut or armchair traveler, guided by one of the twentieth century's most eclectic thinkers.
Prof. Erwin Lazlo speaks about the need for a new ethics of planetary consciousness. The interview was produced by Peter Ocskay in 1997 for the Baltic University Programme TV-series Mission Possible.
Progress Through Fear
A talk on the impact of science and technology on man's role in the natural world.
Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines
Terence's last public appearance before falling seriously ill to brain cancer a month later. A techno-centric evening (alternately titled Shamans Among the Machines) in which he explores the inevitable merging of humanity with its AI offspring.
What if the way our senses perceive reality is not at all representative of its true nature, but rather a highly abstracted interface? Donald Hoffman is working on a mathematical theory to find out.
Robots, Men, and Minds
Based on lectures delivered as The Inaugural Lectures in The Heinz Werner Lecture Series at Clark University (Worcester, Mass.) in January 1966, the book introduces new conceptions of humans and their world. After discussing the advantages and drawbacks of humanity's propensity for the symbolic construction of reality, it focuses on the systems approach to an understanding of the species. The author warns against the common error of identifying cybernetics with general systems theory. No matter how complex the cybernetic system, it "can always be resolved into feedback circuits" and thought of in terms of "linear causality." The regulative behavior of general systems is determined by goal-directed, dynamic interaction between many forces and variables in an open system. Bertalanffy points out that "no comprehensive theory of systems exists today." As a model, however, the approach has many advantages, such as obviating the need for the "ghost in the machine" and suggesting some solutions to the mind-body problem.
Self and Other
Alan coaxes the listener’s mind to simultaneously zoom in and zoom out in an effort to demonstrate that identity is merely an intellectual hallucination. Instead, personal identity is fluid, ranging from one’s constituent atoms and molecules all the way out to the farthest bounds of cosmic existence. Overcoming this mental myopia leads to greater harmony, contentment, and a desire to playfully dance with this universal energy system.
Simulation, Consciousness, Existence
Like organisms evolved in gentle tide pools, who migrate to freezing oceans or steaming jungles by developing metabolisms, mechanisms, and behaviors workable in those harsher and vaster environments, our descendants, able to change their representations at will, may develop means to venture far from the comfortable realms we consider reality into arbitrarily strange worlds. Their techniques will be as meaningless to us as bicycles are to fish, but perhaps we can stretch our common-sense-hobbled imaginations enough to peer a short distance into this odd territory.
Technology and the Human Environment
Perhaps no futurist has been more energetic, more vocal, more popular, or more optimistic than a seventy-six-year-old engineer-visionary, poet-philosopher named R. Buckminster Fuller. Fuller’s planetary perspective has won him zealous converts the world over. Even those who disagree with his technological transcendentalism share unbegrudged admiration for the world’s youngest old futurist.
The Evolutionary Mind
What could have been the cause for the breakthrough in the evolution of human consciousness around 50,000 years ago? Part of the Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable held at the University of California.
The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness
The science of consciousness has made great strides by focusing on the behavioral and neuronal correlates of experience. However, such correlates are not enough if we are to understand even basic facts. Moreover, correlates are of little help in many instances where we would like to know if consciousness is present: patients with a few remaining islands of functioning cortex, pre-term infants, non-mammalian species, and machines that are rapidly outperforming people at driving, recognizing faces and objects, and answering difficult questions. To address these issues, we need a theory of consciousness–one that says what experience is and what type of physical systems can have it.
The Long Childhood
In this final episode, Bronowski—poet, playwright, mathematician, philosopher—draws together many threads of the series. He takes stock of man's complex, sometimes precarious, ascent, and argues that man's growth to self-knowledge is the longest childhood of all.
The Nature of Consciousness (Part 2)
Alan Watts suggests the sole identity with our egoic thoughts limits our consciousness, and that existence is an interdependent web in which consciousness plays a game of pretending to be separate. We must recognize the fundamental unity of self and world; that consciousness encompasses all experience. He provides various techniques aimed at dissolving illusory boundaries of the ego. Watts maintains that enlightenment requires no striving, since we already live in eternal presence and are manifestations of the divine reality, pretending forgetfulness for the adventure of self-discovery.
The Nature of Things
The Omega Point as Eschaton
Frank Tipler presents an outline of the Omega Point theory, which is a model for an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, evolving, personal God who is both transcendent to spacetime and immanent in it, and who exists necessarily. The model is a falsifiable physical theory, deriving its key concepts not from any religious tradition but from modern physical cosmology and computer science; from scientific materialism rather than revelation. Four testable predictions of the model are given. The theory assumes that thinking is a purely physical process of the brain, and that personality dies with the brain. Nevertheless, he shows that the Omega Point theory suggests a future universal resurrection of the dead very similar to the one predicted in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. The notions of “grace” and the “beatific vision” appear naturally in the model.
The Phenomenon of Man
Visionary theologian and evolutionary theorist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect, and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile religion with the scientific theory of evolution. In this timeless book (whose original French title better translates to ‘The Human Phenomenon’), Teilhard argues that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, humans are evolving toward an "omega point"—defined by Teilhard as a convergence with the Divine.
The Psychedelic Explosion
Alan talks about the upcoming revolution in which Western society will have to come to grips with the existence of the psychedelic/mystical experience, and how to integrate it into our culture in a productive, fulfilling, and responsible manner. Included are personal recollections of DMT and LSD trips experienced by Watts himself, why the utilization of psychedelic drugs should be seen as a tool, his vision of a psychedelic campus for guided mystical experiences, and why prohibition is doomed to failure.
The Rites of Spring
Terence McKenna theorizes that ingestion of psilocybin mushrooms catalyzed the emergence of human self-reflection. He argues that psilocybin enhanced visual acuity and symbol processing in early hominids, leading to the development of human consciousness. Psychedelic plants can accelerate cultural change by deconditioning rigid mindsets, according to McKenna. He envisions a future where machines have consciousness and visible language communicates meaning directly. Ultimately, McKenna foresees the impending transformation of humanity through imagination and connection with the mysterious Other. Delivered at the Ojai Foundation in California.
The Self-Organizing Universe
The evolution of the universe—ranging from cosmic and biological to sociocultural evolution—is viewed in terms of the unifying paradigm of self-organization. The contours of this paradigm emerge from the synthesis of a number of important concepts, and provide a scientific foundation to a new world-view which emphasizes process over structure, nonequilibrium over equilibrium, evolution over permanency, and individual creativity over collective stabilization. The book, with its emphasis on the interaction of microstructures with the entire biosphere, ecosystems etc., and on how micro- and macrocosmos mutually create the conditions for their further evolution, provides a comprehensive framework for a deeper understanding of human creativity in a time of transition.
The Society of Mind
Marvin Minsky (one of the fathers of computer science and cofounder of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT) gives a revolutionary answer to the age-old question: How does the mind work? Minsky brilliantly portrays the mind as a 'society' of tiny components that are themselves mindless. Mirroring his theory, Minsky boldly casts The Society of Mind as an intellectual puzzle whose pieces are assembled along the way. Each chapter, presented on a self-contained page, corresponds to a piece in the puzzle. As the pages turn, a unified theory of the mind emerges, like a mosaic. Ingenious, amusing, and easy to read, The Society of Mind is an adventure in imagination.
The Syntax of Psychedelic Time
The Universe of Experience
Modern experience forces philosophy and social thought to confront the basic problems of value. Is this life worth caring about? How can we find a way between the deceit of fanatical belief and despair? In the view of Lancelot Law Whyte, the essential challenge to mankind today is an underlying nihilism promoting violence and frustrating sane policies on major social issues. Avoiding the seductive trap of utopianism, Whyte approaches this challenge by defining the terms of a potentially worldwide consensus of heart, mind, and will.
The Vision of a Better World
Two visionaries, Tom Munnecke and Barbara Marx Hubbard, engage in an uplifting dialogue exploring the emergence of human creativity and consciousness. They trace inspirations from mentors like Jonas Salk, who recognized futuristic possibilities in Hubbard, and Buckminster Fuller, who affirmed humanity's potential. Together they shine light on the crisis of our times as the birth pangs of a new civilization, calling us to connect with the creativity arising globally. Their exchange weaves threads of hope and positivity, envisioning a future where all people actualize their gifts in service of our world.
The World and its Double
This workshop, held at the Nature Friends Lodge, revolves around how psychedelics dissolve boundaries, connect us to the transcendental, and reveal the novel realities underlying our perceived mundane existence. Terence explores how shamanic techniques give access to higher dimensions of consciousness, and describes history as an ever-accelerating process approaching an eschatological transformation or singularity.
This View of Life
It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.” In a series of engaging and insightful examples—from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical tool kit for understanding not only genetic evolution but also the fast-paced changes that are having an impact on our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups to our well-being as individuals to our stewardship of the planet Earth.
When first published, Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media made history with its radical view of the effects of electronic communications upon man and life in the twentieth century. In Terrence Gordon’s own words, “McLuhan is in full flight already in the introduction, challenging us to plunge with him into what he calls ‘the creative process of knowing.’” Much to the chagrin of his contemporary critics McLuhan’s preference was for a prose style that explored rather than explained. Probes, or aphorisms, were an indispensable tool with which he sought to prompt and prod the reader into an “understanding of how media operate” and to provoke reflection.
Understanding and Imagination in the Light of Nature
The Great Mystery whispers through psychedelics as it unfurls revelations beyond language’s grasp. Here, ego-bound shells crack open as cosmic minds reborn beyond confines of space and time. We thus commune with the endless Imagination—holographic spirit-stuff whereof worlds are wrought. Invariants of the eternal suffuse temporal shadow-play, the mundane ever aflame in subtler dimensions. All form awakens, ascends, drawn unto consummate transcendence as history’s fever dream blossoms into timeless infinitude.
Unfolding the Stone
Also published under the title Empowering Hope in Dark Times, McKenna explores the philosophical underpinnings of alchemy and Hermeticism. He argues that these esoteric traditions promote the inherent divinity of humankind and the overcoming of fate through magic. Psychedelic plants and mystical experiences are positioned as means of glimpsing liberatory truths. McKenna ultimately seeks to empower his audience with a hopeful worldview and a sense of human potential, even in difficult times.
What Technology Wants
One of today's most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution. By mapping the behavior of life, we paradoxically get a glimpse at where technology is headed—or "what it wants." Kevin Kelly offers a dozen trajectories in the coming decades for this near-living system. And as we align ourselves with technology's agenda, we can capture its colossal potential. This visionary and optimistic book explores how technology gives our lives greater meaning and is a must-read for anyone curious about the future.
World as Lover, World as Self
This overview of Joanna Macy's innovative work combines deep ecology, general systems theory, and the Buddha's teachings on interdependent co-arising. A blueprint for social change, World as Lover, World as Self shows how we can reverse the destructive attitudes that threaten our world.