24 Random Quotes from the Library's collection

You can begin to think of yourself as a rapidly evolving system in your own right.
You and the universe which seems to constrain you are not two things.
Even under the spur of immediate fear or desire, without the taste for life, mankind would soon stop inventing and constructing for a work it knew to be doomed in advance. And, stricken at the very source of the impetus which sustains it, it would disintegrate from nausea or revolt and crumble into dust.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Do you know the most fundamental important thing in all metaphysics to understand everything, all mysteries of the universe? You just realize that every inside has an outside and every outside has an inside. They just go together—as do, incidentally, black and white, light and darkness, and life and death. They go together in the same way as the crest and the tough of a wave. Did you ever see a wave with a crest and no trough, or a trough and no crest? Never was there such a wave. Did you ever see an inside without an outside? Could you have light without the contrast of darkness or vice versa? Of course not! This is the simplest thing that everybody should learn before they learn 1-2-3 or A-B-C. But it’s always left out.
Alan Watts
Nature works by steps. The atoms form molecules, the molecules form bases, the bases direct the formation of amino acids, the amino acids form proteins, and proteins work in cells. The cells make up first of all the simple animals, and then sophisticated ones…. The stable units that compose one level or stratum are the raw material for … the climbing of a ladder from simple to complex by steps, each of which is stable in itself.
Mind is immanent, not in a solid spatial structure, but in the processes in which the system organizes and renews itself and evolves.
I want to focus on that genus of receipt of information (or call it learning) which is learning about the “self” in a way that may result in some “change” in the “self.” Especially, I will look at changes in the boundaries of the self, perhaps at the discovery that there are boundaries or perhaps no center.
Gregory Bateson
You’ve got this extraordinary feeling of the amazing nature of looking at reality, at life, without doing anything to it, without any sense of hurry, without any wish to improve it. Just let it happen.
Alan Watts
Is this, perhaps, an inner view of the organizing process which, when the eyes are open, makes sense of the world even at points where it appears to be supremely messy?
Here you have a bunch of points. The more points that are connected to each other, the greater number of pathways among points, hence the greater the density of complexity. Well, if you carry that idea to its—what I call—rational or absurd conclusion, then the most complex matrix imaginable is what’s called a monadic plenum. It’s a situation where, in mathematical terms, we say all points are cotangent. In other words: everywhere is here. What is not here is nowhere. And that seems to be where all this technology and novelty is pushing us. And if that’s where we’re going, then it will not stop until we achieve it.
Terence McKenna
Science’s discovery of fundamental complementarity has frequently occasioned individual scientists’ realization that the word negative used as the opposite of the word positive is at best carelessly and misinformedly employed.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
Critical Path (1981)
At the top of the culture it’s profoundly intellectually bankrupt. There is no plan except to keep peddling stuff basically until the forests are gone and the oceans polluted. And this is not malevolent. It’s not malevolent, it’s simply: they are clueless! They have run out of steam. And so the answer is to try and keep the game going as long as possible—with daytime TV, with casino gambling, with lotteries, with endless distractions, with pop culture fads, with cults of celebrity, with spectacular trials and gory mass murders and endless circuses, while the people at the top are saying, you know, sooner or later the shit is going to hit the fan. Sooner or later the dam will burst. And they say, “Well, let’s make sure it’s later, not sooner. Because I’ve got two kids at the Sorbonne, I’m paying off a Mercedes, and I need to get this taken care of before it all falls apart.” So in the absence of any cultural plan imposed from the top, this strange dynamic is happening.
Terence McKenna
For any group to function as a corporate unit, it must be well regulated in the biological sense of the word. Countless processes must be kept within bounds to meet the challenges of survival and reproduction. What is true for a multicellular organism or a social insect colony is also true for a human society. Whenever I hear talk of regulations as categorically bad, I feel like shouting “An unregulated organism is a dead organism!”
To me, the human body is a pattern dancing in space. A pattern, you will say, of what? It doesn’t have to be of anything, all you need is the pattern. Because when you try to describe the component materials of which bodies are composed, what you describe is always another pattern working on a smaller scale at a lower level of magnification—and nobody ever described anything except that.
The suprasystem of any living system is the next higher system in which it is a component or subsystem. For example, the supraystem of a cell or tissue is the organ it is in; the suprasystem of an organism is the group it is in at the time. Presumably every system has a suprasystem except the “universe.”
James Grier Miller
Just consider what we do every day. What’s it all about? Does it really mean anything? Does it go anywhere? It’s just because we want to keep on doing this kind of a hoop-dee-dah.
What psychedelics do, and why they are in all times and all places such social dynamite, is: they dissolve the cultural machinery. Doesn’t matter, you know? Head-shrinking Amazon native, Hasidic Jew, Chinese merchant in Singapore… whoever it is, the psychedelic dissolves their cultural construct and puts them in touch with the fact of being an organism. Being an organism is like what you get when you take off your real clothing. Not this clothing, but the clothing of language, programming, and assumption.
Terence McKenna
Maybe death is stronger than life because life always seems to require an effort; death is something into which you slide effortlessly. Maybe nothing will overcome something in the end. Wouldn’t that be awful? And so we resist change, ignorant of the fact that change is life, and that ‘nothing’ is invariably the obverse face of ‘something.’
Not only did evolution for billions of years rise to higher complexity, higher order, and greater freedom of choice to destroy or create, but it was going somewhere that—if we got there and if that thinking layer of Earth were to be filled with love, innovation, and creativity—it would be like the nervous system of a newborn baby. It would connect the whole planetary organism, which is a living planetary organism, into a state—in [Teilhard’s] language—of the Christ-ification of Earth. And I’ve come to call it a planetary awakening, a planetary birth, a global brain turning on. There are many versions of it.
Barbara Marx Hubbard
It was like someone came to work and they said to him, “Sorry, chum, but you can’t build today. No building can go on. We don’t have enough inches.” He’d say, “What do you mean, we don’t have enough inches? We’ve got wood, haven’t we? We got metal, we even got tape measures!” They say, “Yeah, but you don’t understand the business world. We just haven’t got enough inches! Just plain inches. We’ve used too much of them.” And that’s exactly what happened when we had the Depression. Because money is something of the same order of reality as inches, grams, meters, pounds, or lines of latitude and longitude. It is an abstraction. It is a method of bookkeeping to obviate the cumbersome procedures of barter.
Alan Watts
One thing is certain: the harder you try to possess life, the faster it slips away from you, and the less you understand of its mystery.
Alan Watts
Zen Buddhism (1947)
Life is some kind of opportunity. It’s an opening between unbridgeable chasms of the unknown. And yet, out of chaos—for 20, 40, 70 years—we come into a domain of immense opportunity. It is a conundrum, it is a puzzle, it is something to be figured out. And I have the faith that, if we can figure this out, we can somehow not only make a better world for our children, but in some other profound way we can even undo what has been done. This would be the ultimate dream: that somehow we can discover an elegant escape that will leave us with the clear understanding that the problem was an illusion. It was an illusion. It was the last illusion.
Terence McKenna
One plus one can equal a new one, bigger in mass and enriched in attributes.
Complexity and exchange with the environment enhance the individuality and therefore also the consciousness of systems.