Terence McKenna's 1992 Talk at Esalen: Politics and Ethos

Terence McKenna

November 6, 2020

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This Archive Edition of Voices of Esalen features a talk by the inimitable Terence McKenna, delivered at Esalen in August 1992. For those not familiar with his work, McKenna was the ultimate psychedelic intellectual: an acclaimed ethnobotanist, mystic, and hyper-articulate lecturer, he spoke and wrote fluently about a variety of subjects, including entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, semiotics, technology, futurism, environmentalism, and human consciousness, to name only a few. His rambling brand of wisdom is admittedly sometimes challenging to decrypt, yet his admirers find that a McKenna lecture is always worth the time, and that the wisdom of the words, even those which defy rational understanding, can be absorbed almost osmotically. Some of McKenna's notable books include The Invisible Landscape, True Hallucinations, and the Archaic Revival; his brother Dennis McKenna penned a notable memoir of their life together, entitled The Brotherhood of The Screaming Abyss. McKenna enjoyed a long and extraordinarily close association with Esalen and with Big Sur; before his death on April 3rd, 2000, he had been scholar in residence many times and delivered scores of talks which are housed in the Esalen archives. “Politics and Ethos” covers a lot of ground (typical for McKenna), including psychedelic ontologies, modernity, language, reason, religion, freedom, nostalgia and more. Tune into the nasal-voiced genius. Take the ride.

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