Psychotic Behaviour

Terence McKenna at St. John the Divine's Cathedral, Synod Hall, New York, April 25, 1996

"Tim Leary once said of LSD, it's "a compound that occasionally causes psychotic behavior in people who don't take it." ...That's how powerful these things are! And the reason is, they are a direct challenge to the myth of the tribe - whatever the myth is: Fascist, Democrat, Socialist, Communist -- everybody can get together on the idea that psychedelics are somehow dangerous and antisocial and pose some kind of threat to the body politic. That's because all these ideologies, from the psychedelic point of view, are seen in all their limitations and foolishness, and their historical assumptions and their naivetè writ large across them. Ideology is a fool's game. Or it's a scoundrel's game. Because scoundrels use ideology to control fools. And nobody wants to be caught in that situation.


Terence McKenna live at the 'Fez'

Somebody said, not Tim Leary, "LSD is a psychedelic drug which occasionally causes psychotic behavior in people who have not taken it." Now a lot of drugs are like that, and we have a lot of psychotic people running around who have been driven mad by drugs they never took. But what they did take was your civil rights, your freedom to guide your own life, and your right to make your own decisions. This kind of thing is intolerable.

If there is an iota of possibility that these substances enhance consciousness - and remember, they used to be called "consciousness expanding" drugs (just a straight phenomenological description) - if there's an iota of possibility that they augment consciousness, then we have to put the pedal to the metal in this matter. Because it is the absence of consciousness that is pushing us toward extinction, that is causing us to loot our children's future, that is causing us to accept the elimination of thousands of species per month without pouring into the streets and smash the institutions of those who allow these kinds of atrocities to go forward.

I think the era of politeness has gone on just about long enough and there's going to have to come a moment where people stand up and are counted. We have seen our freedom taken away, we have seen our environment destroyed, we have seen our political dialogue polluted, and still we take it, and take it, and take it. You know, being counter-cultural is more than a fashion statement. I recall an obscure Chinese philosopher named Mao Tse Tung, who once said, "The Revolution is not a dinner party!" Of course, he went on to say it's an armed struggle, prosecuted by the forces of the people.

I don't think we're ready to call for armed struggle, but I think it is time to call for "Hands Off The American Mind. GIVE US BACK OUR MIND." The American mind is one of the most creative minds in the world, and it is being confined, compromised, and sold down the river by people who can't think of anything better to do with the world than fabricate it into stupid products and sell it at twice its natural worth."