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While I was studying journalism a few years ago, I heard the
name Terence McKenna a few times. It was only recently that I
started listening to any of his many lectures (which can be readily
While I was studying journalism a few years ago, I heard the name Terence McKenna a few times. It was only recently that I started listening to any of his many lectures (which can be readily found on YouTube) and keeping an eye out for his written works.
At present, I dont have any of McKennas books or essays, but I do often put one of his lectures on in the background while relaxing in bed. In my previous post, I mentioned McKenna as a metaphysical philosopher, and decided that it was time to write a little on what Ive taken from his teachings as they relate to human nature.
Human nature is a highly complex subject, and I could easily compile another McKenna book if I were to explore every facet of his philosophy regarding the topic. But one excerpt from a lecture, singled out here [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVAsFXMmr8w], struck me as particularly suitable.
Everything has to do with changing and engineering the human mind, McKenna says, referring to the manner in which we as a species have taken on every issue as a human problem - including global warming. And rightfully so, in many cases, as there are actions and activities that are unique to humans that have a direct impact on so much of what has happened and is happening to the planet.
While the lecture is formatted as a promotion for naturally occurring mind-altering substances, and heavily anti-politics, the fundamental lessons ring true whether you agree or disagree on those points. Ultimately, McKenna is merely pointing out that certain societal norms and structures form a barrier against a change of the human mind, because they go against the understanding that you as an individual have the power to make a positive change in the state of the world. These mind-altering substances are, in McKennas experience, a way to help the individual escape from the belief that the current situation is the best possible outcome, but that is not to say that personal faith and life choices are any less effective.
In the same way that deciding to eat organic foods and recycle can have a positive effect on the physical state of the world, making the choice to spread love and compassion can and will have a positive effect on the emotional and psychological state of the world. As I mentioned in my first post, the seemingly small and insignificant things mean the world to those who receive such gestures. Your smile, your acknowledgment of a strangers existence, can even be the difference between life and death for someone.
Changing the way you think and opening yourself to being a force of positive energy in the midst of a very broken society and your own, personal struggles is difficult. Its a challenge to who you are as a person. But the end results, even though we might not realise were witnessing them, really are incredibly powerful.
The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Choose to spend it wisely, and youll find that your efforts are repaid many times over.