NAME AND PHOTO OF TERENCE MCKENNA USED WITH PERMISSION OF THE TERENCE MCKENNA ESTATE
“CEREAL” PHOTOS USED WITH PERMISSION OF EROWID
IMAGE © 2002 ABRUPT
Terence McKenna once joked that, if nothing else, his success proved the value of a liberal arts education. His gift was the ability to integrate diverse areas of human experience, and to fuse them into rich and resonant words. In the years following my introduction to his work, those words had an enormous influence on my thinking, and indirectly contributed to the course my life would take.
I am grateful for the following:
- Terence inspired a scientific approach to new and strange realities. His flights of speculation were grounded in a healthy skepticism, and a willingness to accept all explanations as provisional.
- He introduced me to William Blake, Alfred North Whitehead, and Julian Jaynes, and laid the foundation for my reading of Teilhard de Chardin. These adventures in literature expanded my mind as much as anything else.
- He led me to consider History, not only as a structured process, but as a condition, in which certain things must exist, and others cannot. History is the crucible of Thought — the condition and process through which we must pass on the way to freedom.
- Whatever his personal flaws, Terence’s worldview was always deeply humanistic. It spoke to the uniqueness of the Human opportunity, yet was humble before the Mystery into which we are born.
- Finally, his sense of humor. Like any technology, humor can be misused, and humor without courage is mere sarcasm. But without humor, courage is brittle and inflexible. Terence saw the dark side, but was always good for a laugh, even when the stakes were high and the message was urgent.
Thanks again, Terence, and so long. I hope this trip takes you where you always wanted to go.
Abrupt, May 2002