The Tao of Terence: Beyond “Existentialism”
I learned of Terence McKenna (1946-2000) on September 14, 2012, when I was 29 years old. It was the day after I had completed the main final draft of Taipei, my first book to include psychedelics and which ends with a scene in which a character wonders if he has died after eating psilocybin mushrooms. I was in my room, zombielike and depressed after a period of time embodying a “whatever it takes” attitude regarding amphetamine use and completing my book. I had somewhat randomly clicked a YouTube video in which Joe Rogan (whom I was vaguely aware of as the host of Fear Factor, the TV show, a long time ago) was aggressively, excitedly talking about DMT, a neurotransmitter-like, illegal, psychedelic compound found in human (and other animal) brains and in at least ~50 species of plants worldwide. I did not have firsthand experience with DMT at the time, and had only read about it online.
At one point Joe Rogan began referencing someone in a “if you think I sound crazy, listen to this other guy” manner. He was talking about Terence McKenna, a person who would smoke DMT and, after ~15 seconds, without fail, find himself in an “unanticipated dimension” infested with “self-transforming machine elves”—also called “fractal elves,” “self-dribbling jeweled basketballs,” or “little self-transforming tykes”—that spoke English and a kind of visible language while jumping into and out of his body, “running around chirping and singing.” These entities, which McKenna described in a word as “zany,” were maybe either “dead people” in “an ecology of souls,” “human beings from the distant future,” or things with their own hopes, fears, problems that inhabit a parallel universe.
#Stephen Tully Dierks
Pop Serial 5 is now available in print. A web version is forthcoming under the supervision of Stephen Michael McDowell. This issue features Steve Roggenbuck, Ben Brooks, Brad Troemel, Scott McClanahan, Guillaume Morissette, Heiko Julien, Ana Carrete, Crispin Best, Chelsea Martin, Rachel B. Glaser, Timothy Willis Sanders, Mike Bushnell, Ashley Opheim, Andrew James Weatherhead, James Ganas, Theron Jacobs, Shaun Gannon, Cassandra Gillig, Michael Hessel-Mial, Jackson Nieuwland, Dave Shaw, Zachery Wood, Megan Lent, Chad Redden, Lucy Tiven, Marshall Mallicoat, Chris Dankland, Bianca Shipton, Dylan York, Ralph Moffettone. Cover by Tao Lin. Layout by Cameron Pierce. Artwork throughout by Blaise Larmee.
"i am still unsure of what ‘life to the fullest’ for me would be, mostly i just try to be well-liked in social situations and not die"
"…in the mere dream the relation is one-sided, that is to say, only one ego actually wills and feels, whereas the rest are nothing but phantoms. In the great dream of life, on the other hand, a mutual relation occurs, since not only does the one figure in the dream of the other exactly as is necessary, but also that other figures in his dream."
"is it normal to think ‘i hate myself’ but not take yourself seriously, but really be serious about hating yourself?"
#Brandon Scott Gorrell
"To be human—to exist in concrete reality and the imagination, to be material and immaterial—is to be paradoxical. And to transcend humanity—or, if that’s impossible, to go to where one can touch the wall, which bodies can’t cross, separating the human from the sublime—one first needs to be human, and embody paradox.
I imagine Mr. Knausgaard feeling on some level charged by his own existence, aware he’s closer to, or at least now positioned adjacent, the sublime as a result of the amount and scale of paradox he has accumulated in his life and, as a kind of side effect, generated in the world."