Wednesday, June 01, 2005


note- I originally intended to post this on my other blog (The Synthetic Universe. If you haven't checked it out yet, feel free to follow the link and be prepared for the controversial).

I have finished a book entitled FOOD OF THE GODS by Terence McKenna and I feel compelled to write about it. If you're not familiar with the book, I encourage you to hunt it down and pick it up for a shocking read. What this man has to say needs to be heard by all humans.

In our world, we are bombarded by altered states of consciousness. We get high on love, sex, television, movies, music, sports, religion, and every other facet of cultural experience. In essence, we spend our lives chasing experiences which provide coping mechanisms against the hardships of life on earth. Every human habitually seeks altered states of consciousness through a practically endless supply of social "drugs". Much can be said about chemical dependence through narcotic consumption (i.e. alcohol, coffee, tobacco, cannabis, heroine, cocaine, sugar), but our society consistently ignores the REAL plague of "drug" abuse as it functions through the facets of television addiction, consumer addiction, power and control addiction, material addiction, etc. It needs to be understood that these addictions represent a greater threat to the well-being of society than the stigmatized habits of traditional chemical dependence. Traditionally understood "drugs" can be dangerous on an individual level when users become abusers out of ignorance. Yet, our society consistently fails to acknowledge the greater dangers of functional addiction made manifest by media programming, technological dependence, and consumerism. These trends ultimately threaten the stability and security of society to a much greater extent than the indiviual consumption of chemical "drugs".

Humans are fundamentally creatures of habit. Our brains learn through imitation, and our behavior is determined through habit. Our brains transform experience into habit when we encouter something that provides a sense of "relief" or "pleasure" (i.e. comfort or security). In this way, we develope a dependence on our favorite foods, television programs, ideological beliefs, and daily routines. However, because our environment represents one "trip" after another, we shouldn't abstain from the various experiences of life. This is impossible, and by doing so we essentially become dead to life, and we fail to realize the raw potential of the human experience. What good is a life on hold? Such a life is dead to itself and the world.

Instead, we should realize the very nature of experience and make the highest effort to learn from our experiences and communicate what we learn to those around us. Of course, we should exercise caution in everything we do, but life and risk go hand in hand, and the ultimate safeguard against danger is knowledge. I am a firm believer in moderation, not prohibition. This means we should occassionally turn the television off. This means we should occassionally fast and purify our bodies from the toxins of "modernity". This means we should expand our minds through the process of learning and creativity, and we should avoid the pitfalls of dogmatic thinking.

Everything in our world can be a "drug" to the mind. Abstinence can cause stagnation, but experience guided by knowledge can revolutionize the way we understand our world. We need to expand our awareness of the world around us, and by doing so, enhance the quality of our lives. We should avoid the mistakes of our ancestors who commited atrocious acts of inhumanity, not as the result of chemical dependence, but as the consquence of malignant ideology. The world is what we make it, and knowledge is the greatest defense against the forces of maladaption. The revolutions of progress begin with the exercise of wisedom, and this can only be realized through the moderation, analysis, and communication of experience.