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Re: Terence McKenna has passed on: 4/6/2000

Yes -- I heard about it on 4/6/00 while I was at the Society for the
Anthropology of Consciousness Spring Meeting. --more--

On Sun, 17 Dec 2000 bfarnell@xxxxxxx wrote:

> Although I didn't agree with Mr McKenna on many of his points, I am
> sad to see his passing.  He is the only man I have ever heard speak
> who I would say had a mind that was 'too open', yet he was a very
> intelligent man nontheless.  For whatever pseudoscience he
> perpetuated, he was also responsible for the opening of quite a few
> people's eyes and for that I will sorely miss him.
> Regards,
> Brian

As someone who knew him, I thank you for the deep chuckle I got from the
above. As a linguist nee English major, I must admit a sense of awe, envy,
and even peevishness and low self-esteem at his incessant use of words I'd
probably never used and only vaguely knew as central points of his talk --
e.g. 'autochthonous,' which I find more often now yet still instead use
'indigenous' for wider understanding by my audience. ;-) Which, of course,
he always seemed merrily oblivious to.

Case in point re: his way-open mind: his mushroom theory of the origin of
human speech -- that a tribe of primates following ungulate herds found
psilocybin mushrooms (after traveling, shielded, across interstellar space
from ... somewhere) in the dung, and tried it; at low doses, better visual
acuity; at higher, a rewiring of the brain with this symbiot which allows
for speech (or, in my model, a higher speed container and thus a new level
of language).

Funny thing is, when I compare it with the so-called origin theories in
linguistics, they pale by comparison, looking simple-minded and lacking
any evolutionary hint of what the developmental process of hemispheric
lateralization had to do with it all. McKenna's theory at least allows for
a generous interpretation where 'rewiring' includes the introduction (not
in other primates) of hemispheric lateralization (not to be confused with
asymmetries per se). Go figure! ;-)

Just LISTENING to him was a continual roller-coaster trip with the *weird*
way he talked! Perhaps THE oddest speech patterns of any English speaker
I've ever encountered. Thankfully, there was room even for his wide-open
voice/mind in our cuture. Or, as the Cheyennes used to say, which might
work for a day or so as his epitaph (given the 'wider applicability' of
his work): 

"There's nobody SO useless that they can't at least be a bad example"!

RIP, Terrance! Report back on your Big Trip!

warm regards, moonhawk


"I don't need a compass to tell me which way the wind shines!" 
                                                   -- Roy, Mystery Men