Sunday Matinee: What A Way To Go – Life at the End of Empire

I think the following excerpt from a lecture by Terence McKenna is apropos.

“Our present global crisis is more profound than any previous historical crises; hence our solutions must be equally drastic. I propose that we should adopt the plant as the organizational model for life in the twenty-first century, just as the computer seems to be the dominant mental/social model of the late twentieth century, and the steam engine was the guiding image of the nineteenth century.

This means reaching back in time to models that were successful fifteen thousand to twenty thousand years ago. When this is done it becomes possible to see plants as food, shelter, clothing, and sources of education and religion.

The process begins by declaring legitimate what we have denied for so long. Let us declare nature to be legitimate. All plants should be declared legal, and all animals for that matter. The notion of illegal plants and animals is obnoxious and ridiculous.

Re-establishing channels of direct communication with the planetary Other, the mind behind nature, through the use of hallucinogenic plants is the best hope for dissolving the steep walls of cultural inflexibility that appear to be channeling us toward true ruin. We need a new set of lenses to see our way into the world. When the medieval world shifted its worldview, secularized European society sought salvation in the revivifying of classical Greek and Roman approaches to law, philosophy, aesthetics, city planning, and agriculture. Our dilemma will cast us further back into time in search for models and answers.

The Solution

The solution to much of modern malaise, including chemical dependencies and repressed psychoses and neuroses, is direct exposure to the authentic dimensions of risk represented by the experience of psychedelic plants. The pro-psychedelic plant position is clearly an anti-drug position. Drug dependencies are the result of habitual, un-examined, and obsessive behaviour; these are precisely the tendencies in our psychological makeup that the psychedelics mitigate. The plant hallucinogens dissolve habits and hold motivations up to inspection by a wider, less egocentric, and more grounded point of view within the individual. It is foolish to suggest that there is no risk, but it is equally uninformed to suggest that the risk is not worth taking. What is needed is experiential validation of a new guiding image, an overarching metaphor able to serve as the basis for a new model of society and the individual.

The plant-human relationship has always been the foundation of our individual and group existence in the world. What I call the Archaic Revival is the process of reawakening awareness of traditional attitudes toward nature, including plants and our relationship to them. The Archaic Revival spells the eventual breakup of the pattern of male dominance and hierarchy based on animal organization, something that can not be changed overnight by a sudden shift in collective awareness. Rather, it will follow naturally upon the gradual recognition that the overarching theme that directs the Archaic Revival is the idea/ideal of a vegetation Goddess, the Earth herself as the much ballyhooed Gaia–a fact well documented by nineteenth-century anthropologists, most notably Frazer, but recently given a new respectability by Riane Eisler, Marija Gimbutas, James Mellaart, and others.

The closer a human group is to the gnosis of the vegetable mind–the Gaian collectivity of organic life–the closer their connection to the archetype of the Goddess and hence to the partnership style of social organization. The last time that the mainstream of Western thought was refreshed by the gnosis of the vegetable mind was at the close of the Hellenistic Era, before the Mystery religions were finally suppressed by enthusiastic Christian barbarians.

My conclusion is that taking the next evolutionary step toward the Archaic Revival, the rebirth of the Goddess, and the ending of profane history will require an agenda that includes the notion of our re-involvement with and the emergence of the vegetable mind. That same mind that coaxed us into self-reflecting language now offers us the boundless landscapes of the imagination. Without such a relationship to psychedelic exopheromones regulating our symbiotic relationship with the plant kingdom, we stand outside of an understanding of planetary purpose. And an understanding of planetary purpose may be the major contribution we can make to the evolutionary process. Returning to the bosom of the planetary partnership means trading the point of view of the history-created ego for a more maternal and intuitional style.”

From The Archaic Revival by Terence McKenna

More: Plan, Plant, Planet

To download or order a copy of the film please visit:

Here’s the final segment of the movie just in case you enjoy reading the last chapter first :)

One love,



About H3nry J3kyll
Vincit omnia veritas (using an obscure Latin heraldry motto makes one seem kinda learned and distinguished).

20 Responses to Sunday Matinee: What A Way To Go – Life at the End of Empire

  1. hipmonkey says:

    We hippies tried this in the 60s and made some head way, the gov’t stepped on it. Big time! It must be legal again. How can anyone make an experience illegal? What could they be afraid of? That we will remember who we are and that we don’t need them, or their ‘things’ to buy? I say ‘shrooms all the way. DMT. Mescaline. THC. Squeegee that third eye!!

    • H3nry J3kyll says:

      Imho you hit the nail on the head amigo. The establishment is afraid that we will remember that we are not fallen beings who have been brainwashed into defining ourselves by our status as consumers. Hey, the last thing Madison Ave wants is a conscious consumer who realizes the idiocy involved in paying 2000 bucks for a pair of shoes and decides not to show up to ratify the butchery of of the ethnic flavor of the hour – Vietnamese, Iraqi, Palestinian, Filipino, etc, etc, etc

    • “We hippies tried this in the 60s and made some head way, the gov’t stepped on it.”

      Yes, but we hippies also dropped-out of the democratic process which later gave rise to Reagan/Bush and corporatized power – the very antithesis of what we stood for. How ironic. I was first eligible to vote in 1973, but never cast a ballot until 1992. So, I (and others like me) am partly to blame by refusing to express myself politically.

      • hipmonkey says:

        We didn’t drop out of the democratic process, we got the voting age lowered and stopped the Vietnam war, but we began to realize there was no democratic process. ”It matters not who votes, but who counts the votes”. Voting is criminal activity. LBJ became president via murder, Bush lost to Kerry but was court apt, voter fraud in Ohio and Fla put him in for a 2nd term. Our politicians are all for sale. The voters mind is for sale too. Tune in, turn on, and drop out of the system, you cannot beat the system by playing it’s own game, imho we need a new system.

        • I agree with your criticisms, but not your solution. Democracy fails without public participation. Without democracy, some form of authoritarianism always results – which means less human rights, less civil rights, less voice for the people than we even have now.

          However imperfect, democracy is always preferable to the alternative. Furthermore, inaction can never be construed as achievement.

          As for me, I did intentionally drop-out back then. My friends and family openly discussed it. We used the same arguments… the system is rigged… our vote doesn’t count. But, we were just fooling ourselves.

          • hipmonkey says:

            I Am Sovereign Divinity, I am immortal Consciousness having MY own INTUITIVE experience. I don’t feel I a need for government and rulers of any kind. No one needs to be ruled by Kings or Rulers or whatever you call them. They are corrupt criminally psychotic humans, no worse or better than my own humanness. I believe in Natural Law, natural respect and a new Golden Age on Gaia. I don’t believe in the need for systems or Govern (control) Ment (mind). I don’t accept illusions. (That was Tim Leary’s solution, I don’t agree either, but felt it was poetically fitting as a comment. My solution is on my blog).

            • H3nry J3kyll says:

              The majority of people have not evolved to that state of consciousness and until they do, government is necessary. Some of us in the South will be relegated to pre-1960 status if that government apparatus was not present. The Christians are armed down here.

            • hipmonkey says:

              Anyway, the original commenter said he ”thought the system was rigged, but was only fooling himself.” Fooled how? The system is rigged. He assumes we live in a democracy and we don’t. The gov’t has grown too big, too responsible, and too oppressive. It’s going to collapse. I don’t want to live in a world where by our false belief in another’s greater personhood gives them power over us. It’s a fear based program. I suppose we’re all doing what we think is best to make the world better, so nuff said. (And we are evolving to that Celestine Prophecy state of awareness, just seems super damn slow) lol

            • H3nry J3kyll says:

              I am just happy to be able to connect with another person who even knows about the Celestine Prophecy. We’ve never had a democracy, Madison and Aristotle both realized that democracy eventually results in the tyranny of the majority by mob rule. This Constitutional Republic that we did inherit is imo, a transitory state of governance between the oppression of a monarchical system and the Satya yuga state of enlightened consciousness in the distant horizon. I view the 60s as the first mass conscious awakening but the problem of the lack elders to guide the process made it a chaotic process. Consciousness, spirituality, and entheogens were cases of first impression for many and there were no road maps to chart the experience. The Western tradition is notorious for discounting and disrespecting the wisdom of the ancestors. That being said, now that the Flower Children have become elderly themselves, a huge responsibility has been placed on your shoulders to guide the youth into channeling their awakening to be more than just idle rebellion. I see the dawn of a new tomorrow upon us. A world where we live to facilitate the betterment of the other. For I am only I because you are you. The gauntlet has been laid squarely at your feet my friends. Don’t let the Gen Xers like myself and later generations make the same mistakes that you guys did.

            • hipmonkey says:

              That’s a big weight. Too bad so many of us sold out. That’s their only real legacy, they back stabbed the youth of today, our own children. Youth has the muscle and the rebellious nature to make change, I will always do what I can, but let’s run the gauntlet together :)

            • Leary’s position is typically libertarian. Someday I hope human beings evolve to the point where hierarchical systems are no longer needed. But while greed, lust, narcissism, megalomania, sociopathy, and psychopathy are still part of the human experience, government will remain a necessity. Cheers,

  2. Jeff Nguyen says:

    I recently came across these articles re: psychiatrists prescribing hallucinogens for anxiety:

    Lots to think about here, H3nry.

    • H3nry J3kyll says:

      Thank you for sharing these Jeff. These are great articles. I like the fact that the narrative where these compounds are concerned is being re-written. I think John C Lilly and Tim Leary had less than a 20% rate of recidivism in treating chronic alcoholism with LSD before the Schedule 1 classification was leveled.

      • nicciattfield says:

        I read The Acid Diaries…and Antipodes of Mind…very interesting. I looked at the paintings of Pablo Amaringo, and they reminded me of Avatar (the movie).

        • H3nry J3kyll says:

          Hi Nicci, there does seem to be consensus on the elaboration of the creative facility once the doors of perception have been opened. I guess you do get to “Break on through to the other side.” lol just couldn’t resist. Alex Gray is another amazing artist who speaks highly of the creative boost.

  3. The film provides a foundation of philosophical thought from which to develop specific actions for creating societies that agree with such a world view. Essential tasks include comparative analysis of current major modalities and options which have a closer relationship with the philosophical foundation, laying out and showing how the change of direction results in more benefits for humanity, then broad agreement on going with the new direction, finally implementation.

    • H3nry J3kyll says:

      That’s why I decided to share it Jerry. The change has to come from everyday people without reliance on the power structure. The power structure is ONLY interested in preservation of the status quo. I think the owner of the LA Clippers quite recently confirmed this assertion.

  4. carolahand says:

    Such an important topic and a fascinating dialogue, H3nry. I have to admit, I only watched the final segment of the movie but plan to watch the rest soon :-) Yet what I watched and read gives me the courage to share a post I began this morning:

    “I greeted the morning, buffeted by the fierce and blustery late-April winds, the si-si-gwa-d, that foretell of dangers ahead. How could it be otherwise with wars that continue, based on exploitation of people and earth for the illusion of power and short-lived gains for the greedy who already control too much?”

    The si-si-gwa-d are the winds that speak to the people who listen deeply enough to hear the messages that help them prepare for the challenges and joys ahead. Yet I have to admit all I know how to do in response is to listen for the answers that will also come in the wind (a reminder that Bob Dylan grew up surrounded by Ojibwe country…).

    • H3nry J3kyll says:

      Wow! You’ve certainly got a way with words Carol. Looking forward to reading the rest. I am glad that you decided to use the blogging format to share the wisdom of the Ojibwe people.
      This type of wisdom must be shared if we plan to successfully steer the boat through the turbulent times ahead.
      A global culture based on a reductionist commodification of nature has pushed every life system on the planet to the brink of failure and although our “learned” patriarchy has delivered much, humanity need the bosom of the Divine Feminine just like a child with the flu needs to be held by his or her mother.
      It looks like we should all start listening to the whispers of the wind and sharing the messages we hear.

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