Monday, 18 October 2010

Mushroom Mayhem

There's no point trying to conceal my man crush for Terence McKenna. I like a polymath who isn't frightened to say odd things like 'the mushroom said to me' as it often did during his ethnobotanic experiments of hallucinogen plants and mushrooms.

That's how he talks about the Logos while sharing a couple of ideas he pursued over a long period of time in and out of that post hypnogogic yet pre-sentient state of mind. Hypnogogia being the first stage of hallucinating, and well documented within its sleep/awakening related contribution to creativity.

Recently I came across another Gigabyte or so of his recorded talks on the internet through peer to peer file sharing. He died in the year 2000 of a brain tumour, which when he was informed it was mushroom shaped provoked an 'of course it is' response out of him. He had a sense of humour. I think his second most provocative theory is the one regarding the alien nature of some mushrooms (I think it's the ones with Dimethyltyptamine) . Since reading that I've come across evidence that supports the suggestion that mushroom spores can indeed travel unharmed (by space X rays mainly) and thus might not be indigenous to our planet.

Yesterday I was having a conversation on twitter with a medical and health importer to Thailand. I suddenly realised I'd probably missed a rendezvous with a friend of mine who is setting up hospitals in Cambodia, so one email/phone call later I was sitting in their serviced apartment overlooking an horizon of empty office/accommodation space in  Bangkok. His room mate/travelling companion and I chatted a while, and we got talking about TED talks where he reminded me of the Paul Stamets talk on mushrooms that I had yet to see.

Well, here it is below, and if it kindles your interest in mushrooms then that's a good start because the next step is (if you don't mind) a bit of tie-dyed hippy post production (as many are) in your podcasting content, then get stuck into the bard McKenna. 

I've listened to over a hundred hours of his talks (and more including his trialogues with Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abrahams) and so probably unlike you I really enjoy his candid 'the mushroom said to me' moments but just as rewarding are the indiscriminate and wide range of topics he covered, with in my mind the most eloquent and unscripted vocabulary I've ever come across (Though I imagine that other Irishman Oscar Wilde was a compelling  voice too). I'd say McKenna was the most interesting generalist in the world at one point and that doesn't mean he isn't a specialist either. Watch this TED there's nothing in it which diminishes the credibility of the wilder stuff that Terrence talked about and so the mushroom journey (for me) continues.