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Top 35 Thought-Provoking Terrence McKenna Quotes

by Gloria Louden
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Terence McKenna was a prolific writer who advocated for the sale of psychedelic drugs and talked about the theory of human consciousness. He wrote a lot of books on a variety of subjects ranging from shamanism to mushroom cultivation. He is most famously known for his ‘novelty theory’ that talks about novelty being an inherent quality of time. Terence McKenna quotes range from a variety of subjects and the best ones are here.

35 Terrence McKenna Quotes That Will Leave You Reeling

Terence McKenna Quotes About Chaos

#1. “Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.” – Terence McKenna

#2. “The shaman is not merely a sick man or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself.” – Terence McKenna, The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens & the I Ching

#3. “You see, a secret is not something untold. It’s something which can’t be told.” – Terence McKenna

#4. “Reality is, you know, the tip of an iceberg of irrationality that we’ve managed to drag ourselves up onto for a few panting moments before we slip back into the sea of the unreal.” – Terence McKenna

#5. “It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.” – Terence McKenna, A Crisis in Consciousness

#6. “The apocalypse is not something which is coming. The apocalypse has arrived in major portions of the planet and it’s only because we live within a bubble of incredible privilege and social insulation that we still have the luxury of anticipating the apocalypse.” – Terence McKenna

#7. “Chaos is roving through the system and able to undo, at any point, the best-laid plans.” – Terence McKenna

#8. “The bigger you build the bonfire; the more darkness is revealed.” – Terence McKenna

#9. “The apocalypse is not something which is coming. The apocalypse has arrived in major portions of the planet and it’s only because we live within a bubble of incredible privilege and social insulation that we still have the luxury of anticipating the apocalypse.” – Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna Quotes About Personal Growth and Motivation

#10. “The message coming back at all of us is: live without closure.” – Terence McKenna, Darwin’s Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noösphere

#11. “You are a divine being. You matter, you count. You come from realms of unimaginable power and light, and you will return to those realms.” – Terence McKenna, You are a Divine Being

#12. “The major adventure is to claim your authentic, true being, which is not culturally given to you. The culture will not explain to you how to be a real human being. It will tell you how to be a banker, politician, Indian chief, masseuses, actress, whatever, but it will not give you true being.” – Terence McKenna

#13. “The cost of sanity in the society is a certain level of alienation.” – Terence McKenna

#14. “It is not easy to measure the ocean, but we can be measured by it, confront it, and be in it.” – Terence McKenna, The Archaic Revival

#15. “Life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience that primordial shamanism is based on is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego.” – Terence McKenna, The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens & the I Ching

#16. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is that tunnel is in the back of your mind. And if you don’t go to the backside of your mind you will never see the light at the end of the tunnel. And once you see it, then the task becomes to empower it in yourself and other people. Spread it as a reality. God did not retire to the seventh heaven; God is some kind of lost continent IN the human mind.” – Terence McKenna

#17. “The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer.” – Terence McKenna

#18. “We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.” – Terence McKenna

#19. “We are the inheritors of a million years of striving for the unspeakable.” – Terence McKenna, The Transcendental Object at the End of Time

Terence McKenna Quotes About Imagination and Creativity

#20. “The imagination is the goal of history. I see culture as an effort to literally realize our collective dreams.” – Terence McKenna

#21. “The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind, and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. If artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.” – Terence McKenna

#22. “Stop consuming images and start producing them.” – Terence McKenna

#23. “The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.” – Terence McKenna

#24. “The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere. – Terence McKenna

#25. “The main thing to understand is that we are imprisoned in some kind of work of art.” – Terence McKenna

#26. “Right here and now, one quanta away, there is a raging universe of active intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely alien… What is driving religious feeling today is a wish for contact with this other universe.” – Terence McKenna

#27. “It’s pretty simple, the ethical life. It’s just demanding.” – Terence McKenna, Appreciating Imagination

#28. “The spiritual atrophying of contemporary culture may be due in large measure to its loss of sensitivity to processes in the collective unconscious.” – Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna Quotes About Nature and Psychedelics

#29. “We have changed. We are no longer, as I said, bipedal monkeys. We are instead a kind of cybernetic coral reef of organic components and inorganic technological components.” – Terence McKenna

#30. “Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.” – Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods

#31. “Nowhere is it written that anthropoid apes should understand reality.” – Terence McKenna

#32. “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles.” – Terence McKenna

#33. “Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet.” – Terence McKenna

#34. “If we could feel what we are doing to the Earth, we would stop immediately.” – Terence McKenna, The Primacy of Direct Experience

#35. “Nature is not mute; it is man who is deaf.” – Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna was a writer who created a lot of controversy and outrage with his opinions and words. He dabbled in various disciplines and wrote and preached on them. His opinion on psychedelics earned him his reputation. But the force of his words can be felt for its simplicity and direct nature.


Image source: Terence McKenna phote by Tao Lin

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