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The Archaic Revival: Speculations on…

The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon,…

by Terence McKenna

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418541,791 (4.01)4
Cited by the L.A. Weekly as "the culture's foremost spokesman for the psychedelic experience," Terrence McKenna is an underground legend as a brilliant raconteur, adventurer, and expert on the experiential use of mind-altering plants. In these essays, interviews, and narrative adventures, McKenna takes us on a mesmerizing journey deep into the Amazon as well as into the hidden recesses of the human psyche and the outer limits of our culture, giving us startling visions of the past and future.… (more)



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This book is a compilation of interviews of Terence McKenna as he is being asked by different people about the plethora of ideas McKenna was known to joust for. As a transcription of said interviews, these lose quite bit by being rendered in text, since Mckenna was mostly a very good conversationalist — the spoken word was his most unique quality; the text presented here becomes much drier than any recording on the same topic.

In any case, this is a good showcase of McKenna’s inventiveness and ease with making new and surprising connections. Since this book is organized by interviews standing for chapters, even if the book lacks some overall coherence making it a bit harder to take it as a whole work, this also allows you to read it as what it is, a compilation, something to be read in many sits, not necessarily tying the whole reading together.

If you are deeply interested in McKenna’s ideas and you’re looking to dig deeper to their origins and developments, inevitably you have to go through this book. However, if you’re just curious and not very prone to waste your time away reading, you’ll be much more satisfied by listening/watching to the many McKenna’s lectures available online, where you’ll not only learn about his ideas, but you’ll the get the full package of having the bard himself saying them, where he’ll delight you with his unmatchable skill in guiding your imagination through the power of his mastery of words. ( )
  adsicuidade | Sep 8, 2018 |
  louvel | Aug 17, 2009 |
Terence McKenna describes The Archaic Revival as “my explorer’s notebook, my journey of travel through time and ideological space.” The book is comprised of interviews, essays, and articles that DO in fact map out the landmarks in a strange and adventurous life lived in the pursuit of knowledge via psychoactive substances. Try to imagine a weird, psilocybin-fueled, hyperdimensional roadtrip, and you may begin to pick up on the hazy, outer edges of McKenna’s mental landmarks: a billboard advertising the role of mushrooms in the evolution from monkey to man, shiny neon lights etching out the spikes and plummets of McKenna’s timewave zero graph (software he developed with the help of the I Ching to chart novelty in time, which ominously drops off the chart in 2012, when the Mayans predicted the end of times), a monstrous body of water populated with octopi representative of McKenna’s theory about the development of language with the help of psychedelics (which will become visual as well as audible), self-transforming machine elves lining the road all the way. These are only a few of the many ideas The Archaic Revival introduces (in fact, this book is most likely the most comprehensive introduction to Terence McKenna). McKenna’s ideas are out there, to say the least, but they are brilliant in their creativity, scope, and implications. No one can read these essays without having their perspective deeply affected if not wholly altered.

[Edit] Note that I do not suggest that this book is to be read and believed wholeheartedly. Clearly most of McKenna's theories are completely and totally implausible. I think his ideas do, however, provide an outlet for thought experiments and broadening conventional perceptions of reality. And there are a few things he suggests here and there that I believe without hesitation. ( )
1 vote mckenz18 | May 14, 2009 |
Collection of interviews, transcribed speeches, and other oddments from our culture's point-man for the psychedelic experience. More of an extended appendix to Invisible Landscape and Food of the Gods than anything else; still worthy reading for anyone who wants to familiarize themselves with McKenna's worldview, which even now, over a decade after its publication, still falls far outside of consensus reality. ( )
  jbushnell | Nov 14, 2006 |
Park your discernment down the block, and ignore the glioblastoma in the attic, but do bring a grain of salt the size of a cowlick... You'll need it! Quite the whirl.
  kencf0618 | Oct 12, 2005 |
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To my father, Joe McKenna
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with a bearded hippy man,
who speaks with the light

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