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on 26 November 2005
To start this review it is worth noting when this book was first published - 1975.
At this time the young, adventurous, scientific minded Mckenna brothers recalled their voyage of discovery. Through the use of hallucinogens they experienced thoughtful insights into shamanism, schizophrenia, the holographic nature of nature, and finally and maybe most memorably - they formulated a mathematical principle using the I-Ching that maps the history of 'Novelty'.
A great read, that will lead the reader on a voyage of their own.
Further study: The Timewave theory has since been scrutinised by expert mathematians:
Matthew Watkins found errors in the theory:
[...]
John Sheliak worked with Watkins objection and found that the theory could be corrected, and indeed it became even more accurate!
[...]
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Terence McKenna used to tell a story of giving a huge dose of DMT to a very old Tibetan monk whilst travelling through Asia. The monk was "Not one of those alcoholic fund-raiser Lamas, but the real thing" (McKenna). Terence said the monk told him that the DMT experience was the lesser lights and that you cannot go further than this and return to your body. "I believed him, McKenna said," the guy took it like a man, I mean; he must have been over 90 years old". In the presence of this spirit, all the capability of human conception sinks exhausted, with nothing to hold onto but a fall into a place outside of metaphysics; a palace of radiant light.

But we still believe that death is it!

This isn't how Terence McKenna saw the world. McKenna was the man who's seen, who's shot up from the world, like zooming out on Google Earth to see the planet from a higher vantage point, the man who is high, like Galileo with his telescope, will see the blind people as the Buddha saw people them. The high man will pay no heed to normal life, or even technology, because he is high and he knows that the world is illusion and so is death. After all, our fascination with technology and progress is a tranquilliser from the fear of death. But Terence McKenna used to say that the only reason we fear death is because we haven't been high enough, to peak over the singularity of biology. One who's smoke DMT understands that death is just the body dying.

Terence McKenna said that he glimpsed the after-death state on DMT. This is what Terence McKenna hinted at in many of his talks and this is the fascination with these magical pathways to the ecology of souls. Terence is there now, with the elves. Rest in peace Terence!
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on 7 February 2003
this book comprises 3 parts: an investigation into shamanism, schizophrenia and the holographic principles of memory; scientific psychedelic experimentation in the Amazon of such theories; and finally relating ancient Chinese principles (the I Ching) to novelty throughout the universe.
An amazing book filled with mind-blowing theories and frequent genius insights... the authors are incredibly intelligent whether you take their inspirational thoughts at face value or not.
Highly recommended.
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on 4 October 2013
I wished we had someone like Terence around today, what a great thinker he was. This is a brilliant book, well written and covers the subject matter.
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on 1 April 1999
Terence McKenna and his brother relate their experience with a South American psychoactive plant, and the mind-blowing (mind-blown?) insights that they gained from it. The I Ching's 'King Wen sequence' of the 64 hexagrams is interpreted as a digital code, and in fractal geometry-like fashion, concatenated onto itself to create a wave function for the entirety of the universe, with its peaks and minima related to rises and falls in the rate of 'novelty' in reality as different dimensional realities interpenetrate in the McKennas' version of 'the end of the world as we know it.'
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on 29 March 1999
I remember feeling like the universe was handing me an amazing gift as I was reading this book. A must read for anyone interested in mind expansion.
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on 19 February 2015
There are better McKenna books, at best this is an interesting perspective on how confusing psychedelics can be for an immature (albeit powerful) mind.
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on 28 March 2015
Do we really know more about Nature, life and ourselves than most plants and flowers? These books about DMT and ayahuesca teach us otherwise.
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on 19 February 2015
VERY INTRESTING BOOK , SLOWLY MAKING MY WAY THROUGH THE WISDOM
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on 5 September 2008
A most enjoyable and enlightening read. The author must have had courage to move into the spaces he describes. I recommend this book.Mind Bomb
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