Transcript for Episode 139 – A Drink With Dr. Dennis Mckenna – Part 2

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tonight we’re gonna be continuing our

series called

a drink with dr. Dennis McKenna dennis

is a good friend of the show he’s been

on the show many times I’ve known Dennis

for many years so sit back grab a drink

maybe a smoke enjoy this conversation

the human experiences in session

my name is Xavier katana my guest for

this evening is dr. Dennis McKenna

dr. Dennis McKenna is an ethnic

ecologist who has studied plant

hallucinogens for over 40 years he is

the author of many scientific papers and

co-author with his brother Terence

Mckenna he holds a doctorate from the

University of British Columbia

he received postdoctoral research

fellowships in the laboratory of

clinical pharmacology National Institute

of Mental Health and in the department

of neurology Stanford University School

of Medicine he’s the founding board

member of the after research institute a

nonprofit organization focused on the

investigation of the potential therapy

therapy utak uses of psychedelic

medicines Dennis it’s a pleasure my

friend welcome

back to a Jaques it’s so good to have

you back here it’s a pleasure to be back

same here

how are you I’m doing well so we’re do

we’re doing this we’re doing this drink

with dr. Dennis McCann on a thing again

what do you what are you drinking over

there I grab some white wine available

okay I’m drinking some red wine so we’re

set with diets

you’ve been you’ve been pretty busy

these days I mean I talk to you I talk

to you about a week ago and you were

down in in Peru I think right that’s

right yes we just finished up two

retreats down there that’ll be the third

retreat of this year that we’ve done and

yeah so it’s keeping me busy and and

then we have another one coming up in

November which I think will be a very

interesting retreat not like anything

we’ve done before we’re going to have my

friend Alexandra Thomas joining us he is

a specialist in sound sound therapy

sound residents the use of sound and

ceremonial space and probably the

world’s expert on just about every

aspect of sound that you can imagine

I’ve had experience all sessions with

him many occasions and he really knows

how to use Sonics and residents in

conjunction with altered states to

produce rather amazing experience

programs I guess you can say that many

people resonate with I couldn’t resist

the pun but anyway if you look at my

Twitter feed or my Facebook page you can

find information about it or you can

send an inquiry to events at McKenna dot

Academy okay getting that out right away

I mean since you mentioned it tell us

about a little bit more

the Academy because this is something

that something new that you’re doing it

you’re calling it the the cattle a

catalytic Nexus for the transformation

of global consciousness Wow close we’re

calling it we’re calling it’s the

McKenna Academy of natural philosophy

right and it’s going to have its

operations mostly focused in South

America but not confined to that and I

call it a catalytic Nexus for the

transformation of global consciousness

in the sense that the programs of the

Academy and our our goal beyond just

psychedelic retreats or ayahuasca

retreat although we certainly do that

but we do we’re offering a variety of

educational programs even courses other

types of of programs to help people

educate themselves or re-educate

themselves about their relationship to

nature which is something that we really

need to be thinking about because we’re

all aware of the crisis that we face so

my idea with the Academy is I guess I’m

basically a back into mission at heart

you know and I love teaching and I love

sharing information I love bringing

brilliant minds to a place where they

can share their wisdom and ideas and

that’s what you do with an academy right

so I this will be our first official

event sponsored by the Academy this one

in November and I’m excited about it

Alexander is an amazing character a

teacher of mine for many years and he

has so much wisdom and so much knowledge

to impart I think it’s gonna be a really

stimulating 10 days and you’re designing

it as a sort of modern-day mystery

school and I mean you’ve been doing this

yourself for you know what like 40 years

or more so and you’ve been you know now

it seems like you’re

to take the charge on and take the lead

on this by witness in this institution

yeah exactly

many I mean I have been doing retreats

in the Sacred Valley since basically

about 2012 and as we’ve done those the

concept has evolved so you know and and

I as you know I’ve been involved with

ayahuasca and other psychedelics for as

you say more than 40 years but it’s only

in the last sense since 2012 a little

bit before that but I’ve been doing

regular retreats in the Sacred Valley

and this time we decided to take a

slightly different direction and did not

only include you know the the medicine

experiences but also provide a context

where people can appreciate the pre

incan culture and their understanding of

sound of altered states we have one of

our faculty members of their sub coming

retreat is a guide who we work with in

our in our ayahuasca retreats who has

made this quite an in-depth study of all

this and kind of the esoteric energies

and technologies that were available to

the Incas and the predecessors of the

Incas and a lot of that had to do with

the use of sonic energy you know sound

energy I mean sound basically but turns

out there’s a lot more to sound than you

might think no I agree with that I mean

me yeah we’ve had a bunch of authors

recently on that and we’ve been

exploring the history of psychedelic

usage through ancient times it turns out

you know Plato was on the stuff Socrates

like a lot of the modern philosophy that

we you know kind of operate on today and

are learning from today was influenced

by psychedelics and if you look at

someone like Graham Hancock he talks

about how you know

or DMT was the reason that these

cultures were sort of you know

collecting and moving around to

different parts of the earth so and this

has been imbibed into ingrained into our

culture for thousands and thousands of

years yes yes yeah good that you

mentioned Graham I have just finished

his latest book I mean I am a total fan

of Graham’s work yeah and his latest

book America before have you read it

yeah I got through it yeah I mean okay

so long read it’s like a 500 page book

but it’s worth it because he really

study it’s definitely worth it he brings

more documentation in together in this

book than he has with any of the

previous ones so he builds a very solid

case and the case you know the picture

that it gives us of the ancient past is

nothing like conventional the

conventional view of history or

archeology I mean for one thing it goes

back and now you know these are not

crazy numbers these are well-documented

numbers in the new world humans arrived

in the new world at least a hundred and

thirty thousand years ago probably much

earlier and so that just completely

overturns you know the conventional view

of when hominids they weren’t even you

know when hominids when humans made it

to the New World

and and indicates that you know they

probably didn’t come over the Land

Bridge initial they actually probably

crossed the ocean which is you know I

mean it just vastly exceeds anything we

thought that such such an ancient racist

would be able to do so so it’s very

interesting to his theory that there was

a more or less advanced like not not

computers and lays

but more like an 18th century level of

civilization these people had you know

ocean-going ships basically and they had

you know writing they were cartographers

than they actually generated maps of

parts of the world that for years were

not even known you know to the Western

world not admitted at that time so em

you’ve read the book so you don’t I mean

why Dennis do you think then you know

for us publicly why’s the history of

this been hidden why are psychedelics

namely you know plant medicines so

demonized in in mainstream culture or

mainstream media I mean the 1990s you

got that just say no campaign were Nancy

Reagan doing her whole speech mean at

the war on drugs why why suppress this

technology that’s been around for so

long well I think it’s I think it’s

numerous numerous factors being for one

thing you know psychedelics are

dangerous because they not because

they’re dangerous substances but because

they make you have dangerous ideas you

know unorthodox ideas and the powers the

be are never receptive to that you know

they don’t really want people to make

their own discoveries don’t think for

themselves because they have they have

an agenda

you’re supposed to aspect except a

certain societal or religious or other

you know sets of dogma and if you insist

on thinking for yourself and push back

against the conventional wisdom and

something like Graham’s work does you

know and it’s very well done it’s very

well documented so you can’t you know

you can’t really fault it in terms of

being sloppy scholarship or anything

like that why are people so threatened

by it I’m not sure it’s because there’s

a certain narrative you know that we’ve


for a long time for instance the idea

that you know humans originated in

Africa they moved out of Africa thence

into Europe and Asia the possibility

that they might have reached the the

so-called new world much earlier than

anyone imagined I don’t know why people

are threatened by it I mean I I think

that science you know if it purports to

call itself a science should be looking

for the truth you know but I think

something that that you know Graham’s

work and the fact that he has been so

denounced by the so-called archeological

community of it as he makes very clear

it’s because it’s not a science anymore

you know it’s a cult it’s become a set

of accepted doctrines and views of

ancient history that you know that are

not to be challenged and so he comes

along and challenges it and he he makes

a lot of people mad but I think I think

anyone who’s curious you know and who

was really honest can’t review what

Graham has written can’t look at that in

an objective way of say wait a minute

you know the picture that we thought we

had of the ancient past it just does not

fit right these new facts that have come

to light yeah you know and to me that’s


but I mean I’m not a dog but just you

know I’m not invested it in some set of

dogma and and you know academics is you

know unfortunately I mean it’s a

notoriously sort of hidebound

institution it’s not it’s not generally

open to new ideas because of threats

threatens the status quo have you ever

have you ever had your tenure threatened

with any of your work well threatened

good what sales I mean I don’t know has

has anyone has it have you ever received

pushback from you know exploring

psychedelics and plants in the way that

you do

not really that’s a good yeah it’s been

surprising I mean I I’ve not gotten you

know death threats or anything like them

a lot of people disagree with me sure

you know they’re they’re free to do that

that’s what you know what free and fair

dialogue is about I in fact you know my

whole shtick is don’t believe me you

know I mean and not being asked to be

I’m not asking to be believed

I’m asking or suggesting people should

think for themselves you know and they

should use these god-given parades that

we have to you know figure it out come

to your own conclusions that’s the one

thing that’s quite you know that’s quite

attractive and beautiful about

psychedelics because you know you you

don’t have to accept any set of dogma

you don’t have to have faith you can

just have the experience you know it

does not take faith or belief to benefit

from psychedelics what it takes is

courage you know and if you have the

courage to to smoke the pipe or drink

the cup or whatever it is you do and

actually trust yourself enough to have

that experience then you can decide for

yourself what it means

hmm you know and that’s important thing

and any spout powerful spiritual

technology there are legions of people

who are ready to tell you what it’s

supposed to mean you know and how you’re

supposed to think about it what I like

about psychedelics is it gives you the

opportunity I mean you can listen to

those people there are lots of people

ready to tell you how to interpret this

and so on but in the end of the day it’s

the encounter between you and the

medicine and whatever the medicine

renders accessible to you and so you

know it throws you back on itself on it

on yourself and it basically throws down

a challenge like here’s something that’s

going to completely blow your life

that’s going to completely you know

disrupt your what your reference frame

right and what you thought you know and

it’s your job to make of it what you


you know interpret it according to what

they don’t trust yourself enough to to

interpret it for yourself you know you

can benefit from reading about other

people’s experiences you can benefit

from people’s you know thoughts about

you know what it what it’s really about

and so on but at the end of the day you

have to you know you just have to draw

your own conclusions absolutely that’s

yeah that’s it let’s talk a little bit

about what occurs in the brain when a

substance like DMT or psilocybin or

those you know for compounds LSD I boga

what’s happening in the brain as far as

neural receptors and neurogenesis

because I think in the 90s there was

this idea that the brain was a sort of

you know like closed system like once

you once you’ve burned off this gray

matter once you burned off brain cells

they never regroup back and that was it

you know lowered your IQ you were just

dumb for doing this you know and then in

I’m not sure what year was the early

2000 maybe 2004 neurogenesis the idea

neuroplasticity came out where this

understanding of the brain and and its

flexibility and I mean we really don’t

know much about the brain at all

so you know why are these compounds you

know namely DMT psilocybin right what

impacts are they having on the brain why

are they so crucial to you know mystical

experiences and and learning and and

evolution we’re gonna be here all night

you know what you’re talking about

basically the calm house that you named


saipin mescaline LSD ayahuasca these

things are that what we think it was the

classical psychedelics right there were

there plenty of psychoactive substances

plants and so on

that are psychoactive and some will

induce profoundly altered states of

consciousness but they are strictly

speaking in the pharmacological sense

they’re not psychedelics and I kind of

adhere to a almost a reductionist

definition of psychedelics because just

as an arbitrary thing under my

definition the definition of a lot of

people and the definition that I like

but simply because it kind of defines it

is the true psychedelics the classic

psychedelics are what they call 5ht to a

agonist right hmm

so what’s v HT v HT is my hydroxy trip

to me that’s serotonin right one of the

neurotransmitters so one important

neurotransmitter in mediated states of

consciousness so you could call them the

serotonin 2a receptor zuv not 2a

receptors are the target for these

classic psychedelics there are about 14

or 15 different kinds of serotonin

receptors they have numerous functions

all over the body there’s more serotonin

receptors in the gut than in the brain

but the 2a receptors appear to be those

receptors that are critical to the

action of psychedelics of having these

mystical experiences and all that goes

with that

you know this neurogenesis phenomenon

this sort of you know the the altered

state itself the psychedelic experience

itself rearranges connections in the

brain that neural plasticity thing that

you’re talking about and it creates new

connections and probably does in fact

induce neurogenesis the growth of

new neurons right now oh as you say a

few years ago we thought that was

deficit forbidden right like it just

didn’t happen once you had given

complement of neurons at Birth you only

lost neurons after that it was a long

slow you know from birth to death

a long slow state of neural degeneration

that’s not the current picture at all

the brain is enormous ly adaptive it’s

plastic and it responds to stimuli from

what’s and from its environment and it

can actually change its structure can

change its wiring can change a lot of

things about how it operates and that’s

in relation to environmental clears you

know and and and if you if you reflect a

moment you know you think you know it’s

like it’s obvious right how could it be

otherwise you know and and these these

models that we created just overlooked

something very important which is that

you know especially in primates

especially in hominids with our you know

big brains I mean it is a lot it is

because of our enormous brains of the

adaptability that that brings about that

we are such a successful species mm-hmm

so okay so you know when we’re defining

intelligence I mean how how are we

looking at you know what is Intel do we

mean when we talk about intelligence or

weed because I mean because no pre

hominids I mean were they capable of you

know learning and reasoning and you know

are we as well our plants intelligent I

mean there’s I mean there’s something

happening there and I’m trying to

understand better what that means what

that relationship is like why drinking a

cup of pasta tea is opening you know

this this mystical experience for me and

helping me on my journey through you

know through life

well because it happens to activate

those receptors the that network of

serotonin 2a receptor z’ of other

receptors it’s you know nothing in the

brain happens in isolation but it

happens to activate that that network

that mediates this kind of experience

you know I mean that’s really all it is

and never you know a more more maybe

important question is why what is the

value of mystical experience to our

existence to our consciousness to our

adaptation to the environment you know

and that’s a deeper question and I don’t

know that anyone knows the answer but

what we can say is that you know that

the notion that essentially that the

that the universe is full of mystery and

meaning I mean that that’s that’s the

you know that that’s the consequence of

these mystical experiences you know if

you look at the data if you look at

people in the psilocybin studies who

have with terminal cancer for example

they take psilocybin and it completely

reframes their reference frame you know

many of these people are terrified of

dying because in fact they are dying and

you know that’s all they can think about

but then they with the psilocybin as an

aid to sort of step outside their

reference frame and examine their

existential situation they come away

with a tremendously beneficial sort of

re understanding of their situation

which can easily be put in many of them

say well I was terrified of dying but

guess what I’m alive now you know and

I’m I’m gonna focus on that going

forward the fact that I am Alive now in

the moment everybody dies sooner or

later we all have to face that what use

does it do to

just focus on that and get all depressed

about it better to focus on the fact

that you’re alive now you know and

you’re with your loved ones and you’re

more or less functional but definitely

you know on the on the way out but we it

helps to come to terms with that so I

think that I think and what keeps coming

up again and again in these studies to

kind of get back to what you were saying

is the term meaningful people say this

was the most meaningful experience of my

life or the fifth among the top five

most meaningful experience of my life

what is so valuable what’s so important

about having meaningful experiences

right I mean why should we even care

like you know who cares why should we


well but obviously we do I mean our

whole lives you know most of our lives

are you know routine I mean it’s not

that they’re not enjoyable and that sort

of thing but they’re not these profound

spiritual revelations most of the time

they’re more or less routine people long

for something beyond that I think they

long for reassurance that you know we

are not the limited beings that we

appear to be and the psychedelic

experience or spontaneous mystical

experience for that matter you know

brings it to people and it brings people

of experience of something beyond

themselves and so it’s meaningful it’s

because I think it’s reassuring doesn’t

even matter if it’s true

you know it I mean it doesn’t it doesn’t

but you know I mean it’s true in the you

experience you know and I think you I

think it’s safe I think it’s not

inaccurate to say that anything you

experience is true because you

experience it to the extent that it’s an

experience whether it has an objective

reality well then we don’t know you know

but you know people have these


and they are personally meaningful for

them and somehow we really value that

you know we in fact you know many people

with the mystical inclination they spend

years trying to you know achieve that

kind of a reward so it’s interesting

that you know pretty much any schmuck

can have this kind of experience you

know 25 milligrams of psilocybin and the

right sentence setting and you’re pretty

much there you know if and and so people

say well that’s not that’s not a real

mystical experience you know because you

took drugs right you took a drug and so

it can’t be genuine I’m here to tell you

that every state of consciousness is

reflected by a neurochemical set of a

neurochemical brain state sure we’re on

drugs were made out of drugs and we’re

on drugs all the time any kind of

experience that we have is a

drug-induced experience you know because

our brains are engines that run on

neurotransmitters neurotransmitters or

drugs you know so this idea that well

it’s not a real experience because you

took a drug III don’t buy it if you

experienced it it’s real if it’s

meaningful who’s gonna tell you that

it’s not meaningful that’s for you to

decide that’s your judgment it’s not for

anybody to tell you what that it wasn’t

meaningful you can say well gee you felt

pretty meaningful to me that’s all that

matters but there’s there’s something

that Graham said when he was on the show

that that really struck me is you know

when you’re when you’re in the Amazon

there’s you know what a hundred thousand

plus species of plants and to realize

that there are these two plants that

when combined together you know create

this brew that it creates this

experience it indicates that there was a

science that was active you know in this

ancient period a long time ago so

awareness or cognition of how this could

affect you know us what do you make of

that I mean how how does that fit into

the larger perspective of where we are

now well I think I think it’s easy to

look at this in a simplistic way you

know and it’s it’s not quite the way you

described it in the first place you know

in in the 80,000 or so species that that

we think are in the Amazon okay you know

out of a total of about 250 260 thousand

species of plants worldwide I think in

the 80 in the Amazon has about a third

of them maybe eighty eighty-five

thousand species the fact is that most

of these plants are full of biodynamic

compounds and DMT right is is the one

that gives ayahuasca a psychedelic kick

there are certain admixture plants that

are prepared with ayahuasca and the

other the the vine as you know isn’t

monoamine oxidase inhibitor that

prevents the the breakdown of DMT and

the gut makes it orally active right hmm

many many plants contain DMT it is not a

rare compound you know I mean it’s not

rare in the Amazon it’s not rare

anywhere it’s again indigenous in the

human body

right if said doggedness in the human

body that’s right that’s right it’s it

is in fact a neurotransmitter in the

human body you know we don’t understand

its function as well as something like

serotonin but it appears that it is a

neurotransmitter and because DMT is only

two steps away from tryptophan or eye

tryptophan is an amino acid universally

of all organisms it’s one of the twenty

that go into proteins two trivial

enzymatic steps will convert tryptophan

to DMT

so it’s very very common in plants you

know and animals and fungi probably and

you know I mean it’s certainly fungi

have their own tryptamine derivatives

like like the psilocybin so it’s common

and there are many plants that

conceivably could have been used to make

ayahuasca and in fact people do they

make they make analogs of ayahuasca

because the other component of the brew

is the vine which contains the

beta-carbolines that do the MA

elimination but again beta-carboline z’

they’re not as abundant in nature as DMT

but they’re certainly not that rare

either so potentially I ayahuasca or

ayahuasca ad logs could have been made

from completely different plants and you

in fact do that you can do that and with

a little knowledge of botany and what we

know now a little bit of knowledge of

chemistry and what’s been published you

know you can expect to be quite

successful you can make an ayahuasca

analogue that will be every bit as

active as ayahuasca but how did this


how did this come about back in the day

well most likely it just came about

through trial and error experimentation

you know but not random not necessarily

random experimentation when we did this

conference this ESP d50 conference a

couple of years ago there was an

archaeologist ethno botanist there mint

manuel torres who gave an excellent talk

about the probable origins of ayahuasca

and he was talking about a particular

area in the in where Colombia Venezuela

and Peru come together the northern

walkways region and there was a very

active chicha technology making beers

of various kinds of beers or fermented

beverages that you make roots or usually

from roots like manioc you can make him

fruit sometimes these are just basically

a fermentation technology right but the

the people that made the these teaches

they were curious and they were in a you

know in an environment where you know

there were these other plants some of

them have medicinal uses including

ayahuasca I almost get the vine was used

by itself you know not as part of a

hallucinogenic brew but probably as

treatment for for parasites or something

like that but you know human beings have

gotten to where we have with with

respect to plants on the way that we

exploit plants because we’re curious you

know and you know you can see much the

same kind of curiosity and operate in

operation that in a modern-day craft

brewer you know a craft brewer is always

looking for new stuff new ingredients to

put it is his beers right to make them

taste different or to make something

that the other guy doesn’t have and

there’s innovation that goes on maybe if

I put some of this in it’ll make it

taste different give it a different

effect Manolo makes the point that there

was a lot of that going on in this area

at that time and he thinks that you know

it it that ayahuasca really sort of

appeared out of that you know that

atmosphere of experimentation just

trying out different combinations and

seeing how it was and then at some point

they tried the right combination and you

know they got they got their minds blown

you know so so that was a successful

experiment and yeah

hmm so I think maybe that’s how it how

it how it might have take it off is is

there a specific role that has been

identified for the existence of DMT in

humans and nature it seems kind of like

it’s a bit elusive as to why you know it

even exists man is there I mean I’m

gonna get a little goo here about this

but I mean it does it is it a molecule

that connects us into some hyper

dimension some you next level of reality

perhaps you know we don’t see every

sorry I was pulling up the the text to

Manolos talked here which which is worth

looking at and I’m going to I’m gonna

paste it into our text box here people

couldn’t look at this link okay that’s

some think about if we all like you can

watch Manolos talk at the ESP D

conference oh well we’re 40 there okay

okay sorry no problem

distracted so so the question is what is

what does it mean the no the it seems

like the role of DMT in humans in the

role of DMT in humans in nature can you

hear me Dennis hello Dennis okay hang on

guys it sounds like Dennis can’t hear me

I’m gonna I’m gonna call him right back


sorry it’s a live show

just hang tight



still trying hang on guys

that’s strange not answering all right I

think he might have lost his internet

connection let’s try again

that’s one more time hang on

Denis what’s going on there hi hey how

many drinks have you had

then it’s can you hear me you tried to

paste that link and then it just went

sideways u-turn okay we’re back okay

we’re back so no worries okay so let’s

let’s go to let’s just go back to the

question you know it and it seems like

the role of DMT and humans and nature

seems elusive to me it’s like this

access to this mystical realm or

compound mystical space this hyper

dimension that were accessing when we

ingest this compound do you have any

theories about that is there something

specific about the molecule that could

result in you know discovering more

about why it’s so important or why it

has this effect that it has well it’s a

you know it’s a it’s a difficult

question to answer

I mean you so you take DMT you have this

experience you seem to be in this

parallel reality in a certain sense you

could call it you appear to encounter

entities other intelligences in that

space that that don’t appear to be you

or anything like you but you have to

remember you’re bringing your

interpretive frameworks to this you know

just because that’s what it appears to

be doesn’t mean that’s what it is you

know and and you know it’s difficult to

resist the temptation to say well I you

know it opened a portal into another

dimension certainly you know that may be

our subjective impression and maybe it

does but

how do you how do you test that you know

I mean you know I I can be a wet blanket

or I can say well you know certain like

dopamine is a neurotransmitter it will

have these effects you know serotonin is

a neurotransmitter will have other

effects DMT is a neurotransmitter maybe

it’s just that when you smoked DMT this

is what happens you know and it’s a

reflection of brain architecture brain

chemistry maybe rather than any other

dimension so you saying that the

spiritual context that some cultures add

to the experience of DMT could be just

you know just that their interpretation

of something and an event like I was

watching a lecture that you gave today

and you were talking about this this

this culture in the Amazon that you know

that the value the purge that happens

when you drink ayahuasca and they

thought that it was like some sort of

energetic release you know like an

energy leaving your body so you know

these cultures identify with some sort

of spiritual aspect to this compound and

you know so I mean that’s that’s why I

mean you’re the scientist so of course

you would say you know it’s it’s just in

the brain but I’m wondering if it you

know if it has a spiritual something

else context well yes of course but it’s

not the drug that has the spiritual

aspect it’s the experience you think all

the newer drug noses trigger that your

experience has spiritual aspects to it

the drug seems to facilitate that

experience but you know this goes back

to you know I think a mistake that a lot

of people made back in the day I

certainly made it this idea that somehow

the trip is in the drug you know the

it’s it’s not it doesn’t work that way

you know the drug is simply a molecule

it has the effects of the

as when you mix it with a human nervous


you know the nervous system the the you

can think of the drug in some way is

like a musical score you know I mean

when you and the instrument that plays

the plays it is the brain actually the

brain body you know when you put it into

that biochemical soup but it goes

through its pharmacokinetics it goes

through its metabolism the symphony

plays out and the symphony is what you

experience as the psychedelic experience

the drug on the shelf is simply a

crystal on a shelf it doesn’t have any

of these properties you know it’s a

trigger it’s a catalyst that lets the

nervous system express itself in this

way now you know so then you can take

this totally you know sort of subjective

experience they will it’s all it’s all

in my head you know there is no extra

dimension there is no portal two

parallel universes or anything like that

it’s just a subjective experience you

know it’s like a dream you know but then

so you say okay well there’s nothing to

it beyond that but you know you’re

getting into some difficult

epistemological territory because really

what what else is there but the

hallucination the experience that our

brains synthesize and present to us as

reality you know I mean is there

anything beyond that but it maybe maybe

not but it’s very hard to you know it’s

very hard to objectively know about it

because we’re caged we’re trapped

or I mean trapped as a bad term because

it implies that you know we’re

constrained but in some ways we are

inside of this neural falou

nation that we create for ourselves and

that we inhabit it’s a model of reality

I very I very often said this you know

our brains construct a model of reality

essentially a hallucination that we

proceed to inhabit you know so we’re

living out our own movies all the time

we’re not really direct directly

experiencing reality we know enough to

be pretty sure than there’s something

out there that’s not the self but we

never experience that direction

hmm I mean I I really connect with your

idea of you know like when you look at a

musical sheet on a piece of paper that’s

all it is is to justice like you know

writing on on these notes on a piece of

paper but then when you apply the

instrument and you play the music then

you’re adding it to this this extra

dimension of you know time and space so

perhaps perhaps the psychedelic

experiences the same way you know the

the molecule DMT is just that it’s just

a molecule but when ingested and the

brain being the instrument that’s when

it allows us to play inside this reality

that that we’re creating you know for

ourselves that’s exactly it

so it plays out through time to put it

to play the musical score with an

instrument brings it to life it

expresses it as a fourth dimensional

object or a fourth dimensional not

object but process same thing I mean I

mean the drug in the end the absence of

the of the instrument to play it which

is our brains is pretty abort inert and

frankly fairly boring you know but once

you put it in the right context and then

you know then it plays it plays in

fourth dimension and of course we are we

are fourth dimensional entities you know

because we’re you know you

could a person and they appear to be

solid and they are but they’re a process

you know the fact that they are alive

means they’re metabolizing and

metabolism is something that expresses

through time you know so that’s the

fourth dimensional aspect of personhood

when metabolism ceases then there’s not

much to talk about because the person is

dead right so so we you know we normally

don’t think of these things we operate

within this set of these assumptions not

really thinking to too much about what

you know about these interpretive

structures that we put on to it but when

you when you actually sort of focus in

on those then you have just you know you

have to admit to yourself there’s all

sorts of assumptions about the nature of

reality the nature of your own

experience you know and and this comes

up again and again with the notion that

you know for example encountering

apparently non-human intelligences in a

psychedelic state you know do are these

entities real or are they fabrications

of your own imagination or are they in

that sense are they a part of yourself

you know that is presenting as something

that isn’t the self so these are tricky

tricky questions and we don’t normally

think about them we use all these terms

you know without really thinking about

it’s a mystery I mean that’s that’s a

are the mystery list of it and the

question is too big for us to really

understand and answer definitively right

can we accept that well so far so far

yeah right yeah right and what about

what about at the moment of you know

cardiac arrest the moment of death and I

mean is there any relevance or truth to

this idea that there’s this sir

dmt that’s being generated at the moment

of cardiac arrest it’s very possible

that there is you know and would not be

surprising that you’re probably thinking

of Edie freqs cos work on this and it’s

just a neuro protective function is it

just true well that that that’s enough

right if I mean it is in fact neuro

protective it’s a very good antioxidant

and if if you’re having a ischemic

attack a stroke essentially you know if

the body can mobilize those stores of

DMT in the lungs and they’re actively

transported into the brain then they

they would have this this neural

protective effect they would prevent the

degeneration of the neurons through

hypoxia through lack of oxygen they

would they would buy some time you know

and it’s perfectly reasonable and in

fact you know that the body would have

these these protective reactions to that

kind of event I mean a stroke probably

mobilizes all kinds of responses but

that might be one of the conference one

of the you know one of the responses is

the mobilisation of massive amounts of

DMT now the fact this might also induce

a profound psychedelic state may have

nothing to do with the fact that it’s

neuro protective and I’m saving your

life but it might be it’s kind of a

benefit it’s kind of a convenient side

effect because you’re you know you know

how you go to the mat you go to the

dentist and they put the television on

so you mean it it won’t pay attention to

what they’re doing in there well

something like that

you know the body maybe say well you

know you can watch the movies well you

know where we’re trying to you know save

the save your brain and then it may not

have any me mean beat on hmm

interesting I want Ennis I really want

to get into like the the ecological

nightmare that were in I was reading

reading this article

do you remember remember this this movie

that that came out several years ago it

was by M night Shyamalan I think it was

called the the happening where these

plants start releasing this compound

that makes humans commit suicides or

something like that

it was really about their movies

interesting and I mean it’s it was like

the earth was protecting itself because

humans were killing it and I read this

or this article out of route Reuters and

it’s I guess these this us-led team of

scientists were drilling into the Arctic

and they found that now they found a

bunch of plastic in the they drilled

down into you know the core of the earth

and they in the remotest waters on the

planet found pieces of plastic there so

you know this is an ecological nightmare

that were that were in the middle of and

it seems like it seems like people

people don’t care I mean do they I mean

until it until it’s at their front door

do people really I mean there’s some of

us that care but for the masses do they

care about what’s happening with earth I

don’t think so I don’t think they care

and I think until if it affects their

lives directly maybe it affects the the

price of gas then they start to complain

that’s right well I think a lot of them

don’t know about it and you know and you

know there is a very active

disinformation campaign to keep people

distracted and to keep their attention

away from you know these ecological

processes which are actually threatening

the existence of our species certainly

and maybe all of life on Earth I don’t

get it Savior it’s some kind of

cognitive dissonance you know we’re you

know in the the real consequences of

what we’re doing to the planet are so

horrible they’re too much to to

contemplate in in some ways and so

people you know naturally they retreat

into denial

but denial is not going to fix the

problem and you know and I as you know

I’ve often said these plants and

experiences that they can catalyze our

wake-up call in that sense I mean I do

think that the plant that the community

of species in the biosphere is

intelligent and I think that these

plants are like ambassadors of the

community of species they just happen to

make these neurotransmitter like

messenger molecules that impact our

nervous system in in these particular

ways and help us to wake up to the you

know to the crisis that we faced the

question is what happens when you wake

up what’s the next step well it’s not so

clear you know I mean I mean you the in

part the mission becomes we have to get

everybody woken up and then maybe we can

come to a consensus about what to do

about it

if anything you know it may be that it’s

too late that we’re there were so far

beyond any remediation that we could

take for this kind of thing that you

know we I mean I’m not sure that the

solution is a human originated solution

at this point you know we can stop to

some degree we could try to stop what

we’re doing to you know not compound

that the damage you know they say when

you’re digging a hole the first thing

you do is stop digging right if we could

do that literally then we might be able

to turn it around but you know every

time a new report comes out on the

climate how rapidly is changing and so

on the timeframe becomes becomes shorter

and and

you know a few years ago was that we

have 30 years you know now maybe 20

years maybe only 10 years you know the

window is becoming shorter and shorter

are we going to wake up I think that’s

the question Wow a record checkup and if

we wake up will it be too late what what

can we do to mitigate this and you know

I don’t really know I mean Terrence was

talking a lot about this before he died

and he was really big on this and it

didn’t connect back then and I I think I

agree with you I think it might be too

late I mean I’ve read the studies on

this I’ve really dug into this and I’m

not sure there’s a practical solution

that we supposedly hit peak oil like I

think in the 90s and we’re still

dependent on fossil fuels there’s just

not enough happening there’s not enough

awareness there’s not enough taking

place that’s that’s is you know counter

indicating that something is going to

shift in our favor and so so if it’s if

it’s too late for you know humanity so

be it the you know humans they seem to

do this you know like wherever they go

is is they they take from their

environment and and take and take and so

you know it’s it’s a process of

destroying you know their the ecology

that’s around them and I find that

fascinating I find it you know

fascinating that we can’t find an

equilibrium or a harmony within

ourselves the way we live and the earth

the home the planet that we exist on

right we we can’t we don’t and it’s

dismaying I think a lot of this as I’ve

often said there’s a reflection of the

the the sort of poison the the poison

that has seeped into Western

consciousness you know particularly West

the West but

really it’s it’s a human disease but

this under this this perception that

we’re not part of nature and that we own

it you know it exists to serve us and

that sort of top-down hierarchical

perspective is what’s gotten us into

this mess that were in because we think

that nature exists only to be depleted

that I exploited nature probably

disagrees with that you know I mean it

has its own program and we you know I

don’t worry so much about the survival

of life on the planet I think that life

is very resilient but and we’ll adapt

there have been massive extinction

events at various points in in

evolutionary history different costs you

know we’re 95% of all terrestrial life

has gone extinct and so on sure we

shouldn’t imagine that that can’t happen

again we will likely be among the first

to go

life will persist you know but it won’t

be as interesting as we are it won’t be

as complex or problematic after some

millions of years it may read Aversa phi

and who knows what will replace it but

you know we are the problematic species

we’re the ones that are putting all this

pressure on the equilibrium states that

maintain the smooth functioning of the

biosphere we are pushing all those

envelopes at a certain point it won’t be

possible for it to snap back and then

we’re up the creek without a paddle as

it were you know is it going to happen I

don’t know they’re like in there yeah it

seems like a when question to me it’s

it’s like when is it going to occur not

not if it’s going to occur well and I

mean who knows who knows maybe there’s a

millennial out there that comes up with

this really great idea and

and it’s it’s mainstream adopted and

maybe right maybe corporations back off

of this at any cost

you know profit paradigm that we are in

the middle of and it’s not like we have

a backup place to go to there’s no

there’s no God yeah no I mean there

there is no other and and you know yeah

there really isn’t any place to escape


in fact these all this talk about

putting a colony on the moon a colony on

Mars in the first place the time frame

for those things is much longer I mean

we’re likely to be confronting this

crisis long before we could have any

kind of colony on another planet and I’m

I’m sort of irritated by the idea why

does it have to be on a planet why don’t

we try to get ourselves a permanent

presence in space that’s where all the

energy and material are that’s where

more or less infinite resources are we

need to you know become build space

colonies or whatever if we’re gonna look

at a technological solution I can’t see

that that building another you know a

settlement on Mars so that we then have

another planet to pollute and destroy

you know what’s to be gained in that in

space you can have all of these fairly

dirty process that’s going on because

space is already full of radiation and

dust clouds and all of this stuff you

know so so it’s a great if you’re a

polluting species space is a good place

to do it

well maybe within limits you know I mean

we’re already terming near-earth

near-earth space into a junkyard much to

our detriment

so I don’t know I mean I really don’t

know I I don’t I talked about this a

little bit and you know they described

it as like we are in

you know this age of Kali Yuga the Dark

Age and as and these ages last you know

so long like a hundred and fifty

thousand years but it turns out someone

on Graham Hancock’s website actually

posted this article that I read recently

and it was talking about how this this

Dark Age I mean that’s what it

translates to the Kali Yuga is supposed

to end and shift into this new age

around you know 2025 or so so you got

about six years until we see this this

shift and an awareness change in people

and and if you look at if you look at

what’s happening politically you know

it’s just in America specifically but

just not not just America but all around

the world people are protesting and I

mean everything is so charged up it

seems like we’re on the precipice of

something huge something big yeah that

could change the course of where we’re

going and how we’re getting there yeah


everything seems to be getting

destabilized I mean that’s not going to

be business as usual you know and then

the question is you know there may well

be solutions to some of these some of

these climate you know climate crises I

mean there are technologies that could

be solution people are talking about

geoengineering and all that you know and

on the one hand this is a radical

solution it’s not something that you

know a few years ago people would

consider but right now things are going

to hell so fast we might need to

implement some some radical measures you

know and I but but the problem is it’s

it’s not that there are not solutions

there are solutions but the problem is

on the policy level you know the the

people who make the policy who should be

stepping up to the plate and saying look

we have a problem here we need to have

all hands on deck to solve this problem


you know this is this is something that

threatens not just the United States or

any country it threatens us as a species

so Earthlings Earthlings need to be

responding to this I don’t see that

happening I mean I think you know the

the program of governments particularly

the US government but as you say a lot

of others seem to be very invested in

denial and even making it worse

you know we reversing what pathetic

policy initiatives they have made

because you know now we don’t believe in

it or you know Trump says get global

warming is a hoax and everyone buys that

well it’s not saying you know it’s not a

hoax and you know we live in this in

this environment created by the media

where it actually distorts reality it

seems like you know because we the

reality that we inhabit is created out

of memes you know and the power of

social media and all this can propagate

these memes you know throughout the

global consciousness so quickly is there

anything we can rely on in terms of good

information how do you separate good

information from from lies and

propaganda that’s no any point very hard

to know yeah I mean have you noticed

have you noticed Dennis that I mean

people have changed the world has

distinctly changed since this advent of

like the smartphone like I mean in my

encounters with people when I’m out I

mean I don’t notice people ever looking

up from their phone they’re so

completely addicted it’s like they’re

did they’ve devolved into these like

lower species monkeys there’s actually

this question that segues into this

perfectly Bandar loop as he says what

does Dennis think about Tony writes

theory on fruit symbiosis being involved

in our neural evolution and how humanity

is now degenerating back into

a typical mammalian brain well I think

there may be something to it I like Tony

writes theory in fact I wrote they wrote

the foreword to his the first edition of

this book which was which one it came

out was called left in the dark and it

just makes sense to me

Tony’s theory just makes sense that we

we grow up we evolved in this bio

diverse environment biodiversity as

reflected by chemical diversity we were

pretty much omnivores we consumed lots

of different plants and animals we

consumed a chemically diverse diet we

existed we lived in a complex chemical

ecology right so it just makes sense

that these plant compounds are going to

have an effect on you know our neural

evolution on many aspects of our

revolution either either directly

effecting mutation rates or even through

epigenetics and that sort of thing so I

think it’s a perfectly reasonable

hypothesis and the idea that Tony that

brings forward is that you know we’re

we’ve we’ve sort of you know we’ve

evolved into a place where we’re

actually in a neurodegenerative state

now with the with the deterioration of

the human diet and all that many many

fewer fruits more meat more synthetic

processed food all of that kind of stuff

you know has has an GMOs all of these

things have an influence on the quality

of our diet and the quality of you know

you are you eat right I mean that’s a

common cliche but it really is true you

know what you take into your body for

plants or animals is what your body is

made of and you know so

processes that Tony is talking about

again are you know there co-evolutionary

processes they take place over large

amounts of time but you know I think

that there’s some some validity to what

to what he is talking about I mean it’s

it’s interesting to look at the just a

larger perspective of you know where

things are headed how people seem to be

behaving and you know just looking I

mean in the Information Age I mean

that’s that’s where we are now and where

we’re you know I can transmit at close

to light speed you know across the world

a tweet or something like that and

instantly make aware you know so many

people about a certain topic but you

know what’s in what seems to be

important is just the most trivial you

know it doesn’t really matter to your

everyday life like what the Kardashians

are wearing or you know it’s it’s

something like that it’s nauseating

right well this this is yeah I mean I

mean I think this is this is you point

out this is the two-edged nature of

these kinds of technologies you know I

mean I like the name of a hold in my

hand on the instrument that will you

know let me tap into probably 90% of

human knowledge you know if I am if I’m

persistent enough you can get a lot of

useful information out of these things

unfortunately that’s mostly not what

people use them for you know people IV

it’s not clear i I don’t you know people

value their tribe

you know they value their group and

these these communication devices like

social media and so on they potentially

they sit to reinforce our tribalism

rather than facilitating communicating

outside our tribe

our tribal comfort zone I’m not sure is

it the instrument or is it the human

just human nature you know I tend to

think it’s human nature I think that you

know McGann I’m again

you know technologies don’t have moral

qualities humans have moral qualities

you know and it’s all about the

decisions that we make about how to

behave toward each other how to utilize

these technologies you know they can all

be utilized for beneficial purposes they

can also be utilized for for destructive

purposes you know and what we lack you

know I mean we’re we’re very clever in

in what we can invent these these

devices what they can do we’re not very

clever in how we use them you know so

there’s a there’s a disjunct that has

arisen between our innate wisdom which I

don’t think you can get from you know an

external source necessarily and our

cleverness we’re very very clever we are

not very wise that’s the problem you

know we we have too much of the

technology of the mindset that you know

well we can do these things therefore we

will do these things we should do these

things and we don’t have the wisdom to

step back and say is this really a good

idea you know and and that applies to

things like you know AI genetic

engineering and you know all of these

tremendously powerful technologies that

we can manipulate you know which which

have the potential to be extremely

beneficial but also completely

destructive if we misuse them where

where is the wisdom in you know where is

the wisdom that we can bring to bear on

that and either how they use it in

beneficial ways or how to make it how to

make a conscious decision

let’s don’t do that you know let’s not

use it even though we could do it let’s

don’t do it you know and that takes a

lot of courage that it takes it takes

moral insight to come to that conclusion

I mean the time is now you know it’s

it’s not like we can wait around and and

figure this out later it’s time to

create awareness now and it’s not just

talking about it it’s actually going out

and doing it you first you you you

create the awareness you you demonstrate

that you understand what the problem is

which is that the planet is dying if we

don’t do something about this now like

now I mean 10 years ago then I mean I

think it was Terrence that said that you

know we would we would hand our

children’s children the bones of a dying


yeah and that’s pretty much what’s

happening yeah unfortunately so I mean

that’s that’s why this this Academy that

you’re creating is is so important you

know and and things like this and you

know I feel like our our mission

collectively is the same

we’re aligned in this idea of you know I

don’t know collectively helping the

planet each other you know escaping this

sort of result of you know extinction I

guess yeah yeah yeah the Academy like I

said it’s a catalytic Nexus for the

transformational global consciousness so

it is a place that is you know in the

spirit of Lewis and Lewis was the

longest-lived and and really one of the

last of the mystery religions and you

know the Academy is founded in that

spirit you know to be a place where you

can bring the best minds on the planet

together with the help of plant

medicines help people understand reframe

their relationship to nature and to each

other and hopefully come out come away


some solutions so it’s a kind of a a

think tank I guess it’s an academy but

think tank is you know to me the term

implies that well you know you have you

have all these educational activities

you put out reports you do these things

but you’re kind of scratching your own


you know you’re not really having any

any impact

I want the Academy to be different in

the sense that it can be at Nexus it can

be a place where brilliant minds can

come together and try to come up with

solutions and and not only brilliant but

also influential you know bring people

together bring people there to have

these transformational experience as

much in the much for the same reason so

that people went to aloose

you know this was a lifetime experience

that you had you were expected to have

and it it you know it was an influence

for your worldview for the rest of your

life that’s what I want the Academy to

be a place where people of influence

power and brilliance can come and you

know think of confront our existential

situation look at it from a different

perspective with the help of Platt

medicines and try to come up with with

some creative answers you know so so

it’s important that people share this

but then then the next step is what do

you lose what you do when you leave the

retreat what do you do when you go home

yeah and some people are in a position

to make some big changes I really hope

so you know that and I mean as it says

and it’s for sure that there are

illnesses of the spirit and the soul and

you know the plant teachers that’s

that’s it’s what’s teaching us you know

it’s it’s showing us ourselves and

uncovering that I’d like to think of it

as you know like in your mind there


a closet and you know like you haven’t

opened this door for years and you know

when you drink I you Oscar have one of

these compounds you it it kind of forces

you or makes you encourages you to open

that door and turn on that light in this

dark space and and then pulls out you

know one by one all these traumas and

things that you’ve pushed away you know

like you let manifest into disease and

you know PTSD or anxiety or you know

panic disorders are so many mental

things that are going on in the body but

I think primarily it’s it’s it’s a

connection to the spirit world where

where they are the roots of you know

where these problems occur and that’s

what we need to need to look at and

that’s what plants give us the

technology to do yeah that’s right

that’s right I mean it’s interesting

psychedelics you know I I do say they’re

medicines for the Soul in a certain way

they are you know that they they they

speak to us at the collective level they

speak to us at the species level at the

cultural level and at the individual

level right that’s kind of interesting

they are medicines for all of these

things you know as a species we are

wounded you know and as a culture we are

looted and you can’t live in this

culture without being wounded

psychedelics can address all of that you

know from the individual level to the

collective level you know to the species

level they’ve always been there they’ve

always been capable of that and this has

long been recognized by you know in the

indigenous people who’ve been kind of

the stewards of this knowledge now the

rest of us have to acknowledge it and

and get on board with it you know if we

can if you could persuade people but you

know its dismay

you know it is this mean that that

things like reason you know and truth

and this sort of thing are not

necessarily respected anymore I mean we

live in a world of you know memes and

many of the memes or faults and

deliberately made to to be that way so

I’m not sure how you will look from that

it was er today we’re gonna wrap here

soon Dennis but was there a reason that

you picked the sacred Valley of Peru for

the location I mean it’s a beautiful

place well that’s a good reason you know

right there yeah it’s one of the most

spectacular places that I’ve ever been

to just in terms of the energy that’s

there it’s in the heart of the plant

medicine tradition that’s that’s also a

big reason that not only is there

ayahuasca but there of these other

shamanic medicines that are used so

there’s a tradition around it it’s also

in some ways it’s a microcosm of what is

happening on the planet I mean even

though the sacred valley is a beautiful

place you know all of these things are

going on it also has its own

environmental issues you know due to

climate change

shrinkage of the glaciers on this sort

of thing so partly you know it’s a good

it’s a good it’s what’s not exactly

isolated but many people may be thinking

of this isolated it’s a kind of a

shangri-la in a certain way it is a you

know mountain retreat I mean the the

factors that led me to you know focus on

the sacred Valley here are as much

personal as anything else you know

because I’ve been going there for quite

a while now I’d love it

and I’ve been working at this guesthouse

there with my retreats a place called

will katika

which is ideal location if we ever are

able to afford to buy a physical campus

or acquire a physical location for the

Academy hopefully this would be the

place but just just for a combination of

personal preference and and also the

fact that in some ways it’s you know

it’s a microcosm of the rest of the

world so it’s a place where people can

come and share these experiences and

also get the cultural experience you

know of the Incas who you know and and

the Priya cos I mean this was a society

that worked pretty well you know until

the degree that any society works

there’s a lot to admire about think and

create good cultures so you know there

was not any one thing that made me focus

on the sacred Fowler

Denis I I appreciate your time so much

your presence I always enjoy you know

having these conversations it’s been a

while since we kind of caught up I’m so

glad that we had you here and I’m so

thankful that you’re you’re creating

this this organization to you know

further spread this it seems like this

will be you know a huge part of your

legacy and really wish it the most

success in the world where can people

find more information about the Academy

out what is their website yes our

website is under construction we’re

we’re building it as rapidly as we can

we’ve received some donations a little

bit of seed money that’s gonna let us go

ahead with that so they can always look

at you know II and my

and Christina who handles registrations

and so on we’ll we’ll get back to you

right away with an email and tell you

for example about this retreat we’ve got

happening in November and anything else

that happens to be on the agenda so

numerous ways and eventually within I

would say within a couple of weeks we

should have we should have at least a

basic website up and open so perfect I

mean so so this is all you know

happening as we speak and it should have

more concrete as time develops and it

sits there as a resource for people very

soon and and I’m glad that you were able

to put this together I think that amazed

is there got some great people it’s not

just me you know it’s got my name on it

but we’re a collective effort and I’ve

got some really creative beautiful

people working on this with me so cool

yeah so so stay tuned for sure Dennis

hang tight for me I’m just gonna do the

clothes here really quick just hang

tight guys that’s gonna do us for hxp

the show today I hope you guys enjoyed

this it’s really fun to talk to Dennis

and get his perspective it’s quite

sobering but I mean this is the reality

that we’re in and that we’re facing so

it’s important that we acknowledge it

and recognize it and do some take action

do something about it if you’re

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