— especially when we see through a screen?
What would McKenna say now about our screens? It’s not just television that is a drug.
Take me, for example. My root addiction is “the news.” I thought it was cigarettes — which I finally released at 39 when transit “sudden changes” Uranus opposed its natal degree, thus granting me a new lease on LIFE, a newly won sense of authentic aliveness — until, many years later, I realized that, ever since I heard, on the radio, at two and a half years of age, about the horrror of Hiroshima, I’ve been addicted to discovering, figuring out, understanding, comprehending, what is going on in the world at large.
At five I was reading running out to get the paper, as soon as the paperboy threw it onto the front porch. Quickly, I scanned the headlines for news. No news was good news. I could go outside and play again. I could pretend to be the child again. Postponing the burden, Death, Death to the whole wide world. Universal extinction. Done. Gone.
Nearly 78 years old now, my “hunger for the news” has run on unabated. Only now I’ve got cell phone, computer, and ipad, and the only news that’s worth absorbing is Breaking News (from the past 24 hours, 12 hours, 6 hours . . .) from “alternative sources” on fast-changing twitter,
Nothing has changed. I’m not truly HERE, and NOW, but there, elsewhere, through a screen. Eyes squinting, fingers flying over the keys, THERE. There I still am.
As a child, it was so that I could brace myself for The (Nuclear) Bomb, that Certain Death, and/or: so I could somehow PREVENT The Bomb. To this end, via the cessation of War, I dedicated myself at an early age.
And then, over the decades, proceeded to get into conflict after conflict, war after war, on a personal level, ego run amuck, wanting to change others, force them to see the world the way I did. Wanting to win! I was desperate. Driven. Obsessed.
I still am. The only difference is that now I’m more aware of the ego’s need to be right, correct, living for that “I told you so” moment.
So this is a confession. Mea culpa.
Terrence McKenna noticed the effect of the television screen decades ago. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Benjamin Lee Whorf, and a few others, recognized the effect of language itself; how it seems to shape reality via especially “names” for “things,” which we then see and identify as separate from other “things,” because the mind has learned to carve out separate shapes by giving them names.
Always: thought/language frames up “reality” inside our minds in one way or another, before we project its contents upon the what William James called the “buzzing booming confusion” of a newborn’s perception. This highly creative framing capacity of ours, which we begin to learn as an infant, results in language, and forms our “world-view.”
Everyone on Earth has his or her own world-view! We go around the world as if we have cones around our heads (like dog cones, so they won’t scratch), assuming that our single, tiny, inescapably “incorrect” simulacrum of “outside” phenomena that keeps changing and we keep trying to make it stop — IS reality.
There is no way to get away from our mind’s ravenous desire to seek “truth” — either for the purpose of covering it up with lies, and/or the purpose of thereby manipulating others, or finally, for the purpose of simply having the satisfaction that ah yes, FINALLY, I “get it.” But it’s an “it” that keeps moving, changing, erupting, rolling, fulminating, swirling. There is no final “it;” there is no “there” there, there is only this one moment, this sacred silent presence, blinking in and out, spreading to infinity, through the breath, the heartbeat, the eternal silence of the one Being . . . . OMMMMMMM