My concerns with the psychedelic community - from 2003 onward, I spent three years watching, reading, and listening to every McKenna lecture, video, essay, and book in existence. I switched my major to biology and transferred to JMU. I ingested DMT with peganum harmala, DXM with psilocybin, experimented with analog research chemicals, and all and everything in between thousands upon thousands of times. I questioned everything in my world - But did we ever question McKenna himself?
McKenna and his legacy needs no apology nor any lionization from me - he's been worshiped across the world as a hero, a savior, a saint, a guru, and "one of the most important people in the history of mankind," and so forth. But many hero worshipers were guilty of creating the beginning formations of a traditional death cult in his name, and all the signs were there - complete with an unquestionable leader, an end of the world prophecy date, and a life and death call to action.
But the "question everything" mentality didn't(and still doesn't) seem to include the opinions of McKenna himself. In this community, the unabashed ingestion of large doses of drugs was considered party line, an unquestionable virtue. Changing the world through self-medication became the call to action. But was McKenna overly cavalier in his promotion of psychedelics?
McKenna's legacy is well established, just a decade after his death his books are enshrined next to Nietzsche at Barnes and Noble. But what of this nagging unfortunate aspect of that legacy in the west? McKenna was a strong opponent of post-modern dread and nihilism - But is the psychedelic community partly to blame for postmodern nihilism? Were McKenna's philosophies helplful to establishing the transhumanist movement?