In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Dennis McKenna, an ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, lecturer and author. He’s also the founder of the McKenna Academy and a board member at the Heffter Research Institute. We talked about psychedelics and consciousness.

So, let’s hear what Dennis McKenna has to say about human consciousness, including psychedelics’ role in our evolution.

We discussed: ethnopharmacologist, pharmacologist

  1. Start with a discussion of consciousness. Mind/Brain duality. Universal consciousness. The hard question. What is consciousness, in your opinion?
    1. The reality hallucination; brain creates reality
    2. Default mode network as a filter
    3. A fundamental property of nature?
  2. In that context, what is a non-ordinary state of consciousness, like that which results from a psychedelic experience?
    1. Disrupt neural gating (DMN); opens up what we have suppressed
    2. Reset DMN, brain
    3. When you say that plants and fungi can expand our consciousness, what do you mean by that?
    4. Set and Setting; medicine; dose
  3. What role did the plants play in the evolution of human consciousness?
    1. Can we deliberately change and evolve our consciousness (individual, collective)? With plants/fungi, something else?
    2. Stoned Ape Theory
      1. Neural plasticity
      2. Epigenetics
    3. Synesthesia as a basis of language; triggered by psilocybe cubensis
    4. Language basis of consciousness, cognition
    5. Share/transmit information/knowledge through time
    6. 2001 Space Odyssey, Monolith
  4. We’re at the doorstep of a global transformation in human consciousness, yes? (Please explain)
    1. When somebody says ‘higher consciousness’, what does that mean?
  5. Any thoughts on neural correlates of consciousness? Under non-ordinary states of consciousness?
  6. Teonanacatl – flesh of the gods
    1. Book: American Holocaust 
  7. What are your thoughts on reality…what is real versus perceived? 
  8. What didn’t I ask? 
    1. Immersed in symbiotic relationship with the plants/fungi
    2. Tools to help us discover what we already know
    3. Cognitive partners
  9. What’s next from you? What are you excited about?
    1. McKenna Academy – psychedelic university
    2. A place for learning, integrating, exploring these ideas
    3. Help people learn how to think, not WHAT to think
    4. Achieve their own consciousness
    5. Remind people to remember to be astonished, experience wonder (nature)