of rhetoric emanating from the psychedelic community must improve radically. If it does
not, we will forfeit the reclamation of our birthright and all opportunity for exploring
the psychedelic dimension will be closed off. Ironically, this tragedy could occur almost
as a footnote to the suppression of synthetic and addictive narcotics.
cannot be said too often: the psychedelic issue is a civil rights and civil liberties issue.
It is an issue concerned with the most basic of human freedoms: religious practice and the
privacy of the individual mind. It was said that women could not be given the vote
because society would be destroyed. Before that, kings could not give up absolute power
because chaos would result. And now we are told that drugs cannot be legalized because society
would disintegrate. This is puerile nonsense!
As we have seen, human history could
be written as a series of relationships with plants, relationships made and broken. We
have explored a number of ways in which plants, drugs, and politics have cruelly intermingled
from the influence of sugar on mercantilism, to the influence of coffee on the modern
office worker, from the British forcing opium on the Chinese population to the CIA
using heroin in the ghetto to choke off dissent and dissatisfaction. History is the story
of these plant relationships. The lessons to be learned can be raised into consciousness,
integrated in to social policy, and used to create a more caring, meaningful world,
or they can be denied, just as discussion of human sexuality was repressed until the work
of Freud and others brought it into the light. The analogy is apt because the enhanced
capacity for cognitive experience made possible by plant hallucinogens is a basic a part
of our humanness as is our sexuality.
The question of how quickly we develop into a mature community able to address these issues
lies entirely with us.
Terence McKenna - 1999