Terence McKenna - Calm Down

This article is a theoretical piece, primarily because it discusses abstract ideas and concepts without an exact focus on specific events, products, or concrete guidelines. It embodies the musings of the speaker (presumable Terence McKenna) and embodies personal experiences and philosophies without utilizing evidence-based arguments or referencing exact cases or studies.

The speaker in this article shares anecdotes about calmly observing nature, describing experiences with a spider weaving a web between his fingers and a crab carefully cleaning under his fingernails. In addition, it delves into philosophical musings about the harmony, pattern and economy in nature and parallels drawn with life.

The main topic revolves around the power of stillness and observation in nature, often referencing psychedelic experiences as a means to enhance attention and awareness. Secondary topics include philosophical contemplation of the beauty and harmony in nature, the understanding of natural patterns, economy of energy in nature, and the concept of daoism as it parallels to the natural world. Keywords to identify these topics include "calm", "psychedelics", "attention", "nature", "patterns", "dao", "economy of energy", and "appropriate response."

  1. Introduction
  2. The Power of Low Doses of Psychedelics
    1. Inducing Stillness and Attention
    2. Explaining the use of Ritalin
    3. Observations of Nature: The Spider's Web
  3. Experiences in Nature
    1. Seychelles Islands: Observing the Crab
    2. Wave Phenomena and Other Natural Stirrings
  4. The Pattern of Nature
    1. Understanding of Whitehead's Perception of Pattern
    2. Identification of Patterns in Nature
  5. The Principles and Economy of Nature
    1. Economy and Elegance in Nature
    2. Meaning of Dao
    3. The Appropriate Response Principle
  6. Conclusion

Terence McKenna - The Power of Calmness in Nature

So much transpires in nature, but we have to embrace calmness to perceive this. Sometimes, the potential in low doses of psychedelics is simply their ability to make individuals calm down, sit quietly, and focus. Amazing things are continuously happening in the natural world.

Take, for instance, an experience my brother had while testing ritalin, a compound that smoothens psychic energy. This was approximately 15 years ago. He simply sat calmly, awaiting the effects of this substance. As he settled into this tranquil state, a spider came and wove an orb web between his fingers. This intricate process took about an hour, with the experience resonating with principles of Dao.

Many years ago, I had a similar calm experience, induced by a mild psychedelic. I was in nature, sitting at ease on a beach in the Seychelles Islands. With my hands relaxed, a small white crab came and meticulously cleaned under each of my fingernails. I also observed wave phenomena and various other natural stirrings.

Understanding Nature's Patterns

Whitehead once defined understanding as the perception of a pattern as such. Nature holds patterns upon patterns on every scale, in energy, light, matter, momentum, charge, electric field, and magnetic density. All these are within our grasp, to be known and understood. When you truly immerse yourself in it, these general principles are what emerge.

Nature operates with an astounding economy and elegance. There is no wasted energy - a principle that resonates with Dao. Nature means an appropriate response to every situation, the right tool for every job, and a suitable linguistic response to every situation. The wonders of nature are infinite, and they continuously unfold when one is still and receptive.

The information in the article offers a unique perspective on mindfulness, detailing the benefits of truly paying attention to details in nature that are often overlooked in our hurried lives. It reminds readers of the myriad of patterns in nature, hinting at a deeper, interconnected order that might provide insights into several areas of knowledge, such as environmental science, biology, physics, and even philosophy. Additionally, the principle of 'dao' (the way), as understood here, can extend to problem-solving, management, and interpersonal relationships - in other words, applying the 'right tool for the job' or responding appropriately to each setting.

However, to complement the insights from the article, it would be interesting to see more empirical or scientific evidence backing the claims made. For instance, including studies that stress the mental and physical benefits of slowing down, immersing oneself in nature, and practicing mindfulness could strengthen the argument. Neuroscience, psychology, and related fields could contribute important information to support or challenge the author's perspectives.

While the author beautifully underlines the virtues of slowing down and observing nature, he seems to focus heavily on the benefits of using psychedelics to achieve this state. This could be viewed as a contradiction or a point for contention considering that this practice isn't universally accepted or accessible. Additionally, the emphasis on the use of psychedelics might overshadow the alternative ways of reaching a state of calm and profound understanding of nature, such as through methods of meditation, yoga, or simple introspection. It would be crucial to note that while the author advocates for a certain approach, other paths to attaining the same clarity, presence, and appreciation for nature do exist.

Question 1:

What effect does the speaker suggest low doses of psychedelics can have on a person's ability to observe nature?

"I think the power of low doses of psychedelics is simply that they make people sit down, shut up, and pay attention and that you know, amazing things go on."

Question 2:

What did the speaker's brother experience during his calm state after using Ritalin?

"A spider came and wove an orb web between his fingers right here and he just sat and watched this thing and it took an hour."

Question 3:

What interaction did the speaker have with a small white crab in the Seychelles Islands?

"A small white crab came and cleaned under my fingernail one by one."

Question 4:

How does the speaker describe the way nature operates?

"Nature works with such an incredible economy and with such an incredible elegance. There is no wasted energy. This is what dao means, it means an appropriate response to every situation."

Outline of the natural and the effect of minimal dosage of psychedelics

1. According to the text, what can be the result of low doses of psychedelics?

  • a. It can cause hallucinations
  • b. It encourages people to sit, be quiet, and pay attention
  • c. It can make people aggressive
  • d. It causes intense visions
  • Correct answer: b. It encourages people to sit, be quiet, and pay attention

    2. In the text, how is the term 'dao' interpreted?

  • a. It denotes chaos and confusion
  • b. It symbolizes the inappropriate response to situations
  • c. It indicates wasted energy
  • d. It signifies an appropriate response to every situation
  • Correct answer: d. It signifies an appropriate response to every situation

    3. What happened when the speaker's brother took Ritalin?

  • a. A spider wove a web between his fingers
  • b. He couldn't remain calm
  • c. He fell asleep immediately
  • d. He started to hallucinate
  • Correct answer: a. A spider wove a web between his fingers

    Understanding of the natural pattern

    4. What does the speaker say nature is a pattern of?

  • a. In energy, light, matter, momentum, charge and electric field
  • b. In water, fire, wind, and soil
  • c. In animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses
  • d. In the stars, planets, and galaxies
  • Correct answer: a. In energy, light, matter, momentum, charge, and electric field

    Studying the effects of a drug test

    5. What was the unusual thing observed during the beach trip in Seychelles Island?

  • a. A white crab cleaning under the speaker's fingernails
  • b. The speaker started hallucinating
  • c. A giant wave washed over the beach
  • d. The sand turned into glass
  • Correct correct: a. A white crab cleaning under the speaker's fingernails

    1. Calm Down: Terrence advises the importance of calming down to understand and appreciate our surroundings, especially nature. This can be done through meditation or simply sitting quietly in a natural environment. By doing so, we open ourselves to appreciate the life that is thriving around us. This should not just be incorporated in our daily life when we are overwhelmed but as a daily practice to start or end our day calmly.
    2. Pay Attention: Once we have calmed down, it becomes essential to keep our senses open and pay attention. Through this, we can observe the intricate details of our environment that we generally miss due to our busy lives. This practice can help us gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for life and the world around us.
    3. Stay Open to Experiences: As we calm down and start observing, our mind should be open to experiencing whatever comes our way. As Terrence's brother discovered, at times, ordinary things can transform into extraordinary experiences if we approach them with patience and attention to detail. This can be incorporated in our daily life by being more open to new experiences and learning from them.
    4. Deepen Connection with Nature: Terrence's experiences highlight the unexpected connections one can form with nature. In our daily lives, we can make small efforts to deepen our connection with nature - such as walking barefoot on the grass, listening to the rustling leaves, or observing the night sky. This practice enables us to feel more grounded and can reduce stress.
    5. Understanding patterns: Nature is full of patterns, and understanding these can be a rewarding and enlightening experience. We can start to notice these patterns in our daily lives. For instance, the changing seasons, the rhythm of rain, the pattern of shadows throughout the day. This exercise could enhance your curiosity about the world around us, and potentially drive a scientific interest.
    6. Seek Elegance and Economy in Action - Embracing Dao: As stated, Dao means an appropriate response to every situation; it is about respecting harmony and balance in our actions. In our everyday lives, we can seek to act appropriately and efficiently within our means, eliminating unnecessary extravagance or waste, which can lead to a more balanced and harmonious existence.

    The best tip to include in daily life is to 'Calm Down'. A calm mind opens up to understanding, experiences and learns better. This tip lays the foundation for all the other tips discussed earlier.