25 Terence McKenna Quotes On Living Life

He lived a different kind of life as you’ll see from these Terence McKenna quotes. 

Terence McKenna has a long list of titles that come with his name and life.

While they include things like lecturer and author, as an ethnobotanist, he was most known for his work with psychedelic plants.

McKenna spent time in the Amazon studying and learning about “magic mushrooms”.

He advocated for people exploring the altered state of mind that came from the use of psychedelic plants. 

He had many beliefs about what could be revealed through their use and believed that natural plants should be used instead of drugs that were created in the laboratory.

McKenna also believed that people could experience and figure out the mysteries of the universe with an altered mind. 

Don’t forget to also check out these St. Francis of Assisi quotes from the patron saint for ecologists.

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Read more related content on our inspirational quotes category page.

Terence McKenna quotes about life

1. “Half the time you think your thinking you’re actually listening.” – Terence McKenna

2. “If you don’t have a plan, you become part of somebody else’s plan.”  – Terence McKenna

3. “We tend to disempower ourselves. We tend to believe that we don’t matter. And in the act of taking that idea to ourselves, we give everything away to somebody else, to something else.”  – Terence McKenna

4. “The major adventure is to claim your authentic, true being, which is not culturally given to you. The culture will not explain to you how to be a real human being. It will tell you how to be banker, politician, Indian chief, masseuses, actress, whatever, but it will not give you true being.”  – Terence McKenna

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5. “We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.”  – Terence McKenna

6. “We are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get this, get that.’ And then you’re a player, but you don’t want to play in the game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”  – Terence McKenna

7. “Nothing comes unannounced, but many can miss the announcement. So it’s very important to actually listen to your own intuition rather than driving through it.”  – Terence McKenna

8. “Ninety percent of the difficulty in your intellectual life would never have happened if you just had better taste.”  – Terence McKenna

9. “You don’t want to become so open-minded that the wind can whistle between your ears.”  – Terence McKenna

10. “I think that’s the job of each of us – to show our best toys and our best tricks that lift us and our friends to higher and higher levels.”  – Terence McKenna

11. “What civilization is, is 6 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in. It’s not a pleasant situation.”  – Terence McKenna

12. “The word ‘self’ is as great a mystery as the word ‘other’. It’s just a polarity between two mysteries.”  – Terence McKenna

13. “There is nobody who is so enlightened that they don’t need to work on themselves.”  – Terence McKenna

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Terence McKenna quotes about psychedelics

14. “Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third storey window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”  – Terence McKenna

15. “The psychedelic inner astronaut sees things which no human being has ever seen before, and no other human being will ever see again. But in fact, this has no meaning unless it is possible to carry it back into the collectivity.”  – Terence McKenna

16. “Life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego.”  – Terence McKenna

17. “Part of what psychedelics do is they decondition you from cultural values. This is what makes it such a political hot potato. Since all culture is a kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is one which causes people to start questioning the rules of the game.”  – Terence McKenna

18. “The pro-psychedelic plant position is clearly an antidrugs position. Drug dependencies are the result of habitual, unexamined, and obsessive behavior; these are precisely the tendencies in our psychological makeup that the psychedelics mitigate. The plant hallucinogens dissolve habits and hold motivations up to inspection by a wider, less egocentric, and more grounded point of view within the individual.”  – Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna quotes about nature

19. “Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”  – Terence McKenna

20. “Nature is not mute, it is a man who is deaf.”  – Terence McKenna

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21. “You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.”  – Terence McKenna

22. “If we could feel what we are doing to the Earth, we would stop immediately.”  – Terence McKenna

23. “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up.”  – Terence McKenna

24. “The notion of illegal plants and animals is obnoxious and ridiculous.”  – Terence McKenna

25. “We are so much the victims of abstraction that with the Earth in flames we can barely rouse ourselves to wander across the room and look at the thermostat.”  – Terence McKenna

What did you learn from these Terence McKenna quotes?

Terence McKenna felt strongly about the work that he did.

His life was devoted to the work and he spent time speaking on his theories and ideas.

He also created the Botanical Dimensions before passing away, which is now run by his ex-wife.

It’s dedicated to the study of the ethnomedical use of plants. 

Terence passed away at the age of 53 from brain cancer, which his doctors told him was not due to his psychedelic drug use. 

Whether you agree with his ideas around psychedelic drug use or not, he makes some valid points about life in general in some of his quotes.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Terence McKenna quotes and sayings?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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