For those of you, like me, who hadn’t seen Terrence McKenna’s conversation with Ram Das (formerly Richard Alpert, Harvard professor and psychedelic pioneer of the 1960’s), you’ll be in for a real treat. On the surface they appear to be coming from opposite ends. Following an intensive series of experiences with his guru Maharaj-ji (who also was my graduate professor’s spiritual teacher), he dropped his use of psychedelics (see Ram Das’s excellent/tear-wrenching documentary “Fierce Grace” (see this part on his trip to India). McKenna, on the other hand, was for the 1990’s what Timothy Leary had been for the 1960’s. A brilliant orator, McKenna left behind gigs and gigs of audio recording to be spliced into YouTube and podcast channels across the web (see my favorite show, Lorenzo’s Psychedelic Salon). They rub up against their differences, sure, but you also can tell McKenna has tremendous respect for Das – and Das, very much the same. You see, as someone who travels between communities with major differences (shamanism and entheogens vs. yoga and meditation, and all the opinions in between), this may very well be my favorite conversation to date.
Oh, and do watch for the waiter’s punctual interruptions; I still wonder if he was part of the show.