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Getting On : Literature Reviews

Sugar, Alcohol & Television: Our Western Opiates?

from pharmaboy - Wednesday, December 18, 2002
accessed 2773 times

Interesting ideas/excerpt from Terence McKenna's book "Food of the Gods".

Another "subversive" book on my list in my proccess of cult unbrainwashing..

I read "Food of the Gods" recently and enjoyed its unique view on our western society. How we have gone from what he defines a "partnership society", close to nature, equality of the sexes with women being the spiritual guides, a thriving religion based on nature, etc. To our present "dominator society", dominated by male-ego & religions based on repentance and guilt. He also analyses how Christianity has re-created itself over the centuries to fit this model to keep the ruling class in power. The book goes so far as to suggest that psilocybin mushrooms could have been the missing link that accelerated the evolution of primitive man in Africa and aided in our survival in the earliest years of mankind. McKenna is not some quack hippy though; he has references to all his statements and admits when his ideas are mere speculation.

What interested me the most was his history of sugar & how it promoted the slave trade. He sees sugar as an addictive drug and how similar the craving and withdrawal symptoms are to that of other drugs. Although we see alcohol as a "minor" drug, the effects it had on other civilizations when we introduced it to them were devastating. There is a shift in values/transformation of a society when alcohol becomes the drug of choice.


"The nearest analogy to the addictive power of television and the transformation of values that is wrought in the life of the heavy user is probably heroin. Heroin flattens the image; with heroin, things are neither hot nor cold; the junkie looks out at the world certain that what ever it is, it does not matter. The illusion of knowing and of control that heroin engenders is analogous to the unconscious assumption of the television consumer that what is seen is 'real' somewhere in the world. In fact, what are seen are the cosmetically enhanced surfaces of products. Television, while chemically non-invasive, nevertheless is every bit as addicting and physiologically damaging as any other drug.

"Most unsettling of all is this: the content of television is not a vision but a manufactured data stream that can be sanitized to 'protect' or impose cultural values. Thus we are confronted with an addictive and all-pervasive drug that delivers an experience whose message is whatever those who deal the drug wish it to be. Could anything provide a more fertile ground for fostering fascism and totalitarianism than this? In the United States, there are many more televisions than households, the average television set is on six hours a day, and the average person watches more than five hours a day - nearly one-third of their waking time. Aware as we all are of these simple facts, we seem unable to react to their implications. Serious study of the effects of television on health and culture has only begun recently. Yet no drug in history has so quickly or completely isolated the entire culture of its users from contact with reality. And no drug in history has so completely succeeded in remaking in its own image the values of the culture that it has infected.

"Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content makes it inevitably a tool of coercion, brainwashing, and manipulation. Television induces a trance state in the viewer that is the necessary precondition for brainwashing. As with all other drugs and technologies, television's basic character cannot be changed; television is no more reform able than is the technology that produces automatic assault rifles." [p.p. 218-220, Terence McKenna, FOOD OF THE GODS; Bantam, 1992. ISBN 0-553-37130-4]

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from Jesus Crust
Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 09:42

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

En nome et padre et fille et spiritu sante, O fille mi bonie bellie for bennie solde all his dominoes.

Translation: I apporve of thee ingesting psilocybin mushrooms.
(reply to this comment)

from Anthony
Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 16:05


LOL! I wouldn’t place any importance on ideas coming from the founder of Novelty Theory and other pseudo-science crap manipulations. Timewave Zero, for example, was “revealed” to Terence by an “extraterrestrial” intelligence as the result of a psychedelic drug trip, (he ingested psilocybin mushrooms), in 1971, while in the Columbian Amazon jungle.

“Our planet is on a collision course with something that we, at our present state of knowledge, don't have a word for. A black hole is simply a gravitationally massive object, so massive that no light can leave it. What I'm talking about is something like that, except that it isn't so much gravitationally massive as temporally massive. We are soon to be sucked into the body of eternity. My model points to 11:18 am, Greenwich Mean Time, December 21, 2012 AD.”
~Terence McKenna

He often used the phrase “heroic dose” when speaking of the amounts of psychedelics he ingested:

"Going through life without ever having a psychedelic experience is like going through life without ever having sex."
~Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna died on April 3, 2000 of brain cancer, anybody wonder why? LOL! How convenient of these doomsday “prophets” to die before “the end of the world as we know it”, blah, blah, blah.


(reply to this comment)
From pharmaboy.
Sunday, December 22, 2002, 05:25

I was aware of his early crazy ideas, so I read this book carefully. Food of the Gods came out in 1992, and he had learned enough from mushrooms by then to not take completely seriously the 'truths' discovered tripping! If you read his book it's more like a history book, no crazy theories, no new religions, etc. Well referenced with every historical or statistical statement he makes. The conclusion of the book is what he calls a modest proposal which main point is simply: "if it's a plant, let it grow, it's ridiculous that a government can, with laws, can outlaw a plant(s)".(no world-end theories at all!)

Anthony, that was 1971, how many other crazy events took place back then? he wrote food of the gods in '92, made no references to his end of the world revelations of the 70s, but instead writes a book which could almost be a historical manual how the oldest chemically synthesized drug, alcohol, became our drug of choice and the social impact it had.

Read the book then judge him, it is considered his most important work & I wouldn't have wasted my time reading it if had been oriental ohm-chanting bullshit. I'm allegic to that as much as any exfam is. I once started to read a buddist self-improvement book and couldn't get past the first page, it was like war flashbacks to a 'nam veteran, LOL!
(reply to this comment
from TimR
Friday, December 20, 2002 - 01:41

Interesting views, I personaly think it's the low quality of TV content that is harmful, and not the medium itself.

To steal a line from the NRA "TV doesn't retard people, people retard people."

(reply to this comment)
From xhrisl
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 08:17

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Amen! I'll take my AK-47 over TV any day.(reply to this comment
From pharmaboy .
Friday, December 20, 2002, 02:52

That’s a point, but no matter how “educational” or high quality the content of TV is, ultimately you the viewer are sitting on your ass passively watching a screen move. At least with internet some interaction is required, a discussion board for example. I don’t hate TV but I question myself: “ If I(we)didn’t have TV, what would we do with the time normally spent watching it, would the absence of TV promote interaction with others, how would our views on world issues change if we got our opinions from a larger variety of sources?”

You watch a thriller and feel intelligent when the hero discovers the killer, or brave when watching an action film. Your normally safe, easy life is more interesting after watching Reality TV. But you’re still sitting on your ass in your living room in the safety of your own home, it doesn’t matter whether alone of in company because communication is non exsistant.
(reply to this comment
From PompousJohn
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 09:06

I've spent some time in situations where there was no TV at home, and found that my creativity and productivity was much higher, it seemed I had more time for everything.

Of course there is a downside to this, as I was without a TV on 9/11 and someone had to call me up to let me know what happened, and I just had to sit there by the phone and call back every 10 minutes or so and ask "now what's happening?"
(reply to this comment
From JoeH
Friday, December 20, 2002, 12:47

what makes you think people didnt' say the same thing about books ('they prevent social interaction)? Would you get rid of books too? (reply to this comment
From pharmaboy..
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 03:52

A book is similar to internet, and yes, it may favor isolation, but it's much less passive than TV. Compare two people, a scholar who spends hours a day reading & your average John Doe who spends hours a day watching TV. You will notice the scholar's good knowlegde on a variety of subjects, but JD won't impress you with his "inside info" on Al-Quaeda or his vast memory of Jerry Springer titles.

Social interaction isn't a big deal, not everyone needs to have a great social life. TV's literary/informational value at it's best can be compared to trashy page turners or magazines.

Joe, if you're trying to make an arguement at least try to say something that makes sense, you can compare TV and Ken Follet, not TV and classics like Dante, Joyce, Voltaire, Freud, Jung, the list is endless and most the writings of these authors would go way over the head of your John Doe TV junkie.

(reply to this comment
From Big Sister
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 00:42

Actually, that reminds me of a book I read a while back called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander. In his book, he describes an experiment where two groups of people, one watching TV and another reading books, are suddently
warned that their building is on fire and they must evacuate immediately. The group watching TV took valuable seconds longer to pay attention to the emergency compared to the group reading.
The conclusion was that TV watching puts the viewer into a kind of trance while reading keeps the brain functioning at a higher and more active level. And so, even tho' both are solo activities, reading is somehow keeps you more integrated with your immediate surroundings. At least, according to Jerry Mander. Makes some sense to me.

(reply to this comment
From TV saved my life
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 12:17

OK, between Mander and Dr. Atkins who hates sugar and carbs, what do I have left?! I'll have to take up drugs or gambling.(reply to this comment
From PompousJohn
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 08:58

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Archemedes skewered by roman soldiers when he refused to abandon the book he was reading and take shelter while they sacked his home? I can't remember where I read this.
(reply to this comment
From TimR
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 13:20

I believe he was sitting on the beach, drawing his ideas in the sand. A soldier came up behind him and ordered him to get up, and supposedly he just ignored him, and the soldier "put him to the sword".

This was a shame, since I think the whole point of the war had been to capture Archimedes. We're talking about legends here tho, whether or not this happened is open to debate.
(reply to this comment
From Gutenberg
Friday, December 20, 2002, 21:24

Good one, Joe. The printing press was hugely subversive! Didn't people have to get the King's (or Queen's) persmission to publish books at first?(reply to this comment
From pharmaboy.
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 03:57

Exactly, and many governments are trying to control the internet as well. Anyone can express their views and share information with millions on the net. How many people have their own TV channel?

Is there really space for open debate on TV?
(reply to this comment
From PompousJohn
Saturday, December 21, 2002, 09:01

Cable Access, dude. (Haven't you ever seen "Wayne's World"?) I don't know if anybody watches it, but it's there and you can get on TV for free, in your local community at least.
(reply to this comment
from JoeH
Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 13:36

It's a nice idea, and sure to get all you idiots riled up, but I have some questions:

If TV is as bad as he says, why isn't he a drooling moron?

If he's still smart enough to write about it, then he must not watch TV, so then how can he know what he's talking about?
(reply to this comment)
from Alf
Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 12:47

Right on pharma. Another interesting article. email me sometime.
(reply to this comment)

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