“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
What an amazing quote. At first it seems circular and almost nonsensical, but as you let the words sink in, you realize they’re true. I stumbled across this video on another blog, Our Pathway to the Truth, and ironically it touched on a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately; authenticity.
In the course of my evening I had posted a different quote that I found insightful elsewhere on the internet. I was taken aback when several people chose to dismantle the credibility of the person who I was quoting as if this made the point of the statement have any less weight. Regardless of who said the words, I found meaning in them. My meaning. Something spoke to me and it made sense. What more than that is required? I’ll tell you. Nothing.
This is authenticity. As Mr. McKenna said, your understanding is the only understanding that can and will ever be useful to you. This is a responsibility and in my opinion, it’s the greatest one we have. We’re bombarded constantly by external suggestions on how to think and demands for what to believe. Tugging and pulling our mind this way and that, it’s no wonder folks end up confused, or even worse, unplugged. You can’t have the same understanding as those who are pulling and tugging. It’s just superficial mental manipulation. What it’s not is authentic.
The short video clip I posted below is part of a powerful speech given by Mr. McKenna several years ago. In it he suggests that to really understand what’s happening, ideologies have to be examined and often times discarded. This made something in me shudder. There are so many ideologies I know I carry because they’re adopted without authentic understanding. Some of them I’ve grown very attached to. It’s been a lifetime picking them up like pebbles on the road.
You must be willing to turn these pebbles over, examine them. Some need to be dropped back to the dust. Only those pebbles that make sense and have that perfect heft to them need to make it into your pocket. Be willing to re-examine those when they no longer sit comfortably. Ideologies that are adopted can only betray authenticity. They will limit understanding. They will bog you down.
Understanding isn’t a popularity contest. It’s not a social club. It’s a road that’s ultimately walked alone. It’s your road and no one else’s. This is the celebration of your uniqueness in a very large universe.
Give this short video a bit of your time and see if shakes something in you too. If not, drop the pebble back to the dust for someone else to find. It wasn’t yours to carry.