Sunday, 26 June 2016

Culture Is Your Operating System

Cultural operating systems are relative. Some work for some things and some for others. By expressing ourselves authentically we contribute to culture. Otherwise, we are in danger of being victims of it. Not to mention weakening it.

“The culture makes the world, not the industry.” – Matthew Silver (on Boom Done Live radio show, August 2014).

"Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology." - Terence McKenna.

“We are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination, and when you step outside the mass hallucination you see it for what it's worth.” - Terence McKenna ('Eros and the Eschaton' lecture, 1994).

Culture Is Your Operating System

(Excerpt from a lecture by Terence McKenna ‑ 'Light of 3rd Millenium,' Austin, Texas (1997, I think)

"So I've been thinking about this a lot, and at first it seemed only to me only a metaphor. this phrase 'culture is your operating system'. but because I travel around a lot and get that jolting experience frequently, of let's say leaving London on a foggy evening and arriving in Johannesburg 14 hours later to sweltering day in a city of 14 million on the brink anarchy...I get to change my Operating System frequently. And so I notice the relativity of these systems. and some work for some things and some for others...For instance if you are a positivist. If you are running 'Positivism 4.0,' you can't support UFOs. Positivism 4.0 does not support UFOs. If on the other hand you're running Urantia Book 5.1 as your Operating System, UFOs and a number of other things can get in through the door. That is what we would technically say is a more tolerant Operating System. Or its plug‑in supports special effects denied to the positivists.

Well, it's fun to think this way because it shows you don't have to be a victim of your culture. It's not like your eye colour or your height or your gender. It's fragile. It can be remade. If you wish it to be. And then the question is, well, 'how does one download a new Operating System?' Well, first of all, you have to clear some space on your disk. The best way to do this is probably with a pharmacological agent. You think of some while I have a drink of water [McKenna is an advocate of psychedelic drugs]... 

Baron von Richtofen, the Red Baron (Adrian Edmondson): How lucky you English are to find the toilet so amusing. For us, it is a mundane and functional item. For you it is the basis of an entire culture...
- (Blackadder Goes Forth, Comedy Series Written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, 1989).

Now, shamans have always known, though they may not have used the kind of language I'm using here...shamans have always known this trick. What trick? It has two facets. First of all, that culture is an operation system. That's all it is. And that the operating system can be wiped out and replaced by something else. So, essentially, what's going on among shamans and those who resort to them for curing and counselling and so forth... is somebody's running a slightly more advanced operating system than the customer. The shaman is in possession of certain facts. About plants, about animals, about healing, about human psychology, about the local geography, about mojo of many different sorts, that the client is not aware of...the client is running 'culture‑lite.' The shaman paid for the registered and licensed version of the software and is running a much heavier version of the software than the client. I think we should all aspire to make this upgrade. It's very important that you have all the bells and whistles on your Operating System, otherwise somebody is going to get a leg up on you.

Well, what's wrong with the Operating System that we have? Consumer capitalism 5.0 or whatever it is. Well, it's DUMB. It's retro. It's very non‑competitive. It's messy. It wastes the environment; it wastes human sources. It's inefficient; it runs on stereotypes. It runs on a low sampling rate which is what creates stereotypes. Low sample rates make everybody appear alike, when in fact the glory is in everyone's differences...and the current Operating System is flawed. It actually has bugs in it that generate contradictions. Contradictions such as we're cutting the earth beneath our own feet. We're poisoning the atmosphere that we breathe. This is not intelligent behaviour. This is a culture with a bug in its Operating System that's making it produce erratic, dysfunctional, malfunctional behaviour. Time to call the tech. And who are the techs? The shamen are the techs. So I think you get the idea. Very important to upgrade your Operating System by dumping obsolete cultural subroutines. They are simply taking up disk space. They are not advancing you in any way whatsoever."

- Terence McKenna (excerpt from his lecture, 'Light Of 3rd Millenium,' Austin, Texas - 1997, I think).

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