Dennis' Opus and What Came Next[Trenchant Edges]

Welcome back to the late edition of Trenchant Edges, the newsletter about deep dives into fringe culture, politics, and history. I’m your host, Stephen Fisher, professional fuckoff and researcher.

Today we’re continuing our investigation into Terence McKenna’s Timewave by looking at the what the experiment was actually supposed to do, what it did, and how it changed the lives of the Brothers McKenna. If that’s not your trip, scroll down to the unsubscribe button.

One of these days I’ll figure out how to embed it further up.

1. Housekeeping

So, I’ve been almost completely bedridden except for 5-20 minutes/day since last Sunday. I’m getting better, but it sucks. Old back injury back, blah blah blah.

I’m getting more reading done but it’s making the writing hard. I’ve been in a chair for 20 minuts now and it’s the longest I’ve sat down at a stretch since last week. Great.

That’s part of why this email is so late. The other part is because I was hoping to announce I’d gotten a sweet deal with substack, but alas, that didn’t pan out.

We’ll be getting into some more news at the end of the newsletter.

2. The Opus

So far I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Terence and Dennis’ expectations as something of a millennial dream, a hope to liberate mankind from profane history and the deathmarch of progress.

And that’s not wrong, but it’s also not exactly right either. Like Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the Experiment at La Chorrera was built on trying to push past the despair of the failures of 60s radical politics.

Where Thompson went with atavistic excess and hoping he could sell enough books about it to keep him out of jail and in fresh cocaine, Terence thought the world just needed to contend more with some transcendental other to change fast enough to meet the challenges of the era.

To that end, he and his friends scoured the literature of anthropology for information on living Shamanic cultures and techniques. They were primarily interested in the “visionary brew” of Ayahausca, which as we discussed earlier, combines a MAOI and DMT. MAOIs make DMT orally active and extend the trip for much longer.

They settled on La Chorrera because of a secret local variation called Oo-koo-he, as a place to investigate further for a technique that might open the transcendent dimension for everyone, not just the usual crop of saints and mystics.

But when they arrived, of course, they found magic mushrooms and things got weird fast.

Ack, well, this sucks. I overestimated the length of time I’d be able to sit. So, I need to crash.

Looks like you’ll be getting another email from me tomorrow morning to finish this out.

Oh, the news I mentioned?

We’re trying out some merch. And subscribers will get the first round, some baller stickers, free of charge.

So if you want to get in on that, you can always click

I know, it’s subtle. Hopefully most of y’all are in the US else my shipping math is gonna be way off.

Anyway, catch you tomorrow.

P.S. All typos provided free of charge.