In 1988, Terence Mckenna – a well-known American philosopher, psychedelic enthusiast, ethnobotanist and humanitarian; provided an awakening message that identifies an obstacle for someone who desires to be happy. And that message was: “Culture is not your friend.” But what exactly did Terence mean by this? How does culture impact your happiness and does it truly hate you?
We live in a world dominated by a vast amount of various cultures, forming identity defining systems that pull an individual into a particular reality dependent upon the source. What this means is that your relationship with your surroundings will sculpt your experience of life. For example, if you are a sociable white American eighteen-year-old person who lives in a family that is financially comfortable in today’s world; then there is a high chance you will physically, mentally, and linguistically represent that culture. You dress in certain clothing that is deemed ‘attractive’ by your fellow peers.(Because your reputation in this culture is a priority.) You use slang such as “That’s dope! On point. Turn up.” Your interests and hobbies embody the cultural norm, so your activities involve things like surfing social media and displaying an online profile that does not truly express your actual life. All in all, you think, act, and live according to how the culture tells you to. You’re not human. You simply become a reflection of lies which is why a mirror hurts so much when it shows your real self. Depression tends to spawn as a result while anxious feelings manifest by controlling your life. That goes for all cultures. They adopt, dehumanise, and consequently disempower you to behave like a programmed machine. Your culture hates you.
As a species’ undergoing a transformation like no other in human history, possibly even in Earth or solar system history, we are in desperate need of free-thinkers. People who are willing to step outside of a system that separates us all into cultural categories as a way to prevent unity. Don’t be pressured into playing a game of defining yourself as a particular race, embracing your culture, speaking a certain way, dressing a specific way, chasing a job because it pays well, these are ways to separate yourself from other beings. You are not Black, White, Asian, or American; Indian, British, Gay, Straight, Christian, Muslim, Hip Hop, Hippie – what have you. You are life!! Existence! The essence of what it is to express energy in the form of a human being. Live, love, die, repeat! Awaken to who you truly are. Find the others.
“Culture is not your friend. Culture is for other peoples’ convenience and the convenience of various institutions, churches, companies, tax collection schemes, what have you. It is not your friend. It insults you. It disempowers you. It uses and abuses you. None of us are well-treated by culture. It’s a perversion. It fetishizes objects. It creates consumer mania. It preaches endless forms of false happiness, endless forms of false understanding in the form of squirrelly religions and silly cults. It invites people to diminish themselves and dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines.”
– Terence Mckenna