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Tangentially Speaking

378 – John Harrison (Therapist / Former Fugitive from Injustice)

By May 21, 2019September 14th, 20195 Comments

John Harrison has had life experiences ranging from high-altitude mountaineer, to wilderness guide and group leader, tennis junkie, massage therapist, a former resident of Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, two plus years as a Federal fugitive (from injustice), followed by a two and a half year stint as a guest of the US Federal government’s Bureau of Prisons. Dude’s been around.

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Music: “Brightside of the Sun,” by Basin and Range; “Down Under,” by Colin Hay; “Smoke Alarm,” by Carsie Blanton.


  • That "I’m still getting good messages" Terrence told John might not be entirely true…

    I listened to one of the Psychedelic Salon’s episodes, which was a recording of a presentation given by Bruce Damer (a previous Tangentialist Speaking guest) at Esalen some years ago, in which he said that Terrence had a very negative experience with mushrooms that was so terrifying, he stopped using them for many years; something he kept hidden from his fans, because by then he was "The Bard" of the modern psychedelic movement. Bruce says in that recording the deception took a terrible toll in McKenna’s psyche and he became very depressed. And then came the final rebuttal to his cherished Time Wave Zero theory by a mathematician.

    That recording is really worth a listen, because Damer’s interpretation of why the mushrooms ‘turned on Terrence’ after he had been his devoted spokesman is very endearing:

    And yes, this revelation is a big hit to the myth of Terrence McKenna, but him being a natural iconoclast I’m sure he would have recognized the need for future generations of not putting him in such a high a pedestal.

  • JOE peeer says:

    luv the hibiscus in the back ,,,kudoz

  • Thomas says:

    Hi Chris. Great interview and slightly grating, as most thought-provoking things are. You identify the character as „fugitive from injustice“. Isn‘t that laying it on a little thick ? Someone who makes his livelihood selling one kind of illicit drug and bychance gets sentenced for selling the wrong type, that‘s hardly fleeing from injustice, non ? At least, that is a type of „injustice“ that‘s kinda easy to avoid by not selling any kind of illicit substance. Yeah yeah that‘s a conservative standpoint, but it devalues the claim what fleeing from injustice actually means. I felt that sometimes a little resistance to the more outlandish claims people make on your show would help, but you being a smart dude means you probably thought that through, too. Thanks for reading,
    Thomas from the Netherlands.

    • Christopher Ryan says:

      I see your point, though if you believe (as I do) that there’s no legitimate reason to outlaw mushrooms or any other tool for the exploration of one’s consciousness, then they’re being labeled "illicit" in the first place becomes the issue. Granted, he knew he was breaking a law, but if the law is bullshit, where’s the justice? Thoreau refused to pay taxes to a government that supported slavery. He went to jail for it. Was that just? Complicated matters.

      • Bradley Thompson says:

        Hey Chris,

        I really enjoyed this podcast and I was actually trying to get ahold of John but am having trouble finding his email. I am a current resident of San Diego and also working on my PsyD. I would like to contact Mr. Harrison as my interests are similar in the field and would like to chat!

        Thanks for all you do,
        Brad Thompson

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