“Culture and language tend to become traps and yet, they can be the platforms for enormous freedom, if you understand what it’s all about. And what it’s all about is you. You are the center of the mandala. You are not marginalized in any way. And the message that the culture gives us is that we are marginal… We are constantly told we are not special… So then when you look for guidance, direction, mentorship, we always look towards institutions. “Well, I’ll go to the University, or I’ll go to the army, or I’ll do something - somebody will tell me, give me a larger purpose.” But it’s really yourself that is the final arbiter, and if you keep yourself as the final arbiter, you will be less susceptible to infection by cultural illusion.
Now the problem with this is that it makes you feel bad to not be infected by cultural illusion, because it’s called alienation… The reason we feel alienated is because the society is infantile, trivial and stupid. So the cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation. I grapple with this because I am a parent, and I think anybody who has children comes to this realisation: “What will it be? Alienated, cynical intellectual or slackjawed, half-wit consumer of the horse-shit being handed down from on high”. There is not much choice, and we all want our children to be “well adjusted” - unfortunately there is nothing to be well adjusted to. So that’s a real problem.”
-Terence McKenna, ‘The World and It’s Double’