Terence McKenna's Time
There is another odd pointer to the 2012 date,
American psychedelic shaman Terrance McKenna's
Time Wave theory. In that theory, the year 2012
is called "Time Wave Zero." McKenna
took the I Ching, did some kind of mathematical
fractal operation with it, and produced a computer
program which supposedly produces a "time
wave" which maps out something called "novelty"
across the scale of time, from the Big Bang to
the Eschaton, the ending of time. And guess what?
The mapping of time mysteriously ends at 2012.
The Omega point.
I found out about the time wave zero because
I had been interested in McKenna's work for quite
some time. He was primarily an expert on psychedelic
substances, especially as religious sacraments
and as used by shamans throughout history. He
recounts, like Ginsberg and Burroughs before him,
memorable journeys to the Amazon region in search
of the mystic brew called "Yage" used
by shamans there as an entrance to the "other
world" beyond our ordinary consciousness.
He was also a heroic taker of, and expert on,
that explosive beyond-LSD drug called DMT or dimethyltryptamine.
His accounts of his trips using that are really
amazing to read, and he seriously believed that
this particular drug enabled telepathic contact
to occur with extraterrestrial intelligences,
or what he called "the self-transforming
elves." He felt that DMT opened up direct
perception of hyperspace.
I will confess straightaway I don't understand
his time wave scheme or its mathematics at all.
It seems very complicated. But I thought I would
check out some links today and present them for
anyone who is interested in investigaing this
strange linking of the very ancient (I Ching)
and the very modern (computers & fractals).
I am not very good at mathematics so it is a bit
beyond me, but the whole thing is intriguing,
especially in that he arrives at the same date
pointed to by the Maya calendar.
Here is a time wave graph showing the fluctuations
in "novelty" over a vastest scale, starting
with the Big Bang and ending on Dec. 21, 2012.
Apparently the fractal function can be graphed
for any time period at all, but this one is the
overall widest period, 25 billion years:
Exactly what this shows, I am still not sure.
I am trying to figure it out. To show how the
fractal graph, somehow derived from the 64 I Ching
hexagrams (King Wen Sequence), here is another
graph of a much smaller chunk of time:
Apparently the fractal function depends especially
on the sequence (order) in which the hexagrams
are taken. You may have seen fractal pictures
before. One of their features is that you can
zoom in on them forever and each emerging tiny
detail reveals the same structure of the overall
whole. The two diagrams above represent this kind
of "zooming in."
McKenna explains how he derived the Timewave
from the I Ching in an article called "Derivation
of the Timewave from the King Wen Sequence of
Hexagrams," which you can look at here. If
anyone can understand this article, please write
to me and explain it! It contains the key to McKenna's
whole system, but for the life of me I cannot
figure it out. As I said, my mind gets kind of
fuzzy when I try to dive into mathematics. Anyway,
he arrives somehow at the following graph of the
64 hexagrams, of which he says "Here is the
complete graph of the King Wen first order of
differnce with its mirror image fitted against
it to achieve closure:"
"Using techniques that I developed for the
problem I was able to mathematically collapse
the hexagram construct into a self-similar fractal
curve that can be used to map the unfolding of
temporal variables and their resonances on all
levels of duration."
I will leave it to the more mathematically gifted
to try to understand this derivation of the Time
Wave, but I find it fascinating that anyone would
even think of trying this in the first place.
If anything is modern computerized esotericism,
this is it! Has any reader figured out what all
McKenna sums it up this way:
"Such quantized transitions from one modality
to another are called "changes of epoches"
By Whitehead. The appearance of life in an inorganic
world, of consciousness in an unconscious world,
or of language in a world without language are
all examples of such epochal transitions. Our
lives are filled with such transitions, but they
are terminations of relatively short cycles in
the quantified hierarchy. Terminations of cycles
or epoches of really long duration cause extreme
accelerations toward the zero state. This idea
is similar to Whitehead's conception of concrescence
and the Vedic conception of world ages which grow
shorter as they tighten around an axis point.
The spiral image of the Christian apocalypse is
another example of this intuition that time is
a series of tightening gyres around the quantized
emergence of transformation."
Using his computer program based on the structure
of the I Ching McKenna could generate what he
called "Novelty Reports." On another
page called Novelty
& Concrescence he explains what
he means by "novelty" by quoting Alfred
"Creativity is the principle of novelty.
Creativity introduces novelty into the content
of the many, which are the universe disjunctively.
The creative advance is the application of this
ultimate principle of creativity to each novel
situation which it originates. The ultimate metaphysical
principle is the advance from disjunction to conjunction,
creating a novel entity other than the entities
given in disjunction. The novel entity is at once
the togetherness of the 'many' which it finds
and also it is one among the disjunctive ' many'
which it leaves; it is a novel entity, disjunctively
among the many entities which it synthesises.
The many become one, and are increased by one.
In their natures, entities are disjunctively 'many'
in process of passage into conjunctive unity...
Thus the 'production of novel togetherness' is
the ultimate notion embodied in the term concrescence.
These ultimate notions of 'production of novelty'
and 'concrete togetherness' are inexplicable either
in terms of higher universals or in terms of the
components participating in the concrescence.
The analysis of the components abstracts from
the concrescence. The sole appeal is to intuition."
(Process and Reality, p. 26)
I'm not sure that helps much. Western philosophers!
They drive me crazy. I can read that paragraph
forever and have no idea what it says! Let's forget
about it for now and go on. On another page McKenna
describes what the "Omega Point" is,
or Time Wave Zero, 2012:
"Novelty Theory suggests that on December
21 of 2012 AD, at the coincidence of the moment
of the solstice and the heliacal rising of the
galactic center, levels of planetary novelty will
exponentially increase. Theory does not make clear
the nature of the ultranovel event, however. Speculation
as to the nature of the encounter with the trans-dimensional
object at the end of time includes the following:"
Metamorphosis of Natural Law
Quasar Ignition at the Galactic Core
Eschatology is defined as "a branch of theology
concerned with the final events in the history
of the world or of mankind," and McKenna
calls this "trans-dimensional object at the
end of time" the "Eschaton." Applying
his time wave formula to various periods of history
he produces more of those time graphs like those
at the top of this page. You can see more of them,
with explanations, on the page The
Time Wave and History. Just exactly
WHY the grand time wave ends in 2012 is something
I have still not figured out. Probably one needs
to grasp the mathematical formula to understand
On another page called From
Here to the Eschaton he gives the following
image which shows the novelty graph from now upto
As far as I can figure out so far I think the
points where the graph changes greatly, going
up or down, are the points of great novelty or
change, in other words, big events. And notice
at the point of 2012 the graph no longer fluctuates,
it goes to zero. That is Time Wave Zero, the Omega
point, the Eschaton.
Remembering that this fractal time wave can be
magnified to show increasing detail, you can look
at some more sample "Novelty
Reports" generated by McKenna's
I Ching/Novelty program to get more of an idea
of how it works.
If this all seems fairly whacky, another page
describes how a couple of noted mathematicians
went over McKenna's work. One of them, John Sheliak,
found an error in basic formula I guess, AND CORRECTED
IT, putting the whole thing on firmer mathematical
ground. McKenna was very excited about this.
"I owe a real debt of gratitude to both
Watkins and John Sheliak, but especially John.
His work now makes explicit every stage in the
construction of the timewave, any interested mathematician
can now satisfy him or herself as to the precise
details of the construction of the timewave. What
is exciting to me and what makes me very confident
of the new formulation is the fact that we are
now getting a better fit of the Novelty graphs
to historical data in a number of key areas where
before, with the old version, we had some problems.
Just to mention two examples. The new wave, which
we are calling Timewave 1, to distinguish it from
Timewave 0, the new wave gives a much better picture
of the ebb and flow of Novelty during the Second
World War and during the century of the birth
of Islam, than did the old wave. These are exciting
times for Novelty Theory. I am happy to admit
my error in the construction of the wave. Novelty
Theory can now mature into a genuine intellectual
discipline in which we can hope to see the contributions
made by many people exploring the field. Many
exciting discoveries now lie ahead."
Sheliak's work on the time wave theory can be
Sheliak states in the forward to his consideration
of the Time Wave:
"Does the mathematical or philosophical
structure of the I-Ching, reveal anything of an
underlying connection with nature or the cosmos,
that could explain how it (the I-Ching) might
work? When it is viewed as a system that reflects
or represents a process of flow, motion, or change
in nature and the human experience, it is one
that finds considerable correspondence elsewhere
in philosophy and science, including elements
of quantum theory. The flow of yin to yang, yang
to yin, finds correspondence in the flow of matter
to energy, and energy to matter - revealing a
dynamic and ever changing universe. The First
Order of Difference (FOD) number set, described
by McKenna and others, is derived from the King
Wen sequence of the I-Ching and is assumed to
contain meaningful information about the nature
of the physical universe, that is intelligible
to us and consistent with our experience. If correct,
Novelty Theory is then a description of the form
in which this information expresses itself - i.e.
McKenna has written a number of books and they
are all fascinating. One book is called "The
Archaic Revival," which he describes in
"What the Archaic Revival means is shamanism,
ecstacy, orgiastic sexuality, and the defeat of
the three enemies of the people. And the three
enemies of the people are hegemony, monogamy and
monotony! And if you get them on the run you have
the dominators sweating folks, because that means
your getting it all reconnected, and getting it
all reconnected means putting aside the idea of
separateness and self-definition through thing-fetish.
Getting it all connected means tapping into the
Gaian mind, and the Gaian mind is what we're calling
the psychedelic experience. Its an experience
of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet.
And without that experience we wander in a desert
of bogus ideologies. But with that experience
the compass of the self can be set, and that's
the idea; figuring out how to reset the compass
of the self through community, through ecstatic
dance, through psychedelics, sexuality, intelligence,
INTELLIGENCE. This is what we have to have to
make the forward escape into hyperspace."
I have no idea what it is that the Mayan calendar
points to and the Time Wave formula points to,
in the year 2012. McKenna doesn't pretend he knows
either. He just calls it "the eschaton,"
a "something" that has been pulling
mankind toward itself since the beginning, like
a great attractor. Is it mankind's graduation
at last into hyperspace? One can't help but be
reminded of that great science fiction book by
Arthur C. Clark called "Childhood's End,"
where the "last generation" of children
comes of age and transforms into something completely
beyond mankind as we know it. Clark has often
been called a prophet in realm of science, but
I think "Childhood's End" may have been
his most prophetic book of all. Looking toward
that end, the eschaton, McKenna writes:
"We are flesh which has been caught in the
grip of some kind of an attractor that lies ahead
of us in time, and that is sculpting us to its
ends; speaking to us through psychedelics, through
visions, through culture, and technology, consciousness.
The language forming capacity in our species is
propelling itself forward as though it were going
to shed the monkey body and leap into some extra-surreal
space that surrounds us, but that we can not currently
see. Even the people who run the planet, the World
Bank, the IMF, you name it, they know that history
is ending. They know by the reports which cross
their desks: the disappearance of the ozone hole
[?], the toxification of the ocean, the clearing
of the rain forests. What this means is that the
womb of the planet has reached its finite limits,
and that the human species has now, without choice,
begun the decent down the birth canal of collective
transformation toward something right around the
corner and nearly completely unimaginable. And
this is where the psychedelic shaman comes is
because I believe that what we really contact
through psychedelics is a kind of hyperspace.
And from that hyperspace we look down on..., we
look down on both the past and the future, and
we anticipate the end. And a shaman is someone
who has seen the end, and therefore is a trickster,
because you don't worry if you've seen the end.
If you know how it comes out you go back and you
take your place in the play, and you let it all
roll on without anxiety. This is what boundary
dissolution means. It means nothing less than
the anticipation of the end state of human history."
"This is not a dress rehearsal for the apocalypse.
This is not a pseudo-millenium. This is the real
thing folks. This is not a test. This is the last
chance before things become so dissipated that
there is no chance for cohesiveness. We can use
the calender as a club. We can make the millenium
an occasion for establishing an authentic human
civilization, overcoming the dominator paradigm,
dissolving boundaries through psychedelics, recreating
a sexuality not based on monotheism, monogamy
and monotony. We.. All these things are possible
if we can understand the overarching metaphor
which holds it together which is the celebration
of mind as play, the celebration of love as a
genuine social value in the community. This is
what they have suppressed so long. This is why
they are so afraid of the psychedelics, because
they understand that once you touch the inner
core of your own and someone else's being you
can't be led into thing-fetishes and consumerism.
The message of psychedelics is that culture can
be re-engineered as a set of emotional values
rather than products. This is terrifying news.
And if we are able to make this point then we
can pull back, we can pull back and we can transcend.
Nine times in the last million years the ice has
ground south from the poles pushing human populations
ahead of it and those people didn't f*ck up. Why
should we then? We are all survivors. We are the
inheritors of a million years of striving for
the unspeakable. And now with the engines of technology
in our hands we ought to be able to reach out
and actually exteriorize the human soul at the
end of time, invoke it into existence like a UFO
and open the violet doorway into hyperspace and
walk through it, out of profane history and into
the world beyond the grave, beyond shamanism,
beyond the end of history, into the galactic millenium
that has beckoned to us for millions of years
across space and time. THIS IS THE MOMENT. A planet
brings forth an opportunity like this only once
in its lifetime, and we are ready, and we are
poised. And as a community we are ready to move
into it, to claim it, to make it our own.
It's there. Go for it, and thank you."