Terence McKenna (who died April 2000) was a professional mushroom
researcher, among other things, and in the course of his long
firsthand study he experienced a visionary inspiration for a
fascinating piece of software called Timewave Zero. I first
read of it in his book The Archaic Revival: Speculations on
Psychedelic Mushrooms, the
Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFO's, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth
of the Goddess, and the End
of History. Quite a mouthful, that: but when you've done
as many mushrooms as Terence... Anyway, the official introduction
to the original program from Dolphin Software (by Peter Meyer)
describes it best:
This software illustrates Terence McKenna's theory of time, history
and the end of history as first described in the book The Invisible
Landscape by him and his brother Dennis, and more recently in
his The Archaic Revival (HarperSanFrancisco, 1992). The theory
of Timewave Zero was revealed to Terence by an alien intelligence
following a bizarre, quasi-psychedelic experiment conducted in
the Amazon jungle in Colombia in 1971. Inspired by this influence
Terence was instructed in certain transformation of numbers derived
from the King Wen sequence of I Ching hexagrams. This led eventually
to a rigorous mathematical description of what Terence calls the
timewave, which correlates time and history with the ebb and flow
of novelty, which is intrinsic to the structure of time and hence
of the temporal universe. A peculiarity of this correlation is
that at a certain point a singularity is reached which is the
end of history - or at least is a transition to a suprahistorical
order in which our ordinary conceptions of our world will be radically
transformed. The best current estimate for the date of this point
is December 21, 2012 CE [common era], the winter solstice of that
year and also the end of the current era in the Mayan calendar.
Order Timewave Zero in its latest incarnation, Fractal Time Software.
It's illuminating to experiment with this program, finding correlations
of the novelty points (sudden, steep descents of the timewave)
with critical eras of transformation: the atomic bomb, the Neanderthals,
the rise of homo sapiens, the birth of language, the Black Death,
the Enlightenment, the agricultural revolution, 1967....
And what about now? Where will this
period before the "zero point"
of 2012 take us?
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