“Timewave zero” is a numerological formula that purports to calculate the ebb and flow of “novelty”, defined as increase in the universe’s interconnectedness, or organised complexity, over time.
According to Terence McKenna, who conceived the idea over several years in the early- to mid-1970s while using DMT, the universe has a teleological attractor at the end of time that increases interconnectedness, eventually reaching a singularity of infinite complexity in 2012, at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur simultaneously.
McKenna expressed “novelty” in a computer program, which purportedly produces a waveform known as timewave zero or the timewave.
Based on McKenna’s interpretation of the King Wen sequence of the I Ching, the graph appears to show great periods of novelty corresponding with major shifts in humanity’s biological and sociocultural evolution.
He believed the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times, and chose the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as the basis for calculating his end date in 2012.
When he later discovered this date’s proximity to the end of the 13th b’ak’tun of the Maya calendar, he revised his hypothesis so that the two dates matched. .
This software illustrates a theory of time, history and the end of history as first described in the book The Invisible Landscape by Terence and Dennis McKenna.
As related by Terence McKenna in his book True Hallucinations, the theory of Timewave Zero was revealed to him in the wake of an unusual psychedelic experiment conducted deep in the Amazon jungle in Colombia in 1971, which led to his being instructed in certain transformations of numbers, derived from the King Wen Sequence of I Ching hexagrams, relating to the occurrence of temporal phenomena.
This led eventually to a mathematical description of “the timewave”, which allegedly correlates time and history with the ebb and flow of something called Novelty, claimed to be a quality intrinsic to the temporal structure of the 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 a transition to a supra-historical order in which our ordinary conceptions of reality will be radically transformed.
The date of this point was chosen by McKenna to be December 21, 2012, the date of the winter solstice of that year and also the end of the current era of 13 baktuns in the Maya Calendar.
A remarkable quality of the timewave is that it is a fractal (although this was not fully revealed until the late 1980s).
Once a part of the wave is displayed the software allows you to expand any smaller part. This usually reveals a complexity of structure which persists however much the wave is magnified, a property typical of fractals.
The idea that time has a fractal structure (in contrast to the Newtonian conception of time as pure, unstructured, duration) was first proposed by Terence McKenna. It is certainly an intriguing idea worthy of further consideration by physicists.
An interesting part of the theory of Timewave Zero is the notion of historical periods “in resonance” with each other, in which the events of the earlier period are in some sense repeated in the later.
The software permits graphical display of different regions of the timewave that are in resonance with each other, and includes the ability to graph the so-called trigrammatic resonances in addition to the major resonances.
This Fractal Time software thus permits a proper examination of Terence McKenna’s claim to have discovered a property of time in terms of which historical phenomena can be explained and even predicted.
Terence McKenna’s software plotting the fractals of “novelty” over many thousands of years of earth’s history, up to 2012 C.E., at which point novelty will reach the state of infinite fulmination. He defines novelty as “the density of connectedness” or the “degree of complexity.” The I Ching says that Time is a series of identifiable elements in flux. There are 64 of these “elements.” He also believes that what we today call the I Ching is but a tiny fragment of a once immense device, now forever lost.
Looking at the I Ching from a quantum physics perspective, Terence and his brother Dennis discovered a wave pattern in the ordering of the Tarot’s trigrams and hexagrams that suggested time could be mapped.
One of the oldest “structured abstractions” known, the I Ching has been found scratched on the 6,000 year-old shoulder bone of a sheep.
Since the I Ching is particularly concerned with the dynamic relationships and transformations that archetypes undergo, McKenna intuited that the I Ching must also be deeply involved with the nature of time as the necessary condition for the manifestation of archetypes as categories of experience.
Centering his attention on examining the King Wen sequence of sixty four hexagrams, McKenna’s search for the ordering principles that lay behind it managed to translate what was essentially a mystical diagram into a rationally apprehensible, mathematical model.
Working with Peter Meyer, McKenna developed a personal computer software package that takes his discoveries concerning the I Ching and creates time maps based upon them. These time maps, or novelty maps, show the ebb an flow of connectedness, or novelty, in any span of time from a few days to tens of millennia.
In McKenna’s novelty map, when the graph line moves downward, novelty is assumed to be increasing. When there is movement away from the base line, novelty is assumed to be decreasing in favor of habitual forms of activity.
According to this graph, one trend toward greater novelty reached its culmination around 2700 B.C., precisely at the height of the Old Kingdom pyramid-building phase.
Perhaps most remarkable of all McKenna’s discoveries was the fact that the only point in the entire wave that has a quantified value of zero is December 21, 2012 A.D. — the same date that has been interpreted as the Mayan Calendar’s end of time.
The Timewave zero model shows the past 1,500 years to have been highly novel times that have oscillated at levels of novelty very close to the horizontal axis, the maximized “zero state.” When the zero point is reached, the wave passes out of the past and into the future. We are approaching a point, says McKenna, “when the rational and acausal tendencies inherent in time may again reverse their positions of dominance.”
McKenna views history, with it’s hunger for completion, as “an anomaly… a complete fluke,” in which “all ideas of salvation, enlightenment, or utopia may be taken to be expressions in consciousness of the drive of energy to free itself from the limitations of three-dimensional space.” As history races toward it’s denouement, evolution is carried out of strictly biological confines and into the mental realm where language and other abstractions begin to pull us together toward “a complex attractor that exists ahead of us in time.” This”concrescence,” says McKenna is now so close that it can be felt in the sense of accelerating time and complexity.
Timewave Zero is an exploratory idea system and a software package that runs on personal computers.
It is the broadcast output of the naturally superconducting experimentaldeoxyribonucleic matrix transceiver operating in hyperspace.
We believe that by using such ideas as a compass for the collectivity, we may find our way back to a new model in time to reverse the progressive worldwide alienation that is fast hurling us into an ecocidal planetary crisis.
A model of time must give hope and overcome entropy in its formal composition. In other words, it must mathematically secure the reasonableness of hope. This theory, and indeed the mathematical theory of dynamic systems generally does this by securing in a formal manner the process by which transformation can naturally arise and persist out of a background of flux.
It becomes increasingly clear that we are now experiencing a period marked with extreme density of novel ingressions, a time when the rational and acausal tendencies inherent in time may again reverse their positions of dominance.
Time, like light, may best be described as a union of opposites. Time may be both wave and, ultimately, particle, each in some sense a reflection of the other. The same holographic properties that have long been an accepted part of the phenomenon of the perception of three-dimensional space also suggest that interference patterns are characteristic of process. Living beings especially illustrate this.
We are on the brink of possibilities that will make us literally unrecognizable to ourselves and those possibilities will be realized, not in the next thousand years but in the next 20 years because the acceleration of invention and novelty and information transfer is at this point so rapid…
We don’t think about time because we take it for granted like breathing, but consider our hypothesis that the space-time continuum is a modular wave-hierarchy.
The Eschaton is a universal and fractal morphogenetic field, hypothesized to model the unfolding predispositions of space and time. This structure was decoded from the King Wen sequence of the I Ching and was the central idea that evolved in the wake of the events of La Chorrera as described in my book, True Hallucinations.
I’ve been talking about it since 1971, and what’s interesting to me is at the beginning, it was material for hospitalization, now it is a minority viewpoint and everything is on schedule. My career is on schedule, the evolution of cybernetic technology is on schedule, the evolution of a global information network is on schedule.
The King Wen sequence of the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching is among the oldest structured abstractions extant.
It has been found scratched on the shoulder bones of sheep that have been dated to 4000 BC so we do know that this sequence existed very early in ancient China, yet the nature of the ordering principles preserved in that sequence remains unelucidated.
The I Ching is a mathematical divinatory tool whose probable origin is the mountainous heart of Asia-the home of classical shamanism and Taoist magic. The I Ching is a centrally important part of humanity’s shamanic heritage that is rich in implications.
If the wave model is a valid general theory of time, it should be possible to show why certain periods or places have been particularly rich in events that accelerate the creative advance into novelty, and also to show where and when in the future such events might be expected to recur.
To carry out this operation, a personal computer has proven indispensable. A group of programs implementing these ideas has been written by our colleague Peter Meyer. We call this program Timewave Zero.
The software takes these theories and discoveries concerning the I Ching and creates time maps based upon them. The time maps or novelty maps show the ebb and flow of connectedness or novelty in any span of time from a few days to tens of millennia. The theory is not deterministic; it does not say what will happen in the future, only the levels of novelty that whatever happens will have to fulfill.
As such it operates as a map, or simplified picture, of the future (and past) behavior of whatever system is being studied. The end date is the point of maximized novelty in the system and is the only point in the entire wave that has a quantified value of zero.
December 21, 2012 AD.
This end date was arrived at without knowledge of the Mayan Calendar, and it was only after it was noticed that the historical data seemed to fit that we had deduced was in fact the end of the Mayan Calendar.
Imagine zeroing in on the point in which the wave passes out of the past and into the future. The stupendous idea of an end of time is an attempt to negate the eternal stasis, to break the circle.
All peoples who have awakened to the suffering and hope of the condition humaine have arrived at this idea, each in its own way.
The other peoples who have created a world for themselves have also appointed an end to it: Indians, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, and Jews. This final time revolutionizes the course of the world.
We are familiar with the Gnostic intuitions of the first and second century suggesting that energy is the “divine light" that is trapped in matter and that energy, in order to free itself, must evolve itself through progressively subtler stages until it generates self-reflecting consciousness, which can then evolve techniques for freeing all energy from matter.
Like this myth, all ideas of salvation, enlightenment, or utopia may be taken to be expressions in consciousness of the drive of energy to free itself from the limitations of three-dimensional space and return to the uncontaminated essence of itself in an epoch of realized concrescent satisfaction.
Concrescent satisfaction includes the notion of energy unbounded by space or time. This means for our theory that at especially low-value regions of the modular wave-hierarchy a quantum jump should occur in the concrescent process.
What this advance of novelty is, and what the process of becoming may be seen to be in essence, is the revelation of the interspecies’ mind.
In human beings, it is approached through the non-metabolizing neural DNA scattered through the body, and for humans it becomes apparent as a higher cortical phenomenon, as an experience, and as a confrontation with the Jungian “collective unconscious." This revelation and its integration into the field of shared experience is a process of transformation of the previously limited ego.
Biology constantly changes the context in which evolution occurs. I have downloaded this into a phrase; “The universe-the biological universe at least-is a novelty conserving engine." Upon simple molecules are built complex molecules. Upon complex molecules are built complex polymers.
Upon complex polymers comes DNA. Out of DNA comes the whole machinery of the cell. Out of cells comes simple aggregate colony animals like hydra and that sort of thing. Out of that, true animals. Out of that, ever more complex animals with organs of locomotion, organs of sight, organs of smell, complex mental machinery for the coordinating of data in time and space. This is the whole story of the advancement of life.
In our species, it reaches its culmination and it crosses over into a new domain where change no longer occurs in the atomic and biological machinery of existence; it begins to take place in the world that we call mental. It’s called epigenetic change;change that cannot be traced back to mutation of the arrangement of molecules inside long chain polymers, but change taking place in syntactical structures that are linguistically based.
Language and its appearance is a recent instance of concrescence.
It is a recent form of novelty, having been in existence not more than a million years.
As a concrescence occurring in our species, it may provide a clue to the path that evolving human novelty will take in the future.
Following the acquisition of language, the advance into novelty, now in part self-reflecting, continued on a higher level.
The most recent of these major new levels of coordinated organization may be embodied in the epoch of electronic communications and the furiously evolving post-relativistic consciousness of the twentieth century.
This idea requires a fairly radical reorganization of consciousness, because what I’m saying is the universe was not born in a fiery explosion from which it has been blasted outward ever since.
The universe is not being pushed from behind. The universe is being pulled from the future toward a goal that is as inevitable as a marble reaching the bottom of a bowl when you release it up near the rim. If you do that, you know the marble will role down the side of the bowl;down, down, down;until eventually it comes to rest at the lowest energy state, which is the bottom of the bowl.
In this model of human history. It is suggested that the universe is pulled toward a complex attractor that exists ahead of us in time, and that our ever-accelerating speed through the phenomenal world of connectivity and novelty is based on the fact that we are now very, very close to huge world changes.