Timewave Zero and Language by Terence McKenna
In Part I Terence McKenna initiated the reader into his theory of nature's upcoming quantum jump out of history. Looking at the I Ching from a quantum physic's 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.
In the second part of this article, McKenna discusses the repercussions of our collective approach to Timewave Zero and how psychedelics can be used to condition ourselves for our upcoming move into of the body of eternity and out of three- dimensional time and space.
The First Three Minutes is a book in which author Stephen Weinberg leads the reader through all the complex physics as matter is crystallizing out of hyperspace, and the universe is undergoing its initial expansion in the first three minutes of creation. When you consider this model of exploding galaxies, colliding quasars, and mega this and mega that, it's worth noting that these distant parts of the universe register only as faint tracings on our instruments, until they are interpreted through the fishy fiat of a bunch of stacked up theories and formulas. And where is our data sample coming from? Radio telescopes, which are responsible for building our current picture of the universe, were only invented around 1950. All the energy that has fallen on all the radio telescopes on this planet since the invention of radio telescopy is less energy than would be generated by a cigarette ash falling a distance of two feet. It's pretty flimsy stuff folks, compared to the meat of the moment in which we find ourselves.
It seems more likely to me that all this complexity is better directed toward the end of the cycle when, after billions of years of evolution, everything finally comes together. Alfred North Whitehead proposed this same idea. He said that history grows toward what he called a "nexus of completion." And these nexuses of completion themselves grow together into what he called the "concrescence." A concrescence exerts a kind of attraction, which can be thought of as the temporal equivalent of gravity, except all objects in the universe are drawn toward it through time, not space.
As we approach the lip of this cascade into concrescence, novelty, and completion, time seems to speed up and boundaries begin to dissolve. The more boundaries that dissolve, the closer to the concrescence we are. When we finally reach it, there will be no boundaries, only eternity as we become all space and time, alive and dead, here and there, before and after. Because this singularity can simultaneously co-exist in states that are contradictory, it is something which transcends rational apprehension. But it gives the universe meaning, because all processes can be seen to be seeking and moving in an effort to approximate, connect with, and append to this transcendental object at the end of time.
One way of thinking about it is to compare it to one of those mirrored disco balls, which sends out thousands of reflections off of everybody and everything in the room. The mirrored disco ball is the transcendental object at the end of time, and those reflected twinkling, refractive lights are religions, scientific theories, gurus, works of art, poetry, great orgasms, great souffles, great paintings, etc. Anything that has, in Nietszche's phrase, the "spark of divinity within it," is in fact, referent to the original force of the spark of all divinity unfolding itself within the confines of three-dimensional space.
A quick look at Western civilization over the past several hundred years suggests we are indeed moving toward the concrescence. The twentieth century has only accelerated the process of increasing novelty and the dissolving of old boundaries. In our own time, we have created ever more elaborate languages and ever more elaborate technologies for transforming, storing, and retrieving language, so that we are now on the brink of being able to give every single person the complete cultural inventory, the complete data base of human beings' experience on this planet. It's as if the collectivity of our humanness has finally become an intellectual legacy for all of us. That's what these data highways and networks are all about. The nervous system is being hardwired. This is not only an advance deeper and deeper into novelty, but it is an advance in which each successive stage occurs more quickly than the stage which preceded it.
Following the breakdown of the Soviet Union, there was much talk about "lifting of the Iron Curtain." I find this phrase interesting because it conjures up images of a membrane suddenly disappearing, as indeed it has. As more and more of these membranes disappear, what is emerging is a sense of acceleration of information flow and a sense of rising ambiguity and apprehension. That's why it's important to realize what the process is. As human beings, we are unique for our ability to feel, to download experience, to connect disparate data fields, and then to project a goal, a hope — a distant coordination of concern that leads toward an appetite for completion. That's what the concrescence is. It's not some alien thing injected into our forward moving timestream like a boulder on the floor of a river. The concrescence is the lost path of our collective soul. The metaphor that makes sense for what we're going through — because it gets the biology of it; it gets the drama of it; it gets the risk of it; it gets the the fun and joy of it — is the metaphor of birth.
To see the picture clearly, you must break out of the flat cultural illusion and rise up to look at the situation. That's why psychedelics are so important. They raise you out of the historical maxtrix, giving you a sense of participation in a transcendental reality. Psychedelics catalyze imagination. They drive you to think what you did not think otherwise. There is a good argument that the critical catalyst that propelled us out of the slowly evolving hominid line — causing us to take a right-hand turn into culture, language, art, and learning — was probably the inclusion of psychedelic plants in our diet during that episodic moment when we went from fruitarian, canopy dwellers to omnivorous pack hunting creatures of the grasslands.
It's interesting that DMT and psilocybin, so closely related to each other, both have something to say about language, and that they say it in precisely opposite ways. Psilocybin is a teaching voice that speaks to you in your language. LSD doesn't do that; ayahuasca doesn't do that. Psilocybin does, for some reason. This is not my illusion. It's a commonly noted effect, but if you don't speak to it, it won't be there. DMT doesn't speak to you in English; it speaks to you in Elfish. What happens on high dose DMT is that you see the speaker. With mushrooms, you almost never encounter a being you can see. You see hallucinations, but you do not see the author of the data stream. On DMT, the entities come bounding out of the woodwork. DMT is not like a psychedelic drug, in the sense that you're getting into the contents of your hopes, memories, fears and dreams. It's much more like a parallel continuum. It's much more as though you've broken through to some alien data space. You find yourself in an inconceivable world where everything has been replaced by elf machinery. There are these self-dribbling, jeweled basketball-looking entities that use this musical sing-song language to condense visible objects out of the air. Why are they doing that? I assume that on one level they are trying to teach, but it's more than that. On another level, they seem to be giving a demonstration of the fact that reality is made of language. They're saying, "If you don't believe reality is made of language, here I'll make you one."
So these opalescent beings make all these things and set them loose in this strange environment, and these things, themselves, are emitting language and making other things. Everybody's chattering, screeching, crawling over each other, clamoring for your attention, and under sufficiently hyped-up conditions, you are able to reply in a kind of spontaneous glossolalia. There's a bit of art in making this peculiar pseudo- linguistic stream of syllables, and when you're stoned, it's an incredibly pleasurable experience.
I think that this glossolalia is probably mixed up with the generation of language itself. In other words, we probably invented language long before meaning, and it was some very practical person who got the idea that the words could have meaning. Before that, language was primarily verbal amusement. After all, the most readily at hand musical instrument is the human voice. Sound is an incredibly powerful transducer of energy that we haven't really come to terms with. When we put a test tube in which a chemical reaction is going on, into a square wave generator and bombard it with very high amplitude sounds, we find that these sounds drive the chemical reaction faster, as if sound were an enzyme. When people are loaded to the gills on ayahuasca, they do the same thing. They sing for hours and sonically drive these states, navigating through a world of vocal landscapes that come forth from sound.
Magical philosophy, which has about fifty, to a hundred thousand years under its belt — as opposed to science which only goes back to the Renaissance — has always claimed that the world is made of language. The world is a thing of words, and if you know these words, you can take it apart and put it together any old way you wish. Sanskrit, for example, has the reputation for being a magical language. There are supposedly certain ragas — arrangements on sounds with particular rhythms — that can cause a haystack to burst into flame. The nub of what I'm trying to get at here is that the world is made of language. Our entire Western religious tradition begins with the incredibly cryptic statement, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh." What is this making the word into flesh? And does it not imply that eventually the flesh will become word?
As we now know, since the discovery of DNA, we arise out of sequences of what are called codons, which are the nucleotide units in the DNA which code for protein. The messenger RNA takes the template of the DNA and runs itself through a ribosome, and the ribosome gathers amino acids out of the ambient environment, connecting them up to create a protein. What this means is that we are, in fact, textural. Each one of us is a word of approximately 700,000,000 characters, and this word is made flesh when the sperm and the egg form a zygote and the DNA textural message is downloaded into matter. Now we are on the brink of decoding the human genome, and the end result of this is that the flesh will be made word.
It's interesting that many of the psychedelic compounds involved in the language phenomena, like DMT and harmine and harmaline, occur as part of human metabolism, ordinarily. And harmaline, specifically 5-methoxy tetrahydroharmalan, occurs in the pineal gland. The pineal gland has always been thought of as somehow connected to the soul. Descartes called it the seat of the soul. What I'm trying to get at here, is the the world is mental in some way that we do not yet understand, but which we're edging toward understanding. I think of history as a kind of mass psychedelic experience. The drug is technology, and as technology gets more and more perfected as a mirror of the human mind, the cultural experiences becomes more and more hallucinatory.
Our planet is on a collision course with something that we, at our present state of knowledge, don't have a word for. A black hole is simply a gravitationally massive object, so massive that no light can leave it. What I'm talking about is something like that, except that it isn't so much gravitationally massive as temporally massive. We are soon to be sucked into the body of eternity. My model points to 11:18 am, Greenwich Mean Time, December 21, 2012 AD.
My notion is fairly simple. History is a set of nested resonances with each epoch being shorter than the one that preceded it. This event horizon is like a series of ghost horizons, and once you enter into history, you enter into the outer shell of the temporal field of the attractor or the concrescence. In other words, history is the disturbance in nature which precedes the concrescence. It precedes it by only 50 thousand years — a geological microsecond — before all life is melted down in the presence of the singularity. History is a curious interzone that is not the singularity and not the absence of the singularity; it's the singularity in the act of becoming. It only lasts a geological microsecond, but if you happen to be born as we are, inside that microsecond, then you have a very curious perspective on the phenomenon because you observe it from inside.
Within history's series of nested cycles, each cycle is only human/machine interfacing, pharmacological redesigning of the human brain/mind system, possibly digitalizing and downloading into the microphysical realm. All these disparate physical elements come to nothing if they don't add up to more than the sum of their parts. And the more than the sum of their parts is the transcendental element we call love. That is part of the eschaton that has never left us, but accompanied us across the African grassland and into history. Love has been bloodied and battered by the experiences of sexism and racism and so forth. But never lost as an ideal, never lost as a guiding light and an experience, and when we dissolve all the boundaries, this is what we will discover; an unconditional caring, an unconditional affection that goes through all life and all matter and gives it meaning. You don't have to wait for the end of the world to get this news. You can just short circuit the collective march toward that realization by accelerating your own microcosm of spirituality through the use of the hallucinogens. They are the doorways that the Gaian mind has installed in the historical process to let anybody out any time they want out, provided they have the courage to turn the knob and walk through the door.
This article originally appeared in the magazine Magical Blend, 1994 or later