The Zero Date Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero Theory By Peter Meyer Written 1999, slightly modified 2006

Despite the fact that the mathematics of the timewave (at least, the mathematics of the construction of the fractal object from the 384 numbers) is rigorously logical there are several criticisms which can be made of Novelty Theory as a theory of time and history, especially regarding the flexibility of the theory in relating the timewave to historical data.

The timewave (which associates points in time with a quality called "novelty", and more-or-less taken to mean what this word normally means) is mathematically defined for any point in time in the past, but eventually descends, irregularly and in a fractal manner, to a zero value. After reaching zero, the timewave ceases to exist, or rather, no novelty value is defined for points in time (if there are any) after the point — the so-called "zero point" — at which the timewave reaches zero.

The formal mathematical component of Timewave Theory does not imply any particular date as the zero date. The timewave is anchored to historical time by associating the zero point with some point in time. The standard zero point, advocated by Terence McKenna is 6 a.m. (Colombian time) on 2012-12-21 (December 21, 2012 — changed from December 22, 2012 around 1991). However, the timewave could be anchored to any other date and time, and the formal theory would remain unaffected, only its interpretation, when considered in the light of the historical data, would change. If the zero date is 2012-12-21, then (assuming the original set of 384 numbers) a large "descent into novelty" should have occurred during March 1996, whereas if the zero date is, say, 2032-12-21 then this descent should occur during March 2016, together, it is claimed, with all the novelty, revelation and unexpected things that are supposed to be associated with descents of the timewave.

Whatever number set is chosen as the basis for the timewave, the choice of the date and time for the zero point is crucial in relating the theory to the historical data (data which is required either to confirm or to refute it).

The standard zero date, 2012-12-21, has by now achieved a sort of fame as the predicted date of the Eschaton (a concept of Christian origin and meaning "the last, or final, thing", after which there is no more, or at least beyond which Earthly time ceases and, perhaps, a state ensues which transcends time as we know it).

How the date for the Eschaton was arrived at by Terence McKenna, building upon the revelations of the Oversoul of the Species, is described below. Unfortunately there seems to be a flaw in the initial reasoning concerning the identification of this zero date.

Prior to 1990 McKenna had always stated that the zero date was 2012-12-22, not the date of 2012-12-21 which is now often used as the zero date. The approach he originally took to determining the zero date was to look for an event of great novelty in recent history, and to take this as the start of the final 67.29-year (24,576-day) cycle. The use of a uranium bomb to kill 80,000 civilians on 1945-08-06 seemed to him the most likely candidate for such an event. Adding 67.29 years to the date of the incineration of Hiroshima brings one to mid-November 2012. Influenced by the fact that the current 13-baktun cycle of the Maya Calendar ends in December 2012 McKenna [at first] adopted 2012-12-22 as the zero date.