Art + Thought / AF 1992 - Terence McKenna

AF 1992 - Terence McKenna

 Science looks down its nose at the Apocalyptic fantasies of religion. The view of science is that final time can only mean an entropic time of no change. Science chooses to suppose that all processes ultimately run down and entropy maximized only in some far, far away future. The idea of entropy assumes that the laws of the space-time continuum are infinetely and linearly extendable into the future.
In the spiral time scheme I propose this assumption is not made. Rather, final time means passing out of one set of laws which are conditioning existence into another and radically different set of laws. The universe is seen as a series of compartmentalized eras of epoches. Epoches have laws quite different from one another, with transitions from one epoch to another occuring with unexpected suddeness.
To see through the eyes of this theory is to see one's place in the spiral scheme and to know and anticipate when the transition to new epoches will occur. Knowledge of geohistory supports this view. The planet is five or six billion years old. The formation of the inorganic universe occupies the first turn of the spiral. Then life appears. If one examines this planet, which is the only planet we can examine in depth, one finds that processes are steadily accelerating in both speed and complexity.

Our planet swings through space two billion years before life appears. Life represented a new emergent quality. The instant life got started, a mad scramble was on. Species appear and disappear. This went on for a billion and a half years and then suddenly a new emergent property took the stage; thinking species appeared. This new epoch of mind was brief in comparison to what preceded it; from the dumb confrontation with chipped flint to the starship is one hundred thousand years. What could that era be but the ingression of a new set of laws? An emergent new and novel psychophysics allowed our species to manifest very peculiar properties: language, writing, dreaming, and the spinning of philosophy.
Like rattlesnakes and popular trees, human beings are made by DNA. Yet we trigger the same energies that light the stars. We do this on the surface of our planet. Or we can create a temperature of absolute zero. We do these things because, though we are made of mush and mud, our minds have taught us how to extend our reach through tools. With tools we can unleash energies that normally only occur under very different conditions. For example, the center of stars is the usual site of fusion processes.

We do such things using mind. And what is mind? We haven't a clue. Twenty-thousand years from nomadic hunting and gathering to cybernetics and spaceflight. And we are still accelerating. There are yet more spirals to come. From the Model-T Ford to the starship. One hundred years. From the fastest man on earth being able to move thirty miles per hour to the fastest man moving nine miles per second. Sixty years.

Most puzzling and exiting are the predictions this theory makes of near term shifts of epoches made necessary by the congruence of the Timewave and the historical record. The Timewave seems to give a best fit configuration with the historical data when the assumption is made that a maximum ingression of novelty will occur on December 21, 2012 AD.
Strangely enough this is the end date which the Maya assigned to their calendar system as well. What is it that gives both a Twentieth century individual and an ancient Meso-American civilization the same date upon which to peg the transformation of the world? It is that both used psychedelic mushrooms? Could the answer be so simple? I don't think so. Rather I suspect that when we inspect the structure of our own deep unconscious we will make the unexpected discovery that it is ordered on the same principle as the larger universe in which it arose. This notion, surprising at first, quickly comes to be seen as obvious, natural and inevitable.

 An analogy that explains how this might be so is provided by looking at sand dunes. The interesting thing about such dunes is that they bear a resemblance to the force that created them, wind. It is as if each grain of sand were a bit inside the memory of a natural computer. The wind is the input which arranges the grains of sand so that they become a lower dimensional template of the higher dimensional phenomenon, in this case the wind.
There is nothing magical about this and it does not seem mysterious to us: wind, a pressure that is variable over time, creates a rippled dune which is a structure regularly variable in space. In my thinking, organisms are grains of sand arranged by the ebb and flow of the winds of time.
Naturally then organisms bear the imprint of the inherent variables in the temporal medium in which they arose. DNA is the blank slate upon which the changing temporal variables have had their sequence and relative differences recorded. Any technique that saw into the energetic relationships within a living organism, such as yoga or use of psychedelic plants, would also give a deep inside concerning the variable nature of time.

The King Wen sequence of the I Ching is the product of this kind of insight. Human culture is a curve of expanding potentiality. In our own tormented century it has reached vertical gain. Human beings threaten every species on the planet. We have stockpiled radioactive materials everywhere, and every species on earth can feel that. The planet as a sentient entity can react to that kind of pressure. It is three billion years old, and it has many options. We do not.

Terence McKenna Land
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