Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Thought Stream

McKenna's ideas about novelty and the timewave form the connective thread that has helped to alleviate my existential angst. Is there a credible future scenerio that does not end in planetary destruction or mass extinction events? Even though I take solace in Robinson Jeffers' poetry and share his vision of nature's enduring beauty and mankind's incomprehensible penchant for destruction, I'd sure like some assurance that things will turn out fine in the end, that humanity will somehow pass the ultimate survival test, find redemption, achieve illumination, and experience transcendence. That's the hope, no matter how unrealistic or improbable.

I'm sure what appeals to me about McKenna's ideas is his fundamental optimism. Maintaining a sense of humor also helps keep things in perspective, however bizarre things may seem to be. Once you begin to raise questions about the nature of consensus reality, you open up a philosophical can of worms, with all the attendent conundrums and paradoxes, and must deal with squirmy, elusive truths that are not easily grasped.

McKenna still offers the most lucid explanation of our human predicament that I've been able to find. Listen to “A Few Conclusions About Life” for Terence's take on where we're headed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Novelty theory has a few basic tenets:

* That the universe is a living system with a teleological attractor at the end of time that drives the increase and conservation of complexity in material forms.
* That novelty and complexity increase over time, despite repeated set-backs.
* That the human brain represents the pinnacle of complex organization in the known universe to date.
* That fluctuations in novelty over time are self-similar at different scales. Thus the rise and fall of the Roman Empire might be resonant with the life of a family within a single generation, or with an individual's day at work.
* That as the complexity and sophistication of human thought and culture increase, universal novelty approaches a Koch curve of infinite exponential growth.
* That in the time immediately prior to, and during this omega point of infinite novelty, anything and everything conceivable to the human imagination will occur simultaneously.
* That the date of this historical endpoint is December 21, 2012, the end of the long count of the Mayan calendar. (Although many interpretations of the "end" of the Mayan calendar exist, partly due to abbreviations made by the Maya when referring to the date, McKenna used the solstice date in 2012, a common interpretation of the calendar among New Age writers, although this date corresponds to such an abbreviation rather than the full date. See Mayan calendar for more information on this controversy.) Originally McKenna had chosen the end of the calendar by looking for a very novel event in recent history, and using this as the beginning of the final 67.29 year cycle; the event he chose was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which gave an end-date in mid-November of 2012, but when he discovered the proximity of this date to the end of the current 13-baktun cycle of the Maya calendar, he adjusted the end date to match this point in the calendar.[1][2]