Sunday, May 27, 2012

Timewave Zero

What is it?

This is one of the more esoteric predictions floating around out there. Basically, a chap called Terence McKenna came up with something called "Novelty Theory"; software was made to track "novelty" over time, and the resulting graph indicates that December 21st, 2012 marks the beginning of "infinite novelty"..

How novel
The theory equates novelty to complexity and sophistication of human thought and culture, and claims that they increase over time, eventually reaching a curve of infinite growth. So, when we reach this curve, the idea is that everything conceivable to the human imagination will happen simultaneously.

While i'm looking forward to having a threesome with Finnish twins on a giant chocolate cake surround by floating sharks, i'm not that excited about having my elbow gnawed off by a huge ant with the head of my mother.

The software
The graphing software can be purchased on CD (although i do not recommend it), and runs on DOS. McKenna developed a numerological formula based on numerical patterns in the I Ching. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese text that has been used for divination. McKenna never sought to have his formula peer reviewed by the mathematical community, because of his disdain for their western paradigm. Or maybe because he knew they'd dismiss it as nothing more than numerology.

The formula runs in 69.29 year cycles. Originally, McKenna chose a highly significant event in recent history - the bombing of Hiroshima - as an anchor point for these cycles, which gave an end point (infinite novelty) of November 2012. When he heard about the Maya calendar doomday theory, he changed his end date to December 21, 2012. That's not even moving the goalposts; that's picking up the ball from your missed kick, then carrying it back and placing it between the goalposts, and saying you scored.

On top of this, look at the graph below. I'm no mathematician, but i'm going to assume that infinite novelty is indicated by the lower end of the y axis. If you can figure out the labeling, you can see that 2000, 2006 and 2019 all dip lower than 2012. So what exactly does this graph tell us about 2012?

1 or 0?
This prediction is a creative one, although it's not very clear at all. It seems arbitrary to take a numerical sequence from an ancient Chinese text, turn it into a fractal formula to graph such a concept as "novelty" over time. Towards the end of his life, it seems McKenna himself wasn't actually sure if the prediction would amount to anything. Still, the 2012 doomsday camp like to whip this one out, once in a while, to back up their main theories, despite the fact that McKenna derived his end date from their predictions. And let's not forget the fact that numerology is a pseudoscience that has been debunked many times over.

As the I Ching says:

"Perseverance alone does not assure success. No amount of stalking will lead to game in a field that has none."

1 comment:

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