Novelty theory (Time Wave Zero)
From 2012 Wiki
Novelty theory attempts to calculate the ebb and flow of novelty in the universe as an inherent quality of time. It is an idea conceived of and discussed at length by Terence McKenna from the early 1970s until his death in the year 2000. Novelty theory involves ontology, morphogenesis, and eschatology. Novelty, in this context, can be thought of as newness, density of complexification, and dynamic change as opposed to static habituation. According to McKenna, when "novelty" is graphed over time, a fractal waveform known as timewave zero or simply the timewave results. The graph shows at what times, but never at what locations, novelty is increasing or decreasing.
 Brief account
The timewave itself is a combination of numerology and mathematics. It is formed out of McKenna's interpretation and analysis of numerical patterns in the King Wen sequence of the I Ching (the ancient Chinese Book of Changes). This concept first took root in his entheogenic experiences shared by him and his brother Dennis McKenna as documented in the book True Hallucinations. The theory is clearlyTemplate:Fact based in numerology and takes shape out of McKenna's belief that the sequence is artificially arranged as such purposefully. Mathematically, the sequence is graphed according to a set of mathematical ratios, and displays a fractal nature as well as resonancesTemplate:Fact, although it was not captured in a true formula until criticism from mathematician Matthew Watkins (see below). McKenna interpreted the fractal nature and resonances of the wave, as well as his theory of the I Ching's artificial arrangement, to show that the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times.
As the theory was never published in a peer-reviewed journal and McKenna's sources and reasoning were primarily what would be considered numerological rather than mathematical by professional mathematicians and scientists, the theory has failed to gain any (scientific) credibility or much recognition. However, McKenna was highly critical of such fields for adhering to what he saw as a flawed Occidental paradigm, and did not seek to create a theory acceptable to the mathematical community. The theory was, however, revised by nuclear physicist John Sheliak after a flaw was discovered by Matthew Watkins. The new revision is often referred to as Timewave One, but is also inclusive in the set of alternate waves in the Timewave Zero software. It is also claimed that this new version is more closely matched to history. Template:Fact
 Precepts of novelty theory
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 calender, he adjusted the end date to match this point in the calendar.
His predictions for this transcendent event were wide ranging and varied, depending on his audience, and different times he conjectured the following: the mass of humanity would, by means of some technology, become mentally conjoined in a great collective; the moment in which time travel became a reality; the birth of self-conscious artificial intelligence; a global UFO visitation; and occasionally he even expressed doubt whether anything at all would happen. However, McKenna claimed that there was no contradiction between these scenarios, as they might all happen simultaneously.
 Similar ideas
McKenna repeatedly describes human cultural development as a succession of historical periods which are "compressed" versions of each other. In this manner, he describes an overall acceleration of human cultural development, which he likens to a "tightening spiral" approaching what he describes as the "transcendental object of the universe".
See also Stuart Kauffman and his concept of "The Adjacent Possible"
Robert Anton Wilson has the theory of The Jumping Jesus Phenomenon, which he describes at an hour and a half long seminar given in 1988 titled "The Acceleration of Knowledge". He also theorizes that information has doubled over history, and that these doublings come faster and faster. The Jumping Jesus Phenomenon has more of a philosophical and historical basis than a scientific one, though many parallels between his theory and Timewave Zero can be drawn.
One criticism in this vein is that novelty is not defined in natural units. Another is that the supporting, corroborative arguments are based on subjective historical analysis. McKenna was adept at this, and Rupert Sheldrake complained that the theory required his personality for its demonstration. Another criticism is that the historical end point was chosen arbitrarily.
When the user quits Fractal Time 7.1 (the last software package written to demonstrate the theory, see below), the program prints the following message before exiting:
Perhaps the real value of novelty theory, at the end of the technological war-driven 20th century, is that it is a parody. It is not a scientific theory, nor is it a pseudo-scientific theory -- it is a parody of a scientific theory. It basically mocks the pretensions of 20th century physical science. It purports to explain the nature of time and to elucidate the inner workings of the temporal world, yet it is obviously absurd, at least to a more than superficial examination. Novelty theory says to us: This is what any Cartesian-Newtonian scientific theory really is -- basically absurd. And since it is absurd, we should not, and do not have to, believe. This basically knocks the foundations out from under the assumptions of modern Western society, built as it is on a faith in modern physical science as being the authority as to the nature of the real world. In this sense Terence McKenna's thought is both liberating and subversive.
This disclaimer was built into the program by its author, Peter Meyer. Terence McKenna is not known to have ever issued such a statement. Indeed, in his published books, interviews, and recorded lectures McKenna consistently treats the theory as seriously as any of his other material.
Despite it being generally ignored by the scientific community due to its basis in the I Ching and the Mayan Calendar, as previously mentioned, there were several mathematical criticisms which led to subsequent minor revisions of the model.
 Software history
The first program for a personal computer was written in 1978 or 1979 by Peter Broadwell, an employee of Ralph Abraham. It was made for the Apple IIe, and was the first to represent the data points as a graph. It was difficult to manipulate.
In the late 1970s the German professor of mathematics and physics Klaus Scharff developed his own computer model based on the data sets in The Invisible Landscape, which he considered primitive. It was written in Pascal.
In 1985 programmer Peter Meyer was asked by McKenna to write a new version for the Apple IIe. After finding the original work vague, and inspired by the recent publications of Benoît Mandelbrot, Meyer reinterpreted the waveform as a fractal. He completed this new version in Applesoft BASIC for the Apple IIe in February 1987. It was the first piece of software to allow calculation of resonances.
In 1990 it was bought back by Meyer, rewritten to take advantage of the FPU, and published by his company Dolphin Software in 1991. In April 1991 a German version of the MS-DOS software was commissioned by Gaia Media in Switzerland. A new German-language version, with various improvements in resonance rendering, was written and released in 1993.
In 1994 a newer English language version was written with even more improvements.
In 1996 Matthew Watkins (founder of The RetroPsychoKinesis Project) published an objection which changed the underpinnings of the novelty theory, capturing the I Ching transform into a formula. A new DOS version was written by Meyer to incorporate this change in 1998. It was released as Fractal Time Version 6.72.
In 2006 a new timewave calculator was written in java and made available as an applet at http://www.timewave2012.com. This version allows for simultaneous viewing of multiple number sets as well as "resonating" back or forward in time (finding date ranges which have the same plot shape as the date range currently being viewed)
- ↑ http://www.ralph-abraham.org/talks/transcripts/hyperspace.html
- ↑ http://www.hermetic.ch/frt/zerodate.html
 External links
- Mathematical and Philosophical Re-Examination by John Sheliak
- Mathematics of Timewave Zero - from Peter Meyer's website
- McKenna's explanation of the Timewave
- Novelty & Concrescence – discussions of Novelty Theory in general terms
- Peter Meyer's website for the Fractal Time software - Quote: "A single-user license for the Fractal Time software costs US$19.00 ..."
- The Watkins Objection
- Timewave links
- Video of McKenna discussing his theory is available from Sound Photosynthesis
- Yahoo! discussion group for Novelty Theory, Timewave Zero and 2012-related topicshr:Teorija noviteta