Sunday, June 22, 2008

TEOTWAWKI again: We Got Five Years

...said David Bowie. Actually, we have only four and a half - the world, apparently, will end before 2012 is out.

One of the major end-the-world-in-2012 theories is Timewave Zero, which purports to produce mathematical evidence that there is a singularity at the end of 2012. A singularity is a point beyond which something cannot be known. It may foretell a physical catastrophe, or it may foretell a Rapture of the Nerds – or anything in between. Is it likely that this theory, which occupies pages of formulae and can be bought on a computer program, is predicting the end of the world as we know it?

Timewave Zero was proposed by Terence McKenna and Dennis McKenna in their book, "The Invisible Landscape". "Timewave Zero" is the McKenna brothers' way of representing the flow of "novelty" over time. The graphic representation is derived from the standard sequence of hexagrams of the I Ching in what is known as the King Wen sequence. At one point, the graph dives through the axis – this is presumed to be infinite 'novelty' – and ends. This is the end of history. It is not necessarily a violent or final end of humanity, but a point after which a discussion of changes in 'novelty' becomes useless.

Read the rest here. (Warning: Loooong.)


Mike said...

Let's see if I've got this right.

We take a sequence of characters from an ancient Chinese book, and somehow combine them with a modern 384-day lunar calendar, making the sequence a function of time.

We then average this sequence over scaled and weighted versions of itself (reason unknown). The scaling introduces a further arbitrary periodicity of 64, while the weights simply make the series converge. Somehow this is 'fractal'.

The sequence and transform have been designed to give a zero value at the origin. This origin is arbitrarily assigned an end-of-cycle date from an ancient Mayan calendar.

Despite only having 384 data values, we somehow produce a graph that covers the history of the universe with the resolution of a day. (Making the sequence periodic and extending it ad nauseum does not add any information).

The vertical axis is arbitrarily assigned to 'novelty' (or rather its inverse, since we gave the graph a zero origin). Similarly, the horizontal axis must now read backwards.

The various minima in the graph are now associated with world events. For any given year, choose an arbitrary world event.

The only serious question is: what were they smoking? (No doubt, the answer is earlier in the book.)

Peromyscus said...

You've got it exactly right, except the drug earlier in the book isn't smoked but "ingested" as an "infusion". It's ayahuasca (yage). I'm amazed that so many people have touted this theory without looking at how the graph was actually produced.


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