As i head of to the Yucatan, and Chitchen Itza to play drums at the synthesis2012 festival i wanted to reflect on the visions of Terence Mckenna. And to remind people that it was 'coincidence' or 'meaningful synchronicity' that the Mayan long count cycle happened to correspond with his own historical graphing, and futurist ideas about exponential information explosion, I-Ching and the Genetic Code, wrapped up in his fantastical 'psychoactive' prose.
I think that Terence Mckenna had a good 'partnership' model for a co-operative, optimistic future, and his thoughts on 2012 still resonate with me and with www.raw360.net
--Steven 'fly agaric 23' Pratt
From Further Weirdness with Terence Mckenna" Paul Krassner, Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs - From Toad Slime to Ecstacy. Ten Speed Press. 2004
Q. What are your visions of alternative scenarios that are upcoming, either in December 2012 or before?
A. Well, i've spent a long time thinking about this, although i
realized about a year ago that, in a sense, it's not really my issue.
The funny thing is, here i have this wave, it predicts every second
between here and December 12, 2012, i show it to people and their first
question is, 'So what happens afterwards?" It dosen't address that. It
addresses all moments before that. nevertheless, i feel the
force question, and i've created a series of scenarios in ascending
weirdness which answer the question.
A low weirdness answer would be, suddenly everyone begins to behave
appropriately. This is kind of Buddhist, Taosit approach. Now, the
interesting thing about that scenario is, the first thirty seconds of
that we can predict - appropriate behavior would probably be to take
your foot off your neighbor's neck. Step back from what you're doing.
And then i always imagine - for some reason, i don't know why - that
everybody would take off their cloths and go outside. But after that i
can't figure - thats only the first thirty seconds of appropriate
behavior. Since we never had that, we can't imagine what it would be
Then there's the transformation-of-physics scenario, which basically
says, "All boundaries dissolve." What that would probably be like, the
first hour of it would be like a thousand micrograms of LSD. After that
we can't imagine or predict, because again it would have so totally
changed the context that you could no longer predict it.
Then there are the catastrophic scenarios that revolve around the
question, "Death, where is thy sting?" And probably the most efficient
of those is the planetesimal-impact scenario. A very large object
strikes the earth and kills everybody, and that's it.
Q. A blunt object
A. It's a blunt solution. Sort of in that same category is the blue
star in Sagittarius. And then a kind of intermediate between those two
the sun will explode. That would certainly clear the disc and fulfill
the whole thing. The planet vaporizes, and collectively we and all life
on earth move into the shimmering capsules of the post-mortem realm,
whatever that is. Novel, novel.
When i worked with the timewave, i argued strenuously that it reflects
the ebb and flow of novelty, but somebody will come up with something
like the release of the Sergeant Pepper album or the O.J
Simpson trial, and then we see that it's lost in the noise. What the
wave seems most pristinely to predict, or what parallels the wave most
closely, is the evolution of technology, and i think technology is
something that we haven't really understood. In a sense, technology is
the alchemical journey for the condensation of the soul and the union of
the spirit and matter in some kind of hyperobject.
The rise of the web has been a great boost to my fantasies along these
lines, because now i can see with the Web from here to the eschaton.
Apparently, it's a technology for dissolving space, time, personally and
just releasing everybody into a data stream, something like the
imagination. Then that's why the ultimate technological fantasy along
this line of thought is what is conventionally called a time machine.
There's an interesting aspect to the time machine. The wave describes
the ebb and flow of novelty in time, but then you reach a point where
it's so novel that it fails beyond that point. Well, a time-traveling
technology would cause such a system to fail, because it's a description
of the unfolding seriality of linear events, which a time machine would
So it may be that it isn't explosion of the sun, or the coming of the
aliens, or the descent of the second person of the Trinity, it's simply
that a technology is put into place that destroys linear time and, from
thence forward, when you give your address you have to say not only
where but when. There are some problems with this.
And then here is a slightly more interesting and
woo-woo scenario. The thing that's called the grandfather paradox -
somebody pointed out it's not called the father paradox because
apparently you want to avoid an Oedipal situation - and it's simply the
following objection: if you could travel into the past, you could kill
your grandfather. If you killed your grandfather, you wouldn't exist.
Therefore, you couldn't travel into the past. Therefore, time travel is
One idea i have for an end of history scenario: Time travel becomes
more and more discussible, finally there are laboratories working on it,
finally there is a prototype machine, finally it's possible to conceive
of a test; and so on the morning of December 12, 2012, at the world
Temporal Institute headquarters in the Amazon Basin, by a worldwide,
high definition, three-dimensional hook up, the entire world tunes in to
see the first flight into time. And the lady temponaut comes to the
microphone and makes a few brief statements, hands are shaken, the
champagne bottle is smashed, she climbs into her time-machine, pushes
the button and disappears into the far flung reaches of the future. Now,
the interesting question is, what happens next? And i have already
established for myself that you can travel backwards into the past, but
you can't travel further into the past than the invention of the first
time machine, for the simple reason that there are no time machines
before that, and if you were to take one where there are none, you get
So what happens when the lady temponaut slips into the future? Well,
i think what would happen a millisecond later is tens of thousands of
time machines would arrive from all points in the future, having come
back through time, of course, to witness the first flight into time.
Exactly as if you could fly your beachcraft back to Kitty hawk, North
Carolina, to that windy morning when the Wright brothers rolled their
flyer out and fueled 'er up. And that's as far as the road goes. That's
the end of the time road.
But the grandfather paradox persists. One of those time travelers
from 5,000 years in the future, on their way back to the first
time-travel incident, could stop and kill his grandfather, and then we
have this whole problem again. So i thought about this for a long time,
and i think i've found my way around it. But, as usual, at the cost of
Here's what would really happen if we invented a time
machine of that sort. The lady temponaut pushes the button, and instead
of all time machines appearing instantly in the next moment, in order to
preserve the system from that paradox, what will happen is, the rest of
history of the universe will occur instantly. And so that's it. I call
it the God whistle.
This is because you thought you were building a time machine, and in
a sense you were, but the time machine isn't what you thought it was.
It caused the rest of time to happen instantaneously, and so the
furthest out developments of life, matter, and technology in the
universe can right up against you a millisecond after you break that
barrier, and in fact you discover that traveling time is not traveling
time, it's a doorway into eternity, which is all of time, and that's why
it becomes more like a hyperspatial deal than a simple linear
There's been a parallel development which has caused me to be more
confident. We're now beginning to build this parallel world called the
Wolrd Wide Web. And you can bet that long before we reach 2012, the
major religions of the world will build virtual realities of their
eschatological scenarios. There will be the Islamic paradise, the
Christian millenium, the Buddhist shunyata - these will be channels that
you tune into to see if you like it and want to join, so in a sense
guaranteeing we will have a virtual singularity.
It's all very well to try to understand the end point, but recall
that where we are relative to the end point is in resonance with the
year 950 AD. We're like the people in 950 AD trying to understand the
web, the hydrogen bomb and the catscanner. How can we? My God, we don't
even have calculus yet. Newton hasn't been born yet, let alone Einstein.
I mean we're running around - essentially we're primitives, is what i'm
saying. We don't have tools yet to conceive of the object of 2012. We
must build those tools between now and then. And good places to start
are with the web, psychedelic drugs, whatever is the most cutting edge
and most far out.
Q. So that saying, "May you live in interesting times," is supposed
to have been a chinese curse, but if the ruling class had control of
language, it would curse them, but it was a blessing to the people who made it interesting times.
A. I think it's saying the same thing as the Irish toast [heavy brogue], "May you be alive at the end of the world."
Q. Meanwhile, my Chinese fortune cookie predicted that you and i
would cross paths again and also that i will enjoy another repast soon.
A. We must meet in a Chinese restaurant and save the oracle unnecessary embarrassment.
- from Further Weirdness with Terence Mckenna" Paul Krassner, Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs - From Toad Slime to Ecstacy. Ten Speed Press. 2004
Paul Krassner is the author of One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist;
he publishes The Disneyland Memorial Orgy at www.paulkrassner.com.