Podcast 029 – “In the Valley of Novelty” (Part 3)


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

PROGRAM NOTES:


(Minutes : Seconds into program)

3:08 “…the story of the universe is that information, which I call novelty, is struggling to free itself from habit, which I call entropy… and that this process… is accelerating… It seems as if… the whole cosmos wants to change into information… All points want to become connected…. The path of complexity to its goals is through connecting things together… You can imagine that there is an ultimate end-state of that process–it’s the moment when every point in the universe is connected to every other point in the universe.”

4:43 “On one level, I think there is a cultural singularity… a place in our cultural development where we can’t predict or understand what will happen to us… a kind of flip-point… or doorway… or revelation…”

5:20 “The human adventure has become the cutting-edge of cosmic destiny, but it won’t always be so…”

7:04 “…we wished for transformation. Western civilization built it into it’s cultural agenda… and now, under the aegis of market-capitalism… somebody is going to put something together that is just going to completely redefine and rewrite the nature of reality itself… I’ll bet you it’s some kind of technology/drug-type thing… It may already be here.”

8:18 “What do you do when you can do anything? That’s really the question at the end of history. Once you have overcome all limitation, what is the human agenda?”

8:53 In response to a question about the role of individuals who are becoming aware of the approaching cultural singularity: “…I think we’re more than watching–I think that we spin it. We’re the spin doctors of the thing. In other words, if there’s a prophecy that must be fulfilled, it’s a kind of general prophecy… [It] is open to human definition through specific acts of creation.”

9:34 “The levels of novelty or habit in any given moment will be fulfilled–but how they’re fulfilled is a matter of human decision.”

11:00 “The strangeness of our condition signifies the nearness of the attractor. The reason that our world is accelerated… is because of the nearby presence of this cultural black hole, this singularity of technology and biological intent, that is feeding backwards into time these apocalyptic images…”

11:55 “In the collective unconscious–in which, each of us shares a part–the thing at the end of time is spinning… and it’s throwing off scintillations, which are distorted images of itself. The transcendental object at the end of time infects the history that precedes it with the images of its approaching unfoldment. This is what I mean when I say, ‘History is the shockwave of eschatology.’ The presence of history on this planet means this thing is moving beneath the surface–this protean form. When it manifests, it will shed the institutions of history the way a butterfly sheds a chrysalis.”

13:32 Terrence suggests that Novelty Theory might explain the apparent existence of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ in the universe.

14:25 “…I don’t believe that 90% of the matter in the universe goes unobserved… It’s not that there’s mass missing–it’s that there’s a law missing.”

15:01 “…Why does the Milky Way tend to stay the Milky Way? The answer is: because, as a spiral galaxy, it’s a more complex organism, a more complex structure, than it is as a dissipated, homogeneous mass.”

15:42 “…the Novelty Constant… is the constant that then causes large-scale structures to persist through time, for no other reason than that they represent higher orders of organization.”

16:40 Finding support in contemporary astrophysics’ postulation of an anti-gravitational factor that causes the universe to grow outward forever (and not collapse on itself), Terrence notes that: “…one of the things Novelty Theory says is [that] the universe never goes back to its initial conditions.”

20:36 “You can’t conceive of information in a way that the hallucinogens can’t then see your bid and raise the ante.”

21:15 Terrence gives a seven minute summary of how his interest in the I Ching developed into a mathematical analysis of the King Wen Sequence, culminating in his Timewave theory.

28:12 “I don’t say, ‘If you take mushrooms, you’ll find yourself caught up in the dynamics of the Mayan calendar.’ But you might. Many have.”

28:25 “I’m more rational than I may sound, here,,, because I doubt. I know absolutely how flakey this sounds… I’m not here to found a cult. I just had a very wiggy experience… The problem with most people’s really wiggy experiences is that it never gets down to the nitty-gritty…”

30:03 “…[but] the good thing–in my view–of what happened to me is, it actually got down to a mathematical proposition… a hypothesized law…”

30:40 Terrence compares his ‘discovery’ of the Timewave to another “mathematical download”: ‘The Myth of Er’, and Plato’s description of the ’spindle of Necessity’, from the 10th book of Plato’s Republic.

32:00 “[the I Ching] is a mathematical notation system… for the purpose of creating a physics of Time…based on human observation, and… it arises in a context, we presume, of shamanism and proto-Taoist values.”

32:57 “The essence of understanding Time lies in understanding organism. So it yields to a very low-tech, observational style of natural science, which we call yoga. By looking inside the body and the mind, as you still gross physiological functions, subtler and subtler shells of vibration and emanation and physiological activity come into view, and… my hypothesis is that, eventually, if you do this with sufficient care and attention, you get down to… the level of the primal quantum-mechanical vibrations that lie behind everything. In other words, you are in the realm of the primal patterns, whose activity downloads and eventuates as the macro-physical world.”

35:32 “Time is not (as Newton thought) pure duration, some kind of intellectual abstraction necessary for a serial universe. Time is a real thing. It’s as palpable as electricity. It’s as real as radiation. It’s a thing. And so, what’s going on is: Objects which arise in time carry the impress in their structure of the medium in which they arose. And so organism becomes a microcosmic downloading, a mapping of the architectonics of Being.”

40:20 “…Life is undergoing some kind of conquest of geometry. I almost picture it like protoplasm flowing into a crystal landscape–we conquer this geometry by assuming its shape, in some sense. So, it transforms us, even as we overrun it.”

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These program notes were compiled by Bill, who joins us in the Psychedelic Salon from his home in Japan.

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