Podcast 205 – “Appreciating Imagination” – Part 5 (Timewave)


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“You don’t conquer time by building vast instrumentalities and seeking a primary particle and all that. The way you understand and investigate time is by moving inward, into metabolism. The human body is a knot in time.”

Terence McKenna with his Timewave on the computer“I live in a kind of waking hallucination. I have a little aphorism which covers this. It’s: Rome falls nine times an hour. It falls more than that and less than that, but let’s say it falls nine times an hour. Well, then your job is to notice every time it falls. In other words, what we think of as our random musings and our personal mental furniture is in fact our subconscious awareness of these systems of temporal resonance operating around us.” [Comment by Lorenzo: I have no idea what he means by this.]

“I do entertain the idea that we may each have our own Timewave, sort of following the model of astrology.”

“What will happen, as novelty asymptotically increases, in the final months, hours, minutes, seconds is boundaries will dissolve, all boundaries They’re already dissolving. We see the nation-state dissolving, but wait’ll the atomic field dissolves.”

“It’s not a gravity collapse. It’s a novelty collapse. We are collapsing into a black hole of novelty.”

“The future is not like the past except that it hasn’t happened. If you were to suddenly find yourself in the future, it’s a vector-storm of unrealized possibilities. You’ve never seen an unrealized possibility.”

“I believe that the idea that is the most fun is probably the closest to the truth, and I find this idea to be absolutely delightful.”

“The whole thing [Timewave hypothesis] smacks of the impossible. It’s even pushed me toward the idea that maybe this is not actually a reality. We’re trapped, or I’m trapped. I don’t know if you’re trapped. But we’re in some kind of piece of fiction. It’s like a Phillip K. Dick deal, you know. We’re in some kind of simulacrum, and the clue to the fact that it’s a simulacrum is this impossible idea [the Timewave]. And so the point of the idea is not to believe it, but to use it as a wedge to fight our way out of this labyrinth and back to whatever reality we were in before we fell into this situation. Something like that.”


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Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

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Fane of the Cosmos

Posted in 2012, Creativity, Eschaton, Future, Imagination, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3), Timewave and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. I transcribed Appreciating Imagination Parts 4-6 as what I feel is McKenna’s most clear, thorough and exciting explanation of the Novelty Theory. I then removed superfluities and created an essay in Terence’s own words, beautifully describing his remarkable, ridiculous and wonderful theory.


    I have never read an account as concise and complete as this one, only pieced the idea together through his talks. I hope others appreciate the link.

    Peace. Chris.

  2. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=1446

    Trunk Slamchest
    Regarding the ‘Rome falls nine times an hour’ comment:

    My understanding of this is that your daily life is a microcosm of the entirety of history of global civilization. In turn, the events of your life can be extrapolated and mapped onto events that are galactic in scale.

    Lorenzo, I think you had mentioned taking a crack at Finnegans Wake in one of your previous podcasts. This ‘Rome falls’ idea is similar to the fall of Finnegan which can symbolize many other things.

    To quote Joseph Campbell: “Finnegan’s fall from the ladder is hugely symbolic: it is Lucifer’s fall, Adam’s fall, the setting sun that will rise again, the fall of Rome, a Wall Street crash. It is Humpty Dumpty’s fall, and the fall of Newton’s apple. It is the irrigating shower of spring rain that falls on seeded fields. And it is every man’s daily recurring fall from grace.”

    My interpretation of Terence’s comment is that it is a call to be sensitive to the subtle events that are “resonant” with other events at different scales in history. By “resonant”, I believe he’s referring to events that can be mapped to each other. One could take stubbing their toe to be synonymous with the fall of Rome.

    Or I could be full of shit and completely misunderstanding the whole thing (obligatory paper tiger comment). 🙂

    Yes I think you have got it exactly, Slamchest: What he is describing is a fractal, a pattern that repeats at a different scale, larger and smaller than the one already found. because it is a pattern in time it might be better described as a musical rhythm. However those do not usually work fractally, where the larger pattern reflects the smaller and vice versa.
    What I really want to understand is the scale. Because fractal do not repeat at every scale but rather at particular intervals. Like, the day has a cycle as does the month and the year, but not the periods. in between. Anyway its interesting to try to imagine how it really things really are. 🙂

    Peace & Best Wishes to All!

    I agree with most of Lorenzo’s post-Podcast remarks concerning Mr. McKenna’s Timewave Theory. Though Terence seemed to cling to this particular theory more fervently than his others, it seems to me that his “Stoned Ape” hypothesis was a richer landscape for producing objective scientific rationale. That said, I offer the following:

    Terence did indeed extract this mathematical wave from the I Ching and manually align it with historic events. The alignment was therefore subjective, and the end point of 2012 seems rather convenient. However, assuming that the alignment and endpoint have been unchanged since Terence’s passing, a quick reference to a more recent event is interesting. I use the calculator at the link below.

    Begin Date:January 1, 2000
    End Date:January 31, 2003
    Target Date:September 11, 2001


    Keep the old faith!


    I haven’t listened to this yet.

    I’ll already say this though (wanting to comment before listening); the pull of Earth’s gravity is not evenly constant around the world. It even has a slowly changing flux as our living world writhes in it’s tectonic plates and magma. Not unlike our changing magnetioc flux. (Perhaps even causing such maybe?)

    To look at a thing only, it’s actual case -it’s context -ceases to factor.

    Time and space are of a somwhat broader context than matter and gravity, a bit more primary and that much harder to objectify. The only context we cannot easily consider objectively.

    I mention all this only to enjoy the synchronicity -of having written it yesterday -thinking of that very sensitivity to time Terence may be exhorting us to (ya, I need to listen to a podcast before commenting Normally.)

    I always joked that timeflux state ought be included in the daily weather reports. Praps not as lame a joke as I think.

    Context. Everything is context.


    Matt C
    He’s to the Irish man with the mushrooms! Thanks for the message.

    Terence and Tarnas are mapping the same thing: the state of becoming at a given moment. They both see their system as the true and unique one. Tarnas has the advantage of being a historian mapping through the sum of our searching of the heavens while Terence is mapping through the vegetable matrix of the planet. Both identify a pattern in occurences over time. Tarnas interprets it through archetypes associated with the planets, Terence interprets it through patterning of chance events. They are both pointing at the essential character of the now. Terence assigned a direction to the pattern he percieved based on continuously decreasing value of the novelty number his algorithm produced. There is no inherent reason to see it as a “descent into novelty”, just as well an advance into greater novelty. The time wave is a self-similar fractal reflecting mutualy interpenetrating and interacting influences through time just as are planetary alignments.


    re: Trunk Slamchest : Finnegan’s Wake rocks. Campbell’s Skeleton Key is transcendentally insightful.

    thanks for posting these lorenzo….i understand your reservations about the timewave theory and i agree that there is some room for interpretation when deciding on the best fit between the graph and specific historical events. in this case though terence doesn’t get too involved in trying to make specific connections, and his rap as ever is illuminating for the perspective he provides on the proposed fractal nature of time. i think this is the true value of the timewave theory…it gives us permission as terence says to treat our own individual perception of time as real. we all know from experience that sunday morning is not the same as thursday afternoon, each moment is different and yet each contains resonances that link it with others. and at least in this version of the talk terence is open to the possibility that we may be each following our own individual timewave…

    Gary J. Talley
    Hi Lorenzo, I just wanted to let you know I found a fellow psychedelic thinker here in Memphis by the name of Mike Degnan whom appeared on our show and unexpectedly wowed us all with his knowledge of Terence and his brother Dennis’s Amazon trip accounted for in the book “True Hallucinations”. The experience of having discourse with someone who was as “up-to-speed” kind of blew my mind, and now I’m in talks with Deg on creating a new podcast in which we would materialize discourse on some of the content we hear in the salon.

    I was wondering if your creative commons license would allow us to even be able to do this kind of thing.

    If all goes well we’d like to start with doing our own re-focusing of the timewave and see if we can find anything interesting.

    If you’d like to listen, you can hear it at hhttp://shutupandlistenpodcast.com/podcasts/s03e11…

    The real discourse gets happening a few minutes in after we finish introducing Mike.

    Thanks so much for the salon and everything!

    @Gary … Yes :-)! … our Creative Commons license (which is on almost every program) allows you to do just that. … And I would be very honored if you would do what you propose … I’ll be a listener myself. … As for the license issues, you might want to consider using the Creative Commons also. Just go to the very bottom of this page and click on the link you’ll find there. … Now I’m off to give your podcast a listen :-).


    Hey I just read this article where the author assembles a series of fallacious arguments in the article, and is subsequently dismantled piece-by-piece by a well educated reader in the comment section. It may be slightly off topic for this podcast, but it’s a great read, and a triumph of truth over misinformation.

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