Podcast 449 – “McKenna’s Speculations About 2012”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

Lorenzo & Bruce Damer speaking at Esalen - June 2012PROGRAM NOTES:

In this continuation of a Terence McKenna workshop from June 1994, he does brief riffs about Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” and Orwell’s “1984”. He then continues with some speculations about what he thought 2012 would bring. Step 1, he speculated, would be that everyone in the world would go outdoors and get naked. And from there he takes off on a wild flight of mind that you have to hear for yourself to truly appreciate his relationship (at that time) to a potential 2012 event. Ultimately he reaches a point where he speculates about why it was (and still is) necessary for a species like us humans to evolve.


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Posted in 2012, Bruce Damer, Culture, Eschaton, Future, Lorenzo, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Katie, it was probably A New Refutation of Time, though Borges had a thing about time and it could’ve been anywhere. It’s been decades since I read it and I don’t remember if he mentions hyperspace in there, but I remember it was a dazzlingly good essay.

  2. What’s interesting, this “Mayan prediction” and Terence’s prediction of some sort of event in 2012 might not have been too far off the mark. 5 months off, almost to the day, July 23, 2012. Our sun unleashed a solar flare of such magnitude it was stated to be at least as strong as the Carrington Event. It was sent towards Earth, and we came into it’s path a mere WEEK after it crossed our orbit. If it had hit us, the estimates of the event would have been catastrophic on a global scale. One week.

  3. Does anyone know the name of the Jorge Luis Borges story Terence mentions, in which a species can’t enter hyperspace until the last member of the species dies and until that moment the entire species is corralled in some kind of limbo, waiting?

  4. I don’t see why so many are so quick to discard the Timewave Theory as bunk. The 2012-prediction is not all that the Theory amounts to. More effort should be put into trying out different fits of the Timewave upon given portions of coherent history. I believe both the I Ching and the Timewave impart something true about reality, i.e. about fundamental qualities of event-unfolding or time.

    A lot of the I Ching Wisdom is expounded on by Terence’s Timewave Theory, or at least by his thoughts around the relation between three things: 1: the real and actual phenomenon of time, 2: the esoteric foundation of wisdom behind the development of the particular system if the I Ching hexagrams in the King Wen sequence and 3: his own discovery – with the aid and guidance of a teacher, of course – of the connections between the two former (actual time and the I Ching). This third thing, the Timewave Theory, even if its discoverer may have failed at applying it correctly when he wanted to make certain prophecies or predictions, is highly useful to anyone who wants to understand the I Ching hexagram system as actually describing elementary qualities of time, or to anyone who wants to see how it can possibly be that how it is precisely you precisely here and now throwing the coins precisely like this and obtaining precisely this hexagram, which works. It seems the present moment transcribes itself into the appropriate hexagram. But that is only possible if there is some true relation between any present moment and the hexagram system. Whoever made this system must have known how to identify and separate distinct elementary qualities of time and distinguish how they interact and then have been able to mirror this symbolically.

    In hexagrams 13 and 22 I recently found the following phrases:

    “Just as the luminaries in the sky serve for the systematic division and
    arrangement of time, so human society and all things that really belong
    together must be organically arranged.”

    “By contemplating the forms existing in the heavens we come to understand time
    and its changing demands. Through contemplation of the forms existing in
    human society it becomes possible to shape the world.”

    I don’t know how ancient these words are, but that is beside the point, the point being that this system – whenever it is understood or forgotten that it does so – truly mirrors the elementary qualities of time, qualities that it takes historically experiencing monkeys to even suspect the existence of, qualities that participate in the development of all entities and events.

    These are aspects of reality that physics, biology, psychology, linguistics and all other investigative sciences should be only too glad to get a grasp of.

    I agree with Wave Rider in that I would love to hear/read Peter Meyer’s thoughts on the Timewave.

    Peter has engaged in this forum before. It would certainly be a great pleasure and privilege for any interested Saloner if he appeared again for some discussion on the topic of the Timewave.

  5. Thanks for the input.

    Personally I don’t mind entertaining a new end date.

    Drunvalo, the guy who talks about the flower of life, and has created a system of ideas out of that, has said that his work and his interaction with Indigenous peoples indicates an end date window which is something like 2012-2017 (not sure). But be warned, he is a fluff head.

    Also in case people somehow value the galactic alignment, I want to point out that its reasonable to put a window on that too. Our measurement on that likely has some margin for error. Maybe the incident cosmic rays from that center will reach a peak just when we are ready to run on dmt instead of serotonin haha. We still might have hyperspace mechanists though, because this emasculate timing might imply some kind of clockwork universe hahaha.

  6. Terence had a keen interest in metaphysics and epistemology for sure, his thinking and theories habitually reach beyond the boundaries of “ordinary” science.

    However, he never presented a complete and all-encompassing metaphysical “theory of everything” (Hegel may be the last respected thinker who accomplished such a feat).

    Terence always left room for open-ended speculation and even mystery. He had different strains of thoughts and theories that often were not integrated with one another in a clear way. After all, one of his favorite sayings is that “the world / life is stranger than we even can suppose”.

    So, I think Terence never did answer the question of origin, or “Why is there something rather than nothing?” directly, which of course is a tough undertaking if one doesn’t want to go the traditional way of resorting to some concept of a god entity.

    If I had to interpret Terences’s work pondering this question, I’d look at it from this angle:
    One of his favorite ideas or memes is that “the world is made up of language”. What does that imply? Everything is language, is brought into existence through some kind of language(s). It’s mind-blowing to try to fully comprehend this.

  7. Dear Lorenzo,

    I have noticed that you are bothered by the 2012 date and the hype around it. I would like to inform you that McKenna’s friend Peter Meyer actually changed the date a few months before Dec 2012. He wrote the timewave software with mckenna and would know the most about it’s workings. Here are some links about him and the timewave:


    I’m sure Peter has an understanding of what mckenna had in mind when he designed the math behind the wave. It might be very interesting to do an interview with Peter about the topic. I’m sure he could be reached over the phone or though VoIP. He seems to be in Europe from what I’ve read.

    All his websites are registered with the following:
    Meyer Peter
    c/o Gaia Media Stiftung
    Schützenmattstrasse 5
    CH-4051 Basel

    I do hope you can find him and do an interview. It would be the missing piece of the timewave puzzle.

  8. Concrescence,

    I don’t remember Terence ever talking about the origins of the transcendental object at the end of history.

    I don’t think he had any theories about that.

    Its relationship to history is not so much an origination, but an ingression.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I’m just now editing next week’s podcast (#450), and about 30 minutes into it Terence says, “In a way, the transcendental object at the end of time IS history.”]

  9. Philosopher, as you have probably made out, “the creation lies in the eschaton”, which sounds pretty lame hehe, is not a direct quote. As you will recall Terence tries to find an alternative to the big bang style singularity, and he thinks it is more likely for a such a singularity like to occur at the end of process.

    I don’t think Terence would find the issue of our creation, or the “where do we come from?” question which is an essential metaphysical concern to be unimportant. For this claim I will provide no evidence.

    When he says who knows, about how did it all start, I think he is pointing out how preposterous it is for us “monkeys” to arrive at the truth on such questions. I dunno, maybe he even means it is even absurd to entertain metaphysical questions. Terence has said something about the Greeks giving up fishing for philosophy, and that this was a mistake (maybe he means this insofar as the Greeks can be seen responsible for some seemingly negative things like the ego).
    At any rate, I value metaphysics and am still searching the literature (not very hard mind you) for answers. I find that my experiences better inform me on these matters.

    Btw the trialogue I was referring to is called Chaos and Imagination.

    Also I think it is reasonable to listen to all the available Mckenna talks, and that it would not be a big commitment for those considering this study. Again I will not provide evidence for this claim lol, but like just look at one of the archives online.

    My question still stands.

  10. I think that what Terence refers to as the eschaton was simply his coming death and in fact all our coming deaths as viewed through the illusion of our own egos. We are born, we grow old and diseased and then we die. Such a process is fractal in nature where even the universe is born, expands, plateaus then contracts similar to a bouncing ball.

    With regard to Terence’s 2012 predictions, he could still be right in that December 23 2012 may have represented the exact time when the universe begins its contraction phase. Even though it may begin its downward contraction at that date, we still wouldn’t notice such a reversal from expansion as our cosmological position is at the top of the decline where there is a kind of plateau before the momentum actually kicks in in a noticeable way. An analogy could be when ocean tides make their change from high tide towards low tide. Even though the tide has peaked at one position, the tide at another position is still rising. It’s like a delayed reaction.

    Just a thought 🙂

  11. Is “the creation of the universe lies in the eschaton” a direct quote?

    It seems for Terence the eschaton is all about purpose and telos of the cosmos, and the supposed creation or coming into existence is of no importance, or only worth a footnote in his theory of novelty. Of course, that makes sense – it’s a theory about “the attractor at the end of time”.

    I think he once said something along the lines of “How did it all start? … Who knows?”.

    Of course, my memory is sketchy and I haven’t listened to every McKenna talk (is that even possible – a myriad of recordings out there).

  12. I have a question about Terence’s cosmology. Terence says that the creation of the universe lies in the eschaton instead of the big bang, and that the universe builds upon novelty. I was wondering if anyone knows where the eschaton comes from in this cosmology. If it comes from God, then what are some of the parameters of God? Does Terence’s cosmology require a timeless realm?

    I suspect I can find answers to this in Whiteheads writing, and I recall something along these lines being discussed in a travelogue, but I bet someone here can help me. Again, the main question I have is where does the Eschaton, which is the attractor for process, and which is the purpose which caused the universe to emerge, come from?

    Even if this is unanswered I still find Terence’s Cosmology to be an improvement on the theory that everything sprang from nothing for no reason (duh), and don’t consider it to be a complication violating Occam’s Razor, because it removes the assumption of a particular flow of causality (Maxwells equations work forward and backward in time, and I think quantum mechanics does as well.)

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