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Timewave Zero: Did Terence McKenna *really* believe in all that 2012 prophecy stuff?
04:28 pm



Terence McKenna at his house in Hawaii by Dean Chamberlain

Renowned science writer John Horgan, author of The End of Science, Rational Mysticism and several other books, pens a regular column at Scientific American where he takes a closer look at some of the quirkier topics that can still fall under the purview of “Science.” His current column pertains to Terence McKenna, the late psychedelic bard who spoke of the “self-transforming machine elves from hyperspace” he’d meet though psychedelic drug use.

What interests Horgan the most pertains to McKenna’s so-called Timewave Zero theory of history, which holds that something “novel” and mind-bending would happen on December 21, 2012. This notion was “revealed” to him by an “alien intelligence” during a psychedelic experiment conducted by McKenna and his younger brother Dennis, in the Amazon jungle in 1971 (Dennis McKenna, today a respected ethnopharmacologist, was the “channel” through which this entity supposedly spoke, has apparently never been much of a believer in his brother’s apocalyptic theories).

The Timewave Zero formula purports to mathematically “decode” the 64 hexagrams of the King Wen sequence of the I Ching into something that graphs fractal patterns of “novelty” and particularly active eras in history, culminating in a singularity point of infinite complexity that he predicted would happen at the end of the 13th b’ak’tun of the Maya calendar.

McKenna believed that all of human history and cultural and scientific evolution were moving inexorably towards a “strange attractor” at the end of time. Timewave Zero was later codified into a software program that seemingly mapped major moments in humanity’s evolution with the Timewave’s peaks and valleys.

McKenna’s theory, as written about at length in his books The Invisible Landscape and True Hallucinations, is a fascinating hermeneutic intellectual construction, and one that allowed for him to spin poetic and truly mind-bending thoughts about history, man’s place in the cosmos and of course, a sort of psychedelically-constructed apocalypticism that kept audiences absolutely spellbound, but rationally speaking, it’s wild-eyed, tied-dyed nonsense for soft-brained people…

John Horgan went to hear McKenna speak at a 1999 talk in Manhattan sponsored by the Open Center (I was in attendance at the talk myself, more on this below) and interviewed the psychedelic spokesman the following day. The object of Horgan’s line of inquiry was, not so surprisingly, to ask McKenna if he was actually serious about his 2012 predictions:

So what did McKenna really think would happen on December 21, 2012? “If you really understand what I’m saying,” he replied, “you would understand it can’t be said. It’s a prediction of an unpredictable event.” The event will be “some enormously reality-rearranging thing.” Scientists will invent a truly intelligent computer, or a time-travel machine. Perhaps we will be visited by an alien spaceship, or an asteroid. “I don’t know if it’s built into the laws of spacetime, or it’s generated out of human inventiveness, or whether it’s a mile and a half wide and arrives unexpectedly in the center of North America.”

But did he really think the apocalypse would arrive on December 21, 2012? “Well…” McKenna hesitated. “No.” He had merely created one mathematical model of the flow and ebb of novelty in history. “It’s a weak case, because history is not a mathematically defined entity,” he said. His model was “just a kind of fantasizing within a certain kind of vocabulary.” McKenna still believed in the legitimacy of his project, even if his particular model turned out to be a failure. “I’m trying to redeem history, make it make sense, show that it obeys laws,” he said.

But he couldn’t stop there. His eyes glittering, he divulged a “huge–quote unquote—coincidence” involving his prophecy. After he made his prediction that the apocalypse would occur on December 21, 2012, he learned that thousands of years ago Mayan astronomers had predicted the world would end on the very same day. “And now there has been new scholarship that they were tracking the galactic center and its precessional path through the ecliptic plane. What does all this mean?” McKenna leaned toward me, his eyes slitted and his teeth bared. “It means we are trapped in software written by the ghost of Jorge Luis Borges!” He threw his head back and cackled. “Tell that to the National Academy of Sciences!”

McKenna, when pressed said to Horgan, “I’m Irish! What’s your excuse!”

Although I have listened to (literally) hundreds of hours of his recorded talks, attended many, many speeches and even a weekend-long seminar (incongruously held on the outdoor “western village” set of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) I can’t claim that I really knew Terence McKenna all that well, but I was most certainly acquainted with him and, in fact, was due to take him over the bridge to meet Howard Bloom in Brooklyn (Bloom was bedridden at the time) later in the very same day that Horgan interviewed him (McKenna cancelled because he was feeling tired; two weeks later he would have seizures and be diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer).

I’ve written before of how Timothy Leary expressed extreme exasperation about McKenna’s theories (In 1996 Leary shouted at me as I tried to defend him, that “Terence McKenna is a High Episcopalian!”) and how coldly dismissive Robert Anton Wilson was of his ideas (Bob would just roll his eyes and shake his head whenever the topic of Terence or 2012 came up). My take on the whole Timewave Zero/2012 thing and whether or not he truly believed it or not, is that “No,” I do not think that Terence McKenna wholeheartedly believed in his own psychedelic blarney. I think that he DID believe it at one time, but from personal observations on several occasions throughout the 1990s, when I would see him after one of his talks and observe his interaction with others, I don’t think this belief stayed with him.

To be perfectly honest, he often felt downright cynical to me when he discussed the Timewave Zero theory because it seemed like he knew he was spouting bullshit and it caused him to be curt, even disrespectful at times, to some of the people—especially the New Age true believer-types—who were in attendance at his talks.

Granted I might have only been around McKenna when he was feeling grumpy or wasn’t up for playing his expected role as a “guru” that day, but this is what I saw with my own eyes.

Thank you Steven Otero!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Patti Smith performing ‘April Fool’ at the Detroit Institute of Arts
03:59 pm



I’ve been listening to the new Patti Smith album for the past two days and my initial enthusiasm for Banga has only grown stronger. At first I thought my lust for a Smith album that knocked me sideways like Horses was coloring my take on this new one, but I think I can fairly objectively say it is the second or third best album of Patti Smith’s career.

Smith’s voice has never been finer and, unlike many of her albums after Easter, Banga is full of lovely melodies and hooks. Lyrically, the album follows in the spirit of Smith’s memoir Just Kids: ruminative, prayerful, melancholic and hopeful - a delicate, tough and occasionally fierce expression from a spiritual warrior moving forward with grace and determined soulfulness.

Banga was produced by Smith at Electric Lady Studios (where Horses was recorded in 1975) and features her group (Lenny Kaye, Jay Daugherty and Tony Shanahan) in stellar form. Tom Verlaine provides some shards of psychedelia to two tracks and there’s some drumming and guitar work from Johnny Depp on the title track.

For fans of rock legends who still deliver the goods, Neil Young has added Smith to his tour schedule. The Patti Smith Group will open for Young in these cities:

Nov. 23 – Montreal, Quebec, Bell Centre
Nov. 24 – Ottawa, Ontario, Scotiabank Place
Nov. 26 – Boston, Mass., TD Garden
Nov. 27 – New York City, N.Y., Madison Square Garden
Nov. 29 – Philadelphia, Pa., Wells Fargo Center
Nov. 30 – Fairfax, Va., Patriot Center
Dec. 4 – Bridgeport, Conn., Webster Bank Arena

The following video was shot at Detroit Institute of Arts where an exhibition of Smith’s photographs is taking place concurrent with the addition of her late husband’s, Fred “Sonic” Smith, guitar to the museum’s collection.

The song “April Fool” is the opening track of Banga. Accompanying Patti are her son and daughter, Jackson and Jesse.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Corpsepaint’ make-up throughout rock and roll history
03:34 pm



“Corpsepaint Creatures” by Tokyo-based artist Bunny Bissoux, is an examination of rock bands throughout history who have worn “corspepaint” on their ugly mugs. Screen prints are available for purchase on his her website.

As a side note: Upon further inspection, it looks like Bunny Bissoux forgot to add Soft Machine to her mighty illustration. Surely Kevin Ayers would count?

Via Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Neil Young live in Austin, 1984
03:13 pm



Here’s a little something new to YouTube: Neil Young and The International Harvesters live on Austin City Limits, 1984.

Neil’s country side is in full force in Texas.


Are You Ready for the Country
Are There Any More Real Cowboys
Comes a Time
Field of Opportunity
Amber Jean, Roll Another Number (For the Road)
Heart of Gold
The Needle and the Damage Done
California Sunset
Old Man
Get Back to the Country
Down By the River

Anthony Crawford (guitars, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, vocals), Spooner Oldham (piano, organ), Ben Keith (pedal steel), Karl “Junkyard” Himmel (drums), Tim Drummond (bass) and Rufus Thibodeaux (fiddle).

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Obscenely expensive Christian Louboutin handbag in the shape of a pill
02:14 pm



I can certainly appreciate the swell design of the “Pilule” bag by Christian Louboutin, however, I don’t like it enough to spend $6,995 on it. Yikes!

Christian Louboutin celebrates 20 years of iconic designs with a capsule collection compiled of favorite pieces from decades past. The “Pilule”,  constructed in 100% resin, returns with the capsule collection. Produced in very limited quantities, this is your daily dose of Louboutin and it is just what the doctor ordered.

What pharmaceutical product is this capsule supposed to represent, anyways? I don’t recognize it. Is it a “happy” pill or just an antibiotic?


Via Who Killed Bambi

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Happy Slayer Day!
01:14 pm



Apparently, International Day of Slayer 2012 is here!

On June 6th, Hessians worldwide come together to do something upon which we can all agree - listening to Slayer! Finally, one of the most dismissed cultural groups in the world has a holiday to call its own. Join us in our cause to stand unified in our celebration of metal music and let us prove to the rest of society that we too have a voice.

Here’s how you can celebrate according to the National Day of Slayer website:

  • Listen to Slayer at full blast in your car.

  • Listen to Slayer at full blast in your home.

  • Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.

  • Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.

Basically, everything you need to know about this holiday can be found here. Be forewarned though, you may wanna turn down (or maybe turn up?) your speakers before visiting.

Below, “Angel of Death” rendered in smooth rock stylings:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
\m/ Slayer wine \m/
Slayer custom condoms

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Ray Bradbury has died
01:13 pm

Pop Culture


Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles, died yesterday, June 5th, at the age of 91. Bradbury was a colossus of modern fiction, writing everything form fantasy, science-, and speculative-fiction to comedy, crime and mystery. He wrote twenty-seven novels, several screenplays, most notably for John Huston’s film version of Moby Dick, as well as plays, and hundreds of classic short stories.

Bradbury was an immense talent, yet in the early part of his career, his success as a mass market “pulp” author often led critics to overlook the quality of his writing, and its seismic influence on others - his fiction formed the template for future speculative science-fiction and fantasy writers to follow. Bradbury had a beautiful, poetic and lyrical style of writing, most notable in Dandelion Wine, which made his authorial voice unmistakable.

Indeed the quality of Bradbury’s writing helped science-fiction out of the pulp ghetto into the hallowed groves of literature. Though most associated with that genre, Bradbury denied he was a science-fiction writer, instead claimed he was a fantasy writer whose work owed much to the traditions of classical literature:

“First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time—because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.”

Born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920, Bradbury grew up in small town America - a world of dusty roads, with few cars, and tarmac avenues with old trolley buses ploughing the metal rails along main street. He also once claimed, in a BBC documentary, that his memory and experience was the source for much of his writing, and said his memory stretched back to his earliest experiences as a baby, being breast-fed in his mother’s arms.

He grew up reading books and watching Flash Gordon serials at the local cinema, and monster movies with Boris Karloff, while following the adventures of heroes in the early garish comics that later went on to deliver Batman, Superman and Tales from the Crypt.

“Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”

Reading inspired his writing and Bradbury started his own fictions, eventually submitting short stories to pulp magazines in his teens - his first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, which appeared in the fanzine Imagination! in January, 1938. He received his first check of $15 for his story “Pendulum” (co-written with Henry Hasse) in 1941, when it was published in Super Science Stories. By 1942, he was able to have a career as a writer, writing stories for the various pulp magazines that were then available.

He progressed from stories to novels, with first big success being The Martian Chronicles, which was aided by a chance meeting with author Christopher Isherwood, who admired Bradbury’s work, and passed the book onto a critic who gave it a glowing review. From there, Bradbury had a career befitting the talents of such a great and marvelous man.

Bradbury’s influence has infused much of our cultural world - from films to comics, science to the imagined landscape of small town America, which is still very much as he described it in his fictions. Indeed, Bradbury’s vision of small town America was a precursor to Stephen King’s Castle Rock.

I greatly admire Bradbury’s work, and like everyone else grew-up reading his books, and regularly returned to them in my adult years. It seems as we grow older that all we reap is death, and this year has been a harsh harvest. Still, we should perhaps recall Bradbury’s line from Fahrenheit 451:

“Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made up or paid for in factories.”

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury 1920-2012.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Video game tips from the pros
12:58 pm



“Down, down, left, right, up, down…”

Via Everything is Terrible

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Who’s the idiot: Sarah Palin says something that might be true for once
12:14 pm

Class War


Sarah Palin might be a fucking idiot, but as the saying goes, a stopped clock is right twice a day. Via Politico:

“I think that the Democrats there understand that the president’s no-show represents the fact that Obama’s goose is cooked,” Palin told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News soon after networks called Walker the projected winner of the historic recall. She was referring to President Barack Obama’s decision not to campaign for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

As she denounced Obama’s “hopey changey stuff”, the former Alaska governor continued: “More and more Americans realize that what Wisconsin has just manifested via this vote … is the complete opposite of what president Obama and the White House represents today.”

Palin predicted that the Obama administration will try to downplay Walker’s victory and distance itself from the GOP’s win in Wisconsin.

“Jay Carney — can’t wait to see how he spins all this and ignores it, and President Obama himself,” she said. “They’re going to really try to distance themselves from this despite the fact that they, leading their lapdogs in the leftist media, made this a front page story for how many months? Months and months.”

She’s 100% correct.

Democrats can argue all they want that the WI recall election’s blowout conclusion has nothing to do with Obama’s electoral fortunes in the state—or nationally—but they’re just whistling past the graveyard.

It was fucking ridiculous to watch the deer-in-the-headlights pundits on MSNBC last night try to spin Walker’s victory AS IF it was, in fact, good news for Obama.

By that standard the 2010 election must have been terrific for Democrats also…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Life-size replica ‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne for sale
11:49 am



The HBO Shop is selling replica Game of Thrones “iron” thrones for $30,000 + a $1,800.00 surcharge for shipping. They’re constructed of fiberglass and fire-proof resin.

This custom chair is designed to mimic the seat of kings in the Seven Kingdoms. On the show, the Iron Throne was constructed by Aegon I Targaryen, the first king of the Seven Kingdoms. He made it from the swords surrendered by his enemies. Legend has it, it’s made of a thousand swords that took 59 days to hammer out into a throne. Spikes and jagged edges in every direction make this one very intimidating lounge

You would think by the insanely high price, that the HBO Shop would have put in some effort and uploaded better photos, but they didn’t. They’re all pretty crappy. You can check ‘em out here.

Via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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