McKenna’s Singularity

Terrence McKenna had many fascinating and insightful theories, and was certainly not just your average psychedelic anti-Western hippy dropout. He had an avid interest in Western history, philosophy, and esotericism (particularly Hermeticism). You might even go so far as to say that for his era (peaking between the 60s-80s) he was a kind of archetypal Western man.

While in reading his books and listening to his talks, we must admit today that he did absorb some ultimately wrong and destructive peacenik hippy values. He could hypnotically weave the most intricate and insightful theory you had ever heard, but would sometimes reach slightly disappointing (politically bias-confirming) conclusions as to ‘what the human response should be’.  

However, if you follow his career you can see that towards the end of his life (nearer to his tragic death from a brain tumour in 2000) he was beginning to reverse some of those conclusions. There are videos of him fearlessly speaking out against political correctness, and even investigating (or at least being open to addressing) some extremely taboo things (certainly that he wouldn’t be allowed to address today without cancellation). Judging by his criticisms of political correctness alone, back in the very infancy of that thought-policing ‘movement’, we can assume he would be astute and honest enough (should he have lived to see this miserable current age) to renounce a few of his own fruitier conclusions, and perhaps even find himself rather surprisingly on a certain political side of the culture war. Who knows.

I believe the same thing of other ‘leftist’ cultural heroes such as Hunter S. Thompson. These are freebooting personalities whose temperament would not allow them to sit peacefully through mass censorship and forced limitations, despite the politics of their own day. Of course this is just speculation.

One of his theories – which he still may be discovered to be correct about – was that of the ‘singularity’. The occasion considered by McKenna to be the point at which the cosmos was racing towards, when the increase in novelty and complexity would reach a climax, something he also referred to as ‘timewave zero’. He considered this a zero point where we reach an infinitely large level of intensity during an infinitely small period of time.

But from what we can see today, I am worried that it is possible that he may have gotten the conditions of his singularity ass-backwards. And that we are currently languishing under the very opposite: an absence of complexity, a great dumbing-down and limiting of ideas, as what is ‘allowable’ narrows every single day.  By curtailing ‘what is possible’ for human, by censoring and punishing ideas that are not system-approved, a tremendous banality has set in. A world designed for mediocre people has emerged, for faceless inhuman nobodies. Conformity-mannequins, who will consume whatever slop they are given, as they become something less akin to human, and more to that of livestock.

McKenna’s singularity of novelty may actually be a year-zero compression-point of nothingness.

Personally I think it could turn out to be (like so much else) a kind of wave, ever fluctuating, with highs and lows. A cycle, perpetual.

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