Novelty theory attempts to calculate the ebb and flow of novelty in the universe as an inherent quality of time. It is an idea conceived of and discussed at length by Terence McKenna from the early 1970s until his death in the year 2000. Novelty theory involves ontology, morphogenesis, and eschatology. Novelty, in this context, can be thought of as newness, density of complexification, and dynamic change as opposed to static habituation. According to McKenna, when "novelty" is graphed over time, a fractal waveform known as timewave zero or simply the timewave results. The graph shows at what times, but never at what locations, novelty is increasing or decreasing. According to the timewave graph, great periods of novelty occurred about 4 billion years ago when Earth was formed, 65 million years ago when dinosaurs were extinct and mammals expanded, about 10,000 years ago after the end of the ice age, around late 18th century when social and scientific revolutions progressed, during the sixties, around the time of 9/11, and with coming novelty periods in November 2008, October 2010, with the novelty progressing towards the infinity on 21st December 2012.
The timewave itself is a combination of numerology and mathematics. It is formed out of McKenna's interpretation and analysis of numerical patterns in the King Wen sequence of the I Ching (the ancient Chinese Book of Changes). This concept first took root in his entheogenic experiences shared by him and his brother Dennis McKenna as documented in the book The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching. The theory is clearly based in numerology and takes shape out of McKenna's belief that the sequence is artificially arranged as such purposefully. Mathematically, the sequence is graphed according to a set of mathematical ratios, and displays a fractal nature as well as resonances although it was not captured in a true formula until criticism from mathematician Matthew Watkins . McKenna interpreted the fractal nature and resonances of the wave, as well as his theory of the I Ching's artificial arrangement, to show that the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times.
As the theory was never published in a peer-reviewed journal and McKenna's sources and reasoning were primarily what would be considered numerological rather than mathematical by professional mathematicians and scientists, the theory has failed to gain any (scientific) credibility or much recognition. However, McKenna was highly critical of such fields for adhering to what he saw as a flawed Occidental paradigm, and did not seek to create a theory acceptable to the mathematical community. The theory was, however, revised by nuclear physicist John Sheliak after a flaw was discovered by Matthew Watkins. The new revision is often referred to as Timewave One, but is also included in the set of alternate waves in the Timewave Zero software. It is claimed that this new version is more closely matched to history.
Precepts of novelty theory
Novelty theory has a few basic tenets:
That the universe is a living system with a teleological attractor at the end of time that drives the increase and conservation of complexity in material forms.
That the human brain represents the pinnacle of complex organization in the known universe to date.
That fluctuations in novelty over time are self-similar at different scales. Thus the rise and fall of the Roman Empire might be resonant with the life of a family within a single generation, or with an individual's day at work.
That as the complexity and sophistication of human thought and culture increase, universal novelty approaches a Koch curve of infinite exponential growth.
That in the time immediately prior to, and during this omega point of infinite novelty, anything and everything conceivable to the human imagination will occur simultaneously.
That the date of this historical endpoint is December 21, 2012, the end of the long count of the Mayan calendar.
This End of History was to be the final manifestation of The Eschaton, which McKenna characterized as a sort of strange attractor towards which the evolution of the universe developed.