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The flying saucer is an image of the perfected human mind

[The following is an excerpt from Terence McKenna's True Hallucinations.]

Western religion has its own singularity in the form of the apocalypse, an event placed not at the beginning of the universe but at its end. This seems a more logical position than that of science. If singularities exist at all it seems easier to suppose that they might arise out of an ancient and highly complexified cosmos, such as our own, than out of a featureless and dimensionless megavoid.

Science looks down its nose at the apocalyptic fantasies of religion, thinking that the final time can only mean an entropic time of no change. The view of science is that all processes ultimately run down, but entropy is maximized only in some far, far away future. The idea of entropy makes an assumption that the laws of the space-time continuum are infinitely and linearly extendable into the future. In the spiral time scheme of the timewave this assumption is not made. Rather,"final time means passing out of one set of laws that are conditioning existence and into another radically different set of laws." The universe is seen as a series of compartmentalized eras or epochs whose laws are quite different from one another, with transitions from one epoch to another occurring with unexpected suddenness.

To see through the eyes of this theory is to see one's place in the spiral scheme and to know and anticipate when the transition to new epochs will occur. One sees this in the physical world. The planet is five or six billion years old. The formation of the inorganic universe occupies the first turn of the spiral wave. Then life appears. If one examines this planet, which is the only planet we can examine in depth, one finds that processes are steadily accelerating in both speed and complexity.

A planet swings through space two billion years before life appears. Life represents a new emergent quality. The instant life gets started, a mad scramble is on. Species appear and disappear. This goes on for a billion and a half years and then suddenly a new emergent property takes the stage: thinking species. This new epoch of mind is brief in comparison to what preceded it; from the dumb confrontation with chipped flint to the starship is one hundred thousand years. An emergent new psychophysics is allowing the species to manifest very peculiar properties: language, writing, dreaming, and the spinning of philosophy.

Like rattlesnakes and poplar trees, human beings are made by DNA. Yet we trigger the same energies that light the stars. We do these things because, though we are made of mush and mud, our minds have taught us how to extend our reach through tools. With tools we can unleash energies that normally only occur under very different conditions. The center of stars is the usual site of fusion processes.

We do such things using mind. And what is mind? We haven't a clue. Twenty-thousand years from nomadic hunting and gathering to cybernetics and spaceflight. And we are still accelerating. There are yet more waves to come. From the Model-T Ford to the starship: one hundred years. From the fastest man on earth being able to move thirty miles per hour to nine miles per second: sixty years.

Most puzzling are the predictions the timewave theory makes of near term shifts of epochs made necessary by the congruence of the timewave and the historical record. The timewave seems to give a best fit configuration with the historical data when the assumption is made that the maximum ingression of novelty, or the end of the wave, will occur on December 22, 2012. Strangely enough this is the end date that the Mayans assigned to their calendar system as well. What is it that gives both a twentieth-century individual and an ancient Meso-American civilization the same date upon which to peg the transformation of the world. Is it that both used psychedelic mushrooms? Could the answer be so simple? I don't think so. Rather, I suspect that when we inspect the structure of our own deep unconscious we will make the unexpected discovery that we are ordered on the same principle as the larger universe in which we arose. This notion, surprising at first, quickly comes to be seen as obvious, natural, and inevitable.

The analogy that explains how this might be so is provided by looking at sand dunes. The interesting thing about such dunes is that they bear a resemblance to the force that created them, wind. It is as if each grain of sand were a bit inside the memory of a natural computer. The wind is the input that arranges the grains of sand so that they become a lower-dimensional template of a higher-dimensional phenomenon, in this case the wind. There is nothing magical about this, and it does not seem mysterious to us: wind, a pressure that is variable over time, creates a rippled dune, which is a structure regularly variable in space. In my thinking, the genes of organisms are grains of sand arranged by the ebb and flow of the winds of time. Naturally, then, organisms bear the imprint of the inherent variables in the temporal medium in which they arose. DNA is the blank slate upon which the changing temporal variables have had their sequence and relative differences recorded. Any technique that saw into the energetic relationships within a living organism, such as yoga or the use of psychedelic plants, would also give a deep insight concerning the variable nature of time. The King Wen sequence of the I Ching is the product of this kind of insight.

Human culture is a curve of expanding potentiality. In our own tormented century it has reached vertical gain. Human beings threaten every species on the planet. We have stockpiled radioactive materials everywhere, and every species on earth can feel this. The planet when viewed as a sentient entity can react to this kind of pressure. It is three billion years old, and it has many options.

Dualistic talk about humanity not being part of the natural order is foolish. We could not have arisen unless we served a purpose that fit into the planetary ecology. It is not clear what our purpose is, but it seems to have to do with our enormous research instruments. And crises! By stockpiling atomic weapons, we have claimed the capacity to destroy the earth like a stick of dynamite in a rotten apple. Why? We do not know why. Surely not for the political and social reasons that are given. We are simply a tool-building species that is itself the tool of a planetary ecology that is a higher intelligence. It knows what the dangers and limits on the cosmic scale are and it is furiously organizing life to both preserve and transform itself.

My story is a peculiar one. It is hard to know what to make of it. The notion of some kind of fantastically complicated visionary revelation that happens to put one at the very center of the action is a symptom of mental illness. This theory does that, and yet so does immediate experience, and so do the ontologies of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. My theory may be clinically pathological, but unlike these religious systems, I have enough humor to realize it. It is important to appreciate the intrinsic comedy of privileged knowledge. It is also important to have recourse to the scientific method whenever appropriate. Most scientific theories can be disproven in the calm confines of the laboratory, evolution to the contrary.

To empathize with the visions at La Chorrera one must imagine what one can imagine. Imagine if wishes were horses, how beggars would ride. The ideas developed at La Chorrera were so compelling because they promised new dimensions of human freedom. The Amazonian rumors of time-binding magical fluids self-generated out of the bodies of master shamans are nothing less than intimations of the metamorphosis of the human body/mind into a higher dimensional state. Were such a transformation of matter possible, one could do anything with it. One might spread it out and climb on it and take it up to any altitude, adding oxygen at will. It's the haunting image of the flying saucer yet again. One can climb inside it: putting on your mind like a mental wet suit. The flying saucer is an image of the perfected human mind: waiting, warmly humming, at the end of human history on this planet. When it is perfect, there will be an ontological mutation of the human form, nothing less than the resurrection-body that Christianity anticipates.

It is the genius of human technology to master and to serve the energies of life and death and time and space. The UFO holds out the possibility of mind become object, a ship that can cross the universe in the time it takes to think about it. Because that is what the universe is--a thought. And when thought becomes mobile and objectified, then humanity--novices in the mastery of thought--will begin to set out.

Of course we may discover that we are not to set out; the future may reveal instead that there is something out there calling us home. Then it will be our technology and the call of the Other that will move toward meeting. The saucer is an excellent metaphor for this. When Jung suggested that the saucer was the human soul, he was more correct than he may have supposed. It is not so far away. That is the other thing. The last shift of epochs gave us relativity theory and quantum mechanics. Another epochal shift looms, but whether or not it is the final epoch is hard to say. Our roles as parts of the process introduces an uncertainty in our observations that bedevils prediction.

True Hallucinations

Terence McKenna
(pages 199-203)

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