Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Terence McKenna: Epigenetic vs Genetic Change 2

We continue in the interview conducted in October of 1998 by John Hazard, with Terence McKenna.
How has the arrival of epigenetic change affected the universe?  Who brought this change?  McKenna answers.
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Question:  What do you really mean about time speeding up?

Answer: Well let me answer in the form of a question.  Which lasts longer, a million years in which nothing happens, or, ten seconds with fifty thousand events crammed into them?

In other words, really time is only experienced by the events that occur within it.  And I maintain that the early universe had very little going on, and, consequently, time moved very very slowly.  The character of time as we approach the present, is that there are more and more physical domains and energetic domains, in which change can occur.  For example, the early universe was a pure plasma, a pure form of unassociated electrons.  You didn't even have atomic systems, let alone chemistry, molecular chemistry, life, complex speciated life, and dynamically balanced planetary eco-systems.  Each one of those phenomena, crystallized out or emerged, if you will, from the previous systems that had come into existence.  So when I say time is speeding up, what I mean is that more and more is happening.
"In other words, really time is only experienced by the events that occur within it."

(We include a further statement by McKenna on the acceleration of time.  Following this video is another one by Harmut Rosa, a sociologist who will deliver a short lecture on social acceleration.   To those who follow Ray Kurzweil, this theme seems similar to his application of Moore's Law.  Many agree that there is at least a perception that things are speeding up.  With recent views, that the perception of time is greatly affected by the mind, McKenna's statements seem even more relevant and cogent.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link: http://bit.ly/eGzdet)


If you ask the question, what would be the ultimate state of connectivity or happening?  It's when all points are connected to all other points.  Somehow, this concept of connectivity is intimately linked to the concept of complexity.  And so really what I am saying is that the universe is getting its act together.  It's connecting the dots.  It's bringing everything into co-relationship with everything else.  And somehow it does this through the production of consciousness.

Consciousness is this integrated function in biology, which takes data which may appear profoundly unrelated, and, in fact, brings it into some type of a congruent relationship.  In fact, we say an organism coordinates a point of view.  Well in a way, what's happening over time is that the universe is coordinating a point of view.  And as it does this, it becomes somehow more aware, more conscious, more being-like and less thing-like.  And, as I said, this process is not proceeding at a steady pace, it is proceeding faster and faster.  More connectivity occurs now in a calendar year than occurs in a million years, a billion years ago. ( We post here an interview with McKenna where he discusses consciousness.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link: http://youtu.be/SUpRe0Xd0qI)


So somehow, as we approach the present, we find ourselves in an ever denser realm of activity, interrelationship, connectivity, and the result of this is more of the same, producing a shrinking globe, ever more immersive technologies, dissolution of political, social, gender and class boundaries of all sorts.  So that's what I say when I say the universe is speeding up.
"With the advent of human beings, using spoken language, a new kind of possibility was born, change which is not about genes, but about language, about customs, behaviors of human beings."

You know before the advent of man, of human beings, the fastest changes on this planet of any consequence were genetic changes, changes in the genomes of plants and animals.  Well biologists, know that for a fruit fly to add spurs to its legs, for a bird to change its plumage, you need hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of years or evolutionary time.  With the advent of human beings, using spoken language, a new kind of possibility was born, change which is not about genes, but about language, about customs, behaviors of human beings.

Epigenetic (McKenna, to the best of our knowledge expands the use this word to a different sense than commonly understood) change reaches its climatic culmination in speech, writing, and communication of all sorts.  So the carriers of epigenetic change, the human beings are automatically the carriers of accelerated novelty.  So when you look at evolution on a coral reef, and you compare it, let's say, to the evolution of political ideas in modern Europe, obviously, modern Europe's rate of change, in this domain, is thousands of times faster.  So by moving from the genetic to the epigenetic realm we have vastly accelerated all kinds of processes.  (We place a video here in the subject of Epigenetics to able to be understand better the basis of McKenna's extension of what seems to have been demonstrated in scientific research.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link: http://bit.ly/eY8OJp)


Now, we appear to be about to move from the strictly human domain, to the human-machine symbiosis domain.  Of course, machines process information, make connections and do their work at a rate thousands of times faster than any human being can work.  So we see again, a progressive acceleration of the process of creating and maintaining varieties of connectivity.  And that's what I mean by time is speeding up.  

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