Critique of the Timewave
Critics of the theory point out that the anchoring points into history are arbitrary and subject to debate. If you change the anchor point, you change the end date. Nonetheless, since the timewave reaches closure very quickly after the anchor point, it would have to be sometime in our modern era.
In addition, skeptics say the nature of novelty is subjective rather than objective. What might seem to be particularly novel for one person may seem less so for another. Interpretation of the timewave therefore lacks provability, which makes it unscientific. In the case of recent events that are generally agreed to be novel and to have wide significance, the time-wave hypothesis has not been particularly successful in making clear predictions. For example, the events of 9/11 barely scored more than a minor deviation from most of the projections of the novelty curve.
The timewave went through a major revision after the British mathematician Matthew Watkins pointed out an error that threatened to undermine the theory. This subsequently led the physicist John Sheliak to make changes to the mathematics of the timewave to address these issues. He has named this revised waveform timewave one.
Consciousness and Time
The timewave, for all of its cosmological predictions, actually represents a view of time that is centered on humans. McKenna made no apology for this. He believed that in the hierarchy of time, human perception was exactly in the middle order. This means we are not cosmically insignificant as previously assumed by most science, and our ability to consciously perceive the universe is an important part of cosmic order. The worldview of the timewave is consciousness centered and the existence of an objective physical universe, apart from its perceiver, doesn't figure. McKenna speculates that the world itself may come to be seen as a “fluctuation of a vacuum domain, albeit a long lasting one,” a spontaneously arising artifact of consciousness itself.
As a hypothesis, timewave zero has some very compelling qualities. It challenges the idea of linear time in a more radical way than has ever been done before. It also provides another useful model that points to a possible cause for the acceleration of time that many people are experiencing. It does these things with many brilliant insights about the relationship between the I Ching, DNA, and the nature of time itself.
In many ways, the timewave is the quintessential 2012 theory, containing dramatic consciousness-expanding revelations with a mind-blowing psychedelic apocalypse at the end. It is a big idea. The timewave doesn't just predict the end of history; it predicts the end of time.
Where it appears more flawed and limited is when it is taken literally as a predictive model. Novelty is open to interpretation. Different anchor points create different timewaves. Nor is there is any way to subject the hypothesis to scientific proof.
If the claims contained in the timewave theory had only attempted to explain the span of human history, perhaps it would be manageable and easier to accept. Instead, the scope of the theory is so encompassing that it either describes events that will reveal the purpose of the universe or it will fail.
The events at the end of the timewave also stretch credulity beyond any reasonable breaking point. By the calculations of McKenna, we are about to be sucked into a whirlpool of novelty from which there will be no return. He hypothesized that this event may be caused by the collision of two universes impacting. This, he suggests, may be happening in such a way that all matter and antimatter will be totally destroyed, leaving just a photonic shell in its place. This could represent the liberation of all beings from the burden of time, as we would emerge from the 2012 event into a new universe composed entirely of light.
What McKenna has done with the timewave is to paint a remarkable picture of the possible, rather than the probable. First published in 1975, the time-wave is actually one of the earliest attempts at explaining what might happen in 2012, and it is still one of the most original. The time wave is a pioneering attempt to describe the indescribable and will probably remain a high watermark of the human imagination until it is either proven or disproved in 2012.