“Timewave zero” is a numerological formula that purports to calculate the ebb and flow of “novelty”, defined as increase in the universe’s interconnectedness, or organised complexity, over time. According to Terence McKenna, who conceived the idea over several years in the early-mid 1970s while using psilocybin mushrooms and DMT, the universe has a teleological attractor at the end of time that increases interconnectedness, eventually reaching a singularity of infinite complexity in 2012, at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur simultaneously.
McKenna expressed “novelty” in a computer program, which purportedly produces a waveform known as timewave zero or the timewave. Based on McKenna’s interpretation of the King Wen sequence of the I Ching, the graph appears to show great periods of novelty corresponding with major shifts in humanity’s biological and cultural evolution. He believed the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times, and chose the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as the basis for calculating his end date in November 2012. When he later discovered this date’s proximity to the end of the 13th b’ak’tun on the Maya calendar, he revised his hypothesis so that the two dates matched.
The first edition of The Invisible Landscape refers to 2012 (as the year, not a specific day) only twice. McKenna originally considered it an incidental observation that his and José Argüelles dates matched, a sign of the end date “being programmed into our unconscious”. It was only in 1983, with the publication of Sharer’s revised table of date correlations in the 4th edition of Morley’s The Ancient Maya, that each became convinced that December 21, 2012 had significant meaning. McKenna subsequently peppered this specific date throughout the second, 1993 edition of The Invisible Landscape.