Today is 21st December 2012. The whole world is geared up for Armageddon, or a cosmic rebirth, or an awakening of some sort. There are collections of freaks at Bugarach in France and adherents to the Mayan calendar congregating at their pyramids. There are people like me, who heard of McKenna’s Timewave Zero theory where the algorithm reaches a point of ‘absolute novelty’ today: a singularity of infinite complexity at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur simultaneously. So far, none of the above appear to have happened yet.
The Timewave Zero theory is an especially fruity one. It purports that novelty is a measurable factor as well as one of two defining forces in the universe. A graph was created projected into the past with novel events defined and mapped, and an algorithm created to match it. Then the algorithm was projected into the future and as lore has it, novelty hits zero and can no longer project forward from the date 21st december. The interesting thing was that no-one knew what novelty hitting zero exactly meant.
I like to trade and my approach is technical, so I’m more than aware that ‘past chart results are no guarantee of future performance’. I’m pretty sure that today will end with no solar flares, avenging Mayan gods, or vast psychospiritual occurrences. I have a Berzerker story that gives another perspective on predictions though, and now seems like as good a time to tell it.
Back in 2002, we had Gary in the band drumming for us. He was the one responsible for that almightily brutal performance on ‘Dissimulate’. Gary was from Perth. Although he moved to Melbourne to rehearse with us he’d occasionally pop back out West. One time when he came back, he was pretty spun out. He’d seen a psychic. This guy had been recommended to him by his sister or someone and Gary went to see him for a reading. The psychic was a mature guy, apparently normal-looking, who sat him down and told Gary who he was and who he played for without any introductions. After establishing himself, he then went on to make a number of predictions for Gary’s near future and unfortunately they were extremely distressing and extremely specific. The guy also made a recording of each reading, so that you could go back and listen to it later. I won’t say what the predictions were, but the events and timelines left no room for misinterpretation.
In short order, the predictions started coming true. Poor Gary. I rip on him a bit, but in fairness he was probably a few inches from insanity with all the stuff that started happening in his life. When the first few predictions came true it blew his mind and instantly sent him into depression. The remaining predictions were even more grim and it probably felt like his execution was approaching. He lost all enthusiasm and drive and went into a shell, and I never saw him come out of it.
So of course, Luke wanted to visit the psychic and get a reading as well. Pre 2002-2003 world tour we did an Australian tour. While we were in Perth for the WA gig, Luke got the details for the psychic off Gary and went and saw him. When he came back from the session, he outlined a few of the predictions he got. I only remember two of them. One was detailed, the other was general and it’s the detailed one I’m talking about here: “On November 26th, you will receive an offer to advance your band and career”. That stuck in my head, probably because the date made it quantifiable. I never went for a reading of my own; it cost seventy bucks and I was too tightarse to spend the money.
We started the world tour and some of Luke’s low-level predictions were coming true. I had my own personal apocalypse in New York, and we endured a dispiriting and brutal tour with Vader and Immolation. I’m not sure where we were playing later in November…I’m pretty sure it was Canada. It was horribly cold and we were exhausted after our Canadian show. I’d often ride shotgun while Luke drove the motorhome. You always have to do it on tour, everyone gets so run-down and tired that it’s easy for the driver to fall asleep and crash. So it’s after a Canadian show and we’re driving along and it’s about midnight and I was like “Hey…today was the 26th, wasn’t it? The psychic predicted some career advancement today! Did anything happen?”
We both thought about it, and the answer was no. Nothing happened. No-one had made us an offer. No-one had called us, we hadn’t spoken to the label or booking agent or anyone. No-one at the gig offered us anything except the usual thanks-for-the-show. It was definitely the 26th and we hadn’t received any offers of any sort. We thought about it in silence for a while trying to make sense of it, and we came to the conclusion that the psychic was wrong. He either fucked-up or he was a fake. We both exited the bubble of belief and returned to the real world. Of course psychics can’t predict shit. What were we thinking? I made a mental note, swiftly forgotten, to tell Gary that the psychic was fallible. That might give him some hope to cling to while the world rained shit upon him.
Two days later we got some WIFI and everyone headed to their laptops. We hadn’t seen our emails for a few days, or anything that was happening back in the real world. Luke logged on, read his mails, and called me over. He spun his laptop around and there on the screen was an email from our record label Earache, subject title: “DO YOU GUYS WANNA HEADLINE A EUROPEAN TOUR?”
The send date was November 26th. The email offered us a tour of Europe starting march 2003.
We both reeled back going WOAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. And then swiftly answered Yes.
So, when nothing appears to happen on the much-vaunted 21st december 2012 date it doesn’t mean nothing has. Far-reaching paradigm shifts or massive changes in consciousness don’t necessarily have to be instantly noticeable. Somewhere today, a prototype for a self-aware machine may be sitting as a pile of CPU in a lab somewhere, sequencing a humongous amount of data in a way that will eventually lead to thought or self-awareness. A hungover student is scratching out the formula that will revolutionise the understanding of time, leading to an understanding and application of its non-linear properties. What Tom Robbins described as the enormous ‘birth pains’ of conflict in the Middle East may be finally, slowly, imperceptibly giving birth to something wonderful right now. Just because something amazing is happening today doesn’t mean you’ll notice it, or recognise it for the massive change it truly is. It just means that when the sky splits and wonders fall out of it in a few years time, it can be traced back to today and we can all go WOAHHHHHH together.
If you believe that shit of course.