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Issue #2 : Peter Meyer
Peter Meyer is best known as the developer of the MS-DOS software Timewave Zero, which demonstrates Terence McKenna's fractal model of time and history. In the 'About the Authors' section of the software documentation, we learn:
Peter Meyer received the first double honors Bachelor of Arts degree awarded by Monash University, Melbourne, majoring both in Philosophy and in Pure Mathematics. His mathematical research has been published in Discrete Mathematics. He has travelled extensively, and spent several years studying Tibetan Buddhism in India and Nepal. Peter is an experienced software developer and has worked internationally as a computer consultant. His interests include history, travel, cryptology, geopolitics, anthropology, religion and psychedelic research. In addition to Timewave Zero he has written and published three C function libraries, a Maya calendar program and a data encryption software package. His DMT research has been published in Psychedelic Monographs and Essays and in the Yearbook of Ethnomedicine and Consciousness research. His exploration of little-known areas of consciousness has confirmed for him both the reality of other dimensions of existence and of the Eckhartian/Buddhist undifferentiated unity underlying all phenomena. He hopes to be present at the end of history in 2012, 5125 years after its beginning.Some questions and answers:
Q1. When you got your double honors degree in Philosophy and Pure Mathematics at Monash University, what did you foresee yourself doing in life?
A1. When I finished my five-year course of studies at Monash University I was still somewhat naive and idealistic. During those years I seemed to have access to some intuitive source of metaphysical knowledge which apparently I have now lost - or perhaps it is more accurate to say that I am now less inclined to accept what I imagine to be the case as actually being the case (without confirming evidence). As a university student I felt (probably like many university students, at least in the 60s) that there were realms of knowledge waiting to be explored, and deep truths waiting to be discovered. This was why I studied Philosophy and Mathematics (having switched over from earlier undergraduate studies in natural science), searching for deep truths.
When I graduated I had no clear idea of what I was going to do in life, beyond the general aim of continuing this search for deep truths. I gave little thought to a career, or to the question of earning a living. I had seriously considered doing graduate work in AI with John McCarthy at Stanford University, but my interest in psychology (especially that of Jung and of Piaget) won out. I had inherited some property following my mother's death in 1970, and upon graduating I sold this and left Australia to travel to Europe via Asia, which I did.
Q2. What was the nature of the research you have had published in 'Discrete Mathematics'?
This was a paper entitled 'On the Structure of Orthomodular Posets', in the 1974 volume. It was my final-year undergraduate thesis in mathematics, which I wrote in 1970. It is exceedingly abstract. In it I prove a number of theorems about the construction of orthomodular posets of various kinds from sets of sets satisfying certain mathematical conditions. As far as I know no mathematician ever extended this line of research any further. It was a path I went down that none cared to follow.
Q3. What motivated you to study Tibetan Buddhism? Where in India and Nepal did you go to, and who did you study with?
A3. As a first-year university student at the age of 18 I inclined to atheism and agnosticism, but I then read Christmas Humphreys' book 'Buddhism', and immediately felt that this was a philosophy/religion that made sense to me. However, I still cannot quite accept what to some is the first principle of Buddhism, that this life is an unmitigated realm of suffering. I prefer to see all sentient life as an expression of a divine creativity, a viewpoint somewhat more akin to the Hindu view of the world as divine play (illusion though it ultimately may be).
I was, like many people, first attracted to Tibetan Buddhism when I discovered Tibetan art, especially the thanka paintings of the tantric deities. This was around the time, in 1967, when I began doing acid, which really opened me up to metaphysical and religious dimensions. In the late 1960s I (with many others) read the works of Lama Anagarika Govinda and of John Blofeld, and I came to believe that the deepest truths were surely to be found in Tibetan Buddhism.
I had some first-hand contact with the Tibetan tradition during my first visit to India in 1971. I continued on to Europe to study Jungian psychology, then returned to Australia in 1972 to do some graduate work in Kantian philosophy. I returned to Europe in 1974, where I met H. H. Sakya Trizin, the head of the Sakyapa Order of Tibetan Buddhism. I expressed to him my wish to study Tibetan Buddhism more deeply, and he suggested I return to North India (Dehra Dun) to study with him, which I did. I spent most of 1975-1979 studying with, and in the service of, this lama (who spoke good English). I also received teachings from another lama, H. H. Chogye Trichen Rimpoche, head of the Tsharpa branch of the Sakyapa tradition, and abbot of the Tibetan monastery at Lumbini in Nepal.
Q4. As a software developer and computer consultant, have you always been freelance, or did you ever work for large corporations? I am also curious about the nature of the 'three C function libraries' and the data encryption software package.
A4. I learned to program in FORTRAN IV in 1965, while working for a year with the Post Office in Melbourne. I did no programming during the 70s. In the early 80s I was a freelance software developer in California, and developed software for the Apple // which was published. Since then I have sometimes been employed at small or medium-sized corporations and sometimes have been a freelance consultant or developer. In the mid-80s I got into MS-DOS software development and during the last five years I have programmed mainly in C.
In late 1989 I found myself in California, having just returned from 18 months in Europe, and was broke. The idea of getting a job and being a wage-slave for the rest of my life did not appeal to me. Instead I resolved to develop and publish software for a living. I managed to eke out a a bare existence while developing software on others' PCs, and during 1989-92 I created four C function libraries (these are tools useful to C programmers) and three application programs: a Maya calendrical conversion program, Timewave Zero (illustrating Terence McKenna's theory of time and history) and some data encryption software. The last incorporates an encryption method which I developed during 1990-92.
Q5. What are 'Psychedelic Monographs and Essays' and the 'Yearbook of Ethnomedicine and Consciousness Research'? Who puts them out? What is their audience? Their content?
A5. 'Psychedelic Monographs and Essays' (published by Thomas Lyttle, first issued in 1985) evolved from the 'Psychozoic Press' (published by Elvin D. Smith, first issued in 1982). Both were/are collections of essays and informative material dealing with all aspects of psychedelics and psychoactive plants and fungi, with occasional articles about psychedelic researchers and their work. The latest volume of Psychedelic Monographs and Essays is #6, and has articles classified under the headings of Spirituality, Psychotherapy, Literature, Parapsychology and Pharmacology. It is available from PM&E Publishing, P.O. Box 4465, Boynton Beach, FL 33424, for $20.00 postpaid within the U.S., $27.00 outside the U.S.
The 'Yearbook of Ethnomedicine and Consciousness Research' is similar. It is edited by the German anthropologist Dr. Christian Raetsch and contains some articles in English and some in German. The first volume was published in late 1992. It is available from the publisher, Amand Aglaster, VWB, Postfach 11 03 68, 1000 Berlin 61, Germany.
Q6. How did you get into psychedelic research? DMT research?
A6. My initial awareness of the existence of psychedelics came from reading Aldous Huxley's 'Doors of Perception' in 1966. I knew immediately that this was a field of research I wished to explore. My opportunity came a few months later when an artist friend in Melbourne informed me that some LSD had shown up. It was probably synthesized locally, and was quite impure, but blew me away. Life has never been the same since.
I know of nothing more interesting and worthy of study than the multitude of conscious states available through the use of psychedelics. Had psychedelic research not been made illegal (this is itself a crime against humanity) I would presumably have pursued my biochemical/- psychological/philosophical studies under the auspices of academia. Instead I abandoned the academic world for the study of Tibetan Buddhism in India and later got into software development in the U.S. and in Europe. But I have never ceased to do psychedelics occasionally, and sometimes frequently, garnering such information and understanding as I can under the circumstances.
A couple of years after I began doing acid I discovered the delights of marijuana and hashish, which subject I researched enthusiastically in Asia beginning in 1971 (when the hash shops in Kathmandu were still open and legal, before they were closed down at the insistence of the U.S. Government). Morning glory seeds in 1974. In 1978 I discovered psilocybin mushrooms at Palenque in Mexico. In 1983 MDMA in Berkeley. In 1987 DMT in Hawaii. In 1988 Ketamine in Switzerland. In 1990 5-MeO-DMT in Berkeley.
My interest in DMT arose from hearing Terence McKenna speak of it in some of his taped talks (especially his Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness). My first experience with it was pretty strange; on my second I thought I was dying. My initial encounter on DMT with the alien entities did not come until two years later. As Terence has said, and which I can confirm, the DMT experience is the weirdest thing you can experience this side of the grave. The rational mind retreats in utter disbelief when confronted with it. Thus I resolved to research the topic, which I did during 1990-91 in Berkeley, where I had access to the Biosciences Library at U.C. Berkeley. I gathered reports from those few people I knew who had smoked it, and the article which resulted appeared simultaneously in each of the journals mentioned above.
The blurb for Timewave Zero:
This software illustrates Terence McKenna's theory of time, history and the end of history as first described in the book 'The Invisible Landscape' by him and his brother Dennis, and more recently in his 'The Archaic Revival' (HarperSanFrancisco, 1992) The theory of Timewave Zero was revealed to Terence by an alien intelligence following a bizarre, quasi-psychedelic experiment conducted in the Amazon jungle in Colombia in 1971. Inspired by this influence Terence was instructed in certain transformations of numbers derived from the King Wen sequence of I Ching hexagrams. This led eventually to a rigorous mathematical description of what Terence calls the timewave, which correlates time and history with the ebb and flow of novelty, which is intrinsic to the structure of time and hence of the temporal universe. A peculiarity of this correlation is that at a certain point a singularity is reached which is the end of history - or at least is a transition to a supra-historical order in which our ordinary conceptions of our world will be radically transformed. The best current estimate for the date of this point is December 21, 2012 CE, the winter solstice of that year and also the end of the current era in the Maya calendar.
The primary function of the software is to display any portion of the timewave (up to seven billion years) as a graph of the timewave related to the Western calendar (either Gregorian or Julian). You can display the wave for the entire 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth, note the peculiarities of the wave at such points as the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs (65 million years ago) and inspect parts of the wave as small as 92 minutes. The software provides several ways of manipulating the wave display, including the ability to zoom in on a target date or to step back to get the larger picture.
A remarkable quality of the timewave is that it is a fractal. Once a part of the wave is displayed the software allows you to expand any smaller part (down to 92 minutes). This usually reveals a complexity of structure which persists however much the wave is magnified, a property typical of fractals. The idea that time has a fractal structure (in contrast to the Newtonian conception of time as pure, unstructured duration) is a major departure from the common view of the nature of time and physical reality. That time is a fractal may be the reason why fractals occur in Nature.
The documentation describes the origin, construction and philosophical significance of the timewave, the use of the software, the mathematical definition of the timewave (with proofs of some related mathematical theorems) and certain curious numerical properties.
An interesting part of the theory is the assertion of historical periods 'in resonance' with each other. Resonantly we have (in 1993) emerged from the fall of the Roman empire and are well into the transitional period known historically as the Dark Ages. The software permits graphical display of different regions of the timewave that are in resonance with each other. This allows the period 1945 - 2012 to be interpreted as a resonance of the period 2293 BC - 2012 CE. New in this version is the ability to graph trigrammatic resonances in addition to the major resonances, and to construct a sequential set of eleven trigrammatic resonances. There is a new appendix concerning some recent mathematical results.
The Timewave Zero software at last permits a scientific examination of Terence's long-standing claim to have discovered the root cause of the ups and downs of historical vicissitude. If his theory is confirmed then we can look forward to a rough, but very interesting, ride in the twenty years leading up to the climactic end-point of history in 2012. During this time the events of the period from 745 CE are expected to recur (albeit in modern form).
Timewave Zero software is available as Time Explorer for DOS or Time Surfer for Mac
Visit Peter Meyer's Serendipity
Terence McKenna Land
The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension