Terence McKenna – Eros and the Eschatonpage 3/20makes complexity and it preserves it. And it uses it as the basis for furthercomplexity.Now, there’s more to this than simply that. I think we all observationally couldagree with what has been said so far. The added wrinkle or an added wrinkle, isthat each advancement into complexity, into novelty, proceeds more quickly thanthe stage that preceded it. This is very profound because if accepted as a seriousfirst principle it ends the marginalization of our own species to the level of spectator status in a universe that knows nothing of us and cares nothing for us.This is the most advanced position that modern science will allow us: spectatorsto a drama we didn’t write, shouldn’t expect to understand and cannot influence.But I say, if in fact novelty is the name of the game, if in fact the conservation andcomplexification of novelty is what the universe is striving for, then suddenly ourown human enterprise, previously marginalized, takes on an immense newimportance. We are apparently players in the cosmic drama and in this particularact of the cosmic drama we hold a very central role. We are at the pinnacle of theexpression of complexification in the animal world and somehow this complexity,which is concentrated in us, has flowed over out of the domain of animal organi-zation and into this mysterious domain which we call culture, language, con-sciousness, higher values.Each stage of advancement into complexity occurs more quickly than the stagewhich preceded it. After the initial Big Bang, there was a period of billions of years when the universe cooled, stars condensed, planetary systems formed andthen the quickening process crossed an invisible Rubicon into the domain of animal and biological organization. Well, you see, since the rise of Western monotheism, the human experience hasbeen marginalized. We have been told that we were unimportant in the cosmicdrama. But we now know, from the feedback that we’re getting from the impactof human culture on the Earth, that we are a major factor shaping the tempera-tures of the oceans, the composition of the atmosphere, the general speed andcomplexity of speciation on the planet, so forth and so on. A single species,ourselves, has broken from the ordinary constraints of animal nature and createda new world, an epigenetic
world – meaning a world not based on gene transferand chemical propagation and preservation of information but a world based onideas, on symbols, on technologies, on tools, on ideas downloaded out of thehuman imagination and concretized in three-dimensional space as choppers,arrow-points, particle accelerators, gene sequencers, space craft, what have you…, all of this complexification occurring at a faster and faster rate.And this brings me, then, to the second quality or phenomenon, that science hasoverlooked, which is the acceleration of complexification.
That the early historyof the universe proceeded with excruciating slowness. Then, life took hold, in theoceans of this planet. A quickening of process and evolution. But still thingsproceeded on a scale of tens of millions of years to clock major change. Then, theconquest of the land. Higher animals, higher exposure to radiation, fasterchange, species following species, one upon another. Then, fifty thousand, a
In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in geneexpression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in theunderlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi- (Greek:
- over, above, outer) –genetics. It refers to functionally relevant modifications to the genome that do notinvolve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of such changes might be DNAmethylation or histone deacetylation, both of which serve to suppress gene expression without altering the sequence of the silenced genes. In 2011, it was demonstrated thatthe methylation of mRNA has a critical role in human energy homeostasis. This openedthe field of RNA epigenetics.see Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetic
The idea of acceleration can be traced back to Richard Buckminster Fuller, “Profile of the Industrial Revolution as Exposed by the Chronological Rate of Acquisition of theBasic Inventory of Cosmic Absolutes – The 92 Elements”, 1946, also published inSynergetics as Figure 419.03.see:http://www.rwgrayprojects.com/synergetics/s04/figs/f1903.html