September 24, 2008 at 7:51 am #29193
note: this is a good overview in that it embraces both the linear historical models and spiritual models of measuring change. However, it doesn’t good far enough in my opinion, in considering what time really is, i.e. it doens’t actually exist since all events are simultaneous only happening in different dimensions. But this is a good start for folks with questions about 2012. Michael.
SINGULARITIES – THE SHAPE OF THE FUTURE
By Peter Russell
Waking Up In Time / The Spirit of Now
As we saw in the first chapter, accelerating change is a pattern that runs
throughout the history of evolution. The Big Bang, or whatever it was,
happened ten billion years ago (give or take a couple of billion years). The
evolution of simple lifeforms began four billion years ago. Multicellular
life appeared a billion or so years ago. The evolution of complex nervous
systems, made possible by the emergence of vertebrates, began several
hundred million years ago. Mammals appeared tens of millions of years ago.
The genus Homo first stood on the planet a couple of million years ago. Homo
sapiens, appeared several hundred thousand years ago. The shift to Homo
sapiens sapiens that was triggered by the emergence of language and tool
use, and which resulted in the Agricultural Revolution, began tens of
thousands of years ago. Civilization — the movement into towns and cities
— started several thousand years ago. The Industrial Revolution began a few
centuries ago. And the Information Revolution is but a few decades old.
Each new development has occurred in a fraction the time of the previous one
— somewhere between a quarter and a tenth the time.
The stages of evolution that I¹ve chosen here are, of course, somewhat
arbitrary. One could argue that other events marked equally significant
leaps forward, or that some that have been included should be dropped. This
would lead to different sets of times and to different ratios between them.
But however one chooses the significant markers, the pattern is generally
the same — the intervals get shorter and shorter. If evolution continues to
follow this pattern in the future — and we have seen there are good reasons
to suppose it will — then future developments will happen in even shorter
times. The intervals will drop from decades, to years, to months. We would
be heading towards a moment when the intervals decreased to zero, and the
rate of change became infinite. This is the possible singualarity I referred
to earlier; a point where the equations break down and cease to have any
A simple mathematical example is the series 1/2+1/4+1/8+1/16+1/32
+1/64+1/128+ . . . (the three dots are a mathematician’s way of indicating
that the series goes on forever). You might think that if you keep on adding
more terms to the series, each one half the size of the preceding term, you
could make the final sum as large as you liked; but it turns out that
however many terms you add, the sum will never quite reach 2. It will get
closer and closer to 2, but never actually get there. The series is said to
tend towards a limit (in this case the limit is 2). In a similar way, if
major developments continue to occur in shorter and shorter times, there
will be a corresponding time limit to our evolutionary progress. This does
not mean there will be a limit to how much evolution we can experience. The
opposite in fact. We would find ourselves evolving so fast that we
experienced an unimaginable degree of evolution within a finite time. The
time limit would be the date in the future when our rate of development
became infinitely rapid.
When might this moment occur? People such as Vernor Vinge, who chart the
acceleration of technological development, argue for a date somewhere around
the year 2035. They believe the trigger for the singularity will be the
development of the super-intelligent computer. Although current computers
are very fast by human standards, they are still not nearly as complex as
our own brains. In terms of sheer processing capacity, the human brain, with
its tens of billions of neurons, is around a million times more powerful
than a computer. That is why you and I can easily pick out a person from a
background of trees and buildings, and recognize them as someone we know,
all in a fraction of second, while a robot still has a hard time following
the white line down the middle of the road.
However, if computing power keeps doubling every eighteen months, as it has
done for the last twenty years, then sometime in the 2030s there will be
computers that can equal the human brain¹s abilities. From there it is only
a small step to the computer that can surpass the human brain. There would
then be little point in human beings¹designing future computers;
super-intelligent machines would be able to design better ones, and do so
faster. Once super-intelligent machines, rather than human beings, drove the
rate of progress, an exponential runaway effect would be created. Computer
power would no longer be doubling once every eighteen months. A simple
mathematical analysis shows that super-intelligent computers designing even
more intelligent machines, which in turn could design yet more intelligent
machines would cause the doubling time to drop from eighteen months to nine
months, to four-and-a-half months, to nine weeks, to thirty days, to fifteen
days . . . Another two weeks after that, computing power would have reached
infinity. We would have arrived at a singularity — the point at which the
mathematical equations break down, and the old laws no longer apply.
Such a scenario is based on technological development alone. But, as I
argued in the previous chapter, there is good reason to believe that before
we arrive at some such technological singularity we will have already moved
into the next phase of evolution, the development of human consciousness.
Once it takes hold inner development is likely to progress even more rapidly
than technological development. We could arrive at a spiritual singularity
— a moment of unimaginably rapid inner awakening — before we reached any
Other analyses of historical trends also point to a possible singularity
occuring sometime in the next half century. One approach is that made by the
American philosopher of science, Terence McKenna. He has developed a fractal
mathematical function that, he claims, charts the overall rate of ingression
of novelty into the world. The curve that results is not a smooth curve, but
one that has peaks and troughs corresponding to the peaks and troughs of
The most significant characteristic of McKenna¹s timewave is that the shape
repeats itself, but over shorter and shorter intervals of time. The curve
shows a surge in novelty between 15000 and 8000 b.c. corresponding to the
approximate dates of the Neolithic Age and the emergence of agriculture.
Exactly the same pattern is repeated, although sixty-four times faster, from
a.d.1750 to 1825 — the period known as the European Enlightenment and the
beginning of the Industrial Era.
Another surge of novelty occurred around 500 b.c. This was the time when Lao
Tsu, Plato, Zoroaster, Buddha, and others were having a major influence on
the millennia to come. It saw the rise of Ancient Greece and the beginnings
of European culture. This surge continued for several centuries, then slowed
down in the fourth century a.d. with the Fall of Rome, and finally
spluttered to an end with the onset of the Dark Ages. The repeating nature
of McKenna¹s timewave shows the same pattern recurring in the twentieth
century, from 1967 through to the early 1990s — again sixty-four times as
fast as before. Later, around 2010, it repeats again, and sixty-four times
This repeating historical pattern corresponds to a series in which each
additional term is one sixty-fourth the length of the previous one. The
series has an infinite number of terms, but as with other series of this
type its sum is finite. That is to say, it comes to a definite end — a time
when the cycles of change are compressed from years to months to weeks to
days… McKenna calls this point ³Timewave Zero.² Its date, according to his
calculations, is December 21, 2012.
The year 2012 seems frighteningly close. One¹s immediate response might be
that rates of change could not become that fast in so short a time. Yet we
should not forget that when estimating the pace of the future we tend to
think in terms of today¹s pace, and our initial projections nearly always
fall short. Many as yet unforeseen advances and revolutions could take the
rate of change far beyond what we now imagine possible.
We should also remember that it would not be the material progress that
would be going so fast, but our inner spiritual development.
An Evolutionary Asymptote?
Needless to say, McKenna¹s formula is only one possible model of the curve
of human history.
My own approach has been to try and fit various mathematical curves to our
evolutionary progress and see where the curve is heading. Such attempts
inevitably involve a number of assumptions. How, for example, do we measure
³progress²? Should we count social and political innovations such as the
welfare state along with scientific discoveries and technological
breakthroughs? And what values should be assigned to particular advances?
Was the invention of photocopying as significant as that of the printing
Even having chosen a set of significant steps and plotted them as a graph,
it is still not easy to see what type of function describes the curve. There
certainly are mathematical techniques for deciding how well an equation fits
a curve. But having found a ³best fit,² the possibility always remains that
some untried type of function might fit even better.
Over the years I have tried many different sets of data, and many different
functions. The result is a variety of graphs each approximating the pattern
of human evolution, but none exact or definitive. Even so, nearly all of
them have one trend in common. Sooner or later they become asymptotic —
that is to say, the curve goes vertical, signifying an infinitely fast rate
of change. Some have their asymptote in the near future, others have it a
century or two ahead.
We are led to a startling and mind-boggling conclusion. If we survive our
present challenges, and our rate of development keeps on accelerating, we
are not going to continue evolving for eons into the future. We could see
the whole of our future evolution — as much development as we can conceive
of, and more — compressed into a century or so, or less. Within a few
generations, perhaps within our own lifetimes, we could reach the end of our
Within a finite time we could taste infinity.
Coping with Compression
There are, of course, many reasons why we may not reach the final stages of
compression. First we have to steer our way through our current set of
crises. And even if we do survive these challenges, we may well discover
further testing points ahead. If we fail to respond to them appropriately we
might find ourselves set back to some earlier, and slower, phase of
There is also the question of whether our minds could tolerate
ever-increasing change. We might, for example, be able to cope with a pace
double that of today, and possibly a pace ten times as fast. But what about
a hundred times, or a thousand times? Is there an ultimate limit to how fast
the human mind can adapt?
From our current mode of consciousness it may be very hard to imagine
ourselves coping with such astronomical rates of change. But who knows what
might be possible once our minds are liberated from their attachment to
material things. We may relate to change in a very different way; and our
minds may then operate at a very different pace.
An example of this sometimes occurs at the point of death. Relieved of its
ties to the senses, the mind seems to function at an altogether different
speed. People who have brushed with death often report seeing the whole of
their life flash before their eyes. In clock time the review may only last a
second or so; but in that ³moment² they can relive years of experience.
Finally, we should recall that future our evolutionary progress is likely to
be less material in nature. If we do come through these troubled times and
continue with our development, it will be our perceptions, our attitudes,
our thinking, and our awareness that will be changing faster and faster, not
necessarily the world around. We will be experiencing an ever-accelerating
inner awakening. This may turn out to be far easier to handle than
ever-accelerating material change. Indeed, we would probably welcome it.September 24, 2008 at 9:31 am #29194
‘Coincidentally’ I wanted to post something similar yesterday while reading the news of the young man who killed people in a school in Finland. Like a cascade I felt that ‘thanks to’ the dying of people we accelarate much faster.
Since the population on this planet is the highest ever I figured that with so many people dying there has to be a certain shift happening at some point. All this coming and going of so many souls has to have some effect.
It also makes sense why higher developed people ‘have to’ die as well, to support that shift from a higher perspective, which makes the dying of those people no longer a ‘blame’, or a judgment from the part of the living ones, but a true sacrifice of those who choose to pass on and help the accelaration to happen.
I am definite not in place to have comments on the mathematical matter of the shift ahead but from the perspective of life and death I do have a feeling why all is happening so much faster and with much more intensity. I also see why it is so important to honor the ancestors-deceased ones and ask them for support. They seem to be much closer and more open for us to access and help us… or should I say, helping each other, this world and the other worlds, all the dimensions synchronize much more as one.
Maybe we better prepare ourselves for when the dimensions do shift together as one. It might look as an apocalyptic horror movie.
It might be a good idea to start to knock on the different doors and peep a bit, not becoming overwhelmed when all the doors open up at once…September 26, 2008 at 3:16 am #29196
I am not sure that getting murdered by a possessed teen is part of the coming population shift, I believe that will come more from natural disaster, when Mother Earth decides it is time for the Big Push of final labor pains.
as for Why? time is shifting faster, that I believe is related to greater intensity of the new solar being that came in a few years back….
missed you in Stonehenge, will be writing about that shortly.
mSeptember 26, 2008 at 9:27 am #29198
Agree, I have been highlighting just one part of the big shift. There is never one single reason why shifts occur, it is a music play where all the instruments are tuning in, till they come together in that ultimate play, getting goosebumps, more likely in this case, rising hairs…
‘Horripilation was compounded from the Latin “horrere”, to stand on end + “pilus”, hair = hair standing on end. (If you think “horripilation” sound horrible, you’re right. The word “horrible” also came from the Latin “horrere” and referred to something that was so awfully dreadfully frightful that it made your hair stand on end!)’December 17, 2015 at 6:07 am #29200
Up until this point all evolution on Earth and of man, and even of computers, has been subconscious meaning it pretty much happens on its own. At this point this has resulted in a certain number of species with man “at the top” and technologies.
Man’s actions are almost completely subconscious. Mating, work, pleasure, pain, technology, thinking … it actually almost all happens on its own.
(although of course each man from the lowest to the highest thinks he has free will and consciousness, to the point where almost nobody even questions it – amazing to see)
And so what will happen if the subconscious evolution continues … well not much really. We think that one day something “amazing” will happen. Well it already has. Anyone from 2000 years ago seeing this world would automatically assume all problems had been solved and we live in an era of people and love. But we don’t.
In 10,000 years time (assuming man is still existing) it will be the same thing. More technology more automatic subconscious development.
To be conscious is quite different. No amount of subconscious development is going to result in consciousness because that is not what consciousness means. Consciousness is not more subconsciousness.
Consciousness is something very sensitive and fragile that each being must do for himself, he for the first time must start existing, little by little, step by step he must wake up. Yes his being has existed for a long time subconsciously … but so what. It was all automatic.
Now for the first time he must nurture himself into consciousness, a very sensitive thing. Like giving birth again to a being who is for the first time awake.
This is why great masters sit quietly year after year, slowly slowly germinating the seed of their own wakefulness, truly a miraculous event.
It is not a social event. It is not a subconscious event.
It is for this reason that there will never be a singularity socially. For yourself, if you choose it is available if you are willing to sit patiently and quietly and nurture your consciousness into existence, if for the first time you are ready to be awake.
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