The acclaimed metaphysical epic that binds together the cosmological phenomena of our time, ranging from crop circles to quantum theory to the resurgence of psychedelic drugs, to support the contention of the Mayan calendar that the year 2012 portends a global shift-in consciousness, culture, and way of living-of unprecedented consequence. Amazon Exclusive: Daniel Pinchbeck on 2012: The Truth Behind the Doomsday Hype
The Classical Maya developed a highly sophisticated civilization in the Yucatan and Guatemala that vanished 1,000 years ago. They were extraordinary architects and astronomers, and developed methods of timekeeping that are far more precise than our Western calendar system. Although we destroyed most of their scrolls, our archaeologists have discovered that the Maya looked toward the year 2012 – specifically the date December 21, 2012 – as the end of a "Great Cycle" of 5,125 years on their Long Count calendar. According to the Mayan creation myth, the Popol Vuh, such cycles end with the destruction of the old way of life and the inception of a new world. Many scholars agree that the Classic Maya pointed to this time, around the year 2012, as the juncture between one world age and the next.
As we approach the threshold, it becomes more and more difficult to escape the feeling that the Maya had mysterious foreknowledge about our time. We are currently in the throes of an ecological crisis, brought about by human activity, which threatens us with disaster if we do not immediately change our ways. Basic resources such as fuel, water, and food are becoming scarce around the world. Many scientists have predicted cataclysm due to climate change and pollution that could lead to the extinction of the human species in a short span of time. On the other hand, we are also experiencing a massive leap in human consciousness. Our world is now meshed together through communications technology and social networks that act as a "global brain." We can transmit new ideas and transformative practices instantly across the world.
In my book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, I proposed that what happens in "2012" depends on what humanity decides to make of it. We might see global famines and wars and increasing misery, or we might decide to institute a new planetary culture based on empathy, alternative economic systems, sustainable design, and an equitable sharing of wealth. According to the prophecies held by the Maya and other indigenous cultures, we may integrate modern scientific knowledge with Eastern spiritual wisdom and indigenous shamanism, leading to a new understanding of the physical and psychic cosmos. Rather than "doomsday," 2012 could be a time of positive transformation and the opening to a new way of life.
From Publishers Weekly
Pinchbeck, journalist and author of the drug-riddled psychonaut investigation Breaking Open the Head, has set out to create an "extravagant thought experiment" centering around the Mayan prophecy that 2012 will bring about the end of the world as we know it, "the conclusion of a vast evolutionary cycle, and the potential gateway to a higher level of manifestation." More specifically, Pinchbeck's claim is that we are in the final stages of a fundamental global shift from a society based on materiality to one based on spirituality. Intermittently fascinating, especially in his autobiographical interludes, Pinchbeck tackles Stonehenge and the Burning Man festival, crop circles and globalization, modern hallucinogens and the ancient prophesy of the Plumed Serpent featured in his subtitle. His description of difficult-to-translate experiences, like his experimentation with a little-known hallucinogenic drug called dripropyltryptamine (DPT), are striking for their lucidity: "For several weeks after taking DPT, I picked up flickering hypnagogic imagery when I closed my eyes at night ... In one scene, I entered a column of fire rising from the center of Stonehenge again and again, feeling myself pleasantly annihilated by the flames each time." Pinchbeck's teleological exploration can overwhelm, and his meandering focus can frustrate, but as a thought experiment, Pinchbeck's exotic epic is a paradigm-buster capable of forcing the most cynical reader outside her comfort zone.
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