Dazed Digital, Daniel Pinchbeck: 1, 2012

The poet William Blake realised that humanity chained itself in “mind forg’d manacles.” We construct a world out of ideas and concepts, and then project this conceptual world in material form, through our technologies and social systems: “Thought chang’d the infinite to a serpent; that which pitieth: To a devouring flame.” Because of our capacity for creating abstractions and then believing in the abstractions we create, we are easily seduced and deluded.

While climate change and the depletion of natural resources due to global mismanagement are real dangers that we face, the worst threat to our future remains the low level of human consciousness. Most people are trapped by the inertia of inherited concepts and belief systems that imprison them in rigid and regressive world views. Among the belief systems that seem particularly dangerous are religious fundamentalisms,
New Age idealism, any form of patriotism or fanaticism, faith in technological progress, belief in capitalism and the diehard cynicism of scientific materialism, with its conviction, against accumulating evidence, that consciousness is solely brain-based.

Given the improbable fact of our existence, cynicism is a peculiarly pathetic response. Our bodies are made up of tens of trillions of cells and microorganisms that mesh together and cooperate seamlessly. We live on a planet that swirls around our local star at just the precise distance to keep our environment in a stable state of balance. Each of our cells contains a DNA coil that could be stretched, like a pulled Slinky, into the outer atmosphere. It seems more likely that the evolution of consciousness out of matter is programmed into
the structure of the cosmos, rather than insisting such a bizarre phenomenon happens purely by accident.

On a planet bristling with weapons of mass destruction, a burgeoning population of seven billion and rapidly diminishing resources, what we need is a leap of the imagination that creates a new goal and a new vision for human society as a whole. The design scientist Buckminster Fuller saw that humanity faced a choice in the 21st century between “utopia or oblivion”: either we use our technical genius to institute a planetary culture based on sharing and empathy, where everyone is provided with their basic needs and granted free access to the cultural and intellectual commons, or we will soon extinguish ourselves.

What will inspire us to awaken into the present moment, realise what is at stake and what is possible, and coordinate in the construction of a new social system – one that does not tear apart and destroy, but repurposes and supersedes the current one? We need to present a vision of an amazing future that all can
share, that promises to liberate human potential and satisfy our authentic desires. Mass media and celebrity culture currently indoctrinates people into ignorance and passivity – but these forces could be repurposed to inspire the multitudes into a new way of being instead.

The method for building a pragmatic utopia on Earth within our lifetime is to inspire humanity with a new vision and a new myth that supports our collective awakening into bliss while we redesign the economic system, repurpose our media and re-skill the global population in holistic techniques and garden technologies. Rather than just talking about it, it will be necessary to show people, step by step, how they bring this vision into reality, by mass-distributing the tools, techniques and teachings they need to do

In the short term, bringing about this alternative future requires complete commitment from those who would like to avert our species’ pell-mell rush toward obliteration and self-extinction.

For a new myth to define the birth of planetary consciousness now underway, we can envision the human species, as a whole, undergoing metamorphosis to become one supra-organism, meshed symbiotically with the Earth that nourishes and sustains us. “The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire,” wrote the Catholic mystic and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin. The explosion of human egotism over the last few thousand years was an exfoliation, releasing old waste and stored toxins, before the next cycle of harnessing and discovering, blossoming and flourishing,
can begin.

DANIEL PINCHBECK is the author of BREAKING OPEN THE HEAD, 2012: THE RETURN OF QUETZALCO ATL, and the just-published NOTES FROM THE EDGE TIMES. He edits realitysandwich.com and is featured in the documentary, 2012: TIME FOR CHANGE.

Dazed Digital, Daniel Pinchbeck: 2, 2012

Twelve months ago, I began a column for Dazed & Confused, looking toward 2012. Now upon us, this year completes the 5,125-year Long Count of the classic Maya civilisation of Mexico and Guatemala, in alignment with the prophecies of many traditional and indigenous cultures. From 1,500 years ago, the Maya foresaw our time as a threshold of transformation and upheaval, the birthing of a new consciousness and an evolutionary leap for humanity and the earth. I believe that this is indeed happening now. The evidence is all around us.

As I discussed in previous columns, we confront an ecological crisis that threatens to annihilate our civilisation and potentially drive our species to extinction, or close to it, within this century. We are seeing accelerating species extinction, climate change, global depletion of basic resources such as oil and fresh water, melting of the ice caps, increase in natural disasters, manmade holocausts like the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. As temperatures rise five degrees in the next 50 years, scientists such as James Lovelock predict a vast reduction in human population – eking out survival on a much hotter, drier world – by 2100. The human species unleashed rampant destruction in the last centuries, as we developed our technological and industrial powers while locked in a mindset of separation and domination. We are now reaching the end of this paradigm, with the potential that something new can spontaneously emerge.

In fact, we are seeing that new thing emerging with Occupy Wall Street – now Occupy Everything – a new social force that has swept the world in the last few months. This leaderless, non-violent movement built within 30 days from 200 brave outsiders camping out in a small park in the financial district, has grown to hundreds of thousands of people in over 600 cities around the world. By the time this essay comes out, it will likely have morphed again. This rising up is happening outside of all political and institutional frameworks, following the blueprints of past insurgencies ranging from the Arab Spring to the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, to the movement of Argentinian workers who took back their factories after the collapse of their economy a decade ago. The movement is forming its own deliberative bodies through General Assemblies, as people have done during past insurrections in France, Russia, and elsewhere.

This movement is an immune system response on the part of the collective human organism to the virus of domination that threatens to destroy our world and our future. It also reveals that humanity is amalgamating into a collective intelligence, a global brain, able to react and respond to threats as a holarchy, without centralised control. Over the next few years, we will see the development of new social institutions, alternative media, and instruments for exchanging value that support collaboration rather than competition and control. What I believe will happen is the rapid superseding of the current political, social, and economic structure to install a planetised society – call it civilisation 2.0 – based on restoration of the natural world, local communities, decentralised or horizontal power relations, equitable sharing of resources, and liberation of the physical, intellectual and creative commons.

We are the lucky ones who get to participate in the creative evolution of this movement toward human solidarity and liberation, if we so choose. Tangible and immediate steps we can take include divesting ourselves from large-scale financial institutions and multinational corporations, pursuing a path of voluntary simplicity, and offering our talents, resources, and skills to the ongoing insurrection. We can scrub away our inheritance of egotism and entitlement through various esoteric practices now globally available – personally, I prefer to vomit up the bitter residue of my persona through the occasional whopping dose of ayahuasca or some other psychoactive sacrament, but to each his own.

I recognise that many people remain cynical and pessimistic about the fate of the world. They have been indoctrinated into a narrow rationality and reductive empiricism that puts forth the hypothesis that consciousness is only brain-based, with no spiritual continuity possible after death. This hypothesis has not been experimentally confirmed, and in fact there is much evidence that consciousness is not brain-based, along with increasing data from scientific experiments that reveals the legitimacy of psychic or “psi” phenomena. From my exploration of shamanism, I have discovered that humans possess tremendous paranormal capacities. Just as we learned to harness electricity in the 19th century, transforming the geophysical nature of the planet through this energy in a mere 150 years, we will develop methods to harness psychic energy in the next decades, and use the collective field of psi to repair much of the damage we have done to our climate and our home planet.

It turns out that the Maya had it right. History is a giant alarm clock. As the bell starts to ring, we awaken from the dream, and remember who we are.

DANIEL PINCHBECK is the author of BREAKING OPEN THE HEAD, 2012: THE RETURN OF QUETZALCOATL, and the just-published NOTES FROM THE EDGE TIMES. He edits realitysandwich.com and is featured in the documentary, 2012: TIME FOR CHANGE.