WRITING + PROJECTS
This is an archive of my work over the years, going back to my days as an art writer and freelance journalist, and continuing through today. I hope you enjoy them!
Cross James Merrill, H.P. Lovecraft, and Carlos Castaneda- each imbued with a twenty-first-century aptitude for quantum theory and existential psychology- and you get the voice of Daniel Pinchbeck. And yet, nothing quite prepares us for the lucidity, rationale, and informed audacity of this seeker, skeptic and cartographer of hidden realms.
Throughout the 1990s, Pinchbeck had been a member of New York's literary select. He wrote for publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and Harper's Bazaar. His first book, Breaking Open the Head, was heralded as the most significant on psychedelic experimentation since the work of Terrance McKenna.
But slowly something happened: Rather then writing from a journalistic remove, Pinchbeck-his literary powers at their peak- began to participate in the shamanic and metaphysical belief systems he was encountering. As his psyche and body opened to new experience, disparate threads and occurrences made sense like never before: Humanity, every sign pointed, is precariously balanced between greater self-potential and environmental disaster. The Mayan calendar's "end date" of 2012 seems to define our present age: It heralds the end of one way of existence and the return of another, in which the serpent god Quetzalcoatl reigns anew, bringing with him an unimaginable ancient- yet, to us, wholly new- way of being.
As a result not just of study but also of participation, 2012 tells the tale of a single man in whose trials we ultimately recognize our own hopes and anxieties about modern life.
While psychedelics of all sorts are demonized in America today, the visionary compounds found in plants are the spiritual sacraments of tribal cultures around the world. From the iboga of the Bwiti in Gabon, to the Mazatecs of Mexico, these plants are sacred because they awaken the mind to other levels of awareness- to a holographic vision of the universe.
Breaking Open the Head is a passionate, multilayered, and sometimes rashly personal inquiry into this deep division. On one level, Daniel Pinchbeck tells the story of the encounters between the modern consciousness of the West and these sacramental substances, including thinkers as Allen Ginsberg, Antonin Artaud, Walter Benjamin, and Terrence McKenna, and a new underground of present-day ethnobotanists, chemists, psychonauts, and philosophers. It is also a scrupulous recording of the author's wide-ranging investigation with these outlaw compounds, including a thirty-hour tribal initiation in West Africa; an all-night encounter with the master shamans of the South American rain forest; and a report from a psychedelic utopia in the Black Rock Desert that is the Burning Man Festival.
Breaking Open the Head is brave participatory journalism at its best, a vivid account of psychic and intellectual experiences that opened doors in the wall of Western rationalism and completed Daniel Pinchbeck's personal transformation from a jaded Manhattan journalist to shamanic initiate and grateful citizen of the cosmos.
A dazzling work of personal travelogue and cultural criticism that ranges from the primitive to
the post modern in a quest for the promise and meaning of the psychedelic experience.
Don't let the date fool you, this documentary is more relevant then ever! Exploring the issues facing the planet today, Time for Change presents an optimist alternative to apocalyptic doom and gloom.
Directed by Emmy Award nominee João Amorim, the film follows journalist Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the bestselling 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, on a quest for a new paradigm that integrates the archaic wisdom of tribal cultures with the scientific method.
As conscious agents of evolution, we can redesign post-industrial society on ecological principles to make a world that works for all. Rather then breakdown and barbarism, Time for Change heralds the birth of a regenerative planetary culture where collaboration replaces competition, where exploration of psyche and spirit becomes the new cutting edge, replacing the sterile materialism that has pushed our world to the brink.