Synopses & Reviews
A literary and metaphysical epic that binds together the cosmological phenomena of our time to support the contention of the Mayan calendar that the year 2012 portends an unprecendented global shift.
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 Terence McKenna.
But slowly something happened: Rather than 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 unimaginably ancient yet, to us, wholly new way of living.
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Few things are more difficult to convey in writing than the epiphanic drug experience or the mystical vision, and it is to Pinchbeck's credit as a writer that he is able to articulate these visions so clearly and memorably." Los Angeles Times
"Pinchbeck's reporting is fascinating and entertaining." Washington Post Book World
"The author is not some hippy-dippy hedonist staggering down the road of excess but rather a skeptical philosopher of consciousness seeking the enlightened path." Entertainment Weekly
"A daring and intriguing, sometimes deeply disturbing, very well researched and extremely readable book that puts an entirely new slant on 2012. From quantum physics to aliens, from crop circles to reincarnation, from shamanic hallucinogens to Rudolf Steiner, from the Amazon jungle to Stonehenge, from fragments of jaundiced autobiography to the ending of worlds, Pinchbeck takes us on a mind-bending, paradigm-rattling ride." Graham Hancock
"2012 presents a compelling and complex teleological argument, weaving together the twilit realms of the human imagination and the harsh realities of accelerated global catastrophe. Its conclusions are surprisingly robust, original, and thankfully optimistic." Sting
According to the author, the Mayan calendar's "end date" of 2012 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 unimaginably ancient yet, wholly new way of living.
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.
Read Daniel Pinchbeck's posts on the Penguin Blog
About the Author
Pinchbeck lives in New York's East Village, where he is currently launching Evolver (www.evolverproject.com), a new media and membership organization, with offices in Manhattan and on the West Coast.