Non-Fiction Review: 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl

I've finally finished reading Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. It's an intriguing book that looks at redefine Apocalyptic predictions into a spiritualistic movement and event horizon, suggesting that what we humans conceive of as "the end" could really just mean "the end of an era" and the beginning of a truly new page in history. Of course, he then ends talking about the Hopi Indians and how they hold a more disturbing vision that includes nuclear holocaust and lots of physical destruction. So, who knows.

If you're interested in the future of the planet and humanity, and if you're open to somewhat "different" interpretations of that future, then this is probably a good book for you. I'm not fully comfortable with the degree of recreational use of hallucinogenics that Pinchbeck practices, and he did leave some issues unresolved, but nonetheless, his views are interesting and unique. I'd rather like to think that his interpretation is correct, that the future will be marked by a sudden evolutionary advancement. What I'll be more interested to see is the number of crazies who will come out of the woodwork the closer we get to Dec 2012.

Following are some quotes that I marked while reading the book. I provide them here to give you an idea of the topics and ideas represented by Pinchbeck in his writing:

"Psychedelics may temporarily splinter or even obliterate the ego, but soon the ego comes roaring back, seeking to create a new cosmological framework in which it is ensconced at the center of a vast drama." (p103)

Talking about the Christian view of "Apocalypse":
"According to this hypothesis, Christ 'redeems' us only when we follow his lead. We still have to save our own souls. Alas, this is no easy task. But without real sacrifice, there can be no spiritual progress." (p117)

"As the Hindu guru Sri Ramana Maharshi put it, 'Liberation exists - and you will never be liberated.' The 'coming of the self' described by Edward Edinger is an apocalypse for the ego, the 'you' that wants to hang along for the ride. It may be that the only way to survive the Apocalypse is to undergo it, first, within your own being." (p139)

Talking about alleged alien encounters and abductions:
"In the saga of the visitors, we are witnessing a return of the repressed, the mythic world, surging into the postmodern consciousness in a form that strangely fits our fixation on technology, our space fantasies and genetic obsessions and dingy bureaucracies, and our terror of the unknown. The Grays exist on the boundary of the sensible, seeking entry into our realm." (p141)

"While the mainstream analyses of 9-11 published in popular newspapers and magazines could only conceive of it in material terms, as an event with global strategic consequences, Arguelles considered this planetary emergency to be 'a profound theological moment,' leading to a world war 'between the religion of choice and the religion of submission.' I couldn't escape the feeling that there was something to this idea..." (p198)

On the human definition of "time":
"'Does it really exist, this destroyer, Time?' the poet Rainer Maria Rilke asked. According to modern physics, it doesn't exist in the way our ordinary brains and nervous systems process it. There is, also, a transcendent domain, spaceless and timeless, of which matter, space, time, and consciousness are interrelated expressions, and in which everything we perceive as separate is intimately intermeshed." (p203)

"Possessed by space and matter, mental man spatialized and quantified everything, including time. Today this is clear in the metaphors we use when we refer to time. We talk about having enough time, running out of time, racing against time, wasting time, spending time, doing time, killing time, and so on. We speak of time as a quantity ('time is money') of which there can be enough or not enough. ''Time' in our sense is an instrument we have created with which we are able to shape the three-dimensional perspectival world and permit it to become a reality.'" (p212)

"The new consciousness structure - our imminent mutation - requires a deeper realization of time, a conscious integration of its manifold forms and myriad expressions into an intensified awareness. We would no longer negate the previous forms of archaic, magic, mythic, and mental consciousness, but realize their concurrence. At this moment, now, we are embedded in the linear, spatialized time of the mental-rational mind-set..." (p215)

"The Buddha noted, simply, 'All is change.' By consciously seeing 'through' the things of the manifest world, we would recognize them, for the first time, in their true light." (p216)

Bearing in mind that this book is copyrighted 2006, so likely written in 2003-2005, consider this prescient prediction:
"The cycle of thirteen tuns that began in November 1999 will, likewise, reach its midnight hour, its involutionary crescendo, during the year 2008. Interestingly, various studies on the imminent peak oil crisis point to 2008 as the year when resources of energy, food, and water will become critically stressed." (p243)

Lamenting family life:
"In our culture, men do not receive initiation into non-ordinary states of consciousness and spiritual responsibilities. Tied down by the possessive entrapments of love, marriage, and children, the 'family men' I knew forfeited any opportunity to explore the edge-realms of freedom and spirit that belonged to the solar masculine principle, fighting for truth and meeting danger with intellect, strength, and courage." (p312)

Echoing strains of A Farewell to Alms in talking about how our quality of life is much worse today than thousands of years ago:
" Ken Wilber points out, the 'patriarchy,' emerging within agrarian civilization, 'was a conscious co-creation of men and women in the face of largely brutal circumstances.' The new situation was a complicit arrangement, equally bad for men, who worked the plows and manned the battlements during the wars that were the inevitable by-product of population growth and the creation of surplus value." (p320)

"...if consciousness is indeed a quantum phenomenon that evolves by sudden phase-shifts into new contexts, then an imminent global shift into a new timing frequency, instituting a harmonic relation to the solar system is imaginable - and what can be imagined, can be accomplished." (p377)

And back on predictions (referring back to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989):
"Is it conceivable that Wall Street could collapse as suddenly? While millions pin their future and their ambitions on the stock markets, the system has become delinked from any tangible resource, supported solely by mass belief in it. If that belief were to fail, our system would go into freefall. Although it would be a tumultuous transition, an economic collapse might be bracing as well as clarifying, leading to a sea change in priorities and values, and a concomitant change of the elites." (p393)

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This page contains a single entry by Ben Tomhave published on December 17, 2008 2:16 PM.

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