When President Kennedy was assassinated, “sick comedian” Lenny Bruce came onstage just hours later, took the mike and paused for a long time, looking at the audience and shaking his head before sighing: “Poor Vaughn Meader” (Meader was a popular and wealthy 60s nightclub entertainer whose act consisted solely of his uncanny JFK impersonation).
This morning I couldn’t help but think, “Poor Daniel Pinchbeck…”
When I woke up today, feeling exactly the same as I had yesterday and pretty much all the days before that, it didn’t even occur to me to wonder if “the end of the world” (as we know it)—or if you prefer, a global spiritual awakening—had happened last night as the wife and I watched the final episode of The Crimson Petal and The White, because, well, I’d forgotten all about it.
When my eyes opened today, after I had taken a piss, walked the dogs, made some tea, and was looking at Huffington Post’s headlines, I remembered, oh shit, the 2012 “apocalypse” thing was supposed to have happened last night. I certainly didn’t feel anymore “enlightened” that’s for sure. If some sort of cosmic transformation of mankind was supposed to have taken place—as some New Agers were predicting—then I was a groggy Bodhisattva this morning…
I checked if there had been any mass suicides or any of that sort of activity. Nothing on HuffPo. Drudge came up snake eyes on that front as well. That’s good, since at least one mass suicide seemed virtually assured…
And then I wondered if Daniel Pinchbeck had published anything about this momentous event—or notable lack thereof—on his blog. He had in fact, in a piece titled “The End of the Beginning,” that, to my mind, rather comically hedges on what did or did not just happen…
It begins like so:
At last, we have reached the end of the classic Mayan Long Count calendar, the 5,125-year cycle that ends on December 21 of this year. The mainstream media has, predictably, used the occasion to ridicule the straw man they irresponsibly helped to set up: That this was a doomsday threshold, as silly as Y2K. At the same time, the worst and best predictions of alternative theorists ranging from Graham Hancock to Paul LaViolette to Jose Arguelles, Terence McKenna, John Major Jenkins, David Wilcock, and Carl Johan Calleman have failed to materialize.
Apparently, a galactic superwave is not engulfing our planet, as LaViolette proposed. We are not confronting immediate cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as Hancock sensationally predicted in his bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods. We are, also, not suddenly attaining collective enlightenment as Calleman, Arguelles, and John Major Jenkins conceived. Our pineal glands are not being instantaneously flooded with DMT, as Wilcock concocted. We have not reached the Eschaton or Singularity, where time collapses as we construct the final technological object at the end of history and complete the Great Work of alchemy, as McKenna playfully projected. We are not ascending out of our bodies into the astral plane. But does this mean that this threshold was meaningless? Not at all.
Oh, I think that’s still pretty debatable, but it’s not a topic that I, personally, would care to debate with anyone. That would just be a fool’s errand, for obvious reasons.
Back to Pinchbeck:
As a personal aside, I am delighted we are finally getting beyond this date with destiny. Over the last months, my work has been constantly ridiculed and put down by mainstream journalists who parrot preconceived ideas. Almost as a rule, these journalists avoided watching the film I made with director Joao Amorim, which is freely available on Netflix, or reading my book. Each article is a tiny piffle of stupidity and ignorance, adding to the great vapidity. Although I am used to it, it is still painful to be misunderstood.
I’m sure it is, but such is the lot of a pop-up prophet in the age of snarky Internet blogs, right? Comes with the territory.
Now I want to be clear that I don’t have anything against Daniel Pinchbeck. We’re acquainted, although I have not seen him for for several years. I happen to agree with much of what he espouses, at least his more earthbound ideas on a post-capitalism future. I think he does a good job getting younger people excited by Occupy, saving the environment and these kinds of important issues with his prose and I am a fan of his writing myself, having excerpted some of his Breaking Open the Head book—which I loved—in my own Book of Lies occult anthology.
But whether it’s coming from Daniel Pinchbeck, or another source, this 2012 jive was/is a bunch of soft-brained New Age hooey—it doesn’t deserve any respect—and the idea that he’s trying to forge ahead and act like he was somehow right about it the whole time—unlike the rest of ‘em(!)—and rhetorically pivot away from the “failed” 2012 prophets made me chuckle as I read it. Pinchbeck’s own name is at the very top of that list and he damned well knows it.
In a 2006 Rolling Stone profile, “Daniel Pinchbeck and the New Psychedelic Elite” by Vanessa Grigoriadis—the article that first brought him some mainstream exposure—there are so many goofy quotes from Daniel that I’m sure he’d like to live down, that I don’t know where to start:
“I’d like to move off the grid, to escape the chaos and hustle of city life.” When we talked about it earlier, he said, “But there is no escape,” his eyes burning into mine. “We have to fix this situation right fucking now, or there’s going to be nuclear wars and mass death, and it’s not going to be very interesting. There’s not going to be a United States in five years, OK?”
His current book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, has been largely panned in the mainstream press. In fact, his original publisher dropped it, with Gerald Howard, a venerable editor of authors like Don DeLillo, offering the comment “Daniel, you’re not Nietzsche.” Says Pinchbeck, “It was hard for him to conceive that someone of my generation was doing something of primordial significance.”
Perhaps Mr. Howard, in retrospect, might be forgiven his trespasses against our self-ordained prophet, eh?
“I’m generally a humble person, but I do feel I’m surfing the edge of consciousness on this planet,” he says. “A shaman risks their ass to get knowledge that the tribe needs to continue. In this case, the tribe is potentially the whole fucking world.”
On a blog post on his Amazon author page, generally humble person Pinchbeck responded to Grigoriadis’s tart Rolling Stone article:
I find myself in a peculiarly bittersweet relationship to fame, worldly success, etc., as part of the concept I am promoting is of a shift in consciousness that will be so swift and so profound, when it arrives, that it will annul our current categories and conventional reward systems. As I noted in ‘2012,’ I sometimes feel like I am communicating ‘backwards’ from this future state of ‘time freedom,’ and it is a peculiarly uncanny sensation. From that impersonal perspective, I am simply watching a process unfold in linear time – the process of the accelerated evolution of consciousness. As a messenger or prophet (certainly not a guru), I am simply sending out a signal to be picked up by those who are ready to receive it.”
I’ll just let that one fall to the ground with a mighty thud.
Even if Daniel is from the future, he’s not allowed to change the past: A writer named Tom Swiss penned a short take-down of Pinchbeck’s seeming belief that he was a cosmic messenger of the gods in an online essay, “Why Daniel Pinchbeck needs a smack upside his head” that highlights the most… well, the funniest aspect of Pinchbeck’s whole idiosyncratic 2012 trip: If Aleister Crowley could declare himself the prophet of the new aeon, then by gum, Daniel could do it, too.
Generously “borrowing” from The Great Beast 666, with a hefty dollop of Terence McKenna’ trippy apocalyptism thrown into the mix, the whole “channeled message” nature of Pinchbeck’s psychedelic holy man shtick is—how do I put this kindly—FUCKING RIDICULOUS:
Daniel Pinchbeck is the guy probably most responsible for kicking off the idea that some great transformation is going to occur in 2012. In his book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, he claims to have received “transmissions” from the Mayan deity Quetzalcoatl telling him about this momentous event. An excerpt from these transmissions:
The writer of this work [i.e., Pinchbeck] is the vehicle of my arrival—my return—to this realm. He certainly did not expect this to be the case. What began as a quest to understand prophecy has become the fulfillment of prophecy. The vehicle of my arrival has been brought to an awareness of his situation in sometimes painful increments and stages of resistance—and this books follows the evolution of his learning process, as an aid to the reader’s understanding.
The vehicle of my arrival had to learn to follow synchonicities, embrace paradoxes, and solve puzzles. He had to enter into a new way of thinking about time and space and consciousness.
Almost apologetically, the vehicle notes that his birthday fell in June 1966—6/66—“count the number of the Beast: for it is the number of the man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
The Beast prophesied is the “feathered serpent,” Quetzalcoatl. [Pinchbeck, 2012 p. 370]
That’s one hell of a zany, paranoiac, monumentally self-important megalomaniacal feedback loop, ain’t it?
As I type this today, one aspect of the 2012 trip is certain, and this is that all of those fucking full-of-shit blow-hard New Ager/“Burner” types who made cocksure bets about SOMETHING (anything!) happening (solar flares, earthquakes, killer asteroids suddenly coming out of nowhere, or even the more mundane predictions of a great spiritual awakening and turning point for all mankind) on December 21, 2012 are going to have to pay up... as well they should.
New Age-types: STOP BEING SO GULLIBLE. You’re no better than Fox News viewers if you bought into this bullshit!
I mean, seriously, people, anyone who promoted or defended any manifestation of the 2012 hoax without tongue placed firmly-in-cheek, needs to have their noses rubbed in it bigtime. Learn a lil’ lesson, brah. No, really, take a serious bloody hint about how you evaluate your information sources and maybe. just maybe seek out some different intellectual inputs before somebody gets… embarrassed.
Or hoist with his own petard.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Timewave Zero: Did Terence McKenna *really* believe in all that 2012 prophecy stuff?
Below, the grand finale of Beyond The Fringe, the hysterically funny “End of the World” sketch, restaged for The Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1979 with Peter Cook, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eleanor Bron and others. A young Rowan Atkinson fills in for Dudley Moore. This sketch will never get old… for obvious reasons!