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2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy
2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy WE ALL HAVE CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE. Ever since we learned that the Mayan calendar finished in 2012, that has been the date given for the world at least, as we know it to end.

Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy bears a testa-ment from Graham Hancock; "A daring and intriguing, very well researched and extremely readable book. Pinch-beck takes us on a mind-bending, paradigm-rattling ride." Apart from
a personal interest in the year 2012,
I have read and enjoyed Graham Hancock's own books.

On opening Daniel Pinchbeck's magnificent book I was completely hooked. There are no disappoint-ments. Daniel Pinchbeck fulfils all expectations and more. In his fifteen-page introduction he outlines the background of his research and points the way forward, encouraging further study. More people than ever experience, or pursue, psychic phenomena or seek alternative lifestyles.

A literary and metaphysical epic, 2012 unifies the cosmological phen-omena of our time, ranging from quantum theory to the worldwide resurgence of shamanism, in support of the Mayan prophecy that 2012 will bring an unprecedented global shift.

Daniel relates the meaning of the prophetic Mayan 'end date' of 2012 to our present society; drawing together alien abductions, psychedelic visions, the current ecological crisis and other peculiar aspects of 21st century life into a new vision for our time. 2012, it is said, heralds the return of the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl who brings with him an ancient way of living that is new to us.

There are many hints, both in quantum theory and elsewhere, that humanity is precariously balanced between greater self-potential and environmental disaster. From the endangered rainforests of the Amazon and secret jungle ceremonies to the enigmatic Stonehenge, Pinch-beck's journey tells of a man in whose trials we recognise our own hopes and anxieties about modern life.

2012 offers the opportunity to think differently about a new culture for the planet — it is an extraordinary, thought-provoking, vision for the future and hope for a unified world.

2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy by Daniel Pinchbeck, is out now, published in paperback by Piatkus Books Ltd, price 14.99.

Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the founders of Open City, an art and literary journal. He was a 1999-2000 Fellow of the National Arts Journalism Programme at Columbia University. He has also written for many leading magazines including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and The Village Voice. He lives in New York City.

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

Traditionally, writers have the job of defining the zeitgeist, but that task has never been as difficult as it is today. While this seems a singular and remarkable moment in human history, there is something indefinable about it. The weather is certainly strange — I live in New York City, where temperatures through early January were about 15 degrees above normal, and spring flowers started to bloom before Christmas. The political situation is most definitely peculiar — the US and UK military engages in a senseless campaign that has lasted longer than World War Two, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent on spreading death and misery. We read about icebergs breaking up and a frightening lack of fish in the seas, yet there is plenty of ice for our drinks and caviar is making a comeback.

We swim in new psychic waters. We may understand, to a greater or lesser degree that global civilization is hitting the resource limits of the biosphere, but such a general foreboding is useless. To truly understand the nature of the time in which we live, a new paradigm is necessary.

The hypothesis that I develop in my book, 2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy, is that we are experiencing an accelerated evolution of human consciousness, and that this process was recognized by the knowledge systems of many indigenous cultures. Right now, we find ourselves in an awkward transition between steadier states. Over the last centuries, a limited form of scientific rationality has controlled the modern world, a mindset that denied intuitive thought and saw nature as an enemy to be conquered. We developed technologies that embodied our sense of alienation and isolation. Many people are now reaching a different perspective.

As we make connections between quantum physics and Eastern mys-ticism, some of us are realizing that we live in a participatory universe, with no place for an objective and outside observer. In 2012, I argue that intuition is not irrational, but a rational — it is the way our mind processes the overload of information that doesn't enter our conscious filter. In order to attain an intensified state of consciousness that can address the environmental and military crises facing us, we need to integrate empirical and rational thought with the intuitive and shamanic modes of cognition known to indigenous cultures around the world.

My own quest for understanding led me from being a cynical and nihil-istic New York journalist to hitting a massive spiritual crisis in the late 1990s. In the throes of existential despair, I remembered my psyche-delic experiences from college and decided to pursue the subject as a journalist. I took an assignment to undergo a tribal initiation in Gabon, in West Africa, where I ate a visionary rootbark, iboga (also known as ibogaine). I travelled to the Amazon in Ecuador to drink ayahuasca, a hallucinatory potion with the Secoya Indians, and visited the Mazatecs in Mexico, who preserve a sacred culture using mushrooms.

The results of these investigations, and more, were recorded in my first book, Breaking Open the Head (HarperCollins UK, 2003) which described my shift over time from cynical materialism to an acceptance of other dimensions and occult aspects of the psyche. For my new book, I have investigated the nature of prophecy, particularly the sacred calendar kept by the Classical Mayans in the Yucatan, which completes a 'Great Cycle' of more than 5000 years in the year 2012. Most modern people find it far-fetched that a non-technological and myth-based civiliz-ation, such as the Maya, might have developed a different system of knowledge that is more advanced than our own, in certain respects.
In 2012, I argue that this is possible.

Somehow, from over a thousand years ago, the Maya predicted that this time would be crucial for humanity and, indeed, it is. In the next few years, there are good reasons to think that we are either going to slide into global chaos, or institute a new planetary culture based on compassion, collaboration and rational use of resources. The second option requires a quantum leap in consciousness, but our entire history has prepared us for that leap, when we view it from a certain perspective. This view was also developed by philosophers such as Jean Gebser and Gerald Heard.

It has been exactly forty yeas since the heyday of the 1960s. My hypothesis is that that epoch was an attempted voyage of shamanic initiation for the modern world. Today we have embarked upon a new phase of the initiatory journey begun a generation ago with the opportunity to avoid the tactical mistakes, strident statements, and polarizations of the past. Increasing numbers of people pursue spiritual practices such as yoga and shamanism, with disciplined intensity. Perhaps, with an inchoate sense of foreknowledge, many people are preparing themselves for the deeper changes just ahead.

2012: The Year of the Mayan Prophecy is meant to be a thought experiment. It is a provocative and challenging work that takes mainstream readers outside of the box of their ordinary belief systems and conceptual categories. Embodying the perspective that there is no objective or outside perspective, I tried to be as honest and direct as possible about my own psychic experiences and personal transform-ations as I explored the nature of prophecy. I am well aware that our habitual reaction to new ideas and new patterns of thought is to reject them violently. I ask that you resist this reaction and give this book a chance. If there is any validity to the concepts presented here, then they may be important to the near-term survival of our civilisation. — Daniel Pinchbeck, New York City, January 2007