Daniel Pinchbeck's new book in NY Times

Vector Vector vector620022002 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 18 21:54:38 EDT 2006


Here, this is for all the people who seem to have been under whelmed by
Daniel's behavior at the last ibogaine conf. The NY Times panned his
book, taking special note to trash how poorly he conveyed his ibo
experiences.

On the other hand, they did take the time to trash him and he did get
into the NY Times.

Review summed up: shut up, you suck.

Longer version follows.

.:vector:.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/books/review/18swofford.html

June 18, 2006
'2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl,' by Daniel Pinchbeck
The End Is High

Review by ANTHONY SWOFFORD

DANIEL PINCHBECK has done a lot of psychedelics, and he's here again to
tell us about those trips and the resulting dreams, daemons and
synchronicities, as well as the forthcoming "global decimation" that
might be avoided if people begin "confronting their habitual mechanisms
of avoidance and denial, overcoming their fear and conditioned
cynicism."

In his previous book, "Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey
Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism," Pinchbeck mined much of the
same material and substances. "2012" pushes the baggie a little further
and "advances a radical theory: that human consciousness is rapidly
transitioning to a new state . . . a transformed realization, of time
and space and self." He adds: "The transition is already under way . .
. and will become increasingly evident as we approach the year 2012."
That's the year the Mayan "Great Cycle" ends.

In 2012, urban liberals and fundamentalist Christians alike lose their
heads to the Pinchbeckian guillotine, a machine made not of wood and
steel but the after-effects of DMT ("a seven-minute rocket-shot into an
overwhelming other dimension"), ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, LSD and
iboga ("a psychedelic root bark that is the center of the Bwiti cult").

Of the multiple difficulties encountered by the writer of
drug-induced-mind-expansion narratives, none is more important to
overcome than that of transferring the effect of the drug to his prose,
a near impossibility attained by only a few — William S. Burroughs
comes to mind, as well as Thomas De Quincey.

Not so Pinchbeck. His descriptions of his trips are New Age
narcissistic and fortune-cookie cute. Apparently, when you are
mindblown on iboga, the root teacher speaks in CAPS. Among the messages
Pinchbeck receives: "PRIMORDIAL WISDOM TEACHER OF HUMANITY." While on a
"fungal sacrament," Pinchbeck describes the Nevada morning desert at
Burning Man as "a Narnia sunrise of golden cloud fingers and taffeta
swirls feather-spinning across the horizon." No thanks, dude, I'll pass
on the fungal.

If you ingest psychedelics and write about their galactic psychic
healing properties and tell your readers you offer them your book "as a
gift handed backward through space-time, from beyond the barrier of a
new realm," you need at least an ounce of humor and warmth to go along
with it all. It's hard to swallow the counterculture self-help pill —
or leaf or drink or droplet — offered by a self-proclaimed "somewhat
bohemian and alienated intellectual," especially a bohemian
intellectual who writes plodding sentences that utterly fail to render
his ascent into other, better worlds of consciousness and sensation.

Pinchbeck insists the crisis he's trying to help us solve is global,
but throughout "2012" there is ample evidence that the crisis is
Pinchbeck's own: there's his recently dead father; the birth of his
daughter; the wealthy and beautiful partner who is unable to match his
same high enthusiasm for psychedelics and an open relationship; the
witnessing of the 9/11 attacks from his partner's Soho loft; the
inability to score, while high, in an Amazonian jungle with a woman who
calls herself a priestess; and ultimately being forced to live in an
underheated South Williamsburg share apartment. The high seas of the
global psychic crisis are rough.

Pinchbeck's thinking suffers from the deep navel-gazing that comes so
naturally to this son of urban humanist materialist liberals, the very
class he disparages for their atheism, passivity and greed. Not that he
is off the mark. Most of the people who once sang Beatles anthems and
marched for civil rights are now more concerned with the stock market
and real estate — not to mention the quality of the new sod job at the
golf course — than with world peace or the welfare of indigenous
peoples. But haven't we known this for at least two decades? And will
doing psychedelics really help usher in a new era of living and being?

Pinchbeck's censure of corporate globalization and hegemonic thought is
well meant. Petro-domination and the desecration of the biosphere are
real dangers that require immediate attention. But Pinchbeck's
reasoning moves quickly from practical, thoughtful criticisms to the
conclusion that near the end of 2012 the world as we know it will end.
It's akin to stating that because a 10-year-old shoplifted a pack of
gum, next Wednesday her entire family will turn blue.

"2012" occasionally engages the reader solely because of the cast of
characters Pinchbeck befriends and cites — crop circle hoaxsters and
devotees, believers in extraterrestrials, physicists and poets, time
concept revisionists and their acolytes.

Pinchbeck's most lucid writing surrounds the two periods of his life
that receive the least attention in this book: his youth in Manhattan,
in the atmosphere of truly avant-garde writers, personalities and
artists (his parents among them), and a visit to Hopiland, at the end
of the book. His rage at what he sees as the thieving and wasting of
the Hopiland aquifer by a coal mining company, as assisted by Enron, is
the kind of writing you want from a muckraker and subversive. Rage at
social injustice is infinitely preferable to claims of drug-induced
prescience and visionary flights, but Pinchbeck's romantic subservience
to psychedelics and their doubtful global psychic breakthroughs (he
liberally uses the words "might," "could" and "perhaps") soften the
anti-establishment punches he occasionally throws.

Since when can a guy on mushrooms land a punch? And no one likes a
global morality bully who's tripping. Whatever happened to just taking
drugs? Visionary flights sound like such a downer. But if things change
in 2012, please paint me blue.



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