[Ibogaine] Daniel Pinchbeck's new book in NY Times

Mark Corcoran mcorcoran27 at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 19 00:12:43 EDT 2006


he still sucks.


From: HSLotsof at aol.comDate: Sun, 18 Jun 2006 22:48:40 -0400To: ibogaine at mindvox.comSubject: Re: [Ibogaine] Daniel Pinchbeck's new book in NY TimesGood or bad, when you get that much play in the NY Times it has to be worth a fortune.HowardIn a message dated 6/18/06 9:55:30 PM, vector620022002 at yahoo.com writes:
Here, this is for all the people who seem to have been under whelmed byDaniel's behavior at the last ibogaine conf. The NY Times panned hisbook, taking special note to trash how poorly he conveyed his iboexperiences.On the other hand, they did take the time to trash him and he did getinto the NY Times.Review summed up: shut up, you suck.Longer version follows..:vector:.http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/books/review/18swofford.htmlJune 18, 2006'2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl,' by Daniel PinchbeckThe End Is HighReview by ANTHONY SWOFFORDDANIEL PINCHBECK has done a lot of psychedelics, and he's here again totell us about those trips and the resulting dreams, daemons andsynchronicities, as well as the forthcoming "global decimation" thatmight be avoided if people begin "confronting their habitual mechanismsof avoidance and denial, overcoming their fear and conditionedcynicism."In his previous book, "Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic JourneyInto the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism," Pinchbeck mined much of thesame material and substances. "2012" pushes the baggie a little furtherand "advances a radical theory: that human consciousness is rapidlytransitioning to a new state . . . a transformed realization, of timeand 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 theirheads to the Pinchbeckian guillotine, a machine made not of wood andsteel but the after-effects of DMT ("a seven-minute rocket-shot into anoverwhelming other dimension"), ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, LSD andiboga ("a psychedelic root bark that is the center of the Bwiti cult").Of the multiple difficulties encountered by the writer ofdrug-induced-mind-expansion narratives, none is more important toovercome than that of transferring the effect of the drug to his prose,a near impossibility attained by only a few — William S. Burroughscomes to mind, as well as Thomas De Quincey.Not so Pinchbeck. His descriptions of his trips are New Agenarcissistic and fortune-cookie cute. Apparently, when you aremindblown on iboga, the root teacher speaks in CAPS. Among the messagesPinchbeck receives: "PRIMORDIAL WISDOM TEACHER OF HUMANITY." While on a"fungal sacrament," Pinchbeck describes the Nevada morning desert atBurning Man as "a Narnia sunrise of golden cloud fingers and taffetaswirls feather-spinning across the horizon." No thanks, dude, I'll passon the fungal.If you ingest psychedelics and write about their galactic psychichealing properties and tell your readers you offer them your book "as agift handed backward through space-time, from beyond the barrier of anew realm," you need at least an ounce of humor and warmth to go alongwith it all. It's hard to swallow the counterculture self-help pill —or leaf or drink or droplet — offered by a self-proclaimed "somewhatbohemian and alienated intellectual," especially a bohemianintellectual who writes plodding sentences that utterly fail to renderhis 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 isPinchbeck's own: there's his recently dead father; the birth of hisdaughter; the wealthy and beautiful partner who is unable to match hissame high enthusiasm for psychedelics and an open relationship; thewitnessing of the 9/11 attacks from his partner's Soho loft; theinability to score, while high, in an Amazonian jungle with a woman whocalls herself a priestess; and ultimately being forced to live in anunderheated South Williamsburg share apartment. The high seas of theglobal psychic crisis are rough.Pinchbeck's thinking suffers from the deep navel-gazing that comes sonaturally to this son of urban humanist materialist liberals, the veryclass he disparages for their atheism, passivity and greed. Not that heis off the mark. Most of the people who once sang Beatles anthems andmarched for civil rights are now more concerned with the stock marketand real estate — not to mention the quality of the new sod job at thegolf course — than with world peace or the welfare of indigenouspeoples. But haven't we known this for at least two decades? And willdoing psychedelics really help usher in a new era of living and being?Pinchbeck's censure of corporate globalization and hegemonic thought iswell meant. Petro-domination and the desecration of the biosphere arereal dangers that require immediate attention. But Pinchbeck'sreasoning moves quickly from practical, thoughtful criticisms to theconclusion 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 ofgum, next Wednesday her entire family will turn blue."2012" occasionally engages the reader solely because of the cast ofcharacters Pinchbeck befriends and cites — crop circle hoaxsters anddevotees, believers in extraterrestrials, physicists and poets, timeconcept revisionists and their acolytes.Pinchbeck's most lucid writing surrounds the two periods of his lifethat receive the least attention in this book: his youth in Manhattan,in the atmosphere of truly avant-garde writers, personalities andartists (his parents among them), and a visit to Hopiland, at the endof the book. His rage at what he sees as the thieving and wasting ofthe Hopiland aquifer by a coal mining company, as assisted by Enron, isthe kind of writing you want from a muckraker and subversive. Rage atsocial injustice is infinitely preferable to claims of drug-inducedprescience and visionary flights, but Pinchbeck's romantic subservienceto psychedelics and their doubtful global psychic breakthroughs (heliberally uses the words "might," "could" and "perhaps") soften theanti-establishment punches he occasionally throws.Since when can a guy on mushrooms land a punch? And no one likes aglobal morality bully who's tripping. Whatever happened to just takingdrugs? Visionary flights sound like such a downer. But if things changein 2012, please paint me blue.
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