Film documentary presents a sanguine alternative to apocalyptic 'end of the world' scenarios drawn up for 2012, the year of the Mayan prophecy|
by Geoff Ward, published on November 2, 2010
The 'secret purpose', the makers of this documentary admit (although it's really an open secret) is to get people to view the world differently, and begin to participate in a conscious movement towards personal and social transformation - and the film can only contribute to the shift in awareness.
To my mind, the great affliction of our time, endemic in all our strife and conflict, and troubling us individually and socially, is the loss of soul. When soul is neglected, it doesn't just disappear somewhere; it re-emerges in the world symptomatically in violence, lack of meaning, obsessions, addictions and preoccupations with image over substance
The message of 2012: Time for Change chimes with this in that, rather than collapse and anarchy, 2012 holds out hope of a restorative global ethos in which involvement in soul and spirit becomes paramount, and replaces the brittle materialism that has held sway for too long.
Philosophical and Optimistic View
New York journalist Daniel Pinchbeck takes a broad philosophical and optimistic view of 2012 in this purposeful and engaging documentary which he has made, as executive producer, with the Brazilian director João Amorim, and others of like mind.
But, of course, the crucial question is: with all the trouble that there is in the world, how much time do we have to effect such meaningful change? The optimism of the upbeat Pinchbeck remains infectious: as he says in the documentary, the agricultural revolution took thousands of years, the industrial revolution hundreds, the information revolution a decade, and so the hoped-for 'wisdom revolution' might take only a few years.
Amorim follows Pinchbeck as he meets with a wide and colourful range of sustainability activists. Indeed, Pinchbeck's holistic approach draws on the widest spectrum of 'alternative' opinion from many fields including the environment, ecology, economics, archaeology, permaculture, the arts, medicine, architecture, yoga and meditation, all packed into a compelling 85 minutes.
Accelerated Evolution of Consciousness
Pinchbeck says: 'We need to recognize that the inertia of our society as it operates now is going to lead to cataclysmic effects, so a critical mass of people need to get fully engaged in changing that.' He believes we are experiencing an accelerated evolution of human consciousness, and that this process was recognised by many indigenous cultures of past times. In his 2007 book, 2012: the Year of the Mayan Prophecy, he draws a parallel between the Maya and the much earlier builders of Stonehenge, in terms of a vital message which has been left for us to decipher
He thinks that in order to attain a sufficiently intensified state of consciousness that can address the environmental, economic and military crises besetting us, we need to integrate empirical and rational thought with the intuitive and shamanic modes of cognition known to tribal cultures.
Time of Psychic Change
I very much agree with this. Unconscious forces unleashed by millennial dread - including the whole of the 'New Age' phenomenon and 2012 omens - must be shaped by and applied with a certain practicality if they are to be of any use to us in this time of psychic change. All this is reflected in the film's sub-title (or sub-text), 'From Conscious Evolution to Practical Solutions'.
The possibility of a paradigm integrating ancient wisdom and shamanism with contemporary scientific method lies in the potential for increased consciousness. After all, the more you delve into the shamanic eidos, the more it is capable, or ought to be capable, of creating a spur for action against planetary catastrophe. As 'conscious agents of evolution', it is possible for us to restructure post-industrial society on ecological principles to make a world that works for everyone.
There are three key points in this thoughtful film which I have known as intuitive truths for decades, and which have long been reflected in my own writings: unconsciousness is the cause of problems in the world, altered states of consciousness can provide a glimpse of the oneness of the universe that we need to understand if we are to improve our world, and inventing god(s) absolves us of the responsibility we ought to be shouldering ourselves.
Counterculture's Drug Experiments
Pinchbeck believes that the counterculture's drug experiments, which began on a wide scale in the 1960s, may finally pave the way for some long-term dividends. Echoes of his new book, Breaking Open the Head (2010), in which he describes how his head was 'broken open' during a shamanic ritual involving the hallucinogenic plant iboga in the Gabon, are to be found in the film. On both a personal and an intellectual quest, he was also led to practising shamans in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Mexico.
Rock star Sting appears in the documentary to tell (somewhat drolly) of his experience with psychotropic plants of the Amazonian rainforest. Movie actress Ellen Page excitedly describes her visit to a sustainable farm, and film director David Lynch expounds intently on the benefits of meditation, which he has practised for many years.
As we know, change has to start with the individual. As many individuals as possible need to watch this film.