Daniel Pinchbeck is a writer and intellectual talking about topics ranging from shamanism & psychedelics over climate change and bigger global transformational processes. In this interview talk about his background and experiences, how it influenced his work and the big global shifts we are currently experiencing.
1:13 – Introduction: Daniel Pinchbeck
2:37 – Why do you do what you do?
5:50 – Spiritual Emergence and the Impact on His Work and Outlook
17:44 – Big Transitions and the Necessity for a Global Initiation
25:04 – Which Paradigms Need to Be Challenged for a Better Future
27:37 – Solutions for the Future
37:21 – Legacy, Impact and Final Thoughts
This interview was recorded only a few days before the corona crisis had hit Europe and the rest of the world hard. Although we do not explicitly talk about the corona crisis, this crisis has implications on many of the topics we talk about. Daniel is extensively commenting on the current situation on social media so check out his perception of the current situation:
Video Excerpts From the Podcast
On Resorting the Balance
What Paradigms Need to Be
Challenged for a Better Future
The Necessary Crisis That Might
Lead to Collective Awakening
On His Outlook in Which Future
Perspectives We Have
Do We Live in a Dreamlike Reality
On Psychedelics, Burning Man and
the Possible Future
Transcript of the Interview with Daniel Pinchbeck
This text has been auto-transcripted. Please excuse mistakes.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Welcome to a Challenging ParadigmX. My name is Xerxes Voshmgir and in my podcast. I’m interviewing people who challenge the status quo. In this week’s edition, we will talk about topics like, are we in a dreamlike state? Maybe something like a collective psychedelic trip. Is the current ecological crisis, possibly the necessary crack in the eggshell, on our way to collective awakening, maybe a consciousness revolution or even the next step in han evolution. And what is the power of initiation and why we need initiation rituals on a global level to solve the problems of the future. Today, my interview partner is Daniel Pinchbeck reknown author and intellectual who has written books on topics ranging from shamanism and psychedelics over bigger global transformational processes to the current ecological crisis.
So if you’re interested in these topics, I’m sure you don’t want to miss this episode. Stay tuned.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Hi, I’m happy to be here with Daniel Pinchbeck. So Daniel please introduce yourself and with your own words.
Daniel Pinchbeck: Yeah, my name is Daniel Pinchbeck, I’m mainly an author an writer. I’ve written a nber of books. , My first book came out in 2002. It was called “Breaking Open The Head”. It was about psychedelic shamanism.
Then, in 2006/2007, I came out with a book called “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl”. , And then I did some other things. I was featured in a documentary. I helped start a company in New York called Evolver, which had a web magazine called “Reality Sandwich”. And we published a number of anthologies that I edited, but, , I didn’t publish to the third book until 2017 I would say that was what called “How Soon is Now”.
Which was kind of looking at the ecological emergency from a system design perspective. And then more recently in September. I published a book with a, a woman anthropologist, , on Ayahuasca called “When Plants Dream” , kind of overlooking the whole phenomenon of the global spread of Ayahuasca and I’ve been publishing just some self-published shorter essay books, went on kind of a UFOs and aliens when I’m kind of rethinking aspects of 2012 and so on. So, yeah.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay. So, you’ve actually covered a variety of topics with your books. , what would you say is why you do what you do?
Daniel Pinchbeck: I mean, yeah, I had like, existential urgency in my late twenties. I had grown up in a materialist, , kind of culture, like a, nobody I knew, you know, believed anything mystical or spiritual or religious. Everybody just thought consciousness was entirely based in the brain and the universe was an accidental kind of phenomenon. We were accidental parts of this accidental phenomenon. There wasn’t really any meaning to anything. So ultimately I had like a massive crisis of consciousness in my mid- to- late twenties and then I remembered psychedelics and started exploring them again. And that opens me up. I had so many powerful and transformative psychic experiences, and I mean, another big issue for me from the beginning was: Why are hans kind of out of control on the planet? Why are we, why do we seem to be destroying our own life support systems? Why is it impossible for people even to take that with the gravity in the severity of that it requires?
Okay, so even when I wrote Breaking Open The Head, that’d be the first time I went to the jungle and the Amazon in Ecuador and I saw how fast the oil companies were, you know, pulling it apart and toxify it. And, . then, yeah, so once I, once I went through these kind of, it’s a long answer, I guess.
Xerxes Voshmgir: You have time.
Daniel Pinchbeck: I went through various initiatory experiences. I visited the Bwiti in Gabon taking Iboga and visited the Sequoia tribe community in Ecuador to work with Ayahuasca and Mazdaks in Mexico. And I began to have a lot of, , psychic experience, paranormal experience that seemed linked to undergoing this kind of initiation, which is what many of these ancient texts talk about. So, I began to really come to the conclusion that there was more to this coal hole, like indigenous cosmology, worldview or cult perspective, that, that, that actually had to be taken very seriously and that our denial or repression of the psychic and spiritual and occult aspects of reality were, had to be somehow part of this multi-dimensional crisis that’s been unleashed on the planet. So yeah. So then once I develop that perspective, and I looked at the 2012 book, I looked at the, you know, prophecies of cultures like the Maya and the Aztecs and the Hopi, and also the yoga cycle of ancient India, and kind of prophetic traditions of the monotheistic religions, which, you know, everybody seems to be pointing towards, you know, this time as this combination or this threshold of transformation and, okay. Either it’s, you know.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Even in the monotheistic religions?
Daniel Pinchbeck: In a sense, I mean, in the U S many fundamentalists believe that we are in this sort of apocalypse time and they’re actually trying to accelerate, you know, the exact conditions that are described in the last, you know, book of revelation or whatever. But even from a Jungian perspective, like Carl Jung, believed that the archetype of the apocalypse, as he called it, was constellated in the han psyche in the, you know, 20th or 21st century.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so, , would you also call that spiritual emergence? in your late twenties, you said as like the first turning point of your life, I would be interested in how you think this type of spiritual emergence has an impact or why it happens in someone’s life and, , which impacted it does have on the rest of our life and in this case, in your life.
Daniel Pinchbeck: Sure , I guess, you know, one question is whether one believes in things like karma and reincarnation and so on, and whether. You know, spirits or souls have evolved with different ways and different, so like, you know? People could go through exactly similar conditions as I went through, but not then come out of it with like a longing to connect with a you know, some, some deeper truth or, but for whatever reason there was my, my combination, my cycle out psychology and karma, you know, like, I guess I had some inklings cause like. my mother had been part of a group of writers and artists called the Beat generation, and she’d been involved with Jack Kerouac and I knew Alen Ginsberg growing up. And they were actually like, , in the 1940s after the second world war, they were all like in the circle around in New York or Colombia university. And they’re just trying to figure out why there was like a no, kind of like a spontaneous split, spontaneous, spontaneous expression of han individuality in their culture that everything was kind of constructed
and, you know, they felt there was like no consciousness. They listened to up to the politicians and sort of academics or whatever. So they decided they had to sort of excavate their consciousness by whatever means necessary. So, that included, you know, experiments with sexuality, experiments with, you know, drugs with, you know, journeying like hobos around the world and so on, to break through the sort of, constraints and the structures that really, they were big inspiration for the hippie movement in the 60s. But yes, so, you know, but, but you know, so what basically one of the main things about the beats was that you really couldn’t trust any experience unless you had it for yourself. And you also really believe in, you know, direct experience, you know, transmission of consciousness, spontaneity, spontaneity, and I was working in the media and in magazines and so on and most of the people I knew were really not into that. It was more about the sort of, , second generation perception through the mediation. of the culture, you know, and sort of got of, you know, in jokes, cultural editor. It was just like the idea that you would actually go out and excavate, you know, truth for yourself or try to like find something like essential or have these types of, which is not very, now it’s more popular in the culture that’s 15, 20 years. I think there’s a lot more emphasis on that, partially because of the growing popularity of psychedelics and, you know, for other reasons.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay. So when you like, compare your development to your mother’s development, for example, would you say it’s in a way, or it was a way of, , connecting on a different level to the experience they made, when, when they were growing up? Or do you think it was actually somehow a, experience of questioning everything you have done in your life before. You see what I mean?
Daniel Pinchbeck: I wasn’t kind of copy of their experience. It was more like they gave me the.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Or building on it…
Daniel Pinchbeck: The inspiration, this idea that, you know, cause I look at my friends who, you know, were in different circumstances than I am at that time and who didn’t end up, you know, going to Africa and taking Iboga and going to Ecuador, taking Ayahuasca and some of them ended up dying of heroin overdoses and so on, because I got very depressed. But I think having that connection to the, to the beats and this notion that you really could only, you know, it’s the same idea. You find it like Gnosticism, whatever. Like you, you’ll, you have to open the door for yourself. Nobody else can open. The fact that somebody else opens a door doesn’t mean anything to you. You have to go and do that for yourself.
Xerxes Voshmgir: So in a way, it was a continuation, of your own path. But influenced, by what are you’ve seen from the generation before?
Daniel Pinchbeck: Yeah, maybe, yeah. Or generations before that. And I think it’s a lineage of, you know, Gnostics, romantics, like, alchemists, like the, the, the, you know, the underside of, you know, the Christian capitalists struggling up.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Yeah. Okay. All right. And, well, I mean, for example, a lot of people I know around Grof for example they believe, like in the spiritual emergence as being this one time event that, kicks off a lot. In your personal experience for your life was that like the one turning point in your life or later on in your development you felt like there were different turning points as well that have also influenced on the work you do today?
Daniel Pinchbeck: Well, I mean, there definitely been a nber of turning points, , but that was probably the most significant. I mean, then in, you know, writing the second book, the 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, I was researching, the, you know, Maya and the Aztecs, and the Jungian ideas of the apocalypse and all these other things. And that had a transmission experience of like, like a voice that announced itself as the voice of Quetzalcoatl like, giving me this prophetic transmission over the course of a week. Okay. So that was like a channeling experience. I didn’t believe in, you don’t even remain, maybe maintain skepticism even in the book, but that was quite transformational also. Yeah. And then the next, and then, then when I was starting my company in 2006 I really thought there was a way to rally people cleverly to kind of put together a new cultural paradigm to kind of address the ethological emergency. And now it’s been another turning part of us few years. I’m very sort of like pessimistic in a sense I feel like we’ve, and maybe there wasn’t even time back then, but I feel that we may have, you know, really missed the boat too. And maybe, you know, but then you have to see that as like an evolutionary, that was just what happened, you know, that, that the, you know, the, the effects of what we’re doing to the planet or far out outracing now our capacities to, you know, awaken and restore the balance.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so, because you said now you have like a little bit of a more pessimistic outlook. How old were you when was it when your first spiritual emergence took place
Daniel Pinchbeck: It was like Saturn return: 28, 29, something like that, okay, yeah. 29, 30. Breaking Open the Head came out when I was 35.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Ok, ok and, like after that you feel you had a much more positive, vision of the future.
Daniel Pinchbeck: I mean, I’m certainly, I was certainly very excited because I really was fascinated by the idea that this 2012 the way the Maya appointed to 2012 as the, this combination as long cycle and the work that José Argüelles did about that in his book, like Earth Ascending and The Mayan Factor, that, you know, we might actually be, have, have like a breakthrough or like an uplift to a level of a collective consciousness. Kind of what Argüelles has talked about is like the activation of the newest sphere and, you know, and, and you know, in McKenna, Terence McKenna was another major psychedelic figure, talked about it as, the singularity or the eschaton. So I think that’s, I think that those things were going to happen on around 2012 and they still very well might happen. But, I definitely felt that it was fascinating that this ancient culture was pointing towards this time. And we really could see it at some, at such a crescendo in terms of the effects we’re having on the planet, the rapid evolution of our technology. the meeting of all the, you know, the world’s mystical traditions. And so on. But now I’m sort of, you know, I mean, I don’t know how well versed you are in this material or how interesting it is to you. I’m very interested in like Graham Hancock had written this book, Fingerprints Of The Gods and he found all this evidence all around the world that they were looking towards 2012 as he thought, as a physical catastrophe. Like there would be like massive flooding or, or, you know, comet would hit the earth or something. And you know, his book was a huge bestseller and then not none of that stuff happened like that. But then I’m thinking maybe we’re actually the comet, like maybe what these ancient traditions saw was the end of the cycle, the culmination of a process beginning at, around that date. But that cycle is something that ultimately leads to a world that either doesn’t contain hans at all or contains like very, very few of us and much more precarious circumstances. I mean, and I still think there’s the hope. I mean, that’s what, How Soon Is Now, is about, that, you know, we’re, we’re, we, we can see that we’re going deeper into an emergency, right? Like, Australia, massive fires, a billion animals just died in Australia, the Arctic 65 degrees Fahrenheit, warmest by far than it’s ever been. Things melting like crazy, you know, the, ancient, you know, methane that’s, that’s frozen in there and the Arctic is now releasing, and we’re seeing like the, basically the winter here, it was like, no spring, the whole winter. So things are actually accelerating faster. Exactly. And the worst predictions of a few years ago. Yeah. And then you have like, you know, whether it’s the Pentagon or like the, you know, different institutes issuing reports, you know, it’s looking quite possible, but there wouldn’t be han civilization so things we now know, it won’t be possible by 2050 you know. But even that could be, , it could happen even faster than that. I mean, considering the acceleration of the acceleration, we have a feedback loop. Yeah. So, but it could still be that this is something like, you know, the necessary like cracking of the egg. I mean, there is like a, , you know, there’s this strain, particularly in American thought of like, you know, conscious evolution Barbara Marx Hubbard this idea that maybe what’s happening is we’re undergoing something like a caterpillar into a butterfly metamorphosis in the sort of patient stage where the, within the cocoon, the caterpillar is like devouring like every last piece of resource. And it looks like it’s all done, but then it’s going to emerge into another form. So, exactly. It could be that they’re, you know, and, and we ha, we can see that, for instance, you know, we do now have a global communications infrastructure where anybody in the world, you know, except maybe in China, we’re able to see your podcasts, you know, since you put it off and so on. So theoretically that could be utilized as a kind of, very, very rapid, you know, learning machine for hanity. If for instance, we realized that we all had to stop consing fossil fuels and compost and, you know, grow food, I mean, all of those skills could be taught, you know, through the internet and you know, we have 3D printers or whatever tools that people need. It could be made. So it could be that the whole thing that we’ve created is, you know, setting us up for this this sudden collective awakening. Yeah. You know? And that would be amazing. But the other possibility, you know, and then even if we had a huge catastrophe, is like floodings and droughts and everything. You know, maybe we could still cobble it together, but we, you know, it would basically eradicate the nation state boundaries, you know, the current financial system, forget all of that. We would need to use, you know, potentially blockchain or whatever to construct totally different ways for people to, you know, communicate, make decisions together, a portion, resources and so on. You know? So then it could be that this whole capital system is just like, I’m on the verge of, yeah, breaking down. But if we have enough of that creative and technical understanding and initiative, even in that breakdown, maybe we can actually construct, you know, that this other thing that would actually work for hanity. Yeah. So that’s what, you know, I can look at the different avenues. What does we just go extinct? Yeah, one is we have this incredible breakthrough and we decided to work for the han family as a whole everybody’s benefit and another is, you know, smaller enclaves of wealthy people, maybe handfuls of indigenous people and like the mountains of Peru will survive and everybody else is just going to go down in flames. Yeah. That almost seems like the most likely one, but I do, but I do see the, the range of options. Yeah.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay. I see. I see what you mean. So, basically when we look back, it’s now eight years, since 2012, have passed. So, I mean, when you look at big shifts happening, then could be that it actually started in, was just taking some time because when we look at, for example. Like the industrial revolution, it took 100 years to fully evolve. So it could be that a new cycle started. It’s in the way that you perceive it, but just not so quickly.
Daniel Pinchbeck: I think that we’re actually, you know, a very different reality now than we were, you know, 10 or 15 years ago, even eight years ago. I mean, you know, obviously, you know, the Trp presidency is unbelievable, you know, kind of phenomenon. Now we see the historical parallels to the rise of fascism and Hitler and so on. But, you know, there’s something about it that, feels almost like dreamlike. It doesn’t, it does almost feel like since 2012, there’s been a shift in the han psyche. And it’s almost like more like, we’re a lot of this collective, you know, psychedelic trip together. Everything is highly intensified, you know, and a lot of people feel the amping up in different ways. The Wahoo tradition, which is the Aztec tradition, there’s a guy called Sergio Magana was written a book called the Dawn Of The Sixth Sun. And he says that their, view of it, from the, as Aztec lineage, is that 2012 to 2021 are actually the transition from what they call the age of the fifth sun to the age of the sixth sun. Okay. The fifth sun, which was the last 5,200 years or whatever, was a sun of light. And we’re moving into a sun of darkness, and that’s, that’s their characteristics. But the sun of light means a time when han consciousness is more focused on, you know, daylight clarity, waking rationality, reason, you know, science, technology and so on as we move into the sun of darkness, instead of darkness, signify, he’s like the dream world and the psyche. So actually in a sense, we’re going back into something more like a dream, like a lucid dream reality where a manifestation happens faster, where you know, our thoughts can be very destructive and can go on so and so. I think that is really fascinating because it does feel like, like something like that is happening, although, you know, when you over literalize it, it can also seem kind of ridiculous, but, but if you could have, you know, just, just kind of but I’ve done a lot of work trying to understand how to approach kind of a cult and esoteric, you know, cosmologies and concepts and so on. And it’s like a little bit different than just scientific evidence. Yeah. You have to approach it, you know, with the kind of intuition, imagination kind of artistic perspective also.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, and the other scenario was a, and you’ve talked about this also in the past, I think, especially in 2012 book and also in your last book and you mentioned it now about this collective shift, . This is also something I always talk about that and what you say, and maybe you want to talk a bit more about this, like that we don’t have rituals in the Western culture anymore. What that means for us. So what I’ve always also always say is, that we need, need the collective mind shift, which would perhaps mean the next step in han evolution as well. And, the, at the one hand, we have this challenge, which we could call the physical challenge with our environment going South. And then the other challenge also being artificial intelligence. We don’t know if it’s a, will be able to have real consciousness and what that would mean for us. So how’s your take on this issue of, consciousness shift and, initiation phase for us as hanity.
Daniel Pinchbeck: OK sort of like how in most cultures there’s some kind of initiation.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Exactly. And what that means. The situation we’re at, we have a hand right now, as hanity.
Daniel Pinchbeck: We haven in our culture, because this whole idea of there being like, other dimensions or there’s a perception have been taken away. Okay. So, you know, when, when most normal people here think of it initiation, they think it’s like a cultural event. Like, Oh, it’s cool. The Indians go in like dance with feathers or somebody stays up all night in there. But actually, the, Joseph Chilton Pearce wrote a book called The Biology Of Transcendence. And his argent in that book is that actually, You know, the part of our brain that makes us most distinctly han, I guess is the prefrontal cortex or whatever. That’s only evolved to its present state of complexity relatively recently in the last few hundred thousand years. And that a, although it’s working and it matures to really properly function, it needs like a secondary shock from outside, you know, preferably in like late adolescence, early adulthood. Otherwise, without that secondary cultural shock, you know, which could also happen naturally through accident or something or war or something like that then there’s a sort of, it’s hard to escape the egoic individual self. So that’s why these cultures designed these initiations where you would undergo some kind of training in, you know, visionary or transpersonal experience through, you know, walk about or fasting or fire firewalking or you know, visionary plant, shamanism. And the idea is that, you know, once people had gotten out and seen into the spirit realms a little bit, then they were able to, be, be sort of welcomed back as mature adults into the community. Yeah. So in a society like ours that doesn’t have that, we don’t people, particularly men, it’s, you know, but it’s for both sexes, but maybe men particularly often never become mature in that sense. They’re, they’re always after their own self-interest. Yeah. And that’s what we see reflected in our failing institutions. And so on.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Yeah, and the situation we have at hand with the environment forces us maybe to go through like a ritualistic phase where we get to a next step of, I would call it han evolution, han consciousness. Maybe you call it a different way. Did I understand your work.
Daniel Pinchbeck: Yeah, you know, in Breaking Open The Head, I talked about Walter Benjamin, who’s like an amazing German Jewish critic, and he, noticed that like the first world war, you know, maybe that was like, you know, because of the loss of initiation that no matter what hans have to undergo some experience of, but he talked about us commingling with the cosmic powers that can be done through ritual creatively. You know, a, which we see like in, you know, an efforts to construct those types of rituals and like the transformational festivals, like Burning Man or something. Oh, but if it doesn’t happen through some culturally constructed ritual, then those same forces will often get unleashed destructively through wars or genocides or whatever so there’s forces get bottled up and in a way like, obviously like, you know, we knew about, you know, the ecological crisis since the 60s, you know. Yeah. We even knew about greenhouse gases and you know, we didn’t know maybe was going to go this fast, but we knew that we knew that we were pushing the limits way back when. Why haven’t we been able to deal with it? Well, it’s almost like we’ve been, you know, forcing this situation, like forcing a crisis circstance, where we either bring about our own evolutionary metamorphosis or we die.
Xerxes Voshmgir: And which paradigms do you think need to be challenged for a better future?
Daniel Pinchbeck: Yeah. Well, I don’t think we can survive with this current capitalist economic system. Okay. No matter a lot of friends who are kind of, you know, conscious or green entrepreneurs, like I just talked to a friend yesterday and he’s starting a new company, which is, is trying to figure out how to monetize the growing of like a trillion trees around the planets. And I don’t know, I just have a dubiousness around ’em you know, this effort that you see now, people trying to squeeze profit out of the, you know, ecological emergency. Mmm. And yeah. So, so that’s, that’s the big issue, you know what I mean? In a way, like, as like in how soon is now I talked about this Italian political philosopher, Antonio Negri. Yeah. And you know, his definition of capital is ultimately, capital is a social relation. Yeah. You know, which basically means it doesn’t really exist. It’s a, it’s something that we’ve reified, you know, if somebody owns $1 billion, what do they actually own? They own, you know, legal, you know, docents, they own, you know, data that’s swirling in the, you know, digital banking system and so on. So we’ve just, you know, just that hans have made a social relation when we’ve defined that that person gets to control all of that value, you know but it’s, it’s, you know, it’s ultimately an imaginary construct of the minds. Right, so, you know, what we really would need to do would be to rethink from the ground up how we, you know, create value, how we ascribed value. And then really only allow, , kind of value based activity has to be stuff that is supporting this transition right now. Yeah. You know, and that, that, you know, it’s kind of, it would be kind of draconian in a way, but, , you know, we’re, we’re definitely gonna hit the skins if we keep doing this.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so to say, it would be basically the paradigm of a capitalistic economy needs to be challenged, profit oriented or shareholder.
Daniel Pinchbeck: It’s a design, you know, it’s a system design thing that, you know, has been going for a few centuries and it got us to this point. It was extremely efficient. It did all sorts of things for us. But it’s now in direct conflict with, you know, our survival. Yeah.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, and, do you, do you have ideas or are there people you feel like they have good solutions that you see that you would like to point out?
Daniel Pinchbeck: Yeah, I mean obviously in the US there’s, you know, the green new deal. Yeah, you know, I think that’s a great idea. I mean, rather than, I mean, you know, that’s still within the current paradigm of the dollar based economy, but rather than creating these huge deficits and handing it to a military to build, you know, more, you know, weapons of torture and surveillance devices you know, why not, you know, if you’re gonna create money out of nothing anyway, you know, fund a, you know, just transitions. You were saying ecological, your tentative society and, you know, then we do have lots of, you know, scalable solutions that could be, you know, exponentially implemented. You know, using, finding the juncture of like, indigenous techniques and, you know, contemporary technologies, you know, even there, it’s quite possible it’s too late to be honest. I mean, in terms of how, , you know, the curve of what’s happened actually with the methane, you know, like, you know, I mean, CO2 lasts in the atmosphere for about a hundred years. Methane is something like 30 times more potent as a, as a heat trapping gas than CO2. So it only lasts the atmosphere for like 10, 10 years. Yeah. And that’s what’s bubbling up, you know, in the Arctic right now. And, , so you, what you often have in the, extinction record in the past is these, periods where like tons of species go extinct in a short period of time. Yeah. That’s probably because you have this massive eruption of the methane, and so suddenly you have like, you know six degree warmer climate in a decade. And you know, every organism has evolved to fit into certain niches. Yeah, and then, you know, so anyway, so, you know, and then the other issue with the warming is we lose the tropical forests. We’re losing the parks right now. We lose the plankton in the ocean. So that produces the plankton produces 60% of our oxygen forest produce 20% of our oxygen. So then what’s producing our oxygen at that point? I don’t know. yeah. But anyways, so the, the hopeful point would be to, you know, just, I mean really turned hanities direction in focus in this direction. And yeah, I mean, you could have, you know, global tree planting projects every weekend, reforestation, projects, you know. People learning on a handicraft level, how to, you know, work organically with bees. And so, you know, like we can do what we can to, you know, stop and reverse the damage. But at the moment, we’re accelerating, so in one direction in terms of the economics, I think it would be a blockchain based system that would, ascribed value to, you know, ecologically regenerative systems. Yeah. And then you would, you know, your profit would be based on how much you are enhancing contributing to those systems. And if you’re removing from those systems, then then you’re penalized harshly or something opposite of what we have now at the moment. You know, with the capitalist economic system, you have externalities. So corporations don’t have to pay to pollute. I mean, even like you’re, you know, you’re shooting me with all this lovely gadgetry from Apple and so on, every six months or a year, they make people who need to stay on top of this stuff by like a whole new thing. It’s full of rare minerals, conflict, minerals, minerals from Africa. I mean, 4 million people have died and you know, Cameroon or whatever cause of genocides or on conflict minerals to make these iPhones, you know, these things could be built to, they’re, component-based. Yeah. You know, so you don’t replace it replace a whole model as soon as it goes down, but they’ve, you know, they’ve made them as slick as possible, as seductive as possible. Yeah, no, it’s part of the capital system based on planned obsolescence and yeah, speakers’ consption, which is what drives the profit margins for these companies.
Xerxes Voshmgir: So, how do you think, this, this system could be changed? I mean, politics moves very slowly.
Daniel Pinchbeck: Yeah, well, I’m gonna, I had hopes for the Extinction Rebellion Movement, but now it doesn’t feel like it has enough traction to me. I think that, I mean, any movement that starts, whether it’s occupiers thinking rebellion. It’s like, it’s like a hyper, you know, what an occultist would call like a hyper sigil, you know, so it attracts certain types of energies to it. And, you know, in a way I like Extinction Rebellion cause it was like super punk rock and was kind of like, you know, how to sort of fuck the system energy and so on. But I think that we need a hyper sigil for global movements that is extremely utopian and super positive. And also for me, you know, as I said, like I’ve gone through you know, mystical and psychic experiences. So I know that there is a deeper story to the nature of reality that we are like, you know, woven into the nature of consciousness itself. That, you know, the, the world we’re experiencing is sort of consciousness having a dream or telling a story to itself. We’re all part of that story, you know, I think that actually there is a new paradigm that can be defined that is based on the, you know, kind of precise integration of science and mysticism. Yeah, you know, you know, quant physics and Vedanta and so on. And that, that provides a sound basis for people to feel that their lives actually have meaning. And that actually they can sacrifice material excess to, contribute to something that will bring them evolution and like a spiritual and soul level. So that, that for me would be, you know, but I doubt, I tend to doubt that there’s time because I feel people have gotten so imprisoned in, you know, they’ve been, you know, the indoctrination of the media and that sort of, you know, commercial ideologies, you know, and that’s why I was really, I’ve been fascinated also about the psychedelic Renaissance as could, you know, could at least provide people those, those direct experiences where they have insight that, you know, there’s a bigger story going on. And that’s, you know, it often can change people’s focus, faster than other things. but, but on the other hand, even that, I’m also beginning to have questions about because it’s, I feel that it’s being kind of domesticated, into the, you know, entrepreneurial or capitalism system. You know, rather than being seen as something that can deprogram people from that, that, that whole system.
Xerxes Voshmgir: How do you mean? The last thing you said that is being domesticated?
Daniel Pinchbeck: It’s like microdosing it’s now seen as like something that you give to Google engineers and it makes them more productive. The same thing that happened with mindfulness that, you know, you know, the capitalist machine is incredibly efficient at assimilating anything different, anything threatening, absorbing, you know, it’s sort of like, you know, like a metabolism metabolizes it, like absorbs whatever can use and everything else gets ultimately kind of like shunted to the side and, you know.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Yeah. Yeah. I understand I mean I’ve never been at Burning Man and you’ve been a lot, but what they always say is that there you find all the big heads of the Silicon Valley companies there as well why is it not happening that, because they have most power, they have more power perhaps in the American president. So why is it not happening that although they go to burning man, and most of them definitely have experience with psychedelics. Steve jobs himself, he said it was one of his most profound experiences.
Daniel Pinchbeck: Right. And he was still was, had no problem tormenting, you know, teenage workers in Asia and stuff like that.
Xerxes Voshmgir: So, and this is my question what do you think, why is it not happening? Although that these people are making these experiences?
Daniel Pinchbeck: Right? Well, I mean, so I don’t think that psychedelics by themselves make you, you know an empathic and enlightened soul. You know, and in fact, you know, they can be used for power and you know, and so on. And also, I mean, I have high hopes for Burning Man a while back. When I wrote Breaking Open The Head I was very excited when I first went, but over time, I feel that, once again, it’s this assimilation process. There was kind of like a tension between kind of a. You know, anarchist, hippie, you know, “let’s save the world” you know radical spirit and more of a hedonistic, libertarian ethos. And I feel that the overtime they hedonistic and libertarian, libertarian ethos has triumphed. Yeah. You know, so, so, you know, the burning man has 10 very interesting principles, you know: 1. Leave no trace, you know, 2. Nobody’s a spectator. Everybody’s a participants, you know, et cetera but it, it doesn’t do anything. It leaves the question of like social inequality and wealth kind of out of the table so essentially bringing them becomes a reality defined by the wealthy people who are the ones who build. We tried stages or the big art cars and people gravitate to, to the spectacles of these things that call. So it’s, it really in the end has just replicated, kind of the dominant culture. It’s like, instead of having yachts, you have art cars, and, that, that, that, that, that liberational spark, I feel has now been, you know, assimilated into something. I mean, you know, it’s still better than there not being a Burning Man. I mean, you and I have gone there and had really an amazing. Conversations with, you know, people at the peak of the pinnacle of these different professions. And yeah, you know, wealth holders, so on and you know, and once again, you know, what’s going to be most interesting to have to see is what happens, you know, in the next few years as this crisis ratchets up and intensifies, because, you know, yeah, some super wealthy people may decide that they’re gonna. I mean, I already know some moved to New Zealand or, you know, develop underground bunkers or something, but. You know, that’s, that’s, that’s not a sustainable solution either. That’s of solution though.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, my final question is really what would you like your legacy to be? In the sense of what impact would you like to leave behind with your work?
Daniel Pinchbeck: Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I don’t really think in those terms, man. I just wanted to, I mean, I, you know, I grew up in a literary culture and my mother was a literary writer and editor. And so when I grew up, the idea was to create like a book, like a literary icon that would last generations and so on. I mean, now I feel that the pace of transformation is so quick, , and what we’re going towards, maybe it’s so different that I’m just trying to figure out how to help the most, you know, be of service in, in, in the process, yeah, definitely. I feel that, you know, being hans on the earth, we’re in an interesting kind of exciting situation. It’s like an incredible, you know, video game, movie, holographic projection that we get to experience. And certainly it would be more interesting and exciting to see a positive evolution. Yeah. And, you know, to participate in that. Yeah. You know, whereas, you know, what we see now is kind of like a, it’s a grim. I mean, we have like people in the U S who now are like hating on black people again, and it’s, you know, storing guns and, you know, China is like, you know, mind controlling everybody and, you know, making it so they can’t even like, you know step out of line within, they lose all their privileges or whatever, and that’s probably going to transfer to other cultures that are similarily repressive. You know, we could move into a totally totalitarian or oppressive paradigm, , combined with total ecological breakdown, you know, that would just be disgusting. Yeah. You know, whereas we could also move into and then making it into our, like true nature, as you know divinities, you know, unifying our han family and, you know, using our creativity, what we can learn from indigenous cultures and what we can take from, you know, modern technologies. We need to like, definitely be more discerning and careful about how we use technology and then kind of reengineer our planet, our situation to be like a enduring, you know, have it on earth kind of a situation.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Thank you for staying tuned for this edition of Challenging ParadigmX. If you like this episode with Daniel Pinchbeck, feel free to share it with your communities so his message gets spread even further. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me or right into the comment section.
And next week we’re up with the next episode of Challenging ParadigmX. So until then, I wish you a great week and say, ciao.
Daniel Pinchbeck Contact, Work and Sites:
Daniel is the editorial director of a new media company and highly interesting online magazine:
When Plants Dream – https://www.amazon.com/When-Plants-Dream-Psychedelic-Renaissance-ebook/dp/B07N5HXSTH/
The Occult Control System – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VB3QB65/
2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl – https://www.amazon.com/2012-Return-Quetzalcoatl-Daniel-Pinchbeck/dp/1585425923/
Breaking Open the Head – https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Open-Head-Psychedelic-Contemporary-ebook/dp/B000FBFMXO/