“Electronic culture created soulless replacements for connective rituals — television supplanted tribal legends told by the fire; ‘fast food’ consumed in distraction took the place of a shared meal. We substituted matter for Mater (feminine principle), money for mother’s milk, objects for emotional bonds.”
Philosopher. Author. Futurist. Counter culture provocateur.
Described as a mashup of James Merrill, H. P. Lovecraft, and Carlos Castaneda, I was first introduced to Daniel Pinchbeck through his rather fascinating metaphysical study of prophesy in 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl*— a book that explored humanity’s precarious balance between greater self-potential and environmental disaster.
Raised by Beat generation parents — his mother dated Jack Kerouac around the time On The Road exploded on the scene — Daniel’s roots in the New York counterculture movement run deep. Throughout the 1990s, Pinchbeck matured into a member of New York’s literary select. He wrote for publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Harper’s Bazaar.
But slowly something happened. As he approached his late twenties, he describes falling into a deep spiritual crisis fueled by a frustration with the inherent shortcomings of mainstream media and a friend’s sudden passing due to a heroin overdose. Despair ultimately led him to an investigation of shamanism. Embracing metaphysical belief systems, his psyche and body began to open to the mystical. His first book, Breaking Open the Head*, chronicled these experiences and observations from a first hand perspective and was heralded as the most significant on psychedelic experimentation since the work of Terence McKenna.
Today, everything Mayan, shamanistic and post-modern psychedelia seems to always point to this uniquely perspicacious, probing mind. And I think it’s fair to say that Daniel is considered a leading pioneer of the post-modern psychedelic movement, advocating a measured, responsible exploration of shamanistic cultural rites and the substances they employ to expand consciousness.
If Daniel is anything, he is a maverick, persistently challenging social, political, economic and cultural paradigms. A man searching for answers both personal and global, his insights are both provocative and fascinating, and more often than not imbued with hope for a better (if not idealized) future world.
A confession: Daniel has a prodigious intellect. I admit to being a bit intimidated. Moreover, I have no experience with psychedelics, and as a sober person in recovery it is unlikely I ever will. So I was unsure as to whether interviewing him would be a good idea or even appropriate for this show. But the opportunity arose and I couldn’t imagine passing it up.
I’m glad I didn’t. Much like my recent conversation with Tom Hardin, this episode marks a departure into new terrain for me. On a personal level, I found Daniel to be engaging, introspective and not surprisingly possessed with the rare ability to muse on a vastly diverse array of challenging themes.
This is a fascinating — albeit at times challenging — mind-bender deep dive into Daniel’s paradigm breaking vision that explores:
- the raising of global consciousness;
- the imperative for community building;
- the importance of rites of passage to transcend ego;
- the idea of humanity as super-organism;
- the implications of technology, capitalism and modern consumerist behavior; and
- the mandate for new economic, environmental and thought paradigms.
So let’s take a trip down the rabbit hole through the looking glass that is the consciousness of Daniel Pinchbeck.
I genuinely hope you enjoy this conversation and look forward to your thoughts in the comments section below.
Peace + Plants,
Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.
Background, Context & References:
- Evolver is a platform for content, learning, and commerce serving a global community of conscious consumers: evolver.net
- Center for Planetary Culture is a non-profit think tank & media destination oriented arounf the future of technology, spirituality and social change: planetaryculture.com
- TheNuminous.net: Inside The Center for Planetary Culture
- Download: Towards Regenerative Society: A Rapid Transition Plan
- Prof. Mark Jacobson’s 50-state roadmap to replace coal, oil and natural gas with wind, water and solar: thesolutionsproject.org
- Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Earth Institute, Columbia University is promoting global sustainable environmental practices: earthinstitute.columbia.edu
- Barbara Marx Hubbard and the foundation for conscious evolution: evolve.org
- Community decision making tool: Loomio.org
- Newsweek.com: Podemos: The Radical Party Turning Spanish Politics on Its Head
- Open source online decision making: democracyos.org
- Climatecentral.org: Arctic Methane Emissions ‘Certain to Trigger Warming’
- Techtimes.com: Is The 2-Degree Celsius Goal To Combat Climate Change Unreasonable?
- Nature.com: Sustainable Biochar To Mitigate Global Climate Change
- Burning Man is a network of people united in the pursuit of a more creative and connected existence in the world: burningman.org
- Tamera is a peace research project with the goal to create the model for a future society: tamera.org
- Damanhur is a community in Northern Italy with its own constitution, culture, art, music, currency & schools: Damanhur.org
- Reality Sandwich is a magazine of ideas for the transformational community: realitysandwich.com
- Daniel on The Colbert Report
- Interview Magazine: Daniel Pinchbeck
- Russel Brand’s daily news recap vlog: The Trews
- The Trews: Russell Brand & Daniel Pinchbeck: Can We Ditch Capitalism?
- Watch Pinchbeck produced documentary 2012: Time for Change
Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:
- Rudolf Steiner
- Joseph Chilton Pearce
- Ray Kurzweil
- Antonio Negri
- Bill McKibben
- Rebecca Solnit
- Russell Brand
- Terence McKenna
- Bruce Lipton
- The Third Industrial Revolution* by Jeremy Rifkin
- A Paradise Built in Hell* by Rebecca Solnit
- Spontaneous Evolution* by Bruce Lipton & Steve Bhaerman
- This Changes Everything* by Naomi Klein
- 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl* by Daniel Pinchbeck
- Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism* by Daniel Pinchbeck
- Sex At Dawn* by Christopher Ryan
*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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