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2012: Should You be Scared?

By Lynn Barker on November 10, 2009

Okay, after you watch earthquakes and humungous tidal waves wreck planet Earth in the new end of the world film 2012, you might wanna know... uh, is this gonna happen or will it just be a "galactic realignment" or a revolution in human "transformation and renewal"? We hung out with the top scholars investigating and writing about 2012 today. So, what do they think about the movie?

We have John Major Jenkins who goes the "galactic re-alignment according to the Mayan calendar" route and whose latest book on the subject is "The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History"... whew. We chatted with Daniel Pinchbeck who considers the Mayans "seers and shaymen" who used psychedelic drugs and astronomy to see the future and wrote "2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (the Mayan serpent God)", and we interviewed Lawrence E. Joseph who believes that ancient Mayan prophecies and modern solar physics might coincide to produce disaster on earth (i.e. notice all the extra solar flare activity lately?). His book is "Apocalypse 2012".

So, what do these guys think of the film and our uncertain future?

TeenHollywood: How do you fellows feel about the film? Accurate? Entertainment only? What?

Joseph: Al Gore called The Day After Tomorrow, Roland Emmerich's earlier film, an honest fiction because it dramatized the potential threat from global warming. Yes, very dramatically. Implausibly so in terms of timing but it shifted attention to a very real problem. I say that 2012 does it even better. I enjoyed the film and it makes us focus on the possibility of catastrophe that we hitherto have not been able to. It's just been too big for us to contemplate. So, in that sense, I think it performs a real service. Is it scientifically accurate or near plausible? No, but it's good entertainment and makes you think. I think the movie was good-spirited. I don't think it drained or dissipated. Look at (journalists') faces as they came out. They were smiling. It was entertainment. I don't think that it resigned them to some bitter fate. . . and that's very important.

Jenkins: I enjoyed the movie. Hollywood does what Hollywood does. And it's particularly adept at these incredible visual masterpieces, and that's definitely what this film is. Not sure about the science behind it. It has a brief reference to the galactic alignment at the beginning, but there is a tendency by the media, and I've experienced this directly for many, many years, to use this kind of standard bumper sticker that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012, and I just can't reconcile that with what I know from my own research into the evidence.

TeenHollywood: So you aren't down with this End of Days thing at all?

Jenkins: It seems to me that the Maya had quite a different idea of what cycle endings entailed, and the emphasis is more on transformation and renewal and spiritual awakening. I think there is less of a tendency to project it into literal forms, so our own culture tends to like to portray things in very solid literal forms. And the movie did a great job portraying that. I mean it was an incredible digital visual masterpiece. I think that the creativity that went into all this destruction is commendable.

Pinchbeck: Personally I think the film is part of the prophecy in a sense, because it 's bringing this idea to a global level. I'm glad it's coming out in 2009. Our collective consciousness has been trained to react to fear and huge kind of spectacles of destruction, so that's kind of what the collective consciousness needs to experience. Maybe after that, we can recognize that, yes, this is a crucial window of transformation for our species and we could potentially move global civilization in a very different direction. Actually we're going to have to, if we want to have a thriving future for our descendants.

TeenHollywood: Can the movie launch some discussion or will it just be dismissed as Hollywood escapism?

Pinchbeck: To me part of the whole 2012 thing is that we recognize that we are participants and co-creators in the evolution of consciousness. So what you as a journalist do with the material is part of the process. Whether you laugh it off and make it into just a spectacle or find a deeper level.

Jenkins: It's probably a good thing to draw attention to the mine of material. There's a real story inside of this, and I'm sometimes concerned that 2012 will kind of just be a spectacle and throw the baby out with the bathwater, and dismiss it as just a cultural (media event) or something like that, but there is real information inside the Maya tradition.

TeenHollywood: Will a movie about such disaster on a massive scale discourage people from taking steps because they think... what is the use?

Jenkins: That's a good point. I write about that in "The 2012 Story" and there's a tendency to see the future as fated in these Apocalypse kind of scenarios, but actually one of the core elements in the Maya spiritual teachings is free will, choice and taking responsibility for effecting the transformation that needs to happen.

TeenHollywood: The Mayan calendar isn't the only one out there. What makes them such gurus of the end of time?

Jenkins: Well, for me it's the nature of the astronomical alignment that they were looking at, which can be demonstrated as being an important concept, because it plays a role in their ball games, symbolism and their creation mythology. So it's not just some big gaze-into-the-crystal-ball prophecy. Their system is anchored to this astronomical, empirical thing, but it also includes spiritual teachings.

Pinchbeck: And I think they have a different construct of time than we do, that maybe is actually better than ours. It's kind of a spiral or cyclical model of time. We have these different cycles, different periods, that kind of relate to each other on different scales. So . . .

Jenkins: But because it's anchored to this rare astronomical alignment, it should impress us in terms of the astronomical achievements of the people who created that calendar 2000 years ago. So it's kind of in a different category than a lot of the other systems and calendars.

TeenHollywood: Okay, lets say all the disaster scenarios come true around 2012. What are humanity's chances of survival?

Joseph: Humans will survive, maybe not necessarily in the same form. I went to Siberia to work with this physicist who believes the solar system is moving into an inter-solar energy cloud. He said ultimately it's good news in evolutionary terms, because whenever the earth is faced with, a sudden injection of energy into the system, evolution is hastened and heightened. Of course it will take a couple of hundred thousand years, so it will be inconvenient for us now, but we'd continue.

TeenHollywood: Mr. Pinchbeck, you said something about there not really being a United States in five years. What do you mean by that?

Pinchbeck: Our culture has to shift from material accumulation to recognizing that the quality of experience and development of spirit and consciousness are much more profound reasons for us to be around here on this planet. I think we're going to have to change things like the underlying monetary system, because we're looking at an accumulation of debt that's leading to meltdowm. And meanwhile, the poor people of the world are being squeezed and resources are being extracted to a smaller and smaller financial elite at the top of the pyramid. That's not sustainable. It's not humane. It's not good for anybody.

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