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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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 . . .
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.