Peter Durand

Mayan Gods, 21st Century Malaise & A Stimulus Package for Relationships

In Global, Health, Travel on May 5, 2009 at 9:10 pm
Image by orangeacid

Image by orangeacid.

I recently trolled the cluttered ailses of a discount bookstore, killing time with my daughter who equates acquisition of a new Wonder Pets sticker book with finding the lost Gnostic gospel. 

In the search for something to jolt me out of my reading doldrums, I prayed for a work of spiraling adventure, metaphysical misogyny and crusty end-of-the-first-decade-of-a-new-millennium edginess.

I found it…

Daniel Pinchbeck‘s book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl has thus far delivered.

The book is one part Beat Poet quest for transcendence of modern mundanity; two parts Gonzo journalism-slash-ecotourist trip in search of rainforest wisdom and native dreamcatching; and three parts anthro-historical unwrapping of the End of the World.

The date December 21st, 2012 A.D. (13.0.0.0.0 in the Long Count), represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun).

This alignment of celestial forces is predicted to herald a period of mass change. Some say a new awakening. For others, 12/21/2012 unlocks the code of the Apocalypse as expressed in the hieroglyphics of the Mayan calendar and the dream-language of St. John’s Revelations.

Pinchbeck also edits an on-line magazine on all such topics metaphysical and psychedelical, Reality Sandwich–a shoutout, no doubt, to another Beat write, William Burrough and his seminal work Naked Lunch.

The “stimulus” article mentioned in the title of this post–and under the image of the big, beautiful eyeball above–really captured the yearning I have for a transcendent, inter- and intra-personal experience on-line.

Wendy Strgar hits on so many themes and questions that have been rattling around my skull as I clack away on keyboards, scratch with plastic stylus on digital tablet, and cycle through dozens of images, animations and videos a day at work and leisure.

Most interaction on-line is monodirectional, asynchromous, at best, and parallel processed at worst.

It is bifurcated into either informative or entertaining. Much like scanning a magazine rack flipping through Us, People, Time or Guns & Ammo.

But what is important? What remains of these on-line experiences? What sticks? What transforms?

Wendy’s message is important: It is the 3D experiences we have, those messy, unpredictable relationships with other humans and nature, that have grown us… socially, spiritually and physically (the pre-front cortex of our big brains developed to handle complex social connections).

Boundaries need to be drawn, distinguishing between the work of relating and the convenience of chatting or texting. We need to be vigilant to the human moment when we are right next to someone and create a virtual boundary around the machine in our hand. The skill of being present to the moment and the activities that develop our social brain functioning happen in the midst of attending to our primary relationships, face to face. Most of the messages that take us away from the people we love most are inconsequential and can wait.

What remains is how we feel about what has happened to us with real people in the real world.

Perhaps it is the “realness” of those feelings that cause us to  retreat into the flattened, controllable, dopamine-laced realm of digital media.

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