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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Age of Uncertainty by Daniel Pinchbeck

Recently, I have taken as my personal mantra the not very transcendent phrase, "I don't know." The list of things I feel unsure about seems to be steadily increasing. For instance, I don't know if our solipsistic species will survive much longer, and sometimes I am not even sure how much I care. I don't know if Barack Obama is a warm-hearted leader who will unite people at a time of adversity, or the most brilliant puppet ever put forth by the New World Order conspirators (who, as radio journalist and documentary filmmaker Alex Jones suggests, may be plotting a program of rapid depopulation). I don't know if the increase in UFO sightings means we are approaching a benevolent contact experience or a horrific predatory ambush. I don't know if global warming is mainly caused by human action, or if it is part of a phase transition of the entire solar system, as the Russian scientist Dmitriev proposes.

I don't know if men and women should be monogamous or if it is better to be bonobo-like in one's erotic habits. I don't know if we will develop some type of new energy technology that will rescue us from Peak Oil, or if we are destined to see industrial civilization devolve and disintegrate as fossil fuel becomes scarce. I don't know whether to learn to grow food and harvest rainwater or to master some weird new esoteric discipline like Vortex Healing or Keylontic Science. I don't know if free will exists, or if we are conditioned robots, performing an illusory spectacle scripted by Hindu deities or dreamtime ancestors. I don't know if we should get rid of religions or create a really cool new one.

I don't know whether to stockpile gold or create an intentional community. I don't know whether to stay in Manhattan or head for the hills. I don't know whether we are approaching global enlightenment or regressing into barbarism. I don't know whether biotechnology and nanotechnology will fuse to give us immortal physical bodies or if we will all croak as our mistreated planet falls apart. I don't know if anything special will happen on December 21, 2012. I don't know if I should start a riot or throw a party. I don't know whether to panic or relax.

Something seems to be happening that is beyond my capacity to understand or articulate. I can only assume other people are feeling this way as well. We are witnessing the collapse of the old, rigidified structures, while the new hasn't come into realization yet -- that is, if there is going to be a new anything. A change seems to be happening at the level of logic, which is becoming less dualistic, less "either-or," and more binary, "both-and." Former diametric opposites are moving toward confluence, as well as dissonance, in various areas: Like tweaked out psychonauts, the physicists at CERN discuss opening portals into other dimensions. As the financial system evaporates, incredible new gizmos like Pandora and Cool Iris spread freely on the Internet. Obama references Chicago 1968 in his acceptance speech at Grant Park, then hires as his economic advisers the guys who, under Clinton, deregulated the banking system, causing the current disaster.

Reality is becoming more improvisational and up-tempo. Although I don't pretend to have certainty about it, the ideas that Jose Arguelles, Terence McKenna and others have proposed about time speeding up and going through ever-faster fractal spirals of historical pantomime -- including, alas, the mass suffering usually caused by historical convulsions - seem increasingly on the mark. If we are shifting away from dualistic separation and linear logic to a binary thought marked by polarities, this also suggests a shift from the modern historical perspective to a revived mythological consciousness. Like processes in the unconscious, myth resolves oppositions through symbol and image, without need of rational explanation. A society that reintegrates mythic thought at a deeper level of awareness will be able to handle seemingly contradictory perspectives without breaking down.

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