Saturday, March 21, 2009

The End of the World has been rescheduled...

Reality Sandwich has a very entertaining interview with Dennis McKenna, in which he discusses the experiments he performed with his brother Terence and psychedelic mushrooms in La Chorerra back in 1971. Terence also talked about 2012 as an endpoint, as revealed by the I-Ching; but more an end to an old mentality than an actual end of the world.

“Clearly we're undergoing a collective psychic transformation, and there's all kinds of apocalyptarian mythology about, and transformation, some of it horrific and some of it quite encouraging. It seems to be a race: are we going to wake up and become enlightened post-historical beings, or are we going to destroy ourselves by any of the numerous means at our disposal? Is something else going to intervene? Do the asteroids come, do the aliens come? Or does nothing happen? Or will something happen and nobody notices?” He wondered, laughing.

“It's happened so many times through history,” I remarked. “Like after the ministry of Jesus, the community that was left was expecting the Second Coming – like, is it tomorrow? In forty days?”

“This is a very similar phenomenon,” Dennis agreed. “I remember reading this book in a Comparative Religions class as an undergraduate, called When Prophecy Fails. It talks about these various millenarian and prophetic cults. When prophecy fails, the pattern is that instead of the guru or the leader saying, 'Well... Guess I got it wrong! You can all go back to your cubicles, or whatever you were doing, I was mistaken' – that doesn't happen. The followers become even more fanatical and there's a regrouping, a reexamination of the teachings, and they come up with a new date. Then time goes on and that one comes and nothing happens, then they revise the prediction again but they don't give up the prophecy, they just keep revising the date.”

“It's like the anticipation of the event fulfills a psychological need,” I suggested, “like there's something about life right now that's unbearable, so instead of addressing that directly people project some kind of salvation forward into the future, which might be what they legitimately need to keep it together...”

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