Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: 'How Soon is Now' by Daniel Pinchbeck

Author/journalist/philosopher/visionary Daniel Pinchbeck comes from a family of artistic parents who in the 1970s and 1980s helped open Daniel’s eyes to an alternative vision - his father was abstract painter Peter Pinchbeck and his mother, Joyce Johnson, a writer/participant in the Beat Generation. Daniel has served as a journalist for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, among other periodicals and currently is the editorial director of the Evolver Project (a global network connecting organizations and individuals working toward the health and wellbeing of Earth and humanity. The Evolver Network’s mission is to empower positive transformation of self and community through education, celebration, and co-creation). Daniel has stated ‘In my late twenties, I fell into a deep spiritual crisis that led me to the study of shamanism and psychedelic substances. My first book, Breaking Open the Head, recounted my initiation into several tribal cultures that use hallucinogens in their rituals. Over time, I became convinced of the legitimacy of the shamanic and mystical worldview held by indigenous peoples around the world.’

While the masses in this country – and globally – cringe at the enormously destructive signs of the times in leadership and environmental changes and frightening dichotomy between the haves and the have nots, Daniel Pinchbeck looks beyond the daily increasing clutter of the world today and offers insights that give hope that, in the well state words of Ira Israel ‘we can break through our current blockages, activate our social imagination, and create a post-capitalist, post-work utopia. Overcoming limited greed and self-interest, we can design a resilient global civilization that works for everyone and not just the 1%. Pinchbeck believes that we have the technical ability to live harmoniously in a new paradigm and it is only our social systems and fractured ideologies that stand in our way of accepting our role as responsible stewards of Gaia.’

Daniel focuses on the individual acceptance of the realities of now so that collectively we may evolve into a force for correcting the ecological downturn and our current political and economical broken and severely in need of change. He calls for an intentional redesign of our current systems, transforming unjust and elitist structures into participatory, democratic, and inclusive ones. His viewpoint integrates indigenous design principles and Eastern metaphysics with social ecology and radical political thought in a new synthesis.

Inspiring and challenging reading, but we who are absorbing his prĂ©cis are the ones who must make the changes if we are to survive – and Daniel is convinced survival and growth are indeed feasible. This is a book that deserves or rather demands wide readership for all of us. Grady Harp, February 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.