The Other World
Carl Johan Calleman interview
Everything has been said, or almost everything, about that fateful year considered by some as a temporal doorway to another world. For must of us, 2012 is just another viral thing backed by hazy theories on Youtube. Wide-screen stories filled with Aztec mummies, crystal skulls, galactic alignments and planets collisions to death. And yet, if the belief in the inevitability of December 21 invites us to smile fiercely, this heralded End Times is troubling. Perhaps because it leads us to think about the meaning of our life. Or perhaps also because this doomsday story resonates strangely with an increasingly shared feeling that something must change.
Somehow, the challenge of this millennium prophecy goes well beyond the controversy over the hypothetical end of the old Maya Calendar. Indeed, 2012 would have remained a dusty panel discussion if this highly controversial number hasn't brought with it a patchwork of distinctive movements bringing together natives claims, ecology, shamanism, mystical renewal, New Age, alternative sciences and conspiracy theories. As time went on, this moment so near to us in time is become the forest for the threes, the need for change, the ephemeral banner of an anonymous revolutionary movement rooted in the counterculture of the mid-sixties.
Numerous people will express their very personal insights on the meaning of the Mayan calendar, among them we can mention Barbara Hand Clow, Humbatz and Don Alejandro of the Mayan panel of wisdom, John Major Jenkins who has written a plethora of work on the question or even the very controversial José Argüelles who on August 16 1987 initiated the big New Age rally on Harmonic Convergence.
A world-scale collective meeting for meditation, singing and dancing on various symbolic and sacred places and whose goal was to gather a maximum number of people in the hope of pushing humanity in a new era where our society would be free of blind materialism. The man was indisputably one of the authors who has most contributed to the emergence of the 2012 legend. Self-proclaimed messenger of an ancient Mayan prophecy which he received telepathically, this American-Mexican specialist in history of art, has literally transformed the Mayan calendar in a New Jerusalem, a genuine temporal ark for humanity.
This attempt at rallying over this idea of a convergence of spiritual consciousness which hopes to reach a critical number of people in order to accelerate or trigger a world-level change will be repeated in 2011 and it will be paradoxically supported by one of Argëlles' detractors, Carl Johan Calleman, doctor in biology, ex-research director at the university of Washington who, as a late starter, has imposed himself as one of the inescapable actors of the research on the Mayan calendar.
From a purely scientific background, the man claims to bring a view which is different from the one an ethnologist, an archaeologist or a chaman would have on the 2012 phenomenon and wants to herald a new alternative model that would explain biological evolution.
For Calleman, contrary to the Darwinian postulate, life did not emerge accidentally and the Mayan calendar would be an unavoidable key to decode the meaning of the universe; a stance hard to hold for a scientist nowadays.
Calleman who broke away from institutional research has become, whatever he thinks, an independent author and researcher with a liking for some kind of ambivalence.
Close to the so-called alternative movements which he does not hesitate to rub shoulder with, he also takes great care to distance himself from them to better show his difference.
With three volumes published by Bear & Company a (Santa Fe based publisher which published works by Nigel Kernel and Zecharia Sitchin among others, Santa Fe being a hotbed for the american new age movement ) Carl Johan Calleman managed to leave his mark on an ongoing controversy.
Carl Johan Calleman interview
Karmatoo : How do you think your theory, as set out in your last book (The Purposeful Universe: How Quantum Theory and Mayan Cosmology Explain the Origin and Evolution of Life), is perceived by the scientific community?
Carl Johan Calleman : With a few exceptions it seems to be ignored. I am using the same factual basis as modern science but turns its interpretation upside down meaning that it is not very easy to respond to for a Darwinist. Hence, most scientists will probably just avoid it rather than have to deal with their own institutions. Darwinism is the main pillar of the materialist philosophy that I mentioned above and there would be very few rewards for anyone to start to question it. Yet, I know a few scientists who have read and appreciated it. It is after all a beautiful theory where things really make sense in all kinds of ways.
Karmatoo : Before speaking about the End of time, The Maya Codex, in your opinion, is all about the origin of life. Like the creationists, you challenge the validity of the Darwinist paradigm. Do you think, like Michael Cremo or Graham Hancock, for example, that the story of who we were and where we come from is pure fiction, a blatant scientific fraud or intellectual deception?
Carl Johan Calleman : I have not read Cremos book although I am basically familiar with Hancock's work. I do not think that either one looks upon the Mayan calendar as a cosmic time plan for the evolution of history. I also think that we have quite some differences in attitude towards the academic world, notably because I have worked inside of this.
My own attitude is to basically trust the facts of academic science even if I interpret those facts in a very different way than it does itself.
Although there are occasional frauds in the academic community I find its facts vastly more reliable than independent researchers in general if nothing else because any form of cheating is punished very severely in academic science.
Independent researchers are more dependent on saying what people want to hear and so I think people should be equally critical to academic and independent researchers. I know from my own experience regarding various aspects of the Mayan calendar that independent researchers can sometimes say all kinds of things without any backing whatsoever and they will still enjoy the support of broad groups of people because they say what people want to hear. A classical example is the so called Galactic Alignment of December 21, 2012, which is never mentioned in any Mayan source and yet has become spread among people broadly who tend to think that this is a real phenomenon and that it has a Mayan backing, neither of which is true.
The limitations in the scientific community is not in the facts or in the dating of artifacts, but rather that its members are forced to think within a certain framework and produce interpretations that are philosophically materialist. This is partly why people have lost interest in what scientists are saying. We have come to a point in history where this materialist paradigm does not resonate with people because it is basically one-dimensional.
Yet, I do not think we should throw out the baby with the bath water. We cannot ignore the massive body of factual knowledge produced by scientists over a long time because of some very odd anomalies.
In reality paradigm shifts are not about totally rejecting the theories of past generations. It is about incorporating them in a wider and more encompassing multidimensional framework and this is what I am working towards.
Karmatoo : Well, you are probably right to refer to the fragility of independent research. But on the other hand, we should not minimize the fact that laboratories are often funded by influential interest groups and other powerful lobbies and that may affect the result of their studies or their views published in leading scientific journals. To give but one example, you are in a better position than I am to know that large Tobacco companies, trough the Council for Tobacco Research, have paid for a long time French labs and renowned scientists to provide oriented studies favorable to their interests. But I get back to your fascinating theory on the Maya calendar. You speak of a cosmic axis –that you indentify to the Maya tree of life– which would regulate the universe and all the forms of intelligent life it contains. Do you believe that matter is born of a thought? Do you think, like Rupert Sheldrake, that living organism shapes are preceded by a kind of morphic or morphogenetic field?
Carl Johan Calleman : Yes, there are a number of different cases where strong economical interests guide how facts are interpreted. What I am saying is that I trust the facts of the scientific community more than those of alternative researchers, because those are also dependent on economic interests, but of another kind which is not equally visible.
I believe that the universe is created by an intelligence, which is much more encompassing than our own. I think you may call the shifting fields I describe as associated with the Mayan calendar morphogenetic, but since this is a term that has been associated with Sheldrakes view points it may be confusing since I think he means a somewhat different thing by it.
If I understand Sheldrakes concept correctly he believes that if there is enough of some physical phenomenon, for instance a particular kind of crystal, then this physical phenomenon will create a morphogenetic field that makes it easier for such crystals to form in the future. If this is a true understanding of his concept, then his idea is more or less opposite to mine, where the shifting metaphysical polarities determine what will manifest physically. In my view matter does not create morphogenetic fields.
Karmatoo : Ok, let us put Sheldrakes’s morphic fields aside. However, in your last book, you stress the importance of « organismic halos » to be seen in conjunction with one of the cell components known as centrioles that would be a key combination to understand the evolution of species. If it’s no DNA, what exactly take control of the centrioles who are responsible for our physical appearance?
Carl Johan Calleman : It is the cosmic tree of life that ultimately provides the template for the centrioles. Without the prior existence of a perpendicular tree of life the centrioles would not have come into existence a billion years ago.
Karmatoo : In your opinion, the Maya, or at least a select few, had a very specific knowledge of the changing times and cycles of evolution. This is reminding me of the African Dogon tribe's alleged knowledge of Sirius B prior of its discovery. How did they get this knowledge?
Carl Johan Calleman : All peoples of the planet are influenced by the shifting polarities of the global mind.
What I believe made the ancient Maya especially sensitive to them and made them create a calendar to describe these shifting energies of time I believe was primarily their geographical location.
The experience of sequential time for instance, which is crucial for the development of the Mayan calendar is in the human brain associated with the left brain half and so it is only logical that such ideas manifest in the West among the Maya and the Aztecs and the calendars of the Eastern Hemisphere is considerably less advances.
It is also that in the projection of the Tree of Life on Earth the equator place a significant role as a wave generator and so the Maya who lived very close to the equator in the western hemisphere quite naturally came to develop these metaphysical calendars of the shifting energies.
Karmatoo : I might be wrong, but as I understand it, you were close to Ian Xel Lungold, which may be referred as an independent researcher. You have also made an interview with don Alejandro, the well know Mayan elder. Do you think that there is a middle path that marries science, shamanism and New Age (such as Drunvalo Melchizedek movement for example)?
The book I am presently writing deals extensively with shamanism and altered states of consciousness. You might say it gives a scientific perspective on how such states can be induced. To what extent it marries it with science is another matter. I doubt that you can understand science from a shamanic point of view but that is hardly its purpose either. I believe the truth is higher than either shamanism or science in the present form can provide, and yet it is very tangible.
I think it is important that people that want to know how contemporary Mayan shamans look at the world should contact them and be with them and learn from them. If on the other hand they want to know how the world has evolved according to the ancient Mayan calendar system they are much better off if they study my work. Reality is multidimensional, but even so there is a truth and those that listen to newagers that have not studied the ancient Mayan calendar system may easily be lead astray.
Karmatoo : According to Dr. Michael Newton hypnotic regression studies regarding life between life, the process of life creation (stars, planets, living organisms, …) is a collective creation led by highly evolved souls but also, in a certain way, by all sentient beings throughout the universe. The claim that the “gods” and the “goddess” of the Maya calendar, which govern the underworlds and the heavens, are metaphors representing more abstract evolutionary organic processes is it not a typical Western distortion of Maya thought?
Carl Johan Calleman : There are so many instances where my own predictions have been verified that I do not think I am distorting ancient Mayan thought. The distinction between contemporary and ancient Mayan thought is very important.
The ancient Maya lived in another state of consciousness than people do today, including the contemporary Maya, and for this reason their calendar system has not been systematically used for a thousand years. But I repeat if people want to have shamanic experiences they should contact Mayan elders for is.
Karmatoo : How do you feel about the recent archaeological discovery in Guatemala on which William Saturno bases its arguments to say that the Maya Calendar does not end in 2012 but more probably goes on until 3.500 A.D.? Does it not question end of time theories and the emergence of a new paradigm in 2012 based on the Maya calendar?
Carl Johan Calleman : Well, this is not really news. It has been known for a long time that there are dates in Palenque thousands of years into the future.
I do feel however that a reassessment of the view of an end to the thirteen baktuns need to be reassessed. I feel now after the end of the thirteen baktuns came to an end on October 28, 2011 that the idea of an end to the calendar is simplistic and the reality is more complicated. It seems the waves of the Mayan calendar have come to an end in the sense that the Tortuguero monument specifies, nine levels would synchronize on the above date and yet they continue.
I was not able to foresee this development. It seems also that everyone else that has contributed to have a name in this field also have had a simplistic view expecting an end to the calendar. This is true for academic Mayanists such as Michael Coe and David Stuart, but it is also true for Don Alejandro, who has talked about the year zero, Arguelles who saw himself as the "closer of the cycle" and Jenkins who wrote a book about the Mayan calendar end date. So despite our differences we have all shared a notion that has been only partially true. It is very paradoxical and I will need to write a book about it. It would not be true to say that the Long Count has come to an end but it was not be true to deny it either.
Karmatoo : According to the Drake equation modified by Jay Richards, which is used to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, the probability of finding a planet that hosts such a civilization is virtually nil. If, as you state, the finality of the universe is to create intelligent life forms, how do you explain this paradox?
Carl Johan Calleman : Even if planets with life in the universe is a rare phenomenon the universe was created with the purpose of generating this rare phenomenon in my view. Moreover, the application of the Drake equation is based on a number of assumptions that sometimes in turn are based on the idea that the creation of the condition for life is a random phenomenon. I do not think the existence of life on other planets can be approached as such a random phenomenon.
Karmatoo : When viewed horizontally, the Maya bas-relief showing King Paca returning after his death to the Three of Life may also be interpreted as a men driving a sophisticated engine. Could some major transitions in biological evolution illustrated by the Maya calendar be also explained by alien genetic engineering, as claimed by Nigel Kerner ?
Carl Johan Calleman : Personally I doubt that any aliens from a different planet ever visited our planet. I suspect that many reports of such encounters are meetings in another state of consciousness.
I cannot speak for all of them but it seems quite clear from Rick Strassman's work with dimethyltryptamine that people that was given this psychedelic had experiences almost identical with alien abductees and yet Strassman was sitting at their bed sides when they were in this altered state all the time meaning that they were not taken up to a space craft in the physical reality.
I think it is because of such experiences some have had in altered states whether intentionally induced or not that people are creating such theories of genetic manipulation that have nothing to support them form a biological standpoint.
Karmatoo : It is well known that it is possible to experiment scenarios of alien interaction under the influence of hallucinogenic substances as has been demonstrated by Terance McKenna and John Lilly. However, I don’t think that we can reduce the UFO phenomenon to the Strassman’s DMT researches, which, by the way, are very interesting. Abduction doesn’t happen only in bed. I’m thinking, for example, of Foster’s who have reportedly been abducted while driving (The Black Triangle Abduction - Bill and Peggy Foster). It would mean forgetting the thousands of reports coming from pilots, policemen, military officers and astronauts who have described how they witnessed unidentified flying objects defying the laws of physics. You told me that your next book « will also deal with things such as aliens, psychedelics and shamanism in the context of the Mayan calendar », could you expand on that, because I fail to see the link between the Mayas and Strassman?
Carl Johan Calleman : My next book makes all the connections between things that people cannot now see I would say.
No, I cannot know that all the purported of sightings of UFO are only altered states, but then again such sightings do not include any extraterrestrial beings and so who knows what they are. Who says they are from other star systems just because we do not know what they are. Sightings of UFO's are decidedly also much part of psychedelics meaning that I am inclined to think that they are also part of the consciousness phenomenon. I do not know that. What I do know is that some abductions are altered states of mind and I suspect all of them are.
Karmatoo : According to you and Barbara Hand Clow, the Maya calendar represents different stages of historic evolution following one another at an increasing rate until 2011/2012. Is there an analogy between this global phenomenon and the individual perception that times seem to go faster as we get older? Ultimately, what does this mean? Death? The end of life as we know it?
Carl Johan Calleman : Carl Johan Calleman : Both Ian and Barbara have been promoting my work with my blessing. They have done so with small modifications, but it is a misunderstanding if people think that they are the sources of any significant aspects of my theory.
The acceleration of time is now essentially over as of October 28, 2011 and it will not accelerate further. I do not think it is really related to a similar thing as getting older. I am now dealing with the continuation of the Mayan calendar and it seems to me that it is much more complicated, than I or anyone else had thought only a year ago, but there is no reason to think that it means the end of life as we know it unless we take a wrong course.
Karmatoo - © Karmapolis - septembre 2012
Special thanks to Hirut Kebede