Filmmaker Joao Amorim shares his views on 2012, the role of psychedelics, and why we are the only ones who can save ourselves.

ON May 12, 2011, you may have noticed there was no Rapture. Contrary to the predictions, the real date has now been revised to October 2011.

Or maybe before. Or after. Or, could the finale of the Maya calendar on Dec 21, 2012 signal the end?

Brazilian filmmaker Joao Amorim, in this film 2012: Time For Change, decided to explore a different perspective on the “coming cataclysm.” He believes 2012 can herald a historic awakening, a transition from the destructive practices of humanity, to a new paradigm that aligns itself with the fundamental nature of life.

Watch the trailer:

I caught up with Joao Amorim to dive deeper into the themes of the film, and how we can become active co-creators of this shift.

BNT: We believe our present challenges stem from our materialist culture reaching our ecological limits. Yet, the issue goes even deeper than that. Can you explain why the film calls it a “crisis of consciousness?”

JOAO: Because above all that is what we live, a crisis of consciousness. The Financial Crisis, the Environmental crisis, Peak oil, etc are all related to our complacent behavior, where we basically sit around as innocent bystanders. We have given our power away to governments, companies, and so on.

We need to be more pro-active and take the control over our own lives back. All in all I think we need to aim for coherence between our words and actions…

Many people believe that 2012 is about an apocalypse – yet you believe this idea actually shirks our responsibility. How does this destructive thinking actually give our power away?

It is salvation or, in this case, Armageddon point mentality. Where we believe something external from us will either save us or destroy us. We need to see ourselves as co-creators of the future we want for the planet, as foundation builders of a future civilization based on cooperation rather then competition. Really an Open source based society…

Your film speaks about the importance of using psychedelics in shifting personal and collective consciousness. Why do you feel the Government outlawed these substances and effectively forced the mainstream to see these as dangerous? And what true benefit do they serve for collective transformation?

Well first of all I do not think these substances are indicated to everybody, let’s be clear. I think they are one of many forms of reaching a higher connection with the whole, with Nature. But there are many others, such as meditation, Yoga and even gardening…

“Nature is screaming out loud, and even a deaf person can hear her message today.”

I think governments and society in general have a reductionist approach, and decided to classify [these] substances as drugs. I think we need to move beyond this view, and realize the war on drugs have failed, and has in fact promoted the worldwide expansion of drugs such as crack-cocaine.

I think certain plant medicines such as Ayahuasca and Iboga can help urban people go beyond this reductionist view. It may help them question what they perceive as happiness, such as the accumulation of goods, promoted by the capitalist system.

That may be why governments have banned their use. The [drugs] challenge the status quo. And corporations and Government do not want that. They want you to stay in your home, watch TV, eat junk food, and consume industrial goods…

For the younger activist generation, they often look to the 60s as a failure. They believe their parents turned away from their ideals and joined the mainstream consumer culture. Your film outlines how this was due to the lack of elders to guide them through their awakening. Can you elaborate?

In indigenous cultures around the world elders have an important role to play in initiations (Joseph Campbell’s idea of initiation, separation, and return). In the 60s we had an entire culture go through a rite of passage, or a shamanic initiation. But because they did not have elders that could relate to these experiences, they could not reintegrate the knowledge they gained in other realms to their mainstream culture.

Today we do have these elders, so it is easier to integrate these types of experiences, we have a whole generation that had these experiences that can act as guides and help us along.

Regardless I do not think the 60s failed. Think about civil rights, women’s rights and the ecological movement. These movements started then and are still reverberating in our culture today.

The wisdom of nature is a theme threaded throughout 2012: Time For Change. You speak of how we need to listen to “the messages of nature.” Why do you feel we’ve finally started to listen?

Because nature is screaming out loud, and even a deaf person can hear her message today.

The idea of conscious evolution is compelling – how are human beings unique in this role of cooperating with the unfolding of the universe?

Buckminster Fuller used to say that god had placed us on Earth so we could realize that we are the creator himself. I think we have an evolutionary role to play in the coming years, that has no precedent in history. It is really down to Utopia or Oblivion.

Many people look out at the wars, dwindling resources, vapid materialism, and the destruction of the earth, and feel humans are a cancer doomed to extinction. Your film shows a different perspective: that in fact, it is often through crisis that we are forced to evolve. Why is this perspective so important?

Because the other perspective is not a good one. And because we should think of future generations and not just of ourselves. What kind of world do we want to leave for our children? What is our role in building the foundation for an ecological and just society? As many indigenous people say, what are we doing that will benefit the next 7 generations?

The usually enlightened perspective is that personal shifts must happen before collective shifts, yet it feels like time is growing short. How can we balance the shift on both fronts: the personal and the collective?

By taking action. We need to go beyond dreaming the world into being, and act on a systemic level. Personal change and collective change are resonances of the same thing. Micro and Macro cosmos. We do not have the luxury to sit around and meditate and wait for enlightenment. We need to act now. Get up and plant a tree.

For more info, and to buy the film, visit 2012 Time For Change.