As the day of December 21, 2012, draws ever closer (just another year for the world to live!), it seems ironic to me that fewer people are talking about it. Maybe it’s the circle of people I’ve lately been choosing to associate myself with. But the whole craze that started in 2008 or 2009, what with the horrible movies made and the onslaught of books with 2012 in their title peppering the shelves of your local bookstores, it was a topic hard to avoid. Maybe now that Borders closed, people don’t go to bookstores anymore. I’m not sure many people even read anymore, unless it’s the shiny two-second fluff you see in celebrity magazines or hash-tagged twitter updates informing the world that so-and-so is about to take a shit. (This, to me, sure seems like the end of the world.)
Anyhow, back in 2008, I was in Brazil talking to one of my friends about the end of the world, and I believed it could happen. With all of the extreme natural disasters that have happened throughout the last few years- unimaginable, freakish, nightmare wasteland landscapes caused by tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes- not to mention pollution, melting ice caps, anorexic polar bears, manic-depressive (or schizophrenic?) weather patterns all over the world, uprisings all over the middle east/northern africa, extreme financial recession, the fact that people are actually shaking off their apathy and doing something about their disadvantaged circumstances (hello, Occupy) in the U.S.A.- yes, the United Stateseans can in fact do something in the vein of social activism! My god, things are shaking up.
So, while I’m no specialist on 2012 (tho I do have Daniel Pinchbeck’s 2012, The Return of Quetzacoatl still waiting patiently on my shelf, telling me I need to read it before the world does end, because what it the Mayans were right, and I never prepared properly?), I do think that, as a world, as humans intertwined in the sociobiological, ecological sphere in which we live, things are changing rapidly. So while the world may not explode up in flames, while aliens or zombies may not eat all of us alive (and I’m not saying that either of these couldn’t happen), our viewpoint and the way in which we experience day-to-day life is undergoing a drastic change.
Maybe this sucky economy- while wreaking havoc on all of our lives, ability to provide, and sense of self-worth- will actually bring about a renewed appreciation for what is important. Of course that’s a completely relative subject, but maybe we will come to accept that life is not our material possessions. I’ve been to countries where unemployment was at about 50%, and people obviously were suffering, but their attitude was one of unrelenting hope, acceptance, and gratitude for what they did have. By comparison, you’d think that unemployment here in the States was at 90% instead of the average 10%.
Or perhaps all the shifts in tectonic plates, governments, food chains (and not the fast food kind, though I do hope these are done away with), and thought patterns will simply bring about a different side of the earth, a new, complex system of consciousness that we hadn’t before experienced. Though I definitely have my criticisms and qualms about social media (see first paragraph), it does bring about a sense of hope how interconnected we all are on the internet, and the possibility of social support, raised awareness, and the ability to circumvent a middle man in publishing one’s own thoughts, opinions, experiences, and art.
If the world were to end, what would I do differently? In 2008, I thought I would sell all of my worldly possessions, apply for as many credit cards as humanly possible, and just go around the world from country to country, volunteering, reading, writing my stories, meeting the locals, learning new languages, taking in all of earth’s beauty. Now, even though I think I have more than a year to survive, I want to do the same thing (minus all the crazy credit card accumulation), and that makes happy. No matter if you have one year or 50 more years to live, I think you should still live with the same kind of urgency… just with a long-term plan for sustainability in the back of your mind.
What do you think about the 2012 predictions? How would you live differently if you knew the world was going to end next December 21st? Do you think that the human experience is different from, say, twenty or thirty years ago and how?