Monday, December 26, 2011

As we go into 2012

I’m back. We’re going into a new year and I’m finding that I have new soap box material that needs an outlet.

I’ve been reading some of Peter Sinclair’s stuff on Facebook -- all that high-tech-will-save-us stuff -- and wondering why I’m so put off by that type of article. Then it dawned on me -- part of it is that science seems to be promising a solution that does not exist -- that the problems of oil depletion and climate change can be cured by some miraculous new invention and business as usual is still in the cards. As long as science keeps dangling this elusive miracle in front of us, we are not going to make the real changes that need to be made. This false hope allows us to continue sleep-walking through the destruction of our planet while dreaming sweet dreams of a delusional Star Trekish future.

But the real problem is that we are trying to treat the symptoms while ignoring the underlying cause and that is like taking antacid to combat stomach cancer. The problem is not a lower energy future, and even climate change is only symptomatic. The problem is that the world is over-populated with human beings who are living unsustainably and destroying Mother Earth and her children in the process. As in the Canadian tar sands. As in mountain top removal. As in deforestation of the Amazon. As in global warming that is melting the ice caps and the methane rich tundra and heating the oceans to the point where currents may change course. As in over-fishing and over-mining and over-paving and over-building and over-producing and having no ‘away’ where we can rid ourselves of our flood of toxic wastes. So solar bubble wrap ain’t gonna cure nothing, Peter. Sorry!

The best thing that could happen right now is the collapse of the world’s economies wherein the bottom falls out of the demand for fossils, wherein people realize that if they are to survive, they are going to have to grow as much of their own food as possible and make do with much less, wherein the ideas of permaculture spread like wildfire across a parched prairie and wherein the status symbols of old become the new social stigmas. Who knows, maybe 2012 will be the watermark year . . .

Ah, 2012. The year has a mythical hold over our imaginations. Over at The Archdruid Report, John Michael Greer states with absolute confidence that December 21, 2012 will go down in history as The Day Nothing Happened. I disagree . . . and go on record as stating, with absolute confidence, that December 21, 2012 will be a day worth remembering. There are no days when nothing happens -- every day is memorable for the moments stacked one upon another that make up our lives.

But of course, that is not the kind of happening which JMG addresses. He is referring to all the prophecies based on a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar -- events ranging from cataclysmic events to The Rapture to mass enlightenment to alien intervention. He discusses why prophecies have such attraction for us -- and it basically comes down to an aversion to personal responsibility. It is much easier and much more pleasant to sit back and let events unfold than to take responsibility for the trajectory of our lives -- even if we don’t expect major events but just a steady influx of scientific miracles that make tomorrow easier and more golden than today.

I am hoping that JMG is wrong. Granted, the Mayan calendar does not predict the end of the world, but it does indicate the end of a cycle. I don’t know this to be true, but I am hoping that it is -- I am hoping that, as with the winter solstice, the tide of darkness will have reached its apex and begin to give way to the light. As with the solstice, one will not awaken on Dec 22 and notice a difference -- but as time progresses the change becomes evident. How much time? Not likely in months, but in years, decades, maybe even centuries.

Whether or not 2012 is a watermark year, the human tendency to avoid personal responsibility is still a valid observation. So, what about me? I could be the poster child for responsibility avoidance. I sit and dream about other places, other circumstances, other friends, other life-styles. I need to make it work here, with what I have. Not as a forever thing, but as a ‘for now’ thing.

Hmm, easier said than done.

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