Like most everyone else, I love getting fortune cookies. Just the other day I got one that read “Don’t worry about the end of the world today when it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” This prompted me to write this month’s blog about the Apocalypse, a topic everyone seems to be pondering these days. Over the past few years, the queries I receive about it kept increasing. This month it is supposed to occur on May 21st. Last year it was going to be November 9th. Then there is the ever-looming 12/21/2012, a date from which countless numbers of authors, screenwriters, film and TV producers are making tons of money. A lot of professionals in the New Age industry have been weighing in on the subject and I figure it’s time that I do too. So for what it’s worth, here’s my take on it.
A few months after Katrina hit, when all of us New Orleanians were in states of complete PTSD, I became obsessed with the end of the world. I had just experienced what was like an end of my world with the storm and it must have kicked off some chemical reaction that caused my thinking to go down the road to oblivion. I was terrorized by thoughts of our socio-economic systems crashing down around us and all of the chaos and mayhem that would create. I had so many worst-case scenarios vying for attention in my head that I barely had time to figure out a plan. I jumped from prophecy to prophesy, from the Hopi to the Mayan to Nostradamus, Cayce, and Pinchbeck and, damn it, if each one wasn’t mimicking the next. There must be something to this End Time stuff or all these folks wouldn’t be coming to these eerily similar conclusions. What had I been missing all these many years in the Oracular Sciences that I never jumped on the doomsday wagon before? There it was! All this compelling evidence!! I got scared and everywhere I looked I could see indicators pointing to disaster; 9-11, Iraq, the Tsunami, and Katrina all became signs to me of our teetering on the edge of extinction and for a few moments it got me…it really got me. I even looked into survivalist schools and other off the grid outposts for primal living as a means of preparation for what was surely imminent doom, but then I remembered, I had never bought into this way of thinking before and I grew up in a nuclear childhood where this was always a way it could go, but it never had gone that way as so oft throughout history it had been predicted. I was born right around the Cuban Missile Crisis when for thirteen long days all bets were off. Surely if anyone was ready for this warrior’s type of existence it was me! I was shaped by A-Bombs and Bruce Lee!!
I didn’t really become aware of Armageddon until my early teens. At that time there were an immense amount of movies and TV specials that depicted the end game as being nuclear war. You could run home gleefully and watch an after-school special about the horrible effects of radiation. What a way to raise a generation! I had never much thought about the sweeping hands of time and fate till then. I had just been a good student who looked to the future with optimism. That all changed. There were the last days of the Vietnam War, Three Mile Island, and then the gas shortages, and things were looking pretty bleak back then but time kept marching on. I had a little bout with teenage angst but time marched on. A few decades later we had the Y2K scenario when that was when things would fall apart. The next day time marched on. Waco went up in flames but time marched on. The polar ice caps melted but time just kept marching on. I couldn’t believe that I had let myself get snared, again, in one of the greatest cons on earth – The Apocalypse. After realizing that I had gone down this path I really began to wonder what in the human psyche needed to believe that the finish line is always near and then I got it – it’s our fear of death. By projecting outwardly, our fear of death, to some external situation, like the Apocalypse, we think we might be able to fend it off and control it rather than it being one of the most uncontrollable of human experiences.
By wandering around the bad neighborhoods of my post-Katrina mind, I stumbled upon that most personal epiphany, one’s mortality. Once I met my own mortality I ran like hell. It’s no fun when you hear your life start ticking, but it happens to us, each and all. As an old psychic friend liked to put it “None of us knows when our thread is going to run out.” Our own death, quite thankfully, is pretty much a mystery. I found it more comfortable to focus on the end of the world in general than on mine specifically. I could perhaps control it by being armed and dangerous, ready to kick some zombie ass! Or I could meet it by having the most stuff and creating my own empire out of supply and demand. Either way, it seemed more interesting to plot that stuff out than to come to terms with my own demise. Death is the price of admission; I just don’t tend to feel particularly sacrificial. So that is what I think all of this 2012, May 21st hoopla is about, just another vain human attempt at trying to control everything. Below are just some of the recent failures to predict the end of the world. Take a read and I’ll continue after it’s made its point.
Baptist Minister William Miller predicted Jesus Christ would return in 1844. When Jesus didn’t come, the year was dubbed “The Great Disappointment.” He kept predicting end dates until his death five years later.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses first anticipated the end of times in 1914, now noting on their official Web site “not all that was expected to happen in 1914 did happen, but it did mark the end of the Gentile Times and was a year of special significance.”
Pastor John Hinkle, Christ Church Los Angeles, predicted that God would “rip the evil out of the world.” on June 9, 1994. He insists the event happened, but people may not have noticed it.
Herbert W Armstrong, the founder of the Worldwide Church of God, predicted that the Day of the Lord would happen sometime in 1936. When the prediction failed, he made a new estimate: 1975.
Leonard Sale-Harrison, a bible teacher from Australia, held a series of prophecy conferences across North America in the 1930s. He predicted that the end of the world would happen in 1940 or 1941.
Can anyone see what thing is exactly like the other with these examples? None of them ever happened. As I gaze into our near future, 2012 and beyond, I keep seeing things continuing on, sometimes better, sometimes worse. I don’t see annihilation coming in a nice and tidy manner like at 6 pm on May 21st – kaboom! I really don’t care anymore that so many prophesies point to circumstances like floods, earthquakes, and wars as being the signs of the End Times. Looking back, historically, these things have been going on for many generations and every one of those generations had an end of the world date in mind. I am not saying that there isn’t an end to the world for us humans. I’ve looked pretty far into the future and I didn’t like what I found. The end of the world is always at hand but much more presently and personally than we care to imagine. Our own grains of sand are falling in the hourglass from the moment we arrive.
A while back, I was asked to look several hundred years into our future and was quite disturbed by what I saw…nothing. After I analyzed my readings, I realized that I had only been looking at the surface of the earth and it was pretty bleak. What I hadn’t seen, until recently, is a vision of human beings living underground, underwater, or even on other planets. I see these now and feel glad. Thinking back to some of my favorite authors in my youth, Verne, Asimov, and Roddenberry, I see how much of what they fancied for our future has come to pass and I think I would rather align my sight with theirs. In their futures, we live on. We have to follow the laws of adaptation, but we do live on. The real survivalists are all of us folks who just keep waking up in the morning and, no matter what, put one foot in front of the other and live on.
The great awakening that I received, after I climbed out of the pit of fear that meditating continually on Armageddon can place one in, is that I was spinning my wheels imagining a frightening future instead of enjoying the pleasure in the beautiful moments now. I just stopped going to that mad future I’d created and started to commune more with the present world around me and if I can do it, so can you. Here is a link to a site that lists more failed attempts to nail down the inevitable, www.religioustolerance.org. I find that after reading how many times they have been wrong, I am less afraid that they may be right. See if it makes you feel better. Not that I am tempting fate but I also like to recall what an astronomer friend told me and that is, to paraphrase, that if something were hurling through space towards us that was going to hit us at the end of 2012, they would have seen it by now. As for an economic crash that sets the world scrambling for goods, I don’t know, perhaps. After Katrina’s initial looting, our humanity returned and we began to take care of each other, breaking bread and sharing what food we all had, we came together in communities. I would imagine that would be the case should disaster strike again and I now prefer to see the good rather than project the bad. I find not thinking about Armageddon quite refreshing. As the world will, no doubt, continue spin along, I’ll spin with her and send forth thoughts of a Utopian rather than Apocalyptic future for all beings.