Well, it looks like we dodged another apocalypse! For the last decade-and-change, we have been living in constant anxiety caused by dramatic predictions foretelling the end of humankind. In 2000, the Y2K scare had us doubting the ability of computers to accurately tell time; and then again in 2006, when we predicted that Satan(yup, people still believe in Satan!) was going to make a cameo appearance on 6/6/06 (our collective imagination always seems to amaze me); and in the year 2012, people dropped whatever religious beliefs they may of had and began following the Mayan calender, getting reading for the world to burst into flames on December 21, 2012. We’ve been at the edge of our seats wondering if we would ever see the year 2013. Better yet, even December 22, 2012 was a milestone we should be patting our backs about!
And then–like every year on December 21st–the world kept moving, people kept breathing, and we enjoyed a sigh of relief in knowing our “Dooms Day” prediction had once again been falsified. But what an enterprise this last “apocalypse” was! With so many end-of-the-world blockbuster hits, Hollywood is definitely enjoying the last laugh…This time.
The purpose of this post is to enable us to think outside the box. We have a long history of conceptualizing things literary, and then we find ourselves limiting such conceptualizations to narrow understandings of space and time. So, although we are still alive and healthy, did we really escape the end of the world? Or did an apocalypse in fact occur? And what if it is still occurring?
Indeed, the Earth was not engulfed into flames (Satan reference? Check.), we didn’t touch base with alien lifeforms (major disappointment!), and “The Walking Dead” never became a reality (lets be honest–we were all starting to take zombies a little bit too seriously).
However, these are all literal interpretations. Interpretations that narrowly conceptualize an apocalypse as a physical end to humankind, completely dismissing the fact that humans transcend beyond a physical reality and earthly limitations. We are moral, intellectual, and above all else–spiritual beings. So it becomes evident that if we want to talk about an Apocalypse (and be taken seriously), then we have to re-conceptualize how we perceive it by these terms.
When I first began to think about the Mayan Apocalypse, I conceptualized it under the context of the environment. In the last decade alone, I noticed an unprecedented number of natural disasters around the world. Disasters rooted in mankind’s greed, addiction, and a dependency on Earth’s natural resources–all for the security of a luxurious standard of living we have become so accustomed to. We are degrading the planet through exploiting it of its resources, non-sustainable practices for profit, and a lack of real concern for the consequences that environmental degradation has on third world peoples. So even if we were to look at the Mayan Apocalypse from a solely physical interpretation, it is obvious to see that the Earth is being knocked of its equilibrium. An “apocalypse”, if you will.
The old world order is coming to an end. In many ways, humanity is reaching a point where it has to reexamine its practices and make better decisions. The U.S. is approaching a fiscal cliff, politics are so polarized that meaningful change has yet to happen, and humanity is perpetually at war with one another. In short, we as a people have become collectively void of morality. And that moral depravity is best exemplified through our economic and political practices. The old ways of how humans interact with one another is becoming more vulnerable to crisis and failure, leaving us to wonder what new options we may have that could change the path we are on.
Through this new reconceptualization, we can appreciate this apocalypse for what it is–an opportunity for change. Indeed, this last decade was filled with so much struggle, but struggling is an undeniable catalysts towards meaningful change. Change is painful and ugly, but the outcome is far more rewarding.
So with the suffering and pain we have experienced as of lately, we are presented with two paths: one for growth or one for regression. So far, all we have been doing collectively is regressing. We have not consciously linked humanity’s actions to the problems in the world. When we don’t take the necessary steps to grow from a crisis, the crisis continues to go unchecked and humankind’s spirituality inevitably digresses.
The reality is that we are scared of real and meaningful change–on both the individual and institutional levels–because we are scared of the cost it bears. Even though drastic change has always come at a price, it manages to awaken humanity’s consciousness. It becomes problematic when we only change within the capacity of our comfort zone because we become susceptible to regression.
But at this point, regression is no longer a choice. If we continue to ignore the problems, we will destroy ourselves and the Earth. So we can continue to think of the apocalypse as a literal end, rather than a beginning. And we can also continue to try and avoid it under that narrow perspective, or we can embrace it for all the good it can be– a spiritual awakening and the development of a new consciousness.
So lets grow. Lets use the pain we have experienced to allow ourselves to see the world through a new lens of clarity. To address the issues we have been too afraid to address. To force the world to change.
“This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won’t die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward” (Angels in America).
The world–along with its people–can only spin forward, but it is the backwards pull caused from struggle that allows progress to ever be possible.
So, with this apocalypse scare behind us, now is the time to take ownership over our actions, to actively redefine our destinies, to change, to grow, to progress.