There's a widespread belief that 2012 is the year when Something Really Big Happens, the year when Everything Changes.
1. Unexpected catastrophes
In this category are beliefs such as
- an asteroid will strike the Earth
- there'll be a global mega-flood (possibly caused by an asteroid striking the Earth)
- gigantic solar flares will fry the inner planets to a crisp
- the Earth's crust will slip, causing sudden catastrophic climate change
- any of the above, as suggested / provoked / predicted by the Mayan calendar.
2. Expected catastrophes
In this category are beliefs such as
- we'll reach the 'tipping point' for ecological and/or climate-related catastrophe
- the world's financial and economic systems will collapse, and millions will starve or fight each other to death for dwindling resources
- millions will fight each other to death anyway, for no good reason
- global reserves of economically viable energy sources will be exhausted.
3. Beings and becomings
In this category are beliefs such as
- humans will 'ascend' to another level of being
- humans will have a more meaningful interaction with their higher selves
- the final battle between good and evil will commence, or intensify
- the secret war between extraterrestrials / non-human beings for the biological and other resources of this planet will reach a culmination.
Has there ever been as large a chunk of humanity that has held such beliefs? I'm not talking raw numbers, just proportions, percentages. I don't know the answer, but it would be interesting to do the research.
And why now, in 2012? It's 12 years too late for millennium fever (or 11, depending on how you count the year nought).
I name 2012 The Year of the Paradox.
We expect the unexpected, but we're surprised that it hurts to shoot oneself in the foot. Actually the Unexpected Catastrophes paradox is resolved relatively easily: it's rational to expect that events such as a large asteroid striking the Earth will happen (it has happened before). What's unexpected is that the event should happen now, to me, to us, this year of all years!
Likewise for crustal displacement; in fact no less a thinker than Einstein firmly believed that such displacement is entirely to be expected, is in fact inevitable.
In contrast are the category 2 events, Expected Catastrophes, which seem to be all about 'meltdown' (financial, economic, social, ecological, political, spiritual). Category 2 events are those that we know for sure are on their way or are already here: pollution, climate change, ecological collapse, global financial crises. These are events that are happening now or will shortly happen to me, to us, this year!
Why do we expect these catastrophes? Because we're bringing them upon ourselves! We're doing some serious hurt to ourselves!
And here's another paradox: We see the problems; we have the solutions; we do not use the solutions.
Energy problems? Food problems? Health problems? We know the answers. We know what to do. We could start putting the solutions into practice right now. But we don't. Why not?
Now I'm not going to get into an extended technical explanation of how to solve the problems of the world. It's a well-established fact that this planet has more than enough resources for us to solve all our problems, right now. World hunger, for example, is a food distribution problem, not a food production problem. There's plenty food for everyone. We just don't want everyone to have food. And we insist on producing and consuming food in ways and shapes that are economically and even nutritively inefficient.
Another paradox: According to some, our technical and scientific understanding of the world and how it works has never been greater, and yet IMHO we've seldom been more fearful and confused and ignorant about the world and how it works. We are beings who are becoming slaves of technology, not masters.
Which brings us to category 3, Beings and Becomings.
IMO it would be highly beneficial for us to understand ourselves a little better, to have greater insight into the nature of identity, selfhood, agency and consciousness. And encouragingly, there seems to be a growing acknowledgement of this priority: we seem to have woken up to the urgent need to know more about ourselves.
In 2012, we seem to be becoming more aware of the importance of developing a clearer picture of what it means to be a human being, what it means to be a Being, period, human or otherwise.
Category 3 beliefs are concerned with interactions between Persons in the broadest sense of persons as 'agents with intentionality'. Among such Persons are human beings, their 'higher selves'/souls, non-human beings, extra-terrestrials, gods, demons, etc.
Persons can be groups, equivalent to gestaltish persons comprising multiple component persons. The phrase 'the soul of the species' reflects this idea.
So Jesus Christ can be said to be a Person not only by virtue of being a human being, nor only by virtue of being a god*, but also by virtue of being a group-person, a gestaltish Person comprising the sum total of all the thoughts, yearnings, aspirations, beliefs and prayers of all Christians and their fellow-travellers. In other words: Jesus as the soul or higher self of all Christians.
Are there intelligent 'reptilians' among us, wreaking havoc for their own nefarious purposes?
Well, it's certainly true that for thousands of years, among our so-called leaders have been some pretty cold-blooded killers. They have committed many crimes, including starting wars, for no reason other than to further their own interests in terms of personal wealth and power. I'm not sure about the 'intelligent' part though!
Why does any of this matter? Why embark upon all this hair-splittery, why go on this nitpickerish excursion into Terminology Land? Simply to make the point that 2012 is the year of Beings and Becomings, the year of interactions between Persons, of all shapes and sizes.
Consider the following statements.
- This year I'm getting in touch with my higher self.
- This year I'm developing a greater understanding of my Christian/Islamic/Buddhist beliefs.
- This year my psychotherapy is helping me understand how to resolve the conflicting needs of my ego and my id, my conscious and sub-conscious minds.
- This year the Person known as Humanity ascends to a higher level of being.
Are not all the above statements actually to the same effect? Each statement is simply a metaphor for the next. They all mean the same thing. This is the year of Beings and Becomings; 2012 is the year of interactions between Persons.
The question is why.
Where do I stand on all of this? I think it's possible a category 1 event, unexpected catastrophe, could occur in 2012, or 2013, or certainly by 200013. But it's unclear to me why it should be 2012, specifically. Unless it has something to do with the precession of the equinox, but let's not go there now.
I think category 2 events, expected catastrophes, are already happening, and will intensify in 2012 and beyond.
As for Beings and becomings, I would like the category 3 beliefs to be true, but I don't know whether they are. On the other hand, I don't know that they're false either. I think it's true that there is a growth in awareness taking place, in many individuals, and in some respects across the species as a whole. Whether that greater awareness will be enough or will happen quickly enough to prevent category 2 events or ameliorate their effects, is in my view unclear -- I'd better clean my windscreen!
It's also worth noting that generally speaking, with some exceptions, the beliefs are not mutually exclusive, at category level, or at the level of individual beliefs. In other words, if a particular belief is true, that doesn't mean the other beliefs are false. And conversely, if a particular belief is false, that doesn't mean the other beliefs are true.
And finally, please note also that generally speaking with some exceptions, the beliefs are not mutually dependent in a statistical sense. Actually, having said that, this particular issue is particularly slippery and ambiguous: many of the beliefs are mutually dependent in more and less obvious ways.
The fact that an asteroid hitting the Earth could produce a tsunami is an example of an obvious dependency (though not a mandatory one -- tsunamis can happen for reasons other than an asteroid striking the Earth).
There's a definite link / dependency between many of the category 2 beliefs, eg ecological catastrophe, and the growth of awareness (or lack of it) among members of the human species and across the species as a whole. In fact, the obvious link between all the category 2 beliefs is: Us. We are the ones who are creating the catastrophes. We're specifically, explicitly and directly hurting ourselves.
We'd better get our act together, it would seem, depending on our objectives as a species. Do we have objectives? If not, maybe we should make some.
* I'm not a Christian, and I don't think the story of Christ as told in the Bible, is literally true. I think we're all sons or daughters of god. And being a good parent, god has no favourites among zir children.
NIGHTMERRIES: THE LIGHTER SIDE OF DARKNESS This so-called "book" will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you twitching and frothing on the carpet. More than 60 dark and feculent fictions (read ‘em and weep) copiously illustrated by over 20 grotesque images you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.
AWAREWOLF & OTHER CRHYMES AGAINST HUMANITY (Vot could be Verse?) We all hate poetry, right? But we might make an exception for this sick and twisted stuff. This devil's banquet of adults-only offal features more than 50 satanic sonnets, vitriolic verses and odious odes.
MANIC MEMES & OTHER MINDSPACE INVADERS A disturbing repository of quotably quirky quotes, sayings, proverbs, maxims, ponderances, adages and aphorisms. This menagerie holds no fewer than 184 memes from eight meme-species perfectly adapted to their respective environments.
MASTRESS & OTHER TWISTED TAILS, ILLUSTRATED: an unholy corpus of oddities, strangelings, bizarritudes and peculiaritisms
FIENDS & FREAKS Adults-only Tales of Serpents, Dragons, Devils, Lobsters, Anguished Spirits, Gods, Anti-gods and Other Horse-thieves You Wouldn't Want to Meet in a Dark Kosmos: 4th EditionHAGS TO HAGGIS Whiskey-soaked Tails of War-nags, Witches, Manticores and Escapegoats, Debottlenecking and Desilofication, Illustrated