**NOTE: It may read pessimistic, but it isn’t**
An actual conversation I had the other day with a parent I know:
ME: How’s it going?
THEM: Meh, ok…lots of death and sadness these days. What’s going on with people? Murder here, shooting there, war here, famine there. And now this crazy flu bug…
ME: So…uh…u think the end times are coming?
THEM: Oh definitely.
ME: Apocalypse… when?
THEM: Soon, I think.
When you think about it, it’s not that unusual of an assumption I guess. The Mayans believed that the world would end on December 23, 2012 . Christians believe that Armageddon will come 2000 years after Christ. Of course, I don’t think it says after death or after birth, but either way at least one of them (I think birth??) has been tracked back to be sometime late in the year 0012. Which means…2012. Coincidence? I dunno. A quick google search brought me to a site where the dude spoke about I-Ching and 2012 being the projected end of time due to some mathematical formula, and then spoke about a theory that the center of the milky way galaxy will be aligned with the sunrise on the winter solstice 2012 thereby causing…something. I have no idea what.
I do know that there is a general pall over people these days that I don’t think I’ve ever seen. It was telling to me a month or so ago when I went home for my Grandpa’s funeral and my dad seemed a bit wistful about people and the times. Maybe it was grief, maybe he’s just getting older… i don’t know. All I know for sure is my dad is one of the most positive minded people I know…so it struck me as a bit odd that he would say something like “it’s a scary world right now”. People are upset about the war in iraq, about pollution, about over population, about lax laws and problems with the justice system. Our economic system teeters on the top of a huge pole, and always feels like it could tip over at any time. The idea of democracy has become a corporate joke, and the idea of religion a reason to kill for oil or land.
But…here’s the thing. I don’t know that any of these problems are new. My whole life people have been killing each other in the name of God but really for land or control of a mostly unnecessary mostly non-renewable resource (er, only unnecessary if the powers that control it would shift their research to alternate methods). My whole life there has been dire warnings about pollution and overpopulation and the stability of the world’s economy. Since the beginning of recorded history there have been those who have and those who have naught, and that dichotomy caused stress. Why is it different now? Just because there’s more people? Why is everyone walking around with a dark cloud of fear over them? It seems that a lot of people have a tenseness that strikes me as odd. And a bit disconcerting. Perhaps it’s an instinctual thing and people just know. Personally, I’d prefer to blame it on media exposure and leaders who delight in creating a culture of fear to control the masses.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just the post 9/11 North America that’s different. Maybe this is visible all over the world on a regular basis; I don’t have a reference point to draw from. Maybe i’ve just been blind to something that’s been there my whole life and this is the standard format of homo sapiens. Maybe i’m just depressed. But I don’t think I am. My life is as good right now as I can remember in a long time. Good job, dating a fabulous girl, eating well, on the verge of breaking out of my debt cycle, keeping to my budget… all good things. If any one or two of those things fell off, I’d be sad, but I would still be ok and optimistic…that’s in my nature. Still need to work on my physical fitness and assets, but that’s part of the excitement for the future. Personally, the outlook is rosy to me…thru this year and beyond 2012.
In the meantime, we have technology that can improve the average lifespan 25 years over just 150 years ago. We have the ability to communicate instantly in audio and video with anyone virtually anywhere in the world. We have the technology to feed the hungry, even if we don’t always use it properly. Worldwide infant mortality rates are down. Our society considers it destitute if you live like a king did 300 years ago. Sure we can all focus on the negatives, and there are a lot of them these days. There are also alot of positives. It seems to me that everyone (myself included at times) is focusing on the negative bits without offering or influencing any solutions to make them positive.
Apocalypse soon? I don’t think so. Only if we let it happen.