December 21 2012 wasn’t an apocalypse, few thought it would be—that was mostly media types making hay—but it was a date long fixed in the minds of many as being significant in ushering in a paradigm shift, taking us away from one system for organising society and into another setup entirely.
Now, I don’t hold with the idea of the date having inherent magic—I mean, where did the idea of a cultural and political shift come from, anyway? An angel, a hieroglyph, a man with a fake tan and a suitcase full of counterfeit watches?–but it was invested with meaning by millions. It doesn’t matter that the Mayan calendar was misread, assumptions made that the ancients never intended to put across, because, just like Christmas Day, we made something of it from seriously-viewed prophecy to ridiculously kooky but deliciously entertaining pseudo-news story. We took ordinary and eventless and made it extraordinary. We have past form for doing this. We inject the real with the surreal, join the dots and colour in. All the time.
A lot of attention on one little solstice, all that, resulting on December 22 in a mighty bad hangover for those who expected the world to end but it didn’t, while comedians were left with a joke past its sell-by because there are no more end-of-the-world ancient prophecies: there is no future date on which to hang our fears and mythologies. Apart from a few flaky Nostradamus interpretations, that’s all folks. Look to the skies. It’s aliens next.
My theory is: we load up anything with meaning, through words and deeds, we change the thing. A broom isn’t a broom until we brush with it, a diamond is just a chunk of compressed carbon until it’s worn on a ring and invested with financial and emotional power. Tragically, a school day is just a school day until a crazy picks up a gun. A house where someone committed suicide is just a house until someone feels a chill on the back of the neck. For centuries, December 21 2012 wasn’t going to be just any old solstice and so, when it came, it wasn’t and was instead treated as special by zealots and cynics alike. The magic has always been in the people, in nature, in space and in time, not calendars.
We currently, the majority of us, endure life in a house of cards. The snake of free market capitalism is, as many predicted not by examining animal entrails but by analysing trends, eating its own tail. Before too long it will even consume those few who unleashed and benefited from it. And then what? Who knows? Will we get the 2012 paradigm shift a little later than predicted? How can this wholly imagined happening become real, anyway? Well, perhaps, maybe, because… On some level, we want change and we can smell the collapse of our completely unnatural systems of governance is imminent. We certainly want to improve, better ourselves, problem-solve. It’s in our nature.
“History is not a mathematically defined entity,” said the late Terence McKenna. He was right. History is a mystical construct, written not only by those who win the wars but by those who dare to think things into existence. The Occupy movement of today, so often derided by the advocates of orthodoxy as having no rigid and dogmatic agenda, is full of people who are working the clay of their own thought-forms to encourage our species to grow and evolve. They understand the power of ideas over tradition, that we did not get where we are today by clinging to the uppermost branches of the trees.
There’s an unprecedented air of depression and fear hanging over everyone and everything as 2012 draws to a close. Most of us can sense greater disasters than those already experienced this century are on the way, like dogs know storms are approaching and birds flee volcanic eruptions and quakes ahead of them happening. Maybe it’s an animal thing in us too, or maybe it’s just that the political and banking elites, while powerful, aren’t as capable of effective grand conspiracy as we thought, and instead fail to read the signs as well as your average grandmother assessing the prices on a fruit and veg stall.
Whatever events are around the corner in 2013, we can either climb down from the tree or stay stuck in those branches. Some of us will stall, others will fall but it’s those who rise we’ll have to keep our careful eyes upon. Despite or because of the darkness at work in our society, we live in interesting times. We are at the end of something, yes, but the start of something too. Be amazing, my friends. Survive Christmas, embrace your blessings, be kind and generous and noble and brilliant and marvellously flawed. Having flaws means you’re real and true.
It may be a while before I blog again. Or it may not. I have my own paradigm shift to attend to.
Oh, and happy new year. Let’s try to make it not shit.