Here we are.
As in “still here.” As in “I guess the Mayans were wrong.”
No big surprise there, I s’pose. The Y2K people were wrong. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were wrong. Nostradamus was wrong. And Charles Manson was wrong — on several levels.
I’m not gonna lie — I was a little freaked about this particular prediction, I guess because I considered the culture making it to be a bit more advanced than, say, that of religious zealots. Which, by the way, is anyone else sick of hearing the Bible verse from Mark about it? (Links can be ignored; that’s why they’re brilliant!)
The Mayans, in other words, had nothing to gain by spreading fear of the end of the world, especially when it was thousands of years away from them — because let’s be honest, people, we’re afraid of the end. No matter how much anyone complains about how wretched and intolerable their lives are — and some certainly do quite a bit on the good old FB — we all still want more time to live them.
Which is partially how the apocalyptic madness has changed my point of view; I will no longer humor any such complaints and “FMLs” — not that I really did in the first place — because at the end of the day, you still want to live, and you’re not fooling me anymore, darn it! OK, maybe every once in a while you might, but then I’ll think of the Mayans and biddy-slap you back into reality, which is…
Could be better. Could be worse. But either of those things is better than the thought of not being at all, at least to most of us — myself included.
Still — and perhaps it’s my perception playing tricks on me — this particular apocalyptic prediction seemed to have more people than usual on edge…maybe not sold, but skeptical, which is actually buying in to some small degree. And that says something.
So here’s the other thing the prediction made me aware of: Even though people may want to live, want to be, they seem to want to live and be differently — and in more than just “the grass is always greener” way, which has existed since we whiny little sentient beings began.
No, people actually seem to want change. Dramatic change. Perhaps — dare I say it? — awakening change.
Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe it’s the inequality. Maybe it’s the simple fact that people all over the world are inspired to destruct others in all sorts of fashions — war, genocide, slavery, rape, and yes, even school shootings — and it has simply stopped computing in any way in most of our heads and hearts; many of us no longer have it in us to be able to relate to, let alone justify, such atrocities. Heck, we’re talking about saving the last frickin’ turtles of a species and more these days, folks. And it’s not a bad thing.
Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. Looooooooooooooonnnnnnnngggggggg. Unsatisfyingly long.
Could be why we buy into these more recent doomsday prophecies. Or at least why I do.
See, it would take something insane, epic, earth-shattering to speed the progress of humanity enough to be experienced profoundly in my lifetime (not just surfacy stuff like the Equal Rights Amendment, which, oddly enough, still hasn’t been passed, even though it actually is quite surfacy). I’m talking aliens coming from the skies and using their mad Jedi skills to stop us from hurting each other (and them). A comet gouging out an entire continent. Something.
On the other hand, the question then becomes, would most people use this catastrophic event to change for the better or for the worse? If there were no police, no courts, no prisons, no consequences, would you kill your neighbor for his or her food? Would you try to help that person or that family? Or does it depend on whether or not you have a partner, kids? Would your choice change if it was just you? Would your choice change if it came down to them or you? These are honest questions each of us has to answer, and ones we can only answer for ourselves. (Please, though, for my sanity, keep your answers to yourself; I don’t want to have to unfriend any of you psychos.)
While there were people in the mountains coming together to celebrate what they’d hoped would be a cataclysmic change for the better, others decided they’d keep their kids home from school, fearful that if something apocalyptic were to happen, people who could be trusted under the normal set of circumstances might just snap, making the incidental children just that — incidental — at best, and let’s just say a lot worse at worst.
It seems to me humanity needs change, needs things to get better already. But it also seems to me that, without some sort of control over certain parties’ free will, dramatic change would evolve swiftly into chaos. Which is sad.
And it makes me wonder: if the Mayans saw us today, would they think we were more advanced from a humanistic, spiritual perspective than them? Somehow I doubt it. Then again, perhaps it really is a matter of time — an amount of time none of us as individuals ever have.