Archive for July, 2010

Recently friends in the grocery store, at the pharmacy, while pumping gas, have been stopping me. Even strangers stare and then walk up to me. “Hey, I think I saw you on TV last night!” they exclaim.

What this means is that the network is once again airing Apocalypse Island. (If you’ve not seen it – it was for a while the most watched History Channel event of the year – it’s worth a glance, though arguably not the entire two hour run time.) This reaction is also inevitably followed by the question: “Now that you are such an expert, what IS going to happen in 2012?”

So History buffs, here is my personal 2012 Prophesy:

First of all, contrary to current urban legend, there is no evidence that the Mayans themselves saw 2012 through any kind of catastrophic lens.

Some Maya Long Count texts refer to dates still way out in the future. For instance, an inscription commissioned in the 7th century A.D. by King Pacal of Palenque predicts that an anniversary of his accession would be commemorated on October 15, 4772.

Original Art by Mark Watts

Like other indigenous native peoples, Mayans  – millennia ago and today – have never been really big on linear story lines, tales of destruction. They are into cycles and tales of rebirth. They saw seasons turning, worlds spinning, and whole solar systems revolving. The ancient ones were aware that everything is moving, alive, ever changing. Humanity is an infinitesimally miniscule part of an unimaginably huge universe by whose laws it inexorably bound.  What comes around goes around.

I confess. I read news services and essays on the World Wide Web when I should be tending to more productive work. But the lure of watching the passion play of global economics and politics unfold is more temptation than I can resist: the oil spill in the gulf, global warming, depletion and increasing competition for non-renewable of resources.

As I try and make sense of it all, one simple underlying truth keeps leaping out at me. Continuous economic growth on a finite planet is impossible. We are self-destructing due to our infinite desire for more. And more. The answer is clear: we need to establish ‘steady state’ thinking – in our societal and personal lives – as our new modus operandi.

What does all this mean?

Original Art by Yeshe Salz

A friend of mine, Warren Johnson wrote a book back in the 70’ called Muddling Toward Frugality. His perspective was prescient. Almost forty years ago Warren forecast today’s diminishing resources and economic trauma. He also foresaw the solution. Big government and grand heroics would not save us, he wrote.  It would be small acts of individual courage and common sense that would return us – individually and societally –  to health and balance.

Okay… My Prediction:

Gradually, clumsily we are finding our way back to center. Breaking free from the over-consumptive, materialistic and existentially hollow story we spun till it held our souls captive.  There is talk in the air of double-dip inflation and it may be that our economic house of cards has a bit more deconstructing to do before we learn our lessons. But I am not overly concerned.


I see it every morning when I climb – in the deepening green of summer and the renewed call of the canyon wren high in the granite. I feel it in the returning purposefulness of my stride and strength in my legs. As the ancient Maya knew, life is naught but circles and cycles. Flying through this sky on this regal piece of rock we will find our way as past generations have found theirs. Back to harmony.

Life begets life and we are one clever, adaptable and tenacious species.

We will figure this one out. What goes around comes around.

I think, finally, we are starting to come around.


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