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Archive for the tag “Maya prediction”

A prophecy to die for

About two months. Yes, that’s right. It could be the title of (yet another) end-of-the-world movie. Because according to the Maya predictions the end of the world is nigh, on 21 December 2012. Looking at the world in its current situation, it is likely. Not in a physical-disaster-all-around-buildings-crashing-down-things-on-fire kind of sense. But in the more “normal” social sense. Like a sort of end of society. A turn of leaf on the current state of the world. In the 1990s Francis Fukuyama wrote about The End of History,arguing that the advent of Western Liberal democracy may signal the end point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. Obviously, he was wrong. In 2012, democracy and Western government have retreated far back with a socio-economic impact as unprecedented as ever before in the 21st century. When Mediterranean countries are on the brink of bankruptcy, central Europeans are opposing aid to the rest, and eastern Europeans have gained a bad name as imposing migrants and imposter asylum seekers, then it is clearly the case that something has gone really wrong. When in 2012, instead of prosperity and the hovering cars depicted in the 1980s movies, all we have is countries striving to avoid default, the Arab Spring turning into a ruthless Middle East bloodshed, and even the strongest economies facing disarray and uncertainty. The Middle-Ages seem to have returned. But this time they have brought along the worst traits of human nature. Selfishness, greediness, insensitivity, immorality, irresponsibility, disrespect and audaciousness. That is what society seems to breed. The law of the jungle reapplies and people are putting their own interests above anyone else’s. In an impoverished society, where the rule of law is ignored, there is nothing to stop people from stealing from each other, from killing and injuring in order to do so, from eradicating anything and everything that forms the very foundations of a sane society in order to get their own way. When extremism resurfaces and people can actually understand why and justify it, then all there is to say is that those Mayas really knew what they were saying…

So many of those movies depicting a post-apocalyptic world have one thing in common: the fact that the end of the world does not happen due to an external cause, but because of the people themselves. It is the very people themselves, us, who are causing this self-destruction. They are the ones abolishing law and order and justice. They are the ones allowing society to become what it has – ruthless, self-rewarding, corrupt and with no values whatsoever. When even supranational institutions, set up for the very purpose of avoiding national self-interests, prove  that they too are not immune from corruption, it seems that people are right to be cynical and pessimistic. Very little does change in the end. And it seems that those who can change things, or at least who have the power to, are simply perpetuating a system that is degraded at its core. And the few that maintain hope and sum up the courage to fight the system and try to make a change are soon drowned and defeated. One swallow alone, does not a summer make.

It is important not to lose hope. That is certain. But how can you maintain optimism when this is the situation that prevails in the world today? Things need to change. Radically for that matter. And the old, out-dated ruling elite needs to step aside for younger – not necessarily in age terms – more open-minded brains to take over. In order to create a world like the one we hoped for when we were growing up. That allowed you to dream and to hope and to know that if you worked hard enough you could accomplish all that you want.

What if the Mayas were right?

If the Mayas were right and the world will really come to an end in 2012, then what is the reason for all this concern? Particularly over something that (logically) cannot be averted. The whole world is overwhelmed by concern. Concern over how the economy will develop, fear as to whether the Eurozone will collapse, worry over the future of Europe, but also uncertainty for the future of the world itself. But if either way doomsday will come before the very end of this year, then why worry? Why don’t we try to improve today instead? Why is everyone so concerned with the future that they forget to live the present? Even Bob Marley had sung it: “in every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double”.

Worries spread fear and fear is the worst enemy of optimism. It is this very concern that has devoured us. The fear and terror that “it never rains, but it pours”.  But as US President Franklin Roosevelt had said: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. It is that very fear that hovers over society like a black cloud. Like a tornado demolishing everything in its way. Leaving behind a society helpless and unable to stand on its own. That instead of moving forward with the knowledge from its past mistakes is moving backwards. And yet – invoking the infamous excuse of the current period – this crisis is to blame for everything. For the fact that there are no jobs; that shops, firms and industries are shutting down; that prices are rising but salaries are not; that poor people are becoming even poorer and are increasing in numbers, all the while the rich are becoming even wealthier but fewer. Consequently, the middle class is vanishing, widening even further the rich-poor divide. And the society that is portrayed in Latin-American telenovelas, where the carefree rich enjoy their ‘haciendas’ while the poor struggle to make a living in their makeshift shacks, is becoming all the more true as it rapidly converges on reality.

For as science and technology progress, the society’s mentality hardly changes. And all this third and fourth generation technology that has flooded the 21st century markets, despite facilitating our lives, has made it all the more empty. Development and progress is becoming a victim of commercialism. Because we feel that all these technologically-advanced gadgets will improve our image and make us feel more important. Today’s generation of children ask for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and whatever new and technologically-advanced best-seller is in the market today and costs dearly to demonstrate its worth. While yesterday’s children felt cool simply with their new set of coloured pencils. Indeed, the future generation may never even learn to write with pencil and pen, since keyboard will probably replace ink and finger will replace stylo.

However, it is worth questioning whether all this development and dependence on it is actually a good thing. If all these unnecessary expenses could be used on something more noteworthy and constructive – on medical research, for example, where developments and advancements are necessary. If even technology is reigned by fear. Fear that if it is actually used in research, or in similar fields, then something unknown and unexplored will come of it. A new Dolly for instance. That will rejuvenate debates, reactions and controversies over human intervention on the divine gift of life. And which will also breathe life into the realistic science fiction films depicting cloned and alien life-forms pursuing the end of the world. But the world – judging from all that is happening – seems to be causing its own demise. By its own selfishness, arrogance and greed. Perhaps this is what the Maya meant by their prediction? And what if they are right?

(22 January 2012)

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