Happy Last New Year!

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper.  We’ll be able to fly. – BOC

Many apologies to my regular readers for my recent extended absence.  The holidays are one of the few times of year I actually take a long vacation and today is my first day back into the work week.  I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a great new year, this being 2012 — the end of the world countdown beginning. 

Seriously though, having watched “Apocalypse Week” on History Channel 2, it has given me some interesting insights into just how pervasive this idea of apocalypse actually is.  It is astonishing that there are so many people following this as if there is actually a countdown to December.  I have talked to people who are seriously worried about this, and are wondering what they should be doing.  There really is nothing one can do to avoid an apocalypse, especially when you don’t know what the apocalypse entails.  So what could actually be occurring?  There are so many opinions on this, as varied as there are people in the world.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Galactic Alignment:  Around this time, though this is highly debated, the earth, sun and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy will cause havoc on the earth.  While it is well-known that alignments do cause a gravitational anomalies, it is not known whether the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way would have any significant effect on anything, let alone destroy the earth.
  2. Solar Maximum:  This is a very realistic, though not necessarily catastrophic theory.  The sun does go through a cycle of activity that lasts roughly 10 to 12 years — not a 20 year Mayan cycle.  That being said, 2012 thru 2013 is the most activity the sun has been in a few decades, and we have been seeing a great deal of solar flares and CMEs from the sun.  We also know that a solar flare can cripple electronics, as it did in 1859 with the telegraph services and in 1989 with the ‘Quebec Blackout’. 
  3. Pole Shifts:  The Earth periodically shifts its magnetic poles, which is a function of the dynamo at the center of the planet.  This can, theoretically, be caused by a solar flare, or other anomaly.  We have not ever experienced a pole shift, so we have no data on how that could actually happen.  While we know that the poles will shift at some point, and it will cause serious issues for life on the planet, it is not at all cyclical, and is not something that starts on one day and ends on another.  Pole shifts take thousands of years to complete.
  4. Planet X:  This theory is preposterous.  It states that there is a planet on a collision course with the earth that will destroy us all, similar to the idea of Wormwood falling from the sky.  However, any object as large as a planet would already be visible in the night sky.  It would have to be moving at superluminal speeds to suddenly appear this year and destroy us all. 
  5. Nemesis Star: This is one of the more interesting theories I’ve read.  It states that there is a brown dwarf star which is the binary twin of our star.  This is very plausible, and worthwhile to investigate for many reasons.  The first is that brown dwarf stars are very dim and hard to detect against the full backdrop of other farther yet brighter stars.  The second is that the majority of stars in the universe are indeed binary stars, meaning there are two for every solar system.  I find this even more interesting because if there is indeed a binary star, and if its orbit is highly eccentric or elliptical, it could indeed swing in closely to us, causing gravitational disruptions, or cause other objects to be deterred from their normal course. 
  6. Enlightenment:  As I try to be more Zen, I think its important to mention the idea that 2012 will usher in a period of enlightenment, though there is no scientific evidence to suggest such a thing has ever happened.  But, what makes this interesting is the growth of our current global network.  Could our interconnectedness through vessels such as Facebook and Twitter assist us in finally overcoming our differences, and have an ‘A-ha!’ moment as to how we all need to live in peace and harmony?  It would be nice, wouldn’t it?  But it’s probably not very likely.

These are all very interesting things to consider, but why are we considering them at all? There are so many other civilizations that were just as advanced as the Maya, yet we do not collectively spend nearly as much time obsessing over their doomsday predictions.  And having said that, the Maya didn’t really say it was a doomsday, but a time of great change.  We follow their doomsday prediction because they were amazingly astute in their understanding of astronomy, able to achieve amazingly accurate calculations with very primitive devices, compared to what we have today.  But we must also remember that at night, they did not have TV, computers, phones or even books.  All they had was their eyes, the campfire, and hours of laying on their backs gazing up at the stars.  We have polluted our skies with light to the point that we only see a few of the stars and planets with the naked eye – but if you’ve ever been to a place far away from any city or town, you know that the skies are filled with them and they are absolutely beautiful and worthy of reverence.

So, today I’ll end by saying this – there really is nothing more or less you can really do about a nebulous prediction about the end of the world.  But you can live this year better than any other you have in the past.  Live like the end is near by cherishing those around you.

Happy New Year!

Advertisements

Apocalypse? Perhaps.

It has been a very long time since I’ve had the time to blog. After my spaces account was shut down, I hadn’t had time to set up a new wordpress blog, and get back into the zen of blogifying my brain. But today, I feel compelled to put out my thoughts for everyone else to digest.

As 2012 approaches, every crack pot in the world has come up with some sort of vision, theory, justification, math equation, quantification and pontification about the end of the world, (and/or the Mayan prophecy). From the dawn of humankind, we have prophesied some sort of end to our existence here on planet Earth, but for what reason? Sure, the sun will eventually burn out, first swelling into a red giant, consuming most of the inner planets, then deflating into a glistening white dwarf. And yes, this will most certainly kill everyone still living on the planet. And considering we’ve cut all our spending on space exploration, for the time being, we won’t be finding any methods of leaving the planet any time soon – so we are left with our fears of annihilation.

We have become arrogant on so many levels — too arrogant considering how fragile we are, and how dangerous the universe is. At any moment, the sun can (and has before) unleash a violent flare that could easily change the course of our history. There are so many ways to die in the universe, so many things we can’t ever prevent. We scurry from place to place, most of us blissfully ignorant of the fact that at any moment, without warning, it can all end. Remember the dinosaurs? One day they’re happily eating leaves (and each other), then *BAM!* they are consumed in a fireball that engulfs the planet, nearly extinguishing all life on the planet. Nearly.

I was amused and angered by the ravings of Harold Camping and his disastrous miscalculation of the end of the world, which he had convinced his followers was May 21, 2011. But as you know, the end did not come and many people left their homes, families and jobs to obey the ravings of a madman turned prophet,  who had already been wrong before (not once but twice!). Despite this failure, he still persists in his message that the “Spiritual Rapture” had occurred, and the physical rapture was on October 21st, 2011 — which we also know, has come and gone.  He’s already taken all his followers money and misled them to the point where they must live the rest of their lives, knowing they were misled by a fool. And so many fools have come before him. 

Is there an apocalypse coming? Well what exactly is an apocalypse? If you take the literal definition, it means “total destruction”. If you take the biblical meaning, it is “a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception” or “lifting the veil”. So regardless of how we define it, an apocalypse has happened many times before and will happened again. But it doesn’t have to be something occult or paranormal, such as the wrath of god, or the zombie plague. It will probably be something fairly normal, yet greatly disregarded – like the sun, an asteroid, or the collapse of the technology infrastructure.

So why am I babbling about all this? Because there is a simple fact we all forget — it can all end at any moment. Which means you can only be sure of the moment you’re in, the moment you are living in right now.  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life thus far is the Zen idea of enjoying “Right Now”.  I am just as guilty as everyone when it comes to this.  We are always looking to the horizon, instead of right around us.  Sure, we must plan to some extent, but to what extent? 

I don’t want to look forward to the end of the world.  I don’t want to worry about an apocalypse.  I want to live my life living happily in each moment.  And that is probably one of the most difficult things we as humans have to learn.  Living in each moment, when I actually get to do it, is really quite awesome.  I get glimpses of it in my life, but it is not something I can sustain on a regular basis.  I am working towards it, but we all have to work towards it.  If we all worked together on living for now, we wouldn’t have the problems we have today that threaten our world, and make some people long for the end. [I’ve got my money on Zombie Apocalypse Scenario though]

So the question ultimately becomes, “If it isn’t fun, then why are we doing it?”