The end of the world as we know it. Or perhaps more accurately, the end of the world as the Mayans knew it. Or the Hopi’s, or the Sumerians. John Cusak. Whatever. We’re only weeks away now from that sticky date in our collective consciousness, December 21st in the year 2012, that has been the focal point of this decades crop of Apocalyptic prophesying.
There is plenty of information to absorb about long historic cycles, the Milankovitch cycles detailing the Earth’s 26,000 year wobble, reversals of polarity, sudden climate changes, and effects of the Earth’s relative orientation toward the center of the galaxy. Enough to make your brain bleed. Doomsday predictions are nothing new. Many of us need the concept of an impending End Times to frame our conceptions of who we are and what our lives our about. Some people need the feeling of impending Apocalypse to cultivate appreciation for their daily life. Some play out post-Apocalyptic scenarios as an imaginary test of their self-reliance and personal fortitude (GUILTY). We went through all of this only a decade ago with the theorized Y2K bug that would supposedly drop airplanes out of the sky and cause Clarisworks to crash or something. But there is a decidedly different stink to the 2012 Prophecy that Y2K lacked: a heavy spiritual component.
I remember the 2012 bit coming up in a meeting with my boss at an internship back in 2005. Somehow December 21, 2012 made its way into the conversation and when it did, she raised her eyebrows and gave me a look drenched in conspiracy and excitement. You know about 2012? It was lurking in the underbelly of the zeitgeist but it wasn’t out front yet. A fringe theory that had yet to be seized by Hollywood or even deeply profited upon by the New Age movement. But being a fringe theory doesn’t account for the heebie-jeebies that my boss and I felt together in that room. Why did talk of 2012 make me and others feel like we had cracked open the crust of the Earth and seen a glimpse of a larger truth lurking below?
If you take a quick tour of the ‘2012 phenomenon’ page on Wikipedia, you’ll find an incredible potpourri of cultures and belief systems tossed together pointing toward a transformative event’ in 2012. There is an especially strong link between cosmology, the study of astral bodies and their movements, with Ages of History. Ancient equivalents to our modern measurements like the Milankovitch cycles mentioned above.
The rub of all these prophesies is that the year 2012 represents a line drawn in time. On one side is the history of our species and planet as we know it and on the other is…something else. A common description is ‘the ascension of mankind’. Here is what was found in Mayan mythology, according to Wikipedia:
“According to the Popol Vuh, a compilation of the creation accounts of the K’iche’ Maya of the Colonial-era highlands, we are living in the fourth world. The Popol Vuh describes the gods first creating three failed worlds, followed by a successful fourth world in which humanity was placed. In the Maya Long Count, the previous world ended after 13 b’ak’tuns, or roughly 5,125 years.[Note a] The Long Count’s “zero date”[Note b] was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one, which corresponds to 11 August 3114 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar.[Note c] This means that the fourth world will also have reached the end of its 13th b’ak’tun, or Mayan date 18.104.22.168.0, on 21 December 2012.”
So December 21, 2012 marks the first day of the Fourth World that is…successful. Here’s the thing about that. It’s extremely challenging to peg what that means precisely. Because of that, this marks the spot where you can stay with me or you can go on with your day.
I believe that success means that we, defined as conscious life on Earth, reach a critical threshold and experience a state change resulting in the ability to transcend nature’s external forces and the ability to harness the control of our own evolution.
Perhaps the four Worlds of the Mayans (or the Hindu Yugas) could be described as:
1. Primordial Soup
I personally think that the apparent evolution of ascending consciousness on Earth is just a process of the Universe that began millions upon millions of years ago with the birth of our Sun. Solar systems just produce consciousness. We are, after all, quite literally condensed stardust. Does it stand to reason that this process could have been mapped out according to the observable patterns on the ground and in the sky?
I truly do think that there is truth to what we are told the Mayans were getting after. I think that the ascension is something that’s programmed into evolution and that these ancient people caught on to the systems in place building up to it. All of this progress we see in history is just those systems maturing.
I believe we will cross a major threshold around NOW. Specifically on December 21st? I doubt it. I don’t think anything special will happen on that day…I think it’s just a watermark. But there is a shift in consciousness happening. Absolutely.
1. The Advent of Space Exploration
Mankind has had a long history of venturing up (or out, depending on how you look at things). I like to think the journey began with climbing the highest tree or tallest mountain. The history of flying machines way back past the Wright Brothers to Ancient Greece. Of course, there are the few watershed moments logged in our collective memory. Sputnik, the first man-made object jettisoned into space in 1957. Apollo 11 put Man on the Moon in 1969. This year, 2012, we’ve witnessed Voyager 1 pass into an incomprehensible beyond, becoming the first man-made object to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space.
We live in an era, little more than a half-century long in which life on our planet has found a way to touch the heavens. In the purported 10,000 year history of civilization, the concept of touching the lights in the night sky with our own machinations let alone hands was completely utterly unfathomable for at least 9,950 of those years.
Space Exploration is not just worth waxing poetic about either. The ramifications of exploring this frontier have on the progress of society and the human specimen are indescribably massive. It’s very possible that the long perspective of history will view the ultimate utility of our nation’s governing bodies as means for opening the Pandora’s box of space exploration. The Cold War between the USA and Russia propelled us into space. Conflict breeds creation.
At present, companies like SpaceX are leading the charge toward privatized space exploration. The currently less reputable Mars One project is in a fundraising phase for establishing a human settlement on Mars in the year 2023. The result is that we are looking at the start of an era in which our collective fate as the phenomenon of life is no longer tied to the fate of planet Earth. The difference in what that means for who we are now and who we were at the time of the Mayan Civilization is profound.
Perhaps even more staggering is the difference a blossoming space-based economy would make between who we are now and who we will be as little as one generation from now.
The year 2012 was the year that the concept of ‘asteroid mining’ was brought to the public with a straight face. Rather than being an idea brought to the forefront by sci-fi writers or fringe scientists, the concept was introduced as the next frontier of mega-profiting in the cross-hairs of the generation of businessmen and woman who made billions from the tech boom.
What’s the big deal about asteroid mining? It could fuel a population boom that makes our recent concerns about hitting the 7 billion people benchmark laughable. Asteroids carry vast reserves of a wide variety of minerals and precious substances on them. The most precious of all of them is ice. Water.
Of course it presents new challenges for maintaining the balance of our biosphere and water cycle when we start importing massive amounts of substance from space, but we’ll cross that bridge when get there. That’s how we handle everything isn’t it?
Speaking of those tech billionaires…
2. The Communication Technology & Infrastructure
What are you reading this on? Exactly. On to the next one…
Actually, no this is worth exploring because there are some amazing things to reflect on in communication technology. First, take a high level look at what the Internet is. How would you describe it to the Mayans? That’s a tough one. I would describe it as a God of Knowledge constructed and worshiped by mankind that takes the form of a vast invisible library. I’d have a hard time explaining to them why it’s really only accessible via glowing squares of various sizes though. I personally feel circles would serve us better.
There are a number of angles from which we can assess the impact the Internet has had on Life on Earth. The most poignant angle for the moment would be to take a look at how it has fundamentally changed the human organism. Advances in computing power and storage capacity have fueled a trend toward bringing access to the Internet closer and closer to us. Thanks to the advent of the smartphone, we’ve already crossed the threshold into holding access on our person at all times. A recent CNN article captured that transformation in an elegant, albeit slightly snarky, image of a revised ‘Vitruvian Man’ by Da Vinci.
We are only at the very beginning of that transformation toward integrating the Internet into our own personal form factor. Just this past month, Google pressed on in a shrewd marketing move for their Internet headset, Google Glass by adorning them on runway models during New York City’s Fashion Week. That’s what’s happening in America. In a recent trip to Ghana, Africa, I saw a smattering of billboards advertising the first smart phones to arrive in the country. Radio advertisements spoke of all the ways having a smart phone will change their life. How? What happens when you live in an African slum, get your hands on a smart phone so you can create a blog that tells your story and solicits donations?
The social changes that Internet technology is introducing to the world don’t end there. We all watched as massive uprisings were organized and broadcast through the Internet. That’s a story to keep an eye on because it could topple the balance of power and alter the way governments are constructed. But the news has that well covered. How about exploring the deluge of knowledge being made available to the masses?
For thousands upon thousands of years of our history, the most sacred knowledge was past down aurally between those chosen to receive it or kept in libraries protected by a monastic order or stuffy academic institution. Now all of it, or at least an unprecedented portion of it, are out in the open and free. Knowledge of the cosmos, mathematical abstractions of the laws of nature, philosophical treatises, methods of governance, military tactics, these are all readily available from your pocket today.
This has tremendously increased the ability of each of us to expand our own personal consciousness and explore every little nook and cranny of experiential reality. It’s not just high-flying ideas that are online either. With the Internet, we’ve created a near omnipresent virtual library of infinitely expanding information. We positively worship the thing with the amount of time we dedicate to feeding it more and more information. PDF’s of Chaucer, pictures of me vomiting into a red solo cup, Spongebob fan fiction, midget porn. It’s all ready to be accessed within seconds. As a result, our ability and methods for self-education have completely transformed. How about our process of creation?
We are able to sweep through information and arrive to conclusions in a vastly shorter amount of time than it took in the age of libraries, of spoken knowledge. Regardless of the physical limitations of our brains to process information, our instant access to all this information means we are digesting thoughts and ideas faster than ever possible before. Because so many have access to this system, we’re experiencing a deluge of the creative works fueled by informed insights. This is a shot of steroids for our intellectual evolution.
Picasso said, ‘talent borrows, genius steals’. Cultural anthropologists have suggested that all art and innovation is glorified collage building. If you look through the body of this article, you’ll see links and images taken from all over the Internet. The majority of the thoughts compiled on this page are pulled from insights found online. And you’re reading them. What happens to these ideas next? Maybe you’ll talk about them or write about them? Share them in some way using the streamlined infrastructure for content sharing put in place by Facebook and Google? We are churning through our reality at a blinding pace today. This is an entirely different world from the Mayan who deduced his reality from the stories he’s told and the stars he sees in the night sky.
3. Climate Control
We’ve had years of passionate debate about the impact we have on our planet’s environment. The issue has taken such a central focus that businesses and entire industries are investing money in promoting themselves as environmentally friendly brands. For the purposes of this article, I’m not as interested in assessing the effects of our industrial growth on the climate of our planet. I’m more interested in the fact that we can impact it at all.
This isn’t an unprecedented feat for life on Earth. Altering the make up of our atmosphere has been the domain of the plants for eons. What’s different about us is the level of consciousness we have individually and collectively. The fact that we can wield change on such a massive scale with purpose. Our cities have changed the topography of entire regions to resemble the structure of our logic. Squares and grids planted on the Earth like a massive computer chip.
The freons we have pumped into the air have shown us that we can destroy our protective ozone layer. The smog and gas byproducts of our growth gave birth to the terrifying spectre of Global Warming. We have stepped close to the edge and many are afraid that we will fall. If we hadn’t approached that edge though, we would not have dreamt up the concept of Terraforming.
Terraforming is the process of transforming an uninhabitable planet into an inhabitable one by altering the conditions of its atmosphere, temperature and magnetic field. Here’s a simplified infographic from National Geographic that shows some of the key elements that would be needed for the process of terraforming Mars:
We’ve had staggering advancements on Earth already. During the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese showed off their ability to manipulate weather and dissipate smog. The American government has been experimenting with militarizing weather systems. Some have even blamed the sonar work of DARPA for causing a recent uptick in super-massive earthquakes. The point is, we are a lot further along on this frontier than you may think. Our biggest obstacle for terraforming a planet like Mars is no longer altering the atmospheric conditions, but on strengthening the magnetic field. Perhaps the massive influx of materials from asteroid mining will be the crucial first piece to navigating that challenge.
So what does this new frontier of science mean in the context of this Ascension bit? It means we are developing a failsafe. The science of terraforming liberates our fate from the fate of the Earth in very much the same way space travel does…only on a massive scale. Once we develop this capacity, our solar system will be come a garden of consciousness and we will be its worker bees.
4. Human Engineering
Human Engineering is an expression of the same power as Climate Control only on a more intimate scale. It is the ability to control our own evolution. We’ve already liberally used genetic engineering on the crops that make up our food supply. We’ve mapped the human genome and we’ve developed the ability to clone. Stem cell research, in spite of its controversy, has allowed us to re-imagine the scope of our ability to heal and repair our bodies. We’ve developed the methodology for implanting color receptors into our eyes so that we can see a broader color spectrum. The proponents of the Singularity movement argue that we are approaching a point in our technological development that we will be able to sustain human life indefinitely. Immortality. Steroid treatments have raised the bar for athletic achievement so high that they’ve created an identity crisis in nearly every sport. This field of human engineering has developed so far that our primary obstacle toward progressing is the mine field of ethical dilemmas it presents.
The developing science of eugenics lead to catastrophic genocides in the middle of the 20th century. How do we handle the responsibility that comes with the power of controlling the evolution of our species? Who will decide the direction of our growth? Will the advent of pre-birth engineering and human enhancement procedures create an insurmountable divide between rich and poor?
This is the most troubling item on this list. Our capabilities far outreach our capacity for understanding their ramifications. Yes, this is also felt in other areas such as Climate Change, but this is the field of tinkering with who we are on such an intimate level that even the slightest step can lead us down a tragic and irreversible path. Still, the fact remains: We are standing on the doorstep of God-like control over our own fate. This, to me, represents a profound ascension.
5. Nuclear Energy
We’ve harnessed the power of the Sun. The power of fission to split atoms and the power of fusion to combine them are literally at the core of what makes the Sun work. It is also another hallmark of our modern era. Nuclear energy has fueled the growth of the massive cities that have changed our planets topography, provided energy to industry, and opened up the possibility of interstellar space travel. It has also given us the ability to completely and instantaneously destroy our entire species and a large portion of life on this planet. That’s why I put it last on this list.
All of the developments and technologies I’ve discussed as evidence of our impending ascension as a planet are marching forward. The knowledge exists and the developments are happening faster than we can keep track of. For example, I couldn’t even think of a clever way to include this weeks piece of news about NASA’s speculation on the apparent possibility of warp drives. We are approaching the summit of incredible change, right on schedule for what the ancients predicted.
There is nothing that can stop our climb except for one thing: our total destruction. There is no cessation of the evolutionary process without massive destruction. Our power defines our crossroads. Ascend or Die. There is no in between. We are sitting at that fork right now, in the year 2012 A.D. just as was predicted millennia ago.