Monday, May 17, 2010
2012- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO US?
So we watched the movie, googled the info, witnessed the daily destruction on the news, from earthquakes in China and Haiti, Floods in Sri-lanka to volcano’s in Iceland. Certainly something is stirring in the depths of our planet.
If you haven’t had the least bit of interest in the “day after tomorrow”, then let me toss you a nutshell. According to the Aztec/Mayan calendar a series of cataclysmic events are set to be triggered on 21st December 2012, which marks the end of a 5,125 year-long cycle. The phenomenon has had various interpretations from New Age beliefs in a spiritual shift, to claims of black hole developments and the “end of the world.” It may seem rather whimsical to believe that the world is doomed to end on the 21st of December, yet at the same time, occurrences around the world beg to differ. I have my personal beliefs, which are highly biased and bordering on skepticism on the issue but for the purposes of this rant, I shall shelve it to make way for a more pressing social concern.
SO! It is evident that as sophisticated as we humans are, we cannot control Mother Nature and her forces, they are indeed more powerful than any one Individual, Nation or Continent. In fact sometimes we humans can’t even control artificial constructions as was proven by the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. However what we can control is ourselves. God, or nature for those who are agnostic, has equipped man with “free will”, the power to make decisions. Some of us may believe in destiny and fate. The rest may believe that you are what you “maketh” of yourself. Either way we all do agree on a spectrum of “free will”.
Now let us put all this waffle in perspective. On one hand there is apparently this date in the future that the world is going to end on, and on the other there are us human beings traversing on a path of free will.
Regardless of one’s convictions on the whole 2012 saga, it is interesting to reflect on who we are and if we would be happy with ourselves if we did indeed die tomorrow or in two years; yet here the Mayan calendar gives us a specific date and assuming that this date is true, what does that mean for us?
Such a predicament cannot be viewed through a generic lens. Instead it must be viewed from two separate lens, those who believe in carnal pursuits and the satisfaction of wants in the here and now, and those who believe in a hereafter and eternal bliss or perpetual damnation. People combine the two lenses in varying degrees but let us examine it from the extremes of both perspectives.
Say, you believe that before you die you need to satisfy your unlimited wants and achieve things you would over 40 years within 2 years. You need to travel the world, date an absolutely delectable specimen or get married, eat and drink your heart out, spend a fortune in Vegas, do things you always wanted to do, and enjoy what the world has to offer then THIS is the time, here and now 2 years before doomsday, so you better get cracking! There is no need for investments and retirement plans that mature when you are 60. You need to live life to the fullest. This is usually the response held by people who survive lethal brushes with death and for those who have been told they have “X number of days, or months to live.” The merits of this view, is that, indeed a satisfied life is more rewarding as one feels “alive”.
On the other hand there is the lens of those who believe in an after-life. Even if your conviction in God may not be that strong, most people feel that they “have time”, to settle their scores before they die.
BUT, what if you were told, “Look Mr. you have 2 years to earn your keep in the gardens of Eden.” What then? Would you rush to Mosques, Churches, Temples and Synagogues more often? Would you clear your debts, take care of the needy, the hungry and the afflicted? Would you be kinder to your neighbours and spend evenings and weekends with your family instead of overtime at work? Well what we fail to realize is that indeed we have been told this in our scriptures, we have a limited time to earn our keep, yet we assume that we have scores of it.
Perhaps, it is not a bad thing then that there is a specific date that we have to “live” until. Mainly because all the worlds major religions propagate that life on this earth is impermanent and that there is a need for self-restraint and kindness to ourselves, others and the environment around us. Yet more often than not we seem to be planning for a distant date in the human calendar rather than an assured day that we have been warned about by God.
So what if we all clear up our acts by 2012? Find a balance between “living in this world” and “living in the hereafter”. What if we say to ourselves, by December 21st 2012 I want to be a better person. Whether this means you want to be more accomplished or you want to augment your spiritual satisfaction doesn’t matter, as long as we set a target, that we would be at peace with should we die on that particular day. It is just a reminder that this world is capricious and both science and religion have established that one day indeed, the world will end. You may label it God’s decree or Earths revenge, or just the natural scientific order of things yet assuredly we all come to an end regardless of your definition, and so will this bounteous planet.
Thus we need to be aware that in the end it is a patent reality that we are all liable for the lives of others, how we treat others around us matters more in the hereafter than how we treat ourselves. In the minutest way possible we are all connected, part of a larger circle of events that correspond, cross, inter-connect, wander, converge and ultimately congregate in a single ephemeral heart-beat that will exist when the world does indeed come to an end. However if our ends turn out to be structured around faith, spirituality, tragedy or disappointment with ourselves on our last day, depends on whether we realize our roles in life and the footprints in the sand, before our final curtain call descends on the stage we were sent upon