This year, 2012, the Mayan calendar ends on the day before the december solstice. As I understand that, the end of an epoch, a very long time, maybe the time for our solar system to get once around its galaxy. The people of India had that kind of long view, I believe. Their epoch was 250,000 years--or was it 275,000 years? They too know we are in the last stage of a very long cycle.
The end of something, and presumably the beginning of another something.
I imagine that a majority of all humans by now must sense the end of something. Our planet has become a dangerous place, and almost all of us know all too well that we are the ones who have radically changed this planet. We, humankind, have amassed enormous powers that we have willfully applied to destroy at least half of all rainforests, have poisoned the air, the ground, and the water of this planet with our ferocious chemicals. It is we who have destroyed animal and plant habitats on every continent and so have caused the extinction of thousands, perhaps millions, of species of Life--a great danger for the planetary ecology: reducing biodiversity threatens the planetary ecology with collapse.
It is easy to see the end.
Much more difficult to see a new beginning.
If this year's end of an epoch were happening in a relatively normal period, the beginning would be something to look forward to, like Spring. An end to the cold and dormant state of winter, the vital juices of Life pushing up new everything.
But this is not a normal period; it is a period of extreme extremes. Humankind--and no science has ever questioned that we are one species--is more divided in every possible dimension than ever. However we can think of differences we have widened them. Life expectancy, health, size, skin color, morality, religion, nationality, ethnicity, wealth, power, etc. etc.
There are more humans than this planet can support, and at the same time a small minority of humans use five times what the planet provides, so that a majority of humans lives on the down side of the cliff. And it is the minority--actually a very small minority of that minority--that is continuing to poison the air, water and soil of this planet.
We have come to call our rulers the one percent, but 1% of 7,000,000,000 is 70 million: I doubt there are that many corporate owners in the world. The minority of the minority who are destroying the planet is much smaller. How many people does it take to drive one bulldozer, maintain that bulldozer, bring the fuel for that bulldozer that can destroy 10, 100 acres of virgin forest in a day. How many people does it take to overthrow a government, to negotiate a deal for "exploration and exploitation?" It takes one man and a few soldiers to aim and launch a nuclear missile halfway around the world, killing a million people, making a million square kilometers uninhabitable for the next 50,000 years.
We have allowed Exxon Mobile and Monsanto, and a few other corporations, to be wielders of magnitudes more power than they, or we, can responsibly handle.
Many of us know this but it is too late to change, and so, an unthinkable thought. So we tell ourselves "there is going to be a worldwide change of consciousness/" Presumably a change that makes it unthinkable to use the immense power we have appropriated.
Is that possible?.
Is it likely? No.
The only future I can see beyond the end of an epoch is a collapse of the eco-system, warming of the planet (which will continue for decades even when we stop poisoning the atmosphere). And/or nuclear winter. Certainly a hotter and very changed planet. The greatest change perhaps is a sharply declining biodiversity which cannot but destroy a planetary ecology. Perhaps pockets of a few humans surviving here and there in a mass extinction of species.
And after that mass extinction, as happened after the five previous mass extinctions, rapidly increasing evolution of new species. Including perhaps a new kind of human. Not tomorrow, not next year, not a hundred years from now. Many generations into an unknowable future.