James Kunstler is in the habit of issuing a forecast for the coming year, so I thought I might give it a try. While I admire him and his work, he has become a bit hysterical of late, like he's contemplating violence too much, in the context of what he perceives to be the impending collapse of America. In his most recent post, he imagined impaling socialites who appear in The New York Observer "Shindigger" column, in Zuccotti Park, "in the manner of Vlad.” You know things are getting strange, when an internationally known writer publicly releases imagery of the torturous death of living people, and no one says anything about it - you can bet it's because they don't want people reading what he has to say, because too much of it is a bit too close to the truth. And it's not like he was singling out financiers. If you actually read the Shindigger column, you might catch some of his humor. You'll find people who fund the maintenance of Versailles, Dukes and Vicomtes, parade after parade of dilettantes and otherwise functionally illiterate pretty people. I'm not accustomed to reading such breathless writing, such fawning, self-satisfied fluff. I particularly enjoyed the image of Lou Reed, his fur-lined coat, extolling the virtue of Glenn Close, or was it Meryl Streep? (I don't mean to disparage those two great actors.) For the record, I do not advise violence against anyone. Kunstler sees it as an immediate concern. His forecast is sure to be unsparingly harsh.
2012, of course, is said to be a year of prophecy. It is said by some to be the year of the apocalypse. Can you hear the drums and bells sounding, for war with Iran? How about we turn the Holy Land and Fertile Crescent into glass parking lots! As if the state of the world isn't already condemnation of the existing order. Iran blocking the straight of Hormuz? Sounds like a pending Gulf of Tonkin false flag kind of incident, for those who remember how we got ourselves led into Vietnam, or the WMD that led us into Iraq. It certainly is shaping up to be a year of tumult, and it's an election year. The European economy appears to be buying time, perhaps hoping for a miracle. Plenty of Americans hoping for a miracle too. Even the great dragon China is looking like it might collapse economically, as there's no one to bail them out of the effects of what may prove to be the most laissez faire real estate bubble ever. I think there are basically two paths ahead for the American economy, either hyper-inflation or default. Thankfully, I'm not an economist, so you don't have to believe me. Though if you believe anything coming out of an economist at this point, I feel for you.
I'm actually torn between world views. The video on the collapse of the existential function, from Chris Martenson, combined with John Michael Greer's work, have left me with few illusions about the path humanity faces in an age of increasing scarcity. From that perspective, including Kunstler, we are facing a long decline as the resources to maintain the life we have grown accustomed to grow ever scarcer. At the same time, I read the work of Charles Eisenstein, and watch the film Thrive, and I want very much to believe that I will see the world they envision in my lifetime. I want to believe Terrence Mckenna's talk about radical transformation. I want to believe in rapid and fluid evolutionary shifts in consciousness, in the direction of balance, wholeness and healing. I want to believe this is a divine universe, and anything can happen.
There is of course plenty of disagreement that we are in any kind of end time. It's a cultural joke really, the territory of delusional weirdos, residue of Y2K. John Michael Greer, who is the Arch-Druid in America, who one might expect to have some spiritual sense of what is going on, considers the mythology of 2012 to be a fantasy, which he ascertains the Maya never predicted, and Terrence Mckenna never really saw on his "drug trips". He has even taken to printing weekly excerpts from his book Apocalypse Not, to dissuade people from falling into what he believes is a trap, a dead end (if you'll pardon the pun.) I agree with him basically, if any ideas about 2012 lead you to ignore or deny what John Michael Greer has to teach, which is mostly about getting clear in the head and grounded in the Earth.
I wonder though, about 2012. If the precession of the equinox is on a 26,000 year cycle, and the sun is as close to the line between the Earth and the center of the galaxy as it has been on that 26,000 year cycle, then I take the mid-point of that cycle, when the sun was furthest from that line, 13,000 years ago, as the time of the collapse of the last ice age. I'm not even entirely convinced there wasn't another advanced civilization, at that time, basically wiped from the face of the Earth. And 26,000 years ago, the last time the sun was in this place, was the approximate end of Neanderthal. I'd say that qualifies as epochal.
I don't know if it's true, but it has a nice symmetry. As for 2012, I think this may well be the year demand for oil exceeds supply. If you don't know what that will mean for humanity, you should. You're going to be compelled to face it, at some point soon. You'd be well served by not waiting until it's apparent to everybody, because at that point a significant portion of the world population is going to go functionally insane. If this is the year, you can bet people will spend another decade raging that it's all the fault of government regulation, environmentalists, activist judges, recalcitrant dictators etc. but there is no going back. After a hundred+ year climb, world-wide production has been on a flat-line since 2004. If you believe production will one day climb again, for any period of time, then you are living someplace other than planet Earth. At least, the planet in your head isn't the one under your feet. Two hundred years from now, when fossil fuels have been exhausted, and humanity probably too, we may measure 2012 as the time of that shift. That will seem pretty epochal too, the decline and fall of the Developed nations, the decline and fall of America.
Mckenna toward the end of his life imagined something even more dramatic, like humanity was embroiled in the ever increasing complexity of universal processes, and we are going to emerge quite suddenly into some higher plane of consciousness, unrecognizable to the paradigm of the day. When I get to thinking like that, I half expect Quetzalcoatl the plumed serpent, to come roaring out of the sky devouring the wicked and enlivening the good, like Daniel Pinchbeck predicts. I've long wondered about that curious serpentine spiral at the core of being...
I want to believe too, in free energy. I'd been hearing a lot about Nikola Tesla, before I stumbled on a PBS documentary, Master of Lightning, on-line. I started watching the video in the late afternoon, but I'm on city wireless, and my signal gets a little sketchy from 7-11pm. The video stopped loading about 42 minutes in. So I did a few things on the Internet that didn't require so much band-width, I went about a few things around the house, returning to the computer about five hours later. I'd closed the video, so I had to load it again from the start. I set the computer aside while the video played silently, the screen blacked out. I picked up Charles Eisenstein's Sacred Economics; near the end of the book, I opened it, and the first line I read was, "When JP Morgan abandoned Tesla..." The last page I'd read was about ten pages before that, so I told myself I'd read, and then check the video when I came to the passage about Tesla. When I reached the passage, I set the book down. The computer screen was blank, so I picked up the earphones, put them on - and heard the exact same phrase that I heard last, when the video stopped loading five hours earlier. When I logged in and the video appeared, I saw an egg spinning wildly, on the machine I had seen in the freeze frame earlier, which Tesla had built to demonstrate the safety of AC current.
JP Morgan supposedly abandoned Tesla because Tesla was trying to create (or did create) a device that would provide free energy for all. I don't know that Tesla was on the right track with his tower, and high frequency wireless transmission of electricity, though. The wireless electricity required to run this industrial lifestyle seems like it would ionize most of the atmosphere. The creator of the film Thrive, Foster Gamble, believes he has found a solution to that problem. It rests on the torus, or the energy that cycles around a dynamo, like the magnetosphere of the Earth, or the heliosphere of the sun surrounding the solar system, or the envelope that is believed to surround the entire galaxy, something like the shape of an orange. The film rests on the premise that devices have been created that defy the second law of thermodynamics, creating more energy than they use, by generating a torus. The story goes, that most of these inventions have been confiscated by governments, and the inventors have been harassed and even killed. The film goes on to surmise that there is an agenda of world domination with a goal of one world government.
I don't doubt there is such an agenda. I even have reason to believe that the government of the United States may be a kind of fraud. The Federal Reserve certainly is something very much like a fraud. My mother is convinced the government has built containment and extermination camps, in the States, in anticipation of social unrest. She believes the government we have is in fact a corporation, created in 1868. According to her world view, the Republic ceased to exist, we ceased to exist as sovereign individuals, and became corporate persons, or citizens. It's a very similar argument, this and what is found in Thrive, that if we just come together and realize that just about everything we've ever been told is basically a lie, we can build a better world together. We probably can, if we can get past the lie-thing without falling apart. As for world domination, it is all vanity. Two hundred years from now if we retain even a modicum of our technology, it will be something like a miracle.
Or maybe the Aliens will finally show up and set us right. For myself, in 2012, I want to be in southern England in July, dancing in the wheat fields around Glastonbury and Stonehenge, calling down a crop circle. Or, calling to those people who do it, that I might see such a thing done. At the least, I will have danced in the wheat fields of England. Because of all the very curious things about the backward nature of this Age, there is this strange silence about these crop circles. They are surely some of the greatest artworks of the Age, and yet the artists are unknown. Hardly even searched for. Perhaps it is fairies. I'm not sure what is more ridiculous, to suggest the artists are aliens, fairies or people.
I'd also like to plant about ten fruit trees, tear down my house and start building the off-the-grid marvel I can see in my head. Which is not what one does if one believes the world is going to end. There may be a global financial apocalypse, perhaps. A severe oil shock, probably. The emergence of a kind of rabid desire to exploit every resource everywhere, complete with frothing at the mouth, and the biting of those who stand in the way, metaphorically speaking. Iran will probably eclipse Jobs in the election cycle, so politicians don't have to talk about a thing they don't know how to create. War is easier. We know how to do that. And it's good for the economy, like tax cuts and eliminating regulations. Might as well rack up another few trillion in debt. It's never going to be repaid, you know. Actually, I would like to see debt forgiveness across the board, the elimination of the Federal Reserve, of central banks everywhere, and the creation of an entirely different kind of money eliminating interest. But I'm probably a few decades ahead on that one. Or centuries.
If oil demand does exceed supply in 2012, I suspect what we will see is not a broad scale shift toward renewables, or some steady-state “ecotechnic” economy, but rather epic denial, and a last push to open up every available source of oil, gas and coal, after the model of Canada. If that is the case, and Aliens or Quetzalcoatl or Christ or the Singularity or free energy doesn't show up to save us, then we are certainly headed for a long decline, with probably a great deal of violence and death, on a scale never before seen, in the long story of the species - in the midst of radical environmental shifts humanity has not had to face since the end of the last ice age. Can you imagine both poles ice free, most of the year? Who knows? Maybe even a breaking up of continents, so thoroughly have we been de-greasing tectonic plates. A few centuries from now, when things settle down, perhaps we will be in a position to create the beautiful world that is possible. If we have not lost most of the technology we have today, the best of it, the most useful.
I recommend in 2012, letting go of conventional thinking. Conventional thinking has led us into a very tight corner, and it is leading us to our cultural destruction. Let go, rebuild your world view from the inside out, take nothing to be The truth, while grounding your body in the rhythms of the Earth. Flood the Earth with whatever Art emerges from your core. Be good to people. Be kind. Dance, sing and smile. And be good to yourself. There are difficult times ahead, and that will go better for you and yours, if you are clear about it.