SUBHEAD: In this season of warmth and light we're at the top of the curve, but we're headed for a tough winter ride.
By Juan Wilson on 20 June 2012 for Island Breath -
Image above: "The Wreck of Ole '97" by Thomas Hart Benton, 1943. From (http://www.huntermuseum.org/gallery/14/benton/the-wreck-of-the-ole-97/).
For most human beings this is the longest day of their year. We're at the top of the arc of light and warmth on this journey around our sun. This day was traditionally celebrated as the return of the summer season brining abundant growth. It should be a time of optimism and hope. But there is a cloud on the horizon of this year. There is trouble ahead.
We're halfway to the Winter Solstice on 21 December 2012. That will be the shortest day of the year. A time after the final harvest when we enter a long season of darkness. For many in the world this coming winter is one to really worry about.
Our industrial civilization is, however, mostly secular and without a spiritual coherence. It has extolled the virtues of Growth, Progress and Wealth, but now fails to produce them. It has also failed in providing mythic narrative of our place on Earth without them.
That spiritual void has been filled with some strange beliefs based on faith emanating from two major hubs - technology and religion.
JESUS IS COMING
Some of these are beliefs based on "traditional" religions. There are those Fundamentalist Christian's (reportedly including George Bush and tens of millions of others) who believe in the immanent arrival of Jesus in a Second Coming that will lead to the Rapture - one of the strangest ideas in Western religious thinking. The Rapture is the gathering of the living and dead believers in Christ being suddenly swept out of their clothes (or coffins) and up into heaven to meet Jesus.
They will leave behind their pets and other non-believers to suffer the tribulations of the end times. Some party - naked people and zombies.
Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first secretary of the Interior? He was a Christian Fundamentalist who believed in the Rapture. He told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."
DEEPAK CHOPRA IS COMING
Other contemporary mystical religious beliefs are derived from synthesizing one ore more "New Age" sources into a belief system. These are self actualization mixtures that are inventing new spiritual realms on the fly.
For example mixing anthroposophy, yoga and aroma therapy; or perhaps combining zen, parkour and crystal healing. There is no end of possibilities.
How about scientology, macrobiotics and surfing.
Often the combined elements of one of these synthesized spiritual paths is shared with no one but oneself. This is something fairly unique to our time. To build such a belief system requires an autonomous, anonymous individual in a secular society with lots of free time and access to all of the knowledge of our time - namely, a link to the internet.
THE ALIENS ARE COMING
There is also a fully secular set of belief systems that are pseudo scientific. They are often based either on science/mysticism, techno-optimist or techno-pessimist views. For example the Heaven's Gate UFO cult in was a group of techno-geeks that supported themselves as computer programmer's working out of a mansion in San Diego, California.
The Heaven's Gate members simply wished to rendezvous with an alien spacecraft they believed was traveling with (and was concealed by) the Hale-Bopp comet. On 26 March 1997 thirty-nine members of the group committed suicide as the comet made its nearest approach to the Earth. They were informed that they would be teleporting to their spiritual leaders aboard the spaceships. They made sure to dress in black with matching sport sneakers.
But the pseudo-science religions are not limited to those like Heaven's Gate.
There are all kinds of garden variety false beliefs based on junk science or techno nonsense. They include the techno-optimists waiting for desktop cold-fusion that will save the planet from Global Warming and the scientifically naive with foil hats fearing all radio wave transmittions.
Last fall quite a few people were convinced that the comet Elinin was going destroy the Earth.
Ea O Ka Aina: Comet Elenin is Coming 5/19/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Time for a Sanity Check 7/12/11
Ea O Ka Aina: NASA spots comet Elenin 8/11/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Where's my Elinin Doomsday? 10/19/11
Now those believers are probably focused on 21 December 2012. They join a gathering crowd that is now crossing religious, new-age, and technical beliefs into a new genre. There are those who have linked visits by aliens saucers with the appearance of crop circles to the myths surrounding the Mayan calendar. It all supports evidence that next Winter Solstice will be "The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI).
That sounds like a plausible name for a religion that might follow - Belief in Teotwawki.
Amusingly, it was Christian missionaries in Central America that perpetuated that idea that the Mayan calendar predicted the world ending this December. Funny how things get mixed up.
(http://www.digitaltrends.com/international/apocalypse-never-newly-discovered-mayan-calendar-further-disproves-doomsday-myth/). None the less, there is definitely something coming this way between now and the Winter Solstice. I suspect it's reality.
REALITY IS COMING
That's the really scary part. All of these narcissistic mixtures of faith and belief do not directly deal with the head on problem we face moving from this day forward towards the coming winter. They deal with self realization and other luxuries that should come after having food plants in the ground and canning jars ready to be filled.
There may be crop failures, economic collapse, weather events, and war. There could be all of the above. Too many things are hanging by a thread to be complacent. Get a new roof on. Dig a well. There's plenty to do. From my perspective you may have six months to get ready to be on your own.
Ea O Ka Aina: Hazardous Games 6/18/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Winter Solstice 2011 12/21/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Summer Solstice 2011 6/21/11