Recently I found myself in a conversation with a group of people about the end of the world. One woman spoke of a native tribe in the northwest that have supposedly moved their village up into the hills in preparation for the Mayan apocalypse. Another person spoke of a profound dream she’d had where a tsunami crashed over the land, flooding and clearing it. She was really concerned by it, relating it to the Mayan prophecy also. My response was to joke that during my entire teenage life I had sex dreams almost every night, but unfortunately, it turned out they were definitely not foreshadowing anything about to come into my waking life. Sad but true. Everybody laughed. Like many things, dreams often speak in symbol or metaphor, not the literal language we are used to – otherwise I would have been a very happy teenage boy.
I don’t put much stock into the alternate predictions of impending doom or mass enlightenment set to come into effect on the 21st of December, when the Mayan calendar stops (and with it reality as we know it). This isn’t because I’m afraid of change in the status quo or a loss of security – I live off of barely any money as a squatter, in a cabin without running water or electricity, putting constant effort into providing food and warmth for myself. I have many 50 gallon barrels full of rain water, plenty of dried deer meat, copious sacks of hazel and walnuts and other foods stored away and generally have spent the last ten years learning skills and conditioning myself in ways that would make me a likely candidate to live pretty decent though hard times. I also think it would be really cool if there was a sudden massive shift in consciousness among humans – sounds like the best thing possible really. So it’s not that I am afraid of the Mayans (or, probably more correctly, the New Agers – as I understand that present day Mayan people have very little involvement in the 2012 hysteria) being right, it’s that I think blindly following a prophecy is absurd.
I touched on these thoughts in Unlearn, but essentially, I really don’t like dogma. Almost dogmatically. When our actions are governed not by reality and relationship with what is real, but by some abstract ideas coming to us from elsewhere, I get turned off. Don’t get me wrong – when I say “reality” I don’t mean some reductionist scientific reality that can be duplicated in a laboratory. I live in a world where dreams and imagination are very real and powerful, where animals communicate things in subtle ways and magic is part of the fabric of existence. But to me, some ancient civilization’s calendar has about as much relevance to reality as the bible. People who think lust is a sin are operating on the same program as 2012 doomsdayers. In both situations the dusty old scrolls of some ancient civilization are given huge importance, while present reality is negated. There might be great symbolic meaning and
metaphor behind the stories of the bible or Mayan prophecy, but to interpret them literally and prepare for the rapture is an ugly road of fear.
Having said all that, I am extremely curious what is going to happen on the 21st and admit that, being non-dogmatic, the world could very well change or end or something on that day. It could today too. Or tomorrow. But, since that date has some cultural significance, I’m taking the opportunity to evaluate my preparedness for an apocalypse. As I mentioned, I will have plenty of preserved food on hand, maybe some spare batteries for my little portable radio, make sure I have told a couple people that I have messed up with that I love them, and it might be nice to go on a date with somebody too. Of course I wrote a book filled with plenty of skills useful to anyone wanting to ready themselves for a little doomprophecy, and would recommend it to anyone wanting a plethora of fun and functional tips and tricks to make it through the endtimes.
Do I have any advice otherwise to someone who wants to prepare (just for fun..)? There is the obvious survival checklist and such basic practical considerations, but maybe more fun and important would be to just prepare to die. You should be doing this already really. Not in a paranoid fearful way, but in the sense that nobody wants to die without having lived fully first. To really do this is profound – it makes life serious and playful and meaningful and honest. That’s all I’m really gonna do. It’ll be like halloween, except we all think we are gonna die, so get really honest and remember who we are.
You were probably hoping for something practical – but really, if the Mayans were right, this should be so big that none of that is gonna matter.