In observance of the 2012 Apocalypse predicted by the Mayans, I offer the following updated selection from my co-authored book, “Travel Within: The 7 Steps to Wisdom and Inner Peace.” It’s one of the few blogging times I don’t bother trying to find humor in the situation…
The “Doomsday Clock,” as estimated by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, stands at five minutes to midnight, which suggests that nuclear Armageddon is not far off.
The good news is that the Doomsday Clock doesn’t always tick in the same direction. We can force it backward. In 1953, after the U.S. and Soviet Union both tested thermonuclear devices within a nine-month span, the Doomsday Clock stood at 11:58 p.m., leaving us just two “minutes” from annihilation. In subsequent years, events like the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty earned us 10 extra “minutes” of breathing room.
The Doomsday Clock was adjusted forward after the attacks of 9/11/01, and we clicked one minute closer to death again in January, due to instability in Iran and North Korea. By whatever system of measurement you choose, we’re running out of time. Something must change at the fundamental level of human nature if we are to survive.
Shi’ite creed anticipates the return of the 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi, the righteous descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. His return is expected to be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi is supposed to lead the world into an era of universal peace.
Christians tell a similar story in different terms: the Second Coming of Jesus, the End of Time and Judgment Day. Different sects believe different versions. Latter-Day Saints, for example, are convinced that we have already entered our “last days.”
Do we really need to find ourselves up to our knees in blood before salvation arrives? And is it really necessary for us to rely on an outside power to save us, like Jesus, Buddha or the 12th Imam?
What if the answer were actually within ourselves? What if the physical and metaphysical paths of inquiry – science and faith – led to the same place? What if God, love, heart, brain, man, woman, animal, vegetable, mineral, matter and void were really all just different expressions of the same force?
You could call that force anything you like – energy, God, the Tao, Allah or, as George Lucas did in his “Star Wars” movies, simply “the Force.” I believe this force exists and connects us to everything else in the universe as a common family. We’re all parts of the same whole.
More importantly, I believe this force is driven by a natural tendency to balance itself. The simplest demonstration of this is the way a spinning object “insists” on becoming a sphere.
Physicists have determined that planets, stars and galaxies form when particles of matter, driven by basic physical forces, naturally coalesce into spinning objects. These objects may start out lumpy and oblong, but the longer they spin, the more balanced they become.
Your perception of the Earth may be one of rugged terrain, tall mountains, deep oceans and vast deserts. Not a perfect sphere by any means, is it? But it’s all a matter of perception. If the Earth were shrunk to the size of a billiard ball and placed in your hand, its surface would look as smooth as a real billiard ball. That’s how insignificant Mount Everest is, in the grand scheme.
We are spinning toward balance and perfection, both as a planet and as a species. It is our natural tendency.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll reach our destination. Galaxies and solar systems can collide and destroy each other. So can civilizations.
No one will ever write a book capable of stopping an asteroid from smashing into our planet and triggering our extinction. But perhaps someone can write a book that will stop us from smashing into each other and triggering our own extinction.
We must take hope wherever we can find it. If we can build a rocket capable of destroying or diverting a “doomsday asteroid” so it doesn’t annihilate us, we must do so. And if we can build peace – personal, inner peace that leads to peace between neighbors, tribes, nations and religions – we must do so.