It did, of course, a year and a half later, but there was a collective moment of anticipation centered on a single event. It was a palpable feeling. It seemed to come from all directions at once.
I have that same feeling now, only more intense. People seem testier and tempers are flaring more readily. Everyone seems on edge.
Not that the news outlets are helping much. Between falling satellites and countries going hay-wire, fights and protests and revolutions are breaking out in every corner of the globe. Even down to the most minute level, there's confrontation and rebellion in mundane conversations.
You know what it feels like? It's like everyone is trying to stake out their piece of the pie before the shit storm. I don't think most people are aware of it. They just go about their daily lives being steered this way and that by the Keepers, not really analyzing their thoughts and actions. Not that this is unusual in itself.
I've noticed drivers are more aggressive. Everyday, I get stories from friends and family that so-and-so blew up for no good reason. People pop off over the least little inconvenience. It's like trying to sleep with the bathroom sink dripping all night. It's not the drip that irritates you, its the fact that it doesn't stop and you can't help but focus on it intensely.
That's what reading the headlines is like to me. Drip...drip... It's one damn thing after another. Economy, food, riots, prices, housing, environment. There's just no end to the stream of bad news. I think people are intuitively (certainly not consciously or rationally) gathering in their things.
Scandals, insiders, barbs, death. Scanning Drudge these days is like looking at a thesaurus entry for 'annoyance'. I keep waiting to see if headline editors run out of new ways to describe 'oh shit!'
At any rate, between the web bots, Goro and my own headline scrying, multiple sources are saying 'watch out.' Richard Hoagland calls it 'fear porn,' and I'm hard pressed to think of a better term. Every source of information is peddling fear and loathing. Makes me wish that Hunter S. was still around. I imagine he checked out because he saw all this coming, and there wasn't a sufficient supply of pharmaceuticals and Chivas to make the world look right again.
The sheer number of westerners using pills to survive the mental disconnect we generally call civilization is staggering. The Hopi call it Koyaanisqatsi, or 'life out of balance.' It also happens to be the title of a great 1982 film by Godfrey Reggio. Basically, humans have lost their connection to reality, to Earth and to the rhythms of Nature.
Nobody looks up anymore. No one sits out and watches the stars. Years back, when Comet Kohoutek came through, it was an amazing spectacle. The tail covered a full two or three Moon-widths. In other words, it was pretty damn hard to miss, and it lasted weeks.
One night, I was sitting on my porch just staring at this magnificent thing, and a bunch of the neighborhood kids asked me what I was looking at. The first thing I noticed was that they didn't bother to follow my gaze. They asked me first. When I pointed and said the comet, they looked and their jaws dropped. After a minute of staring, they started asking me what it was.
Now these were older kids, maybe young teens. They'd probably sat through many science classes. Apparently, they had not gotten the information that a major comet was passing by, or even what a comet is (even the ridiculous NASA definition).
No one watches the sky anymore, or nurses seeds, or observes animals, or even seems cognizant of the Universe around us. No one can tell you what the weather will do just by smell or looking at the clouds. No one knows what the Moon phase is. Hell, there's an app for everything. If you ask someone, they are more likely to check their iPad than look up.
I think about when we bought our farm, and my first act was to get down and smell the dirt. My wife looked at me like I had taken leave of my senses. The old man who's the caretaker knew. He told her I was testing the soil. I can tell what plants will grow best in a given soil by the way it smells. You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy.
It's trite, I know, but the old axiom about smelling the roses is true. You can find out so much by simple observation. But we, as a people, have grown so dependent on our machines and toys and gee-gaws, that we've lost the simple art of looking. Melihat-lihat, as they say in Indonesian (saw-see).
It's so easy to manipulate people when they don't bother to verify anything, or worse, trust their own senses and instincts. We've become dependent on 'experts' and 'authorities' to do the work for us. And because of it, they can feed us any amount of bullshit they want and we just swallow it.
If we all watched Nature, we'd know there are times for growth and times for death. In the higher latitudes, it's summer and winter. Here in the tropics, it's Wet and Dry. We wouldn't sweat the economic vagaries because we know that organic things must follow seasons, cycles and patterns. We wouldn't work so hard to save government or corporations, because like everything, they too have life-cycles. We wouldn't spend billions to deny aging and death, because we would accept that it is all part of the Plan.
Just look at the choice of words in any news story. I mean, really look. You'll notice that underneath the words is the concept that we are at war with the Universe. We are separate from and superior to the very force which gave us being. We must fight the natural cycle of things tooth and nail. We must never succumb to the inevitable.
There is no respect for grace and dignity anymore. We plug our loved ones into machines that pump and filter and blow and beep. We can't bear to let them pass as all things must. We pump trillions into stifled organizations that have become recalcitrant and need to be pruned and burned so that new growth can come through. We keep electing the same idiots to run a government that is no longer flexible and viable. And like us, they scratch and fight and claw to avoid the inevitable.
The thing is, no mater what we do, the best we can achieve is forestalling the only possible outcome. If, instead, we were like a good orchard farmer, and carefully trimmed and pruned our society regularly, we would have bushels of fruit on the table. But even the best orchard tender can't stop the freeze, only work to save the most valuable parts.
How much pain and suffering could we avoid if we just let go? How much anxiety and violence and pharmaceuticals could be saved, if we simply acknowledged the Universal Cycle? If you are thrown into a fast-moving river, you don't try to swim upstream, instead you try to manage how you get carried downstream.
Maybe I'm the one who's crazy, but it sure makes more sense to work the current, than to fight it. Haing spent a lot of time sailing, I can tell you cursing the wind won't get you very far.
I hear the psycho-babble denizens always popping off about passive-aggressive behavior, but you know? It really works! In fact, those psycho-babble people should be the first in line to be ignored. That would save a world of worry right off the bat. The old, old folks called it shunning, and the Catholics call it excommunication. If it wasn't effective, it wouldn't have been around for millennia.
It time to resurrect the tried and true. Axioms become trite because they are so damned true all the time.