I GREW UP with a strong sense of impending doom. My childhood was filled with alternative books about the poles shifting, the collapse of the economy, and the alien invasion. Collectively, my generation was raised on Mad Max, Star Wars and “Outer Limits.” Everything popular came in a spaceship, including our salvation. As a society we witnessed the birth of the expression “drank the Kool-Aid” and lost our innocence at Columbine. We have seen several wars, Y2K, 9-11, Katrina, Haiti, the Sumatra Tsunami, and now Hurricane Sandy. Collectively we’ve held our breath wondering: Is the Apocalypse nigh?
My doomsday myth of choice was the Mayan End Date. I feared for my own future and in some ways felt as if I didn’t have one. On the night of December 20, 2012, I packed my bags and prepared to leave the city. If riots, the alien invasion, the end of gasoline or even the poles shifting was going to happen, I would not be caught off guard. But nothing happened. It was the same as any other day and, quite frankly, I was a little disappointed.
Now here we are, halfway through 2013, and I am wondering if I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. I have heard some wild theories about how the date is wrong, or such and such is bound to happen when the next grand conjunction occurs…but quite frankly, it’s falling on deaf ears. Haven’t we been through enough? Can we please stop equating “Apocalypse” with “Armageddon?” I am tired of worrying about canned goods and taking survivalist lessons.
The word apocalypse is Greek and means “uncovering,” as in a prophetic disclosure or revelation. Armegeddon means “a decisive or catastrophic conflict.” All we have to do is look at Japan to see that Armegeddon has already happened. We’ve been waiting 2,000 years to finally write the last chapter of humanity. It’s one of the biggest mysteries of this age: How does it all end?
People are literally dying to know.
I would like to suggest that the Grand Revelation is actually a cosmic joke. There is no end. No neat wrap-ip with a sign that says “That’s all folks.” There is only a slow decline of the current status quo simultaneous to the growth and maturity of the next mode of being. I would like to propose an end to “apocalyptic” and replace it with “Epoch-alyptic” thought.
In the “epoch” paradigm, everything has its time. What is born and what is dying is equally celebrated. There is acceptance of the current now, as we collectively release our attachment to linear progression and embrace the cycles within our lives.
At this moment in time, there are multiple epochs in multiple cultures simultaneously speaking to the same thing: catastrophe and the end of an era. We could say that the biblical “End of Days” prophesy is the previous epoch witnessing its own death from the moment of its birth. Our current awareness of myth, history and other cultures has created the possibility for a new global epoch — one that will not be concerned with its demise, because it is rooted in the cycles of life. But it’s up to the (Epoch)alyptic Generation to act like a cultural brush fire that clears old thought structures to make way for new growth of ideas.
It may be that global catastrophe is still imminent. It may happen in my lifetime that everything I know and understand will come to an end. But just as I cannot live in fear of random inner city violence, I cannot go on living under the threat and fear of unknown forces.
We are in an epoch of change. But we already know that the trauma of change is equivalent to the resistance it meets. I pray that I am a part of the last generation that grows up under the threat of “The End Times.” May we act like bamboo in the wind, gracefully bending and parting the way for the next generation, whispering the revelation of the (Epoch)alypse: “The future is what you make of it.”