Painting by Nathan Zap, 1978, oil on canvass, see more of his work here: Nocturnal Visions, the Paintings of Nathan Zap
A highly perceptive friend of mine emailed me this morning. Taking out all personal context, here is an excerpt that captures the gist:
“What are you observing? I sense a collective psychosis coming over the species, sort of a crazy-desperate lunacy, out of control and/or defeatist. I also see and feel this in myself right now, increasingly so, and the parallel is … well, I can’t determine if I’m projecting my own breakdown onto the world, or the world is causing it in me. It seems triggered by independent or autonomous events outside of any imagination on my part. (He describes a couple of recent meltdowns in his personal and professional life) These things are all thematically linked, related to dissolution and breakdown of everything. But I see similar things going on with others too.”
I think we are tuning into different channels of the psychic ether. Mine might be more out of touch with the recession era collective as this is one of the happier life phases for me at the moment. I also live in the Boulder bubble where there is no visible sign of the recession. If anything, I sense optimism a bit on the rise (with many) with the reelection of Obama, Republicans realizing that their right wing red meat tantrums aren’t working with the new demographics, their rebellion from Grover Norquist, the passage of more legalized marijuana and gay marriage and so forth. Of course, if I were struggling more inwardly I would tune into the many, very active dark channels out there. I’d be cautious about what you acknowledge could be projection. There are lots of hooks out there for those projections so it becomes self-reinforcing. Also, I’ve noticed a tendency, especially in middle-aged white guys, and especially if they don’t take care of their health, to be magnetically attracted to apocalypticism, paranoid conspiracy view, angry-white-man-it’s-all-going-to-shit-and-hell-in-a-hand-basket-view. Here’s an example from page 160 of my book Crossing the Event Horizon:
“Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end.”
That was written by an anonymous Assyrian in 2800 B.C. If he were alive today, he could probably find work on right wing talk radio.
There are numerous channels, left or right, for those drawn toward these flavors of darkness which allow a collectivizing and generalizing of inner panic and feelings of organic unsustainability and perilous mortality within.
Now, having said that, we could at any time plummet into a collective situation that would resemble those states much more. Leading contenders: war with Iran, a CME that wrecks the planet’s electronics and power grid, global financial collapse from other causes. Presently, however, I lean toward the channel selection model. If you are experiencing inner darkness you will find numerous dark channels to tune into that can reflect this. Hmm, maybe I should excerpt this as a facebook status update, see what others are feeling?
So what are you feeling? It’s so hard to separate what we feel from what we sense in the zeitgeist but give it a shot anyway. What do you sense out there?
BTW, I have numerous writings on 2012. Here’s the most significant where you’ll find links to other things I’ve written: Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Classic Pitfalls and Blindspots of Esoteric Research (it’s also available as a podcast you can download for free)
I recently wrote something for Reality Sandwich on where I plan to be on December 21st, 2012 The answer is the nowever at the center of time as you can read in the linked document. But there is a slightly more linear time/ exact spatial coordinate answer as well: The Maya Millennia Masquerade Ball in Boulder where I will be doing free dream interpretation and possibly oracle readings for free.
I’ve been feeling very uneasy lately with the occasional rise of panic and a sense of Doom that I find very scary. The feeling of Doom—as if I or someone close to me will die soon or that some earth-shattering catastrophe will befall the entire planet with massive loss of life—started suddenly for me about 2 months ago and it freaked me out because I didn’t know what would cause me to feel this way. The only other time I had this feeling was more than 20 years ago when I became psychically connected with my grandmother as she was dying, although I didn’t know she was dying at the time until after the feeling passed with her passing 3 days later. Now, about 2-3 times a week this feeling is rising in me with no apparent triggers, (and no one in my family is on their death bed) and though I can work through it with mindful breathing, it’s still scary as hell. My first reaction to this sense of Doom was to speculate that indeed, something terrible beyond imagining was certainly about to occur on this planet. (My second reaction was to go to the ER because I thought I could be having a heart attack, which thankfully I wasn’t and the old ticker is doing fine). It could be that I’m being affected by hormone fluctuations as I am a woman in my early 40’s and going through perimenopause . Hormone imbalances have been known to cause feelings of anxiousness and irritability. As your friend is of middle age, I wonder if he might be going through a male version of menopause called “Irritable Male Syndrome” a.k.a. andropause. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_male_syndrome) I also have some musculoskeletal issues with my upper back and neck, and I’ve read that these, too, can cause anxiety and even depression.
Otherwise, though I am not picking up on one specific thing, I think that there is enough happening in the world today that would cause most of us to experience some anxiety. It’s easy to get sucked into this quagmire of negativity oozing from the internet and TV, and the constant bombardment of bad news is bound to have an adverse effect on anyone who’s paying attention. And it’s not just the round-the-clock news reports, but it’s also the 24/7 of social media like Twitter and Facebook and the insinuation that you aren’t really living if you haven’t updated your status in the last hour. And it’s the retailers who are pushing us to buy, buy, and buy NOW more than ever before.
I read some other peoples’ feedback to the above posting on your Facebook page about how they feel time is speeding up. For me, time started having this ‘speeding up’ feeling back in the late ‘80’s when technology for the masses really took off– cell phones, the microwave oven, and the internet—and we became a species always on-the-go but going nowhere in particular. And while I like the technology because it does connect people across the planet and gives us the ability to share information and ideas more widely than ever before, it also seems to be sucking the life out of us, making us slaves of the “status update” and vulnerable to more negativity than before. We don’t really relax any longer. Leisure time is being spent more often in front of a machine for entertainment replacing authentic quality time with each other.
I see this in my household –my son is in his room on his laptop or occasionally playing xBox; my husband spends a lot of time between internet social forums and video games, and even I am guilty of spending a lot of time reading on the internet; my little girls spend a lot of time playing with their dolls but they see us with our machines and they are beginning to want to have their own—to be like us. And other families have similar scenes taking place in their homes too. How I miss the long-lost days of family entertainment on the TV when we’d all get together to watch honest-to-goodness entertainers sing and dance and joke around for a half-hour to an hour, and we’d all feel pretty good being together, maybe even learning a few life-lessons as well. TV today is so crappy that I rarely use my digital service and rely a lot on Netflix and Amazon for the vintage shows. Or I just find something to read on the internet, like perusing Wikipedia or the Zap Oracle (damn good stuff). Dinner-time is the only time we really get together as a family, and I’ve noticed that a lot of families don’t even have this! Because it has become such an integral part of our lives of late, I often wonder if we weren’t so irresistibly drawn to the internet and all of its’ offerings, what would be doing with ourselves? I would probably be sitting next to my husband on the sofa, watching a little TV, maybe reading a book, or even better—snogging him the way we do when there is a power outage.
The way I see it, the world needs more snogging and less tweeting.
If I could, I would like to organize a world-wide love-in (minus the psychedelics-I envision everyone who participates to be in the ‘here and now’ state of mind) to promote Peace on Earth; a day of meditation, prayer and bonhomie across the planet to give us all a break from the madness we are engulfed in. My desire is that a world-wide simultaneous gathering in every town of every nation across the planet would inspire a solidarity to be kinder to each other, to remember that we are all here on this planet together and that we all must start caring NOW about each other and the planet itself. This kind of solidarity for peace and brotherly love across the planet might then inspire governments–politicians—and corporations to recognize that We the People of this planet want to live in harmony with each other and Earth and that They need to stop dictating and start listening. And, OK, I probably wouldn’t mind if there was some tweeting going on, but only to spread the word.
The Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement have shown me that there is a will and a desire for great change to take place on this planet, and that people today will stand together en masse to uphold an ideal. The next question is, do enough people on this planet exist who are wanting to and willing to stand together to effect worldwide peace? Maybe one day wouldn’t be enough, and maybe it’s a far-reaching ideal, but I believe it is possible that just one day of positive intention can stimulate a massive change in attitude humans so desperately need. Well, at least I can dream that it could.
OK, well, that’s my feedback. Sorry it’s kind of disjointed and all over the place. I’m gonna go pop an Estroven and wait for this hot flash to dissipate.
On a side note: Jonathan—you write amazing stuff and I consider you to be the best philosophizer of our time. I have your book “Crossing the Event Horizon” on my Kindle so I can read it wherever I go. May you always be inspired to dissect life as we know it and share your insights with us.
Thanks so much Rachel and of course Jonathon. I have been entirely dismissive of the whole 2012 phenomena, also largely informed with a debt of gratitude to Jon for his essay on the subject – probably my favorite piece of his writing I’m aware of. I’m as eclectic as they come with my cosmology and practices so it’s ironic I am a 2012 naysayer considering I live in the most new age centric area in AUstralia, on par with eg Sedona ARizona. Incidentally I was disturbed to receive an email from an extremely influential and internationally regarded spiritual teacher, an email read by countless thousands in countless countries – proclaiming that it was the end of the Mayan calendar and thus the dawning of the age of Aquarius which translates to “..blah..etc” . Aside from a terrible case of cultural misappropriation devoid of critical thinking, astrologers worth their salt agree no one can work out when the age of Aquarius is supposed to begin.
Further, the 2012 phenomena is an
External paradigm. Regardless of the content, I don’t want to be reliant on a external paradigm. That’s kind of the last word on the matter isn’t it. a guru with feet of clay. The mind seeks novelty. It wants to hang onto something. this reality is not the true reality! Whatever is going on in the ‘2012 thing’ is just as temporal and illusory as the rest of this whacked out world our soul is passing through en route to true knowledge of it self. we die and are born with every breath. Universes die and are born every moment. truth is available in every moment if we seek within. why get attached to the neon flashing lights of some certain phase of time when it’s a light that dazzled before it goes dark again?
As for the notion RE Jons initial post above, of ‘what’s going on out there – what’s the zeitgeist’ I totally challenge the value of looking to world events or the media for such a forecast. both are prophets of doom. it’s propoganda, not a reflection of human spirit. we will not find the Rob BReszny LAb of PRonoia and truth and beauty in those lands. it would be a case of questioning individually – andn discerning the individuals true response unfettered by their own exposure to aforementioned doomsayers.
Love to you all! ps I did have some fascinating synchronicities around the 21st that were too far fetched to be unrelated to whatever that stupid date was supposed to mean..
Someone I know has described the internet as being like The Matrix in the film of the same name. It looks like it’s giving you something, but in reality it is feeding from you. We plug in, and
it sucks up our energy – but we think
we are plugging into nourishment.
The person in question believed it is intentionally designed to do this – and to fool us so. Further, the internet is designed to rewire our neurology. This is a scientific fact by the way – the television, and the video games, rewire neural pathways. Internet is a drug! A drug. The internet is a drug