The world didn’t end on December 21st. But it could have.
The world probably won’t end on December 31st either. Or January 1st. Or any other particular day. But it could.
As many have pointed out, for the first time in recorded history, humanity has the means to destroy itself, if not the planet, by the simplest of miscalculations. When I was younger, this capability was limited to the possibility of nuclear war. As terrifying as that was, it was, and still is, a fairly limited capability, given that only a few groups have access to the technology to build and launch such weapons on a global scale.
Today, we have to add concerns like irreversible environmental damage. That level of destruction may be limited to international corporations, but that still puts it within the realm of a much greater number of people.
Economic collapse is an even more fragile house of cards, influenced by an even greater number of individuals; people who can, and have, put their own personal gain ahead of the welfare of society.
And all of it depends on our technology, perhaps the most tenuous link of all. Without technology, we cannot grow enough food to feed everyone, we cannot produce enough goods to clothe and house everyone, we cannot sustain the health care systems that heal more people than ever before.
And we cannot develop the communications infrastructure that is allowing us to visualize ourselves as a global civilization and to realize that we are indeed all one.
The world didn’t end on any of the dates prescribed by any of would-be prophets of doom. But it could have ended on any of them, or on any random date in the future.
Instead of predicting the destruction of the world, we could continue to work for its transformation instead.
There were many people who talked about this in the lead up to the end of the Mayan calendar. But most of them seemed to still expect some apocalyptic shift in human understanding; a great “Awakening.”
That didn’t happen either. And it’s not surprising.
In general, it’s only historians who, looking back, assign dates to major changes in human society. They may pick a historic battle, or a technological discovery, or some catastrophic natural event and call it a “turning point.”
But for those living in those times and in those circumstances, events generally tended to unfold over years or decades.
So it has been, and will continue to be, with our efforts to make this a truly Golden Rule world.
There will be few “aha” moments. But there will be many moments of enlightenment.
The monumental triumphs will be few and far between. But there will be innumerable small successes.
Each advance will be challenged and obstructed by the inertia of the world as it is. But incrementally, we will move forward the development of humanity as a global civilization.
Someday, historians will look back and assign a date that, for them, marks the beginning of the emergence of the Principle of Mutuality as our guiding principle for life and relationship.
For us, that day can be today. And tomorrow. And every day to come.