By Ross Bishop
A lot of people are asking the same question - "What in the devil is happening?" Maybe you've wondered the same thing. With the almost daily mass murders, cop killings, the messy political process, wildfires, immigration issues, racial conflict, the drought, refugees, global warming, the wars in Middle East and the Zika virus, it can seem like the place is coming apart!
Predicting specific events is always problematic, but seeing the larger trend is not. Some of us have been talking about it for years. I have tried to summarize some of my earlier writings on the subject into this single article.
I wrote earlier this year: "Things are always changing, society's pot is always bubbling. Sometimes it bubbles more than others, but the pot is always cooking. The direction, over the long term, is clear. We are moving towards greater individual freedom and compassion and away from the tyranny and oppression that have dogged humankind for centuries. We have left in our wake kings, slavery and the all powerful Church, have broached racial and sexual equality and stand perched on the edge of LGBT equality and the watershed issue of animal rights." article: The Age of Compassion
Social change is rarely easy and is sometimes a violent process. There will inevitably be conflict as those who are invested in the present order attempt to protect their interests by stalling the inevitable, as for example, conservatives are doing with global warming. And smoke from the tumult may obscure the direction for a time, but if you stand back, the trend is clear.
The values of one age are giving way to the next. The age of white privilege is ending and it's yet unnamed replacement is superseding it. The bastions of white supremacy are fighting to keep their positions of power, but the die has been cast. Things like the Trump campaign are expressions of its flailing. article: The World Isn't Ending
The question isn't whether there will be change, but rather how fast and in what form the inevitable will occur. Although change can appear to be cataclysmic, what often happens is that, like a tsunami, the forces gather momentum beneath the surface and then burst forth against the shore, overwhelming any resistance in the process.
Five thousand years ago the Hindus predicted that around 2,000 A.D. an end would come to the age of Kaliki Yoga (The Age of Darkness or The Iron Age) when moral virtue and mental capabilities reach their lowest point, when men turn to wickedness and disease, lethargy, anger, natural calamities, anguish and fear of scarcity dominate. It would then usher in the age of Krta Yuga - the Golden Age.
Similarly, 5,260 years ago the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the 5th Great Cycle in 2012. The Maya predicted that the transit between ages would be a period of significant upheaval. How did they know that? They would tell you that it was written in the stars (article: The End of Days). The Hopi do not assign dates to their predictions, but their scenarios (the gourd of ashes) correlate very closely with of the predictions of the Hindu and the Maya. Article: The Hopi Prophesies
The Bible, The Torah and The Koran also all speak of cataclysmic times in the future, but are vague as to when these will occur. Indeed, all three speak of a future period of great disruption to be followed by redemption. This period has become known to the Jews as "The Messianic Era," to Muslims as "The End of Days," or to Christians as "Armageddon." There is no implication in any of these prophesies that the world will end, but they all do predict a period of significant upheaval followed by a great period of peace. Isaiah 2:2-3 tells us:
And it will be in the end of days, the mountain of the House of God will be established at the head of the mountains, . . . And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nation shall not lift up sword against nation and they shall no longer learn war. (article: The End of Days II)
When it comes, the pressure for change is going to run smack into the apathy prevalent in America today. People complain on Facebook, but that's just to let off steam, it rarely goes beyond that. Americans seem to want to avoid the pain, to have someone else to do the heavy lifting.
In the 1960's John W. Gardner studied the process of social change in depth. In his classic treatise, Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society - an all but forgotten work of extraordinary prescience and wisdom, Gardner warned about the revolutionary zeal of the '60's falling into middle aged complacency and self-absorption. (article: Social Change)
We have allowed the bankers and other capitalists to quietly seize the reins of power while we were watching NCIS. Gardner wrote, "The renewal of societies and organizations can go forward only if someone cares. Apathy and lowered motivation are the most widely noted characteristics of a civilization on the downward path. . ." He explored what it takes - as individuals, as a society, even as a civilization - to counter, "the dry rot produced by apathy, by rigidity and by moral emptiness," which come hand-in-hand with complacency. He saw social upheaval as necessary, as a catalyst, to shake up the established order. He worried about what might happen in its absence.
As regards you personally, the future is not going to ask anything of you that has not been asked in the past. For years you have been asked to move to a place of greater compassion - compassion for others to be sure, but also greater compassion for yourself.
For the record, this change is not a request, it is a requirement. And those urgings are going to come with a greater insistence that you get serious about the process. Today you have choice about when you make those changes, but you are about to lose some of that freedom. The circumstances of your life are going to push you to change with an ever-increasing intensity. (article: The Future)
The following are some discussions of specific issues:
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