Musings on the shortest day of 2011

December 26, 2011 12:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

One year from today is the end of the Mayan calendar, the predicted “end of history,” as the late brilliant ethnobotanist and art historian Terrence McKenna called it. He claimed we’re being magnetically pulled faster and faster toward an “eschatological object” that will reveal itself on the 2lst or 22nd of December, 2012. I’ve been waiting a long time to see what will happen then.

The faster and faster part is certainly true. Things do seem to tumble into a jumble faster and faster. When I was born, world population was two and a half billion – now it’s nearly seven billion. I can feel the result of that huge increase when walking down the street in New York City, or most any city. It’s so crowded, noisy. It’s harder now for a young person to find a job, to pay off student loans, to “make it” in any field – there’s more competition.
Corruption has multiplied.

Democracy, even in America, has become increasingly a fiction, a retro sentimental political movie starring Jimmy Stewart (or Ronald Reagan). For decades, since that wonderful short idealistic moment in the 60’s when we protested the Vietnam war, government by and for fat-cat corporations has insidiously, quietly, taken over the media and the world.

Fat-cats now enforce their will, in the name of capitalistic enterprise, to pollute the planet to death, to cause temperature and sea-levels to rise, to “cook” Africa, to drown out small island nations, to own and emasculate seeds, and, in their ongoing wars for oil, with robot planes to drop bombs on civilians.

Despite the suffering of thousands who lived near the Fukushima meltdown, despite the probable pollution of all of Japan because of that disaster, the development of new nuclear projects in America continues with government funding, announced by America’s president, an instrument of Wall Street bankers who pay for his campaigns, as they did for those of his immediate predecessors.
In his farewell speech, a president from an earlier era, General Eisenhower, warned of a possible take-over by “the military-industrial complex.”
It’s happened.
Like most of his generation, my dad, who managed to get himself and us, his Jewish family, out of Europe during Hitler’s holocaust, believed human nature is inclined to war and greed.
I don’t feel that. I believe humans are basically good. But our goodness is obscured by veils of primitive beliefs, inherited and mostly unconscious. The easiest way to pierce those veils for the future is by raising our children more lovingly, helpfully.

The generation now in their twenties and thirties may indeed have been raised more lovingly, helpfully. This new generation, at least those in the Occupy movement, believes it is the corporate rulers who are habituated to war and greed, not 99% of the people.

Take for instance twenty-four-year old sweet-looking, wide-eyed, courageous Private Bradley Manning. (As a gay man, I’m proud Manning is apparently gay.) When Time magazine named a faceless “Protester,” as their “person of the year,” Daniel Ellsworth – Pentagon papers whistle blower on the Vietnam war – suggested “person of the year” has the face of Manning.

If Manning sent proof of crimes against humanity to Wikkileaks, how was Manning thanked and celebrated by the “land of the free?” The US has imprisoned Manning under torturous conditions for a year and a half, treating him as guilty until proven innocent. He’s just now having a hearing before a probable military court martial which could result in his life imprisonment or even his death. Meanwhile have the grossly criminal acts Manning revealed to the world – including the illegal brutal killing of children, women, and journalists – been prosecuted or even investigated? No.

But popular indignation against these crimes have led directly to the Arab spring – in Tunisia after a martyr burned himself to death, then in Egypt and all over the Middle East.

In the American Mid-west there followed unprecedented large non-violent protests in Wisconsin against proposed anti-union laws. Then famously the Occupation of Zucotti Park near Wall Street. Now around the world, Occupy protests against systemic corruption grow and glow.

Perhaps a year from now, on December 22nd, 2012, the end of our old corrupt history won’t be the feared apocalypse.

Perhaps the end of the five thousand year old Mayan calendar will mark the end of assuming violence and greed to be the norm.

Just maybe we’ll begin to glimpse glimmers of a new dawn, heralded by heros like Manning and the young people of Occupy.

Apologies from LPJ for the late posting of this piece – Emmeline Ravilious (co-Editor).


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This post was written by Jean Claude van Itallie

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