When the World Ends
The world ending today on December 21st, 2012 reminds me of one of my favorite songs, called “H.”
Western culture is steeped in Abrahamic cosmology, and one fundamental difference between the universe of God, the Father, and that of say, Brahman or Buddha, is that it only flows one direction. God created the things, the things did stuff, then God came back and everyone died or lived forever or whatever. That’s a fairly unusual perspective in the context of other world religions, who mostly go with the cyclical rebirth of the world.
So it’s no surprise that when a bunch of westerners hear about the end of of this Mayan K’atun (era), they focus on the “end” part.
But what comes after this fiery apocalypse? According to the Mayans, an auspicious time begins. 13 is a holy number for the Mayans, and 12-21-2012 by our notation is written by the Mayans as 18.104.22.168.0 (using their own numerals, of course).
In the song, a snake is taunting him, tempting him, and draining him. The snake wants him to close off, to turn away. He’s also tempted by his “blood” to open his heart instead of closing off.
The conflict comes over him like a storm, and both forces, he says, are killing him. He’s living in fear of his death, until he has an epiphany:
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of the times
I have died
and will die.
It’s all right.
I don’t mind.
With all its references to religion it’s easy to think this song is somehow religious, but it’s much simpler than that. It’s not literally about death and rebirth.
The singer and songwriter is Maynard Keenan, and this song was written around the time of his son’s birth. (Devo H. Keenan, hence the song title).
He struggles with being ready for fatherhood, until he remembers all the personal apocalypses he has had, all the times his old way of thinking and being and living have “died” before. And yet here he is, alive. Ready for the next death and rebirth into a new and better version of himself.
Apocalypse can be scary because the ego works overtime to avoid change. But the apocalypse is not the end, and in fact doesn’t mean “the end.” The word apocalypse actually means “revelation.”
Whatever is revealed changes everything, its purging fire destroys what was there before, and creates it anew through the surrender of grief.
So it is with the world, and so it is with you.
Birth Defects and Superpowers
Nate has a secret birth defect that seriously impacts his life. He's lived in fear of being found out since he was a preteen, and it preoccupies his mind when he's with his girlfriend. He was with that girlfriend of his for two and a half years before finally working up the nerve to tell her about his issue because he was afraid he would lose her when she found out his dark secret. One night Nate swallowed the lump in his throat, and practically through tears, he said he had a confession. That before they have sex, she should...
The Herd and Changing the World
I'm forced to listen to pop music almost everyday thanks to the predictable tastes of the 13 year old girl I live with. The thing about pop music is that it's palatable in the same sense candy is palatable. Most people love candy because it stimulates our [animal brains]; I don't like candy that much, but it's difficult to find candy that's actively disgusting. That candy contains no nutritional value is irrelevant. It doesn't matter that you *want* people to like apples instead. Candy is palatable and gives them a jolt of good feeling, therefore it's a huge industry. Pop...