Jan 09 2012
These beginning-of-the-year posts are always hard to write. Somehow they're always too close to the end of the previous year for everything to have sunk in, but also come too soon for anything to have really happened. I've been wrestling with this post for days (since the third of January, actually) and every time I sit down to work on it, not a whole lot hits my keyboard. When this year started I hit the ground running and haven't had time to sit and really reflect yet. So, I'm going to do the best I can to make this post not suck and be somewhat thought provoking (in that order).
It's finally here. 2012. The meme that's been floating around in the collective consciousness of the western world has landed on the pages of our calendars and is already beginning to manifest around us. Regardless of where you stand on the whole 2012 thing you have to admit that there are enough people concentrating on the notion now to make one wonder what, if any repercussions could happen if enough people work along with this particular current. Various and sundry sorts have been saying for years (since the 80's, if not the late 70's) that this is the year when Everything Changes. Well, Shit Got Real(tm) in 2011 and the world shows every sign of speeding up, not slowing down. Already we've had a world leader (Kim Jong-Il of North Korea) die and be replaced by one of his sons, the Occupy Movement (though one supposes that it would be more accurate to call it a platform of discourse) spreading even farther around the globe (with no shortage of bloodshed, I'm afraid - case in point, things going pear shaped with #occupynigeria, as government supporters opened fire with live ammunition on protestors this morning), and more rumbling that sounds suspiciously like the words "nuclear program" coming from the Middle East.
I have to confess, I have no idea where things are going. I've been scratching my head over this for a week or two and I just don't know. The most honest folks out there in all spheres of influence and persuasions of weird seem to have converged on the same answer: They don't know, either. Call it a veil, a black wall, nothing, static, information overload, or "Things are changing too fast," but it all amounts to the same thing. Things are changing too fast everywhere and trying to keep up is getting harder and harder. Things are happening so rapidly (to give you an example) that Twitter aggregation and curation sites like paper.li are becoming popular as precis of events on a particular topic. Scanning or grazing aren't efficient enough anymore, so you may as well search for what you're interested in and hope you can keep tabs on what you find.
All I can say for sure is that the current appears to be flowing back toward a model of small groups that all know and keep up with each another (i.e., have a smaller Dunbar number), and more importantly are active in each other's lives. The negative side effects of very large groups where you can be alone in a crowd are beginning to be taken seriously, and people seem to be instinctively finding the others (to steal a phrase from Tim Leary) and forming family bonds that are just as tight as those of one's ancestry. Once again, people are realizing that the results of sticking together are more long-lasting and far-reaching than those of going it on your lonesome all the time. Also, and this is the really interesting bit, those groups of extended family (for that's what they appear to be and function as) are teaching one another the new set of techniques and technologies necessary to thrive in a time where the only things that are really certain in life anymore are that the sun will rise and set and there will be a noticable percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere (as recent financial history will attest to). The world really does seem to be improving bit by bit, just as a couple of saplings grow into a forest, and like a forest it's all coming up from ground level: You, me, and every other biped wandering around on the face of this mad planet three jumps out from the nearest visible G2V ball of plasma and not the weird egregores that live in towers, office parks, and virtual servers running in Amazon's EC2. The only advice I can give to anyone in 2012 of the Common Era is this: It's up to us now. If we don't stand up and act this year, this moment, nothing at all is going to be fixed.
All of you reading this out there are intelligent, well connected, resourceful, and insightful. You see what's going on. You know what to do.
Pencils down. Blank badges on. Volume up. Let's be incandescent.