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Old 2012-12-18, 12:14   #1
jasong
 
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Default December 21st 2012

Does anyone think anything significant will happen on that day, other than winter starting?

I'm not talking about the end of the world, but more along the lines of riots and bizarre behavior.
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Old 2012-12-18, 13:17   #2
firejuggler
 
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significant? shortest day of the year, thats it.
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Old 2012-12-18, 14:07   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
Does anyone think anything significant will happen on that day, other than winter starting?

I'm not talking about the end of the world, but more along the lines of riots and bizarre behavior.
We seem to have quite a bit of bizarre behavior already, without the arrival of a special date in the Mayan calendar. Unfortunately, some of those behaviors have become so common as to lose their claim to "bizarre" status.

My own response to the solstice is along the lines of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." It may be called the beginning of winter, but it also is the day when the sun starts back north. It takes weeks to really appreciate it, but the days do begin to lengthen.
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Old 2012-12-18, 14:32   #4
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It's by no means the only date in recent years with has been heralded as "the end" (to be followed by bluster and backtracking from the puzzled survivors afterwards) but for some reason it seems to have more clout to it than others have done lately. Clearly society in general is not helped by a significant proportion of its members thinking that they don't need to plan for any subsequent days on Earth, and I expect some disruption to general life in some places. Apparently a few specific spots on Earth have been earmarked as being spared the expected catastrophe, with the result that hordes of people are planning to make their way to those tiny places with all the problems which that will cause.
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Old 2012-12-18, 16:36   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
Does anyone think anything significant will happen on that day, other than winter starting?
Don't be so parochial. It's the start of summer in half the world.

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Old 2012-12-18, 16:37   #6
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Don't be so parochial. It's the start of summer in half the world.

Yeah, but it's the upside down part of the world.
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Old 2012-12-18, 17:56   #7
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This constant interest, almost bordering on an obsession, with the end of the world, and eschatology in general, that has been displayed of late particularly by the Western world (how much of this stuff do you hear out of Africa, Asia, even the Middle East? China's history goes back longer than anyone's, and they keep ticking right on, adding extra digits to the calendar as they need to. How about the Jewish calendar? They're in the 58th Century!) is an indictment of just how inept the supposed richest, best educated members of humanity really are at living well, appreciating the beauty and wonder of the Earth we share, and treasuring the gift of their fellow human beings.


I look around at how we are living right here in America, once thought of as the "Promised Land", the place where anything was possible if one was willing to work hard and pay their dues. We're falling apart before our own (and the world's) very eyes. Fighting wars that stretch on seemingly for their own sake. Living in fear of constant attacks from "terrorists", yet unable to seemingly identify, head off, help, and protect our nation's own children that grow up in troubled homes or with troubled lives and tragically remain under the radar until Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, or Newtown. Our government, once a shining beacon of how a government ought to be run - by the people, for the people - mired in impasse and unwilling to compromise at every single turn. Debt that simply cannot be serviced at current levels. A prison system containing more than 1 in every 100 of our adult population (>3 in 100 are in an extension of the prison system, i.e. parole or probation). The list goes on and on. And life is similar in many of what we might call the world's richest, most advanced, best educated, etc. nations. Folks have little to no respect for their fellow human beings; we are willing to trample one another whether it is in the name of politics, financial gain, or simply to grab the last poorly-manufactured, cheaply imported Chinese gadget off the shelf at Wal-Mart...which has been instrumental in effectively homogenizing and obliterating local flavor from the country's neighborhoods.


So, effectively, when you look at who we have become as a society and how poorly we actually live, we're basically as bad off as the bitter old man who has "seen it all", "ain't interested in seeing no more", and is doomed to live out what time he has left in isolation, hatred, and anger. Well, what happens to that bitter old man after a short while? He actually embraces death, because his life has rotted on the vine. And this is precisely what is happening in the Western world with regard to this "end of the world" craze that has now cropped up three, four, five times in this century alone. We have fought, grabbed, pushed, and hated our way into a worldview that is so corrupted, the death of ourselves and our world has become more attractive than even considering the possibility of improving the way we live.


The fact is that December 21, 2012 can be the "end of the world" as we know it. In fact, December 18 (or 19, depending on where you are reading this) can be. Because we can all make an effort to appreciate the little things - the fact that the sun starts moving north (or south!) again (and does this with regularity and consistency every year! How beautiful and amazing that really is!), the fact that a $500 computer (or a cell phone!) enables all of us to come together across the world and even have these discussions that would have been unthinkable or prohibitively expensive even 30 years ago (I make it a point to never lose my wonder at technology, even though it has become a ubiquitous part of daily life). We can take the time to tell our family and friends that they are dear to us and are truly loved. We can revel in the knowledge that we are dear to someone and loved dearly. We can be ambassadors of kindness to each other - let the harried woman with three screaming children go ahead in the checkout line, move into the left (or right, Paul =)) lane for a broken down car on the highway (and better yet, call for some help), or check out local volunteering options to help the less fortunate have a joyful holiday. For once in our lives, we can aspire to live well. Because living well has nothing to do with how much money we make, what size house we have, how many degrees we can collect, or even whether we can find a new Mersenne prime =). No, how well we live is measured by how fat our scrapbook of life can become. The things that really matter. The lives we've bettered, the experiences we've appreciated, the things that you want flashing before your eyes right before you pass on, as the old cliche goes. (Like Xyzzy having a ball with his many different motorbikes!)


It truly is a wonderful life. There are times when it might be fraught with trouble or pain, but those are often the experiences that make us stronger and better for having had them. I hope that every person in the world realizes just how many incredible gifts that they have been given just by being born, seizes what they have, makes the most of it, and signs their name in the biggest, boldest letters on the infinite painting that is the human experience. Isn't that so much better than circling random dates on the calendar, and waiting for greener grass on the other side?
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Old 2012-12-18, 18:06   #8
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Quite so.

Our gratituitous youtube link provider has not been around lately, but how about that song "It's a wonderful world"...?
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Old 2012-12-18, 18:39   #9
ewmayer
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I predict that on the 21st jasong will feel compelled to start yet another inane thread.
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Old 2012-12-18, 19:06   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
Quite so.

Our gratituitous youtube link provider has not been around lately, but how about that song "It's a wonderful world"...?
Whenever I hear that I think of management consultants, telephone sanitizers and burning forests.

It used to be a mark of an intellectual that they could hear the William Tell overture and not think of the Lone Ranger. These days its being able to hear the Ride of the Valkyries and not think of helicopters.
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Old 2012-12-18, 19:24   #11
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... or been able to not refer to Also sprach Zarathustra as the Space Odissey theme. (Bonus: be able to whistle or hum beyond the opening sequence.)
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