The Tao of Eschatology

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Remember that time that fungus head philosopher received revelation from the plant kingdom and used state of the art technology, the i-ching,  and the Mayan calendar to predict the eschaton? It was a simpler time when the BerenstEin bears were proudly displayed in bookstores, We Are The Champions ended with “of the world”,  and Han Solo shot first…  Oh. And the Revelation of the Great Day of God the Almighty hadn’t really kicked off yet. Those were the days.

“The Eschaton has a date: December 21, 2012.”

I’m pretty comfortable believing that that happened and the world actually did end. For a few reasons.

I’m pretty sure we’re in a different timeline now. One where the singularity has already happened, and the internet is the Messiah in its infancy.

But that’s just me. Other people have different ideas.

For people who subscribe to a more Abrahamic worldview, the One True God will come back to earth in a great revelation, followed by a messianic age of brotherhood, peace, and prosperity for all of the survivors.

This idea seems to have led some people to the conclusion that it’s a good idea to “immanentize the eschaton“, an idea co-opted and promoted by some Discordians in the 1970’s. Sometimes satire can be a dangerous thing. Like when you tell someone “Don’t get angry but…” Of course they’re going to get angry. Of course. You’ve totally primed them to do exactly what you don’t want. Similarly, if you tell them “Here’s a dystopian future we don’t want. We absolutely do not want this horrible world. Compelling, isn’t it?” We can’t help but drive towards whatever we are most focus on. And generations of cultural catastrophizing have brought us to this point in history, where a lot of folks seem to think the end of the world is upon us.

Now some of those people seem to be sewing the seeds of chaos while they prepare for the fallout.

I don’t know about you, but I can catastrophize pretty good. When things start looking bleak, it’s very easy for me to generate all the scenarios about how much worse it’s going to get. And then I can start telling myself stories about how horrible it all is, how inadequate to the situation I am, how nothing can be done and how much it was all shit anyway. And then I can just give up and shut down. Not because of what is happening, but because of the phantom mindstuff that I’m making up and then empowering.

So what’s to be done?

According to research, being mindful of what is really happening in and around you throughout the course of your day can have many benefits on your health and mental well-being, including better clarity, decision making and reaction time.

I studied a martial art under a Buddhist monk briefly. During that time, one of the many things he demonstrated that made a lot of sense to me was that there are two kinds of things, things that you can affect and things that you can’t. When you can, it is beneficial to be fully present and engaged, and when you can’t do anything, it is better to do nothing.

If there is, in fact,  a war on consciousness happening, the way to win is to not be moved.

So here’s what I’d rather see myself doing: breathe, ground yourself, be gently aware, let go of what you can’t affect and do what you can.

We’re curious to learn if you have any strategies you find particulary useful for keeping yourself focused and responsive when things look bleak. Please feel free to share! We’re always happy to develop better resources.


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