2012: Facts, Predictions, Speculations… and Absurdities

Currents and Futures

Mark Your Calendars:      

1.  Virtual Cafe:  A FREE phone gathering, on Wednesday, 20 June at 7pm Pacific  It is free, but registration is necessary.  Click here. 

2.  Bay Area activities:  workshop on 22 and 24 June, at the Oakland CSL.  Click here.

Greetings;

First:  Happy Father’s Day!  Hoping you fathers out there have been as fortunate as I’ve been…

My favorite photo of me and my girls (women now).  Isn’t it amazing how DNA works?

2012 Predictions: Separating the Facts from the Fantasies

Why do we have such difficulty discerning the difference between a fact, a speculation, and an absurdity?

Let’s take a look at absurdity… from the point of view of wisdom-teacher, Rumi.

A certain man caught a bird in a trap.
The bird says, “Sir, you have eaten many cows and sheep in your life, and you’re still hungry. The little bit of meat on my bones won’t satisfy you either.

If you let me go, I’ll give you three pieces of wisdom.  One I’ll say standing on your hand. One on your roof.  And one I’ll speak from the limb of that tree.”

The man was interested. He freed the bird and let it stand on his hand.

“Number One: Do not believe an absurdity, no matter who says it.”

The bird flew and lit on the man’s roof.

“Number Two: Do not grieve over what is past. It’s over.  Never regret what has happened.”

“By the way,” the bird continued, “in my body there’s a huge pearl weighing as much as ten copper coins. It was meant to be the inheritance for you and your children,
but now you’ve lost it. You could have owned
the largest pearl in existence, but evidently
it was not meant to be.”

The man started wailing like a woman in childbirth.

The bird said: “Didn’t I just say, Don’t grieve
for what’s in the past? And also: Don’t believe
an absurdity? My entire body doesn’t weigh
as much as ten copper coins. How could I have a pearl that heavy inside me?”

The man came to his senses. “All right.
Tell me Number Three.”

“Yes. You’ve made such good use of the first two!”

Much of the future forecasting I’ve been hearing lately has been on the level of the absurd.

A fact: Something that is universally observable and repeatable.  As one of my favorite science fiction writers, Phillip K. Dick, once said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away”.

A speculation:  A conclusion, theory or action that is based on incomplete facts or evidence.  ANYTHING you say about the future is a speculation.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS.  You make speculations all the time – in fact, most of us live our lives as a series of speculations: you call someone, speculating that they will be able to receive your call.  You drive down the street, speculating that the other drivers will behave certain ways (as they are speculating about you).  You speculate that the store will be open when you get there…

An absurdity:  Something believed in, despite being contrary to evidence/facts.

This is a real conversation I had recently.  A friend was talking about a lecture on 2012 predictions he had attended…

“The speaker said that the Earth is turning backwards in its orbit, due to changes in the Earth’s poles,” my friend said, somewhat defensively.

 I paused, choosing my words carefully.  “Did you see the Sun come up in the West this morning?  Or in any direction other than the usual?”

 “He also said that the Earth was slowing down.”

Again I paused before speaking.  “Was dawn an hour later than predicted?  Two minutes?  Ten nanoseconds?”

“Well… I TRUST HIM!  His research is all over the Internet…”

My friend had fallen into the Trap of Absurdity – confusing a fantasy with fact.  The two are different … and if we don’t understand the difference, we will wind up as gullible pawns to any and all manipulative fantasies that come our way.

Another true story, related by a friend:

A woman who watched a Discovery Channel show on astronomy heard that, at some point in time, the Sun will go out. 

 She ran out to the store to buy her children extra sweaters, “Because they said the Earth will freeze when the Sun goes out.”

She overlooked the small fact that the program predicted another 6 billion years of life for our star.

Don’t get me wrong: speculating about or predicting our future (or anything else) is fine. The error is in believing speculations that defy observations and your own common sense.

Here is a quote from The Buddha:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

 Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But, after observation and analysis,

When you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

 The Buddha

If he lived today, the Buddha would add: “Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored on the Internet.”

[For a fuller discussion of the Buddha’s quote, see last year’s “Moment for Wisdom”]

Some of us have a tendency to jumble up predictions based on hard facts and significant research (for example, global climate change), with information that is intuitive, subtle and/or subject to interpretation (for example, the “fact” that the Mayan calendar runs out (or recycles) this year, or how to interpret astrological readings – valid, but subject to the art and skill of the reader).  Then we pile on top of that absurdist speculations  (for example, that the Earth will be destroyed by a comet in 6 months… a comet that no government, professional or amateur astronomer, no ground-based or space-based telescope – can find).

Clearing the Ground for… The Abdullah Prediction – “The Way the World BEGINS”

So, having dismissed blatant absurdities, I make some predictions of my own.

As many of you know, I have been a student of societal change since I was about 8 years old.  I spend virtually all of my time studying human societies (not just “American”), applying a combination of research, intuition and observation.  Not just studying, but working on practical methods to generate profound societal transformations, along the lines of our spiritual and human values.

Based on all that I’ve learned, gathered, and taken to Heart, I can tell you quite confidently what WON’T happen in 2012 – or any other time in our future: the destruction of the planet!  Gaia may go through some changes (heat waves?  Ice Ages?), but our planet will remain for a few more tens of millions of years.

I can also tell you that “humanity” makes it through the transitions of the next 10 to 20 years… or at least, ENOUGH of us make it.  Enough of us will do more than stick our heads in the sand, going about the status quo.  (Or, TALKING about transformation, without ever actually transforming anything.)

That does not mean that YOU will make it.  Unless those of us living in North America make a very specific, relatively small, yet fairly radical change in our systems and structures, we WON’T make it.

What is this change to our systems and structures?  Going into the “Abdullah Prediction” here will take more time and space than this already long article will allow.  I will be introducing this at my upcoming workshop next Sunday in Oakland, CA.  Click on the link for more information:  Commonway Bay Area Events.

Peace,

Sharif

#1:   Interested in 2012 predictions?  Let’s engage in a live dialog on this subject!   If you are interested in a FREE phone gathering, on Wednesday, 20 June at 7pm Pacific time, using the Maestro Conference interface.  Please register by clicking here: Currents & Futures Live Discussion.   It is free, but registration is necessary to receive call-in instructions.

#2:  If you are in the Bay Area, attend my gathering, sermons and workshop on 22 and 24 June, at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.  For more information on these Bay Area events, CLICK HERE.

 

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One Response to 2012: Facts, Predictions, Speculations… and Absurdities

  1. Thank you for writing about transformation and your predictions.

    I thought your readers might find Daniel Quinn’s 2000 Houston Youth Leadership Conference Keynote entitled “A Path of Hope for the Future” complimentary so I’m posting this link: http://www.ishmael.org/Education/Writings/houston_youth.cfm

    I hope you have a successful and enjoyable weekend in the Bay area.

    Brian

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