The Map is Not the Territory

The map only hints at what the territory is like..I just bought a new planner and the calendar runs all the way through 2012. Does that mean I should feel secure that the world will continue that long? Chinese, Gregorian, Julian, American, Mayan…calendars are all arbitrary human inventions.

I like to imagine some Mayan calendar maker working out the calendar for hundreds of years in advance. His neighbor stops by to tell him there’s a soccer game starting in the square. He grunts, throws down his pen, and says, “Ah, that’s good enough,” and heads out to the stadium.

What is the real difference between today and two days ago, except that we call it 1012? The calendar is not time. Most philosophers will tell you that time is not time, either. Time is simply change.

And yet… and yet… I will admit that as we have approached 2012, I have felt some subtle but profound changes going on. I am not alone in sensing them. Even my hard headed rationalist friends believe that something has shifted, and they’ll even stick their necks out and call it energy.
The world is clearly in upheaval and many long standing business and financial structures are breaking down. This trickles down, of course, and affects us all. But there also seems to be a silver lining behind the difficulties.

Many people I know have had their best laid plans run right off the rails in the last three months. Far from doomsday situations, these people are often finding themselves doing something way better than they planned and in ways they couldn’t imagine.

For everyone I know who lost their job, I know someone else who found their soul mate. For everyone I know who took it on the chin in the stock market, I know someone else who had the doors of success suddenly fly open after they had been pushing on them for years.

I find it hard to believe that the end times are upon us, but am sure that the times have changed so radically it could amount to the same thing. The contrast between chaos and order, rich and poor, conservative and liberal seems to have become more profound than ever. Yet to those who do not wish to be trapped in these polarities, there seems more freedom than ever.

It isn’t what I would have predicted, but we do live in interesting times.

Happy New Year! May you enjoy the adventure.

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