The end of one year and the beginning of another is a natural time to take stock of where we are in the world.
That’s been made all the more dramatic this December-January of 2011-2012 by two “items.”
One is the prediction by the ancient Mayans that 2012 is the doomsday for earth.
“My fondest hope for the New Year is that the earth does not perish in a huge fireball on Dec. 21, 2012. I could accept putting on a pound or two in the year ahead if it doesn't end in a cataclysm.
I had hoped to see Theo Epstein improve the Chicago Cubs; he should have more than a season. I wanted to see my daughters go to MIT, win Wimbledon, and sing at La Scala. I planned to organize my sock drawer.
OK, OK, I don't really take seriously the Mayan calendar's prediction of Doomsday in 2012, which has been popularized on the so-called "History Channel" and elsewhere. But such delusional predictions can remind us that because life is finite, it is infinitely precious. If we knew December 2012 was our expiration date for certain, how would we fill the year that leads up to it?”
Mr. Simon’s musing on that subject are absolutely wonderful, and I recommend a full read on the WSJ web site. If you don’t have a subscription, then truly now is the time to get one.
And in similar line of thought, the famed syndicated political columnist Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post, published a year end piece musing on “whether we are alone in the universe.”
This is must read thought provoking piece. The Washington Post web site is not behind a paid firewall, so click here to find out why Mr. Krauthammer worries that the profound silence of space and our inability to find any living species out there and any planet with life out there may be because the natural evolution of mankind is to destroy itself – and that we may be the only civilization out there still surviving – barely (we missed a world ending destruction during the Cuban Missile crisis in 1963, remember??).
Here’s a small excerpt of where Mr. Krauthammer is going with this thesis:
“..let’s put the most hopeful face on the cosmic silence and on humanity’s own short, already baleful history with its new Promethean powers: Intelligence is a capacity so godlike, so protean that it must be contained and disciplined. This is the work of politics — understood as the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human instincts.
There could be no greater irony: For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most exacting subspecialty — statecraft). Because if we don’t get politics right, everything else risks extinction.
We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it.
Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history. It will determine whether we will live long enough to be heard one day. Out there. By them, the few — the only — who got it right.”
So remember, the next time you think you can’t be bothered going to the polls to vote in an election – you are letting others determine your economic, political, and personal future, and yes, even the future of the planet.