01/04/2012 08:06 am ET | Updated Mar 05, 2012

Exploring 2012 And Questioning Prophesy

We are entering a new year that has proven fertile ground for prophesy. This year brings the end of the Maya calendar, which many have interpreted as a harbinger of doom despite little indication the Maya themselves are worried about a looming apocalypse.

Over the course of history so-called prophesies have been an obstacle explorers seeking to distinguish scientific fact from prediction and superstition.

Ddiscovery has over and over upset accepted knowledge and practices, a requirement so as to pursue the explorer's quest to eliminate the empty spaces on the map and further humankinds understanding of our perimeters. The knowledge that the explorer gleans from the field is an important consequence of exploration, but the imagination that he or she used to gain that knowledge is at least as crucial. This is the essence of exploration and scientific discovery. In order to succeed, many explorers have to go against what might be considered normal or accepted ways of thinking, thereby breaking down barriers and impediments recurrently the consequence of prophesy. The explorer does not necessarily interpret information based solely on what is already known, but maintains a different perspective by building a knowledge base constructed from experience and outside-the-box thinking, at times solving problems to questions that people were not even asking or appreciating were problems and it is this that brings us to understanding, the source for discovery.

Both prophesy and science and the mysteries associated with each have been intertwined throughout the course of human chronicles. In part the explorer's role has always been to help wade through coincidence and probability, components of both, so as to discern superstition from scientific fact. Although many people believe that they lack the opportunity, time, energy or willingness to take in new kinds of information and to think in unfamiliar ways, the explorer who ventures into the field does just this. The explorer's resultant hard-won science consistently produces a new crop of miraculous truths and astounding devices, truths and devices that enrich lives and grow up out of the graciously willing puzzles of the unknown in an orderly but unpredictable way.

By definition, exploration requires the willingness to venture not only beyond recognized boundaries, but beyond pre-conceived notions or established convention, requiring an original perspective on what might seem familiar terrain. In the process the explorer oftentimes opens the door to pioneering thoughts providing new input as to our perception of our world, in the process redefining our place within it.

As explorers, we naturally tend to look ahead to the future, not as prognosticators, but as scientists, basing our predictions on fact, research and experience. The Maya elders did not predict an end to the world but rather an evolution from one World Age to another.

The message they send relates to making a choice of how we approach our future. It is up to us whether we advance with resistance or with acceptance and our choice will determine whether such a transition will happen via cataclysmic change or through peace and tranquillity.