Since the beginning of the world, people have predicted the end of the world. Every group has their apocalyptic visions: Christians, Jews, Jehovah's witnesses, Muslims, Mormons -- even the nerds had Y2K. But for the average non-extremist, you never had to take any of these doomsday theories seriously. That is, until the Mayan calendar rose in popularity.
The Mayan prophecy has permeated an entire generation of counterculture-loving, downward-dog-doing, gogi-berry-eating, Instagram-using, hipster-hating hipsters. All the people that would never believe in the Rapture because they mock beliefs motivated by dogma will absolutely fear how the Mayans saw time. Finally, I have my very own end-of-days terror to get behind.
But unlike true radicals, who actually want the second coming of Jesus so they can spit on your burning heathen soul from heaven, those interested in the Mayan prediction actually don't want to die. So the end of the calendar is also interpreted as a paradigm shift. For example, according to Daniel Pinchbeck, author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, "By 2012, my hope is that we will have made a massive paradigm shift, rejecting ego-based materialism for a new understanding that incorporates psychic dimensions and ecological values." I think too many of us have seen the Terminator movies and can't handle an apocalyptic future with all that darkness and leather. You know, I get seasonal depression and don't support the killing of animals. Especially because I am going through this whole vegan-gluten-free sugar-free substance-free cleanse where I juice dirt and add some cayenne pepper. You should try it, really good for the colon.
A paradigm shift sounds so much more manageable then a painful fiery death where my flesh melts into an oozing pile. Besides, I have plans for New Year's, and I already bought tickets to Cochella, so... But what does a paradigm shift really mean? The esoteric nature of this rhetoric is vague because in this case people are not referring to a scientific model, but rather one of human consciousness. So if our culture is primed for a shift from one model to another, what model are we in, and where are we going?
Identifying a single schema that dominates our entire global system is up for interpretation, but I argue the one uniting theme of our current paradigm is patriarchy. Often, when you talk about gender, it can be seen as polarizing, and as an "us vs. them" argument. But that is assuming that all men have masculine identities and all females have feminine, which is not the case. Just as both sexes produce estrogen and testosterone, both men and women can exhibit these culturally defined traits. And as we all know, men get their "man periods" at least once a month and get all needy and emotional.
To be ruled by the archetypal father means that the instinct that has permeated society is paternal. The father is of course associated with stereotypically male characteristics and agendas like providing, dominance, authority, pursuit of success, aggression, adventurousness, concealing emotions, confidence, strength, boldness, good-at-business and, of course, the one the children want to impress. Disobeying daddy is scary because he is also the one who will punish with an iron fist if you don't fall into line. So we exist as good little obedient citizens, afraid of revolution and eating our GMO-sprinkled and high-fructose corn-syrup -laden lollipops.
Of course, there have been positive outcomes that one could associate with daddy dominance. An example is the industrial revolution, leading into the world's most booming technological and business growths in recorded human history that many would even define as modern "progress." But we also have to admit that the vast expansion of this philosophy has taken its toll. Living like there is no tomorrow, with endless wars, exploiting of precious resources, pursuit of profit, are all daring mother earth to bend us over for a good spanking.
So perhaps this paradigm shift will mean we will move towards a more matriarchal model. The mother is associated with attributes such as being nurturing, gentle, a good listener, caring, collaborative, sensitive, cautious and putting her children before herself. This maternal instinct of prioritizing your children beyond your own needs is exactly the type of thinking we all must awaken to. Unless you are a lizard-human hybrid and feel the need to eat your babies, the idea that our actions have to take into consideration future humans is really our only hope.
The Iroquois had a proverb that goes "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine." Okay, well, I am probably going to still use lotion, but I really appreciate this thinking. Even if you don't have children, you still can tap into the desperately needed mother instinct that cares about others in a tangible way. I am not saying that the Mayans'prophecy is necessarily true, because after all they did sacrifice virgins and children -- so what do they know? But I do think that honoring the feminine influence in all of us is exactly the paradigm we should be shifting towards.