“Hello, Armageddon/New Age of Abundance!*” *Delete as appropriate

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It’s been an emotional week. Possibly something to do with rushing to hospital with Caveboy, who turned out not to be having ecstatic hallucinatory fevers for fun, but because he had pneumonia. Or because immediately upon returning to pick up Cavegirl from Grandcaveparents we had to whip her down to Urgencias too, with an ear infection. And then sending them off to the UK, and later to Scotland, with their dad for Christmas with a couple of bottles of antibiotics in their case and a certain amount of trepidation in my heart.

These are small things, put into perspective. But where has perspective got to these days? Hello, Perspective, are you out there? – out there…out there…out there… Damn you, eerie cybernetic echo.

So when a friend sent me one of the usual mass mails, this time with some elaborate message about the world spinning faster and faster until eventually the poles will switch and bringing on massive catastrophes, which we have to overcome by thinking positive (thanks to giving me those catastrophic images to work on), I began with skeptical hoots of laughter and ended with frantically combing the net for a decent debunking of this myth.

37 million search results later, which I couldn’t be bothered to read fully (there’s only two more days of life as we know it, don’t ya know), it seems that there are virtually no sites properly demystifying this claim. If you haven’t already been pelted with the same email, I’ll sum up the premise briefly for you:

In 1953, the idea (previously vaunted in the 1830s) that the earth has a ‘pulse’ was mathematically proven by someone called Schumann; this pulse, which has for as long as we  know been set at 7.8 hz, is called the Schumann’s resonance after him.

Now, it appears – according to New Age gurus and their shadowy internetic propagandists – that this resonance has been rising since the 1980s, to the point where, in theory, the planet is spinning much faster than previously, meaning that we now live 16 hour days instead of 24 hour days. This is backed up by the well-known scientific fact that “time passes so much more quickly now than it used to!!!” Yes. And Walker’s Quavers used to be so much more cheesy, too.

Apparently (that all-important world), the earth’s resonance is currently at 12 hz; the limit on Schumann’s resonance is 13, at which point the poles will reverse and time will, technically, end.

How that will work in practice is a bit of a mystery. Would plane schedules no longer run as planned? Has Ryanair been secretly a harbinger of doom all this time? I wonder if school will just sort of happen, as some children arrive at random times throughout the 24 hour period, doing their sums very very quickly, while other children are playing with Lego at a different speed in another corner of the room. Are we going to stop ageing?

Supposedly we have caused this acceleration by placing things like railroads across the earth (scientists apparently found that Schumann’s resonance leaped to 17 hz next to a railroad), while greater and more invasive uses of technology create overlapping electromagnetic fields that cancel out the earth’s natural one, thus encroaching on the ordinary balance of resonances.

However, it is also thought that the change of poles has happened to the earth before, and may happen every few million years, just for a laugh. Hey, you lot! Thought you lived in the Northern hemisphere, eh! Look who’s laughing now!

So it’s not all our fault. On the other hand, as the doomladen email so helpfully pointed out, there is this concept of ‘Manifestation’ that is very prevalent in New Age (crop) circles, which is essentially that whatever you think or imagine will come true. John Lennon was an notable Western philosopher in the Manifestationism tradition.

I like to keep my skepticism sharp, just in case a massive chunk of indigestible Cheddar comes my way and needs slicing up for examining. Manifestation, though great in theory, has serious flaws.

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One, it puts a heavy burden on people whose brains are by now so full of Armageddon scenarios, mass shootings, earthquakes, unjust occupations, polluted biosphere etc. etc. that it makes us feel guilty for ever thinking something negative about the world. And two, paradoxically, it makes us appear to be far more powerful than, I believe, we need to feel.

My take on it is that it is our lens that makes life appear to be slanted in golden shafts towards us, or cruelly gloomy and empty. Lens half full, lens half empty. A person can be in the middle of an earthly paradise and still be complaining about being bitten by bugs, taxed, or ignored by their father as a child. By the same token, a person can experience their closest friend die young of cancer and find some way of redeeming the situation, with wisdom, with acceptance, with letting go.

Telling ourselves that what we imagine will come to be reality is, I think, not the whole story. I certainly never imagined I would be a single mother of two at the age of 28, running a small farm, living partly on a building site. Life sometimes throws you a curve ball, dripping with fetid goop, and what counts is what you do with it.

In so many cases, my own included, the most painful severances can be exactly what’s needed to clear the way for something so beautiful – unimaginably so – that you have to start wondering what other forces are in play in the universe. We aren’t just us.

Having said that, visualising a wonderful, peaceful, harmonious world in which children aren’t gunned down at school, mothers don’t brainwash their adolescents about the necessity of guns and (ahem) the fast approach of Armageddon, and life is sustainable for all, is still a great way to find some inner calm. As Rumi advised, replace a negative thought with a positive one. Basic 11th century Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

So here are the most gnomic responses to the 21st of December shrieking that I’ve come across, and I’d like to share them with you.

First, the girl in my local cyber cafe, who remarked: “Well, if it’s going to end, there’s not a lot we can do about it anyway, is there?” Mass meditations on world peace can’t harm, but whatever happens is, ultimately, beyond our control. Thinking otherwise gives us an inflated sense of importance that doesn’t help create above-mentioned wonderful harmonious world.

Second, a comment on a Sciforum thread on this subject, by a certain Marv, namely that if the earth has sped up in its rotations, thus causing clocks etc. to speed up with it, then surely our brains would have adapted to this process, too? Ah, yes. Somehow I had thought that my brain existed in a pocket of the time-space continuum that was unaffected by planetary movements.

And third, a long comment also posted on the same thread, summoning us to stop rushing carelessly through life, neglecting to be there for what’s actually happening here and now. Look up, Riathere says; look at the trees, or the vertiginous slopes of the cityscape’s canyon, and watch as other people see you and start looking up, too. Have a bag of cookies for dinner. Jump on the sofa. Laugh and grin at nothing special.

I would add, look into your family’s eyes for a long moment, aware of their returned gaze, instead of rushing them constantly to the table, the bathroom, the car, bed. Look into your lover’s eyes for a long moment, deeply, attentively. Look about you as if everything was new, and yet as if everything could fade away at any moment; as the Qur’an says: “Everywhere you look, there is His Face.” Live this moment now, in all its imperfect glory, and instead of reliving an imagined past or trying to force an unnatural future, there is calm and connection and clarity.

I wish you, dear Cavereaders, many of these moments. Or, perhaps, just one is enough.