Saturday, March 19, 2011

2012: The Revolution Has Begun... or not...

Good friends have sent me this video, called "2012: The Revolution Has Begun". You can see it by following this link:

Thanks for the video link, which I watched today. I love you for sending it, and I love you enough to give you my honest response to it.

I appreciate the attention this video brings to global warming, which is no joke, and to the mass extinction currently underway. I also very much appreciate the video’s challenge to us to choose love over fear. That is probably the most important thing we can all be saying right now, and I’m so glad they targeted Fox News and TV in general – I agree with all that. I also adore the love images in this video – the revelation of the heart of God through meditation is beautifully portrayed here. I could feel myself opening up and smiling when those came on. I’ve been to that place. That part felt like going home.

However, I also have some serious issues with this video, which I regard, overall, to be more mythology than fact. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in mythology as an agent of social change, and that’s a big reason why I’m a priest. I just think it’s important to also keep your facts straight. For example, the startling claim about the GOES satellite and the electromagnetic spike on 9/11 – I notice there is no source for this graph given and I strongly doubt this claim. A quick check on the GOES’s own website says nothing about electromagnetism as something they measure. I think it is highly likely this is a fraudulent claim.

I don’t have time to research the claimed earthquake spike, but despite recent earthquakes, I’m skeptical of the veracity of that chart as well.

I also get a little pesky when people completely misrepresent the Bible, as this video does by referring to Mt 6:22 as having to do with meditation. Sorry, but that’s ridiculous – an example of something that happens all the time – the appropriation of a religious text into terms that fit someone else’s paradigm. A responsible use of Scripture honors the intent of the original author, or at least grapples with the difference between what it actually says and what we want it to say.

But the more substantive issue I have with this video is the notion, which has been around for a long time now, that through meditation the world will be transformed into a heavenly realm. The idea that a revolution in consciousness is just around the corner, and depends on our own individual spiritual practice for it to happen, is, in my opinion, a myth. As myth, it is very powerful, and like other myths it may motivate a lot of people toward life-changing behaviors that would be good for them and for the planet. I just don’t believe it’s true, factually speaking. Christians have been predicting the coming of Christ for a long time, too – that idea comes from the same impulse and the same longing as the one expressed in this video - but all efforts to predict when it will happen have been in vain, and the responsible Christian has to accept the possibility that this is more a statement about our own longing than a statement of fact.

Like I said, I honor and respect the power of myth. I proclaim “Christ will come again” as a mythological statement of ultimate trust, but connecting that to any earthly calendar (including the Mayan) is a very well-documented mistake. What happens when we get attached to those predictions is that we lose sight of the real source of that prediction, which is our own inner longing for it to be true, despite all (actual) evidence to the contrary; and then we open ourselves up to manipulation by people who want to exploit our longing.

That longing is a real thing, though, and over the centuries it has sparked all sorts of visions and proclamations, including violent and non-violent uprisings against an oppressor (Jesus was, in my opinion, caught up in, and also struggling against, the dark side of such a movement). People have been manipulated by this longing for a long time.

Which leads me to my last comment, which is that I don’t like the manipulation in this video. Even as it decries TV for its sensational fear-mongering, it uses that very same medium to make us afraid, and then exploits that fear to choose a more satisfying spiritual resolution. This then feeds a meditation workshop industry which employs many people who benefit from videos like this.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are intentionally committing fraud or anything like that. I do think there’s some naivete going on here though. And for all the complaints that are made against Christians and organized religion among many of the folks who would love this video, this video is not much different from how priests and pastors have used fear of hellfire to emotionally manipulate their congregations, and then offering, as a satisfying alternative, the saving love of Jesus. Out of sheer relief that they are not going to burn in eternal hellfire, they readily accept the alternative, without employing the healthy skepticism they would otherwise bring to the conversation. And, how convenient that this also builds up their churches and makes the preachers fat and happy! Again, naivete plays a role here: most of them, I’m sure, sincerely believe in hellfire – but nonetheless they exploit that fear so that people will uncritically accept the very attractive alternative they offer.

This video is nowhere near that on the evilness scale – in fact, as mythology I think it’s powerful in a good way, and may well motivate people to seek inner peace and work for the good of the planet. That’s all good. I just think the idea that meditation will spark a global revolution in consciousness and bring about an era of social justice is little more than magical thinking; and I really don’t trust that guy with the hair, talking about electromagnetic fields.

I would love to be wrong on that one, by the way. What an amazing thing, if true!
So it’s not all bad. I choose a different mythology, however – a mythology that has many compatibilities with this one – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Thanks for listening, ML+

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