The 2012 Predictions: You're Betting Your Life On It

If there's any truth to those ancient legends, you have precious little time left to make the most important wager of your life. Before dismissing this as new-age mumbo-jumbo, you'd best know exactly what's at stake.

A few nights ago my wife, Arianne, asked why I am taking so seriously the myth about the winter solstice of 2012 marking the end of the world as we know it. Although I gave the question my best shot at the time, all I got in return was a quizzical look and a shrug. I then promised to pull my thoughts together and make this the subject of my next column.

The Last Date in the Mayan Calendar

December 21, 2012 is a date that has been literally set in stone - it is the last date chiseled into the Mayan calendar. It is spoken of in the legends of other traditions as well and, according to some recent material I have been reading, has been part of the arcane knowledge of civilizations stretching back to Atlantis and Lemuria. Apparently some ancient people were privy to knowledge that remains largely unavailable to the majority of us today - even though we are the ones destined to live through this remarkable date

As one who has followed this subject for a number of years, I can add that the level of "chatter" - to borrow a term from the CIA - seems to be increasing at an impressive rate. Some of the latest material to cross my desk stopped me dead in my tracks (see:

Should we treat the predicted demise of our civilization with disdain or with riveted attention? This question would not be so challenging if the prophecies were backed by verifiable scientific process. Thanks to modern-day advances in our understanding of the Earth's orbit, we can predict a total eclipse of the sun on November 13, 2012. We can even tell within seconds precisely when and where this event will occur. But when it comes to an event like the end of the world, science can't help us; the forces in play have yet to be discovered by classical academia.

Thus on this matter we are left to our own devices. All of us must work out a response as best we can. However, if there is any truth to the story, our stance - the most wager we ultimately make - regarding this issue is arguably the most important of our life. As C. S. Lewis, the celebrated author of The Chronicles of Narnia, once said about his decision to embrace religion: "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."

The Meaning of the End of the World

There are several things to take into account before placing your bet. The first is to understand what is meant by "the end of the world." It clearly does not mean the planet will be destroyed, for that would take away all options in a single stroke, and the entire issue would be moot. That's not what the seers of the past were trying so hard to tell us. They were warning us of something entirely different - more like an abrupt shift in the direction of one's life.

Just as today's astronomers have a more expansive perspective on outer space than Galileo and Kepler did, so those throughout history who have been able to view earthly events from a cosmic point of view have had a broader understanding than most of us of the narrative of our planet through time.

To illustrate, imagine that you are observing a steadily accelerating car from a helicopter several thousand feet above a three-lane highway. You can clearly see the road stretching to the horizon. Looking ahead, you notice that the road goes over a small rise and comes to a sudden fork where the lanes split sharply apart. Because the fork is hidden from the driver's view until the last instant, there will be no time for him or her to change lanes before the road divides.

Now if the car is in the left lane, it must take the left fork; if it's in the right lane, it must go right. If it's in the center lane, it will crash into the dividing barrier. Those are the only alternatives. Based on the car's speed, you can calculate the precise instant it will arrive at the point of no return. How would you alert the driver to the imminent danger?

Free Will During End Times

Such has been the dilemma of the cosmic seers. What is most compelling about their warnings is that many different visionaries have delivered the same message even though they apparently had absolutely no connection with each other. In other words, different seers throughout history have seen the same events coming to a head at exactly the same moment in linear time.

To carry the analogy further: Each of us is the driver of our own car. Since we have free will, we can opt to switch lanes at any time before reaching the fork in the road. According to the received teachings, the choice is simple: you can dedicate your life to the service of self, in which case you attempt to dominate and control others to gain personal power, or you can be in service to others, focusing each thought, word, and deed for the benefit of another being. The first choice (service to self) would put your car in the left lane; the second choice (service to others) equates to the right lane. Opting for neither keeps you locked in the center lane.

The teachings also tell us the consequences of each choice. The Earth, itself a sentient, conscious entity, has already chosen the right lane. Those of us who make the same choice will stay with her and move into the next density, or vibrational level of experience, which many call the golden age of love and peace. Those who choose the negative path (service to self) will be moved to a new planetary home where they can perfect the art of control. The beings that opt for neither fork will simply recycle the entire present human experience, beginning as prehumans who are subject to being preyed upon and controlled by those beings who opt for the negative path.

Decision Theory and the Existence of God

Before dismissing this as pure metaphysical mishmash, I suggest you consider the words of Blaise Pascal, the renowned French mathematician and philosopher who applied decision theory to the question of the existence of God. The result was the famous Pascal's Wager, which likens the matter to a yes/no bet - only instead of money, you are risking your eternal soul. According to Pascal, there are two propositions: God exists, and God does not exist. (Notably, Pascal understood God as the Christian God depicted in the Bible, which provides some information about God, but attempts no proof of his existence.) Pascal proposed that before placing your bet, you should consider the four possibilities:

  1. If you choose to believe in God, and if God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
  2. If you choose to believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your loss is finite and therefore negligible.
  3. If you choose not to believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your gain is finite and therefore negligible.
  4. If you choose not to believe in God, and if God exists, you will go to hell: your loss is infinite.

Pascal's notes, which appear in his unfinished treatise Pensées, wrap it all up neatly: "Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is."

Logic for The 2012 Shift

I suggest applying the same logic to the possibility of a major shift in 2012. We can only assume that the information is either true or not true. And all four of Pascal's options apply. For me, the only course of action that resonates with my inner being is to act as if the proposed events and are accurate.

This is similar to having a physician tell you that you have only six months (or in this case six years) to live. Many people who have received such dire news have managed to not only live the most present and exquisite six months of their lives but, because of the palpable shift in their lifestyles, some even reversed their medical condition. The predictions for 2012 are, as it were, giving us just a few more years to live. We can cower through them in fear and denial, or we can accept this as an invitation to live more fully and purposefully than we ever have before.

In my own case, the consequence is that an overriding thought now drives my every waking moment: how can I further help to shift the consciousness of humanity? These words barely capture what I truly feel. There is so much more I want to convey, but like my six and a half billion fellow travelers on this planet, I am still learning to use the language of the heart.

Jean-Claude Koven is a Rancho Mirage, CA based writer and speaker. He is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense, the Allbooks Reviews editor's choice for the best metaphysical book of 2004. For more information, please visit: