Editorial: Seize the Year

The year 2012 is here, and very little can be said with certainty about what events it will hold.

Except this: An ancient Mayan god will not return to destroy the world, contrary to a surprisingly popular superstition.

More sophisticated thinkers point out that end-of-the-world stories are metaphors for changes in belief systems. They say global enlightenment is on the way this year. That won’t happen, either. Enlightenment is rarely large-scale and never fast. Often, it isn’t even enlightened.

2012 will have its big moments. Americans will elect the next leader of the free world. We all will face personal responsibilities in our daily lives.

Apocalypse fantasies are a curious mix of vanity and passivity. They pretend that we are important enough to see the world’s end, and that change is something that happens by itself.

We should transform 2012 instead of dreaming that it will transform us. Seize the year.

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