The extent of underlying world need for apocalypse, for a global, soul-educational breakthrough, changes with every moment. We are regularly making historically-impacting decisions, some of which are deeply decisive and some of which crucially affect underlying trends, and the trajectory of history changes thereby. Humanity has demonstrated in some instances a mysterious capacity to make last-minute redemptive decisions: it's called 'forgive and forget', and 'let's get on with it'. Even the urge for 'business as usual' can occasionally be redemptive - it helps us make new sense of rapidly-changing situations. It can even stop otherwise-unstoppable wars.
However, the steady pattern visible across recent centuries is one of refusal to embrace fundamental change. We have had much technological, economic and cultural change, yet these have consistently led to an increasing spiritual impoverishment. Changes we have seen in the 19th and 20th centuries have mainly consisted of approximate extrapolations of the same unfolding logic of civilisation - based on materialism, acquisitiveness, exploitation and short-sight.
Major historic changes we have made in the last century do not guarantee human survival - the UN Charter of Human Rights, the invention of the microchip or even the Earth Summit have been laudable attempts, though these do not constitute fundamental shifts of agenda, only refinements of the previous agenda's rougher edges. Our resistance to fundamental change is such that we refuse to make changes even when we know we need to.
Our window of opportunity for planning an orderly world transition opened in the 1960s. However, in recent decades we have invested ever-increasingly in avoiding 'the Big One' - we bought into the glitz of the free-trade, economic growth-based lottery show, and many now quietly regret it. Thus, excepting possible surprises, we are heading for a full-scale whammy of an apocalypse. In our unconscious behaviour as a planetary race, we are asking for it. "Give us the Big One, so that we may learn - since we cannot learn ourselves". It's an obsessive-compulsive suicidal transformation-urge.
The 'Big One' could imply a single crux-moment, or it could imply a period of perhaps decades in which the symptoms of apocalypse unfold though a series of waves of intensity. Whichever, we are talking not of an ordered, planned change of direction for the human race, but rather of a change in the nature of order itself.
However, such a new reality would still need to be integrated: if our perception is changed, this sets us on a new learning-path, learning how to work in the context of that reality. A suddenly-obsolete gun is still there to be dealt with, and while manufactured foods might suddenly taste less interesting, food still does need growing. Even if food is grown in newly-miraculous ways, we will need to learn how to work with the practical issues surrounding miracles!
Whatever is the case, a likely scenario is this. Collective enlightenment could be either instantaneous or rapid. Even if it takes five or twenty years, that's fast, historically speaking. Such enlightenment would be driven onwards by a need to respond to raw global bottom-line facts. Such a change of consciousness would not obliterate the realities of our situation - toxic wastes, risks of famine, geological catastrophe or social disorder - yet it would change our capacity to deal with them if or when they arose.
We would certainly possess expanded possibilities - perhaps a serious new capacity to deal with nuclear waste through the psychic manipulation of matter, or perhaps a genius for intense earth-healing which might restore more regularised climatic patterns. However, we would not be instantaneously adept in such possibilities - like a boy with a computer, there's a lot to learn and master.
This would tip us into a period of perhaps decades of change in which the implications of such intense change would need to be worked out - psycho-spiritually, socially, agriculturally and in every other department of life. If this led to a speedy alleviation of the major problems we face, we would nevertheless be embarking on a process of assimilating change, of rebuilding our world, conducting and coordinating new activities - and we would need to maintain production and organisation of the daily needs of life too. In other words, while apocalypse might last but a short time, its implications, even if dealt with rapidly, would be likely to take many decades or even a whole century to work through before a new stable equilibrium were reached.
Historically, this would be exceptionally rapid progress. In principle, we would by necessity have resolved all of the core issues of human history, in one fell swoop. If we had not, we probably wouldn't survive.
A moderate view of apocalypse would encompass a period of several decades. This would begin with a worldwide, psycho-spiritual turn-around - primarily a collective inner experience which then would generate corrective action. There would follow a longish period of hard work and large-scale change. There would likely be a critical point where things came to a crunch, a show-down with actuality.
This would constitute the real transformation and redemption of our history and our 21st century situation. This might be followed by a time when the hump has been crossed, the danger is over, and a truly new future has emerged. My own guesstimates would put this period of into a time-frame of approximately 2000-2065 - though the beginning of the transitional process depends on our choices.
An approximate hypothetical timetable of phases in this period of intense transition might look like this:
2000-2010: an ongoing barrage of critical situations in which escalating circumstances force waves of radical structural, economic and social changes, often people- or circumstance-driven - a juggling act being maintained by adapting old methods and institutions and engaging and experimenting with utterly new ones;
2010s: extreme tests threatening breakdown and offering breakthrough, particularly around 2112-14 - very difficult times, or an ongoing state of emergency, making acute necessity the driving force behind innovation; this might need exceptional mobilisation of human resources together with major institutional and infrastructural change; what form this takes depends on how we deal with it - this period could involve anything from disaster and breakdown to exceptionally rapid transition; by the end of this decade, humanity could be in a state of 'shell-shock' - or first-level breakthrough;
2020s: in some respects, this could be a decade of stymied or uphill progress (akin to the 1940s), though much effort might be expended and much might be achieved; this might involve struggling to keep pace with the problems arising at the time; later in the decade, however, there could be a lightening atmosphere, with ideas-rich innovations, cultural interchange, social effort, rapid progress and changes becoming easier as a result of greater willingness amongst new generations to rise to the situation, and as a result of previous efforts beginning to bear fruit;
2030s: this might be a decade of emphasis on the consequences and results of changes made so far, with a large-scale period of adaptation to them and further progress leading out of them. A new level of challenges and solutions would arise on these foundations - changes will by now have been immense. Many issues of the past could have been resolved, yet further work would also be piling up - the solution of one issue would likely lead to the uncovering of further matters for attention. This might still be a decade where we are dealing with the past and its consequences, though light would be appearing at the end of the tunnel, with a foreboding that the biggest transition is yet to come. This might be a cliff-hanger decade with much rapid reorientation and many ongoing crises, yet a momentum of change could also be well under way;
2040s: disruption, instability, restlessness. This could be the most thorny decade of the century. A struggle between polarised and contradictory issues and parties, and an enormous crunch-point in which the urgency of the moment tests humanity's priorities and capacities. This decade is likely to see both tragedy and triumph, with varying measures of both, yet pay-offs would be emerging, and there would be a potential for humanity to achieve 'lift-off'. Large-scale problems would be matched with large-scale effort and progress. This decade could signify a crucial turning-point in human history where both the problems and the solutions which became visible in the 1960s-90s become very real and immediate; this could be the decisive decade of the 21st century;
2050s: a growing sense either of being beaten by or of mastering the critical world situation. This depends on how things have gone so far. Yet an entirely new reality-context can have arisen as a result of the developments of the 2040s - either an ascendancy of humanity toward a new future or a sense of finality and tough assimilation of hard facts which will by then have presented themselves. There is a risk of change-shock and chaos debilitating humanity, or there could be a sense of mobilisation and growing human unity in the face of difficult times. Much of the past will have been swept away - the children of the late 20th century will by this time be ageing, and the generation in charge will have been born in the early 2000s. The stakes will be high and few precedents will now be available - the inherent wisdom and cooperation (or lack of them) in humanity will likely be a decisive factor;
2060s: a time of gradual emergence into a new chapter of history. By now the dust will be settling and the critical period will have been passed - with whatever consequences that brings. A new civilisation and reality will be germinating. The success or failure of all that has developed since 1900 will by now be clear - the 20th century will now be long past and the agenda of the 21st century will be manifest too. This could be either a time of immense tribulation and disheartened survival for humanity, or a time for tremendous revitalisation, reconstruction and reintegration in a very different world. If there is to be a new civilisation, it will probably have laid down its roots by now, though its unfoldment would concern future decades and centuries;
2070s-80s-90s: a gradual relative normalisation and assimilation of our new reality, and an establishment of a new relative stability - however things have gone. The future is likely to be more important than the past - since the past will have been wiped clean. This opens up new possibilities for making the best of what is by this time our accepted reality. It could be a time of great light and joy where human potential rises toward new creative peaks. The past is over and the future wide open, for better or for worse. The issue at this time will be our longterm strategy, our goal for the coming civilisation and era of history - an era which might conceivably unfold over the following 300 years.
This is a hypothetical scenario, yet it might turn out to serve as a valid perspective and timetable with the effect of creating a sense of historical process and longterm evolution. This scenario has been constructed with use of an understanding of longterm astrological cycles combined with a sense of historical process.
A more radical view of apocalypse implies a short intensive period of time in which we are thoroughly overwhelmed by an utterly whirlwind transformation, taking place in days, months or a few years. For such a scenario to succeed, we would need to be wiped clean, 're-booted'. This would ram us through a short, sharp, shocking period of utter change, needing to start again from first principles. However, such a scenario, if religious and metaphysical prognosticators (such as Jehovah's Witnesses or some Ascensionists) are right, would either destroy most of us or it would involve a spiritual dispensation so immense that the laws of reality as we know them become thoroughly changed, overnight.
The moderate, more gradual view outlined above would probably involve a warping and intensification of time and events - already perceptible in the 1990s. Much would be happening, relentlessly. But the radical view would probably imply our suddenly careering into a virtually timeless, razor-sharp breakthrough awareness - of the kind which takes over when we are told we've just won a million, or when a baby is being born or a dear friend is dying. In this scenario, time becomes insignificant - aeons can pass in the course of but seconds or days. The dawning of true reality is a total consciousness-changer: everything we thought we knew turns out not to be the case. Everything turns upside-down. Even up and down become indistinct.
Whether rapid or more drawn-out, this is the dawning of an order of a different kind. This order has something to do with the way the world and the universe actually operate. It has something to do with the intelligence by which the universe arranges its parts and gets them to work together with the whole. For us, it means and outbreak of collective genius and also emulation - a restructuring of everything according to quintessential lessons we learn from life itself. To quote Viktor Schauberger, one of the greater technology geniuses of the 20th century: "Comprehend and copy nature!"
Redemption involves a realignment with nature, with human nature and universal nature - with the underlying thread of life. Cynics of today regard this as metaphysical bunkum, yet it might be pragmatic realism tomorrow. The humorous aspect of this is that the future is so unpredictable that even futurologists might also have their own personal apocalypse, fuelled by an overload of unpredictables and imponderables! Each of us will learn according to need.
All this will bring with it remembering, too. A remembering of how to do things right. It's the kind of remembering a receptive woman experiences while pregnant and giving birth - a remembering on a cellular-memory level. 'Rightness' isn't one single stated yardstick where one can define 'this is right' and 'that is wrong'. Yet, in the situation where one stands, or in an emergency, it is possible clearly to sense the right thing to do - there is a level of human genius which 'knows' what to do when faced with an exacting situation.
We shall devise answers which differ widely for different people in different lands and situations, as appropriate to each people in each area - yet these answers can all, though different, work toward a similar end. Since there is no overarching guiding philosophy or religion we all share, with which to enter the 21st century (as, for example, socialism gave a guiding philosophy to many as we entered the 20th century), we'll have to drive by the seats of our pants.
Nevertheless, we humans are not inexperienced in this. This alert state is a natural state for humanity: it's what guides us through our births, our crises, our love-making, our risk-taking, our hang-gliding, our inspired guesses. It is an outburst of naturalness. Humans are very resourceful, and when presented with raw facts, we're tremendously adaptable and innovative. There is no time for disagreement.
We live today in a massive and crucial planetary laboratory experiment. The task is to find out whether we're going to 'make it' or not. We are faced with three choices: we may keep our heads buried in the sand, we may feel doomed to disaster, or we may feel trust that we shall somehow make it through. Predicting the outcome of the experiment is a mug's game, more a question of belief, of hope or fear, than of reality. Even God doesn't exactly know what is going to happen.
Nevertheless, it is realistic to contribute actively to bringing about certain chosen world outcomes. There is good reason to act in faith that there is a meaning and purpose to human life. This is a choice of the deepest import. It involves encountering a personal apocalypse or an ongoing series of them. A growth-process.
Even when we think we know the answers, raw revelations come pouring in to change these answers as well as our way of knowing. The more that people experience personal apocalypse, the more that experience is gained, and the more that the human race as a whole will master global apocalypse. There's a gradual buildup of skills and momentum which, when this wave breaks, can only contribute and help.
We could be in for times of great tribulation. It could be that the times of tribulation have been with us in the 20th century and that a Great Relief might settle upon us in the 21st. We do not yet know. Yet, judging by the unsettling events of our time, it seems we are now entering, or perhaps have already entered, the critical time when humanity makes its Big Decision.
The gridlock is moving into place. The showdown is on. We will only know what happens next by looking back at it retrospectively from the future.