Welcome to Kala’s Quick Five, where I chat with fascinating authors, artists, teachers, and researchers and ask them five questions about their work. My guest today is John Michael Greer, who has been a guest on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala show many times to discuss his work and his books. John Michael Greer is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America and the author of more than twenty books on a wide range of subjects, including The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age, The Ecotechnic Future: Exploring a Post-Peak World, and The Wealth of Nature: Economics As If Survival Mattered. He lives in Cumberland, MD, an old red brick mill town in the north central Appalachians, with his wife Sara. The topic of our discussion today is his book, Apocalypse Not: Everything You Know about 2012, Nostradamus and the Rapture is Wrong.
Kala: Hi John, pleasure to speak with you again. I’ve always been confused by the people who seem to “wish” for an apocalypse on earth, an ending to this beautiful planet. What do you think is the fascination with the yearning for the end times?
JMG: The key to understanding the apocalypse meme–the set of ideas and emotional drives that cluster around the idea of a sudden stop to history — is to notice what supposedly follows the end. It’s never just an end without a sequel, and the sequel always bears a very close resemblance to whatever the fondest daydreams of the believers happen to be. After everybody else dies — and of course it’s always everybody else who dies–the believers get whatever kind of world they think they want. That’s the bait of the apocalypse meme: history stops, the world we know with all its imperfections and irritations goes away, and then — at least in theory — you get whatever kind of world you most desire. Of course it never actually works that way, but that’s the theory.
Kala: Millions of people quote Nostradamus and apply his predictions to events after they occur. What did you find in your research regarding the accuracy of Nostradamus?
JMG: That he isn’t necessarily your most reliable guide to the future. “In the year 1999 and seven months, from the sky will come a great king of terror to resuscitate the great king of Angouleme; before and after Mars reigns at his will.” That quatrain was much quoted in the runup to 1999, when people took time off from fretting about the Y2K noncrisis. Do you remember a great king of terror that year? Neither do I.
Kala: 2012 is a few months away and for many people, a countdown begins for them regarding an “end date prophecy” on December 21, 2012. What are you feelings about this date and is there any proof or correlation with the Mayan culture?
JMG: The Mayan calendar has many different cycles. One of them rolls over on that date, but there’s only one brief reference to the date anywhere in the ancient Mayan inscriptions, it says nothing about an apocalypse, and there are dates in the Mayan inscriptions predicting events many thousands of years into the future after it. The notion that the some kind of end time scenario would happen then was invented out of whole cloth by the late Jose Arguelles, with some help from 60s psychedelic guru Terence McKenna, and it’s frankly about as believable as Harold Camping’s Rapture predictions. That won’t keep hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people from expecting the end on that date, or from suffering the usual disappointments afterwards.
Kala: Others discuss the correlation between UFO sightings and the end times prophecies. What are your thoughts about the increased reports of UFO sightings, are they related in any capacity?
JMG: The open secret of UFOs, as I discuss in my book The UFO Phenomenon, is that the phenomenon was largely created and is still managed by the Air Force as protective camouflage for whatever the current secret aerospace technology happens to be. In 1947 it was high altitude balloons, in the 1950s it was the U-2, in the 1960s it was the SR-71 and early spy satellites, and so on. Do you remember how in the Eighties, black triangle UFOs were all over the place? That was when stealth planes were first being tested. If UFO sightings are on the increase, it’s a safe bet that in ten or fifteen years, we’ll find out that the Air Force was testing some new technology right about now. It’s interesting, but it’s not especially relevant to end times claims.
Kala: In your opinion, will humanity always look for an “end time escape plan” or are we evolving into the understanding that the “revelation” must come from within as we evolve and grow as spiritual beings?
JMG: I certainly hope we outgrow the apocalypse meme. We’ve been through more than three thousand years of end times that weren’t, and all it’s done is distract us from the hard and rewarding work of facing up to the challenges and possibilities of life as it faces us right here and now.
Kala: John Michael Greer, thanks for your time here on Kala’s Quick Five. Wishing you a happy holiday season!
JMG: Thank you, and best wishes for everyone at this magical time of year!