Since our blog is updated every Sunday we will be celebrating the New Year early. Let’s toast 2014 early with something bubbly. Better yet, light a joint, a once demonized act, which is becoming increasingly legal in a number of states. There is plenty to celebrate as we pass into 2014, like the follies of Men around the world who became victims of their own greed and megalomania. The most heartwarmingly stupid tale is that of Eike Batista who had once reached number ten on the list of richest people in the world, but in the last couple of years has lost nearly all of his $30 billion fortune on aggressive business ventures, mostly in his native Brazil, which has more than a quarter of its population living in poverty.
Many publications recap the year in some sort of retrospective. Time Magazine selects a public figure they deem the most influential of the year to feature on their cover. In 2013 it should probably have been Edward Snowden (runner-up in Time to Pope Francis). Snowden would have also been a strong candidate for Anti-Man of the Year, if there were such a thing, as someone who stood up for his principles to help others who were exposed to worldwide violations of privacy. His story was unquestionably one of the year’s most riveting and significant. Yet, we’re not here to name a Man or Anti-Man of the Year as that would be too simple, we’ll leave that sensationalism for mainstream outlets that are beholden to their need to sell.
Even as individual members of the global 1% fall, an oligarchy still controls the wealth of the world. People are starving all over the planet. Still 50% of the Earth’s population lives on less than $2.50 per day while 80% lives on less than $10; all over the world the gap between rich and poor is widening. Major natural disasters are more frequent and nuclear waste is seeping from the shores of Japan all across the globe, passing through a plastic soup, floating mass of collected plastic waste the size of Texas. There are many reasons to be pessimistic…the world seems to be increasingly imperiled. But there is a silver lining.
Many people thought that 2013 wasn’t even supposed to happen; 15% of people thought the world was going to end on December 21, 2012. After evacuating New York City as super-storm Sandy was rolling in, I started to wonder if we were coming to some sort of reckoning that would drastically alter the course of life on this planet. Nourished on a diet of Daniel Pinchbeck I was especially nervous as CTM writer Spencer and I sat in my living room during a memorable meeting as we watched two bright mysterious explosions in the night sky, which could have been: A) the hand of God, B) an alien invasion, C) government sabotage, or D) something far stranger, beyond the scope of our imaginations. It turned out to be transistors exploding in the dark. We awoke on December 22, 2012, survivors of the passage into a new era. What will this new era be about? Consumption and destruction or collaboration and sustainability? Greed and power or love and understanding? A new year is always an excuse for change. Let our personal transformations contribute to the betterment of our collective existence. Then 2014 would be a truly happy New Year.