There are now a number of plausible end-of-the-world scenarios, enough to justify thinking seriously, and in a new way, what such an event might mean to us. It's easy to say, oh, well, that's it, then, we'll just be gone.
That might not be the whole story.
Before I discuss why I think that, I'd like to run through a few of these scenarios. I'll begin by saying that December 21, 2012 isn't one of them. Whether or not this date has any large significance is not presently clear. There is a lot of change taking place and it might, but if there was a world-ending mechanism involved, we would almost certainly see some indications of it by now.
There are three primary scenarios that people often express concern about: changes in the sun; the collapse of earth's magnetic field; and climate change. Should one of these factors lead to an extinction event on earth, and if one takes place, we are going to bear the brunt of it. The reason is that we are large and very numerous, and therefore dependent on a stable planetary environment. If it is changed too much, we enter into an unrecoverable decline.
For the past 10 years, the sun has been acting in ways that we don't understand. Just recently, an enormous magnetic fissure opened up in its surface. It was a feature unlike any we have ever seen before. Add to this what has become a litany of unexpected solar change over the past few years, and the conclusion is inescapable: we don't know what is happening to our star. Should it emit a significant enough burst of energy, it could destroy planetary electrical and electronic systems, or worse, it could sheet the planet with sterilizing gamma rays, effectively ending life here.
Similarly, our planet's magnetosphere has been in motion for years, and its movement is getting faster each year. Every half million years or so, Earth's magnetic pole shifts. For the most part, the shifts evolve over thousands of years, and there is no evidence that they cause mass extinctions. At some point in the future, there will be a period of time when the magnetic field of the planet will be in chaos. How long it will last is unknown, but during the time that it is in this state, it will be possible for radiation from the sun and other sources to reach closer to the surface of the earth. This will not result in an extinction event, unless it turns out that our understanding of magnetic reversals is wrong, and the change happens more quickly than we are expecting, with unknown consequences. One problem is that our crops are bred to grow quickly, which makes them vulnerable to radiation. However, despite the increasing speed with which the magnetic field is changing, even if it enters a state of chaos, our atmosphere will prevent an increase in the intensity of high energy particles reaching the surface. The poles of the magnetic field, for example, are not shielded from the sun now, and there is no deadly radiation entering there. (A footnote: there is a video on the internet at present (August, 2012), allegedly from a NASA scientist claiming that aliens have told NASA that this will happen in the summer of 2016. The video claims that, when the magnetosphere goes into chaos, the Van Allen radiation belts will come to earth and fry us all. This will not happen, and the video has been revealed to be a hoax.)
The third possibility is climate change. I don't need to go into this in much detail, obviously, but I will say this about it: despite recent studies that have made even leading global warming skeptics into believers, two factors have not yet entered the equation. The first is that increasing use of natural gas in power generation and industrial processes has led to a dramatic decrease in CO2 emissions by the United States. The second is that reduced solar energy over the past 10 years has slowed global warming. At the same time, methane outgassing from tundra and frozen methane hydrates beneath the Arctic Ocean is in the process of causing a heat spike in the arctic. How these conflicting forces will play out is not clear.
In any case, I'm not predicting that any of these things will happen. Despite a recent dire warning from a NASA worker, Dr. Salvatore Conti that alien signals have indicated that the magnetic pole shift will happen in the summer of 2016, with calamitous results, there is no evidence that this will take place on any specific nearby date. However, it will have potentially devastating effects when it does happen.
I think that the existence of two potential engines that could drive an extinction event is worth the most serious thought. Minor extinction events are a commonplace of Earth's geologic history. Major ones are more rare, but the human species is living in such a delicate balance than even a relatively minor change, by planetary standards, could derail our species.
So what if that happens? What if the great majority of us die, or even all of us? Again, the end of species is a commonplace of Earth's history, and as long as we do not have major and self-sustaining colonies on other planets or in outer space, at some point this is going to happen to us.
My sense is that nature is well prepared for this. Indeed, that it is expected. Just as death is part of individual life, species extinction is part of species life. In my years of close encounter, I have come to see that the presence of our dead is so intertwined with the presence of the visitors that I have come to view them as different aspects of the same phenomenon. I suspect that this is because our visitors have already had the experience that we may well be facing right now: they have already gone extinct. They present to us an immeasurably complex and nuanced presence, ranging from those who would help us to find a path toward true objective being and final truth, to those who are still bound to the physical and want nothing more than to taste of our physical lives, using whatever means they can devise to penetrate into us and share our experiences.
In fact, every single way that they manifest among us can be explained by one part or another of the preceding sentence, and I think it give us a clue both as to why they are here and what to expect in the future from them and, more importantly, from nature.
My thought is that they probably wouldn't be taking such an interest in us if our species was not in the process of reaching a climax. One way or another, a great number of us are, at some time in the foreseeable future, going to lose access to the physical world, due to our planet's becoming unable to sustain our lives.
This will be a hard transition. Horrible. The struggle of a baby down the birth canal, writ large in the crying of billions of throats. This baby, newly born into a completely unexpected environment, is going to awake to ferocious and highly energetic confusion. It isn't even going to understand how it is that it exists, and this confusion is going to be reflected across its billions of individual nodes, each of which is the whole content of a single individual, probably extending across many lifetimes and an almost unimaginable wealth of experience.
In all this confusion of racing electrons and confused alarms, some of us need to remain coherent, and sounding a call to do this, and demonstrating how it can be done is, I think, the central aim of my life. I have been carefully schooled in the existence of this other level of consciousness. I know for certain, on a personal level, that it exists. There is another life after this one, and it is vastly large and more potentiated at every level than is physical life. It is not restrictively individualized like physical bodies are, but rather holographically structured, so that, while individual parts exist as separate entities, they are also at the same time expressions of the whole entity.
It is the creation of this entity that has been the aim of earthly life from the beginning. Since the advent of mankind, it has been gaining a mind--gradually waking up, as it were. Stirring in the womb of Earth.
It could be that it is time for it to take flight, if not now, then in not so many years that we can look at it as something that might happen somewhere down the road. Rather, we need to expect it and prepare for it in a disciplined and coherent manner. This is not a matter of devising ways to continue physical existence, but rather in finding something I call soul coherence, that will enable at least some of us to remain calm and accurately self and other-aware as the species ascends out of the physical world forever.
I have a simple first suggestion: it is to begin by accepting the fact that the soul is the body. Our physical being, which seems so essential and so very real, is actually a kind of mirror image of ourselves, and, as a mirror image, is no more than a convincing illusion of solidity and reality. Coming to this understanding is at once a deeply spiritual and profoundly physical practice. It requires allowing one's attention to come to rest in the sensations of the body, and leave aside thought, and to do this again and again and again. Over time, a coating of awareness builds up inside sensation, and the body comes to recognize not only its mirror in the physical world, but its real self. It becomes a coherent pattern of being, and the more such patterns we are able to deploy during our birth the more likely it will be that the great aim of life on Earth will be fulfilled, and we will become a coherent consciousness, ready to join ourselves to the great chorus that is intelligent life in the universe.
Read Whitley Strieber's new book the Secret of Orenda. Find out more at Orendabook.com.