My last post generated some interesting comments; here's my take on what's going on.
Mass consumerism is a very recent thing, it started post-war and really gathered momentum in the 1970's - suddenly it seemed you could have anything you wanted, but at a price. People started getting very rich - and as those of you have been rich will know - it is very addictive; you always want more.
So us entrepreneurs found cleverer and cleverer ways to entice you to buy more - brilliant marketing, enticing ads, messages that our product would make you sexier, thinner, more attractive. Fashion cycles accelerated and as soon as you had the latest thing, it wasn't the latest thing anymore - so was given to Oxfam. The world's resources started being consumed at an alarming rate.
And of course people's earnings could not keep up with the rampant demand, so a handy little thing called credit was introduced to enable the whole machine to continue being fed. The economy continued to expand, Gordon Brown crowed about his 'stable economy' and 'record growth' and for a while everything in the garden was very rosy.
But in the gold rush for more business, the financial institutions started getting a little reckless and started lending to people who really, really couldn't afford it. And so the inevitable started - defaults on loans, people posting the keys of their houses back through their bank's letterbox, thousands forced into bankruptcy and thousands more choosing it as an easy option to wipe their debt.
And the cancer of this 'sub-prime' debt spread throughout the banking sector as institutions swapped liabilities, undermining the whole financial system.
Hoping the problems were isolated, bits and pieces of government and institutional intervention followed; Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley, RBS, Barclays, Merrill Lynch, AIG all bailed out in some shape or form. And now the US suddenly finds $800billion to try to solve the problem once and for all, the stock market shoots up, the traders breathe a sigh of relief - and everyone starts gambling again.
But it's obvious that this rampant consumerism can't continue.
There isn't enough money to feed the monster (especially now people are losing their jobs as well as their homes), there aren't enough resources in the world to feed the monster (especially now people are running scared through global warming), there isn't enough time to feed the monster (people are working harder and faster just to stand still) - and what's more, none of it is making anyone happy.
Plus how many crises and wars can the US rustle up the money for before the country itself becomes bankrupt?
Meantime, there is a growing awareness of the unfairness of a 'many to one' system in which capitalism allows a small number of individuals to share the spoils at the expense of the many billions who live on our planet in poverty, too weak to be able to fight their oppressors.
So, to me, the predicted 'Apocalypse' is not anything about an asteroid colliding with Earth, it is about the necessary breakdown of the current way of working to allow a new world order to come in.
My view is that this new world order will be able to meet every one's needs (not greeds) in a much fairer and collaborative way, in harmony with the planet and one another. Already there is an awakening of the 'collective consciousness' which is calling people towards a more spiritual way of existing.
Our human efforts to change things (what one might call the 'low energy light bulb' approach) are not enough to cut it; when the Universe finally delivers the solution mankind needs (and we are just starting to glimpse the changes now) it will deliver in a spectacularly powerful and infinitely intelligent way.