Relephant bonus: Leonard Cohen’s New Year’s Eve song.
Sing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, as the West has been doing for generations upon generations!
Scenes like this one have played out in real life for hundreds of years, every midnight, every January the first:
Lyrics:Photo: Snapshots of the Past
My annual update:
This is my weekly editor’s letter on our Top 10 blogs of the week email newsletter—a great way to follow elephant without getting overwhelmed (as opposed to, say, twitter or Facebook, where we’re verrrrry active). ~ ed.
Since the dawn of civilization, humankind has talked, worried and written about the end of time.
Perhaps our finite selves can’t imagine the infinite. We can’t imagine what happened before the Big Bang any more than we can imagine civilization living far beyond our short, happy lives.
And you can’t blame us: humankind is nuts. Lovers yell at one another. Countries bomb each other. Given we human’s ever-escalating lust, speed and ignorance—not to mention the nuclear bomb, or Monsanto’s perversion of food health at its roots—it’s hard to imagine that another few generations will survive and thrive in the way our forebears have.
We’re all cynical. Liberals (and scientists) love to talk about climate change. God-talking fear-mongerers love to sell Armageddon.
But the fact is, many societies have managed to conduct their every decision with respect to the next, say, seven generations. The end doesn’t have to be nigh—if we compost (85% of landfill waste is compostable, and that’s not even counting recycling) then we return earth to earth, instead of ashes to ashes; if we participate in the political process, instead of letting corporations continue to make the rich richer and the poor poorer (and fatter); if we live in a manner that spreads peace and good cheer and honesty instead of a What about Me? mentality, then we’re effectively greasing the wheels of civilization, and the ride can go longer, be more efficient, and smoother.
Soon enough, you and I will die. Nobody gets out of life alive. Everything’s impermanent. The only constant is change (and plastic). But if we can live for others, and die having left our room clean and our country more enlightened, then we can get some satisfaction. We can die happily—in the same way that we celebrate the end of each year with friends and loved ones.
We only enjoy approximately 70—or fewer—New Year’s Eves. So, this year, let’s remember to raise our glass to the things that keep us sane and genuine. I’ll raise mine to 5 minutes of meditation each morning, and my weekly yoga class, to climbing, to Nature, my bicycle, my mom, my teachers, my mutt, my good friends, lovers and my loneliness. Let’s raise our glass to community—to everything that makes life not merely easier or more convenient but worth slowing down for.
And here’s to you. It’s been a good year for elephant—we’ve more than tripled in size (again: from 100,000 unique monthly readers according to Google Analytics, to 314,000 last year; to 890,000 this year). We won 3.5 Denver Westword web awards, and were voted #1 in the US on Twitter for green content (again). I was honored to win a few awards myself, and our various Facebook Pages are up to 70,000 fans. Perhaps most vitally, thanks to our want-to-read-more-than-three-articles-a-day? paygate (thanks to you, and Colin who built it), we’re now finally sustainable financially.
Next year we aim to increase in readership another 3 times. And the year after, 3 times again. Because then we’ll be on a first-tier media footing—we’ll be able to influence the national and international discourse and provide a fun, yet fundamentally serious counterweight to some of the conflictinators (as Stewart and Colbert put it) out there. One year from now, I can see elephant seated beside Huff Post at The White House Correspondents Dinner.
Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,
PS: Check out all our articles on our Front Page.