2002 -- you can read it from backto front or front to back. It's the first palindrome year of the millennium and a freak of the Julian calendar. But I can't help feeling encouraged to find the backwards in other things as well. I think of a great image from Margaret Laurence's The Diviners. She describes the forward flow of a river, but a contrary wind blows the surface of the water in the opposite direction so that it flows both ways at once.
This is an apt symbol for the year we are entering -- the perpetual midpoint of time, moment zero, ushering us both ways, into the past and into the future. Previously, we told the tale of our ancestors, but now we concentrate on stories of our imagined descendants. We prefer to see ourselves in the starship, not the slave ship.
But the future won't save us. New gimmicks won't save us. Nor will the past. They say hindsight is all 20/20. I wish it were so. If we could accurately see the past, would we still go dancing so foolishly through the same minefields again?
We need to examine how everything is also itself backwards. That these are backward times and we are backward people. That our leaders are really our followers. That our schools make us stupid and thick, that our resolutions weaken us, that punishment itself is crime.
I think, though, there is also an invitation to see other connections as two-way. We function so often as receivers. But we are senders, too -- the channel back to the satellites, the channel back to the stars. So I propose a year of speaking out, of sending letters. Of nurturing the reflective flowback.
And please forget prophecy. That gift is only ever given to the speechless, the inarticulate, the oblique. To tell the present -- that is the gift. To receive the moment and to send to the moment.
Let's blow a little harder than we did last year on the straw houses of propaganda. We live in the shadow of the biggest propaganda windmill ever in the history of the earth. Blow back. Money is stealing us.
We are being robbed by banks. Despair is our only hope. Let us stand centred in our omni-directional anxieties and feel the terrible two-way tugging at our souls.
Ha! It's time, too, to find the "ah!" in "ha!" Allen Ginsberg just before his death realized that "om" isn't the right sound for westerners to use in meditation. He proposed the more open "ah," the ah of recognition: "Ah, now I see.' Our sickness is not that we repress our pain, it's that we repress our pleasure. We have a year of such recognitions to get through.
Finally, as I concern myself with what will be for my children, my descendants, I must also look back at the ancestors -- those who fought for workers' rights in the shmatte biz on Spadina, those who stood against Hitler, those who marched with Martin Luther King.
It makes me want to extract from that much-used word "evil" its alphabetic reverse -- "live." Maybe there's a clue here. Maybe if we all live more fully, more authentically, we can reverse evil.
With that in mind, I wish for all of you that which I wish for myself -- to love more and fear less.