Carpe Diem

December 18, 2019 on 6:40 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag | No Comments

It says something about me – or, at least, my age – that when the clocks struck midnight on December 31,1999, I thought the wild empyrean future had arrived: the year 2000. The year marked the beginning of the third millennium, one predicted to start with, among other things, a massive failure of the world’s computer systems. Then, to even say 2000 in the context of a calendar date fairly tripped up the tongue. To George Orwell, his 1949 novel, 1984, was his imagined distant future. By 2000, the year 1984 was old news. And here we are: at the front steps of the remarkable year, 2020.

When I was a kid 2020 was almost impossible to imagine. Children’s cartoons like, say, The Jetsons, where people got around their sky-scraper cities in their personal flying “cars”; and everyone had a robot maid named, Rosie. Now that was the future. Those two-dimensional images perfectly represented my hard-to-fathom year, 2020.

It’s vision that first springs to mind when I think about the year 2020. Vision as in sight. 20/20 is normal vision. You may know that a person with 20/20 vision can see what most can see on an eye chart when they’re standing 20 feet away. Beyond this odd sort of homonymous connection the year 2020 is the Chinese year of the rat, first of the 12-year cycle of animals connected to the Chinese calendar. In Chinese philosophy, the rat is linked to material success, wellness and a life of luxury. Bring on Mickey. I’ll sleep well knowing a life of luxury is on the horizon; in the coming year of the rat, at least.

Western astrology offers up even more compelling, if not specific, information regarding 2020. From the diviners of the much-read horoscope, we’re told that a massive energy burst will be created when, on January 12, 2020, Pluto and Saturn align in the constellation of Capricorn. Apparently this hasn’t happened in hundreds of years. The energy released will seemingly be extraordinary. One Euro-based astrology outlet claims “the alignment will not only set the dominating tone for the year but it will also be a major boost for our soul… our energy will be combined and we will be thrown upwards to reach spiritual heights”. Mark January 12 on your calendar: “Ask boss for raise. Dust top shelves. Paint ceiling.”

While Voltaire said: “Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the mad daughter of a wise mother”, it’s fair to say, there’s no shortage of love for crazy. I have to admit, from time to time, I’ll read my horoscope. If there’s a sense of truth to my Libra words, I’ll acknowledge the mystery that is the world. It’s that mystery, maybe, that in part fires the popularity of astrology. There’s a comfort, I think, to imagining that the unrelenting natural cycles of the planets, and the universe for that matter, might somehow have a connection to what is imagined to be preordained for a person.

Astrology sets out that the moment a person is born, their lot in life can be mapped accurately, all based on the positions of stars at time of birth. To see things this way is to know that there is no coincidence. Things in a life, any life, happen for a reason. It’s written in the stars. The stars, our sun, our moon, the earth, they all move with clockwork accuracy. In a world of upheaval and unpredictability, astrology surely offers up comfy warmth: we’re all connected to cosmic forces beyond our ken. Maybe to some there’s a solace in thinking that’s the way things are – and the way they will be – all tied to powerful forces beyond their control. To think this way lessens worry. Be happy. The future is out of your control.

While we can all look forward to 2020 as a blank slate of promise, there were plenty of high points in our year that was. There always is. Consider Stuart Liddell’s first prize performance in the Senior Piobaireachd at The Argyllshire Gathering. What did the stars of his birth sign Capricorn, have to say about Stuart’s August 21, 2019?

Read the rest of the story here.

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