It's December 31st. No question. But I wonder if, at one minute after midnight the old year will end and a new one begin. Not that the calendar won't change from 2013 to 2014. No, that will definitely happen. Not that the big ball in New York City won't fall. That, too, will definitely happen. Not that the world's leaders won't give a New Year's address. God forbid! Not that we won't have fireworks in Honolulu. Well, maybe there it starts to gray. 

Actually, looking out our large window at Waikiki and Honolulu, it's surprisingly dark and silent. And why celebrate the new year anyway, since it's not the Chinese, Korean or even the Japanese New Year (that was yesterday). 

And what's new, really? Will the world be more at peace? Will the craziness gripping people all over the world (yes, Toto, even in Kansas we have the Tea Party still hanging in here in the USA) lessen? Will the world economy suddenly return power back into the hands of the people who do the work? Will fruits and vegetables magically start tasting better and be safer to eat? Will corporations abruptly become benefactors of the poor and weak? I don't see any of that happening between 31 December 2013 and 1 January 2014. 

Okay, I give you that 2014 should be more lucky than 2013. Heck, we don't even have a 13th floor in our 21-floor condominium. So maybe that's at least something to celebrate. 

You might say, "What a pessimist!" but when I look at a wine glass filled half-way with wine, I say it's "half-full" not "half-empty." No, I'm not a pessimist, I guess what I am having survived 2013 is a hopeful realist. So, given this increasingly popular point-of-view, what do I predict for the coming year?

First, I don't see any change in the increasing materialism of these times. Money may be the ultimate illusion, but it's increasingly worshipped by the young. During 2014, I predict people all over the world will become increasingly disappointed in money and "the economy," and hopefully, begin turning back to service, whether it be to fellow humans, animals, plants or the environment. 

Second, I don't see the church or corporations rescuing us from ourselves. The businessification of the world is still gaining power, but, in truth, business is a harsh taskmaster, without care or feeling. As business extends its tendrils from medicine, into education, government and public services, things can only get more impossible. As for the church, it saved the West once, but I don't see it even saving itself. Instead, I predict a people will slowly let go of thinking that "for profit" organizations will save us, and slowly turn back to spirituality, the celebration of connection between self and our planet. 

Third, I don't see wars and rumors of wars waning. There's too much materialism, money and business gain in war and conflict. It's almost as if war and violence feed on themselves, multiplying their effect on those who benefit only by removing themselves from the vicissitudes of this world. How sad. Instead, I predict that nations will continue to turn to war for their economic salvation, and the "rich" will use war to get richer, while the educated middle class will continue to awaken to this pandemic. Participant-run, twelve-step programs are a beginning. How they and their spinoffs will ultimately evolve is a great question for the next decade. 

I'll also predict that world citizens will become more and more intolerant of the injustices of business, and like Luther will eventually post a list of required changes on government and corporate doors all over the world. If you like, replace "required changes" with "demands." Isn't this what the extreme right wing is experimenting with and in the process teaching the world? I think so. 

Will it be a better world? I think it eventually will be, but only when the population boom can be addresses by off world colonization. That requires a fundamental change in world priorities from exploitation to exploration. It's not "good business," it's necessary. The next generation's challenge and reward will come when our world priorities finally make the change, and the first real colonists board their ship for a new world. 

But what about a personal new year's resolution? This year I vow to enjoy the things that most are working so hard to accomplish that they can not longer rejoice in their accomplishments. I want to celebrate my own humanity. 

Happy New Year,