The end really is not nigh

27 Nov

On December 21st 2012, very little out-of-the-ordinary will happen.

Or

On December 21st 2012, large amounts of life on earth will be destroyed.

Or

On December 21st 2012, Humanity (sometimes life in all its forms) will undergo a shift of consciousness.

Here’s my prediction: On December 21st 2012, very little out-of-the-ordinary will happen, because, do you know who get it wrong a lot?

People who predict the end of the world.

History is littered with people who are sure that the end is nigh and that year is definitely the year that the world ends. There is a good article on Wikipedia Listing apocalyptic predictions throughout the ages, but here are some gems:

Many early Christian’s were adamant that Jesus was going to return within a single generation of his ascension (or death, if you prefer logic), which would trigger the rapture. As it turned-out, they were wrong, but that hasn’t stopped numerous groups since predicting exactly the same return of Christ and the end of days.

In 375 AD, Martin of Tours was sure 400 AD would be the year. It stood to reason, after all, the Antichrist had ‘definitely already been born’ and therefore the return of Christ was sure to follow. Jesus was a no show and history does not record what Martin thought became of the Antichrist.

On Feb 20th 1524, Johannes Stöffler reasoned that a particular celestial alignment would trigger the end of days. Unfortunately for Stöffler that day came and went, not to be deterred, he decided he had made a mistake, but that the world would end 4 years later, February 20th 1528. It did not.

In our more recent history, the return of Jesus was no longer the most popular way that we would all meet our end, having been replaced with fears about terror from the stars and/or planet-wide natural disasters. December 21st, 1954, was the date that Dorothy Martin was sure humanity would perish under tidal waves and terrible flooding. She knew this as leader of a UFO Cult who were in regular contact with their celestial masters. She was wrong and, feeling so cheated, her disciples abandoned her.

March 31st 1998 Hon-Ming Chen, leader of the Taiwanese cult God’s Salvation Church, or Chen Tao — “The True Way” — claimed that God would come to Earth in a flying saucer at 10:00 am on this date. Moreover, God would have the same physical appearance as Chen himself, (which was a stroke of luck). On March 25, God was to appear on Channel 18 on every TV set in the US. This did not happen.

On December 21st 2012, the Mayan’s predicted that the world would come to an end…chances are you’ve heard this story, some of you may even hold some sway in it in one form or another. But it’s rubbish.

The theory, relates to the Mayan Long Count Calendar System, which probably originated with the much earlier Olmec Civilisation, but the Olmecs are just not as sexy as the Mayans when it comes to new age guff. The Calendar puts the end of a cycle, not the end of the world, at around 21st December 2012. The devotees of this particular flavour of crazy will tell you no later dates have been found at archeological sites anywhere in Mexico, Peru or Belize, this is untrue as numerous dates have been discovered after December 21st 2012. This is kind of unfortunate as the whole movement hinges around the Mayan’s believing the world would end on this date and contemplating dates after would be pointless. In spite of the rather conclusive evidence against the Mayan’s (or any other early meso-American culture) predicting the end of days, a brief Google Search reveals many new age sites still peddling this rubbish.

If you travelled back in time 10 years, you would find plenty of groups and individuals who subscribed to the Mayan Apocalypse theory, but since then there has been a subtle change in thought. Possibly realising the aforementioned maxim that predicting the end of the world is risky business, a lot of the New Age Movement jumped on the idea of the end of a cycle. Fiery death and oblivion were repackaged as a planet-wide shift of consciousness, enlightenment and/or realisation on the connectedness of all life on earth.

I actually have much greater respect for those who have stuck by their guns and maintain a belief that the Mayan’s predicted the end of days. I can get my head around apocalypse, I can define it and, should it happen, I’m not likely to miss it. The same cannot be said for shifts of consciousness, which seems so much harder to define, even by the people claiming this is what December 21st 2012 will bring.

I have friends who subscribe to this these theories, we have vicious arguments and outstanding bets that I’ll be claiming on 22nd December when the world has not ended and no one has undergone a huge shift of consciousness.

If you want your fill of non-Mayan potential doom, the Doomsday Clock, the symbolic clock face, maintained since 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, currently sits at 5 minutes to midnight based on ‘Lack of global political action to address nuclear weapons stockpiles, the potential for regional nuclear conflict, nuclear power safety, and global climate change…’

So what do you think? I’m always open to well-reasoned counter-arguments, though I have yet to encounter any on this topic. Surprise me.

Liked this?

You might also like:

We’re all going to die here!
Extra-Terrestrial Life: Chicken or Pork?
Mexico: Land of the Maya

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One Response to “The end really is not nigh”

  1. Ian Whittingham December 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    How human beings ‘count’ time is completely arbitrary. Like everything else, it is driven by man’s overwhelming desire to make sense of a universe in which there is no sense. (This is why we call ourselves ‘homo sapiens’–because we just can’t stop trying to make sense of stuff).

    There is a scientific explanation for when time ‘began’ and when it will ‘end’. That’s it. Any other basis for predicting the end of time or the end of the earth is completely bogus.

    Like all eschatological constructs the concept of the ‘end time’ is simply an ideological fiction by which religious institutions seek to acquire secular authority over the dominion of the earth . And, as you rightly point out, another ideological sleight-of-hand–revisionism–enables the ‘keepers of the flame’ to perpetuate the authority of their predictions even when the evidence of reality discredits them.

    Life is short, but it is also sweet. So please don’t waste any more time on this nonsense…

    Like

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