Friday, April 17, 2009


I just became aware a few days ago of the 2012 prediction, which says the world is going to end in three years, according to the Mayan calendar.

To which I can only reply: About time! (Kidding.)

It’s so interesting how people latch onto these doomsday predictions. I wonder what it is in our psyches that makes us interested in predicted events, even when nearly every predicted event in the past -- at least the recent past -- has been a total bust? Why do we ever think there’s anything to this?

I remember getting a creepy-crawly feeling as a kid when my friends talked about Nostradamus. In Sunday School we once spent several months studying Revelations, which details the events of the coming apocalypse -- and is about as exciting as the Bible ever gets. (In fact it was so exciting that when the course ended, I asked to study it again.)

In the ‘80s, as my blog sister Reya pointed out in her post on this topic, we had the Harmonic Convergence, which wasn’t supposed to be Doomsday at all, but instead the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity. In the ‘90s, members of the Heaven’s Gate cult thought the end was nigh and went to meet their new existence in the Hale-Bopp Comet.

There was Y2K, the computer glitch that was supposed to derail the planet. I was working as a reporter in the late ‘90s, and the hospital I covered spent tens of thousands of dollars to replace its medical devices so they wouldn’t freeze up in 2000. Was that money wasted, or catastrophe averted?

Just a few weeks ago we had the Confickr computer virus, which was poised to unleash all sorts of havoc and then did...nothing.

Is all this just our inner Drama Queen, screaming to get out? Or our inner Control Freak? I guess it’s natural to wonder when all you’ve built will collapse, as it ultimately must. But let’s not rush it!

(Photo: Lower East Side, April 2009)


  1. I'm wondering if the dinosaurs had any premonitions! :)

    I'm betting on 2012, 2013, and quite a few years thereafter. Although our quality of life will probably continue to erode over time as we trash the planet, I truly believe we will still be around.

  2. You missed a really good one that I don't think was as well known, but I actually made a sale of some property because of this one which is why I remember it:


  3. As a kid, we had another one going around where, supposedly, the Virgin Mary had predicted a huge catastrophe , revealed to the Pope with the words: "Pauvre Canada" (poor Canada). I'll spare you the yammering that set off at school.

    Maybe some folks like nice, predictable things so much they extend it to nice, predictable catastrophes, :-)

  4. I think it's a way to confront mortality.

    The Mayans had such a complex and interesting calendar, including lunar and solar cycles, but they also had a count of the days. 2012 is when the count hits some specific number.

    We are drama queens (our species I mean) so why not live it up??

  5. Unless we see the big asteroid hurtling our way, I suspect we will all go without warning.

  6. In the long run we'll all be dead.

  7. Blogger just ate my very long comment so I will try again. But problably not as long in case of 2012 Blogger occurance.

    As a kid, 50 years ago, my grandfather would preach Armageddon and scare the sh++ out of me. I would go to school convinced that the world would end on the walk to school, or during recess, or during a game of 4-square and, if not then, then surely on the walk home. I would wait all day to be struck dead. The fear. The waiting. I would wait the next day. And the next. And the next.

    But over 50 years later I am still here. "F" Armageddon. "F" all End of Days scenarios. I have done some study of the Mayan calendar and 2012. From what I studied, I do not believe that 2012 is the end of the world. As I heard it, it is when we pass through a time of great tribulation and intense financial and moral difficulty and come out the other side.

    2012 is a time of most of us surviving great moral and financial terpitude and come out the proverbial rose. Soon we will know.

  8. I've just written a post this morning (not posted yet) about futures...
    this will give me another dimension to ruminate on

    ruminating in the garden, its a good place for it

    i love this photo

  9. I need a venn diagram of all the predictions of the end of days.