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Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's The End Of The World As We Know It?

Have any of you seen the film 2012 yet?

I happened to watch it for the very first 2012, funnily enough.

It was shortly after New Year's Day, and the movie was showing on cable television. Seeing as how there was nothing else airing at 12:30 am on a Saturday night, I figured it would be a great way to kill a couple of hours. Or at the very least, it would be a way I could try to conquer my insomnia.

The movie was actually made in 2009, and it starred John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, and Danny Glover, amongst others. The movie takes a look at the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which exists in the Mayan civilization. According to many theories, the calendar's 5,125 year cycle is slated to cease right around Christmas 2012. But, what does this mean?

In the movie '2012', this means the end of the world.

It means a world that is broken apart by earthquakes, scorched by volcanic eruptions, and flooded by tsunamis. And, lucky us, the human race gets to be around for the whole thing.

I'll admit that watching it on television, the special effects were quite good. Seeing skyscrapers reduced to dust, Los Angeles sinking into the ocean, and a gigantic wave obliterating the eastern half of North America (which I guess would have been my fate according to the movie), it was a visual sight to behold.

It's just a shame that the storyline completely stunk.

I'm not completely against disaster movies, so as long as they have a clear plot to them. 'Earthquake' was awesome. 'The Poseidon Adventure' was awesome. Heck, I can even find some positive qualities for the movie 'Twister'. But with 2012, the action was so all over the place, I sometimes forgot what movie it was that I was watching. By the end of the movie, when the survivors ended up somewhere in the middle of Africa, I was like...”oh, the movie can have just as horrible of a sequel one day.”

Not exactly the best attitude one should ideally have for a movie with a somewhat bittersweet end, but I was just happy that the movie finally reached its end.

Of course, that was just a fictional movie. There's no way of what really is going to happen in 2012. That's why I find it so completely baffling that there are quite a few people who actually DO believe that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. If you log onto the Internet and do a quick Google search on 2012 Doomsday Theories', you'll probably come up with dozens of pages that suggest that, yes, our time on Earth is limited to less than one year. 


Even by going on Wikipedia, of all places, there's lots of theories that speculate how the world is slated to end in 2012. Magnetic pole reversals, being swallowed up by a black hole, even colliding with some planet named “Nibiru” (which I'm pretty sure is NOT represented in our solar system whatsoever).

So, how does this lead into my fourth Thursday Confessional? Well, here it is.

THURSDAY CONFESSION #4: I would like to take everybody who actually believes that the world is going to end in 2012, line them up in a row, and just give them one gigantic bitch slap across their gullible faces in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I can knock some sense into their already malleable minds.

Sound harsh? Good.

There is absolutely NO evidence that the world is living on borrowed least scientifically speaking. None. Scientists and scholars have gone over every single scenario that had been brought up in association with the 2012 Doomsday theories, and they can't seem to make one theory stick. The reason being a total lack of evidence concluding that these theories are factual.

Let's take a look at the geomagnetic reversal theory, which some say will be triggered by a massive solar flare which would destroy the world. For one, the process isn't as instantaneous as they think. According to some scientists, geomagnetic reversals can take up to seven thousand years to complete, and the date in which they begin is impossible to predict. For all we know, we could be experiencing it right now, and not even know it. As for the solar flare theory, although we are experiencing sunspots right now as I type this, the peak of sunspot activity won't actually happen until 2013, and is expected to be weaker than past incidents. So, I think we can safely say that this theory is dead in the water.

If anything, the only thing that these sunspots could likely affect are cell phone towers and satellites orbiting around the Earth...and, well...I suppose for some people, losing their cell phone signal would be the equivalent of a giant meteor destroying their hometown.

And yes, that statement was sarcasm at its finest.

I'm not even going to touch the stupid 'we're going to collide with another planet' theory. If you really believe that we're going to have another planet crash into us as we're doing our Christmas shopping this year, don't you think that we'd actually be able to see it up in the sky by now?

2012 isn't the first time that people predicted that the world would end, either. Remember the so-called Y2K disaster in which our computer systems would all crash, planes would fall out of the sky, and traffic lights would shoot laser beams at people? Yeah, none of that happened. I remember watching the footage of Times Square on December 31, 1999 watching the ball drop, and when 1999 turned into 2000, it was very anti-climactic. I didn't even see so much as a neon sign explode in a sea of sparks. Although, I wonder what those people who built bomb shelters in 1999 to prepare for Y2K are doing with them now in 2012.

There's also Harold Camping, resident doomsday predictor who believed with all his heart and soul that the world would end, not once, but twice in 2011. The first time around, he said that the world would be doomed come May 21, 2011. Surprisingly enough, a lot of people bought into that theory. I actually recall seeing reports of people spending their entire life savings to prepare for the incoming apocalypse.

May 21 came and went without much incident, and Camping was left with egg on his face. That is until he made another prediction that October 21 would be the new doomsday. And just like the last time he failed to make the world end, October 21 came and went without anything bad happening. It was reported after the October 21 prediction that Camping was retiring from the science of predicting the world's destruction. Gee, I can't imagine why. But then again, Harold Camping is in his nineties now, with the Grim Reaper closely following behind. What's he care when the world ends?

But that's the way it has always been as long as this world keeps spinning around. People have been predicting the end of days for centuries now, and each time, those predictions have always come up short.

I'm certainly not saying the the world is invincible. Everything comes to an end sooner or later. The fact is that in almost all cases, we are absolutely unable to predict when the exact moment is that we are going to die. There might be clues, genetic factors, our surroundings can play a part in that, yes. But to pin it down to an exact date, time,'s impossible to know.

I mean, I could predict that my death will happen on July 17, 2072, at 11:20:23 pm. And, if it actually does turn out that I am right...well, I won't really care, because I'll be dead. But I could die after that date. I could die before that date. It's all a big mystery.

Nobody knows exactly when the world is going to stop turning. We don't know when humans will be eradicated from the planet forever. So, why stress out about it? Why are we planning for the unknown tomorrow when we should be living today?

( I have a Kylie Minogue song playing in my brain...)

The point is that I just don't understand why so many people feel the need to obsess over how the world is going to end.

Have we really become that pessimistic?

I mean, there's even a Doomsday clock created by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago that has been maintained for the last sixty-five years. Supposedly, the minute hand is symbolic for how close we are to a global catastrophe. The closer the minute hand is to midnight, the closer we are to doomsday. As of January 26, 2012, the time on the clock currently reads 11:55pm.

(For the record, the closest we've been to midnight on the clock was 11:58pm, at the height of the 'Cold War' in 1953...the furthest away was 11:43pm in 1991, when the 'Cold War' was declared to be over.)

But the fact that a clock like this even has to exist in the first place...I don't know. It just sounds sort of disturbing, to be completely honest.

If the world is going to end within my lifetime (and I'm certainly not saying that it will because I have made it clear that I do NOT believe in the 2012 Doomsday theories), am I the only one out there who would rather not know when it'll happen? To some, it sounds like I'm living in blissful ignorance, and that's fine. I'd rather go on with my life and live it the way that it was meant to be lived, rather than cower in fear in a bomb shelter while everyone else panics over an apocalyptic event that may or may not happen. Again, I could be the only one who feels this way, but I don't believe in being afraid of the unknown.

There's a couple of reasons why I feel this way.

First, I have to think that regardless of whether we have a catastrophic event happen on Earth during our lifetime, that some of us would be able to get through it and come out stronger people. I mean, looking at some examples in recent history, in 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana was severely flooded, and several coastal cities were wiped off the map as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina. Six and a half years later, the city of New Orleans has made great progress in restoring itself to its former glory. Is there still a lot of work to do? Absolutely. But, that's one example in which people have come together in the face of disaster to try and rebuild their lives. We've had dozens of natural disasters occur all over the world during the last century. Some more severe than others. But none of them have successfully eradicated the human race, or the human spirit. San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake in 1906, and it was rebuilt. It was damaged again in 1989 by another earthquake and it was rebuilt again.

In case you're missing the point that I'm trying to most cases, the human spirit is a powerful thing, and depending on the disaster, I'd like to think that we're capable of surviving most anything that comes across our path. I mean, the way that some of these people are going about these theories, they almost seem to feel as though we're a weak species, and that's not the case at all. I'd like to believe that we can make it through almost any challenge that comes our way...well, provided people can shut off their iPhones long enough to do so.

But as we all know, that isn't always the case. One just has to go back to April 1986 to see how the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl forced the evacuation of Prypiat, the Ukraine, and other nearby cities...cities which are still too dangerous to live in. But, that leads into my second point.

While I'm not saying that the world will end in my lifetime or your lifetime, I have a feeling that if it were to end, it won't be because of a natural disaster, or a Mayan prophecy, or the Earth crashing into the sun.

It'll be because of us.

I mean, look at the BP oil spill of 2010, or even the Exxon Valdez spill way back in 1989. They both caused horrible damage to marine life and underwater ecosystems. Or, how about all the threats to human civilization with nuclear war threats, and hidden nuclear missiles? I'm more concerned about the damage that we humans have caused over the last few years than any of the 2012 theories that are floating around cyberspace.

And, that's the whole point that I'm trying to make with this blog entry. I'm not worried about the world ending. If it happens while I'm still here, fine. If not, also fine. But, I'd rather be taken by surprise rather than know for sure when it would happen. Think about it. If you knew when the world was going to end, would you honestly say that you'd live the last few days of your life without worry and fear? I think probably not. I'm better off not knowing, so that if the end did come, I would hopefully be doing something that I loved doing...go out in style, you know?

And, for pete's sake, quit frightening people with these 2012 Doomsday theories! It does no good whatsoever to keep spouting off theories about how the world is going to end. There are so many other ways to spend your time...why not spend it doing something you love to do with people you care about instead of scaring people half to death with theories that are unbelievable, at best?

Then again, what do I know? For all I know, the world very well could collapse on itself on the 21st of December, and then all of you believers of the Mayan Doomsday theories can tell me that you told me so.

Oh, wait, no you can't...we'll all be dead.

No matter how I look at it, I still win. :D

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