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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ending the End Of The World Theories

The Pop Culture Addict's Advent Calendarcontinues with yet another Thursday diary entry. Unfortunately for me, some people have it in their heads that this blog entry could very well be my last one if the Mayans have their way. What do I think? Well...just read on.

December 20, 2012

Welcome to what could very well be the last full day in the world as we know it!

Did you know that tomorrow (December 21, 2012) is slated to be the end of the world? According to the Mayans, this is very much the truth. Sometime tomorrow, the world as we know it will completely collapse upon itself and civilizations will crumble.

But hey, at least we won't have to worry about what the weather is going to be like this week.

(Well, on one hand, I always wanted to see something falling from the sky just before Christmas...wasn't counting on it being magma, fire, and boulders, but hey, you take what you can get.)

In case you can't tell already, I am being overly sarcastic here. I don't believe for a second that the world is going to end tomorrow. The only world that I know that ever ended was the soap opera “As The World Turns”, and it ended two years ago. And, guess what? We all survived it!

Just as we're going to survive tomorrow!

You know, this isn't the first time that people have panicked about the end of the world. In my lifetime, the world has been slated to end at least four different times. During the peak of the Cold War and the disaster that occurred in Chernobyl in 1986, many people believed that the world was destined to become a radioactive meatball. Twenty-six years later, that still hasn't happened.

There were also the many predictions made by Harold Camping. He initially predicted that the end of the world was going to take place on May 21, 2011 at 6:00. The problem is that the world sees 6:00 forty-eight times each day (taking into account the twenty-four time zones and the am/pm thing), so it seemed a little bit too generalized. I always stated that if I turned on the news and there are reports of Australia and New Zealand sinking underwater, then would be the time to panic.

It didn't really matter. May 21 came and went, and the world is still here. But, Harold Camping, in an obvious attempt to save face, recanted his earlier prediction, stating that he miscalculated the end of the world the first time, and that the real end of the world would be October 21, 2011.

(Geez...May 21, October 21, December 21...why is the 21st supposedly such an unlucky day? At least if these “oracles” suggested that the world would end on Friday the 13th, it might be slightly more believable!)

Once again, Camping predicted the end of the world, and once again, the world refused to die. Funnily enough, Camping decided to retire from predicting the end of the world shortly after his second attempt. Can't imagine why he'd do such a thing...can you?

And, then there was the prediction that the beginning of the new millennium would bring forth a catastrophic disaster that would destroy the world as we know it. And, once again, I lived through it.

We're going to go back in time almost thirteen years to December 31, 1999 for this story.

There was a lot of talk about the year 2000 being a big year. I know that for me personally, 2000 was a year of change, as it was the year that I graduated high school, headed off to my ill-fated university life, and turned legal drinking age.

(Well, legal at least in Canada...most provinces have 19 as the age of legality.)

I still remember turning on the television that day, and seeing television stations like ABC broadcasting the entire day to show how other countries all over the world rung in 2000. It was really cool to see all the different cultures celebrating the arrival of 2000 in their own distinct methods.

But some others were convinced that the year 2000 would be the very year in which everything would end.

You see, a couple of years prior to the celebrations of 2000 were reports that every computer system in the world was in danger of failing due to something called the “Y2K problem”. Due to some computer systems being unable to read the year 2000 in code, when the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000, the display read 1900 instead. There were plans involved to reprogram some of the older computers in the world to make them Y2K ready, though as far as I was concerned at the time, even if the computer listed the date as 1900, the problems would have been minor, at most.

Of course, some people seemed to believe that this would cause major, major problems. Planes would fall out of the sky. Credit cards and debit cards would cease working. Massive blackouts would plague the world.

(Wow...come to think of it, that kind of sounds like the pilot episode for the television series “Revolution”.)

On December 31, 1999, we all stayed up late to watch the ball drop on Times Square, wondering if there really was something to worry about in regards to Y2K. But when the ball ended its descent and the number 2000 glowed in brightly coloured lights, I remember being a little annoyed that nothing actually happened! No lights went out, we didn't enter another Great Depression, and no planes ended up falling in our backyard.

That's not to say that there weren't any problems. Those problems were all minor though, and certainly didn't end up destroying the world. Among some of the more entertaining ones...

  • Bus ticket validation machines failed to operate in Australia
  • Slot machines at a Delaware casino quit working
  • The United States Naval Observatory gave the date on its official website as January 1, 19100!
  • An alarm sounded at a Japanese nuclear power plant two minutes after midnight, although there was no risk to the public
  • Some Japanese cell phones didn't quite work correctly after January 1, 2000

You see? Minor things. Nothing to worry about. Certainly not enough to actually build an underground bunker out of old school buses, or stockpile enough food to fill an entire supermarket. And yet, so many people did.

And so many people are designing their own survival plans to ring in December 21, 2012. They're almost convinced that they will survive the disaster if they plan ahead.

But that's the million dollar question, isn't it? What disaster?

All that we know is that the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to an end tomorrow. It doesn't exactly specify how the world will end. Will a gigantic earthquake split the world in two? Will a comet smash into the Earth's crust, wiping us all out like the dinosaurs were 65 million years ago? Will aliens from another planet swoop down over our major cities and blow us up a la “Independence Day”?

NO! I don't believe it will.

Frankly, the real problem of December 21, 2012 is not the impending end of the world. It's the general pessimistic attitude that many people seem to have towards life.

I wouldn't put it past some people who secretly are hoping that the world DOES end tomorrow just because they're frustrated with life in general. And, just the fact that so many people expect the worst to happen regardless of the scientific proof that states otherwise drives me absolutely insane in the membrane.

Seriously, get a grip.

If the world does happen to end be it. But, why worry about it in the meantime? If it's meant to happen, there's nothing that we can do to stop it.

So, why not just sit back and enjoy whatever time we have left instead of worrying about what could happen? Christmas is coming up soon, and I for one expect to celebrate it this year. I also have lots of things to experience in my life, and I'm not going to let a silly little thing like the end of the world stop me from dreaming big. I always say that if things are meant to happen, they will.

So, you know what? I'm going to look at every day I have as a gift. And, you know what? I don't believe that the world is going to end tomorrow, and I will just see it as being just another day.

Of course, if it does, this blog post will be the sweetest of irony...and what a way to go out!

So, I guess my point is...STOP WORRYING!!

Coming up tomorrow on Day #21 (and yes, there will be a Day #21), you know those holiday commercials? We take a look at some of our favourites!

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog and the pictures included. I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I actually wrote an article about the major end of the world theories that have faild so far and one's to come.