Speculation about the end-of-times is about as old as mankind. Many cultures have a cadre of doomsday predictors, and they’re as varied as their predictions. Warnings about the end of the world have pervaded civilizations including the Chinese, Greek, Native American, Egyptian and even the Irish.
I recall back in the ’80s, the French apothecary Nostradamus’ predictions made the news with an impending date. As my college roommate and I studied for finals, I took pause as she informed me that according to the seer, California would soon suffer a massive earthquake resulting in its separation from the mainland.
This, she told me with wide-eyed sincerity, meant we would be falling in to the ocean by the end of the summer and, as a result, she was considering joining her mother in a move to Scottsdale. Since Pepperdine University is literally a stone’s throw away from the Pacific Ocean, I spent that night nervously considering what it might be like living in landlocked Arizona.
Similar in its absurdity, what more can we say about Y2K? I still remember the moment the IT guru for the firm I was working at had us turn our computers off in unison as a precaution to having all systems crash in the new millennium. Hooey.
Perhaps more than any, the Mayan prophecy that the world may be coming to an end on 12-21-12 seems to hold significant influence with believers, largely thanks to the Mayans’ early proficiency and understanding of astronomy.
During the height of the Mayan civilization, from 300 to 900 AD, their culture advanced in both mathematics and primitive astronomy, creating what many feel is the most accurate time chart in the world.
They predicted a final event, which is supposed to include a solar shift, a “Venus transit” and violent natural occurrences throughout the world. With the presidential election ahead, I am just hoping we get through the Iowa caucus.
For all we know, their predictions could come true. But should we be marking that cute 2012 calendar with the puppies and kitties we got from great aunt Emma for Christmas with a big black exclamation point on Dec. 21?
As one NASA scientist tries to explain: “Human beings seem to be attracted by apocalyptic ideas and always assume the worst.” You only have to search the Internet for two seconds to find the truth in his statement. All I can say is the movie “2012” is not, nor ever shall be, in our Netflix queue.
In southern Mexico, the heart of Maya territory, a year-long, no-holds-barred celebration is planned. According to Mexico’s tourism agency, the festivities are expected to draw approximately 52 million visitors to the nearby regions in the coming year. Compare that to the current 22 million all of Mexico has been luring annually lately.
Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned end-of-times, “this is it!” marketing campaign to get those tourists to flock; Mayan calendar in one hand, margarita in the other, with a party-like-it’s-1999 attitude.
Other experts view the real meaning behind the Mayan reference on the 1,300 year-old-stone as positive. That it simply refers to the end of a cycle in the calendar, charting the Winter Solstice of the coming year, and that it is meant to mark a time of renewal.
Perhaps it is best to see the “what if” lesson in all this and plan to live 2012 like it just might be our last, knowing that, if nothing else, we will start the year off with the right attitude. I predict that with a change of attitude, renewal is the ticket.
Right now, the worst prediction I can imagine for December 2012 is the impending closure of our beloved Ritz restaurant.
Like each new year, 2012 finds us wondering what is to come. With ongoing world unrest, a global economy teetering in the balance and everything else we have to worry about, I’m going to take a shot at renewal.
There’s always a chance my prediction could be right!