According to the ancient Mayans, December 21, 2012 is the end of their Long Count calendar which has been repeated 12 times, the 13th ending in 2012, capping a full 5,200 year Mayan cycle of creation. This is being interpreted by the never ending march of dooms-day predictors as the coming apocalypse which will occur on December 21st. The initials GMT shown in the picture at left stands for Goodman-Martinez-Thompson, the three early scholars who compiled the evidence correlating the Julian calendar, predominant in Europe in the 16th century, with the Maya calendar. This apocalypse has gained a lot of traction the last couple of years in the media. and many people seem to be taking it seriously; much of the allure, I believe, coming from the romantic mystery and wisdom they place in ancient texts.
One fear is that the planet called Nibiru is aimed at earth. Self-proclaimed Nibiru expert Nancy Lieder, who claims she is in contact with aliens from the binary star system 39 light-years from Earth, Zeta Reticuli, first said Nibiru would destroy us in May 2003, has now changed it to December 21, 2012. If such a planet was headed our way, it would already be visible to the naked eye.
Another fear is that planets or stars might line up in ways that will transform Earth—the sun will cross in front of the plane of our galaxy and have a catastrophic impact on Earth, however, the sun already does this twice a year.
Fear the Earth’s geographical poles marking the axis of rotation, or its magnetic poles will flip-flop. One of the many fortuitous facts about our solar system is that Earth has a large moon which stabilizes our planet’s spin. Occasionally over long periods of time of about 500,000 years, our poles do reverse, not suddenly, and if they did, the only inconvenience would be to change our compasses.
People who have a strong inclination to a doomsday scenario look for reasons, such as above, to justify their emotional state. Sort of like carrying a hammer looking for nails to pound. I’m fascinated when I watch the program, Doomsday Preppers on the History Channel, at the lengths these people go through in preparing themselves for what they believe is a coming monumental disaster. They’re prepping for TEOTWAWKI, a survivalist shorthand for “the end of the world as we know it,” from causes such as solar flares, nuclear attack, earthquakes, dirty bombs, economic collapse and gigantic storms, storing hoards of food and water, and arming themselves with enough arms to start a small war.
So why have visions of impending doom been with us throughout history across the world? What is the fascination, the allure? Does it reside in our DNA, driven by our evolutionary biology, programming us to pay far more attention to the barrage of negative news we all receive every day than good news? It seems so. We have the amygdala gland, designed to be on high alert for anything threatening survival, always looking for something to fear—a propensity for bad news; and that single psychological element called cognitive bias impacts our fundamental view of the world as getting worse; skewing our perspective into such a morose cynicism as to bring some people to question if it’s morally responsible to bring a child into such a corrupt, violent and troubled world.
The amygdala can register a “threat level red” before the conscious mind gets the message. Because it evolved over a time when danger was rampant everywhere, we developed a negativity bias which is alive and well today, where evolution favored those who were able to react with lightening speed. We have inherited that instinct. As Dr. Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist, puts it, “The brain is like Velcro for everything negative and Teflon for the positives.” Is it possible these dooms-day sooth-seers have an oversized and overly active amygdala, their minds seeing and super-charging everything through the lens of their own survival or demise?
Professor of religion, Lorenzo DiTommaso from Concordia University in Montreal found that apocalyptic beliefs have been rising in the past 50 years while researching his upcoming book, The Archtecture of Apocalypticism. As to its cause, he states, “Problems have become so big, with no solutions in sight, that we no longer see ourselves able as human beings to solve these problems. From a biblical point of view, God is going to solve them; from other points of view, there has to be some sort of tragedy. “So it seems these people view an apocalyptic event as a reset button to straighten everything out, and every one straight. DiTommaso says, “Despite fire,
death and destruction, the god of apocalypticism is a god of order, not chaos, that’s
the reassurance.” Doomsdayers seem to find comfort by looking for order
We have the Christian belief in The Rapture, where Jesus will return to save only the believers by literally lifting them into paradise leaving everyone else to perish. Eighty-five percent of Muslim Shiites called the Islamic Twelvers, believe in the appearance of a 12th imam who disappeared in the ninth century and will return to bring light to the world and cleanse it through apocalyptic catastrophe; where Islam will rule. Martin Luther predicted the world would end no later than 1600. Then there is William Miller, a 19th century New York farmer and Baptist preacher interpreting the Bible from the Book of Revelation, preached apocalypse between 1843 and 1844, yet its passing did not disillusion his followers which now number sixteen million known as Seventh Day Adventists. Just a few others within the arm’s length list of apocalyptic predictors who missed their dates are Jean Dixon, Jim Jones, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pat Robertson, Isaac Newton, Christopher Columbus, Louis Farrakhan, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, The Amazing Criswell and Jerry Falwell. And now we have the 2012 apocalypse, so utterly entrenched in our society, Hollywood did a movie about it; along with a host of television programming and scores of articles feeding the frenzied fascination.
All I can say is, have a nice December 22nd, and, Happy Joyous Holidays.