Time's up! (It's the End of the World As We Know It)
I've been thinking about New Year's resolutions, changed, improvement, etc. - and then I remembered that the world is supposed to end in 2012 -
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship.
A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era. Others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with a black hole, passing asteroid or a planet called "Nibiru".
"Timewave zero" is a numerological formula that purports to calculate the ebb and flow of "novelty", defined as increase over time in the universe's interconnectedness, or organized complexity. According to Terence McKenna, the universe has a teleological attractor at the end of time that increases interconnectedness, eventually reaching a singularity of infinite complexity in 2012, at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur simultaneously. He conceived this idea over several years in the early to mid-1970s while using psilocybin mushrooms and DMT.
In India, the guru Kalki Bhagavan has promoted 2012 as a "deadline" for human enlightenment since at least 1998. Over 15 million people consider Bhagavan to be the incarnation of the god Vishnu and believe that 2012 marks the end of the Kali Yuga, or degenerate age.
In 2006, author Daniel Pinchbeck popularized New Age concepts about this date in his book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, linking b'ak'tun 13 to beliefs in crop circles, alien abduction, and personal revelations based on the use of entheogens and mediumship. Pinchbeck claims to discern a "growing realization that materialism and the rational, empirical worldview that comes with it has reached its expiration date ... [w]e're on the verge of transitioning to a dispensation of consciousness that's more intuitive, mystical and shamanic."
Beginning in 2000, the small French village of Bugarach, population 189, began receiving visits from "esoterics"—mystic believers who have concluded that the local mountain, Pic de Bugarach, is the ideal location to weather the transformative events of 2012. In 2011, the local mayor, Jean-Pierre Delord, began voicing fears to the international press that the small town would be overwhelmed by an influx of thousands of visitors in 2012, even suggesting he may call in the army.
The 2009 disaster film 2012 was inspired by the phenomenon, and advance promotion prior to its release included a stealth marketing campaign in which TV spots and websites from the fictional "Institute for Human Continuity" called on people to prepare for the end of the world. As these promotions did not mention the film itself, many viewers believed them to be real and contacted astronomers in panic. Although the campaign was heavily criticized, the film became one of the most successful of its year, grossing nearly $770 million worldwide.
No one knows exactly what will happen on Dec. 21, 2012, the day that the Mayan Calendar runs out, but it's safe to say there will be a lot of hype regarding what might happen. And a lot of people could make big bucks by capitalizing on the folks who are concerned enough about perceived threats, real or imagined, to make a change in their life.
Robert Richardson's business, Off Grid Survival, caters to all sorts of survivalists, but admits that he's seen increased traffic as the calendar comes closer to the Mayan Calendar end date. "There is something to it," he said. "It's interesting that strange things are converging -- political tensions, weird weather, economic problems -- but it may all be a self-fullfilling prophecy."
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
~ Martin Luther