Thursday, July 29, 2010

2012: The End of the World. Really?



I was in my accountant’s office the other day doing some tax shit when he asked me a really strange question. “Do you think the world will really end on December 21, 2012?” Momentarily stunned I sat there in silence before responding, yeah dude – I think the world is going to end in less than 2 ½ years and I’m sitting here with you worrying about how much money I owe the government while I could be out skydiving, bull riding, running up excessive credit card debt, or doing whatever it is people do when they think the world is coming to an abrupt end. “No, I’m serious,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of research and I really believe something big is going to occur on December 21, 2012, perhaps even the end of the world as we know it.” I could have humored him and asked him to explain his position but I don’t really enjoy conversing with lunatics so I made up a quick excuse to leave and got the hell out of dodge. (Note to self: find new accountant).

I was both troubled and intrigued by my crazy accountant’s statements so I decided to do some research on my own to see what the hell he was talking about. The first thing I learned is that he’s not alone. I was amazed at how many nut job websites there are out there dedicated to this topic. If you’re not yet familiar with the significance of 2012, here’s a short summary of what I found: The incredibly accurate Mayan calendar comes to an end in December of 2012. More specifically the Solstice on December 21, 2012— at precisely 11:11 AM Universal Time—marks the completion of the 5,125 year Great Cycle of the Ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. I’m not sure why people are so consumed with a calendric system developed thousands of years ago (although it has served its purpose rather nicely) or the arbitrary end date assigned to the original cycle. From a pragmatic standpoint the only thing happening on December 21, 2012, is that the original Mayan calendar cycle ends and the clock starts over on a new one. Come on people - it was a good 5,125 year run but it had to come to an end at some point, right? Get over it – I’m sure the next 5,125 years will have plenty of shits and grins too.

For some reason though certain people (crazy ones) have used the end date of the original calendar cycle to represent some sort of doomsday prophecy laid down by the Mayans when they developed this system over 5,000 years ago. Smart people who were really good at math to soothsayers able to predict the exact expiration date of the earth - it’s quite a jump if you ask me. But not every crazy person thinks the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. Some think that’s the date we’re going to “evolve”. I found this gem on one of the nut job’s websites: “Time will come to an end and a major shift will occur in human consciousness. It won’t be the end of the world, but the beginning of a new world. The shift will reveal the 4th dimension (time) and maybe even the 5th dimension (unity with the unseen Spirit World/Heaven). My spirit guide, Dew, has told of a time, near the end of time, when inanimate objects will come to life, including stones, and that our animals will speak to us, to prove God’s dominion on earth.” Holy shit - that actually happened to me one time. I was in college… and I was on acid. Can I get a urine test on spirit guide Dew, please? (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thoroughly entertained while doing the research for this post) The same website went on to list “indisputable” scientific evidence for why the world as we know it will end on December 21, 2012, including major astrological conjunctions occurring simultaneously, a shift in the sun’s magnetic poles, an asteroid making close contact with earth, and the sun and earth being in perfect alignment with the center of the milky way, blah blah blah.

Does anyone remember the Heaven’s Gate cult who committed mass suicide in 1997 in an attempt to reach the Spirit World / Heaven via the Hale-Bopp comet? I’ll never forget the creepy images of the 39 bodies neatly laid out in bunk beds, their faces and torsos covered by square, purple cloths. Authorities found the dead cult members in a rented mansion in San Diego County. Each member carried a five dollar bill and three quarters in their pockets. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike Windrunner athletic shoes, and armband patches reading "Heaven's Gate Away Team" (one of many instances of the group's use of the Star Trek fictional universe's nomenclature). Heaven's Gate members believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, renewed, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately. After claiming that a space craft was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp, cult leader Marshall Applewhite (pictured at top of post) convinced 38 followers to commit suicide so that their souls could board the supposed craft. Applewhite believed that after their deaths, a UFO would take their souls to another "level of existence above human", which Applewhite described as being both physical and spiritual. The suicide was accomplished by ingestion of phenobarbital mixed with applesauce or pudding, washed down with vodka. Six males of the deceased, including Applewhite, were discovered to have undergone castration in the past. Where do I even begin to break this down?

Each member carried a five dollar bill and three quarters in their pockets? What the fuck? Did they expect to encounter cosmic toll booths on their journey to Nirvana? (In crazy cult leader voice) “Listen up people – this might sound crazy but if you don’t have exact change for the tolls they won’t let you into the fairy world – everyone please get into your change purses and put exactly $5.75 in your pockets.”

All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new Nike sneakers, and armband patches with a Trekee reference? I guess nobody told them that Trekee geeks get their asses kicked in the fairy world too.

Cult leader Marshall Applewhite convinced 38 followers to commit suicide so that their souls could board a UFO to another level of human existence? Check out the picture of this dude – he even looks crazy. Why the hell would anyone listen to anything that came out of his crazy mouth?

The suicide was accomplished by ingestion of phenobarbital mixed with applesauce or pudding, washed down with vodka? I personally would have gone with a shot of tequila as I think vodka is more of a sipping alcohol, but that’s just me.

Six males of the deceased, including Applewhite, were discovered to have undergone castration in the past? I wouldn’t want to live without my junk either.

Can you imagine how pissed off those 38 dead cult members must have been the moment they realized there was no UFO, no recycling of the earth, no fairy world, and no next level of human existence? I can picture them all standing outside the pearly gates when God walks out and says: (in God voice) “What the hell were you thinking? In case you hadn’t heard people who kill themselves don’t get a fast pass into heaven. Now you’ll all have to spend the next thousand years in purgatory contemplating the consequences of your actions. Step aside and let those who are worthy pass through. By the way, what the fuck are you people wearing anyway?" Then they all turn simultaneously to Applewhite and say: (in crazy cult member voices) “Marshall – you’ve got some serious explaining to do.” “Dude – I cut off my junk for you.” “Where’s the UFO, Applewhite? You promised us there was going to be a UFO.” “Oh crap – I think I left the water running in the mansion.”

In all seriousness it seems to me that the freaks making a big deal out of 2012 are the same type of freaks who killed themselves in 1997 to escape the “recycling of the earth”. Guess what, Chicken Little? It’s 13 years later and the earth is still here just like it will be on December 22, 2012. In other words – don’t get your hopes up for something poignant and transformational and don’t do anything too drastic because chances are the only thing that's going to happen on 12/21/12 is... absolutely nothing. Or you could go the other direction and behave like a crazy fool (see picture of Marshall Applewhite), and risk becoming fodder for the Quinsey Blog. Your call.