This time is different, they say. This time, they insist, shit is really going to hit the fan. “This time” is in reference to the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. Even for a world that has been predicted to end numerous times, this has been big news. There’s been a John Cusack movie (2012) about it, which honestly made me hope the end of the world is coming soon (dude, what has happened to you since the 80s?). I’ve received countless Facebook invitations for “end of the world” parties, offering the opportunity to party hard before we all die—which says something depressing about the ambitions of our generation.
I can’t help but flash back to the Y2K bug scare of 2000, the rumours about June 6, 2006 (the day of the devil) and even last summer’s apocalyptic scare from American Christian radio show host Harold Camping. For the number of times the end of the world has been predicted, we should have been long gone by now. So what’s different about this time? The Mayans could not even predict their own demise, so it seems silly that everyone is taking this so seriously.
Belief in world termination is dangerous because it could result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think it would be more apt to fear the hedonism that could occur on days leading up to the date, as people aim to cross things off their bucket list. We may find out how far human beings are willing to go to ensure they don’t die wondering “what if?” Human fear, rather than truth in the Mayan calendar, will cause the anticipated apocalypse.
It’s well supported that the end of the Mayan calendar could mark a shift in world consciousness rather than in world destruction. As our economy and morale continue to plunge, maybe such a shift is what we need. Reading the news this week, I’ve encountered stories of snuff films, public shootings with innocent victims, drug use, protests against corrupt governments, bombings and abuse of the homeless all within a few days. What if the world mistakenly fears an event we should be eagerly anticipating? The calendar indicates a change in cycle, but there is no undeniable proof they thought it was the end of the world. Maybe this shift in consciousness could be a good thing.
We are all free to believe what we want, but personally I would still prepare for the holidays, just in case. Maybe I’ll even look forward to Dec. 21 as a day of positive change—or buy a machete to prepare for the zombie invasion. One or the other.