Doing things differently since 1984
So today marks one year before the widely anticipated Doomsday – December 21, 2012, which supposedly the Mayans predicted would hail the end of the world (as we know it). The actual anthropological and archaeological facts surrounding this claim are actually pretty muddled, and not at all definitive (even if one was to believe that the Mayans had all the answers), and for the most part people seem to know that, deep down.
What fascinates me is how much people want this to be true. Despite the cost of imminent pain, death, unfulfilled dreams, and loss of all earthly gains, there is a significant minority of people who are making it evident that they wantto believe that the world will end in one year.
The fascinating part, of course, is to wonder why. As I am not Mayan, I sadly don’t have all of the answers (sorry). However, I must admit, there is even a small (very small) part of me who wants to see this ‘prophecy’ fulfilled. Certainly, there is some part of the human psyche that seems to revel in chaos – as made evident in a traffic jam caused by onlookers to an accident on the otherside of the road, or the popularity of celebrity and political scandals, or the schoolyard cheers to “fight! fight! fight!” when a disagreement is heating up. And perhaps there is a disconnect between people wanting to see this type of chaos on a massive scale, and the thought that they too will suffer in it.
Then again, I don’t think that humanity’s allure to chaos is enough to fully explain this phenomenon of doomsday-chasing (which, it’s worth noting, is far from unique to post-modern times or Western culture). There is a strange sentiment when it comes to the end of the world that it is not chaos, but actually an end to chaos. In a world full of individuals facing battles with debt, illness, depression, joblessness, relational strife, stress, anxiety (to name a few), sometimes it can be very appealing to see an end in sight. Unlike suicide, this would not be a solitary end, where your loved ones are left to mourn your parting, nor a voluntary end, where you have to choose to take action upon yourself, but it is an all-encompassing “end”. Depending on your beliefs, you may even hope to start fresh in a better place (I know I do).
There, of course, will be a host of other reasons various individuals might be hoping for the end of the world at the end of 2012. Some may be looking for an excuse to not plan too far into the future; others may be hoping to capitalize on it; and, without a doubt, others will just simply want to be proven right. Still, I can’t help but gather a shared understanding that this world could use more than a few patch-ups.