The infamous 2012 is finally upon us, and while the world was taken aback by the sheer unpredictability of 2011, from the domino effect of the Arab Spring to the deadly power of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan which left over 15,000 people dead, the capture and killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and the end to the destructive war in Iraq, all these events seemed to further fuel the mother of all conspiracy theories which states that the world will end in 2012.
According to the Mayan Calendar, used in the Maya civilization which existed in Central America from 250 to 900 AD, a 5,125 year-long cycle, referred to as the Great Cycle of the Long Count Calendar, comes to an end on December 21, 2012. It is said to be either the end of all time or the beginning of a new phase where human beings go through a major alteration either physically or spiritually.
While I was never a believer in any theory that is not supported by cold, hard facts -- I have even questioned gravity at times -- this past year has made me quite skeptical of my own skepticism. so I decided to give the conspiracy theory a read. Using the simple power of Google, I was introduced to a whole new world of websites, videos and Wikipedia pages but nothing too credible. In fact, one particular website, called 2012endofdays.org, featured an ad for tripadvisor where it said in bold letters, ‘Planning a trip?’ They must have been counting on people thinking, ‘well if the world is going to end, I might as well see it.’
The theory also made its way to Hollywood in 2009, when a major blockbuster movie was released called ‘2012’. Unlike other movies, this one had quite a cruel promotional scheme where it released public statements to people through television or websites as the ‘Institute for Human Continuity,’ warning them that the end was coming and that they better be prepared.
As of late, the end of days scare also made its way to Egypt when the alleged all-foreseeing spiritual scientist Sheikha Magda warned Egyptians that if they do not call for former president Hosni Mubarak to return to his post then a great earthquake will destroy the country this year.
More credible sources such as NASA and National Geographic have released their own online statements saying that the “science” used to analyze the end of the world is false and that most of these websites are a hoax.
So why then do some people still insist on the idea that the world will end this year? Like most of life’s pressing questions, I must also turn this one to my favorite cartoon: The Simpsons. In 1997, The Simpsons released an episode called ‘Lisa the Skeptic,’ in which they find a skeleton with wings like those of an angel. The skeleton later bears the message that the ‘end is near’ -- at sundown, to be precise.
As the entire town prepares for the alleged doomsday, Lisa Simpson is the voice of reason (whom everyone ignores and who gets attacked for not having faith) as she insists that there is no scientific evidence to justify the end of the world. As they all gather for sundown, it turns out that the skeleton is actually a promotional hoax for a new shopping mall opening up that carries the slogan, “Prepare for the end…the end of high prices!”
Much like the people of Springfield who blindly believed in the skeletal remnants of an angel, the world is now falling victim to an unscientific claim based on no fact or reason.
But maybe we just need something to believe in. Blind faith is a sign of desperation, and our world is getting quite desperate with constant natural disasters, unjustified wars, hunger, poverty, rising death tolls and global injustice. Some of us need to believe that this can all be justified.
Personally, though, I’m not ready for the world to end quite yet. And while it may seem delusional to want to continue in this constant state of fear and uncertainty that we are in, regardless of whether or not you believe that, as a country, we are on the right track, I am confident that Egypt is only just getting started. Whether we think it will take six months, two years or maybe even ten, I think we can all agree that we need more time. Which is why I hope that, just like this year, we are all able to flip through to the calendar of 2013 and that a civilization, which existed thousands of years ago, somehow miscalculated the end of days so that our civilization can finally get the time it deserves.