Is it the end of the world?

I heard a story yesterday that made me chuckle, but also left me feeling a little unsettled. A friend’s colleague quit work without warning a couple of weeks ago, effectively vanishing before he’d even explained why he was leaving. This sort of event can be pretty worrying for co-workers, particularly during a recession (was he laid off? does he know something we don’t know?). So it must have been something of a relief for his colleagues when they saw an email from him appear in their work inboxes. It turns out that he does know something that the rest of us don’t.

In his communication, he announced that he was in Brazil and that the reason he’d gone there was simple: next year there will be an apocalyptic event and he wanted to find some high ground (literally) from which to sit it out. He seems to be referring to the impending impact of the comet Sedna which a handful of Bible-code ‘scholars’ and other eschatologists believe will take place some time between 2010 and 2012. Claiming correlation with the ‘3rd prophecy of Fatima‘, the gibberish of Nostradamus and Mayan astrology (among other, even less reliable sources), the doom-sayers foresee a great cataclysm after the comet strikes the Atlantic ocean.

I’ve always been fascinated by theories that claim to know not only the cause but the date of a forthcoming apocalypse. These people are even more self-assured by holding ‘secret’ knowledge than traditional conspiracy theorists – indeed, many modern eschatologists are conspiracy theorists who have encountered apocalyptic prophecy presumably because it tells of an even bigger conspiracy, a cosmic one.

The trouble is, it’s hard to know who to trust. There are reports of comet strike in 2010, geomagnetic storms in 2011, and the famous Mayan doomsday ‘predicted’ for December 22nd 2012, to name but a few. And what happens when these events fail to occur (as I’m certain will happen)? Then the eschatologists will ‘reinterpret’ their texts and come up with another date.

I suppose that in the end, I’d rather not be in the same office as someone who seriously believes that they have secret knowledge relating to the end of the world. They’re probably best off sitting on a mountain in Brazil, waiting for the rapture that will never come.

Here’s a representative apocalyptic website, picked at random. Note the numerous factual discrepancies when trying to link cosmic events with Earth events (something you’ll also see on conspiracy theory websites).

20 thoughts on “Is it the end of the world?

  1. It’s not the first time I hear that kind of events. I followed Maya predictions some time ago and finally thought something like “Ok, let’s put it’ll happen. Would you stop your current live right now? I won’t. I’m enjoying”. It’s curious that various predictions points that date… but remember: the end of the world had to be in 2000… and nothing hapened.


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  3. @Graham – yes, you should probably cancel your holiday now. Spend the money on something simple like tin foil!

    @Mediamonger – who’s Tomasz? Is that the name of the guy who went to Brazil?

    @Xavi – Yes, the world has meant to be on the verge of apocalypse many times. In fact, numerous dangerous cults (like ‘Al Qaeda’ and the Branch Davidian sect) have eschatological beliefs at their core: none of them have ever been right.

  4. This may have been my colleague actually, who now is part of a “movement” or sect even, where they prepare for the apolcalypse by meditating and detoxing (and of course finding the highest point possible!)!! It´s a little bit like the hype before 2YK, where everybody was expecting electronic devices to malfunction and set off nuclear bombs. Let´s wait and see, I suppose! 😉

    1. @trouble133 – yeah, I think it’s the same guy… I didn’t mention my friend’s name but as I suspect that you know her (?), it would make sense. BCN’s a small town, after all 😉

  5. I think the 2012 date hold some pretty interesting details from our ancient ancestors. They have warned us for thousands of years and we are soon to experience this date for ourselves. The aliens will come and take us all away. You wait and see!

  6. “And what happens when these events fail to occur (as I’m certain will happen)? Then the eschatologists will ‘reinterpret’ their texts and come up with another date.”

    These people would make very good economists and investment analysts!
    It is quite a skill to talk a lot of crap and get away with it all the time.

  7. There is a group of fundis who believe in ‘The Rapture’ when the pure souls float to heaven as the rest of us are ‘uncomfortably assaulted’ by the Devil (forgot – you have impressionable juniors reading this site). See Revelations… last chapter. To get a taste of the Rapture stuff, see their !! news-site !! at – ‘your prophesy resource for the end times’.
    Christmas 2012? Hah!

  8. The Mayans didn’t predict the end of the world, it’s just their calendar that will get to the “end” by December 2012. Of course nothing stops them from adding another digit and continue to use their calendars. By the way, the Mayan calendar is much more interesting than the Gregorian. With the Mayan calander you never really know what day it is, or how old you are.
    Any roads, I wouldn’t mind seeing the end of the world, but I don’t think I will.

  9. Haha, interesting story and some of these predictions are classic. I can just imagine them all scrambling for their texts when it doesn’t happen going, “Scratch those bloody dates and add a naught to them now before the media get hold of it.”

  10. naw naw, ah’m jist leavin fake clooes in ordur tae confuse the opposition. summat ah didnae ken that yon, ah’ll huv tae add it tae ma repertoire thanks fir aw

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