Apocalypse not now: So it's not the end of the world after all
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Assuming you are reading this, we have survived the apocalypse. According to pop interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar, today is the day the world was to end.
Let's take a quick inventory: The Earth's magnetic field hasn't flipped. Our planet is not rotating counter-clockwise. Tsunamis aren't drowning coastal cities. Lava isn't flowing from dormant volcanoes. The sun hasn't expanded. And, last time we looked, no rogue planet was filling the horizon.
In fairness to the ancient Mayans, it isn't their fault that superstitious people living in our scientifically advanced era hijacked their benign calendar for purposes of fear mongering and profiteering.
What is it about modern life that lends itself to the periodic apocalyptic death wish? Predictions about the Rapture by doomsday preachers are routinely exposed as lies, but not before many true believers have run through their life's savings preparing for The End.
Remember Y2K, the massive computer glitch that was supposed to bring civilization to its knees on the first day of 2000? That was a bust, too, but it managed to bring out the survivalist instinct in many people. One of the most popular shows on cable television highlights the antics of so-called doomsday "preppers" getting ready for the world's imminent collapse. What does it say about society that we reward shows that predict our destruction with high ratings?
At least we've put the Mayan apocalypse behind us. Now, if only we could shake the predictions of Nostradamus, too.
First Published December 21, 2012 12:00 am