Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One full decade into the 21st century! And the end of the world, v 5.0... ish

Seems like yesterday when people were on a frenzy about the imminent, but catastrophic coming of the year 2000. Anybody born before 1991, or even 1992, should remember those awkward behaviours within certain clusters of society in the years between 1997 and 1999. The coming of a new century (and a new millennium), in the minds of a few hordes of individuals, meant that terrible things were coming:
  • Computers would collapse because of their inability to tell the difference between 1900 and the year 2000 (the famous Y2K problem), causing a worldwide chaos. Bank savings would be lost, airplanes would not be able to fly, databases would vanish... and so on>

  • Terrible things from the outer space would doom the Earth, for which an amazing surge of sects was witnessed worldwide. Who could forget for instance fellows like "heaven's gate" (whose website still runs, although it -obviously- hasn't been updated since 1997) committing mass suicides to 'save themselves' from the catastrophe?>

  • World War III would happen soon.

  • Maybe not World War III, but Armageddon!
  • Gee, even the end of the world was just about to happen!
Utter nonsense. Fast forward a whole decade, and we can look back to those days and smile to ourselves, knowing that the paranoia created around the year 2000 was simply that: Paranoia. Created because back on the 16th Century, a man named Gregory and who happened to be a Pope, calculated that exactly by that time the year should turn from 1999 to 2000. Not only that, but the world would go from the 20th to the 21st century, and a new millennium would begin.

Is our civilization really beyond that paranoia yet? It is somewhat painful to admit that it might not be the case. Well, it is indeed over for the case of the year 2000 (anybody still believing that the year 2000 did indeed bring chaos and misery upon us should be considered extremely dangerous). But what about the years to come? More specifically, what about the year 2012?

Before getting any further on the matter, here is a bit of background about the paranoia about the year 2012: The Mayans were, or are, a prominent civilization that, among other things, are credited with putting together the most accurate calendar ever made. Such calendar has proved to be accurate for predicting astronomical phenomena, for measuring beginnings and ends of seasons, years, etcetera. That calendar 'ends' on December 21, 2012: An otherwise unnoticeable event that Hollywood has used to do their business-as-usual, and by the way, to create confusion and panic among the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Whether the Mayan calculations (and for the matter, any other calculations and 'predictions' available) mean that December 21, 2012, will be the 'end of the world', 'the end of an era', 'the Day of Atonement', or whatever not, we won't know for sure. And honestly speaking, it shouldn't be anything to lose sleep about. At the end of the day, everything seems to point out again that this is just part of the constant paranoia that humans have about the end of the world. Or at least the end of the world as we know it.

My two cents: Let's sit back and work to be good as a race in the meantime. When the end times have to come -- they will. Imminently. And we, mortal humans, won't be able to do anything to impede that.

Happy new year, and let's make from our stay in this world a hell of a time!