I just feel the need, every once and a while to look back on manias of the past. The end of the Mayan calander is one of many examples of irrational doomsaying that people actually have bothered to contemplate.
That year was particularly rich in postponed apocalypses. Just google “end of the world 2012″ and marvel at all the dedicated website and postings that went up before it and never came down. It could have been “pole shift,” the rogue planet Nibiru colliding with earth, or the alignment of heavenly bodies to expose earth to malignant forces. The list continues but it’s honestly not worth the effort to recount.
Of course, some of the excitement had already been dulled when Harold Camping, president of the Family Radio Christian Network, got over eager and announced that the Christian second coming would definitively occur on May 21st, 2011 at 6pm. Not learning from his last mistake, two days after the Christian population was not raptured, Camping announced that the actual coming of Christ would be October 21st of the same year. You can draw your own conclusions on the result.
This is not to say that doomsaying is anything new. It’s easy enough to whip out good old Nostradamus, but better yet would be to trace the history of any tragedy and track down how that particular event was considered a sign of the end times. Frankly, if there ever was a plausible writing on the wall, I would have to nominate the Black Death. An estimated 25 million people died of that plague. With the massive death toll and lack of medical and scientific methodology that we take for granted today, I can see how fears that that could be the end of the human race could have been well founded.
But this is 2013 and apocalyptic predictions still abound. I have a grudging admiration for “preppers” who at least follow their conviction with action. People around the world are getting ready for hellfire, social breakdown, and bombs. They are spending their lives and livelihood outfitting bomb shelters. It’s the new Cold War, just the enemy is a little more vague.
So I’m calling it now: while 2014 will not see the end of the world, in one year it will see an apocalyptic art show. More details to come.