But can't you just see this crushing New York?
You know all that "2012 is The End cause the Mayan calendar says so" rigamarole? Well the Mayans ain't having it:
Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly "running out" on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it's not the end of the world.
Or is it?
Definitely not, the Mayan Indian elder insists. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff."
It can only get worse for him. Next month Hollywood's "2012" opens in cinemas, featuring earthquakes, meteor showers and a tsunami dumping an aircraft carrier on the White House.
At Cornell University, Ann Martin, who runs the "Curious? Ask an Astronomer" Web site, says people are scared.
"It's too bad that we're getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying that they're too young to die," Martin said. "We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn't live to see them grow up."
Chile Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas.
And anyway, Mayas in the drought-stricken Yucatan peninsula have bigger worries than 2012.
"If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn't have any idea," said Jose Huchim, a Yucatan Mayan archaeologist. "That the world is going to end? They wouldn't believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain."
This bullshit that doesn't get called out nearly enough. I remember a few years back when psychonaut Daniel Pinchbeck blew through town, touting 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. All of a sudden people who turned up their noses at a Christian apocalypse were all aflutter. There was obviously truth to 2012*, because, well, drugs. Drugs and Mayans. The ancient Mayans, after all, knew shit. Because they weren't from The West, you know.
Well yes, the Mayans, like every other civilization, knew many things and believed many more. But they didn't (and don't) believe 2012 is the apocalypse. Other people just believed they believed that. Got it?
The first time I heard the 2012 pitch, I was stunned by the resemblance to the prophecies of Rapture I heard growing up. A marginalized (or so they believe) social group swears that at some point (soon!) mystical forces will remake the world, rendering them powerful and clean. Their enemies (the unsaved/those with insufficiently advanced consciousness) will then get their just desserts. The 2012 prophecy is a way for newer mystical movements to embrace the appeal of apocalypse without the Christian baggage.
And apocalypse is really, really appealing, because after all the destruction, everything is fixed. Not just fixed, but fixed in your favor. You (and your friends) are no longer simply people: the very universe itself is on your side.
It's not just a few mystical-leaning factions that embrace this, of course. Plenty of rationalist types that scoff at both 2012 and the Abrahamic apocalypses as mere superstition wax rhapsodic about the Singularity with the same glaze in their eyes. Speculations on the inevitable End of History, The Revolution and the Saving March of Science all fall into the same camp: just as fervently held and reaching the same conclusion.
In the time humanity has been sentient, there have been countless predictions of apocalypse. To date, every one of them has been wrong.
No group or belief set is entirely immune to this tendency -- if any tells you they are, they're lying. Here I've often referred to the current days as The Breaking Time (hence the blog name), so an enterprising critic could easily turn the point back around on me.
Yes, I do think we are at a crux, with the potential for a huge amount of change, be it terrible or great.
But we're there because of the actions of human beings -- because of old forces of nature, resources, economics, ideas and conflict. At the end of the day any conclusions I make here are my own limited mind trying to interpret what's going on as best I can. The most I, or anyone else, can give you is a maybe for any outcome; a probably if we're feeling really confident.
So we might, if we're lucky, smart and tenacious, go through turmoil and end up in a better world. But we're going to have to fight like hell to get there. It will not come out of the sky. It will not magically be brought into being by history coming down on your side. It will be kicked and dragged into existence by a thousand different things on a thousand different fronts (including mysticism) that manage to not totally collapse when piled on top of each other.
I will prophesy this: this finer world will still be inhabited by human beings, many of whom will remain insufferable, even evil. And in this land of tomorrow, there will still be those who look up, praying hard that at long last something will wipe the slate clean.
* Besides, those of us truly in the know realize that 2014 is the actual year when the serpent gods boil through the skies and descend to feast upon our sweet, sweet flesh. They planted the 2012 meme as a ruse, because simmering anticipation is the sweetest sauce. Mark your calendars.