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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Much has been made of the Mayan prediction that the world is going to end this year, in 2012.  So far, four days down, 362 (leap year!) to go.

Are any of us prepared?

Though nowadays we politely chuckle at the notion that scientifically-inclined folks once believed the sun revolved around the earth, there’s not much going on these days to suggest that we’ve ever truly shaken that particular mentality.  Despite the fact that we have mastered the science of heliocentrism, humans continue to fundamentally believe that we — in all of our glory! — are the very real center of the universe.

There are a number of reasons to be skeptical of the Mayan 2012 prediction, not the least of which is the fact the geniuses who put together the calendar in question are the same ones who relied on human sacrifice and were not able to predict their own demise.  In essence, the Mayans are not a civilization known for their ability to plan ahead of time.

Further, just like we’ve always known about the advice of Miss Cleo, the credibility of any professional prognosticator collapses upon realizing that the predictor is frantically exploring methods of fiscal solvency.  Those who could accurately predict the future would certainly not need to rely on my $2.99/minute nor have a business model based almost entirely on the viability of off-peak ad buys on basic cable.  The Mayans, of course, were not selling their calendar for profit, but I’m sure they had a vested interest in maintaining its authority.

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You probably wouldn’t take too seriously the advice of a sopping-wet weatherman running through a parking lot in the rain with a newspaper over his head yelling, “Weather predictions!  Get your weather predictions!  Only $5 a piece!” and yet, here we are, giving tongue-and-cheek credence to a civilization composed of peoples who weren’t even around long enough to see hampsterdance.com.

Generally, when we refer to the Mayan 2012 warning, we take it to mean that “the world is going to end in 2012.”  But unless you think the sun is going to explode, or the entire universe is going to implode, or the large hadron collider is going to create an event that somehow sucks our big blue planet into a literal oblivion, the planet earth is going to be just fine.

To reiterate, here is a list of horrible things that would not actually be the end the world:

  1. Nuclear war leading to the end of all biological life
  2. Biblical flood leading to the end of all life
  3. Natural disasters leading to the end of all life
  4. Hyper-contagious biological virus leading to the end of all life
  5. The Rapture (as I understand it)

If any of those things were to happen, the world would still be here.

The world would be fine.

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We are not exactly keen on the Mayan people’s fondness for attempting to shape the future predicated on a steady diet of blood letting and human sacrifice, so it’s a little suspicious and weird that we consider any of their predictions at all.  And yet, when you think about it, it’s actually not too surprising that we are laser-focused on their end-of-the-world declaration when you consider our collective self-obsession.  That it comes as no surprise to any us that we are alive during the end point in the history of a planet that is around 4.5 billion years old should come as no surprise.

No surprise at all.

So how shocking is it, really, that we once believed the sun revolved around us?

Let’s say the Mayans were (are?) right.  Let’s even go as far as to say that their calendar exists for the sole purpose of sending a message to future inhabitants of the earth that the End of Days is coming, eventually.  If that is the case, we are making the wrong kinds of preparations (not to mention the wrong kinds of movies).  We are focused on nuclear war, religious war, and environmental catastrophe when the reality is that none of these things would literally lead to the end of the world.

And so here we are, in what could be — but is, for the record, totally not — the pivotal moment in the world’s history and we are too self-absorbed to even digest the dire warning correctly.  When we think of the world or universe ending, the absolute worst thing that we can imagine — in the deepest, darkest, scariest portion of our highly-developed brains —  is that we and our human companions are no longer kicking soil around on the earth’s crust.  But just as you do not cease to exist when an army of red ants is maliciously swiped from your leg, the world will be just fine without us stomping around on an insignificant portion of its surface area.

If the world were to end as we presume, via hellfire from the sky, or from a Great Flood, or as the result of continents-wide earthquakes or a supervirus, we would just be another notch on nature’s bedpost, just like the dinosaurs who romped around for a time before us.

I bet the tallest brontosaurus, in his tiny walnut-sized brain, as asteroids began to rain unapologetically from the sky, thought to himself, “The world is ending (and I never even figured out why my arms are so hilariously short)!”

Since we humans are proof that the world did not end ex post dinosaurus, we should also recognize that the same will true if (when?) we are systematically wiped from the planet in the next 12 months.

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