Thursday, December 20, 2012

And so it ends...again


The world will come to a violent and calamitous end tomorrow, the 21st of December, 2012. Billions of people will echo out their final cry of utter anguish and terror shortly before the spherical rock we call home is subjected to a fiery wrath of some kind.

Now it would be quite proper of you to express some skepticism towards my claim--that is, I certainly hope that such a response would emanate from most people. So you should, properly, ask me how it is that I know all of this?

Quite simply, I've learned it from the wonderful mess of shoddy journalism and history reporting that our culture has become so voraciously dependent upon. I certainly haven’t learned of it through a study of Mayan culture--because I’ve never studied Mayan culture (but I’m familiar enough with it to know that this infamous calendar which has gotten everyone so excited, in fact continues after this date--which has become more annoyingly engrained in our culture than the word “Occupy”) Though I haven't met anyone yet who sincerely believes the world will end on the 21st, I'm quite sure that this is not the majority position on this ludicrous prophesy. But the market principle decrees that the only way this nonsense has been able to infiltrate our culture (creating lousy fiction, documentaries, and books) is if there is a demand for it, an incentive for profit; the demand is too strong for anyone’s taste, and the profit made off of it, enough to feed many starving people.

I became quite irritated by the nonsense surrounding 2012 a few years ago when I noticed the amount of trash piling up on book shelves in stores. Granted, most of this garbage was appearing in the New Age section (which I frequent occasionally for ideas on magical systems for Fantasy stories, contrived conspiracy theories for similar purposes, and overall for a good laugh), but there was still enough of it to be annoyed that someone was spending money on this--and that resources such as paper and fuel to ship these products was being wasted for simply no reasonable explanation--it certainly wasn’t working towards the enrichment of society with literature or cultural studies.

Now although I give religious texts the same look of scorn on occasion, there's a profound difference. The Qur'an, Bible, and works of the like are staples of culture. Despite the fact that they are demonstrably prone to criticism of their claimed validity, they are uniquely tied to the history of the people from which they came. They are a form of art and expression; they are the collection of works showing humanity’s long search for its origin and spiritual solace. There are some beautiful examples of poetry and literature (as well as music) that stem from these works, and their significance in building our various cultures is not to be pushed aside (merely the theories that these are inherently correct are to be).

The same cannot be said for the recent 2012 scare. Nor the mass amount of pseudo-scientific garbage that has become rampant on previously respected sources of history and journalism. As I've said before, if there's one thing that Occupy Wall Street should have spent more time on (if they did at all), it should have been protesting against the degradation of our culture through insipid and shallow entertainment. And I am in error of stating some of these crackpot hypotheses as entertainment--because for most, it seems like the intention in spreading this trash is the complete opposite. But our love of reality television and vacuous videos on the internet has dulled our senses. It seems quite clear that the only media capable of triggering our collective response are sources doused in pornographic techniques.

And it is not simply the ideas themselves which are necessarily so frivolous, but rather it is their presentation and their refusal to go away once they've been dismissed--the latter being a complete carbon copy of how religious faith has survived so well. There is nothing wrong with someone putting forth a working hypothesis that extraterrestrials have built the pyramids or contacted us in the distant past--that is provided that some evidence has given way to such an assumption. But it is doubly egregious to go forth with the hypothesis--labeling it, mistakenly, a “theory”--without substantial evidence or respectable investigations. And, time and time again, the proponents of these ideas choose the belief prior to the investigation. They make up their minds that something is "true" before doing any research. And as a result, they're able to distribute these "theories" with ease by creating small and contagious non sequiturs and contrived explanations for events and mysteries.

This is why it is pornographic in nature. It is instant and floods the mind with excitement (or, perhaps more suiting, excrement.) But there are possibly quite a few practical reasons the 2012 phenomenon has become such a huge hit. A lot of it possibly subconscious in decision.

I wonder how connected the prediction of the end of the world is with the current economic repression/depression. Seeing as we went from a controversial presidency in the US, to one that didn't live up to the promises, and a falling economy along the way (chock full of upsetting wars) it's possible that a lot of people are subconsciously harboring on this date to bring some sort of vast change--not necessarily the end of the world, but some great sweeping change possibly on a spiritual level. 

But, of course, I’m trying to read too much into it. It’s far more likely, as I’ve demonstrated before, that the 2012 nonsense has arisen from the conditions of our unhealthy culture. In that, however, it seems I’m being too much of a pessimist. It’s hard not to be, unfortunately, when you’ve witnessed such a silly meme sweep over us. And just as it came--out of nowhere--it will sweep away into nothingness in the next 24 hours as it has with countless other End Times predictions:
How Many Times They've Been Wrong

-ej

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