I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for the world to end.
As the date has gotten nearer and nearer, and people are talking more and more about it, I’ve been getting a bit more nervous. “There’s no way!” I tell myself, glaring at the pair talking about it at the next lunch table. “We’re fine!” I think, stomping past as people laugh about the end of school forever. It’s been like this since September, with the fated end of the world – Dec. 21, 2012, tomorrow, the day when the Mayan calendar predicts it will end – looming. I get shivers just thinking about it (I’m not ready for fire and brimstone!). And Friday!? Really?! We couldn’t even get through Christmas!? That’s just too cruelly bizarre for me.
I decided I needed to get to the bottom of it. I’d find out all I could about this date and see, as a staunch believer in life after 12/21, if I could be convinced that the Mayans were right. If not, I had to stand up, make my case, and defy one of the world’s greatest early civilizations and a prediction that has existed for centuries.
I proposed this to my friends. “Who’s with me!?” I cried, punching my fist in the air. I looked at them. They stared back at me, blinking. There was some awkward throat clearing. I put my hand down. I think I lost them somewhere between “greatest civilization” and “centuries.” “Aw, come on, you guys! Ya gotta help me out on this one! You can’t really believe the world’s gonna end!?” I had to pry it out of them – “Rainah,” they said reluctantly, “we just really can’t know ...” I sighed. The conversation shifted.
I’ll be getting to the bottom of this solo. And where does one start any epic research project? On horseback, of course, traveling valiantly to South America to find the ancient calendar hidden among the ancient Mayan ruins. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t willing to agree to that plan, even when I emphasized that the fate of humanity depended on it, so I resorted to plan B.
I stoically punched The End of the World 2012 into the Google bar, and held my breath in frantic anticipation for the .36-second pause. I smile fondly. Google comes through for me again: 198 million results.
I clicked on the first: “NASA: Why the World Won’t End.”
Over the course of the year, NASA has received thousands of questions regarding the 2012 doomsday predictions, from planetary alignment to the polar shift theory to giant solar storms. According to the scientists, the story began with Nibiru, or Planet X, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians (an ancient civilization in Mesopotamia) that was supposed to impact the world in May 2003. When May 2003 left the Earth intact, the date was then moved forward to December 2012. Strike one: There have been earlier botched predictions.
“The Mayan calendar,” I was pleased to read, “does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012.” Our calendars end on Dec. 31 and start again on Jan. 1 of the next year – ancient Mayan calendars do the same, on Dec. 21.” Phew. Strike two: The calendar doesn’t even end.
One out of 198 millions results done, I read my way through five or six more, all that gave increasingly scientific explanations why the world was not going to end. After trying to unravel the evidence and theories of National Geographic and Ask-an-Astrobiologist, I felt two things beyond a doubt: 1. I will never have a career doing anything remotely related to astrobiology and 2. The world is safe. Science is right, people! We are going to live for Christmas!
But ... that was easy. Too easy. On a whim, I dug a little deeper. And a little more until I was surrounded on the other side of the TEOTWAWKI (The End Of the World As We Know It) spectrum. With every site, I found new conspiracy theories and videos and books and build-your-own-safety-house guides until I was so awed by the multitude of (crazy) predictions. At the end of an hour, I had 20 tabs open and felt extremely uneasy. My simple NASA conclusion had not prepared me for what was to come. It was surreal, it was sci-fi, it was everywhere. It was the aliens.
I’m not even kidding. It’s the aliens. Do what you will with the information, and please, if you’re an alien, don’t come and hunt me down.
In 1995, Nancy Lieder, founder of the website ZetaTalk, revealed herself to be able to receive messages from aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain. She says that she was chosen to warn mankind that an object would destroy humanity in 2003, ah, that is 2012.
A different group reports that alien spaceships, one of which is 200 miles wide, from Planet Gootan are coming to land on Earth (they pinpoint Indonesia) in December. Others say that the government has confirmed evidence of the disaster and are hiding the information. Some argue that the end of the world is a figurative term. December 2012 is not the literal destruction of Earth, but rather the turning point that separates the current era of foolishness and struggle from the time when we right all of the wrongs we have created. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, for example, has declared that Dec. 21 will be the end of capitalism and will expel Coca-Cola from the country on that date to mark the end of selfishness.
Coca-Cola? Aliens? Really? But if you’re still unsure, sites are selling everything from individual disaster shelters to safety rocks (literal rocks) that will protect you during the next few days.
So basically, it comes down to personal preference: Is NASA, the government and science the legit basis of evidence? If so, then continue wrapping your Christmas gifts because the world will live on! Or are the higher alien beings the real way to determine what Friday holds? If so, I’d seriously look into buying one of those safety rocks.
Rainah Umlauf is a senior at Springville-Griffith Institute.
At the end of an hour, I had 20 tabs open and felt extremely uneasy. My simple NASA conclusion had not prepared me for what was to come.