You know those nut jobs in Times Square proclaiming the end of the world is coming? It appears they have company. A lot of company. According to a worldwide polls, nearly 15 percent of people believe the world will end during their lifetime while 10 percent believe that the Mayan calendar shows that it will end in 2012. Once again, I will simply note that sea otters appear far more advanced than humans in every meaningful way.
The polling involved 16,262 people in more than 20 countries. The French were the least likely to believe in the end of the world (now the end of the euro is another matter). Belgium and Britain were also among the least likely to believe in the end of the world. The most doomsayers were found in Turkey followed by South Africa and Argentina. That is interesting because it would indicate that this does not change with religious beliefs. The most important common denominator was low education and low incomes among those who believed the end was coming. Also, younger people were more inclined to believe in the doomsday scenario.
The obsession with the Mayan calendar is particularly interesting since there is ample evidence that even the Mayans did not believe that December 21, 2012 would be the day for the world to end as opposed to changing the calendar. It is like finding the ancient equivalent to a note to “remember to buy milk” and building a doomsday faith around it. Experts have debunked the theory surrounding 13th Bak’tun — one of the 400 year periods in the Maya calendar. There is absolutely no reference or indication of the Earth coming to the end. It is merely the end of that calendar year and there is a reference to God descending — a reference that is not viewed by experts as signifying the end of anything. That has not stopped the government from capitalizing on the belief of course.
It is the Mayan belief that is so striking for me. I can understand the fear of nuclear war and global warming as threats to our existence. However this poll could have been entitled “Ten Percent of Earth’s Population Found To Be Morons.” I would have been far more impressed if the Mayans would have seen the Spanish coming or their collapse in the 8th or 9th centuries. Those little events appeared to have escaped their special eye.
Besides the only sign of the apocalypse that we have seen in our lifetime has been the GOP presidential primary and that appears to have come to an end. Of course, most of us were praying for the end of the world for much of it and were again left to suffer. Having made it through the primary, I refuse to have some ancient Mayans jacked up on entheogenic mushrooms tell me that the world is going to end in 2012. The Bears just finished a strong draft for this season (even if they did not reinforce their offensive line) and I intend to make it to the playoffs — Mayans or no Mayans.