Sunday, March 13, 2011

End of the world, Anyone?

Long time ago, in engineering school, I had a professor who would go high on math. Literally. We used to think that he was into smoking pot rolled into sheets full of vector calculus. And, sometimes, while writing a complicated mathematical expression on the board, he would go completely out of control (or open loop as we engineers like to say). And, after writing many lines of complicated math, he would suddenly lose all interest when he would see the last remaining inch of space on the blackboard. At that point, he would stop abruptly and announce to the class, "Well, that is the final answer". Go figure!

Recently, there has been a lot of talk on the world ending in 2012. That's next year in case you need some reminding. Apparently, the Mayan calendar exists only up to the year 2012. While most people tend to believe that the Mayan's had a prophecy to make, I just think that they were smoking the same stuff that my professor was. They simply ran out of space on their calendar. And we just blew that out of proportion.

But, I have been a serious tracker of the doomsday stories, mainly, because I have always been fascinated by alternative "science" and "history". And, with the Internet around, anyone can share the prophecies they have to make. If you search for "nibiru" online, you can find out when a wayward planet(oid) on an elliptical trajectory will destroy our planet. Then, if you dig a little further, you will find that our DNA is really alien DNA that was mixed with that of native apes on the planet by a superior race of extra-terrestrials. Once, on a boring Saturday afternoon, after clicking on fifteen such links from one prophecy site to the other, I came to a site that was selling, you guessed it, pot. Of course, for medicinal purposes only.

The Japan earthquake and the possible radiation leak that followed, seems to have galvanized these doomsday folks into action. They are trolling the web carrying buckets full of I told you so. It is very sad to see human beings gloating over a mass catastrophe. And since I have a very low opinion of such people to begin with, I was not very surprised. Japan is an earthquake prone country on the so called "ring of fire" and as much as it saddens me to see the devastation there, I am very sure that no prophecy is getting fulfilled.

 I have been wondering why, as a civilization, we are always so excited about the "end of days". I remember staying up all night on "Y2K", waiting to see if a wayward computer would destroy the world with a misdirected nuke, while failing to adjust its date from 99 to 00. As it turns out, I am still around, and so are you. I am sure 2012 will come and go as well, and we will find the next doomsday scenario right after that.  We seem to have an almost subconscious wish to "be ended" by a meteorite or a planetoid sent by aliens.

A few decades ago, evil used to be homegrown on planet earth. A Nazi scientist that got away, or a communist dictator that wanted to rule over the world, or sometimes, an unfrozen evil doctor demanding a million dollars to spare the planet. Today, it seems that we are looking at much bigger, more ominous sources of destruction, that would result in the total annihilation of our civilization. And so, 2012 seems to be the next great hope for people, who have given up all hope for homegrown evil.

Of course, I am still going to watch how 2012 turns out. I just have to get that emergency basement of mine loaded with food, medical supplies and beer. And, just in case, the professor from my engineering school days shows up, a few leaves of pot.

Just in case.


  1. Interesting post! And to add to these, there is this new SMS spreading around 11.09.2001 (9/11) + 10.03.2011 (Tsunami) = 21.12.2012 (doms day). You should definitely update this post on 21.12.2012 ;)

  2. Thanks for the tip Nandhini . I am pretty sure that the world will survive 2012, but not so sure if my blog will :-)