Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries

2012: A Self-Fulfilling Apocalypse?

Since the dawn of humanity, we have wondered about our origins, mused upon our purpose, and worried for our end. Countless prophecies have come and gone without incident, natural disasters and technological catastrophes have either been avoided or survived.

We are still here.

And yet, next year, once again we’ll face the dark cloud of an end times prophecy, cast into stone thousands of years ago by an ancient civilization.

The Mayan Prophecies

What are these prophecies, anyway?

Doomsayers will have you believe that the Mayan long-count calendar ceases at the year 2012, indicating the end of the world.

A tablet recently found in the ancient Mayan ruins of Comalcalco seemingly corroborates the idea, but experts continue to state that such ideas of “prophecies” regarding the end of the world have no basis in fact.

To the Mayans, experts say, the “end” of the calendar simply represented the beginning of a new cycle, or b’ak’tun. A time of celebration.

Ultimately, I’m not sure it even matters.

Like the Y2K scare before it, 2012 has become a sort of character in paranormal myth. It’s seen countless books, countless websites, and even movies dedicated to the terror and destruction predicted to follow in its wake. Its story is known by believers and skeptics alike.

And, like Y2K, it will pass. No harm done.


The Power Of Collective Consciousness

Disregarding the potential of more parapsychological phenomena such as extrasensory perception or remote viewing, research has been done in the field of collective consciousness which may play into the growing 2012 hysteria.

Take, for example, the Global Consciousness Project. From their homepage:

When human consciousness becomes coherent and synchronized, the behavior of random systems may change. Quantum event based random number generators (RNGs) produce completely unpredictable sequences of zeroes and ones. But when a great event synchronizes the feelings of millions of people, our network of RNGs becomes subtly structured. The probability is less than one in a billion that the effect is due to chance. The evidence suggests an emerging noosphere, or the unifying field of consciousness described by sages in all cultures.

You may have heard of their research after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Data they collected suggested that, during the attacks, the collective emotions of all those witnessing the terror in person and on television caused “a measurable effect” on the project’s data-collecting network.

More interestingly, or perhaps more troublesome, is that, according to Roger Nelson, the project’s director, at least portions of the “measurable effect” appeared hours before the attacks began.

What could this mean?

We Are All Connected
Image: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team via CC by 2.0

Perhaps we are together intertwined at a quantum level. Perhaps we are bound in a higher spatial dimension, pulled by strings we cannot see. Perhaps, within this universe, everything is connected.

Do we sense something terrible on the horizon? Is the current fear of apocalypse somehow driven by a shared, innate feeling that we will soon meet our end?

Maybe, maybe not. When we look for patterns, we tend to find them whether they exist or not. It’s the way our minds work. And, given the increasingly viral nature of our culture, through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, not to mention the 24/7 news cycle that becomes more and more sensationalized as time passes, our attentions do become focused, collectively, on particular topics.

As we have approached 2012, the coverage of the “prophecies” and doomsday scenarios in the media have increased, and this has likely increased the apprehension regarding it.

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Could the collective thoughts of millions of people concentrating on a potential doomsday in 2012 actually lead to its manifestation? Could the actions of those who do believe incite a panic?

Will the fear of 2012 become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

The truth: We don’t even need a prophecy to feel the doom and gloom of the coming new year. A depressed economy. War fatigue. The odd passage of bills such as the National Defense Authorization Act, and massive corporations lobbying for the encroachment of Internet freedom.

Whether you believe in the end times or not, 2012 is looking to be as uncertain a year as doomsayers could hope for.

Even 2011 began with a bang. The media grabbed hold of multiple accounts of mass animal deaths beginning on New Years Eve. The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March was its own mini-apocalypse, damaging foundations and causing multiple nuclear reactors to meltdown in Japan. Unexplainable radiation was found over some countries in Europe.

Every year has its own slice of terror.

The only certainty is that there will always be an end times prophecy waiting to be fulfilled, and terrible events to become reality, prophesied or not.

Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

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