The End of the World

I'll admit it, I'm an "End of the World" skeptic. I just don't think it's going to happen. I think we're just going to potter along modestly improving for eternity. Call me a hopeless optimist.
I'm forced to cover this subject because of the inordinate number of books coming out about 2012 - supposedly the year the Mayan Calendar predicts the world will end. I work in a New Age bookshop, and books on this subject are very popular indeed. I've listened to a couple of CDs by a chap called Gregg Braden, who has become the poster boy of the movement. Mr. Braden takes a less scary view of things - he simply thinks that by 2012 the world will have changed so much as to be unrecognisable. I'm willing to bet that by 2013 poor old Mr. Braden will be in obscure retirement somewhere nice.
You see, I've been through it all before. In the early 80s the world-as-we-knew it was set to end because of an impending ice age. It never happened. I have an old Barbra Streisand CD from 15 years ago saying "We only have 10 years to save the world!" - the world is still here, perhaps because of Ms. Streisand's good efforts. Back in the late 90s I used to sell bucketloads of books by a chap called Gordon Michael Scallion, who predicted the world was going to end in the year 2000. Strangely enough, we don't hear much from Mr. Scallion any longer. And don't get me going on the year 2000 - everyone was a catastrophist by October '99.
And this isn't a new thing - the Jehovah's Witnesses have embarrassed themselves repeatedly by predicting a specific date for the end of the world, and any number of wacky religions (most prominently the Seventh Day Adventists) had their beginnings at an event called The Great Disappointment, at which the predicted end of the world failed to happen.
People love to be worried, they are never happier than when scared. And a sure way to make a dollar is to predict that the world is going to end, and that it's all YOUR fault.


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