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tournament of lies

12 October 2008 one comment

As some of you know, I am not feeling well as I write this.  The doctor at Vanderbilt this morning (3:30 AM this morning) seemed to think that there is the possibility I have freaking Pertussis (whooping cough).  Never mind that I was vaccinated against this; apparently it wears off.  Who knew.  And as one person pointed out, leave it to me to catch a disease from antiquity (throat culture results as of this writing are still pending).  Thus, I have a lot of time on my hands from three weekends of doing nothing but trying to rest.  Since I can’t stay away from the Internet for more than a few minutes (PC, laptop, iPod Touch, Blackberry), I have spent a fair amount of time learning about the End of the World.  We’ve only got about four more years.  You knew that, right?

Seeing as I have not-so-long since lost my belief in a divine eschatology, and I never shared Christian millennial beliefs, it might seem odd that I am so fascinated with the End of Days.  Seriously, Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Byrne in the same movie?  How did that happen?  I was even a big fan of the TV show “Millennium” (IMDB link), although it totally jumped the shark in Season Three (I normally call it getting “X-Filed,” since it was the second of Chris Carter’s endeavors to go wildly off-track).  Finally, as an IT professional who was actively involved in remediation efforts for Y2K, the date held very special significance for me.  So, as the clock ticked into the twenty-first century – the New Millennium (arguably) – and nothing happened, the date lost all meaning by dawn.  The Roosters ceased their crowing, and the Owls sat back in silent wisdom.  Crisis averted, world not ending.  Get over the hangover, and back to work.

Ah, but there are more things in Heaven and Earth than either some vague calculation of what the New Millennium really is, and whether or not multi-million dollar computer systems can tell the exact year.  Seems that there was a bunch of folks a while back that had their own ideas of when things were going to change.  And it had a lot to do with computing days – down to the exact day, as a matter of fact.  And while the kook point of view that the world would end on 1-1-01 was all based on the numbers of a calendar which is arbitrary anyway, these people used a very reliable benchmark.  The entire Milky Way Galaxy.

So, the end of the Mesoamerican Long-Count calendar (the Fourth World) happens on December 21, 2012.  What is special about this day?  First, instead of a turn of the calendar decided upon by an Italian doctor, it is a special day – the Winter Solstice.  Shortest day of the year.  And what is so special about 2012?  That’s just our number for that year.  The event is the end of the Galactic Year, when the winter sun is perfectly aligned with the galactic center as it crosses the midpoint of the galactic plane.  This, therefore is certainly an auspicious and significant event, no doubt.

Trouble is, it already happened.

Yeah, that bit of super-significant astronomical import happened back in 1998.  Did you miss it?  Me, too.  So why is it still so damn fascinating to me?  I think it’s the psychological impact of the whole thing.  Millennarianism, whether centered around Y2K, the “impending” Rapture/Tribulation of certain Christian sects,  or the broader concept of eschatology from the Long-Count Calendar point of view, the Yawm al-Qiyāmah in Islam (especially as it relates to jihad), or even the failed predictions of William Miller (eventual de facto founder of Seventh-Day Adventism), reaches out and grabs attention like no other concept.  What does it mean when we say “the End?”  What impact will it have on our lives, or the lives of our children?  Society at large?  The typical view of the End of Days is one of complete chaos, anarchy run rampant, a breakdown of social order – and then a Savior comes and makes it all right.  Some interpret the Mesoamerican New World as a time of potential enlightenment; some think that we will all change, as a species, for the better.  If so, what changes are in store, and how will they be effected?  We’re still four years out – in 1996, few people were really taking about Y2K yet, largely because it wasn’t on CNN’s radar.  We will no doubt start hearing the Heads prattle on with some filler stories regarding TEOTWAWKI (Google it), and what has all been said about it already (quite a lot, in fact).  It will be interesting to see and hear what Joe Bagadonuts does with the discussion.  Especially given his history to this point with the esoteric and the arcane.

One Comment »

  • dan (author) said:

    Watching “Last Days on Earth” – History Channel – direct quote from John Hagee, speaking about the Book of The Revelation:

    “I don’t believe they’re allegorical, I don’t believe they’re metaphoric (sic), I believe they are factual. I believe that there will be four horsemen of the Apocalypse that will represent four different specific kinds of terror…”