Doomsday 2012? Will It Happen? Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

A person would have had to spend the past couple of years hiding beneath a rock to not understand the meaning or at least have heard the phrase “doomsday 2012”. It has been the subject of media attention and the basis of movies, articles, videos, interviews, and everything else imaginable. Historical reports show the Mayans had a calendar set to end on December 21, 2012. After that, the presumption is, so will the world and all who are left here. The question is this: is Doomsday something we should really be concerned with or a mere reason for hype and unnecessary panic? Is this something we can honestly believe will happen?

The modern day name for this phenomenon is called the “doomsday prediction” and basically states that certain cataclysmic events and apocalyptic events will occur on the specified date causing an end to the world we know and an end to us also (“What is the 2012 Doomsday Prediction?”). These cataclysmic events are many times seen as the end of the old and the beginning of the new, kind of like New Year’s but on a super large scale. The current problems with the economy and environmental concerns make things hard for many people to accept and understand. It is often easier to accept a prophecy predicted by a group of ancestors because it means the end of bad things and a chance at a fresh start (Petkovic).

Many anthropologists believe the Mayans are better to understand and follow than other ancestral civilizations because their system seemed to align more with ours and their ways were more advanced for the time period in which they resided (Radford). Scientists have no belief in the Mayan theory and actually believe more in a polarity shift to explain the nature of expected events. They speculate that every few hundred thousand years there is some sort of planetary polarity shift. We, of course, have never witnessed this shift because we have never been alive during this time. Scientists believe during the winter solstice in 2012, the poles will begin to shift and it could turn out to be a major occurrence (Edmonds). What most people do not realize, however, is that this major shift would take at least 5000 years to be completed. This means we would STILL not be alive to witness it occur. Therefore, even if the theory is true, it holds little value in our every day lives.

Although it is true that humans could become extinct, the methods by which this would happen would have to be very complex. Besides the evolutionary theory, there really is no other reason for extinction besides a catastrophic event that would destroy earth and all who inhabit it (Viegas). There are three valid logistical concepts that could feasibly cause the world to cease, as we know it. All of them involve some sort of global warming phase and meteor strikes that cause a relative domino effect and widespread panic leading to breakdowns in society and triggering a decline in our economic system. Still, with all of these things occurring, scientists counter; humans would bounce back because we are resilient (Potter).

In addition, there were four more ‘signpost’ events researchers suggested that could potentially cause a red flag of warning for things to come. These particular flags involved conflicts between at least two nations, but were things such as nuclear, or natural-environmental, natural-viral, or purposeful conflict (Potter). The question I personally present is this: have we not witnessed most of these acts at some point in history? We are still here!!

So, this leads us back to the famous Mayan calendar, which will determine the fate of mankind (so they say). It has also been named the Aztec calendar and is basically a carving on a piece of sunstone kept in an exhibit in Mexico City at the National Museum of Anthropology. The Mayan calendar is a bit different from our modern day calendar (the Gregorian calendar). With our Gregorian calendar, we count in days, weeks, months, etc. The Mayans actually had three calendars in one and this was a bit more complex (Eden).

The religious calendar is the first part of the Mayan calendar and it consists of 260 days to complete one cycle. Each week has a special name, logo, and meaning. The second is the solar calendar, which is like our modern calendar, because it has 365 days for a complete cycle. It is divided into 18 months of 20 days each and there are five special “unlucky” days that don’t belong to any month. Like the religious calendar, there is a name, logo, and significance associated to each week in the religious calendar (Eden).

It is the solar calendar that is the source of all the doomsday reports. There is a special way of counting the Mayans used in their mathematical calculations and for some reason they stopped counting around the date December 21, 2012. Perhaps they stopped counting on this date because they knew they would be extinct by that point? Maybe they felt no need to count indefinitely into the future? Think about it! Would we count millions of years into the future knowing we would not be here? The Mayans had no idea how seriously some would take this particular subject. If they had, I have a feeling there would have been a bit more thought placed into their counting process or at least some type of disclaimer at the bottom.

The polls that have been conducted report one in ten people agree with this calendar and actually believe the world is going to end. The majority of people believe this to be untrue (O’Neill). There were 21 countries participating in this poll from Turkey, China, Mexico, and Italy, to name just a few. So the majority of the world does not believe in the doomsday prediction. Why, then, is it so popular?

Historically, there have been several reasons things such as this have caused widespread panic throughout society for no good reason. The Internet is a large cause of much of the problem. There are also people with uneducated backgrounds and over analytical minds that have nothing better to do than formulate hypotheses when there is no honest or true justification for these. An example would be the Millerites, who believed Jesus would return in 1843 and the world would be destroyed at that point (Wall). Obviously, this did not happen.

The media and society loves hype. Life is too boring, apparently. We have nothing better to do than cause worry for others. Why should we simply live life as normal people when we could be preparing for the end of times? That is much more exciting. At least some believe this to be true. Humans are such resilient creatures and have been able to adapt for many years, but in all honesty, we have fragile minds capable of being molded by the right circumstances.

If you don’t believe this to be true, turn on the news and watch the commercials. Then look around your immediate environment and see how the commercials and news have affected your family and neighbors. From the cars they have purchased to the clothes they wear to the music our children listen to: our minds are fragile and adaptable under the right circumstances. We need to be told what to do and seek the approval from others on some kind of level, no matter who we are or how much education we may have obtained.

On a recent trip to the supercenter for groceries, I passed by the end of an aisle and almost collided with the display entitled “Be Prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse”. There were Twinkies, small weapons, backpacks, tents, and other items to be useful in case a person found himself on the run and with no place to seek shelter if the world were suddenly overtaken by zombies. Honestly, do humans believe these creatures exist? Certainly they can’t. However, it is our fascination with the end of time and the end of the world as we know it that allows for the media to keep inventing movies and other methods to have us coming back for more in order to remain entertained for as long as possible.

Maybe this keeps us from looking too deeply into our own mundane and depressing lives. Many humans have lost their jobs and are now living with much less income than before. Often families have had to combine resources and live with their parents or grandparents to make the budget fit their needs. Maybe it is not necessarily that we are a fragile minded society. Maybe it is that we understand how desperate the circumstances are in our lives during the present day and we seek to find some solitude, however that may be. Perhaps there is some small part of our lives that wants a fresh start. Doomsday 2012 could be the way for us to accomplish that, as strange as it may seem.

The mind is a complex organ. We use not even a fraction of it. We are able to analyze complex thoughts and carry out advanced structural process better than any other species in our environments. We basically are at the top of the environmental food chain, so to speak. Some of us are so intelligent that we are capable of such complex computations and problem solving skills we have been labeled geniuses and others have been given other terms due to their special skills in various areas. With all of that being said, however, when you strip away all of the special skills we have acquired over the years or the talents of some individuals, we are all quite similar. We have an innate need to survive and many of us have held on to the skills required for survival through the course of several generations even if we do not realize this.

Many people in the general population are supporters of reasoning behind the survival of the fittest. This would be the survival of those who had the wits and means and health in order to outlast whatever environment conditions were presented before them. They would find a way to adapt, when necessary, in order to meet those needs and make the necessary changes so they could survive and their families would live to see another day. Non-supporters of this believe it to be a hoax. Personally, I can see how this would have some significance in our survival of the whole doomsday scenario and the fact we want to survive whatever comes our way.

In a raw environmental sense, nothing has changed, although our general circumstances are extraordinarily different. We used to hunt and gather to feed our families; now we allow other commercial farmers to grow poultry and crops for us to buy in supermarkets and feed our loved ones. We used to find the herbs and concoctions with which to make medications to treat our sick children; now a trip to the physician and they are normally healed. Life has changed drastically in that sense for those of us living in a civilized world. Maybe with all of life’s adaptations to the physical comforts of the environment and the changes we have taken to meet those requirements, somewhere along the way we never let our minds adapt to the changes as well.

I believe within every person is an innate sense of survival as well as an uncertainty of the unknown. No person knows what lies ahead, even if he believes in foretelling the future. Because of this uncertainty, there is a large portion of life we are unsure about and the fear can overtake us if we allow this to happen. The human instinct is to fight for survival and if there are outside forces (such as media hype from television or newspapers) this will only act as a catalyst to further feed our fear and cause us to become even more panicked. There is no way to positively know the world will end on December 12, 2012. There is no way to positively know the world will end on March 4, 2017. We are not supposed to know these things because we are unable to predict the future with accuracy. If this were the case, would the world be in such poor shape now?

The best way to live through the uncertainty of our life is to live every day as it comes, one day at a time. That sounds like something from a twelve-step program, yes. But it makes sense. If a person concentrates on living every day as if it were his last day and does not get caught up in whatever hype there is about doomsday or an apocalypse or whatever the event of the moment, he will most likely not suffer the stress and anxiety that will permeate through the rest of the community and attack all of those who buy into those beliefs. This is not something we can do every day; it is quite understandable we will have times we fail. This is also part of human nature. But if we can avoid getting involved in the latest ‘end of the world’ or ‘end of our lives as we know it’ hype and drama, life will be more fulfilling for us and our families. We will also be a better example to others around us who may be unsure of things and need a clear voice of reason.

Works Cited

Eden, Dan. “The Real Doomsday?”. ViewZone. Web. 13 July 2012.

Edmonds, Joe. “A Different View on Doomsday”. University Chronicle. 23 April 2012. Web. 13 July 2012.

O’Neill, Ian. “2012 Poll Brings Out the Doomsday Believers”. Discovery News. 4 May 2012. Web. 13 July 2012.

Petkovic, John. “The 2012 Doomsday Prophecy: Believe It? Or Not?”. Cleveland.com. 22 January 2012. Web. 13 July 2012.

Potter, Ned. “Mayan Calendar Predicts Doomsday in 2012. Or Not”. ABC News. 3 January 2012. Web 13 July 2012.

Radford, Benjamin. “The Truth About 2012 Doomsday Hype”. LiveScience.  5 November 2009. Web. 13 July 2012.

Viegas, Jennifer. “Human Extinction: How Could It Happen?”. Discovery News. 11 November 2009. Web. 13 July 2012.

Wall, Mike. “Why Doomsday Fears Will Survive 2012 Apocolypse”. Space.com. 5 July 2012. Web. 13 July 2012.

“What Is The 2012 Doomsday Prediction?”. Armageddon Online. 18 July 2009. Web. 13 July 2012.

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