What I Know About the Apocalypse
by MATT STOKES | DECEMBER 19, 2012
Here’s what I know:
I know that this Friday, our planet is going to collide with the planet Nibiru, explosively ending all life on Earth in seconds. Or, it might be that the Earth narrowly misses Nibiru, but will still experience devastating effects of the Earth’s polarities shifting. Rapid climate change, disease, starvation, and worse will sweep over all of us, effectively ending life as we know it. I know this because the Mayans knew this; they were great astronomers, and their long-count calendar ends at December 21st, 2012. I also know this because there’s plenty of compelling corroborating evidence, and because it perfectly jives with the Biblical prophecy that the End Times will be preceded by “earthquakes, war, and famine,” and we’ve certainly seen plenty of that in the world this year. [Although, to be fair, that also would have been true of 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, as well as every year between roughly 10,000 BC and AD 1986. So, grain of salt.]
This, obviously, is bad news.
This is it, guys, and it’s way scarier than last year, when on May 21st, the world was scheduled to come to an end as we know it when we experienced a worldwide Rapture. The Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping made a very scientific prediction by deducing from a lifetime of scriptural readings that the Rapture would hit, starting with New Zealand at six o’clock in the evening New Zealand time. The build-up to this event was huge, and Camping’s crew sunk more than $100 million into an awareness campaign for the occasion.
When the world did not end and Judgment Day never happened, many people were disappointed, devastated even, that they didn’t get to see the End Times. Count me among the devastated, as I sat on my porch, waiting for the Rapture so I could live-blog it. When it didn’t happen I had to come up with something else to write about. I was pissed.
Luckily Ole’ Harold, reeling from a lifetime wasted, went back to the books and discovered that, actually, he hadn’t been wrong, that the Rapture had hit, but that it was just a different kind of Rapture than he had been expecting. The fire and turmoil and plague and apocalyptic destruction was coming, see, but for five months prior to that we’d be experiencing a spiritual Rapture. Camping thus revised his prediction, and forecast the ultimate demise of the Earth for October 21st of 2011.
Then, when the October Rapture didn’t happen either, Camping just had to admit that he didn’t know what he was talking about. So we had to move past it, just as a year earlier we’d had to move past the failure of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s prediction that the world would end in 2010. That one was a particularly potent blow, because the Golden Dawn was one of the chief influences on modern-day astrology, numerology, and Tarot, so none of us knew what to believe anymore.
Now, we were lucky to have dodged these calamities, sure, but our luck was perhaps never as big as when we avoided the Y2K catastrophe. Not an end-of-the-world prediction, to be sure, but the buildup to the inevitable failure of data systems to recognize dates starting in 2000 (Something about reliance on data cards that required saving as much space as possible, so conserving the first two digits of the year was essential. Or something like that.) was sure to cause every airplane to fall out of the sky; every hospital patient on life support to die instantly; for every food delivery worldwide to be derailed, leading to widespread starvation; a global recession; and our society, basically, reverting to feudal Europe circa the 500s. That would have sucked.
We were fortunate, sure, but we must not forget the lessons of Y2K. Here’s what I learned from Y2K: I learned that we must train ourselves to be as skilled as possible whenever the apocalypse hits. And there are many different kinds of apocalypses, so let’s just SUPPOSE that the world doesn’t end in a fiery blaze on Friday (Absurd, I know, because the world will totally end in a fiery blaze on Friday. It just will.), it’s very possible that our apocalypse could be of a different sort. A zombie apocalypse, frankly, just seems a little far-fetched to me, so I won’t even waste thought on it. A technological apocalypse? Sure, I’ll allow myself to believe. An epidemic, a viral outbreak? Absolutely! Those dirty UNIONS maliciously shutting down the world’s cargo ships, depriving us all of medication and toilet paper and foodstuffs and deodorant, which leads to the inevitable World War ZZZZZ? I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen, honestly. Point is, we’ve got to be prepared. We have to be very honest with ourselves, and equip ourselves with as many skills and supplies as necessary. Basically, if you’re not in nursing or whittling school right now, you’re wasting your life.
I know that maybe the apocalypse will be something entirely different, like a pharmacological apocalypse. Author and mind-altering plant aficionado Terence McKenna took LSD and all kinds of other hallucinogens for years and years, studying with shamans and wandering through mountains, before eventually realizing the hour of the pharmacological apocalypse is upon us. McKenna argued in his book The Archaic Revival that mushrooms are actually alien fungi, and they contain within them the tools to access the extraterrestrial realm. See, hallucinogens don’t actually cause hallucinations; rather, they allow human beings to witness the alien world that we otherwise can’t even fathom without supremely heightened consciousness. We live only in the physical world, so we’ll never understand any other way of being until the big day when our world is destroyed, and we’re carried away to the world of the psychedelic alien. I could see that.
I know that in 1999, we were spared the wrath of the “great king of terror” that Nostradamus famously foretold in the 1500s; Nostradamus predicted a sky king would descend from the heavens and murder us all. We were blessed in 1997, when the coming of Comet Hale-Bopp did not, as it turns out, portend the destruction of this planet, as Marshall Applewhite of the Heavens Gate cult had convinced many it would. Louis Farrakan of the Nation of Islam said the Persian Gulf War of 1991 was actually the Battle of Armageddon–prophesied in the Book of Revelation as a precursor to the End Times–but it wasn’t. Somehow the great evangelist Pat Robertson was wrong about the Rapture occurring in 1982 (He was later wrong about it happening in 2007, too.). And there wasn’t a person alive in 1910 who wasn’t convinced that Halley’s Comet would bring with it a giant cloud of poisonous gas that would plunge the world into sickness and ruin.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But come on, all those doomsday prophets were wrong, what makes you think this time the prophets are right? I mean, you didn’t even mention failed doomsday predictions like the one by the Romans in 634 BC, or by the Donatists in 380, Bishop Gregory of Tours in 806, everyone in the world in 1000, Pope Innocent III in 1284, Arnold of Villanova in 1378, Michael Stifel the mathematician in 1533, the Fifth Monarchy in 1673, or the Millerites and the Great Disappointment of 1844… they all thought they were right too!” Well, that’s a reasonable point, but I’ve got a one-word retort for you: Mayans. They knew all kinds of things about astronomy that modern man, in all his hubris, could never expect to learn. And so they drew up a calendar, and that calendar just freaking ends, man. It ends! Does that sound good to you?
And yeah, I mean, maybe we skate by on this one. Maybe this Friday, we Earthlings catch a break and avoid the apocalypse. Again, it’s unlikely, I know, because we’re totally all dying this Friday, we just are. But say we do make it out… you know what’s coming up soon? The year 2015. What happens in 2015, you ask? Oh, it’s only the year that the renowned Methodist theologian Adam Clarke worked out as the date for the Rapture, for reals this time. Yeah. Scary stuff. We all have a lot of repenting and saving to do between then and now, I think.
And maybe, just as a precaution, just in the teensiest most miniscule chance that we survive even past that date of certain doom, we need to be prepared. Because we’ve only got about seven-and-a-half billion years until the Sun becomes a red giant star and expands exponentially, engulfing the Earth and everything surrounding it, destroying the physical space of the Solar System. Basically, total annihilation. Seven-and-a-half billion years, you guys. Let’s get ready.