Apocalypse Never…

Mayan apocalypse: Men in tin foil at Bugarach, France

The tweet that arrived in my tweet stream on December 22nd was telling. It was from the official Mayan twitter feed and simply read: ‘Oh, this is awkward…’ It was all the evidence needed to confirm my suspicion that the 21/12/12 doomsday scenario would prove to be as hollow as all those that have proceeded it.

At the small village of Bugurach, France – these men (pictured above) dressed up in preparation for the end of the world, but ended up toasting in the new day with good cheer. They knew a good opportunity to get into the global media when they saw it.

One man who was not having a bar of it was Vladimir Putin. Asked about the end of the world at a press conference last week, he replied, “I know when the world will end – in about 4.5 billion years.” That might provide cold comfort to Russians – who might prefer to go with the end of the world than to have to endure many more years of Putin’s rule.

I’m not sure if its just me, but I think we have now reached the point where apocalypse fatigue has definitely set in. I’ve now lived through several much-hyped end of the world scenarios. Is there something inside us that needs to attach extra significance to the era in which we live – to add weight to our otherwise insignificant lives by believing that we will be the ones to experience the end of days?

I recall at the turn of the millennium me and a group of friends headed to the north coast of NSW just in case the prophesies were true. What better place to be, we figured, if the world’s economy goes to purgatory and we are all left to fend for ourselves, than the verdant wonderland of the north coast.

If nothing else, we could just eat organic mangoes and avocados that drip off the trees up there, smoke some killer weed, and paddle in the warm blue waters around Byron Bay. Yes, there is something in the modern condition that lends itself to end of the world dreaming. A deep seated impatient nihilism perhaps, or just human curiosity to know what’s next?

As a younger man I remember always having this sense that things were so wrong with the world that I would welcome some radical changes to shake the sickness at the heart of it all to the core. Bring on the end of days – it has to be more exciting than the status quo.

I don’t feel that way any more, but still it seems the world laps up a good end of the world scenario. Perhaps some day soon it will become a self-fullfilling prophesy as our consumerist lifestyles and flagrant disregard for the planet seriously hasten our own impending doom.

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