It is well known that I am a fan of "End Times" literature and fantasy, from Nostradamus to Biblical Prophecy, as well as other religious apocalypse theory. Maybe it's my generation (all the movies, and shit like Y2K, 2012, Rapture, and Singularity) and all the strange books my Dad had on the subject (and now my own collection of doomsday books). I've been thinking about the end of the world since I lost my younger brother Scotty in a car accident at the age of 7. Before anyone ever heard of Dec 21, 2012. The date the Mayan calendar ends it's longest cycle, the Long Count. And though I recognize that this interest is also a product of pop culture (comic books, movies, TV) I have always had a strange sense that it would happen in my lifetime.
First. I do not believe that the world will end on 12.21.2012, but I do believe the date holds signifigance; as it is after the "galactic year" of our solar systems revolution through the galaxy ( , it marks the most significant astrological and astronomical event in our lifetimes. What I find most interesting though is not the end date of the Long Count, but the the start of this current cycle that ends with 12.21.2012, 3114 BCE.
3100 BCE was a very interesting time periods in human history, perhaps one of the most important: The majority of our knowledge of our own past fits into this 5126 year period. This was the time humans first developed cuniform writing, Egyptian hieroglyphs and early chinese writing. The First Egyptian Dynasties started (unification of upper and lower Egypt). This was also the time period in which early pyramids were built, Copper came into use for tools, more advanced systems of irrigation, canals building and megalithic structures such as Stonehenge were being built around the world by, what we would consider, primitive societies. Not to mention developments in agriculture. Also the first concepts of Biblical monotheism were developed in Ancient Egypt. Clearly, a very dramatic change happened to human development and civilization at this time, a paradigm shift that changed the way humans lived and related to the world around them, leading directly to the world we live in today. These changes didn't happen all at once or in a flash, as historical record shows these things were happening over a 200-500 year period throughout regions of the world, independantly (or so it would seem).
So what do I think this all means? well, Take a look at what is going on now: Incredible advances in digital and biological technology, changes in global power structures (the reorganization of wealth from USA to China). Dramatic changes in religion (new, and sometimes extreme interpretations of the monotheistic faiths - Christian, Muslim and Jewish). Dynamic changes are happening all around us, and for the first time, we all can watch the global shifts from TV and the internet. The information is so available, it's difficult to sift through it all to see what is meaningful. And also, it seems that all of the worlds worst case scenarios. the obvious factors that would lead us to certain doom (War, Famine, Disease and Death) are all weekly realities in our time. The Internet is like a modern Tower of Babel, reaching for God as we understand him, all knowing, all present. With this power and access in the hands of common people, even more knowledge is brought to light. allowing us to put pieces of the "puzzle" together, revealing a pattern of entropy and change that is just as unavoidable now, as it was in the days of Rome.
We are just starting to find other planets in other solar systems, further increasing the likelihood that we are not alone, and still showing how rare the miracle of our own world is. We are learning that structures built 5000 years ago are so complex and made with such precision, we couldn't reproduce the work today. More and more evidence is coming to light of capabilites held by our ancestors that we have lost. The ancient stories of these ancestors are starting to become more recognizable to us, as we have entered a new age of technology and discovery, as stories of visitors from the heavens, often described as gods, entering and exiting the atmosphere, described as what we now recognize as jet propultion technology, as well as flying machines, communications abilites, advanced weaponry... all recognizable now, to the view of a post industrial human. Odd then, we find all of this evidence, revealing so much mystery in our past that couldn't even be noticed before the industrial revolution. There is still so much to learn about who and what "we" are.
No the world is not ending. Though it is changing so dramatically that the world will "end as we know it" very soon I believe. considering technology and cosmological understanding, we will not be able to see the world as we have, either a divine creation or a random evolution. The veil is being lifted, science and technology are revealing that some ancient stories were very close to the truth, but that somewhere we forgot something very important about our own origins, the key to the questions we spend our time asking, seems to be intentionally lost, or specifically hidden (the tools found and thought to be used to build the pyramids, are now being questioned; "could ancient Egyptians really have carved granite stones weighing tons with copper chisels? and dragged them 100's of miles on wooden logs? Not very realistic when you think about it.)
The Singularity is an event described by Ray Kurzweil as a point of no return triggered by an incredible development in technological innovation; machines that are smarter than humans (A.I.). terrifying movie examples of this are Terminator and the Matrix, more exciting possibilities are shown in movies like Bicentennial Man and A.I. where the time before the singularity becomes irrelevant to the experience afterward. Imagine when everyone on the planet has total access to all the worlds knowledge at any given moment, anywhere in the world. We are so close to that right now, that we are already using the superstructure, reaching everyday toward this goal of omipresence and omniscience for everyone. New research is also leading to forms of potential immortality and powers over matter. like magic, or the powers of gods.
You dont need me to point out that the world is changing pretty fast right now, we can all feel it, changing under our feet, everyday in flux, ideas and fears spread faster than ever, consumption is increasing and resources are delpeteing while record setting weather happens on a regular basis. Social and political divisions threaten to collapse or render governments useless. Corporate interests that threaten freedom and even the soverienty of nations. Conspiracies and theories of conspiracies to control the directions that human civilization moves in, or doesnt. in our "greatness" we have forgot that we are not in control, and that the forces of this earth, solar system, and galaxy are still at work, as they have always been, too powerful for humanity to comprehend. The forge of worlds, the power of gravity, entropy and angular momentum, create a process we can only understand long after it's happened.
2012 isnt a switch point. not in the sense that "everything changes" at the stroke of a clock at midnight, 12.21.2012. but I think something will be revealed to us that causes us to realize the next steps we must take, for our progress as civilization as well as for our own survival as a species. we will finally see the doors, and we will have to choose which one we go through.