Friday, September 14, 2012



I lived in Fairfield Iowa for a while. The capital of the Transcendental Meditation movement. The people there were always freaked about something. They had to live in special Vedic houses, eat special foods and herbs to combat every upset, consult astrologers for everything from when to get married to what to name their kids, and play special piped in music 24 hours a day. The whole world was toxic to these folks and had to be filtered through whatever The Movement said was the answer. And man were they up in arms about Y2K! I just knew nothing big was going to happen. These weenies just couldn't be right. And incidentally, the people there, not the kids but the adults, were the most energy depleted folks I've ever seen. Either fat and pasty, or cadaverously thin...nice folks, but not what I’d call the pictures of health or peace of mind. I remember when Y2K was coming and everyone was freaking out and buying wheat berries and generators, I thought, Man, if I have to grind my own wheat berries, just shoot me now. 

And all that freaking was for nothing.

Unrelated to Y2K, I heard about a guy in another town who had a bunker underground in his backyard that he was always tinkering with. He had all his doomsday supplies ready. One day he had an oxygen leak, something sparked and he was burned to a crisp in the safest place in the world. Good lesson there....

There seems to be a steady parade of these doomsday scenarios, year after year and I think there's definitely an emotional payoff to being into this stuff. And when the end of the world doesn’t come they only seem a little disappointed. What they usually do, with the help of cognitive dissonance, is incorporate this latest news into their ongoing story about all this stuff and just move on to the next thing to be afraid of.

When I lived in Iowa, I loved listening to the radio. I could hear AM radio stations at night from New York to New Orleans to Denver to Minneapolis, depending on the weather. Sometimes I would listen to the Art Bell show, which I promptly labeled "The Fear Show". Each night, they'd spend the first part of the show bringing out the boogeyman and the second half of the show selling you the silver bullet to kill him with.

Some people I know feel sorry for these perennial doomsday fearing types but I don't find myself feeling much compassion for them because they seem to be happily (or unhappily) living the life they most want to live. There's a perverse kind of pleasure in being perennially outraged and vigilant. Until someone outgrows that pleasure and wants a different kind, I don't think there's much anyone can do to change them. I mostly try to stay out of their way, as I do with most conspiracy theory people.

I'm usually careful about what I say around them. The True Believers seem to identify themselves with their beliefs, so criticizing their beliefs amounts to an attack on their very existence. If you don't just accept their latest doomsday prophesy, or conspiracy theory, or whatever their latest boogeyman is, they tend to fixate all their rage you and that's usually not a can of worms I want to open and have dumped in my lap.

The latest end of the world story has to do with the Mayan calendar and the end of time which is supposed to happen in 2012. The magnetic poles are supposed to reverse, huge “Earth Changes” are supposed to happen, we are to be punished by Nature for how we’ve been treating the planet, etc,, etc.,

I'd also have to say that based solely on who's freaking out about 2012, I would be willing to bet my life that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary statistical patterns of natural disasters will happen this year.

Not to mention that the Mayans were blood sacrificing people whose civilization collapsed on itself. They couldn't even see that coming , or the Spanish coming, and yet they were supposed to know when the “end of time” was going to happen?

And this should be obvious: The Mayan calendar had to end somewhere. They couldn’t keep carving in those stones forever. Our calendars only go so far into the future too.

These doomsday scenarios come up again and again, and the same type of people get freaked out again and again. One thing's for sure though, YOUR personal apocalypse is definitely coming. You're going to die and no bunker can save you from that.

I think this is all about guilt and death and control. If you just accept that you're gonna die, that you and your culture have done bad things (like all people and cultures do, yes, even those saintly blood sacrificing Mayans), and that you actually have very little power and control over life, well then, you're free to enjoy what you can, do a few good deeds, get on with it and party like it's 2012!!


  1. My wife said she wasn't going to stain pasta anymore after 2012. I asked her why are you using a Mayan colander. Hehehe (Auggie Smith)

  2. Maybe some of this endlessly recurring panic comes from an urge to have something important to convey to humanity, and part of it from a need for togetherness--if we're all going to die in a disaster, then we are, somehow, bound together. And maybe it's your own little Stockholm Syndrome that lets you love the world that is tormenting you.