The end of the world…Again!
If you are reading this congratulations on surviving the end of the world-again! Friday was the 28th of October, and the poles did not shift, nor did the sea rise and cover two-thirds of the land, and yes, your blackberry mobile is still functioning thank you sir. You can breathe fresh air again, till the next auspicious day, or when all the planets line up causing the third world war, according to the learned congregation of prophets, astrologers and other who have been predictded several times this year. Can anyone say “we have been hacked.”
Whether it is 2011 or 2012,and whether the Mayans just ran out of numbers, if it is the new dawn coming or finito for homo sapiens the poet and murderer. Perhaps the winged planet Marduk with the giant aliens is running a few days late on its way to destroy earth’s gravity. Comet Elenin’s tail may still vapourise us. Yellowstone volcano may still erupt and throw California into the sea. The Large Hadron Collider has created a large black hole within the earth, causing an increase in volcanoes and earthquakes. None of this is strictly impossible, but I am personally more terrified by earth’s massive nuclear arsenal being in the hands of imbeciles. Human pride in general, and our alarming tendency to make things worse through good intentions unsupported by critical thinking and analysis.
The world was supposed to end on the 23rd May, according to many. Being skeptical of all popular crazes, knowing them to be the worst symptoms of public dementia and lack of individual imagination, I phoned numerous friends for their take on the issue. Many of them were genuinely afraid. I received numerous “please call siyabhubha”-which means, we are going to be destroyed. It reminded me of the legend of 31 December 1999,when a rumor got round that a volcano was going to emerge in Swayimane just outside of Pietermaritzburg .
People stayed up late out of terror. Now again, the fear seems to have resurfaced. The doomsday predictors said, the world is ending at 12 o’clock. 12 o’clock whose time? Greenwich? American time? These things are important you know. How does God decide when to destroy the world? Which timezone must he use? Some unlucky country is going to be destroyed at an awkward time like 2.21 in the morning. Perhaps America will be destroyed at an appropriate time, being the greatest nation on earth according to many of its inhabitants. It’s all quite perculiar.
In our own country,the ” Siener van Rensburg” is a folk hero amongst many Afrikaners and white people. The main claim to his legacy being the fact that he predicted that one day our country would be ruled by a black president. Which says less about his clairvoyance than the utter stupidity and patronising racism of his followers, that could actually regard this as an astonishing prophecy. I predict personally my children will be coloured. (for those of you who don’t know I am married to a black woman) I am a genius! And whilst we are on the issue of predictions, the song of the year Zahara’s Loliwe no matter what we try to do. And to think of it, actually I did predict Zuma would be president back in 2005,when everyone said he was dead and buried. Predictions? Ha someone get me some Doritos.
What prophets and historians share in common is a cynical realisation of the repetitive nature of human history. Human beings follow a fairly predictable pattern of behavior. We really do not understand our greatest threat is often ourselves. In trying to create paradise on earth, we make a sophisticated hell. The Holocaust didn’t happen simply because of regression from civilisation, but the very fact that to create civilisation in its present form, we created bureacracy-bureacracy is impersonal. To kill people is a mere matter of paperwork. We become dehumanised, creatures of emotionless rationalisation. The people who do the work class themselves as civil servants, merely doing their job. Whether they are soldiers for America dropping bombs ,or somebody working in an air conditioned office in South Africa, who has a vital responsibility to people but just collects a salary. Impersonality and lack of individual accountability is the order of the day.
This is what I fear, as an independent minded human being. the conformity which crushes life. The more complicated a civilisation, the more complicated and dangerous the outcomes. That is why people have been able to claim these predictions and yet still public reaction in criticizing them has been muted. It is worth noting that now more than ever above and beyond anything we need a culture of critical thinking and not the myopia that comes with such predictions.