Apocalypse When? Sooner or Later….

A good read about the End of the World in December 2012 and The Mayan Calendar

Apocalypse sooner or later

January 22, 2011

Relying on the calendar of the ancient – and extinct – Mayans, end-of-the-world movements are sweating on 2012, writes Linda Morris.

FIRST the bad news: come December 21, 2012, the world as we know it will end. On this ill-starred date, the solar system will swing into alignment with the midpoint of the Milky Way, precipitating tsunamis, the cracking of continental shelves, the shifting of the magnetic poles, solar flares and other cosmic mayhem not recorded since the planetary upheavals that rendered the dinosaur extinct.

This is a bumper period for end-of-the-world buffs. Based on their reading of ancient prophesies and celestial alignments, many groups are expecting the apocalypse.

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The good news: the world’s leading astrophysicists, whose job it is to map the vaults of heaven, to search the galaxy for stray cosmic missiles, don’t believe a word of it.

Of course, official denial has never previously tripped up far-fetched claims and doomsday scenarios because they are impossible to prove or disprove – and hasn’t life proved stranger than fiction? In fact, puzzling mysteries and forbidden secrets are oxygen for conspiracy theories – all the better if there is some link to some ancient cult with a concealed understanding of the final destiny of mankind.

Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, a rather conventional fictional murder mystery, got its drive from the clandestine Opus Dei movement. For the 2012 movement, the ancient Mayans – the pre-Columbian civilisation that occupied Central America – unlocked the secret to the end of life on earth.

The theory goes that the Mayans, known for advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, predicted the end of the world via their Long Count calendar system, which Spanish conquest and colonialism ended. The Mayans broke the world’s time into 5126-year periods – the calendar cycle, or b’ak’tun, ends in December 2012.

Scholars believe the Mayans attributed no more significance to the resetting of the clock than an anniversary date, much as the Gregorian calendar marked the new millennium. However, on the internet the so-called Mayan prophecies have converged with theories about crop circles, alien abduction and the lost continent of Atlantis.

Among the more bizarre reports is that UFO watchers and New Agers are heading for a village in southwestern France, believing either that aliens are hibernating in a rising peak there awaiting Armageddon or that this mountain will be one of the few places in the world to shelter from the coming cataclysm. One website hypothesises that the Mayan calendar spells the exact co-ordinates of mystery UFO sightings at the abandoned Roswell airfield, ground zero for UFO exponents.

Another theory has it that a planet, Nibiru, has been tracked by infrared observatories at the edge of the solar system and is speeding towards Earth. Due to enter the solar system in 2012, it will create gravitational havoc. NASA’s impatient denials have served only to fuel the scare. They would say that, wouldn’t they?

Even Hollywood has got in on the act with a series of disaster movies climaxing about 2012. The original hysteria seems to trace back to an esoteric American author, Frank Waters, who studied the Maya tradition and proclaimed the Long Count calendar an oracle to end times in his little-known 1989 text, Mexico Mystique, the source reference for all 2012 doomsayers.

In a spin-off theory, John Major Jenkins fused the Mayan calendar with cosmology and New Age teachings. Jenkins drew a link between the end of the Mayan calendar, the northern hemisphere winter solstice (which falls on December 21) and the so-called alignment of the sun to the midline or the ”dark rift” of the Milky Way due at that time.

The Mayans’ astronomical and mathematical abilities were superior to those of Caesar’s Rome and were considered the most accurate until the Renaissance. Their calendar calculations were infused with religious importance, each day devoted to a saint.

Jenkins encourages a spiritual rather than an apocalyptic reading of this conjunction. The importance of 2012 is not as an end date in itself but heralds a new era of spiritual transformation and renewal.

The feared Y2K bug failed to stymie global communications, making fools of the prophets of doom. Now pop culture has embraced the 2012 movement, leaving the academics to bat away predictions of an impending cosmic implosion.

The astrophysicist Dr Charley Lineweaver views the wonders of the universe daily but searching in the firmament does not incline him to a belief that the ”Big Crunch” is imminent. Lineweaver knows the universe is ultimately doomed but the point at which our sun will run out of fuel is probably 5 billion years away, not in our lifetime, and the point by which no life will exist in the universe is ”many, many billions of years from now”.

”The planets are always aligned in a disc called the ecliptic and the sun and stars of the Milky Way are also in the disc of our galaxy. These two discs are not aligned in any meaningful way,” he says.

”The planets go around the sun in the ecliptic disc with different orbital periods. Sometimes there are more planets in one direction than in another and this has been going on for about 4.5 billion years. Try as hard as I might, I am not able to believe that the world will end in 2012 because of some ‘alignment’ that happens every 200 years or 2000 years or even every 200 million years.”

Solar activity is expected to intensify, as it does every 11 or so years. As for a renegade planet out there threatening our very existence, the lack of evidence and the denials of NASA have not stopped the theory going viral on the internet. At the very least this hypothetical planet risks collision with sound judgment.

So why are we so willing to disbelieve the denials of our eminent scientists? Why is conspiracy trumping reason?

”Why do we go to horror movies?” counters Lineweaver. ”Maybe we’re giving the fear centres of our brains a workout.”

Predicting the world is going to end is likely to put you on a book bestseller list. However, there is more at play in the 2012 movement than entertainment and easy profit.

Beliefs in the end of time – or at least an end to life as we know it, a dawning of a new reality or consciousness or creation of a utopian world, usually by way of a deity’s intervention – are deeply grounded in ancient religious doctrine. Christian eschatologies, dealing with final destinies, are preoccupied with the fulfilment of biblical prophecy of the second coming of Christ, Judgment Day, a new vision of heaven and hell.

Even after the Enlightenment, reason and rationality have not satisfied mankind’s thirst for answers to the riddle of existence and the world’s ultimate fate. In common with advocates of medical miracles, doomsayers lurk in the gaps in scientific knowledge, in the spats between experts and in the confused complexity of scientific knowledge.

As humankind has come to understand its minuscule place in an infinite universe, the wrath of an angry God has given way to Cold War nuclear weaponry as the method of choice of our own destruction, which in turn has been usurped by stray asteroids, solar flares and sudden reversals of the magnetic poles.

Professor Catharine Lumby, the director of the journalism and media research centre at the University of NSW, suggests the 2012 movement and others that are sure to follow are symptomatic of the same shifting paradigm that has propelled Julian Assange to the world stage.

Conspiracy theories abounded in mediaeval times when dissent peaked against the oppressive authority of the Catholic Church. This was when the French seer Nostradamus supposedly predicted World War III. The same could be true today – except elected government has supplanted the Pope and the internet is the printing press for today’s disenfranchised and disempowered.

At the core of public support for WikiLeaks, Lumby says, are distrust of mainstream authority and public exasperation with spin-doctoring. These also drive the quest to expose cover-ups – Roswell, JFK’s assassination, September 11 – or to delve down to source material unedited and unmediated by a scientific elite or a government coterie.

”There have always been conspiracy theories. The Virgin Birth is one,” she says, ”but the internet has allowed people with unusual ideas about actual events to connect and multiply their theories and this is why it is critical that we counter irrational ideas with no evidence with far better and transparent information.”

Like it or not, doomsaying, in one form or another, is as deeply ingrained in human nature as pessimism and fatalism. A man of science and the Bible, Sir Isaac Newton predicted in 1704 that the world would end no earlier than 2060 to discredit ”fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail”.

If plain speaking matters, it may be timely to remind those heading for refuge in the world’s highest peaks that the Mayans failed to predict their own demise, 1100 years ago.

Printed today in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Roswell – The Conspiracy Theory

UFO watchers believe that the US military discovered an alien craft and extraterrestrial bodies, and concealed the find from the American public.
Conspiracy theorists say the spaceship gave priceless intelligence to the US on alien technology, which could have proved vital in the burgeoning Cold War against Russia.
The cover-up also allowed the government to carry out an autopsy on the dead space travellers, and gain an insight into the physiology of these extraterrestrial beings.
The conspiracy theory started when Major Marcel broke his silence after retiring from the armed forces in the late 1970s.
In 1978 he described the bizarre markings, the strange metals and the unusual make-up of the materials he found at the Roswell crash site to UFO investigator Stanton T Friedman. When he repeated his evidence about the strange hieroglyphics and super-strong metallic shell of the craft to the National Enquirer in 1980, the conspiracy theory began to grow.
Dozens of others came forward, including William Haut, the press officer who sparked the initial interest in the story. He revealed that he was asked to take part in a plan to divert attention away from the crash site.
In a sworn affidavit in 2002 he claimed that he was shown the craft recovered from the ranch in a hangar at Roswell Air Base. Haut described the spaceship as a 15-foot-long egg-shaped construction made of a paper-thin, incredibly strong metal with no windows or landing gear. He also claims to have seen two bodies in the hanger with abnormally large heads.
Theorists also point to the evidence of “Mac” Brazel, foreman of the Foster Ranch where the craft was discovered, who gave interviews to the Roswell Daily Record and Associated Press on 8 July 1947, in which he dismissed the military’s official story.
Citing several other weather balloons he had recovered on the ranch, he said: “I am sure what I found was not any weather balloon.”
A string of ex-army staff from both Fort Worth and Roswell came forward in the 1990s to reveal their own encounters with UFOs and aliens.
Almost to a man, they described small, lightweight metallic crafts, and thin, human-like aliens with enlarged heads and eyes.

Roswell – The Official Story

The US government’s official version of the Roswell find is simple and unequivocal. A weather balloon crashed in the desert and was recovered by military personal after a local rancher reported a wreckage on his land.
Press officer Walter Haut’s statement on July 8 that a flying disc had been recovered on the Foster ranch north of Roswell was quickly dismissed by General Roger Ramey, who held a press conference the next day to put forward the weather balloon explanation. Parts of the balloon were even paraded in front of an expectant collection of reporters.
Major Jesse Marcel, who was in charge of security for the military’s nuclear test sites across the US and the Pacific, backed up this theory at the time due to the sensitive nature of his position within the armed forces.

Both Marcel and Haut would later claim that the recovered object was an alien spaceship, and that the weather balloon had been substituted for the craft after it was taken to Fort Worth for further testing.

In the early 1990s, when interest in the Roswell incident was at its peak, the air force revealed that it had been carrying out tests in 1947 on a high-altitude balloon as part of Project Mogul, in an attempt to detect Russian nuclear tests.

Roswell Conspiracy Part 1

On 7 July 1947 a rancher in New Mexico reported the discovery of a strange flying saucer that had crash landed in the desert 40 miles north of the small Air Force town of Roswell.
With its strange markings and unusual design, the find soon sparked a furious debate about where the bizarre craft could have come from.
The summer of 1947 had seen dozens of UFO sightings over Roswell.
Locals reported blinking lights, hovering discs and oddly-shaped aircraft in the clear night skies.
So when the Air Force issued a press release saying that a flying disc had been found, the rumour mill went into overdrive.
To those convinced that we are not alone in the universe, Roswell was the defining moment that saw years of UFO sightings and alien encounters backed up with cold, hard evidence.
But the UFO theory was quickly dispelled by military officials, who claimed the object they had recovered was a humble weather balloon, and for more than 30 years the eyes of the world turned away from the New Mexico desert.
Then, in 1980, retired Major Jesse Marcel, who had been involved in the recovery of the craft, told the National Enquirer that the military had covered-up the discovery of an alien spaceship at Roswell.
Since that interview the incident has gained legendary status in the conspiracy community,
For millions across the globe, it is the strongest proof yet that the US government has concealed the existence of aliens for more than 60 years. The American military continues to refute the claims of UFO enthusiasts, and intelligence chiefs have stuck to their “weather balloon” story since 1947.
So have we all been duped by a government cover-up to convince the public that little green men and flying saucers are make believe, or is Roswell just another UFO hoax?

Conspiracy Theories

What is a conspiracy theory?

To believe a conspiracy theory is to believe the ultimate cause of an event or a chain of events and/or the concealment of such (ranging from public knowledge to a secret and often deceptive plot) is performed by a powerful or influential people or organizations. Therefore, the majority of conspiracy theories imply that major events in history have been dominated by conspirators, people or organizations who manipulate events behind the scenes.

The etymology of “conspiracy” is Middle English conspiracie, from Latin conspirare, and means it is the act of conspiring together; an agreement among conspirators. Conspiracy means “an agreement between two or more persons to commit an unlawful act to accomplish a lawful end by unlawful means” (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia).

Discussion

There are a few reasons why people choose to believe in conspiracy theories, one is it gives one the sense of satisfaction of being smart enough to have figured it all out.  The problem however is what is occurring in reality, these theories are projecting their fictional musings onto real-life people, events, families, organizations, groups, etc. So, these theories are sold as politics, similar to the polemic of Adolf  Hitler, he was a master of weaving conspiracy tales. We see this throughout history taking for example Nero who blamed the Christians for burning Rome or even in the New Testament how the leaders devised a conspiracy theory to explain away the empty tomb (disciples carried him away).

These tales inflame the fears and paranoia of people to the extent that anything can happen taking for example World War 1 and 2 that took place back in the mid-twentieth century. In fact, people even get a sort of perverse enjoyment from retelling the tales of paranoia, supposed “insight,” fear, discontentment, etc which this propaganda promotes.