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Will the World Really End in 2012?
[ Issue 119 Page 10 ] Saturday, February 23, 2013, 19:20:48 Sou-yeon Lee sy-cutestar@hanmail.net

Warning: On December 21, doomsday is coming for the 2012 apocalypse. To those of you who have already experienced the great fuss about Y2K at the turn of the century, such 2012 apocalypse would seem laughable. Yet, according to many conspiracy theorists of the so called 2012 phenomenon, the Y2K bug was only a small part of the impending devastation, as this time, the current form of the world will totally perish or return to an ice age without leaving any survivors.

As year 2012 is coming to an end, with less than a month left until the expected doomsday, people’s interests regarding the 2012 phenomenon are higher than ever. But, how plausible is this year’s conspiracy? Although there have been countless theories regarding how the world will eventually end, the 2012 phenomenon seems to have the oldest history, as it dates back to the Mayan civilization era. According to the scientists, the great Mayan calendar ends on December 21 in 2012, which signifies the end of the world or a huge transformation of Earth.

Thus, supporters of such Mayan prophecy believe that on doomsday, one or more disasters will take place such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, or comets falling, accidents that are powerful enough to annihilate all living creatures on Earth. Fortunately, none of these doomsday prophecies have turned into reality yet, but nevertheless people are still interested and sometimes even deceived by constant conspiracies. These theories both stimulate people’s fear of death and their vague imaginations regarding the end of the world. Also, recent natural disasters, such as tsunamis, nuclear accidents, and high intensity earthquakes, have contributed in creating an air of anxiety. Sadly, their fear seems reasonable nowadays, as no one can guarantee that such extreme events or even more disastrous catastrophes would not take place in the near future.

Ironically, the more advanced our society has become, the more vulnerable and fragile we become to these extreme events. As many of our societies are technologically dependent and globally interconnected, our modern civilization can easily collapse: the extent of catastrophes can be expanded into including not only natural disasters but also the breakdown of finance, communication, electricity, medicine, and etc. In fact, this provocative idea that extreme events can quickly send us crashing back to the preindustrial age has been suggested by John L. Casti, a renowned systems theorist and the author of X-Events: The Collapse of Everything.

Although the future portrayed by Casti is based on catastrophic outlier scenarios which have pretty slim chances of occurring, it is not totally groundless, as there are many countries that are currently conducting such future studies to prepare for such scenarios. Surprisingly, similar research on extreme events is also being done in Korea by the Science and Technology Policy Institute, one of the nation’s leading global think tank. The Center for Strategic Foresight has been in charge of X-event future studies. They selected five major extreme event scenarios in Korea, which include the breakdown of the Internet, nuclear accidents, dramatic increase in life span, and etc. Their careful analysis of various worst-case scenarios with plausible reasoning shows us that Armageddon might be closer than we think.

Is the end of the world really near? It seems likely that doomsayers will once again be proven wrong. Yet, since such extreme events are out of human power and control, no one knows for sure. We will just have to wait and see what happens – and hope that this too shall pass.

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