Zombies, Mayans and “world-enders”

We are in the midst of the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21st, 2012. We have also been inundated (almost literally) with zombies and the impending apocalypse precipitated by them. What does it all mean? Coincidence? Colorful fancy and daydreaming by marketers and merchandisers to cash in on the public and media frenzy? Probably a bit of all of the above and more. I mean, I am waiting feverishly for the third season of Walking Dead to arrive on Netflix šŸ™‚

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But I’m curious as to seemingly all of society’s infatuation with this “end of the world” or exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios.
  1. Are we bored and want something to talk about during our drab lives day after day?
  2. Maybe it’s the ADD (adult and adolescentā€¦look a dog!) kicking into high gear and just another topic to throw into the mix.
  3. Are we so enthralled with pop culture and mainstream media garbage on TV and the internet that these just happen to be mass cultures’ equivalent of Y2K.
  4. Or is it all of the above with some religious fanaticism thrown in for good measure?

I vote for 4! But I’m still curious as to whether there is a good scientific reason or theory that might explain this. I happened to have read a great article in Big Think (love the periodic newsletter I get with the Big Thinks of that day) titled, Why We’re Obsessed with the Apocalypse. Here’s quite the interesting statistic that they referenced from Reuters from earlier this year.

“This year, a Reuters poll found that one in four Americans believe the world will end within their lifetime. Globally, the figure is one in seven people.”

In case you didn’t catch thatā€¦ONE IN SEVEN PEOPLE ON THE PLANET! So approximately 15% of us believe that the world will come to an end during our lifetimes. Note that the average human’s life expectancy is 67.2 years (on a world scale) and 78.3 years (in the United Statesā€¦thank God for Obamacare). So apart from all the pop cultural or religious fanaticism which are perfect Petri dishes for gravitating to the apocalypse, it’s no wonder that some of us are averaging 3-4 zombie T-shirts in our dressers these days. However how either naive or self-aggrandizing are we that we think the likes of Planet Earth would come to an end during a 78-ish year period, maximum! The Big Think article goes on to say…

“Earth having existed for billions of years, probably existing for millions if not billions more, and our own life in comparisonā€”however long and fruitfulā€”being an almost infinitesimally insignificant instant in the middle of it all. So fleeting and so far from either end of the story that many of us behave like individual black holes, mentally warping time to write ourselves into the grand finale.”

We’ll all have some fun with these doomsday thoughts, predictions, and business models. How interesting of the human condition to put ourselves on the same level of a multi-billion year old geological entity such as our planet. I actually think it’s a good thing whereby we don’t suffer from believing ourselves so insignificant in this grand universe by believing our mother Earth’s end in a few decadesā€¦just don’t hold your breath or sell all of your baseball card collection quite yet.