Predictions, Prophecies, and The End of The World
The end of the world has been forecasted for several centuries, from the old Hopi Indian tribe tales to 16th century Nostradamus, interpretations of the Bible, and even more current prophecies such as those of the modern day Dr. Doom (Nouriel Roubini), a web bot project based on science and the Internet, and the upcoming May 21st deadline. According to most of these prophets and predictions, the end of the world is inevitable, but the question is when.
Some predictions indicate the end of the world is upon us with extreme weather conditions, such as earthquakes and flooding. It's difficult to determine what can be translated into an actual sign though. For example, reported stories of massive numbers of wildlife dropping dead like flies in several parts of the world; Red-wing Blackbirds suddenly dropped dead from Arkansas skies shortly around midnight Jan 1, 2011, thousands of dead crabs washed ashore on England's beaches, and swarms of fish washing up on beaches around the world.
Although there is no explanation for the dead wildlife, the cases are scientifically unrelated. Cases like these happen almost every year, but since it's 2011 and there is an approaching doomsday deadline, these are the stories that are now creating dramatic headlines. In years past, we rarely heard of this happening, but it is actually a normal occurrence- proof the news gives us a distorted view of the world.
Many have heard of Nostradamus, a 16th century prophet, healer, psychic, author, and astrologist who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide, including a book published "The Prophecies", translated from the French version "Les Propheties".
Several of his prophecies have supposedly come true such as the death of Henry II of France, the London Fire in 1666 (he predicted the year too), the French Revolution, Hitler's reign, and John F. Kennedy's assassination. An example of his predictions and their translations are as follows: "From the deepest part of Western Europe
A young child will be born to poor people
Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude,
His reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East." (this described and predicted Hitler's reign)
I find the prophesies of of Nostradamus intriguing, but I am a constant skeptic. Perhaps Nouriel Roubini (Dr. Doom and possible prophet), a NYU Professor who makes predictions about the future, has a little more to convince me. In September 2006, The Economics professor warned, "the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence, and, ultimately, a deep recession". What seemed to be inconsequential predictions actually matched the reality of our current economic atmosphere beginning in 2008.
Roubini claims he can predict events in the future with mathematical equations and "reading" simple human behavior. Many of his forecasts have concentrated on the financial demise of the U.S, and has led him to be an integral part of world political economy, meeting with Chinese officials and working with the Obama administration as well. He seems to be a financial genius with a very pessimistic nature, as described by those who've met him, which makes me realize the pessimistic nature of all prophets and predictions.
May 21, 2011
Big contradictions here, but just to be safe, don't agree to adorn a purple robe and drink the punch. I've been reading my facebook home page and have found numerous people buzzing about the end of the world coming Saturday, May 21, 2011. So how did this vicious rumor begin? People talking about it, of course. It all began with some pamphlets handed out in crowded locations. Don't we all remember the power of a good rumor in high school? I got two words for you: wild fire.
The theory is based on numerological proofs. One of the proofs is in Genesis 7:4, when God said to Noah: "Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living". Supposedly God also meant 7,000 years from the flood that occurred in 4990 B.C. which is May 21, 2011. The other proof involves Christ's crucifixion and more numbers involving "7".
My problem with this theory is the Bible also states, no one will no when the end of the world will be. So why are these special "Christian" and religious groups so privy to this information? Their numbers may add up, but their logic and knowledge of the Bible does not. I'm no prophet, but I don't think anyone has anything to worry about this coming Saturday but party hard in Friday if it makes you feel better.
The Web Bot is an Internet software program that claims to predict future events by tracking keywords from Internet chatter; blogs, forums, discussions, news, etc. It was created in 1997 by Clif High and George Ure, who keep the algorithms secret, but sell the predictions via their website halfpasthuman.com.
It's past predictions included the 9/11 attacks, picking up words like fire, destruction, war, and enemy, prior to the event. It's algorithms are based on the notion that words precede actions; people talk about what they will do before they do it. This makes sense to me because terrorists do communicate via the Internet and any extra words indicating the attack would be picked up by the Web Bot since it crawls the Internet worldwide. What's interesting is the Web Bot indicates little to no data to be found end of 2012- 2013, suggesting massive technological failure at the very least. I would understand if it came up with end of the world type words because there will be more chatter about that since next year is the infamous 2012. Is this beginning to sound like the other end of the world year, 2000?
Doomsday, Destruction, and Demise
Why are prophets and predictions so pessimistic? Psychology tells us, with numerous studies, that in general human behavior is predictable. It isn't that we're all negative, but because our bad habits die hard, our need for instant gratification leads to destructive lifestyles and society, and we rarely concern ourselves with the consequences.
Are humans capable of "ruining" the world? I strongly believe so, but I don't claim to be a prophet. The recession has taught little to many folks because we have a high unemployment rate and spending excessively is still happening all around us. I don't think we're learning any lessons. I look at human behavior with the knowledge that we live life excessively with bad habits like overspending and overeating.
If anything, there is nothing positive happening within most people- no spiritual renewal or awakening (less religion, more politics), more arguing less action, less creativity more conformity, and less time for ourselves and people both casual acquaintances and those we love. With this knowledge, I can easily predict a certain demise, but I'd rather see it go in the direction of a renewal, getting back to basics. Who's with me on that one? If you've ever seen the kids' Disney movie 'Wall-E', the writers on that movie described an excessive lifestyle which ruins our planet and humans become obese over-consumers.
The End Of the World
While the signs of various sources seem to have a lot in common with each other, there is no commonality in the speculated year of the world's end. The end of the world according to Nostradamus is 3797, the Qur'an predicts 2280, and the end of the Mayan Calendar is December 2012 (indicating an end of the world as well). Many current groups and sources are conspiring and creating a buzz about the end of the world in 2012, but that year is derived from only one source. You'll find they try to correlate it with other sources, but nothing matches.
I do see coincidences in how the end of the world will unfold: earth shakes, fires, land masses under water, mountains crumbling. Some of this could ultimately come true and it doesn't take a geologist or prophet to realize or predict this. However, if we were one day visited by aliens or found viable life on another planet, does that mean conspiracy theorists and science fiction authors are prophets? I can use my imagination, possibly even calculate, end of world signs too, but I'd rather enjoy life now. We're all going to die....eventually and perfectly said in one of my favorite quotes, "We all have a terminal illness, it's called birth".