We Were Warned

Raph al Guul

Term breaks are a really cool thing. You get to take some time off and just do whatever the hell you feel like – oh wait, that only applies to lazy bastards like me who are lucky enough not to have too much work apart from the obligatory seminar papers that I bet most of you have to deal with too. Anyway, I am sorry if you don’t have as much free time as I do and of course I hope that despite your incomparable occupation with important things, you find the time to actually come over here and read all those extraordinary “term break specials”, or maybe even this.

Roland Emmerich warned us, and we all know we have to listen to Roland Emmerich, especially when it comes to the impending doomsday scenarios. Not. I am using the plural here, because there are in fact way too many doomsday predictions, and funnily enough, even though some of them seem to be rooted in the same – let me put it politely – fiction, they still manage to differ greatly from each other. And I get it, I mean if you are going to come up with your own end-of-the-world scenario out of thin air, you’d better not make it resemble something that someone else already said, especially if that someone has been proven wrong by time.

No, as you may have noticed, I am not just bashing Emmerich here. In fact, I appreciate his films for what they are: fun truckloads of visual effects. I generally think this preoccupation with the world’s end is surprising and damn fishy. Postmodern theory on apocalypse suggests that the main reason for this need to imagine and anticipate the end is that, with increasing secularization, we are losing the grand narratives in our lives and without them we feel lost. There might be something to that, even if you don’t consider yourself a friend of all things postmodern. Being able to go down a path implies that you have at least some general knowledge of where it leads.

Now, I for one always kind of thought that I don’t need to know the exact circumstances of the end, only that it will eventually happen. And I am not even talking about some kind of Armageddon, just a plain simple “oops, I died”-situation. And you know what? Despite what the postmodern theorists suggest, I can absolutely live with an end that I don’t know anything about except that it is going to happen. However, there is another side to this. And it’s the reason why I just know 2012 is going to be awesome, possibly in the most literal sense there is.

I believe that those people who have confidence in those other people who seriously claim that there is some Mayan prediction about the end of the world (which there is not – people who actually study these kinds of things always get very agitated about how incredibly invented all of this is) should not be so gullible. However, since they are, numerous people are anticipating the end of 2012 because it also might be the end of humankind as we know it and at least bring about some kind of giant paradigm shift. I have certain ideas of what the end of 2012 will look like too. And since I believe that this whole end-of-the-world thing is not going to happen, let’s see what it would be like if the self-declared prophets are wrong.

Basically, people will be stocking up on canned food (which doesn’t really make sense if you’re expecting the world to end anyway, does it?), booze, and smokes. Then, the dreaded day will come and people will bunker themselves in, in their cellars and panic rooms. I will possibly be sitting in my room, revising material for upcoming exams, since that is what you do if you’re studying at university. The next day, I will feel entitled to be a dick and laugh at all those people who are now overstocked with ravioli and tuna. For me, that will make the end of 2012 a very fun, enjoyable experience. Also, considering that there were so many people occupied with the thought that the world will actually come to an end, it will be even easier to appreciate the fact that we are still here. I think that even though you might not believe in any kind of divine power, you should still be grateful, or at least generally happy about the fact that you exist. And what better reason for that than some bogus prediction that it is exactly that existence that is to supposedly come to an end…?

Now, let’s go to a grimmer version of the same scenario. Let’s say the predictions are true. Believe it or not, I would like that too. The first reason is that every now and then, I like to be proven wrong. This may sound weird, but it’s just good to know that I make tons of mistakes just like everybody else. Some people know me as “the evil gnome” because I am quick to point out everybody’s tiny little mistakes if I can spot them. So I feel like it’s some kind of cosmic justice if every now and then I am so fundamentally wrong that I actually have to feel the consequences, like – say – die in Armageddon with the feeling of having completely failed to read the obvious signs that were shoved in my face.

A more obvious reason why I would like the world to end in 2012 is because that would make me one of the few chosen ones (though if all those Christians were right, then “chosen one” wouldn’t have the positive connotations that I am attributing to the term). The end of the world has always been anticipated, and so many people have thought that they were gonna be there for the final days. But then, time passed, nothing happened, and they just died. I don’t necessarily want to witness the end, but if or when I do, I will appreciate the fact that I am given that opportunity. In other words: once I’m standing there, staring at the giant fireball coming my way at an insane speed, I will be all like, “Hell yeah!” just because I lived to see the day. Of course, after being so enthusiastic about it, I will die a horrible, painful death, but it would still be really cool.

Needless to say, I prefer the world not ending in 2012. I enjoy being here, even though my kind is basically raping this planet and it would be better for both the human race and the earth if half of us simply didn’t exist, but that’s beyond the point and something we could be working on (obviously, I am not talking about genocide here – sorry if I had you worried). I see the merits in both scenarios and I will know to appreciate whatever it is that comes my way, be it giant fireballs or well-supplied scared people. And that is why I know 2012 is going to be awesome. Because the postmodern theorists can shove it. I don’t need to know a thing about the end and even if it’s just those few moments before the destructive force hits me, it’s all about the few seconds that I spend alive, not the eternity that I will spend as a burned out corpse. And on this gruesome note, I would like to wish all of you an equally good 2012 and a wonderful term break. I will be back here next semester.

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