It’s May 22, 2011…

May 21, 2011.  The day came and went.

For the past few weeks, there have been people claiming that it was going to be the end of the world, i.e. some cosmic event is going to change the course of history, as calculated from Bible verses and some sort of numerological proofs, etc.  Check out this link and this link.

The sad part is that there are individuals and organizations who seem to be keen on capitalizing on people’s fears.  The organization that spearheads this information campaign is worth $72M, funded from donations.  And there’s a whole slew of businesses attempt to make a buck by taking advantage and marketing to these fears.

And there were many people who actually believed that the world will end at a specific date, enough to actually quit their jobs, sell all their belongings, etc.  And now we have the serious case of the “oopsies” for these folks, who must actually deal with the effects of being pranked or duped.

There were even instances wherein people take it to the extreme, and ended their world by ending their lives.

When will people learn?

Obviously, this is not the first doomsday prediction in history.  National Geographic has a slideshow and articles on these end-of-the-world predictions.

My parish priest made a very good point during his sermon today.  The very proponents of this concept continue quoting Biblical passages in support of their numerological calculations, but the Bible explicitly stated that no one really knows when the end will come.

Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

My thoughts on this – The best thing is to not focus on the end, but be ready for it.  That one could believe that the end is nigh, is an indicator that we need to lead better lives, and that we come to peace with our faith, and be like the wise virgins in the Parable of the Ten Virgins – prepared for whatever happens, and minimizing regret.

Instead of focusing on the “end”, for which there is no certainty, human beings can do better in channeling the energy and resources to solving present world problems.

I’m fairly sure many people have felt like their world ended at some point in their lives (hence that expression) – when one’s heart is broken, or upon death of a loved one, or the experience of a devastating natural disaster.  So just that thought should serve as a stern reminder of how short and fragile our lives and relationships are, and that we should cultivate and relish both.  And we could actually be in a position to help out.

As an aside, this brought back memories of me and my family watching that movie  “”Without Warning""” on HBO, back in 1994.

Image credit : wikipedia

Much like the radio broadcast of the HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds” in 1938, which sent people into a fit of panic, this movie/faux news really came off as a real newscast, and that the world is coming to an end because of an alien invasion.  Heck, I believed it.  And so did a lot of people.  Here’s the wiki.  I never saw broadcast it on TV again, probably for obvious reasons.

The details of the movie are very blurry in my memory, but I still distinctly recall that feeling of fear and despair.  I remember praying for dear life.  I also remember my dad asking all of us – if this was real, why was CNN not broadcasting it?  Looking back, I know I must have looked so dumb.  But I was a 14 year old kid.  Impressionable and gullible.

I keep thinking back to that day.  And thinking that what if indeed, the world had ended – would I have been satisfied with my life as I had lived it so far? What would I have done differently? Would I have had any regrets?

By the way, now that May 21, 2011 has come and gone, they now change the script, and presumably the calculations too, and proclaim that this was Judgment Day (The “Beginning of the End”, not the “Real End”, which they calculate will happen on October 21, 2011.)  Hey, you can now buy a t-shirt to commemorate this event ($20.40):

image credit: http://judgementday2011.com/

* Sigh *

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