Forget 2012: I Don’t Believe in the End of the World

Forget 2012: I Don

As the days pass, so grows the fear of the arrival of December 21, 2012, the end date of the Mayan calendar, and the day on which many people believe that the world will come to an end.

The proximity of this date is beginning to work in favor of some enterprising individuals, who have not let the opportunity slip by without producing 2012-related books, magazine articles and even the highest-grossing movie of the moment: “2012,” through which the director has fattened his wallet by playing with public fears. Let it be clear that I am not opposed to these artistic expressions (if you could call them that), but I believe that these types of films cause an immense amount of harm to a society that is already scared to death.

In recent days, different television stations, in English and in Spanish, have also hopped on the 2012 bandwagon, finding that end-times terror is an easy way to boost their ratings. During these broadcasts, they have invited so-called experts – so-called specialists in Mayan studies – onto their programs to talk about how a series of catastrophes is coming to put an end to life as we know it.

Now, I ask myself, how can an ancient civilization like the Maya foretell the end of the world if present-day scientists, with all of the best technology imaginable, can’t even predict an earthquake?

I am a man of faith (perhaps not as much as I would like to be), but I’m pretty sure that, come December 21, 2012, the world is not going to end.

It’s certainly true that if we continue to burn down the forests, hunt animals into extinction, replace trees with enormous masses of concrete that do not produce oxygen, dump trash into our rivers, forget to recycle and otherwise ignore a system of basic rules that would keep our planet in a state of good health, well, the consequences might very well prove fatal. But this does not mean that we are eschatologically destined to die within three years and three months.

I refuse to believe that our destiny is predetermined. I refuse to believe that we are doomed. Instead of worrying that we will soon be scorched by a massive solar flare, or engulfed in a mega-tsunami or swallowed up by an apocalyptic earthquake, I think a better idea would be for us to change our attitudes toward life, toward the people that surround us and, above all, toward our own home, planet Earth.

Sometimes, being happy does not require a lot of money and material possessions. Let us live each day bringing the best of ourselves; let us smile and say hello and be kind and love one another. Things like this are easy to do, and they can carry with them enormous benefits.

I have faith that I will live to an old age with my wife, a few kids, brothers, cousins, many grandchildren and heaps of friends. I have faith that we can live in a place where fears of the future do not become our present reality.

Let’s not let a little prophecy sour all of existence. The Maya were a visionary culture, supremely intelligent with a high level of scientific prowess, but no one knows the day or the hour in which the world is coming to an end. What’s more, Mayans didn’t even say that this day was going to bring about the end of life on this planet, but rather that it would bring about a change for us all.

So then, why should we wait for the arrival of December 21, 2012, to begin to bring about change? Our current situation is too messed up as it is to sit around and wait three years for a change to come from above.

As [the popular Colombian musician] Juanes says, it’s time to exchange hate for love. In this respect there is no other way, so long as we want our future generations to have the opportunity to know this beautiful planet of ours.