In partnership with
Koos Kombuis

Only 100 shopping days 'til the end of the world

2012-08-27 11:15
In an article aptly titles "Armageddon" in the July/August issue of braintainment, Elly Posthumus mentions the fact that the Mayans apparently believed that the earth will end in 2012, and investigates several ways in which this momentous event might come to pass.

Will we freeze? Will be invaded by aliens? Will we self-destruct with a nuclear war? Will we be swallowed up by an exploding star? Will we be hit by a celestial body the size of Brakpan? Will we be destroyed by nano-technology? Will we be wiped out by a plague? Will we fall into the sun?

Every single one of these possibilities sound much more scary than simply being stuck in rush hour traffic, having a bad hair day, locking your car keys in the boot, or forgetting to take your ID document to the airport.

In fact, these scenarios are simply too huge to imagine. Yet, according to Elly, at least some of them are quite possible.

However, as scientists are quick to point out, the Mayans may not have meant that at all when they depicted December 2012 as the "end of time". They may simply have run out of stone, as one columnist suggested. Or they may have carved the follow-up dates on another stone which got lost (didn't that once happen to Moses?).

From their perspective, the year 2012 was probably simply too far ahead in the future to bother!


I wouldn't be surprised if the meaning of that Mayan calendar was completely misconstrued, anyway. I mean, it's just a circular plate with a bunch of squiggles on, isn't it? What if it was some kind of board game, like Scrabble or strip poker? Or something to tag Post-Its on? I mean, we have hundreds of everyday gadgets that run the risk of being misinterpreted by archaeologists of the future.

The humble dart-board, for instance. Will they write all sort of treatises about how this weird thing was probably used in religious ceremonies, or how we tortured one another with those little sharp thingys to appease our gods?

Between you and me, the thing that terrifies me more than any of these run-of-the-mill predictions such as alien invasions and nuclear war and so forth is that calamity may strike from a completely unexpected source. What do we really know about all the hidden perils that lurk in the future?

A computer virus that causes the entire internet to crash, for instance. I personally think this is quite likely! Even if the planet survives, that would certainly be the end of the world as we know it.

Or what about one of those CERN experiments going wrong? I realise it would make for brilliant footage on CNN, but I'd really hate to see Europe getting gobbled up by a fast-growing, man-made black hole.


This may sound a bit dull, but my money is on December coming and going with nothing happening. An anticlimax like Y2K, in other words. What if life just went on?

Graeme Smith would carry on scoring a double century once every few years. The arms deal investigation will never get anywhere. The ANCYL will carry on being obnoxious. Joost will be rude with Amor (and sometimes vice versa). The Greeks will continue drinking sangria whether they can afford it or not. The Jews and the Arabs will fire occasional missiles at each other. In America, the Democrats and Republicans will take turns winning. Madonna will carry on making dance albums 'til the age of eighty. Boring, boring, boring!

Whatever happens, we'll know pretty soon, though, because according to my diary, the moment of truth is less than four months away… just over a hundred days, to be exact. Ready or not - here it comes! publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.