End of the World Series: Prophets, Seers and Suppositions (Final Thoughts)

Perhaps the fuel in the belief that our world will end lies in prophets, seers, and theories.

Prophets have claimed to have divine knowledge.  The source of their divination is unclear, although many have claimed to be in direct contact with their deities in order to validate their knowledge.  Many modern day prophets have extolled the end of the world.  Many of these modern day individuals were able to convince others to enjoin their beliefs.  These groups, often referred to as cults, have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of followers (in some cases).  The cult leaders were so charismatic that many people were convinced to follow them.

Seers , like prophets might claim to be a clairvoyantprophetoracle, or divinerThe Free Dictionary defines a seer as  a person who can supposedly see into the future; prophet.  Personages who fall into this category have been well known (some throughout time) for their predictions.  Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and Mother Shipton are well known for their prophecies of death, destruction, and the end of the world.

Supposition in relation to the end of the world can be most often related to artifacts (and stretching of facts).  The Maya Calendar is often linked to claims that the end of the world draws near.  It however, is nothing more than a calendar, and the date that it ends (12/12/2012) is nothing more than the end of a cycle, that will continue into another calendric cycle.  When the clocks ran from 1999 to 2000, the thought was that Y2K (as it was referred to) would signify the world coming to an end, missiles being launched due to clock failure, hailing the beginning of a thermonuclear war while Wall Street would come down with a crash as every computer in the world froze up.  Yet, here we are.  There is another claim that a mysterious Planet, called Nibiru, Planet X or Eris is on its way to seal our doom…soon so smash our world into clusters of meteoric fragments.  NASA however, has stated that if there were such a planet, they undoubtedly would have seen it long ago.     NASA’s take on these theories and claims has been nonplussed, relegated to two web pages on their site.

After all the evidence, and the fact that we are still here after Y2K, I can only surmise that we are going to be on this earth for a good time to come.  My only fear being the fact that sooner or later, we will come in contact with either a good-sized meteor or rogue comet.  Global warming, the loss of arctic and antarctic ice has me worried, as does the current weather patterns for coming years.  Though severe weather is cyclic, I do often wonder if the possibility lies in the formation of extreme weather, spawning super storms as the norm, rather than rarities due to our brash continuance in burning fossil fuels.  Will the world end?  I can only feel that we can determine whether it will end for us, and if our ignorance, or our arrogance will be the death of us.

End of the World Series: Evolution vs. Devolution

If the end of the world were really here, or actually coming in 2012, is there a way that we might survive?

Perhaps the argument between evolution and devolution might hold the key.

The definition of Evolution, that is the definition pertinent to our discussion describes evolution as that change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift. In the sense of survival and our argument, gradual development, esp to a more complex form.  In this day and age of scientific advancement, is there a possibility that we could evolve into a species capable of surviving the worst catastrophic disaster of all time?  Or, is it possible for humankind to “speed up” our evolutionary process, so that we could solve problems such as fusion technology, propulsion, physics, and/or metallurgy that prevent us from being able to find appropriate means of building a technology that would enable us to save our world from any disaster, thus staving off our own possible extinction one day?

The definition of Devolution is known as a passing onwards or downwards from one stage to another and another word for degeneration.  In our context devolution describes the use of scientific knowledge and advancement capable of allowing us as a species to physically alter our bodies, so that we might be capable of sustaining catastrophic disaster — change such as developing skin, organs, and tissue that is much tougher than what we have now.  Perhaps an exoskeleton, or even withstand great temperatures.  Imagine if you will, humans or devolved humans, capable of living and surviving successfully in a harsh, volcanic environment, living on minerals, or even in a poisonous atmosphere.  The important factor being that these devolved humans would still be in fact, human…able to learn, speak, communicate and most importantly, build.  Imagine having the ability to continue our race as a devolved species.  We would be physically different from our present selves, yet able to continue on, restarting our life.  Perhaps even holding the key to our past DNA, in the hope that one day, on some far, distant planet we could once again repopulate a planet with an atmosphere which could sustain homo sapiens.

Interesting facts to dwell upon.  More to come…

End of the World Series: The Path to Survival

One argument has come up.  That of what would happen if the world were burned to a cinder, either by gamma radiation, a meteor/comet strike, or catastrophic event.

In this scenario, the oceans would boil away into space, as our atmosphere disintegrated into nothing, allowing the harmful radiation of the sun to literally devour us all, before we all perished in vacuum.

If an occurrence such as an Extinction Level Event were to take place, there is not much we can do to remedy our situation, aside from leaving the earth, or finding some way of terraforming what was lost.  If an atmosphere is stripped away, how can it be replaced?  Planetary habitability is an important factor to be considered in such an endeavor, as is the establishment of ecopoiesis, a necessary part of any planetary body suitable for human survival.  Provided that these steps could be satisfactorily accomplished, our chances of species survival could be greatly enhanced.

To truly ensure our survival as a species, we would need to find a way to spread our seed to other habitable planets in far off solar systems.  In order for space travel to become a reality, cost would have to be ignored as a factor.  Tremendous resources would have to be allocated in order to build a mode of travel significant enough to carry even a few humans over a very large distance.  A self-contained biosphere might be the ticket, one that could stand the test of time, the vacuum of space, and the assault of micrometeorites, radiation of all kinds, and prevailing events.  Every part of such a transport mode would have to be engineered to last.  A means of safely shuttling passengers from space to a final destination would also be necessary.   We have proven that the best chances of survival depend on our willingness to colonize, something we have not done for centuries.

But, with odds such as those I have discussed, the chances are still slim, for we are a fragile race of beings.  Perhaps a point of our survival might be the ability to change our very physical makeup, perhaps evolve (or even devolve) into a lifeform capable of living through practically any catastrophic event.

More to come…

End of the World Series: Surviving the Worst

So, here it is.  The worst has happened, and we are on our own.  Whatever can we do?

Being social animals, many of us band together in the aftermath.  Some of us may become scavengers, others predators, while still others will attempt to reform some semblance of a community, for protection and to provide refuge.  Isn’t it interesting, that as social animals, we do not change?

If the end truly were to come, perhaps the best thing to do would be to hide?  No.  One of the reasons we as a species were so dominant is largely because of the city.  Since ancient times, cities have been centers of agriculture, of commerce, and of culture.  So, for us to once again become a fractured collection of roaming bands of cutthroats and thieves, or even small villages huddled together for protection is absurd.  It is more natural for us as a species to band together, rather than fight each other until no one is left.  Perhaps some of us may be endowed with hormonal imbalances, but the majority of the human population is bent on not just surviving, but living peacefully as a large communal group.  So, the natural predominance of survival for the majority of any human population after a holocaust would be to come together and build up what was lost.

Simply stated, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs begins with physiological needs such as air, food, water, clothing, and shelter.  The next step involves Safety needs such as personal security, health and well being, and a safety net against accidents/illness or adverse impacts.  Next on the ladder of needs comes family, friendship, and intimacy.  Anyone who has fought in a war will tell you that when your life is in constant danger, you rely (even depend) on those next to you.  Bonds form during these times, stronger than family in some cases, because you and your immediate group are locked in a life and death struggle of shared events, a sort of intimacy that can only be understood by warriors.  Perhaps the outcome of what would happen in the event of the end of the world, can best be understood by those warriors who have survived the hardships of war, and lived to tell about it.

More to come…

End of the World Series: Could we Survive?

I have postulated many scenarios.  Now the question is, in the wake of a catastrophic global event, could we survive?

One of the most favorite and well-known farces in U.S. history was the “duck and cover” movies that were released in schools for children during the Cold War.  These scenarios depicted school children surviving an atomic blast, by hiding under their desks.  Many people, including comedians have discussed the implications of the U.S. stand on the survivability of nuclear war.  Today, a large majority of people do not believe that surviving a nuclear war is not plausible.  Some people feel that if they are to tunnel deep into the earth, that they can avert any disaster.  Is this true?

One company has been accused of poisoning drinking water.   The fracture fluid can be any number of fluids, ranging from water to gels, foams, nitrogen, carbon dioxide or air in some cases. Various types of proppant are used, including sand, resin-coated sand, and man-made ceramics depending on the type of permeability or grain strength needed. Radioactive sand is sometimes used so that the fracture trace along the wellbore can be measured. The injected fluid mixture is approximately 99 percent water and sand.  If other companies are involved in employing this method of extracting oil, and the chemicals they are using are contaminating the underground water that is the base for our drinking water, how could we survive any kind of holocaust?  Underground lakes and aquifers (groundwater) are the last bastion of potable water that we need to sustain ourselves.  If those are lost to contamination, we don’t stand a chance. The one thing that frightens me is the possibility of losing groundwater to drilling contamination.

Companies are buying up water rights.  There are many who believe that these rights will be the “New Oil”.    There is a lack of pure water.  Imagine paying 5 dollars per gallon for water.  Water that you need to live.

Global Warming is another controversial discussion.  There are those who maintain that global warming is not real.  Yet, many species in Antarctica are in danger of becoming extinct, due to the tremendous thaw of ice floes in the Antarctic.  The arctic as well, is also showing signs of warming temperatures, affecting wildlife too.  If a catastrophe were to strike the industrialized nations, what would happen?

If tomorrow, the world were to suddenly cease, if humankind were mysteriously wiped out, what would happen to the Earth?  Amazingly, the problems with our environment would eventually heal themselves.  The natural balance would be restored, and global warming would be a distant memory.

But, a scenario without humankind does not have to be a reality.  We could rectify the global problems we have now.  More to come…

End of the World Series: The Disappearance of Culture

If you look up the dictionary definition of culture, it gravitates to many different meanings.  The particular meaning I will discuss is:

“The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next.” www.Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/culture

When things, such as manners, courtesy, and educational values change within a culture, are these changes indicative of cultural downfall?  The Ancient Greeks, known around the world for their aspiring values, pursuit of knowledge, and patronage of the arts eventually melted into a handful of towns and villages which fell into ruin.  Ancient Rome, their culture, also fell into a state of disrepair and morphed into a religious center of power that never was able to dominate the world like they had during their acme. Egypt, China, Mongolia, England, France, Spain, Persia, all reached pinnacles of power within their own areas, only to eventually fade away into history. Some of their cultural beliefs managed to survive, but all in all, many have begun to fade away.

Today, we are faced with cultural changes.  These changes are a point of contention among many people, but what many do agree on, is that our culture is changing.  One can find a diverse opinion among many of us today regarding the debasement of our values in our global society.  The young seem to not have the same values that we did.  Life does not seem to hold the fascination for many of the young that we held in such high esteem 40 years ago.  Many of the older generation complains that courtesy and what we have termed simple common decency have left the younger generation.  I have been told of young people (teens and 20s), holding up a cell phone at the scene of an accident for example, intent on recording the drama, while older people are scrambling to help the injured. 

Listening to the radio this morning, I heard an interesting story by a broadcaster, who described how he held a door open for a younger woman with a stroller and 2 children.  As she passed by him without a word, he said under his breath, “You’re welcome”.  She in replied, “You should not expect a thank you for helping someone”.  He opened up the topic for discussion.  Two people who called in said that she was correct, that he should not have expected any thanks.  Yet, in my own mind, I was thinking that what he was expecting was taught to me as a child.  He was expecting simple, common courtesy.  If someone does something for you…acknowledge their actions with appreciation for what they have done.

There are so many times when I myself, hold a door open for a younger woman.  There have been countless times when women in their mid to late 20s have commented that my action is “difficult” to get “used to” because younger men these days do not “do that”.  Yet, if I am walking with a woman closer to my age, there is an unspoken expectation for me to hold the door open for her.  It is a red light for me, that our culture is changing, that what we considered good manners is slowly dying among many of the young (not all, but many).

So, I pose to you this question.  Do you feel that decay of courtesies within a culture are indicative of the end of the culture, or as some people of religious backgrounds feel, a prophetic sign of the end of the world?

More to come…

Doomsday 2012 End of the World Series – The Minoan Civilization

About 3,500 years ago, a catastrophe struck the entire Mediterranean coast, the event was recorded by the Egyptians, the Sumerians, and the Phoenicians.  A major center of commerce was deluged by a tremendous wall of water, engulfing lands, levelling cities, and extinguishing the lives of countless thousands of people in one day.  This event has been hypothesized by some to be the destruction of the fabled city of Atlantis.  There are those who will argue that is not the case, but…one fact remains, that of the destruction of an entire civilization.

The island of Stronghyle (The Round One) is now called Santorini has been known by many names.  Also called Thera, located about 120 miles southeast from the Greek mainland.  The history of this island is buried under tons of ash.  It was the eruption of this island (at least 25 cubic miles of earth) that many theorize caused a tidal wave that inundated the island of Crete, an island with a span of about 160 miles, located 99 miles south of the Greek coast, home of the Minoan civilization.  What is known is that the end of the Minoan civilization, signified by tablets with writing known as Linear A Script seems to take place at about 1425 B.C., and is replaced by the Mycenean Civilization, which adopted their language, and modified for their own use, known as Linear B Script.

According to Spyridon Marinatos, in his book, “Atlantis The Truth Behind the Legend”, (1969, The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc.) the Egyptians recorded the rising of the Nile river, while “shoal mud” made the oceans veritably impassible.  They also recorded however, that the mud was so thick in places, that they could walk upon it.

So, what does this prove?  A great and awful cataclysm struck the known world at about 1500 B.C., causing death and destruction to myriad cultures and societies.  Yet, we humans survived whatever happened.  More to come…

Doomsday, Seeing it for Yourself…

In the very short 50+ years that I have been on the earth, I have personally witnessed volcanic eruptions, earthquake, tremendous fires, floods, tornadoes, even citywide unrest.

In 1968, my father was stationed in Misawa Air Force Base in Northern Japan, when we went through an earthquake that registered 8.2 on the richter scale.  I remember that time vividly.  I was in school at the time.  I ran outside with no warning after I felt the first shimmer on the ground, a teacher running after me, first to bring me back in, only to end up running back into the building and escort screaming children out to the playground area just outside the school.  I instinctively sat on the nearest swing, watching the chaos as children and teachers cried, thinking that their families had been wiped out.  A rumor quickly circulated that a class had been in the library when the wall collapsed.  Fear spread through the students and faculty like wildfire, as the principal declared that school was over for the day, and that we needed to go home.  I wondered if I would find my mother dead, my dog wandering around aimlessly, only to discover that my mother was fine — the worst that we had suffered was a loss of water and a foam fire extinguisher that had tipped over to spray the entire kitchen with yellow foam.  Mom was still cleaning up the mess as I walked to the door with my sister in hand, still crying and sniffling from our experience.  I watched as Mom consoled her, remembering her laugh at our fear, saying that besides the fire extinguisher, the dog had managed to get loose and start fighting with our neighbor’s dog.  I watched how our family pulled together after my father came home to make sure we were okay.  I have been watching ever since.  Fire broke out in the city, destroying half of it.  Power was knocked out for over 3 months, while potable water had to be trucked in.  We waited in lines for water and food for almost 4 months until we returned to the United States in late 1969.

I served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, travelled to over 35 countries, islands, and rocks in 4 major oceans.  I lost countless friends over the years, not in wars or conflicts, but on my native soil to auto accidents, unexplained accidents, unsolved murders, cancer, and even suicide.  I miss every one of my friends, and had to learn the hard way that death is a part of life.  As the World Wide Web and handheld technology has brought us closer together as a global community, we are witness to firsthand atrocities that at one time we would hear about days later on page 23 of our local papers.  Natural events such as earthquakes, floods, even tidal waves might make the front page, but the stories of the survivors would soon be lost to history, or the special section of the paper for that week’s run.

I remember very clearly, in 1978, learning about the crash of PSA Flight 182 in my home port of San Diego, crashing into a North Park neighborhood in a huge fireball, killing a total of 144 people.  I heard about the incident on the teletype out at sea…yet, did not experience any of the aftermath until my ship returned to port, as my fellow crewmates and I prepared for a trip north to Portland, Oregon for a major shipyard overhaul.  My wife was sitting on the corner of Litton and Rosecrans waiting for the bus to go to work at the Subbase in San Diego.  She happened to see smoke in the distant sky, thinking that what she was seeing was one of a boatload of arson fires that had been occuring that year.  She would not find out until she had boarded the bus that a plane had gone down in North Park that day.

Little did I know that little more than a year later, I would witness the closing of Spirit Lake in Washington state, and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens that followed on May 18th, 1980.

Over 11 years later, in June of 1991, history for me would repeat itself as I read about Mt. Pinatubo erupting in the Phillippines, killing 800 people and leaving 100,000 homeless.  Even though I was going through Anti Submarine Air Controller school at the time, I remember running into one of my old friends on the base I was quartered, who told me stories of incredible rescues and dogged determination of survivors and rescuers alike during that harrowing time.  My friend went on to describe how ash had settled on buildings, the sheer weight often crushing rooftops and walls, the air so thick that engines would seize, stranding people to walk miles away from the volcano — as far as they could.  Memories flooded my mind in a rush.  Portland, 3 days after the wind shifted from the Mt. St. Helens eruption was decimated with ash.  I was cleaning ash from my car for weeks, ash continuing to fall long after the volcano had subsided until the winds shifted once again.  Pinatubo, and the stories that I heard brought back the disasters I had witnessed, and a dogged effort to remember those places that were damaged, even buried with ash — places that I had once strode upon in the 11+ years that I had visited and returned to in the Phillippines.  I wondered if I had lost anyone I knew in the ensuing eruption that had taken place there.

So, after all the hype of what has been occurring in the news, I can only think of one thing.  Our world is forever changing, always in motion, and as my wife constantly reminds me…in an ever-moving state of flux.  Is the end of the world coming?  More to come…

End of the World…Doomsday Prophets, Doomsday Cults

I remember as a child, seeing a man holding a sign that blared out a message that “The End of the World Was Near”.  We used to look upon these people as addled, suffering from demensia, even downright crazy.  Today, there seems to be a growing fear that the end of the world is really coming to light, especially among the young.  Since the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, sales of survival products are on the rise.  Stories that harken or argue the end of the world have been on the rise as the clock ticks closer to December of 2012.  Everyone, including the media has jumped on the Doomsday 2012 bandwagon.  But, is the demise of our world truly coming?  Nasa’s take on the phenomenon has been serious and informative.  From all accounts, many are afraid that the gathering phenomenon could lead to a planetwide panic, resulting in suicides, increased stress among the young, or a sudden influx of spending on the open market based upon fears of impending death.

What of all this interest in Doomsday?  Why are so many people buying into these prophecies of doom?

When news hit in early 2011 of massive animal die-offs, the fragility of our ecosystem suddenly came into the news.  Everything from an early prospect of the earth coming to an end to revelations to the Doomsday 2012 sparked intense interest in our world coming to an end. 

The web is rife with Doomsday 2012 theories.  We are being deluged from all sides by the possibility of our world ending.  If you were to travel back to the 1950’s however, you would find similar occurrences throughout the United States, as the Cold War began to ramp up.  Many a family dug their own bomb shelter to deal with the harbinger of atomic war that loomed in the thoughts of suburban America.

So, to the question posed here.  Are we lapsing into 2012 Doomsday Cults?  Even people from religious sects are throwing into the fray.

It is up to you to decide if the end of the world is coming.  More to come…

A Continuation of the End of the World

Recap:  After talking to a number of people I know, I came up with a number of questions:

  • How many bullets can you carry?
  • What do you do, when you run out of ammo?
  • When you run out of food, what then?
  • If you dig a hole deep enough, will you survive?

There are so many questions that I have regarding the end of the world.  The only thing I can see would be a town (not a city) of maybe 20 to 50 individuals banding together to maintain order.  The higher in elevation, the better.  Castles were often placed in high areas, so that they could be better defended.  However, there are plenty of sites that did not work out, for example: Masada for example, which was built on a veritable mountain.

So, what about underground fortresses?  Can those be defended?  Many Americans today are buying up Cold War era missile silos, and converting them into modern day underground castles. Yes folks, there are people out there who are convinced that 2012 will be a worldwide cataclysm.  And they are gonna be ready!

More to come…