Today, the Mayan calendar, the 5,125 year long count cycle, comes to an end. A lot of people worldwide think this means the world will end today. Because of that, World War II bunkers have been opened up to refugees in France. People are taking off work in China. Citizens are hoarding matches, fuel and sugar in Russia and in Sirince Turkey, people are awaiting the arrival of the Ark which they believe will save them from the catastrophe that erupts today.
In the small village of Bulgarach France, 20,000 to 100,000 refugees are expected to overwhelm the town because a neighboring mountain resembles the alien landing site from the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In South America, officials have urged residents to stock up on supplies and NASA has released a web page featuring frequently asked questions about the end of the world.
Ten percent of the world's population is worried that the world will end today and 20 percent believe it will end in their lifetime. The Connecticut school shooter's mother, who he also killed, was stockpiling canned foods and guns in anticipation of today and Merle Haggard has been trying to decide what to do with the money he has invested in the stock market before today.
So, while most of us approached today like any other day, a sizeable population of the world did not. And, in my dealings around town, I have heard the end of the world brought up just about every place I have been.
But this is not new. This has happened thousand of times previously and will happen thousands of times in the future. It started shortly after the crucifixion of Christ and has continued unabated for the past two thousand years. It's written about weekly by a columnist in the religion section of this newspaper and the fact that the world DIDN'T end today won't deter those people who continue to believe that the end is nigh.
But there's a difference between science and myth. Of all the things that were thought by some that might happen today, from an asteroid colliding with the earth to an alien invasion, science was steadfast in declaring that nothing in the heavens posed a threat to life on this planet, neither today nor in the foreseeable future.
Faith and belief are based on emotions while science is based on facts, logic and rational thought. That poses a problem for many of us because emotions impact our lives much more often than rational thought does. Think about the mistakes you've made when you give your heart to someone, only to have it ripped out of your chest. You didn't do that logically, you did it emotionally. Many failed relationships wouldn't have happened if rational thought was involved but who can think rationally when you're in love?
When you think about this conundrum and apply it to all parts of your life, you'll see what I mean. Most financially successful people in the world invest their money rationally and logically, intentionally excluding any emotion from interfering with their thought process. But those who invest on a whim (emotionally) usually live to regret it.
If you're looking for a house to buy, do you buy the first one that suits your fancy or do you make a list of the ones you like, then sit down and figure out the pros and cons of each one before you make a decision?
Many of us are romantics. We love to act spontaneously. We love to follow our heart instead of our head. And although it works out for some occasionally, the world will always favor those who made their decisions critically and analytically rather than emotionally.
And all predictions of the end of the world so far have been based on emotion. If NASA tells us there's an asteroid on a collision course with the planet and there's nothing we can do about it, that's a fact. If we believe an asteroid is going to appear from nowhere to destroy the earth, that's emotion.
And the strange thing is, if there WAS an asteroid on a collision course with our planet, the experts wouldn't tell us anyway. To prevent worldwide panic, they would simply keep quiet and the masses would be going about their business like any other day right up til the time the world explodes.
That's the way we do business on this planet.