Chill. The world will not end this year. We will live to see the fireworks on the eve of 2013, just as we had a couple of days ago.
If you believe that the world will end because of a Mayan prophecy, and you are a Muslim, then you should make taubat because you have practiced a form of shirk. We Muslims believe that only Allah knows when is the end of the world.
For followers of other religions I cannot argue on the basis of theology, so I am going to argue by logic. Since the beginning of mankind, there have been hundreds if not thousand of prophets, prophetesses, sages, oracles, and seers of all colors and creeds, who prophesied the End of the World.
And here we are, merry as always. The crystal-ball gazers have been wrong for the last 5,783 times, why would you think they will be right this time?
(If you are an atheist, you would believe the world will end by heat death. This will happen after millions of years, not this year.)
If you think the world will end this year because of Planet X or Planet Niburu or Nibiru or Nirumbu ke apa ntah, then take a seat and relax. Physicists and astronomers have discredited the whole theory. Only fantasy writers and conspiracy theorists still believe that “the end is nigh”. (I think most of them don’t really believe in that thing, they just want to make money from their books, or increase the ratings of their radio show. The US have cornered the market for conspiracy lunatics on radio talk shows).
Repeat after me: there is no NASA conspiracy. There is no Planet X.
If you (are a Muslim and) believe that the world will end this year because of the changes in the world — the Japanese earthquake, global warming, the Euro crisis, the fall of regimes in the Middle East — and because your Sheikh told you that these are the signs of Imam Mahdi and the end of the world, then you are ignorant of history.
We are young, so we think that everything that is happening right now are the most significant events of its kind in all of history. But it’s not. Regime change in the middle east is a regular occurrence, since the time of Moses (perhaps earlier). There is nothing special about the toppling of governments this time round.
It was much worse in the 1970s, when revolutionary leaders in the Arab world toppled the existing regimes, when Iranians toppled the Shah, when Muslims the world over got inspired by the Iranian revolution, when the Russians fought the Afghans, when Israel fought the Yom Kippur War.
Or the 1980s, when the energy crisis created a real possibility of an all-out war between the West and the Middle East (backed by Russia).
Or the 1990s, when Iraq went to war with Kuwait, when Iraq went to war with Iran, when Iraq went to war with the US, when the Talibans fought the Northern Alliance, who in turn fought the Mujahideen, creating a clusterfuck in Afghanistan (come to think of it, when was the last time Afghanistan is not a clusterfuck?)
Or the 2000s, when we had 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and the wars in Lebanon.
My point is, just because a few dictators got toppled, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Take a good look at the Middle East now. The Middle East was like that in the past, is like that in the present, and will be like that in the future. If you don’t understand this, either you’re too naive, or you’re ignorant of history.
Those who believe that there is a deeper significance of some regime changes in the Arab countries have fell pray to a phenomenon known as Narrative Fallacy. Narrative Fallacy causes us to weave narratives in order to make sense of what is happening, and then to come out with a conclusion which is strongly influenced by our prejudices.
A close friend told me that his sheikh, an old guy with big turban and big beard who lives in a hot country, had whispered to him that the fall of Arab regimes is the sign of the end times.
I told him that you can make the same prediction every decade since the 7th century or so, and you will be wrong again and again. Unlike Malaysia, the Middle East is an unstable place. The people there have fought countless wars, and toppled countless leaders and regimes. There is no reason to believe that this time it’s going to be different.
The world was a much, much worse place before our time. There were World Wars, plagues that eradicated entire continents, volcanoes that destroyed huge areas of lands, and other large-scale natural and man-made disasters.
Of course, I believe the world will end one day, but I don’t believe in man-made prophesies which are influenced by narrative fallacy.
Their logic goes like this:
fukushima + gaddafi’s end + mubarak’s end + euro crisis = end of the world.
I can easily make the same prediction in the 1990s:
gulf war + bosnian war + pinatubo + taliban + poverty in ethiopia + economic crisis in Russia = end of the world.
I can make the same prediction for any year, and for any decade. Face it, there are natural disasters, man-made disasters, wars, famine and economic problems in every decade for the past century. We should not feel so arrogant as to think that what’s happening right now is the worst thing that has happened in history.
Chernobyl was worse than Fukushima (not to say Fukushima is not bad, I’m just putting things in perspective). The World Wars were much more destructive than the regime changes in the Middle East. The Black Monday and the Depression were much more catastrophic than the current Euro-crisis. We are young and therefore we think we’ve seen the worst in history.
Our grandparents carried guns and fought in wars. We spend our waking hours on Facebook. We have it worse than them?
Why don’t we see the good side of things? The technological advances, the recovering economy in many parts of the world, the emergence of “soft powers” of Brazil and China, the blossoming of democracies in Africa, the end of war in Iraq. Why don’t we talk about these things?
It is because we love to be doomsayers. It is hardcoded in our DNA. We are pessimistic. Because it suits our worldview and we have retrofitted all the bad things of the world towards one conclusion: the end of the world. Narrative fallacy strikes again.
I am a student of history, and there are two important lessons that i have learnt:
1) history will repeat itself;
2) things are not as bad as they were before.
When Fareed Zakaria was the editor-in-chief of Newsweek International in the early 2000s, he wrote in an editorial that (I am paraphrasing) in the next ten years there will be more changes in the world than in the past 100 years.
Bzzzt! Wrong. The first decade of 2000s is relatively mild compared to any decade of the previous century. The world was a turbulent place in the 20th century. Remember the World Wars? Remember Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini? Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Remember Pol Pot and Mao? Remember the Great Depression and the Black Monday?
Europeans were at each other’s necks during the first half of the 20th century. Nowadays the biggest battleground in Europe is the Eurovision Song Contest.
Only the most myopic would claim that the world saw more changes in the first decade of this century than the whole of the past century.
Returning to the main topic…
If you believe the world will end in 2012 because of the Euro crisis, then you don’t understand much economics, or you miss the big picture. Eurozone bond defaults, forced austerity measures, some unemployed people rioting on the streets, that’s all there is.
Even the collapse of the Euro DOES NOT EQUAL the end of the world. To put things in perspective, the Eurozone only has about 700 million people. Yes, the global economy is interdependent, but this is barely cause for alarm. If Merkozy were to announce the end of Euro tomorrow, I would not lose any sleep, let alone think that it’s the end of the world.
If you think the world will end in 2012 because of peak oil, then put down the conspiracy tracts and listen to the real experts. We will get by for the next 30 years, and after that all of us will go for nuclear energy. Peak oil in 2040 is no reason for the world ending in 2012. Sure, if Iran goes to war and the Hormuz is blocked, the global oil supply will suffer, but it will not be the end of the world as we know it.
If you think the world will end this year because some crazy people (e.g., Dear Leader Flabbyface or Ahmed Dinner-Jacket) have got hold of nuclear weapons, then take solace in the fact that these people might be crazy, but they are not stupid. They know that before the first nuclear warhead they launched arrives at the destination, their whole country will be blown to smithereens. And that’s that. Nuclear war is brutal and dirty, but we human race will live on.
“Well, Bal”, some of you might ask, “how do you know FOR SURE the world will not end in 2012?”. I never said I know ‘for sure’. Nothing can be known ‘for sure’, until after the fact.
I am saying that there is no reason whatsoever for the world to end in 2012. If you have the evidence, please show me. All the scientific evidences have been debunked. Only kooks still believe in them. The is NO Planet Nibiru. Okay?
If you tell me that Imam Mahdi or Dajjal will come in 2012, please give me the evidences using Al-Quran and authentic ahadith. I don’t want “evidences” like:
– “sheikh aku yang serban besar dan janggut panjang, malam tadi dia mimpi jumpa orang jubah putih yang beritahu imam mahdi dah nak turun”
– “sheikh aku pergi bertapa atas Gunung Semanggol 40 hari 40 malam, lepas tu ada lembaga hitam datang membisikkan pada dia tarikh hari kiamat”
– “menurut NASA…bla bla bla…akan berlaku pertembungan antara comet bla bla bla…menolak bumi ke luar orbit…bla bla…pada masa yang sama juga akan berlaku gerhana bulan dan gerhana matahari”
jangan mengarut boleh tak
Only Al-Quran and authentic Ahadith. Do you have the evidence that the world will end this year? No evidence, no talk.
(Let me help you out, in case my point does not get through your thick skull: there is no evidence whatsoever from Quran and Hadith that the world will end in 2012. Stop reading bullshit emails, and stop forwarding them).
After 9/11, I used to hang out a lot with people with large turban and long beards and black marks on their foreheads and wearing long robes. These people talk all the time about “the end is near”, and about 9/11 being a major sign of the Doomsday. I used to ask these guys, what is the evidence for what you’re saying? Quran and hadith only okay, no nostradamus.
They either fell silent or rebuked me for not believing enough in the “mystical knowledge”. Intellectually corrupt people like to hide behind religious garb, uttering religious nonsense.
After 9/11, many Muslims in American feared for their life and safety and property and freedom to practice their religion. It is perfectly understandable that the Muslim community in the US developed a siege mentality. To make sense of the crazy world, religious teachers often reminded them that the end of the world is near.
One religious “scholar” that I listened to, said that he got a clear Sign from Allah (from his dream, perhaps) that Dajjal is actually George W Bush and Imam Mahdi is actually Osama bin Laden.
Even nowadays, I sometimes feel the urge to make a long-distance call to that sheikh and ask him where in Quran or Hadith is it mentioned that Dajjal will be replaced in his position by a half-Kenyan former law professor. And where in Quran or Hadith is it mentioned that Imam Mahdi will die in a raid by American special forces and that his body will be thrown into the ocean.
I have said so much, but let me make my point once again, in the clearest possible way, so everyone can understand.
If you still believe that the world will end in 2012, then you are stupid.