Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

April 4, 2009

2012: The New End-of-the-World Cult

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 8:49 pm

I’m curious: I’ve been listening to this Y2K to the nth power type stuff for a couple of years now, primarily becasue of my fascinaton with the delusional types featured on the four-hour long, late night radio show “Coast to Coast AM”.

Don’t get me wrong there are often interesting and legtimate guests on “Coast” as they call it, some genuine physicists, astronomers and archaelolgists, among the conspiracy theorists and UFOlogists. But lately the show seems to have given up on any skepticism about 2012 and the cult that has grown up around it.

So I’m curious how many of you are aware of this cult, which is centered around the supposedly cosmically profound fact that the Mayan calendar ends (or ends a cycle of some sort) in 2012?

And how many believe there’s some basis for fearing therefore that the world will come to an end, aliens will show up for breakfast and the like?

It’s become a merchandising device: I’ve heard every type of nutball attach his or her particular brand of nuttiness to 2012 lately–sometimes with a specific date, December 21, 2012–none of them with any specific evidentiary basis for believing that anything special is going to happen after December 21 than December 22.

And yet thee seems to be an appetite for apocalypse. 2012 is tied into both traditional religious apocalyptics and the new UFO based versions. The “Coast” audience, or at least its calllers, seems to eat it up. The host, George Noory, who usually is genially tolerant of mountains of nonsense without necessarily buying into his guests fantasies, seems to take it seriously.

Are you aware of this? And if you are what do you think about it?



  1. I’ve been aware of it for at least ten years, maybe more.

    I’m not particularly convinced, having seen many end-of-the-world cults come and go.

    On the other hand, I think there is a distinct possibility that social and technological developments may change the world radically, in the near future — see Vernor Vinge’s “Singularity” writings for an example. But those are speculations without a definite date, not prophecies.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — April 5, 2009 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  2. I read about it in the early ’90’s, I think. I goofed on it last year in a profile I wrote about Pfizer for my Top 20 Pharma reoprt:

    According to the techno-shaman and ethnopharmacologist Terence McKenna’s Timewave Zero theory, the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. For Pfizer, the date has been moved up to November 30, 2011; that’s when Ranbaxy is permitted to begin selling generic Lipitor (and Caduet, the Lipitor/Norvasc combo). The two companies negotiated that date as part of their patent settlement in June 2008. It’s my unfounded assumption that Ranbaxy’s buyer, Daiichi Sankyo, applied some pressure to get the Lipitor issue settled.

    Comment by Virtual Memories — April 5, 2009 @ 3:58 am | Reply

  3. Every millisecond the world comes to an end, because someone or something dies.

    Comment by charlie finch — April 5, 2009 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  4. No, those people are mistaken, they are locked into their decimal system way of thinking and enumerating of the years. The end of the world will happen on the hexadecimal system. If you don’t understand why that will be the case, you don’t belong in end-of-times prophesies.

    Comment by Dethwa — April 5, 2009 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  5. “Are you aware of this? And if you are what do you think about it?”

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard of these weird people. They are a statistical aberration and likely not worthy of too much interest. Radical Islamism and the increasing liberal fascism in the United States are of far greater importance.

    Comment by David Thomson — April 5, 2009 @ 10:46 am | Reply

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