numerous books and documentaries. And it has spawned, perhapspredictably, yet another Hollywood disaster movie.The supposed cataclysm of 2012 may appear to be corroborated by somesources, ranging from economics to science. That’s not to say that 2012 isnecessarily central to their concerns; in some cases, it’s just a convenientpeg on which to hang their hat as they rally support for other pet theories.But does the Mayan calendar really speak of an end of the world, or is it just the end of one calendar cycle—a recurring event according to Mayanreckoning? Those who have studied the calendar and the culture thatdeveloped it dismiss the entire end-of-the-world prediction as amisinterpretation of the data: they say that it doesn’t speak of an end per sebut of a new beginning.
(See “Mayan Mayhem: Is 2012 the End of the World?”)
Still, the Mayan calendar is not the only source of current apocalypticangst. The words of Nostradamus also figure heavily into the latestprognostications. In fact, an Internet search on “Nostradamus 2012” yieldsnearly 1.5 million hits. Nostradamus wrote on religious themes; indeed,the 2012 theme has become a phenomenon for the New Age movementand thus a religious event.But the 16th-century seer’s writings, recorded in quatrains, or poetry infour-line format, are flexible enough to support any of several apocalypticscenarios that are being put forward today. One Web site that providesresources and background material for those interested in 2012 offers thisevaluation of Nostradamus: “He is best known for his book
. . . . Many of his prophecies dealt with disaster such as plagues,earthquakes, wars, floods and the coming of three antichrists. However hispredictions are vague and people tend to apply his words to many situations.”