The world didn’t end yesterday as Harold Camping predicted it did. This won’t come as a surprise to most people. What did come as a surprise to me at least was how this prediction captured the public imagination, not just among were those that believed in the prophecy, but among the (presumably sceptical) general public, who googled it, tweeted about it, joked about it, and attended “rapture parties” scheduled for after the hour of the rapture.
There are other predictions for the “end of the world” occurring in the near future. I would suspect Camping will tweak something in his math so that the end of the world will occur on October 21st instead of May 21st. If that doesn’t happen either, according to the Mayan Long Count calendar, the world will be ending on December 12, 2012. This date has already received a lot of publicity and no doubt will be getting more as we get closer to the date. Once that doesn’t happen, I’m sure there will be predictions of some environmental mega-disaster or something like that that will get traction.
While it is kind of fun to joke about things like this, there is a potential problem. If we’re all thinking about the end of the world, we may neglect to try to improve the world as it currently is. Why think about the future if there isn’t going to be one? If too many people are thinking about the end of the world, we’re going to miss the opportunity to create a better future for everyone.
With that in mind, I’m going to talk more about the future and the end in a future post.