So I’m wandering around Borders checking out the featured titles when I find myself in the lo-rent district of new age bookery. An end cap there features an odd-ball book by the name of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 2012.” Great, I think, they must’ve moved the date for the Singularity up. Last time I checked it was the 2040s, 2030s at the earliest. Now who has decided Moore’s Law is much too conservative?
Not to worry. Turns out 2012 has nothing to do with the theory of The Singularity. 2012 is a whole different end-of-mankind-as-we-know-it scenario.
Having lived amongst Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pentecostals for a good part of my childhood, I’m mildly familiar with apocalypses coming every ten years or so. And since I survived the Comet Hale-Bopp and Y2K media events of recent decades, I remain skeptical of pseudocscientific predictions of when the world is going to end. I want to believe these predictions, but history has not been kind.
What struck me about 2012 is that somebody with influence in the mainstream publishing world had gotten behind it. That’s good enough for me. Wherever mainstream publishing goes, that’s where I go. Naturally I purchased the book.
To be honest, I’m only a short way into it and already I can see this theory is different. First, it’s based on higher maths. This is not a thick book, though, so I’m not sure how high the math actually goes. We’ll see when we get there. In addition the Mayans are still amongst us. I thought they all disappeared long ago, but no. And they are keeping the 2012 flame alive, updating it, no doubt, with current data. This is not just some allegorical thing written down thousands of years ago that may or may not speak to our present day concerns. Like the stuff in the back of the fridge, it’s alive and mutating.
To add to the higher maths, the book has information on real world phenomena such as sunspots, the earth’s magnetic field, and the photon belt, whatever that is. Then there’s the alignment with other famous apocalypses: Nostradamus, Biblical Revelations, and Edgar Cayce, whoever he is. I can see already I’m going to learn a lot about ancient cultures and new age mysticism with this book. I’m going to meet “my inner guru.”
The only thing the book doesn’t link 2012 to is The Singularity. I’ll have to provide that connection myself. The year 2012 is a little early for The Singularity but I can’t believe that these two phenomena aren’t related. First off, how will we reach the Singularity in 2020 if the world ends in 2012? Second, maybe the world won’t end in 2012, maybe we’ll just evolve into posthumans. Maybe that’s what the Mayans saw, but didn’t articulate very well because they had no words for robot, nanotech, and recombinant DNA. They did what they could with the tools at hand. Remember, they didn’t have a wheel at that point, how could they have known about current memory storage devices like DVDs? Maybe the current Mayans are unfamiliar with these things as well. On the other hand, maybe they are conversant with modern tech after all and are just not mentioning the word “Singularity.”
I think I’m going to start watching for 2012 just like I watch for The Singularity. I may even change the name of this blog to Singularity Watch in the Year 2012.
Counting down: 3 years, 4 months, 16 days. Get your sunglasses now while supplies last.