Don't worry, it's probably not the end of the world

FOR some students who got HSC results it may have felt like the end of the world, but Doomsday is actually today if you buy into the whole Mayan prophecy scenario.

The Mayan Long Count calendar runs out today, which some New Age jibber jabberers have interpreted as meaning that Armageddon is upon us.

It is a mystery why a calendar calculation made 1300 years ago by an ancient civilisation has captured the imagination of a modern culture that likes to think of itself as sophisticated and rational.

It is especially puzzling when you consider many scholars have debunked it as a complete misunderstanding of the Mayan's calendar and mythology.

But taken a grip it has, with even Prime Minister Julia Gillard recording a spoof end-of-world speech recently that attracted millions of views online.

Social media has been awash with wild end-of-days speculation and bucket lists.

Others can smell a buck, with end-of-the-world parties and retreats being staged around the world.

But those party-poopers at NASA are so sure it is going to be a fizzer that they have already released a video for tomorrow.

It begins: "December 22, 2012. If you're watching this video, it means one thing. The world didn't end yesterday."

Southern Cross University behavioural scientist Dr Rick van der Zwan said while most people did not really believe the world would end today; we were fascinated by the idea that you might be able to predict the future.

"We all like to think that there's something beyond what we can see or feel... something bigger that may help us understand our condition," said Dr van der Zwan, who is going to hold off doing his Christmas shopping until Saturday just in case.

Of course the world is no stranger to predictions of catastrophe that came and went, with 2000 an especially big year, what with Y2K, the psychic Edgar Cayce warning of the second coming and Sun Myung Moon from the Unification Church tipping the Kingdom of Heaven.

But if this one does turn out to be the real deal, at least you won't have to explain that dud HSC score to mum and dad.

Topics:  armageddon mayan calendar

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