End of the line for the doomsayers?
H ave you noticed that we are not swamped with as many end-of-civilisation stories these days? Touch wood. Even the modern Mayans know that the world did not end in 2012 (probably a printing mistake all those centuries ago).
And asteroids, predicted to collide with the earth and destroy anything that moved (which means many teenagers with iPads would survive) have somehow taken the wrong turn and ended up elsewhere.
Those regulars on street corners who held up placards warning people that the world was about to end in a week/fortnight/month/year and therefore we must repent – or at least return our library books – are no longer part of the landscape.
Oh, of course, newspapers and television channels scream when a football team loses that the end of civilisation as we know it is here, but that doesn’t count. Nor does it when the pundits say it’s all over simply because one political party or the other has either won or lost an election.
Whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, one thing is more or less certain: it will end. But if you believed those who look for a cloud in every silver lining, this was set to happen sooner rather than later. And yet…
Doomsayers who predicted that the universe would be swallowed up in the search for Higgs boson must know that not only is the boson safe, but Higgs himself is fine, thank you, and a Nobel laureate to boot. What about those who said at the turn of the century that planes would fall out of the sky and recommended that we take all our savings out of the bank and put the money in our mattresses because you can always trust mattresses but you can’t always trust computers? Especially those that cannot distinguish between 1999 and 2099.
We haven’t been taken over by aliens with strange accents and shapeless bodies, nor have computers elected one of their own to rule us. Robots have generally left us alone. Strange animals, the result of strange experiments,
Whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, one thing is certain – it will end
haven’t quite begun to grab the headlines yet, although the story of a mouse’s ear being grafted on to a goat’s head or something does suggest there are possibilities.
Perhaps that is why, safe in our knowledge of safety, we turn to the movies for disasters. Cities blowing up, dead folk coming to life, vampires having a party where you bring your own drink and so on. We don’t want to be scared, merely reassured.
Here’s a newsflash: The end of the world is not nigh. If you don’t believe me, let’s synchronise our watches and check again in about a century from now.