Armageddon

There is a long-held belief that the word Armageddon is connected to the end of the world. This isn’t a ’50-years-is-a-long-time’ kind of long-held, rather an idea that was brought about in between other biblical ideas. Oddly enough (or not so oddly, depending on your personal faith and levels of cynicism), the word is derived from the Hebrew ‘har megiddo’, which means ‘Mountain of Megiddo’. Whilst sounding quite foreboding, the place itself is/was harmless – it’s the events that were expected to unfold there that made it terrible. Kind of like how the MCG is a nice patch of grass up until we pin-point the last Saturday of September and flock to the MCG.

Megiddo doesn’t seem to have a roaring tourism industry, even though it’s a potential location for the Messiah to throw-down against the Beast and Satan (at the same time!) means it must be something special. It probably doesn’t help that there’s about half-a-dozen other places slated for this end-of-the-world extravaganza. Point being, the word ‘Armageddon’ draws it’s etymology from somewhere, and this is it. In Australia, it has a different origin: It’s Australian slang, commonly heard in phrases such as “Armageddon outta here” And now for the news.

The Last Place On Earth And A Lucky Few Ready For Lift-Off

At some point today, The World Will End. This has been foretold by the Mayans, who amongst other things gave us chocolate, mysterious carvings of what can only possibly be Astronauts, and the simple concept of putting an end date on their calendars (this is a necessary tool to encourage repeat purchasing). The Mayan calendar simply stops on December 21, 2012. My desk calendar stops at December 31, 2012 but two months prior encourages me to order one for next year – I feel this was something the Mayans were probably very close to implementing themselves, but something intervened. A 200-year drought, or invasion for example. But hey, their calendar says we won’t need a December 22 this year, so let’s run with this. The World Will End.

As a culture, we seem to have some odd obsession with fear. Check out any month of movies, and you’ll find stories of loss, perceived loss, threat of loss, personal injury, perceived personal injury, threat of personal injury, capes, perceived capes, threat of capes…you get the point. It’s a rare story that does not introduce an element of fear as a catalyst. There’s the personal fears of losing loved ones or simply losing love, but there’s also the world-spanning loss of EVERYONE fears. We really excel at these. So on this day, the day The World Will End, which of these fears do I think will be realised? I’ve chosen one – you won’t guess it.

Spiritual Apocalypse Unfolds In Mexico As Mayan Calendar Expires

Zombie Apocalypse
This one first made the big leagues in 70’s thanks to George A Romero’s cinematic efforts. A pandemic of the type that brings the victims back as vicious, motivated carriers, a zombie apocalypse has the odd distinction of adding the victims to it’s ranks. Most disasters simply wipe us out – this one wipes us out, then unwipes us onto it’s side. It’s the wax-on, wax-off of apocalyptic scenarios. Likelihood? Slim We’ve had so many movies/books/video games narrating zombie survival stories that should this befall us, we’d all head to Bunnings, grab a chainsaw, and set up camp in shopping centres. Not worried.

Asteroid
Given that we never ended up funding a completely functional Star Wars defence system, the idea of ginormous hunks of rock plowing into our planet at high speed is probably a nightmare that causes physicists sleepless nights. The impact of such a giant rock would not only be more destructive than our biggest atomic weapons, but it would also have such long term impacts as to make a nuclear winter look like an overcast weekend, and also potentially shift the world in terms of it’s axes or even position on the solar-system. (I’m imagining a BIG rock) Likelihood? Very low. Firstly, something that big we’d see coming. We may not be pointing lasers at the sky, but we have satellites and other clever robots keeping a look out. Plus, we have Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. Cinema has shown that all it takes is a crew of Square Jaws to prevent this kind of disaster.

Aliens
Ridiculous. Likelihood: Come on…

Robot Uprising.
Sooner or later, we’re going to have to deal with this far-more-modern prometheus. We have a world running on computers, doing exactly what we tell them to, and progressively we are putting more and more decisions into their metaphorical hands.  And then, before we know it, they’ll be thinking enough for themselves that we’ll have not only created an artificial intelligence (AI), but one that runs on pure logic – and as sci-fi TV has shown us, when one runs on pure logic, there are a great many fallacies that we as an organic, emotion-fuelled race throw into the mix. Fallacies that can be removed…by the AI. We know this, and yet we insist of taking the names of HAL, Skynet and Siri in vain. One will rise, and we will fall. Likelihood? Not great. But Facebook should be monitored carefully.

Jersey Shore’s Vinny Debunks Mayan Apocalypse

Short of a combination of terrifying events occurring, the apocalyptic scenarios most likely to unfold are all rationalised and solved in blockbuster, 2-and-a-half hour format. Even an asteroid filled to the brim with cyborg aliens, all carrying a zombie pandemic would still be something we could see our way around given the right Hans Zimmer soundtrack. But there is one that concerns me…we’ve seen it cinematically, and to be quite honest, I don’t think we’re ready for it.

image: Ghostbusters Wiki

It’s Mr Stay-Puft! But it’s not that I really think that this happy, semi-glutinous Horseman of the Apocalypse will turn up today. Rather, what he represents.

As anyone who has seen Ghostbusters knows, Mr Stay-Puft is quite an 11th hour, surprise arrival. When facing the ultra-powerful entity known as ‘Gozer The Gozerian’, said entity takes on a ‘Destructor’ form that she announces will be decided by her opponents – namely, the Ghostbusters. One of the Ghostbusters figures out what this means, and demands that the team go blank, and think of nothing. Anything they think of could be adopted by Gozer as the form that will lead to their demise. This works fine until someone thinks back to Boy Scout camp, and the marshmallows spring to mind…

So I’m not afraid of Mr Stay-Puft, I know that should I face a sumerian deity I should think of nothing. What I am afraod of, is the Unknown. The apocalypse you don’t see coming is the one that you cannot prepare for. We can have bunkers well-prepped to repel zombies. We can have our biologists ready to reverse-engineer pathogens and viruses as fast as we can get samples. We can even have Bruce Willis on speed dial (but he might put the call through to Ashton Kutcher). What we cannot do, is prepare for a scariness that comes from the depths of our subconscious. Something so hideous, and horrifying that we can’t even see the horror inherent until it’s in our face, something…

Red Band Trailer for Seth Rogen and James Franco’s Next Stoner Comedy

That tears it. End this world NOW.

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~ by nick on December 21, 2012.

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