What's your take on this whole "2012= End of the world" zeitgeist?I know, I know, but I am just curious to really-really hear what everyone thinks about it. My students talk about it as a "matter...

What's your take on this whole "2012= End of the world" zeitgeist?

I know, I know, but I am just curious to really-really hear what everyone thinks about it.

My students talk about it as a "matter of fact" event, obviously demonstrating their huge miss in connecting that if they believe in it, then they literally won't be alive 2 years from now.

I also see it continuously mentioned in none other than in the History channel (my personal addictive favorite) and so I understand but, come on.

What say you, educators/historians/students alike?

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess my take on this is wait and see.  I am preparing differently than in the past (primarily because we had a huge ice storm here a couple of years back where electricity was off for the better part of a month) so I know I'll have food for my family that is put up in jars instead of frozen in the freezer.  I have some antique lamps, meat grinders, and my hunting supplies...just in case there is a huge catastrophe on only some survive.  If members of my family survive, we'll be OK for food and survival.  That's just the country girl in me, I suppose.  If the whole world is supposed to be destroyed, we'll go to the next place.  If not, we'll all have great stories to tell about the crazies who jumped off buildings and behaved the other dozen times the "end of the world" was supposed to come.  Of course, no one can doubt that the future looks a little bleak, and that the End Times as printed in holy books all over the world predicts that such things would occur just before the Tribulation.  Wars, rumors of wars, floods, earthquakes, disease, famine, financial ruin...that seems enough to make people a little wary of what is to come.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The 2012 reference comes from a culture that really no longer has a culture, right? The Mayans? Bet they didn't see the end of their own culture coming.

Here's my deal, we all die. If my hope for what comes after death is secure today, then I have no reason to worry if the Mayans are accurate in their predictions.

Students are funny about this. They like to think that it's cool because they will never have to be responsible for living like adults. Boy are they in for a surprise.

Another point of interest... the bible references somewhere... I don't exactly know where... the idea of millenia. Some end times theorists also believe that we are right there because we turned another millenium older as a planet, at least according to our own measures.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm there with post 10. My students have just experienced the major earthquake here in NZ the weekend before speeches were due from my class. One student had chosen the topic of 2012 being the end of the world and used much of the convincing research which shows the idea to have little foundation.

 However... a state of emergency, friends and family homeless, aftershocks, landslides and rationing of water later,  as an audience we were less convinced of the stupidity of the idea than we were the previous week. It has meant that we have put survival basics back on the agenda, and its 'cool' to talk preparation and planning for natural disasters. My take is - we just don't know, so be prepared but not obsessed and get on with life!

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess I take the Zen approach. So what if it is?  Can I stop it?  I do my best to be a responsible citizen, I am environmentally friendly, I consume as little as I can, I advocate responsible causes, and I don't really feel like I am stopping Climate Change.  If 2012 is, indeed, an inevitability, then I have a short time to really live and see some things I want to and be with people I care about, and while I don't like to believe that the end is at hand, I can prepare for any eventuality by just living like I may die tomorrow.  It's a good teaching moment for students too, I think, to get them to consider their own mortality, and the things they want to do in this life while they are still alive.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My initial response when this prediction is brought up in class is to say, "Gee, I hope not. My car will be paid off." As lame as that is, it always gets a laugh. But seriously, folks, I think that's the kind of response kids need to hear from us. They have enough anxiety already, and to give credence to the current end-of-the-world scenario, or to even discuss it as if it were a possibility, only adds to their fear, quite unnecessarily. I think we have more power than we often realize; in many cases, and I truly believe this, our students look to us for a reality check. I think this is one of those times.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I personally hope that the hype continues.  It was pretty entertaining to me to live through the 1999 to 2000 end-of-the-world checkpoint.  Perhaps this will be another.

As far as students talking about it, well, any time there is an opportunity to discuss the brevity of life and importance of making each day count, I think it is a positive (if somewhat cliche) thing.  Most teenagers are so short-sighted and selfish that when I see an actual interest in something that opens this door, I jump on it.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, at least it would mean that we wouldn't have to worry about pensions and all that :-). No, this is just another "scare" like the Y2K virus. I think the future isn't going to be too bright, unfortunately, but I think we have a bit longer left than just making it through to 2012! I do agree with #2 though - this would be an excellent opportunity to link this in with any number of dystopian novels and also discussing the importance of life and making the most of it.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My students also talk about this, but most just think it's ridiculous. They laugh and make fun of the whole idea, and I guess I'm with them.  Like so many others, I was holding my breath the last time we apparently averted such a world-ending catastrophe in Y2K.   This time, not so much.  If there's nothing I can do to control it, I figure I probably shouldn't spend too much time or energy worrying about it. 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Last year many of my students made references to the fact that the world would end in 2012 also. This became a teaching opportunity with regard to the difference in fiction, nonfiction. The year 2012 will come to pass, and the world will continue to exist I have no doubt. Just like, as someone else referenced, the year 2000 rolled in with no problems.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you still have this going on, maybe you can use it to teach the difference between scientific theory and "theory"--what evidence? Is it testable? Do they see anything around them that would lead them to believe it could be true?

I do not understand why the American public is so ready to believe ideas that have nothing backing them.

pruhouser | Student

When I consider all the hoopla surrounding 2012, I do find myself scoffing.  This is in part due to the fact that all the speculation about 2012 brings to mind Y2K.  I recall all the hype swirling about and the fear and panic that ensued.  In the end, none of the predicted disasters came to pass.  Aside from the excitement of entering into the New Millennium, 1999 transitioned into 2000 with hardly a ripple.  However, if in fact 2012 does bring about an occurrence of apocalyptic proportion, I feel it might well be similar to that which transpires in Stephen King’s novel The Stand: a cataclysmic event that does not necessarily end the world, but is a catalyst for change in the current social order resulting in a dramatic shift in the balance of power.