Friday, April 29, 2011

Putting It All Down

Zen Master Dae Kwang, at Empty Gate Zen Center of Berkeley:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I've been seeing the occasional billboard, and bold advertisements on the side of RVs, heralding the end of the world on May 21, 2011. See Huffington Post, Believers Warn Neighbors of Impending Doom. Apparently, the prediction comes from "Biblical scholar" Harold Camping.
Judgment Day is coming May 21, 2011 -- not sometime this decade, not sometime this year, but precisely on May 21.
Jeez. It's almost three years since I first blogged about a rise in apocalyptic warnings. Back then, it was penciled in for December 21, 2012 (Mayan calendar/I Ching stuff). At the time, it made me ponder how believing in the end of the world could be a zig-zag way of considering our own mortality.

As a youngest child, I sometimes felt left-out of the activities of my older siblings. In those pre-DVR days, I'd have to go to bed at 9pm, and endure the sounds of the rest of the family watching Hawaii 5-0 episodes that I'd never see. As a result, my fear of death is entangled with bitterness that other people may be enjoying a futuristic earth while I'm stuck in the ground (or in some Whatever realm). Thinking about the End of Time can thus be easier than facing the possibility that Time will go on without me.

In any case: I wish the doomsday folks would come to some sort of agreement re what the date will be. This is the type of thing that requires some advanced planning. Perhaps some enhanced risk-taking behavior is in order, maybe even hedonism.

In one of the articles I've read about the May 21 Doomsday people, a follower mentioned that he was on a diet, and of course the journalist asked Why?? I'm not sure what I'd do if I really believed that the end was so near, but I sure as hell wouldn't be counting carbs.

Update... The Christian end-times warnings now have resulted in a competing billboard going up in Oakland:

Breaking news: the world failed to end on May 21. There was, though, a little 3.6 earthquake in the Bay Area around 6pm, which made me nervous for a few seconds. Camping has rescheduled The End for October 12.