Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Since I am a creature of routine, most of my mornings look the same. Feeding my cats, cup of tea, oatmeal with blueberries, checking my e-mails, and sometimes, I have news playing in the background. It is not an everyday activity for me, because I prefer not to expose myself to negativity, and it is basically what news is. Every day seems to get worse. Religious conflict… Climate change… Economic crisis… Deadly virus… It all seems apocalyptic… On FB messenger I keep receiving different videos with different opinions, “secret” theories, one even said to read it before it gets removed again. Seriously?... Because it was on the internet then it must be true?
In the last weeks, we all are feeding off the COVID19 crises. Some fear and others thrive on the drama around it and the idea of apocalypse is very appealing to them. As today's events unfold, so does the idea of coronavirus being a part of the biblical prophecy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
But none of this is new. We have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years now. From Nostradamus, all the way back to the book of Revelation. There is something about it that seems to hold people in a grip. Is the worry about everything a human nature, or is it really coming?
Pretty much except Buddhism, every other culture predicts the apocalypse in one way or the other. In the modern world, we seem to stumble across the predictions of a judgment day more often. For the past 10 years alone, the end of the world is predicted at least once a year. Here are some examples:
1. Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - secret society devoted to the study and practice of occult, metaphysics and paranormal activities, which existed from 1887 to 1903, predicted the world would end sometimes, during 2010.
2. Harold Camping – an American Christian radio broadcaster, predicted that the rapture and devastating earthquakes would occur on 21 May 2011, with God taking approximately 3% of the world's population into Heaven, and that the end of the world would occur five months later on October 21.
3. Ronald Weinland - Colorado-born minister who served in the Worldwide Church of God, predicted that "Spiritual Judgment" will take place, and that both the physical rapture and the end of the world would occur on 21 October 2011. When the prediction failed to come about, Weinland revised the date to May 27th, 2012
4. There were fears amongst the public that Comet Elenin traveling almost directly between Earth and the Sun would cause disturbances to the Earth's crust, causing massive earthquakes and tidal waves. Others predicted that Elenin would collide with Earth on October 16. Scientists tried to calm fears by stating that none of these events were possible. But we humans, knew better.
5. This one I find especially interesting. José Luis de Jesús Miranda - leader of the Creciendo an Gracia cult, predicted that the world's governments and economies would fail on June 30, 2012, and that he and his followers would undergo a transformation that would allow them to fly and walk through walls.
6. The 2012 phenomenon predicted the world would end at the end of the 13th b'ak'tun. The Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid, Nibiru, or some other interplanetary object; an alien invasion; or a supernova. Mayanist scholars stated that no extant classic Maya accounts forecasted impending doom and that the idea that the Long Count calendar ends in 2012 misrepresented Maya history and culture. Scientists from NASA, along with expert archaeologists, stated that none of those events were possible.
7. Grigori Rasputin - a Russian mystic who died in 1916, prophesied, a storm would take place on Aug. 23rd, 2013; where fire would destroy most life on land and Jesus would come back to Earth to comfort those in distress.
8. John Hagee and Mark Blitz – two American pastors, came up with the so-called blood moon prophecy, first predicted by Mark Biltz in 2008 and then by John Hagee in 2014. These Christian ministers claim that the tetrad in 2014 and 2015 may represent the beginning of the Messianic end times. Some Mormons in Utah combined the September 2015 blood moon with other signs, causing a large increase in sales of preppers survival supplies.
9. Weinland, who previously predicted the world would end in 2011, 2012, and then 2013, predicted in 2018 that Jesus would return on June 9, 2019. Prior to the date occurring he began to express some doubts regarding his own prediction.
10. And finally, Armageddon prediction for 2020 was publicized by Jeane Dixon was an American self-proclaimed psychic
So why is that? Why do we keep believing in prophecies and predictions? The reason is almost always the same. It is to give ourselves the feeling of control over our fate. And fate as in safety... survival... life and death. The study of the psychology of risk perception has found that one of the most powerful influences on fear is uncertainty. The less we know, the more threatened we feel, because lack of knowledge means we don't know what we need to know to protect ourselves... which corresponds to the lack of control over health and safety, life and death. It is why during the recent events we leave empty shelves in our stores. This insanity creates a domino effect, even on those who are generally pretty rational and naturally calm individuals. Those, who don’t panic because of the virus itself, start to worry over the eventual lack of food in the fridge. So, how can we protect ourselves from the fear of uncertainty, which makes people vulnerable to anxiety? It's easy to become a victim of self-fulfilled prophecy. The principle behind this phenomenon is people creating harm and consequences around the events. Sadly, those consequences are mostly based on limited knowledge. The harder they struggle to prevent it, the more inescapable their destiny becomes.
I believe that each individual has the potential to make a difference in their own life, and also the lives of others. As individuals, acting alone we can make a difference, so the question we ask is: What can we achieve when we collaborate? We don't always know what to do or how. We tend to create stress in our lives because of changes even though we know those changes are needed. So at times, mother nature, or the universe comes to the rescue and shows us a new path. For thousands of years now, humanity has been through bloody history, tragic events and all sorts of hardships - most of our own doing. None of them brought the end of the world. Instead, it helped us cherish what we had left, and to work together to build something better. When we think of apocalypse, doomsday automatically comes to mind. Some people yarn of apocalypse in the hope to restore the world of injustice and escape suffering. They want a better world. In the Greek language, “apokalypsis” means "lifting the veil". It is not about war, disease, some far-off day of judgment and death. It’s about enlightment.. a state between the heart and mind.
And it is here now.
COVID19 might be testing our patience, but it is also building our resilience and allowing us to develop new and innovative solutions out of necessity. Not long ago we were impressed with touch screen technology, nowadays, out of necessity we will be forced to use even more intelligent technologies that we don’t have to touch. Working from home may become the next new thing after many offices will realize that the job gets done the same way, without having to pay from the office space. Our environment would be cleaner, pollution lower and the time we spend in traffic jams we could use to spend with families, friends or doing something useful. Maybe we will start to tear down buildings in the future to have more space to plant trees? All is possible, but these are speculations, as for facts, we know for a fact, that the faster we can create and deploy an effective and safe drug to treat and a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and future viruses, the faster it will be contained.
Telemedicine or virtual consults will become more convenient for patients and doctors. And finally, online shopping. Businesses who didn't have an online option faced financial ruin and those who had some capabilities tried to ramp up offerings. To say that Amazon is America's biggest e-commerce marketplace is almost an understatement and it seems like COVID19 has become its kryptonite.
Hands down, times are hard right now and they will definitely change the world and our perceptions of it.
In a post-COVID19 world, I predict we will take the lessons handed to us by our time dealing with the virus, and see, that it gave us an opportunity to make our world a better place.