2012, Nostradamus, Astrology, Revelations, Armageddon, Apocalypse, Ragnarok, and Whether We Can Predict the Future?



If I was a prophet, both respected and feared, the chances that many would believe me is so very high. The chances that you would still believe me when I say that the end of the world is coming ‘soon’ would be lower but still very high. Our sun as a matter of fact can only last another 4 (point something) billion years. ‘Shortly’ after that, it would become a huge big supernova that would swallow up most of the nine planets (eight if we deduct poor Pluto) and then shrink into a black hole (so says Stephen Hawkwing). That is of course, ignoring the also well known fact that a number of horrifying natural disasters like floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, global warming (those ice caps are really melting) and earthquakes could very well wipe us out way before 4 (point something) billion years. Then there are those giant meteors which got rid of the dinosaurs!

The list in endless!

Mankind has no hope!

The world is going to end!

All of us will die (either naturally or by natural disasters)! You may very well just believe me, your humble but pretentious prophet, when I say that the world is going to end!

In 1960 the British novelist C. P. Snow said on the front page of the New York Times that unless the nuclear powers drastically reduced their nuclear armaments thermonuclear within a decade was a “mathematical certainty.” Nobody, I repeat, nobody thought that Mr Snow was so very wrong. But the ‘dismal science’, which we now know as economics would prove him wrong. Thomas Schelling in 2005 won the noble prize for his work, ‘An Astonishing Sixty Years: The Legacy of Hiroshima’. In his noble prize lecture, Schelling noted how nuclear weapons were perceived as unique when compared to ‘conventional’ weaponry. This perceived uniqueness ensured that no two superpowers would dare use nuclear weapons to blow each other up because for fear of a ‘retaliating strike’. After more than sixty years since the dawn of nuclear weaponry, no ‘unconventional’ war has ever happened between superpowers.

Bargaining theory ruled (I will not nuke you if you would not nuke me first). And mankind, while possessing the power to destroy every known centre of civilization in the world has failed to do so either through intelligence or cowardice. Our world today, the information age, may be ironically one of the most peaceful ages of humanity without the fear of Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Turks, Huns, or Mongols being at our doorstep.

Wait a moment.

Give me just some time to catch my breath and predict what you are going to say next. I am very well aware that you might think in your head that, “even if it has not happen, it does not follow that it will not happen.” This was exactly how Nostradamus made his predictions. Nostradamus, my equally pretentious predecessor, was a genius. He predicted everything from the rise and fall of Hitler to the demise of the World Trade Centre! I agree. Nostradamus was a genius so much so that he was so well versed in history and astronomy that he started to state that historical events would reoccur when the positions celestial bodies (planets and stars) reoccur in the future. To illustrate, the stars were in position 1 when the Mongols invaded. When position 1 reoccurs in the future, something like the Mongol invasions of the past would happen! So he started writing quatrains that contained no exact dates and are very ambiguous, claiming to know the future by studying the movement of celestial bodies.

Some people still believe in Nostradamus and many eventually will. Many people are gamblers and many people will be gamblers. For them, the Nostradamus Roulette is irresistible. Place a bet on a number (a prediction) and start spinning (each spin may be one year or more) till you hit that number and say that Nostradamus was correct! The irony of our ignorance sometimes knows no bounds and the degree of our ignorance itself is sometimes infinite. As people obsessed with gambling would gamble, people obsessed with Nostradamus would continue playing the Nostradamus Roulette. So obsessed are these gamblers that whenever they hear or see some big event, they change the interpretations of the old prophet’s work to suit the situation. This was, I would say, intentionally made easy by the old prophet himself who wrote in a style of old French that was unique and ambiguous even in his days.

Even modern Frenchmen would have difficulty translating his work. What hope do we English-speaking people have?

Barring old Nostradamus aside, surely astrology has some truth. Yet again, I am forced to agree to the notion of ‘some’ truth. Psychologists however, have a more sceptical outlook. The Barnum effect is the term use to describe our tendency of believing an overgeneralized but phony personality report (especially when they are favourable). P. T. Barnum once declared that a good circus had a “little something for everybody.” Astrology has more to offer by giving you a little bit of the future that you obviously should know yourself unless you have never self-reflected in your whole life. Since all of us share some personalities in common, it would not be difficult to predict another trait when the astrologer or fortune teller is certain of another trait. In saying so, I am so very explicit telling you that the astrologer or fortune teller is really interested in you (especially your shrewdness when it comes to money) than the stars, tea leaves, bird droppings, palms and tarot cards. If fortune tellers could really tell the future, what makes you think he would rather be telling your fortune than making his own fortune in the stock markets?

Last but not least are those people with nice suits, white collars and a certificate showing he graduated from somewhere (presumably important) in theology (which is really the philosophy of religion). The end days are coming or are already here says these people. So ‘soon’ that you must either repent now, donate now (this sounds so awfully familiar with the case of astrologers and fortune tellers), sacrifice now or risk living in fear of eternal retribution for the rest of your lives! God will come ‘the day after tomorrow’ and all will be consumed and all will suffer unless they repent (and donate). God will so very ‘soon’ come again although He said that no one will know when and that He will be like a ‘thief in the night’. So ‘soon’ and sure that they predicted, 30 CE, 60 CE, 90 CE, 500 CE, 1000-Jan-1, 1033, 1179, 1284, 1496, 1669, 1794, 1844-Oct-22, 1850, 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994, 2000, 2012 (I know I miss a few) and were wrong time and time again.

I understand that although it has not happened, it does not follow that it will never happen. I also understand that by believing so, we are all playing the Nostradamus Roulette. It matters not whether we believe or not or whether it happens or not, the truth is always independent of the individual. We are all going to die sooner or later and this we know with certainty. Those gentle and kind at heart would have nothing to fear while those evil and cruel would jump at the sight of their own shadows. Should we be like the astronomer who, when looking so intently at the stars, fall into a well right in front of him? Maybe the end of the world is drawing near. But like Candide, I must go and work in the garden. Believe me as you will for I am your pretentious prophet and go tend your own gardens without fear in your hearts.


‘There is a chain of events in this best of all possible worlds; for if you had not been turned out of a beautiful mansion at the point of a jackboot for the love of Lady Cunégonde, and if you had not been involved in the Inquisition, and had not wandered over America on foot, and had not struck the Baron with your sword, and lost all the sheep you brought from Eldorado, you would not be here eating candied fruit and pistachio nuts.’

‘That’s true enough,’ said Candide, ‘but we must go and work in the garden.’

~ Voltaire

~ Ee Suen Zheng

2 Responses to “2012, Nostradamus, Astrology, Revelations, Armageddon, Apocalypse, Ragnarok, and Whether We Can Predict the Future?”
  1. sab says:

    Kudos on the timing of this article!

  2. jamesesz says:

    Just watched 2012..The show had some good cinematics..LOL..

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