Saturday, March 15, 2008

1005. Apocalypse 2012

Apocalyspe 2012
If you believe in the end of the world, and if you believe that the end is near, then, Apocalypse 2012 is a book you must read. ABC-TV had done something similar a few years back, showing all the things that can kill human kind. The show, which was very bleak, was called 'Last Days on Earth' and it focused on the Singularity and events such as asteroid impacts, galactic storms, super volcanoes and super storms.

Author Lawrence E. Joseph explores all these themes and more in this excellent book, subtitled: An Investigation Into Civilization's End. Good apocalyptic books are hard to come by these days. Trust me. I read the genre voraciously. Most of those who write in it are quacks and have no idea what they are talking about. Lawrence E. Joseph starts from a simple premise: What if there is something to this Maya calendar, where things tick from one epoch to another on 12/21/12 (December 21, 2012). According to the Mayan expressing of things, this date is referred to as "". The following day will be "". Is this just another new day, a beginning of a new era, a new epoch? Or the end of the world? And the world made new from the ashes?

We all are familiar of course with many of the prophecies of the Western World, both those that come from the religious realm and those attributed to Nostradamus and others. Personally, I have never subscribed to anything put forward by Nostradamus. Similarly, it seems difficult to accept some of the prophecies in religious text when they seem to have been geared as teaching tools towards the people of their era.

The author of this book does not get embroiled in analyzing Nostradamus or any other quack, or accepting or debunking any religious text. He does wonder though, with the Mayan astronomical calendar as a starting point, and their observations as a guidepost, if they had left us, a clue. Their calendar is an excellent example of the different ages the Earth has been through. The Maya were able to comprehend the Earth's place in the cosmic whole, and Lawrence E. Joseph takes this truth and runs with it, discovering along the way many of the things that could indeed bring the catastrophe that the cosmic clock seems to be ticking towards. If the Maya clock bookends events on a cosmic scale, events that by their size could spell the destruction of the whole planet, then it is possible the clicking down of this latest age of the Mayan clock could signify the approach of such events.

Lawrence E. Joseph explores some of these in detail in this book (from the Introduction on pages 16 and 17):

  1. Since the 1940s, and particularly since 2003, the Sun has behaved more tumultuously than any time since the rapid global warming that accompanied the melting of the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago. Solar physicists concur that solar activity will next peak, at record setting levels, in 2012.
  2. Storms on the Sun are related to storms on the Earth. The great wave of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma coincided with one of the stormiest weeks in the recorded history of the sun.
  3. The Earth's magnetic field, our primary defense against harmful solar radiation, has begun to dwindle, with California-sized cracks opening-up randomly. A pole shift, in which such protection falls nearly to zero as the North and South magnetic poles reverse positions, may well be under way.
  4. Russian geophysicists believe that the Solar System has entered an interstellar energy cloud. This cloud is energizing and destabilizing the Sun and all the planets' atmospheres. Their predictions for catastrophe resulting from the Earth's encounter with this energy cloud range from 2010 to 2020.
  5. Physicists at UC Berkeley, who discovered that the dinosaurs and 70 percent of all other species on Earth were extinguished by the impact of a comet or asteroid 65 million years ago, maintain with 99 percent certainty, that we are now overdue for another such megacatastrophe.
  6. The Yellowstone supervolcano, which erupts catastrophically every 600,000 to 700,000 years, is preparing to blow. The most recent eruption of comparable magnitude, at Lake Toba, Indonesia, 74,000 years ago. led to the death of more than 90 percent of the world's population at the time.
  7. Eastern philosophies, such as the I Ching, The Chinese Book of Changes, and Hindu theology, have been plausibly interpreted as supporting the 2012 end date, as have a range of indigenous belief systems.
  8. At least one scholarly interpretation of the Bible predicts that the Earth will be annihilated in 2012. The burgeoning Armageddonist movement of Muslims, Christians, and Jews actively seeks to precipitate the final end-times battle.

After reading this, you're probably saying to yourself: "Now what the f--- do I do? I am hosed." Well, forgive me for the colorful language, but don't be afraid. In many ways, this book has been written with the layman -- namely YOU in mind. Although it has a lot of scientific information in it, it doesn't "drown" or "wallow" in that information. It allows the reader to gently proceed from subject to subject and to learn what the effects of the subject-matter would mean, how it affects us today, and what we may be able to do to protect ourselves in the future.

The method author Lawrence E. Joseph chooses to do this is by writing this book like a travel log, discovering these dark, scientific secrets as he proceeds down the list. It is his incredulity at some of these notions we first see. He is after all an Engineer, a scientist's scientist himself, reluctant to believe, yet eager to learn, and able to understand. I honestly, like this type of writing approach. It makes for a very good reading experience. And it's one of the main reasons I recommend this book.

Oh, it's a short book, it's not going to consume your life to read it. And it's not fatalistic. Yes, it presents some scenarios that align with what many cultures and religious beliefs have predicted about the future of mankind. Does that mean we're doomed? The author, and I believe, the reader, in then end, will come to the same conclusion: "It's not so cut and dried". Yes, a lot of this is true, and yes the prophecies can not be so fantastic (unbelievable) if they align so accurately with the science, but mankind has a window of opportunity, albeit a small one, a window in which to act, to preserve itself, to fight for its future. That's the positive message I'd like to leave with after finishing this book.

Mankind has a hopeful future if we try...

I give this book fours stars, easily:

PS. If you are on BookMooch and you really want to read this book, and YOU really want to get a hold of my copy and not buy your own, drop me an e-mail (I am "Hercules40") and we'll arrange something!!!

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