Eschato- what?

Eschatology is the study of The End (from the Greek word 'eschatos', meaning 'last'). Most searches on this word will lead you to Christian sites full of prophecy and whatnot, but the Christians do not have a monopoly on the subject. Heck, they're only the lastest in a very long line of people who like to scare themselves silly with apocalyptic tales, prophecies and wild imaginings of all sorts. They've made an awful lot of money at it, too, and seem to delight in scaring themselves silly with Rapture Ready this and Armageddon that. It isn't a religious monopoly, though- I seriously think that we as a species have a built-in circuit that encourages this sort of terrible speculation, just like we have a hard-wired religious circuit.

But, whatever the source, studies and stories about The End permeate our culture. There are plenty of books around about the subject and its myriad iterations- and one of the functions of this community will be to create a virtual library- with links, if possible- to fictional and non-fictional books on the subject and related matters. There are tons out there- I have a pretty good collection of speculative fiction (OK, SciFi) books about various ways we get whacked- from nukes to alien invasions to asteroids. Many of them are as much about how we pick up the pieces afterwards as they are about the events themselves.

I invite you to post about your favorite fictional or non-fictional eschatological book- whether it's "Lucifer's Hammer", "The Stand", "Collapse", the "Dies the Fire" series, or some of the myriad 2012 books out there. Just make sure to use the tag 'eschatological library' or if you can't remember how to spell that word, simply 'library'. When we get enough posts about it, I'll do a mega-post and link to it.
Salon Magazine writer David Sirota wonders if we're experiencing the 'A-word':

Recently, I've been groping for the precise word to characterize the zeitgeist of this (unfortunately) historic moment. I know it's not merely "demoralized." It's something far more dread-laden -- a word I finally found during a visit last week to central Mexico.

Sitting atop the famed Pyramid of the Sun, I took in Teotihuacan -- the ancient metropolis outside Mexico City. Its weathered bricks and mortar look like many great archaeological wonders, except its annals include a harrowing asterisk: When the Aztecs discovered the site, it was abandoned, and nobody knows what happened to its inhabitants. The ruins thus feel like monuments to an apocalypse.

That's the term that popped into my mind as I baked in the Mexican sun -- "apocalypse": a phenomenon whose signs are everywhere these days.

Iraq bleeds from unending strife, while Israelis and Palestinians appear intent on annihilating each other. Pakistan just released A.Q. Khan, the scientist who delivered nuclear secrets to North Korea -- the country that's again threatening long-range missile tests. Colombia’s civil war rages, and the "great news" in Mexico is President Felipe Calderon's announcement that drug cartels haven't totally taken over the country.

In America, our apocalyptic symbols are usually subtler -- the birth of octuplets or a restaurant chain's Chicago Seven pizza, which consumerizes a renowned court case into a fast-food dish. But Wall Street and Washington exhibit a more overt Sodom and Gomorrah quality of late, to the point where even business magazines like Portfolio are invoking the A-word.

Is it 'the' Apocalypse? Or is our particular gift for hype and hyperbole manifesting itself once again? Are we near that edge, or have we already reached that tipping point?

Which reminds me... I need to get and read "Tipping Point", and re-read "Collapse" and, and...
Note to readers: Yes, I do use Wikipedia for a lot of starting references. Often, it has some great links to other sites and information drill-downs. Wikipedia isn't the be-all or end-all for research- it is simply a starting tool, as are Google searches. I am aware that some people see it as biased (and even inferior)- but that can hold true for any site- it's all opinion until someone digs deeper and finds more information. I hope to assemble a collection of reliable and authorative websites and people for future reference. Right now, we're at the 'spray paint around the area we want to dig up' phase.

OK, that's done.

Where do we start? What's the root and the reason for all this 2012 interest?

The root of the whole 2012 mythos comes from the Mesoamerican Maya culture. They had some remarkably accurate calendars.

This Wikipedia article does a decent job of describing the culture of Mesoamerica (middle America), where the original basis of the 2012 predictions came from. It mentions the Mayan calendar, but not 2012.

And there is a another Wikipedia entry about the Maya calendar and their systems of tracking time. In it, I found an excellent quote that is the basis of this community:

The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar forms the basis for a New Age belief, first forecast by José Argüelles, that a cataclysm will take place on or about December 21, 2012, a forecast that mainstream Mayanist scholars consider a misinterpretation, yet is commonly referenced in pop-culture media as the 2012 problem.

"For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle," says Sandra Noble[12], executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. in Crystal River, Florida. "To render December 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting", she says, is "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."[emphasis mine]

Sadly, quite a few people have 'cashed in' if the endcap I saw in Barnes & Noble the other day is to be believed. There is going to be a lot of fear, uncertainty, doubt (FUD) and misinformation about this whole thing, and it will escalate a lot as the year and date approaches. We are not out to defame anyone, but we do want to provide a counterbalance to all the fabricated stuff that will be heavily circulated.

A search on Amazon revealed 59,973 results mentioning 2012 total (with quite a few non-related titles), 199 results for "2012 prophecy", and 62 results for "Apocalypse 2012".

Google lists 678,000 results for "2012+apocalypse" alone.
2012+end of the world yields 12,700,000 results.
2012+predictions yields 1,440,000 results!

We have a lot of stuff to sort through! I already have a few books on the subject, and hope to read more, but I encourage folks here to do the same thing- it helps to separate fact from fantasy.

There is a lot of fantasy out there, folks. Go look up "Harmonic Convergence" if you don't believe me.

Debunking the myths and misinformation about 2012 is only part of the purpose of this community. There are a lot of wonderful things to uncover and discover that totally eclipse the whole 'doomsday' aspect of the date. Like the ancient mysteries and civilizations who created the calendars, and the whole journey to enlightenment and 'ascension'. Yes, there is a lot of nonsense out there about those, but I hope that people will wake up on the morning of December 22 2012 with a deeper respect for humanity, mystery, metaphysics and this planet, and in possession of a world-class bullshit filter. If I can do that, I will feel like I've succeeded.
So, you've read the profile page and decided to join this community, eh? Good for you! Welcome aboard!

You know what's next:


Come on, step up and either comment to this thread, or create your own! You can answer such earth-shaking questions as:

Who are you?
What are your interests?
What brought you to this community?
What intrigues/scares/annoys/[insert adverb here] you about the subject of 2012?
What would you like to see this community explore, or accomplish?
What books, websites, articles, people, etc. do you recommend? Or not?
[Whatever else you want to talk about]
This is my latest community, and I hope it'll be one of the best ever! I have 'hobby horses' that interest me, and if you were on Live Journal, perhaps you got to ride on my older 'hobby horse' merry-go-round, Dark Christianity. That comm grew from a tiny hobby-horse to a roaring success, and I hope that this one will also be an apex of common sense, good information, good community, and interesting discussions.

2012 is an interesting subject- so many people have so many ideas and predictions about it that it is hard to sort the fact from the nonsense. I seem to have that particular knack, which I honed on Dark Christianity, and will use here. I hope to start a lively and intelligent discussion about 2012 (and 2013!) and become a go-to (FAQ) point for inquiries, thoughts, ideas and information about the whole thing. Here are some ideas for discussion:

Is it going to be The End of the World As We Know It? (eotwawki)
Will we have an apocalypse or Armageddon?
Will people get really scared and do stupid things?
Are there actual transition events we should be aware of and prepare for?
What books, movies, documentaries, and documents should we read?
What should we believe, and what should we dismiss?
Will the Mayan calendar be right?
Is it the end, or is it the beginning?

I am sure there are a bazillion other questions, which will be answered in due time. What I aim to do is to create a comfortable, sane sanctuary where people can discuss things, ask and answer questions, and build a consensus of common sense and spread a little Light around. Of all the things we can do, spreading Light is probably the most important.

I am a Skeptic. Yes, I am a metaphysician, a Rosicrucian initiate, a mystic, and a lot of other obscure, esoteric and agnostic things. I track to Neutral (Middle Way) on the Good/Evil stage, and I approach things with an INTP/J sensibility. There will be simple rules, and they will be gently enforced.

Welcome aboard! Let's ride!