Tuesday, April 16, 2024

SATURDAY’S CHILD: What in the world


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We have only one world but many different perspectives on it. In 1999, James Bond said emphatically, “The world is not enough.” Now, according to climate experts and Bond freaks, Skyfall is already here and may have arrived through the hole in the ozone layer.
There are still people who believe that the world is literally flat and you can fall over the edge into infinity, and then economist Thomas Friedman came around saying the same thing but referring to the world of business as a level playing field where all competitors have an equal opportunity.
Another economist, David Smick, retaliated with a different spin The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers To The Global Economy. Next, geographer Tim Gulden and his colleagues came up with a new interpretation of the economic topography. The world is “amazingly spiky”.  
Filipino playwright Alberto Florentino wrote the highly acclaimed The World Is An Apple and even though he may not have written it on a MacBook, long before Florentino came up with the idea, Steve Jobs believed not just that the world is an apple but that an apple is the world.   
One writer complained that the world is going to the dogs and another said that the dogs will probably make better use of it than people. Chris Rock, the comedian, is sure the world is going crazy. He quipped, “You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America’s Cup, France is accusing the US of arrogance, Germany doesn’t want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named Bush, Dick, and Colon. Need I say more?”  
The fact is that increasingly a bunch of folks are convinced that the world is not going anywhere; it is just going, and taking all of us along with it. If they are right, there will be no Christmas 2012 and no New Year 2013.
The talk is that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012, less than two weeks from today.
Hurricane Sandy on the Jersey Shore, floods in England and a tornado in the Philippines, the West Indies losing to Bangladesh, Obama beating Romney are all portents.  
One website says, “As the days continue to countdown to Dec. 21, 2012, we will begin to experience a number of natural disasters and unprecedented weather events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, droughts and many other extraordinary life-threatening natural events . . . . Tornadoes will strike in uncommon places and at uncommon times of the year. Severe thunderstorms with intense lighting and uncommonly strong winds will become more prevalent, and the earth will rumble with unusual and unidentifiable sounds of stress.”   
The discovery of a “rogue” or “free floating” planet has convinced many people that the 2012 prophecy is being fulfilled. Wikipedia says: “The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012 . . . A New Age interpretation of this transition is that the date marks the time in which earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation and that December 21, 2012, may mark the beginning of a new era.
“Others suggest that the date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe, an interaction between earth and the black hole at the centre of the galaxy or earth’s collision with a planet called Nibiru.”  
NASA’s website denies this will happen. It asserts: “The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.” People say that the space shuttle was doing well until the Challenger disaster in 1986.  
Charles M. Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts cartoon, was pragmatic about the Apocalypse. He joked: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” A friend sent me a reworked version of an old joke.
On December 18, 2012, God sent for the world’s three most important leaders, informed them of the impending event and sent them forth to break the news to their people. Obama returned and said: “No need to worry about the fiscal cliff no more.” Bill Gates told his giant corporation: “Looks like curtains for Windows 8.”  And the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago was jubilant: “Well, that’s it for hunger strikes.”   
• Tony Deyal who is now demanding payment in advance, was last seen repeating, “Don’t worry if you don’t know what eschatology is; it’s not the end of the world.”


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