Similar to the UFO phenomenon that Aramis posted about in Look, Up in the Sky... Happy 60th Anniversary, the New York Times Sunday Magazine ran a story called, "The Final Days – Is the New Age Apocalypse Coming Round at Last?"
The tipping point apparently is based on the Mayan calendar which ceases in 2012. Well, it doesn't cease cease. Rather, "the Maya conceived of history not as the linear passage of time but as a series of cycles -- they called them 'world age cycles' -- that would repeat over and over."
A guru of the 2012 doomsday prediction is José Argüelles, with his Foundation for the Law of Time. Argüelles states, "The post-2012 world will be a world of universal telepathy." He has moved to New Zealand to prepare for the transition, and recently has been calling himself Valum Votan, Closer of the Cycle (this is in the New York Times!). "There will be a lot fewer of us, with simple lifestyles, solar technology, garden culture, and lots of telepathic communication." As for those who have not evolved spiritually, well, Argüelles predicts that they will be taken away in "silver ships."
Argüelles and others in the article are called "the Gnostics of our time," by Prof. Anthony Aveni, archeoastronomer and professor at Colgate University.
Now, what are we to make of all this? Why this quirky interest in what feels similar to concentrating on "when the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars..." interest in the dawning of "The Age of Aquarius?"
Robert Hamerton-Kelly has noted that when the sacrificial cult at the heart of every (fallen and sinful) human culture begins to lose its momentum and gravitational pull, capable of keeping that culture coherent psychologically and socially, two things notoriously take place regarding the kind of victims on that culture's altar of sacrifice (didn't you know it still takes place? Really?). (1) Either the victims must become more prestigious, or (2) the number of victims increases: regicide or genocide.
Looking at the 60's, one remembers who was assassinated: John F. Kennedy (president), Martin Luther King, Jr. (prophetic, charismatic leader for vast numbers of Americans), Robert F. Kennedy (presidential candidate). So far, Hamerton-Kelly makes a point. But what of his other notion, genocide? Between 1965 and 1980, murder rates doubled, while rates for aggravated assaults skyrocketed by 165 percent in the same time period. And, the unseen, voiceless victims of abortion go unheard and unprotected by law to this moment. (One might add, the soldiers and civilians killed on the exported altar in Iraq, structurally speaking.)
Loopy apocalypticism aside, in my opinion, we are in a gravely serious cultural time that René Girard calls the "sacrificial preparation." His mimetic theory is an asset of great import to the Church in diagnosing the sin of the world. And, again in my opinion, for those who do not wish to cave to quirky end-of-the-world nuttiness on the one hand, or give a free hand to atheistic social science drivel on the other, mimetic theory helps us understand cultural melodrama and sacrificial events in ways that, at the very least, thematize the sin at work around us and our loved ones. More to come on this ... Oh! Did I mention that the Maya practiced human sacrifice? You probably knew that.