Apocalypse Not: Everything You Know About 2012, Nostradamus and the Rapture Is Wrong Hot
For almost 3,000 years apocalypse prophecies have convinced people all over the world that the future is about to give them the world they want instead of the world they’ve got. All the end time prophecies splashed across the media in every age have had something else in common: every one of them has been wrong. Apocalypse Not is a lively and engaging survey of predictions about the end of the world, along with the failed dreams and nightmares that have clustered around them. Among the stories highlighted in Apocalypse Not are: the birth of the apocalypse meme out of archaic star myths in the ancient Middle East; the failed end time prophecies of Nostradamus, Mother Shipton, and other famous prophets; the long and murky road from the Great Pyramid to today’s Rapture beliefs; and the real origins of the belief in apocalypse in 2012 (hint: it’s not originally Mayan at all).
I opened this book at a random page and was immediately hooked. You wouldn't necessarily expect that tracing a cultural meme through 8,000 years of history would be particularly riveting, yet I couldn't put the book down. "Apocalypse Not" is chock full of facts that you vaguely recall having heard of in school, and scholarly insights on their context and how the dots are connected, but it is much more than just a nerd's nirvana. What made the book additionally delicious were Greer's sly wit and elegance of language, as he weaves into a coherent narrative the waves of history as they crash around the world and across the millennia.
Admittedly predictions of apocalypse do tend to pique one's curiosity. You would be amazed at the frequency of predictions that the end of the world is coming, possibly within one's own lifetime, and the rivers of blood shed by the adherents and/or opponents of each variation before it was abandoned as the appointed time came and went. The only think more amazing is the stubbornness and eternal optimism of the human spirit in believing in the possibility of peace on earth and in the coming of a savior who will usher in the end times.
It is really only with an overview on such a scale that you get a sense of the repeating patterns. You begin to appreciate the cynicism and determination of the powerful to keep people in check, as well as the counterforce of the people's unquenchable desire for peace, freedom and justice. It is a battle on a cosmic scale, but if we expect the Rapture or 2012 to magically save us, history suggests we will be disappointed once again.
Greer urges us to "accept that our happiness as human beings depends on how we choose to live our lives here and now, in this beautiful world on which we dance for so brief and precious a time." If getting stood up on yet another apocalyptic date helps people reach that realization, "then in its own way, it may actually bring in a new era of enlightenment."