Broadly speaking, there are probably two schools of traveling: folks who leave their homes to meet other people and folks who stray to ensure they never have to run into said others. There are arguments and sensibilities on both sides. But when you think about our fellow global citizens – some of whom have forced NASA scientists to take time away from going to effing space to rebut tales of Mayan-prophesied apocalypse – you really have to wonder whether this whole “acknowledging the existence of others” thing is worth it:
The world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012, the US space agency insisted Monday in a rare campaign to dispel widespread rumors fueled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie… The doomsday scenario revolves around claims that the end of time will come as an obscure Planet X — or Nibiru — heads toward or collides with Earth. The mysterious planet was supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, according to claims by pseudo-scientists, paranormal activity enthusiasts and Internet theorists… “There is no factual basis for these claims,” NASA said in a question-and-answer posting on its website…. NASA insisted the Mayan calendar in fact does not end on December 21, 2012, as another period begins immediately afterward.
The best part is how NASA is at pains to point out that – actually – the Mayan calendar doesn’t even end in 2012. As if that’s the problem with people who think the world’s about to dissolve per the half-understood mythos of people without telescopes. As if they’re going to scrunch up their foreheads and say “well, we just hadn’t grasped the nuances of Mesoamerican symbolism describing cosmotellurian teleology from within a metaphorical and pre-scientific mindset wholly inappropriate for making predictions – had we but known…” So while it is true that the Mayan calendar doesn’t end on 2012, let’s stay focused.
These are people who believe that an ancient culture projected astronomical events millenia into the future without an understanding of – just for starters – gravity. You think mere facts are going to fix things?
On the other hand, we do unironically advocate living as if the world is about to end (not so much in a carpe diem inspirational sense as in the “don’t worry about maxing out your credit card – it’s all over anyway” sense). And we’re only half joking about this. Don’t sit comatose on your coach unblinkingly watching reruns, even reruns of the Discovery Channel that debunk Mayan myths. Don’t stay fat, stupid, and untraveled. Get out, see as much as you can, touch as much as you can, taste as much as you can. If you have to believe that the world is ending so you spend a little more on travel and a little less on furniture, feel free.
Just please don’t tell us about it. We might not get you’re just using it as a cognitive crutch, and we might react.