Many people, over time, have thinkable, the end of the world. But the mack daddy of prognostication (in the non-pimp sense, of course) is undoubtedly Michel Nostradamus. No one has achieved the degree of popularity and credit for accuracy than this 16th century physician, astrologer and alchemist. In the nearly 500 years since he penned his predominant quatrains, historians and students of prophecy believe that almost 50% have unfolded as predicted. Of course, that means that 50% missed the target altogether, but for prophetic accuracy, that’s considered an extraordinarily high score. Among the “accurate” prophecies for which he is given credit are both world wars, the rise and fall of Hitler and Napoleon, and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
So, everybody wants to know: will the world end in 2012? Nostradamus is consulted by believers and skeptics alike, in an effort to find out what the revered seer may have to say on current events, a branch dear to the hearts of those of us alive here and now in the 21st century.
Much has been made of the fact that one of his prophecies seemed to indicate that there would be great disturbance and unrest for the duration of (approximately) 2009 to 2012. In view of the equally popular Mayan 2012 predictions, among many others, Nostradamus’ contributions on the branch take on a singular significance. As those who study his writings claim he also seems to have thinkable, that Barack Obama would gain power at this time, as well as other events that some say are coming true with uncanny accuracy, there is a general tendency to place credence in the idea that the world will end in 2012. Nostradamus, however, never specifically said whether that the world would end, nor did he ever affix a date to his predictions. It would be a mistake to read too much into the rather vague “predictions” that over-eager scholars are quick to attribute to our own time period. A closer look at Nostradamus’ writings themselves do not substantiate a lot of what is being promoted.
For one thing, his prophecies of the time to come continue to cover a duration of time stretching out almost someone else 2,000 years ahead of our own – he guaranteed the validity of his visions up to the year 3797. This would seem to me that while he’s forecasting disastrous events colse to our current time, he doesn’t believe that they signal the world’s end. 2012, Nostradamus seems to say, will be a tough year, but one that we will at least survive. Even if they do bring some form of biblical Armageddon, humanity won’t be completely annihilated. While he might have seen some pretty horrific things that are to come, it will apparently be followed by the coming of a brave new world on the other side. Guess we can all do a group brow-wiping at this point, huh?
The accuracy with which he envisioned diverse events through history is a branch of spicy debate. While it appears that he predicts a duration of great difficulty colse to this time, the idea that the world will end in 2012 Nostradamus undoubtedly doesn’t imply in his cryptic quatrains. But it’s up to each of us to come to our own conclusions about what the predominant seer might truly be saying – and if this is one of his “hits” or “misses” – by production an unbiased study of the branch ourselves, and not relying on the hysteria and hype.