“WE’RE all doomed,” Private Frazer used to say with fatalistic zest in Dad’s Army.
And it appears that 15% of the world’s population share his cataclysmic outlook.
According to a poll they believe the world will end during their lifetime.
“Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming,” said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs which conducted the poll for Reuters.
And wait. There’s more as 10% think it will happen this year. On December 21 to be precise, which will be the end of the Mayan calendar. Not that we in the Western world have ever had anything to with the Mayan calendar before. We all use normal calendars we buy from Boots.
But back in the 1960s some student of the Maya civilisation which was in Central and South America more than 1,000 years ago suggested the end of their astrological calendar would coincide with the end of the world.
Professional modern scholars don’t believe this. Anyone with half a brain doesn’t believe this. Even the Mayas don’t believe it’s the end of the world, but only the end of a cycle.
But New Age philosophers, bored with life as we know it, prefer a Bruce Willis version of Apocalypse Now.
This year, in fact, has attracted more world conspiracy theorists, followers of weird sects and nutters than ever before who believe the end is nigh. There are, it is said, more than 175 books listed on Amazon dealing with a 2012 doomsday.
Disturbingly, those asked in the poll were just ordinary people – 16,262 ordinary people in more than 20 countries and they still came up with the disturbing percentages. Until you look at the national breakdown.
Now 22% in America said they were convinced we are doomed – that’s almost a quarter of the citizens of the most powerful nation in the world which makes you worried about whose finger is on the nuclear button.
However, the more sophisticated European countries tended to be a little more sceptical. France notched up only 6%, Belgium 7% and Great Britain 8%.
About one in 10 people globally also said they were experiencing fear or anxiety about the impending day of judgement. Poor souls. The greatest numbers were in Russia and Poland, the fewest in Great Britain. That’s because after the way the government has handled the recession we don’t believe things can get any worse.
Armageddon? Bring it on.
If we can cope with George Osborne, we can cope with anything.