I used to think to myself, "How can someone believe that in the 20th (now 21st) century?" I have since come to understand that anyone can believe anything in any century, because the truth that these beliefs try to get away from, dukkha, is and remains the first truth of the human condition.
My heart goes out to all those who had no plan to be here today. I, too, have suffered disappointment when my strategies for escaping dukkha didn't quite work out as expected. I, too, had invested so much. I, too, was baffled at my spectacular failure.
And you know what? I didn't learn. I still invent ways of escaping dukkha in the hopes of sidestepping the hard death of the self which alone brings true liberation.
So when people ask what it will take to get folks to stop predicting the end of the world, I ask myself what it will take to get me to stop playing my own games and get down to what needs to be done.
May all beings, every last one of us and then some, be very much at ease!