I first learned about 2012 while reading Terrence Mckenna’s Archaic Revival in 1993. To me 2012 means total novelty where the structuring codes and hard defining edges of habit are dispensed with in favor of infinite potential and creativity as we meet the transcendental object at the end of time. I don’t see it as a dire prediction at all.
Obviously such novel freedom for us is threatening to the Sith Lords in the panoptic capstone as they think it should be theirs exclusively. So, they try to trap us in reality tunnels based on fear by programming us with 2012 predictions based on catastrophe and end of the world scenarios. Thusly programmed, people set out to manifest a more dismal future for themselves.