Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Mayans And 2012: Prophesied Celestial Conspiracy

David Millerchip on the likelihood of the world ending in 2012


Believe it or not, when the clock ticks over to December 21st 2012 there will be no armageddon. Instead, there will be lots of people with red faces wondering why the hell they believed something superstitious could bring about the end of the world.


Scientists believe that the sun has entered a period of increased solar activity and it has been suggested in the news recently that this could threaten to damage our infrastructure as the charged solar winds wreak havoc on our electronics. Predictably, believers of the 2012 prophecy have linked this to the Mayan calendar, and as 2012 draws nearer, it's hard to dispute that this increase of solar activity coincides quite nicely with the theory. But this is just one of many 'suggestions' of what might happen on December 21st next year. world.

We know the Mayan calendar stops on that date, but does that mean it's predicting the end of the world? The ancient Mayan civilisation forecast that the end of the current universe would occur at the end of the Mayan long count. Understanding the calendar, and how it works, sheds some light into how the Mayans came about into believing this suggestion.

A calendar is a cycle of time; broken right down to the decimal point. Our modern calendar, based on the ancient Roman calendar, uses a long count (or mythological beginning of time) of base ten. For example, our decimal count would begin at 0.0 and end with 0.9. Ten numbers, and then our cycle would begin once again, with 1.0 to 1.9 and so on. The Mayan calendar instead uses a long count of base 20, and this would go on to include cycles of 20 days, or ‘K’in’, to make up one ‘Uinal’ (a sort of ancient Mayan month) and then 18 ‘Uinals’ would make up a ‘Tun’ which is just short of one solar year. These cycles were devised to fit around mythology and superstition that surrounded the Mayan people. The Mayan calendar can be traced back to around 3114BC, and when you add up all of the base 20 counts it corresponds with the 1 Mayan B’ak’tun, which is the end of their long count and this falls on December 21st 2012.

'Theorists' have taken this information and decided our world will end on this date. Some believe there will be a polar shift (which is impossible) or an alignment of planets that will rip Earth to pieces. Because gravity is the weakest of the four forces of nature, it’s just not going to happen; in the same way that a ‘Supermoon’ did not cause the recent earthquake near Japan. The Mayans (who created the calendar, I might reinforce) believe that this will be a date for great celebration when a new cycle will begin, more prosperous than the previous.

Most poignant about this calendar, is that the base 20 system for creating it was devised because a human has ten fingers and ten toes. So if you believe we've all got less than two years left, you think someone’s index finger, pinkie or big toe can forecast the destruction of the universe.

The looming apocalypse is just one of countless 'ideas', 'theories' and supposed ‘truths’ that defy logic and common sense, relying on sensationalism to misinform the public. We, as a species, have a hunger for the outrageous; stories and ideas that are huge and go against the norm. Conspiracy theories such as the faked moon landing seem to draw people in with outlandish claims absent of rational thought. The 2012 suggestion can hardly be considered a conspiracy; it is a premeditated event prophecised from a higher being. It's less credible than conspiracy, yet some people are genuinely terrified by it.

So to all those who are still in cold sweats: if the world ends on December 21st 2012, I’ll buy you all a pint.

1 comments:

Lottie Bowater said...

The Mayans were right: it's the 2012 Olympics. Or rather, the end of London.. Cameron is turning East London into a computer village. We're all fucked.

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