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January 31, 2012

Apocalypse draws near

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Written by: Brittany Fasano

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Samantha Barlin, Production Designer

Samantha Barlin, Production Designer

With the supposed end of humankind fast approaching this year, as the ancient Mayans predicted thousands of years ago, some may be gearing up for one of three potential outcomes: an apocalyptic end, a transcendental shift in human consciousness or just another day.

According to Mark Heley in his book, “The Everything Guide to 2012,” “Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar. This is the very last day this calendar counts up to.”

Throughout time, there have been many end-of-the-world predictions. The difference between past doomsday prophecies and the end of the Mayan calendar is the variance in total number of believers. The Mayans were known for their advanced mathematical skills and knowledge of astronomy, which is evident in their calendar.

“For the Maya, time was the essential center of their culture, an all important singular focus that pervaded every aspect of their way of life,” Heley wrote.

The Mayans used three separate calendars: the Long Count, the Tzolkin and the Haab. The Long Count was used to look into and date historical events. The Tzolkin was a 260-day cycle from which predictions and prophecies could be made. The Haab was the calendar the Mayans used to record the 360-day cycle of their year. The Tzolkin and the Haab combined specified unique days within a 52-year cycle, which compares to the equivalent of our century.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.“From what I know, there’s no prediction from the ancient times that the 2012 date in any way presages an ‘end of the world.’ Rather, Mayan historians generally concur that coming to the end of one cycle would be a moment of celebration for the society and then the calendar would just begin again just as it did back in 3114,” San Diego State astronomy professor Doug Leonard said.

There is a prophecy in one of the surviving books of the Mayans, “The Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin,” which says, “in the final days of misfortune, in the final days of tying up the bundle of the 13 (katuns) on 4 Ahau, then the end of the world shall come and the katun of our fathers will ascend on high.”

This text suggests the Maya thought the world would come to an end in 2012, but they also believed when the world was destroyed, it would be reborn and created anew.

“This could be interpreted as a worldwide disaster rather than an apocalypse,” Heley wrote.

The prophecy finishes, “these valleys of the earth shall come to an end. For those katuns there shall be no priests and no one who believes in his government without having doubts.”

After 2012, the world will enter a new era, unmapped by the Maya. Most apocalyptic conclusions about the Mayan calendar and what is being written about the subject are considered modern speculation.

The world is going through several momentous crises, including financial instability, a depletion of resources, an extinction of species and a boom in population growth. But even the creator of the “Galactic Superwave Theory,” Paul LaViolette, is optimistic about humanity’s outcome.

“If there is an event, he believes it is likelier to be a more minor wake-up call type of event, rather than a cataclysm,” Heley wrote.

It would be impossible for the Mayans to predict the exact date of the end of the world, but to some, that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen.

“I don’t think the world will end,” computer science sophomore Jared Fukushima said. “There has always been speculation and different dates pointing to when the world will end and nothing has yet to happen.”

Upon being asked what he will do on Dec. 21 Fukushima said, “I plan on throwing an ‘end of the world’ party.”

Go ahead and indulge in exhilarating theatrical thrillers based on the 2012 prophecy and delight in the various books and fanciful novels about the subject, but education is crucial and conspiracy theories should be recognized as just that: theories.

“(There is) certainly no reason from modern astronomical science to think that anything special will happen this coming December,” Leonard said. “So, I say go ahead and plan your New Year’s festivities for 2013.”

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About the Author

Brittany Fasano



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  1. scott

    not a stone will be left on top of anuther!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Meridian

    With all the crises occurring in the world today, who wouldn’t be somewhat worried about the Mayan predictions? We’re definitely hurtling toward something, whether it’s the end of the world or a series of natural disasters so epic that the human race ends up starting over!

  3. Hunab Ku

    This article caught my eye because I am an anthropologist and once traveled to the Yucatan, as a gringo tourist, not as an academic. But the article never once quoted any Maya, no elders, no shamen, no story tellers, not a single Maya. How do you know what the prophecy means unless you ask the people who created it, the Maya? Only the Maya can interpret the meaning of their prophecy because they live it, writing more every day. The Maya fought for centuries against European assimilation not for themselves or their property, known as capitalism. They continue to struggle to save anything, most of all the European invasion for the benefit of us all and the Earth. The word is not the answer.

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