Monday, December 17, 2012
Maya Calendar Hysteria Builds Up To December 21st Climax
By Allan Wall
The hysteria has been building up for
years, based on the belief that a Maya prophecy foretells the end of the world on December 21st, 2012.
There are books and TV shows about the date, and Hollywood made a movie about it. People
have written NASA asking the space agency if they should kill themselves and their children.
The 2012 phenomenon has its adherents in many parts of the world: the U.S., the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, China,
and in Latin America.
Even the purveyors of the hysteria, some of whom
have made a lot of money, can't agree on what is actually to occur. Some say the world will be destroyed on the
21st as a result of a collision with Planet X or Nibiru or a black hole or for some other reason.
Others predict not a destruction of the planet but the end of civilization. In a Super Bowl ad, General Motors portrayed
a destruction of civilization which can, however, be survived by a man and his dog in a Chevy Silverado. (See the commercial,
on YouTube, here).
Other 2012 promoters approach
it from another angle, predicting that December 21st will usher in a new "cosmic consciousness" or something like
that, which is easier to climb down from than predicting something cataclysmic that doesn't occur.
The Maya were (and are) an indigenous culture dwelling in eastern Mexico and western Central
America. They flourished in pre-Hispanic times, and left many temples, pyramids and other structures, as well as a complex
writing system. The study of their ruins is fascinating. I've been able to visit the Maya archaeological sites
of Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, and El Rey in Mexico, and Lamanai in Belize.
at mathematics and astronomy, the Maya managed several calendars simultaneously. It is one of these calendars, called
the "long count," that is at issue here.
Did the Maya actually
predict something cataclysmic or transcendent on December 21st, 2012?
date in the Maya calendar corresponding to December 21st, 2012 is mentioned a few times in Maya inscriptions, but so are many
other dates. The Maya worked with distant dates and big numbers, and they projected dates far into the future in order
to relate them to their own times. These are projections, not prophecies.
The most famous reference to the date was found at the Tortuguero site in Tabasco state, Mexico. That inscription
is damaged and incomplete, its meaning obscure and uncertain. It's not much to base a theory on.
Furthermore, the "Temple of the Inscriptions" (at Palenque, in Mexico's state
of Chiapas) has a projected date inscribed that corresponds to 4772 A.D., which indicates they didn't think the world
was going to end in 2012.
What actually is significant about the December
21st, 2012 date in the Maya calendar is that it's the end of the 13th b'aktún. (A b'aktún
is a period of 394.3 years in the long count).
Despite all the hoopla
and hysteria, there is no Maya prophecy of the end of the world.
are some quotes from recognized scholars in the field who study Maya archaeology:
● Mark van Stone of FAMSI (Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.):"There
is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change
of any sort in 2012."
● Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin
American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History: "We have no record or knowledge that [the Maya]
would think the world would come to an end" in 2012.
Stuart (University of Texas) calls it "complete nonsense," and says it's promoted by "gurus and spiritualists
who wouldn't know a Maya glyph if one hit them on the nose."
neither Maya experts nor the contemporary Maya themselves, but rather "New Age" gurus who are the principal promoters
of the 2012 Maya calendar hysteria.
Certainly the human race faces plenty
of problems, but they're not explained by a non-existent Maya prophecy which is used by its promoters to make a lot of
For more information, I invite readers to peruse my previous article
2012: Prophecies of the Maya Calendar for more details.
Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years. His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info/.