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2012 and all that end-of-the-world Maya stuff (yawn)

Ancient History

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Edited: Jan 11, 2010, 2:12pm Top

I am an actual, professionally-trained, Mayanist, and have directed several field projects in Central America. I do not expect those who believe that the world will end in 2012 to accept my opinion, but perhaps some will accept this simple observation (from 13 years ago), regarding their vast misconceptions of the Maya calendar.

Some uninformed "experts" are claiming that the world will end in 2012, because they are under the impression that the ancient Mayan Calendar signals the end to the fourth creation of the cosmos at that time. What they do not realize, is that archeologists, and epigraphers, have thoroughly deciphered the Mayan texts, unequivocally showing that on that crucial date, the universal order will be reinforced, not destroyed.

In 1997, the late Linda Schele, a Mayanist at the University of Texas at Austin, scientifically demonstrated that the Maya calendar actually extends well into the 50th Century...(from a 1997 News brief).

Those who were hoping that they did not have to pay their credit card bills after 2012 will doubtlessly be disappointed.

Hollywood of course, will continue to pay no attention to these facts.

P.T. Barnum has been proven accurate once again.

Jan 11, 2010, 2:18pm Top

Well, shoot!! I was hoping that Chicago Mayor Daley had outfoxed Morgan Stanley/LAZ Parking when last year he sold them a 75-year lease on the city's parking meters for $1.1 billion. I figured that when the world came to an end only four years into the lease Daley would be laughing at them. I guess we got gypped after all.

Jan 11, 2010, 5:25pm Top

It doesn't mean a Mars sized celestial object won't crash into the Earth and knock off a piece as big as the Moon.


Jan 11, 2010, 5:44pm Top

True Robert! There is always that possibility. But, the Maya did not foresee it, so how could it possibly happen? (insert Maya smiley face)

Jan 11, 2010, 6:11pm Top

This Bizarro comic seems appropriate. :D

Jan 11, 2010, 8:09pm Top

I love the comic! But seriously folks, the problem from the outset is that linear oriented Western perspectives cannot conceive of the self-renewing cyclical, which the Mayans (as well as the Hindus and many others) base their wordviews.

Jan 11, 2010, 8:33pm Top

I'd be fine if the world ended in 2012. There's some credit card debt I'd REALLY like to be rid of. If only Quezalcoatl himself would come back and take a big flaming dump on the Chase building to set it all off...

Jan 12, 2010, 12:26am Top

I wonder if you could offer all the 2012ers $0.10 on the dollar for the titles to their houses and cars, to be transferred on 01/01/2013. They would get some ready cash to build their survival hideaways, and they would never have to pay it back after the catastrophe.

Jan 12, 2010, 12:31am Top

Hate to tell you this but that calendar stone is Aztec not Mayan! 8^)

By the way did any of you see '2012'?

Jan 12, 2010, 2:12am Top

>1 EricCGibson: Seriously, thank you Eric. I hope the Mayans are right about the reinforcement of the universal order. (Whatever that means. It sounds good on the surface. Much better than the total destruction of the world, anyway.)

Edited: Jan 12, 2010, 2:47am Top

Jan 12, 2010, 7:09am Top

5, 11> Now those are great cartoons!!
7> I gather that there are people in the United States that run a insurance programme (and I cannot recall the specific details right now) for people thinking they will be picked for the "Rapture". If the people get "raptured" the the company gains access to then property.

Jan 12, 2010, 9:04am Top

The aztec calendar is derived from the maya calendar which was invented roughly 1500 years earlier (when there were no aztecs). The aztecs of 500 b.C. were hunter-gatherer tribes running around in the deserts of the gran chichimeca.

Jan 12, 2010, 10:20am Top

>12 Barton:

not an insurance program for the Rapture, but I've always gotten a kick out of the concept behind the Time Travel Fund


Jan 12, 2010, 8:57pm Top

Love the cartoons. The Aztecs had much in common with the Spanish who crushed them; when they came to power they destroyed all written records of those before them so they could institute their own mythologcal origins. What goes around comes around.

Edited: Jan 25, 2010, 9:30pm Top

#12 & 14 - After you've been raptured what happens to your pets? Not to worry.


Jan 25, 2010, 9:55pm Top

OMG sgt that's f---ing rapturous! Straight to my FB page!

Jan 26, 2010, 8:11am Top

#16 - THAT is hilarious! I notice Indiana's not on the list. I wonder what my cut is if I sign up to help? I have 10 fenced-in acres, a couple of barns and can take care of any livestock that isn't a pig and doesn't have feathers. ;)

Jan 26, 2010, 8:36am Top

I have heard of this in Canada and all I can think of sillyness partnered with scam artists. Barnun(sp) comes to minf,:A fool is born every minute and a Fool and His money are soon parted.

Jan 26, 2010, 9:26am Top

>19 Barton: a Fool and His money are soon parted

Yup, and that's the point.

Jan 26, 2010, 1:03pm Top

Apocalyptic scenarios and end-times conspiracies -- raptures, 2012, Heaven's Gate, whatever -- obviously serve a deep need for (some) people. Are there any works that address this topic as a whole, e.g. from a viewpoint of history, sociology, neurology, etc.?

Edited: Jan 26, 2010, 2:26pm Top

"Studies of apocalyptic millennialism, demonization, and conspiracism",written by Paul Boyer, has been recommended to me, but I have not read it.

Still, the obvious psychological need, that some people have, to believe in the earth's near-term expiration date, is intriguing to say the least.

Jan 26, 2010, 2:40pm Top

i always laugh at apocalyptic the headlines on the Weekly World News, Enquirer, etc. you know...
"The World Will End In Six Months!"

i mean, if I were the editor of one of these rags i would make damn sure that the world wouldn't end for at least a year and a day, that way more people will renew their subscriptions.

Edited: Jan 26, 2010, 4:27pm Top

Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!

Jan 26, 2010, 7:37pm Top

that's great -- what date isthat from -- I'd like to post it to FB

Jan 26, 2010, 9:18pm Top

I've always thought Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millenium was terrific, but it focuses on the issue in the Middle Ages.

Jan 27, 2010, 1:19pm Top

> 22, 26 -- Thanks, both of those sound quite interesting! I will have to look for them.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:10pm Top

If someone's interested in the 1st millenium I can recommend the Center for Milennial Studies: http://www.mille.org/index.html

A lot of the content deals with 1st millenium apocalopsism (apocalysm? is there such a word?). Richard Landes is very good though he does tend to find apocalyptic thought under just about every rock sometimes.

Jan 28, 2010, 9:37am Top

#18 - I tried to sign up for Virginia but they're not signing new reps at the moment.

Jan 28, 2010, 9:44am Top

#10 About "the reinforcement of the universal order". As I understand it, The Maya are referring to a golden age of peace and prosperity. I hope it's true!

Jan 28, 2010, 10:20am Top

Before spending too much time on the question of what the prediction means, I would like to know how accurate the Mayans' other predictions have been :) What is their track record?

Jan 28, 2010, 4:36pm Top

It all fades faster than we expect:



Jan 28, 2010, 5:47pm Top

When we used the new data on the number and size of super-massive black holes, we found that the entropy of the observable universe is about 30 times larger than previous calculations

Mr Durick, very interesting link. Thanks for posting it.

What I have read is that cosmological entropy is evaluated with the baryon-photon ratio. (I can type it but that is as far as I can go.)

Maybe someone can comment further here or perhaps we can get a discussion in the Physics group on this research into the entropy revision based on the number of black holes.

Jan 28, 2010, 7:38pm Top

I just know that if we don't clean the livingroom frequently entropy takes over 30 times faster than I can clean

Jan 28, 2010, 8:07pm Top

Not sure that is precisely the scientific definition of entropy - but my experience is similar.

Jan 28, 2010, 8:14pm Top


Jan 28, 2010, 9:54pm Top

Quentin Crisp probably in The Naked Civil Servant said that after five years it makes no difference.


Jan 29, 2010, 12:49am Top

And even less after 100 billion.

Jan 29, 2010, 4:23am Top

this is amusing.

Jan 29, 2010, 8:46am Top

I love the phrase "maximum entropy". It has a nice ring to it. I'm going to use it in a conversation sometime today.

Jan 29, 2010, 1:20pm Top

> 40 As Dave Barry would say, "Maximum Entropy" sounds like a great name for a band. :D

Mar 2, 2010, 8:26am Top

#1 "What they do not realize, is that archeologists, and epigraphers, have thoroughly deciphered the Mayan texts, unequivocally showing that on that crucial date, the universal order will be reinforced, not destroyed."

Eric, one man's yin is another man's yang. To most life forms on the planet, the extinction of civilization as we know it would be reinforcing the universal order. Instead of ending, maybe we will witness a recycle.

Mar 2, 2010, 8:06pm Top

>42 quicksiva: from the perspective of the contemporary Maya today, almost anything would be an upgrade.

I like this thread. So many idiots keep asking me about 2012, it is gratifying to see that I am not alone.

Mar 3, 2010, 1:39am Top

We had a Mayanist lecture at my school today about the fallacies of this 2012 apocalypse scenario. Dr. Matthew Looper, if anyone follows names in this field. :)

Most of what he said was already summarized in early posts, but it was really interesting to listen to the presentation.

May 13, 2010, 12:16pm Top

I'd never have guessed it from the heading, but, in terms of bursts of loud laughter surprised out of me, this is one of the funniest threads I can remember reading. I laughed so hard at that 'earthbound pets' thing that it quite upset my parrot.

May 13, 2010, 3:19pm Top

Number 45:

What you said. This thread is very funny!

May 13, 2010, 7:00pm Top

#45 - Prob'ly 'cause he realized from your reaction that you weren't signing up ...

Dec 5, 2011, 4:20pm Top

Well...only a few more days!

Dec 8, 2011, 11:44pm Top

Honestly, a survey of apocalyptic thought shows just how popular ending the world is. There's an impressive history of doom and gloom predictions. Just read Bernard mcGinn or John J. Collins or Paul Boyer's look at American apocalyptic ideas.

Dec 13, 2011, 3:47pm Top

18 days left! :-)

Dec 14, 2011, 6:50am Top

If only!
In 18 days it just begins. We'll be hearing about it all year.

I'm counting on the U.S. Presidential election to settle the matter.

Dec 14, 2011, 10:33am Top

>51 Amtep: Indeed. If government can solve nothing else, let's at least put it to work on this!

Dec 18, 2011, 1:36am Top

One side will say it's not a problem, the other will say Jesus will fix it.

Dec 19, 2011, 6:56am Top

#51 If any of the Republican nominees wins the election, it might as well be the end of the world

Jan 12, 2012, 11:57am Top

Good morning! I see we are still here.

Jan 12, 2012, 8:26pm Top

I personally can't wait for February first, so I can blast this all day:

Jun 9, 2012, 7:37pm Top

Made it halfway - which is better than I'll Have Another

Nov 26, 2012, 2:00pm Top

Less than one month to go to Dec 21, 2012. Any of you guys stocked up on paper bags to pull over your heads? ;-)

Nov 26, 2012, 6:45pm Top

Mine still has candy in it.

Nov 26, 2012, 6:51pm Top

Have you noticed the closer it gets to the date, the less attention it's getting?

Nov 26, 2012, 8:18pm Top

Heh. 2012--it's so 2011.

Nov 26, 2012, 9:54pm Top

I've heard it opined that Hurricane Sandy was part of the beginning.

Yeah, I know. So what.

Nov 27, 2012, 9:35am Top

I wonder if the Maya's also predicted the end of Twinkies, the only food designed to survive the Apocalype?

Nov 27, 2012, 10:17am Top

And the guy who died after eating dozens of cockroaches in a contest, these creatures being the other predicted survivor:


Nov 27, 2012, 12:24pm Top

One of my all-time favorite scientists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, takes on the apocalypse fantasists in a brief video:


Nov 27, 2012, 2:31pm Top

Tyson skewers this nonsense so effectively that I shall say no more on this subject-except JUST WATCH THE VIDEO! 8^)

Nov 27, 2012, 3:55pm Top

Well, he didn't see the movie 2012 that I saw; we might wonder whether he saw any of them. He debunked one way that the world might end, but he certainly hasn't demonstrated that the world won't end on December 21. The reports I've seen of the end of the Mayan calendar don't show the mode of destruction.

I am already keeping a calendar well into next year. But if the world does end on December 21 and it is noticeable I will think it interesting.


Nov 28, 2012, 11:26am Top

There have been similar dire warnings about the world coming to an end from various cultures, including Native Americans, the Chinese, Egyptians and even the Irish — the supposed Mayan prophecy seems to have held the most sway with believers.

The Mayan civilization, which reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D., had a talent for astronomy. Advanced mathematics and primitive astronomy flourished, creating what many have called the most accurate calendar in the world.

We’re few weeks away from Dec. 21, 2012, the date that the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar allegedly marked as the end of an era that would reset the date to zero and signal the end of humanity. The Mayan civilization, which reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D., had a talent for astronomy. Advanced mathematics and primitive astronomy flourished, creating what many have called the most accurate calendar in the world.

“The Maya are viewed by many westerners as exotic folks that were supposed to have had some special, secret knowledge,” said Mayan scholar Sven Gronemeyer. “What happens is that our expectations and fears get projected on the Maya calendar.”
“Human beings seem to be attracted by apocalyptic ideas and always assume the worst,” Gronemeyer said.

Why there are still people who want to believe in in this kind of superstition in this 21st century is beyond me.

Nov 28, 2012, 3:23pm Top

My late husband (a professional occultist) used to say that expecting the world to end when the calendar ends is a lot like expecting the car to disintegrate when the odometer rolls over to all zeros. Our brains like patterns, and want the patterns to be important and to mean something. Back to zero is brain sexy!

Nov 28, 2012, 5:27pm Top

I have never actually met someone who believes in this Mayan end of world business. While many (sometimes myself included) are of a long-term apocalyptic bent, I wonder how many are really out there worrying about it. I'm sure one can find isolated extreme examples, but maybe the magnitude of the concern is overblown and really just (to use an outmoded form of expression) "sells newspapers".

Nov 28, 2012, 11:08pm Top

This reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke's short story, The Nine Billion Names of God. In the story, Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka believe that the world will end when all the 9 billion names of God are calculated. They've been working on the calculations for centuries. Then two computer programmers set up a computer system to finish the calculations in a few minutes. As the programmers are walking back to their car, and having a good laugh at the gullible monks, they realize that the calculations should just about be finished. They glance up and "one by one, above them, the stars winked out..."

Nov 29, 2012, 12:31am Top

Well, there were a lot of people who thought the world would end at the Millennium-like the earth knew from a human construct such as the calender & at the stroke of midnight-POOF! we'd all be dead & the earth would no longer exist.

Yeah! ...Right. 8^)

Nov 29, 2012, 12:38am Top

I used to love watching Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World ..!

Nov 30, 2012, 2:33pm Top

Remember when everybody thought the computers would fail and airplanes would fall from the sky on January 1st, 2000?
I suppose all those people who planned for that still have their stuff...they'll be the ones laughing when the Zombie Apocalypse starts...

Nov 30, 2012, 2:41pm Top

>74 groovykinda: I know--wouldn't it be ironic if zombies were attracted by canned peas or something?

Nov 30, 2012, 10:42pm Top

That's how you know they're no longer human.

Dec 21, 2012, 6:49am Top

And today's the big day!

I liked this story about a cult where all the members were told to withdraw their money from banks: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/cult-members-busted-warning-people-mayan-a...

Because, apparently, you CAN take it with you.

Here's a survival guide: http://www.examiner.com/article/mayan-apocalypse-surviving-the-end-of-the-world Evidently, even if the world ends, you may not. Not sure how that works.

Me? I have to go to work. On the Friday before Christmas. Truly apocalyptic.

Dec 21, 2012, 9:10am Top

So all of the apocalypse nuts can come out of the caves now. Next up: biblical end times. How can we be such an advanced country with so many wingnuts running around?

Dec 21, 2012, 9:47am Top

I thought we already went through that? http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Biblical-scholar-s-date-for-rapture-May-21... I didn't notice it myself - guess I wasn't invited.

There've always been people unhappy enough with their existence to want it all to end, and always will be. And there will always be folks who want to take advantage of that, either for their 20 seconds of fame, or money. One of the whacky constants of Human existence.

Dec 21, 2012, 10:34am Top

>78 Garp83: Let's not be hasty. There 37 minutes to go yet...

Dec 21, 2012, 10:56am Top

#79 I was horrifed the other day to learn that one third of Americans believe that extreme weather is a sign of biblical end times. Somehow overwhelming scientific evidence for anthropogenic global warming merits nothing more than a skeptical gaze, but biblical end times seems to make perfect sense . . . wtf?

Dec 21, 2012, 11:40am Top

There 37 minutes to go yet...

That depends on your time zone

Dec 21, 2012, 1:18pm Top

A Rolling Apocalypse?

Dec 21, 2012, 1:50pm Top

Well in Aussie, it is already the 22nd.

Did I miss anything?

Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 1:52pm Top

Nothing much. Merely the end of the world ;-)

Dec 21, 2012, 2:01pm Top

Not true, my Cats would have told me.

Dec 21, 2012, 2:03pm Top

Only if they would have run out of munchies.

Dec 21, 2012, 2:16pm Top

Pats Cat, saying Yes, Yeesh...

Dec 21, 2012, 2:42pm Top

And, as usual, the BBC puts it all in perspective: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20712815

Dec 21, 2012, 3:29pm Top

Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millenium is wonderful on the end-of-world cults that preceded the year 1000 CE.

Le plus ca change....

Dec 21, 2012, 3:30pm Top

Wow. There's Internet access in the next life.

Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 3:37pm Top

From an Associated Press news release:
Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History even suggested that historical calculations to synchronize the Mayan and Western calendars might be off a few days. It said the Mayan Long Count calendar cycle might not really end until Sunday.

Dec 21, 2012, 4:08pm Top

I held off writing and addressing my holiday cards, hoping for the apocalypse. Still here. Darn! Maybe folks will get Valentine's Day cards instead.

Dec 21, 2012, 4:33pm Top

Valentine's Day 2013? You mean you haven't heard?

Edited: Dec 21, 2012, 5:58pm Top

Come one #94,

I really was looking forth to the (real) next...

Although. I do turn 66 in Jan. Surely that is the
"End of the World"?

ETA. Yes, I do know that the alternatives are worst.

Dec 24, 2012, 8:25pm Top

Good to know. I know this is a response that is close (or after) the advertised event, but I was not worried. I am not an expert like you are, but I had heard on National Geographic that there was a different interpretation than the 2012 information and that is was more current. Glad to hear what that newer projection was. And just let me say that you explained it so I could understand it. I find sometimes that, while panning away from the narrator to the ancient Mayan ruins, said narrator talks on and on about what the ruins say from the stones and I change the channel. Good to have someone coherent explain it.

I am 61 and I visited New York when I was 18. One of the things that I noticed at the time (because I was looking at everything I was so excited to be there) was there were a couple of gentleman walking around with signs that said "Repent: the end of the world is near." Or, just plain "The end of the world is near." I guess 43 years is just a drop in the bucket as far as time is concerned, but it seems someone is always crying about the end of the world.

What I think is that the human race will destroy "the world" long before any of these predicted events. I don't imply that I am failing to do my part.

Dec 24, 2012, 8:28pm Top

Yeah, remember the big deal with the conversion from 1999 to 2000? Our IT people managed to get quadruple overtime in order to save the world!!!! Well, at least someone benefited!!!

Dec 24, 2012, 9:03pm Top

Even though I was one of the 'first' people (in Australia) to recognize the Y2K bug, back in 1989 I didn't get a penny from it.

My Boss, to whom I had pointed out the problem - really only a minor problem in DB design - went on to get a name as a Y2K specialist later on. And I am NOT disparaging him!

It's just that I would have liked to cash in on some of the "big bucks" at that time.


PS. I was working on a "forward planning" control
program which looked 15+ years ahead.

Dec 24, 2012, 9:18pm Top


Dec 25, 2012, 9:32am Top

#95 There's a calendar on my wall and it ends next Tuesday. Seriously, after December 31, it has no days on it at all. What's more, it's from an insurance company and they have all those actuarial charts.

Just sayin' ...

Dec 25, 2012, 12:08pm Top


Dec 26, 2012, 2:12pm Top

C'mon, #100, if your insurance company knew the world was ending next week, your rates would've tripled.

Dec 26, 2012, 2:15pm Top

Nah, quite the contrary, knowing they wouldn't have been around to pay out they would have offered "insurances" for next to nothing.

Dec 26, 2012, 4:01pm Top

No one will have the endurance
To collect on his insurance
Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go.

Dec 26, 2012, 9:54pm Top

TL: remembered still!

Dec 27, 2012, 12:31am Top

OK, That 'has to have be' a song from the 60's.

Please Utube it (if possibe)


Edited: Dec 27, 2012, 3:10am Top

Thanks 'stellar...'. I do own 2 CD's by Tom and unfortunatey your link didn't seen to work.

Is this the one?

Dec 27, 2012, 3:01am Top

That's the one.

Jan 4, 2013, 2:29am Top

>110 stellarexplorer: Odd. The link works for me. Though it sounds like you didn't really need it anyway...

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