Who to believe?

The Mayan long count calendar ends on December 21, 2012, which is this Friday.  According to doomsday theorists, that means the end of the world as we know it.  These theorists say it will end midnight, Friday December 21, 2012.  Notice they don’t specify a time zone.

Since it is almost impossible to turn on a television set this week without seeing some programming covering the end of the world, I’ve watched some of the more reasonable ones.   Some of the things I’ve heard and seen are very interesting.  Things such as the Mayans don’t predict the end of the world. People who are supposedly experts at deciphering the Mayan glyphs say they can find nothing that indicates the physical end of life on earth. The calendar just ends, which apparently indicates the end of the 13th baktun, a span of time defined as 144,000 days. December 22 will mark the beginning of the 14th baktun, nothing more.  The nearest analogy used was when our calendar changed from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000.

Remember the panic and paranoia over “Y2K”?   And what happened? People woke up Jaunary 1, swearing never to drink that much again, then went about their normal lives.  Expect the same kind of reaction Saturday December 22, 2012.  People will wake up, have coffee, then hit the mall for some full contact Christmas shopping on the last weekend before Christmas.  Even the descendants of the Mayans simply say “the calendar will start over”, which has been my view all along.

Of course, if I’m wrong, there won’t be anyone left to say “you blew it, girl”.  If I’m right, I promise I won’t say “I told you so” – really, I  promise.

Interestingly enough, there are many predictions of the end of the world, but they don’t have any date attached to them.  The legends of the Hopi describe the end of everything.  Of course, the Bible covers it, graphically, in The Revelation of Saint John, which is the last book in the Bible.  According to what I heard, the Torah and the Q’ran also mention the end of the world as do other religions.

Nostradamus, who apparently has quite a high accuracy rate, also predicts the end of the world. His prediction mention balls of fire from the heavens (pick your own description – missiles, comets, meteors, whatever), but not until the year 3797.

So, are we to believe those who predict Doomsday based on the ending of a calendar from a long-dead civilization; or those who, like me, take the more pragmatic view that the Mayan long count calendar simply marks the end of a cycle?  Personally, I’m going shopping December 22, 2012.

Enjoy the rest of your week.  Remember to hug an artist – we need love too and don’t worry, nothing’s gonna happen Friday midnight. No matter what time zone you live in.


I think we’re safe

Recently I read something, perhaps in a Facebook post by someone, that said the Mayan long calendar is wrong about December 21, 2012.  The reasoning was that the Mayans didn’t take into account leap years.  The addition of that extra day every four years is bound to throw off the calculations, and does anyone want to figure out how many leap years there have been since the calendar was (a) created and (b) deciphered?

Speaking of deciphering, I saw something on television last night that said the Mayan glyphs were actually deciphered by a mathematician and librarian in Germany.  So, this once again brings up the question “how do we know the decoding was accurate?”   Mathematic formulae can do wondrous things (such as get me through high school math) but since the Mayan glyphs are pictograms and not words in a foreign language I would think any values assigned by the decoder would need to be rather arbitrary and based upon his personal experience and education.  Which, as I wrote above, brings up the question of accuracy.

I would also think that something else that would cast doubt upon the accuracy of that dating is this: in 1752, much of the world switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.  September 2 was followed by September 13, not September 3.  Those eleven days surely would have also affected the accuracy of both the prediction and the translation of the glyphs.  So, given these possible variables, I think I can safely say we have nothing to worry about, except possibly the weather.

In any event, I ascribe to the view of an “expert” interviewed by the Toronto Star years ago who, when asked what he thought would happen December 22, 2012, said simply “the calendar will start over.”  Think about it.  Our calendar ends with December 31 every year.  Does the world end?  No, the sun comes up January 1 and life carries on, Why should it be any different with the Mayan long calendar?

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Answer me this

According to some doomsday theorists, the end of the world is less than three months away – December 21, 2012 to be precise.  That is the date on which the Mayan long calendar ends.  I have several questions on this theory, which I’m going to ask and, if I’m doing my job properly, you’ll have questions as well.

First, how do we know the Mayan cuneiforms have been translated properly?  Is there some sort of western hemisphere version of the Rosetta stone?  These people who are touted as being Mayan “experts” – how do we know for sure?  Is there some sort of exam you take and if you pass it you can call yourself a Mayan expert? There are no Mayans to test you.

Now, let’s move on to the calendar and the theories themselves.  First, I’ve written some of this before, but it still applies.  Can anyone give me one single reason why the Mayan long calendar wouldn’t act the same as our Gregorian calendar and simply start over?  This is what an “expert” interviewed by the Toronto Star a couple of years ago believes will happen. Our calendar ends with December 31.  Does the world end on December 31?   No.  The sun comes up the next day, January 1, and things carry on as usual.  Why wouldn’t this also apply to the Mayan calendar?  If we accept these theories for a moment (I don’t – I believe the calendar will just start over) I have one more question.  You say the world will end with December 21, 2012.  What time zone?

I know that some people put great faith in this calendar and the fact it ends just before Christmas this year.  Couple more questions: Nobody else has successfully predicted the end of the world, so why should the Mayans do any better?   And, if the Mayans were so great at predicting events, how come they couldn’t predict the fact they’d all die off?  They’re all dead, so why should we put any great stock in their end of the world prediction?  If they’re wrong, we certainly can’t turn to them and say “you screwed up”, can we?

I read an article in one of the Toronto papers several months ago that said archeologists had discovered a room at one of the Mayan ruins that indicated that their mathematicians didn’t believe the world would end.  Again, if the translation is correct, this would lend credence to my statement the calendar will just start over.

And one final question: What are you going to do in December: plan for Christmas, or plan for the end of the world?

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.