03 May 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it

Really? Do people really believe it?

Obviously, it hasn't happened yet. Right?

There have been literally hundreds of people prophesizing that the end of the world is coming soon. The next "apocalypse" is May 21 of this year. Man, that means I won't get to complete my degree!!

Yea right.

My favorite, which has been glorified by a movie, and I'm sure everyone has heard enough about it, is December 21, 2012, which is the winter solstice (northern hemisphere). Why? One very common claim is that the Mayans predicted it. The Mayan calendar says the world will end come December 21, 2012.

Bull scheisse!

The Mayan calendar is actually a conglomeration of several different calendars. They used these to calculate dates that were relatively close to their time period, for the sake of being able to keep track of time. They used a long count for when something was more than 52 years in the distance, which exceeded the combination of their Tzolkin and Haab calendars. There were even some inscriptions depicting events millenia into the future- but none about the end of the world

More info on the Mayan calendars is located below the Mayan Calendars Heading. I decided to leave the technicalities to the end in order to....well, not bore you, but you can still read it if you want.

Basically, they would see the end of this long count, which lasts 5,125 years, as a cause for celebration! Completing a calendar round was of great significance for them, but no indication suggests that they made any connection or allusion to the end of the world. This was just the end of their calculations of this calendar round, but because it is a circular calendar, that means we'll just start back at the beginning again. Not some cataclysmic or apocalyptic event.

So what's all the hype about? Who knows. There have been more than 200 theoretical days that indicated the end of the world, but how many have passed without any occurrence? ALL of them. Every single one. To me, it's just to scare and/or entertain people. I'm sure there are a few nuts that really do believe that the end of the world is coming soon (and I still love you if you do, but....I don't agree with you). It's all about getting public attention and creating some sort of craze. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie 2012, but I don't believe in that stuff.

Here and here are two compiled lists of predictions of the end of the world, and I'm sure there are more out there, dating back thousands of years, and yet we are still here. Many of the predictions have happened in my lifetime! So many people have cried wolf, it makes it difficult to believe that there is really any impending doom. No Armageddon coming for me. I mean, it may happen, but I can't put a date on it, and neither can any of the other people who are freaking out about the end of the world. It'll give me satisfaction to wake up on December 22, 2012 and go "boo-yah! I'm alive!!" Even if the world does end....nobody will be there to laugh at me and say I was stupid about my prediction that the world won't end! So why live life on the edge waiting for judgment day? Nah, I'm just gonna live like I have been.

Sure, there are a lot of bad things going on in the world right now- earthquakes, floods, extreme weather, fires, terrorists, wars, but these aren't things that predict the end of the world. Neither are inscriptions indicating the end of a calendar round. Even the Bible says that we won't know when the end of the world is coming. So why try to figure it out? Don't. Now for the Mayan calendar stuff:

Mayan Calendars
The first is the Tzolkin, which consists of 260 days. The other was called the Haab', and consisted of 365 days. Combined, they made a 18,980 day cycle, which would repeat once every 52 years, or about once a lifetime (if you consider that the lifespan back then was much shorter). Then, to calculate days over 52 years, they used what is called a "long count" calendar-
  • 1 day = 1 k'in
  • 2 days = 20 k'in = 1 winal
  • 360 days = 18 winal = 1 tun
  • 7,200 days = 20 tun = 1 k'atun
  • 144,000 days = 20 k'atun = 1 b'ka'tun (this would be approximately 394 solar years...amazing!
With the combination of all these calendars, a 5,125 year cycle is created, and the Mayans would celebrate the completion of a calendar round. The last date in the most recent calendar round coincides with the winter solstice of 2012....the "end of the world"! So do I think they predicted the end of the world? No, I think they merely stopped calculating.

After all, who wants to sit around calculating a calendar 5,125 years into the future? I certainly don't. It wasn't their job either. They were just using it to manage their own time. The completion of this "long count calendar" would be reason for celebration for them! So relax..."it's not the end of the world" (to be cliche) and the sky is not falling.

Deuces (from a world that hasn't ended yet)
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