The kids at school are all starting to talk about 2012 (thanks Hollywood!) and the ‘end of the world’, and my daughter is now terrified she’s not going to make her teenage years.
This is not the first ‘end of the world’ or ‘doomsday’ prophecy. I’ve lived through three that I can remember: November 1984 when the planets were supposed to align and send us spinning into the sun; January 1, 2000 when all systems were meant to fail; and May 2005 – another planetary alignment date. I’m sure there are more. So far, we’re still here.
So is 2012 the end of the world? My own opinion is … well … no. It’s a date and given our Gregorian calendar is also supposed to be inaccurate – by perhaps at least 5 years* – it’s probably time we forget placing such heavy reliance on linear time! After all, is 2012 really 2012 on our calendar? Perhaps at the time of writing we are already really at least 2014!
For the purposes of this post, let’s assume it is. 🙂
So where does this particular doomsday theory come from? It relies on only one of several Mayan calendars that was, by definition, limited by time. The Mayans believed the end of this particular ‘Long Count’ calendar was the ‘end of time’ and, for them, correctly so. This particular calendar was set up in around 355BCE and has a starting date of 0.0.0.0.0 (looks a bit like an odometer on a car, doesn’t it?). On 21 December 2012, the calendar will look like 184.108.40.206.0. This covers about 5,126 years.
My own feeling on this is given the world has been around for millions (and potentially billions) of years, how can one civilization who existed for less than 4,000 of those years predict when it’s all going to end – despite their advanced (for their time) knowledge of mathematics and astronomy?
According to Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, here’s how the long count calendar works:
Our numbering system is based on 10. But the Mayans had a counting system based on 20, so most of the ‘slots’ in their calendar had 20 potential numbers (0 to 19). The extreme right slot (of five slots) would count through the days, and when it got to 19 days (0.0.0.0.19) would reset to zero, and the next slot across to the left would increase by one (to 0.0.0.1.0).
So 0.0.0.0.1 was one day, and 0.0.0.1.0 was 20 days. Then 0.0.1.0.0 was about one year, 0.1.0.0.0 was about 20 years and with 220.127.116.11.0, you’ve clocked up about 400 years. And on 21 December 2012, the Mayan Long Count calendar will read 18.104.22.168.0.
The end of their calendar … but the end of the world?
The end of every calendar – our own Gregorian included – signals the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new cycle. That’s all. If anything it should be a time of renewal.
And of course, the date is significant: 21/12/12 – or 12/21/12 (depending on where you’re located and how you write the date!). Apart from being the Summer (or Winter) Solstice (again depending on where you live) and thus signalling the death (or birth) of the Sun, it in itself signals an ending/new beginning. In addition, there is numerological significance. According to Dr Tonya Freeman:
If I look at the year 2012 and I believe the date is 12/21/2012 that equals 11 which is a master number that is intense energy and a messenger. If I were to add that further, it would be a 2 which is partnership and support.
Now, if I just look at the year 2012, that is a 5 which is change, movement, the stage, Oshun, all things beautiful, sales, the stage.
2012 the year of Oshun, the Orisha of Love and so much more!!
I think this is probably a much more positive way to look at it, don’t you?
Doomsday prophecies serve only one purpose: to deflect our awareness from where our intention should truly lie – an awareness of connection; that we are one living, breathing entity; that what happens to one happens to all; and that instead of hunkering down in purpose-built bunkers with X number of years’ supply of food and water or searching for another planet, we should be looking out for all living creatures … since, after all, we’re all in this together.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
* Dionysius Exiguus, the 6th Century monk best known as the creator of the Anno Domini era is believed to have miscalculated the birth year of Jesus Christ (which is the starting point for the AD era) by as much as 5 years. In 525 he made his calculations based on when Caesar Augustus was in power, but forgot that Augustus ruled for 4 years as Caesar Octavius. Also, he started his count at 1, not 0 as should have been the case. In addition, archaeologists know that King Herod died in 5BC. Since he was alive at the time of Jesus’ birth that means Jesus must have been born in 6BC, 7BC, or even earlier.
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