Mayan Prophecy: Is the World Still Going to End in 2012?
Is the world going to end in 2012?
As an educator, I have been asked this question many times over the past year, mainly by worried teenagers, but occasionally by friends and family. The belief that the world will end in December 2012 arose because the last entry of the Mayan calendar is on December 21, 2012. It is worth noting here that the calendar does not actually state that the world will end here, there just aren't any other dates written after this.
The hype surrounding this 'Doomsday' has of course been greatly exacerbated by the involvement of the press, preachers predicting different ways the world will end, and of course by the movie 2012, in which millions of people died in a series of earthquakes and floods. Before we come to our own conclusion, lets examine both sides of the argument.
The world will end in 2012
The Mayans were an ancient civilization that lived in South America around 2000 BC - 900 AD. They had a 5000 year-old calendar which has supposedly predicted several events, including the world wars. They also predicted total eclipse that happened in August, 1999. The Mayans were a very clever civilization with an extensive knowledge of the stars. Scientists and astronomers of today can predict solar eclipses way into the future. The last date that appears on the Mayan calendar is December 21, 2012. We were informed of this in the 1960's by Michael Coe, an established Mayan expert. Since then, many different theories on exactly how the world will end in 2012 have been created and published. Examples of doomsday theories include solar flares and giant meteors hitting the earth.
So are we all doomed?
My first argument against this is that the Western calendar ends after 12 months. What happens when we reach the end of a 12 month period? It starts again on Janurary 1 at the stroke of midnight. Why, then, do people believe that the world will end when the Mayan calendar reaches an end? Common sense would suggest that it will simply begin again, just as ours does every year. Another factor is that the Mayans mention nothing of the world ending or anything else notable happening on or after that date. According to a Mayan descendant, it was Western civilization who decided that the world will end in 2012, not his ancestors. Mayans apparently believed that a new age would occur after this date. Perhaps we will establish First Contact or have our first female President. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
After hearing both sides of the argument, I am convinced that we will all wake up as normal on the morning of December 22, 2012. Whether we do or not remains to be seen, but if you read further into this topic, the evidence seems to be firmly in our favor. I am certain, however, that 2012 will bring about a wealth of new stories in the media, predicting our untimely demise.