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2012 Disaster

Updated on November 10, 2009

How much disaster can you handle, baby?

In case you haven't heard, 2012 is allegedly the year in which the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world. It's actually not. It is the year the Mayan calendar ends however, which is not the same thing. Given that the Mayans lived between 2000 BCE (Before Common Era, or if you like to measure everything with relevance to the theoretical lifespan of Jesus Christ, BC) and about 900 CE (or AD), it's hardly surprising that they stopped making their calendar around 2012. I don't know about you, but the calendar in my house just goes to January 2010, it sure as heck doesn't go to January 3011.

If you do the slightest bit of research, you will discover why the Mayan calendar finishes in 2012. It's not because the end of the world is nigh, it is because, and I quote:

"The Mayans kept extremely detailed astronomical records and they followed the cycles of the planets and stars as they travel around in their orbits. We are currently in the 4th cycle recorded by the Maya. It started in 3114B.C. and lasts for 5126 years until 2012. With the end of the 4th cycle comes... the beginning of the 5th cycle. The Maya believe that in the 5th cycle the ancient wisdom of the Maya will be rediscovered by the world and it will be a new dawn for mankind"

Now this is also fairly cuckoo clap-trap, the part about the ancient wisdom and whatnot, but the part about the astrology is true. The Mayan calendar is an astrological map. It is not a harbinger of doom.

So can we please, please, quit acting like chickens with our heads cut off, furiously anticipating the end of the world, or perhaps the rapture in some utterly nonsensical blending of Pagan and Christian mythology. I know humans just love to anticipate their demise and indeed, the demise of the whole spcies with a kind of morbid glee, but dwindling oil reserves, over population and possibly global warming if it isn't simply a natural cycle are all greater threats to the long term survival of mankind than the Mayan calendar running out.

It never fails to surprise me how much effort and fervor people can put into worrying about something perfectly ridiculous, only to ignore the very real threat much closer to home and much more within their control. This happens all the time, for example, how often do you sneak an orange light, just hoping to make it before it goes fully red, but then worry when you get on a plane that it will crash or terrorists will blow it up? The risk of dying when sneaking through an intersection are far higher, but we do things like that quite blithely with no fear whatsoever, only to turn into a quivering mess at the departure gate of an airport.

Don't waste your time worrying about some supernatural asteroid collision, which by the way, NASA is refuting already, (the fact that NASA has to actually take time out from exploring the wonders of the universe to calm the fears of the sort of people who think that Furbies have evil spirits inside them is disturbing indeed,) worry about how many kids you have, how much oil you use, and whether or not you'll be able to grow food in a crisis. Recycle, be frugal, get out of debt and you know, generally be kind to the planet. It is far more likely that we will kill ourselves off than we will all die in some cataclysmic event.


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    • profile image

      Sharin Griffin 8 years ago

      Wonderful hub. I found yours right after publishing mine and it's nice to know I'm not the only one not buying into the hype. It kills me how people want to use the Mayan calendar for prediction, ummmm excuse me, where are the Mayans now? It'll blow over just like Y2K and we'll be back to inventing new technology until the next doomsday prophecy. Maybe they'll use the life cycle of Barney next. LOL

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Don't you tell me 2012 has come and gone without me having the chance to fear for my life!

    • profile image

      GoneNylon 8 years ago


      Shhhhhhh! Don't tell the morans, but, the Mayan and western calendars don't match up exactly. No. In fact, because of errors in the European-derived calendars (medieval popes weren't exactly rocket scientists like the ancient Maya and failed to account for a LOT of calendric stuff we don't have time or space to discuss; shoot, medieval popes didn't even have zero to work with), it's likely that the five thousand-plus year calendar-round (what the Maya and other MesoAmerican people had) has already completed its cycle and begun a NEW five thousand year round.

      That's right: 2012 has already come and gone and we didn't even have to reset the clock radio.

      Still, that doesn't preclude that the next prediction of disaster is well on the way. I think, if I recall correctly, the Hopi People get credit for the next one.

      All peoples seem to have a natural, human urge to define endings and beginnings, based upon what appears to us to be the very definite, definable beginnings and endings of our own lives. Thus, we extrapolate ourselves onto the Universe. It's a rather charming example of extreme anthropomorphism. We extrapolate an angry, juvenile delinquent, vindictive "god" from misfortunes around us; interpolate human spirits into trees, rocks, gourds, bamboo; wide receivers interpolate "god" into the fade they catch in the far corner of the End Zone; and every time we extrapolate or interpolate, we naturally assume that what we have can all be taken away. We like it that way. It puts a "roundness," as Shakespeare explained (". . . and our little lives are rounded with a sleep,") onto our otherwise absurd, apparently meaningless existence.

      All this is made more existentially hilarious by the fact that it's highly unlikely that aliens or Mayan calendar magic or any other external force will end human life on earth. Contrariwise, it IS possible to end human life on earth, and it's nothing so fabulously exciting as rolling Vatican domes. It's something as prosaic as leaving the lights on in your bedroom when you leave it, driving a gas-guzzler instead of taking mass transit, or eating more fast food burgers because they're on the "value" menu.


    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Ross :) It adds a great deal to the article.

    • profile image

      Ross Wilkin 8 years ago

      By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Special to USA TODAY

      (Selected excerpts


      The buildup to 2012 echoes excitement and fear expressed on the eve of the new millennium, popularly known as Y2K, though on a smaller scale, says Lynn Garrett, senior religion editor at Publishers Weekly. She says publishers seem to be courting readers who believe humanity is creating its own ecological disasters and desperately needs ancient indigenous wisdom.

      "The convergence I see here is the apocalyptic expectations, if you will, along with the fact that the environment is in the front of many people's minds these days," Garrett says. "Part of the appeal of these earth religions is that notion that we need to reconnect with the Earth in order to save ourselves."

      "For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle," says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Fla. To render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."

      Part of the 2012 mystique stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. This means that "whatever energy typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will indeed be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time," Joseph writes.

      Astronomers generally agree that "it would be impossible the Maya themselves would have known that," says Susan Milbrath, a Maya archaeoastronomer and a curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. What's more, she says, "we have no record or knowledge that they would think the world would come to an end at that point."

      University of Florida anthropologist Susan Gillespie says the 2012 phenomenon comes "from media and from other people making use of the Maya past to fulfill agendas that are really their own."

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    • foxxyz69 profile image

      foxxyz69 8 years ago from Niles Ohio

      I watched the one you have at the top and its amazing.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Not again...........How many times can the planet implode?

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      I didn't see that, did you watch the video at the top? I recommend it, it's not just a trailer, it's a spoof...

    • profile image

      Dani 8 years ago


      Did you see the the Discovery special Lester Holt of NBC did on this? I can't believe he would actually do a show like that. The wack job "scientist" they had on there was laughable with his "torsion field physics" theory. I cna't believe how bent people are getting over this!