Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apocalypse 2012?

This is really not a history post. However, I guess it can be considered as such if one considers how many times that people in the past thought the Apocalypse was coming soon and were wrong.

CNN has an article up titled Apocalypse in 2012? Date spawns theories, film. It was written by A. Pawlowski. It centers on what some believe in regards to the Mayan calendar regarding the "end of the world."

The article notes:

Just as "Y2K" and its batch of predictions about the year 2000 have become a distant memory, here comes "Twenty-twelve."

Fueled by a crop of books, Web sites with countdown clocks, and claims about ancient timekeepers, interest is growing in what some see as the dawn of a new era, and others as an expiration date for Earth: December 21, 2012.

The date marks the end of a 5,126-year cycle on the Long Count calendar developed by the Maya, the ancient civilization known for its advanced understanding of astronomy and for the great cities it left behind in Mexico and Central America.

Of course, many scholars disagree with this. Some dispute that the end of the Mayan calendar means anything. Other argue that it only means that a time of change is coming which may have nothing to do with doomsday. Even others dispute that the Mayan calendar is ending on December 21st, 2012.

Regardless, expect some people to go nuts. "The whole year leading up to it is going to be just crazy, I'm sorry to say," David Stuart, director of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin. "I just think it's sad, it really just frustrates me. People are really misunderstanding this really cool culture by focusing on this 2012 thing. It means more about us than it does about the Maya."

Here is a good tip. If you want to start a money making end of the world cult, now is a good time. There are a lot of impressionable people who will fork over their life savings for a chance at survival. If you are wrong, you get to keep the money probably by invoking religious freedom. If you are right, the world ended anyway. Why not enjoy the end times in style?


M-Dawg said...

My freshman are completely fascinated and obsessed with the Apocalypse 2012 thing.

To the point where it is driving me crazy too. :-)

I explained to them that they can't live their life stressing about everything that may or may not happen in the future. Just live your life to the fullest and be happy. :-)

Hist Prof said...

My students are nuts about this, too. Unfortunately for my Latin America classes I'm talking obsessed seniors and juniors. Last fall I brought in a few Christian texts from Europe that pegged exact dates of destruction (that have passed) and we didn't hear much from them the rest of the semester.

Zetetic said...

960, 999, 1033, 1186, 1260, 1524, 1532, 1533, 1534, 1537, 1544, 1572, 1584, 1588, 1648, 1654, 1665, 1704, 1719, 11736, 1757, 1761, 1774, 1801, 1814, 1820, 1843, 1844, 1874, 1881, 1914, 1936, 1947, 1953, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1996, 1999, 2000…

These are just some of the years where various theologians, alchemists, soothsayers, astrologers, pyramidologists, numerologists, and other similar nut cases FAILED to accurately predict the end of the world!

I know this is a history blog but studends are in need of some REAL science education along with principals of logic and reason!

Matthew Carrick said...

Gosh, those Mayans knew a lot. Let's ask them directly! Oh wait, they missed the end of time for themselves by some 1,400 years. Get a grip you people.

Time Bandit said...

Thanks for the tip, Miland! I was thinking about starting up an end of the world myself. I teach high school, so I do have my summers free for emotionally manipulating hundred of robe-wearing acolytes.

My students in the world history class seemed pretty upset when I told them that the end of the world was just the change-over date for the Mayan calendar. I have to wonder if there isn't something in the human psyche that sort of wants the final Doomsday to come along and wipe out the universe. Hindu, Christian, and other thought systems seem to get their followers' attention best when they explain how we're all gonna die any day now.

Of course, from the Mayan point of view, the world really has ended quite a few time. The Aztec, the Spanish, and arguably even Nafta-powered US agri-businesses with their genetically modified foods have come along and overrun their communities. The upside to the periodic end of the world is apparently how dependably human beings seem to survive the destruction of the world.

M said...

Time Bandit,

Good luck with your cult. I see my post as a form of public service announcement. Cults makes history more interesting. Many historians have made their careers from studying one or more of them.

Of course, I am a non-issue. The cults will come anyway. 2012 will generate one or more that will be of historical note.


The Minstrel Boy said...

i'm half white mountain apache, grew up on the rez, the hopi calendar is also coming through a cycle.

here's what a hopi friend said to me about that:

the calendars are something we use to explain the workings of things far beyond our comprehension. we have to simplify and make it something small enough for us to understand. our calendar does not have an effect on the workings of the stars, sun or moon. it just makes it something we can grasp a little part of.

Scorpio said...

I know some people will just think i am insane or nuts for saying this but ever since birth i have known the world will end soon and every night i dream the same dream. A huge hill with me runing up it and then theres this huge metal platform suspended in the air and i jump over it and theres fire all around me.

Also everytime i look around outside everything i see turns dead before my eyes i went into my history lesson and i looked up and the roof collapsed the floor disintergrated away and i saw skeletons around me.

Can someone please explain to me how i knew about this 2012 stuff before i even knew what it was about. Also can someone please tell me what any of my dreams or visions actually are about.

And also i think the reason why everyone wants the world to end is that they are fed up with living crappy lives and want something new also if the world was ending people would do what they want knowing there are no consequences other than heaven or hell if you believe in them.

sorato_freak said...


I also had a similar dream where I am looking out in my neighborhood and I see a wave of fire consuming me and knowing it is the end.

Of course, it is just a dream just found it curious when a close friend had almost the same dream just a different setting. When we discussed the fire in my dream was coming from the north and hers from the south.

I wish I could understand what dreams meant.

Anyway, if the world was going to end anytime soon, I'd rather not know about it.