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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Columns

Apocalypse shouldn’t be feared


It’s 2010. Actually, it’s the latter half of 2010. That means that we are about two years away — give or take a few months — from the end of the world, as predicted by the Mayan Long Count calendar.

Or are we?

Every generation has had its crazy prophets shouting that the end of the world is near and that we must repent, or something to that effect, at least. This time is absolutely no different. According to executive of the Florida-based Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Sandra Noble, the end of the world theory about 2012 is a chance for people to cash in on other people’s fears. Obviously — they made an entire movie about it.

People have always feared the end of the world. Before people started seriously thinking about 2012, the Jehovah’s Witnesses claimed that 1914 would mark the end of the world. Pretty much every major religious group has some idea about the end of the world, if not a specific date. It is a human fascination, borderlining on obsession or addiction. From Revelations to Nostradamus, we’ve got a fixation on the apocalypse — and rightly so. It will be the ending of life, the ending of humanity.

But we don’t have to worry about 2012. If the world does end then, it will be highly coincidental. The Mayan Calendar does not simply end on Dec. 21, 2012; it resets. Our calendar resets every Jan. 1, but no one freaks out about that. The Mayans possibly believed that the creation of the world happened at the beginning of their calendar, and the next time we reach that date will be Dec. 21, 2012. This does not mean that the world will end though. It could simply mean the start of a new era, as some would like to believe.

Personally, the world changing at all on this date is not likely, at least not on the scale the various crackpots and proponents of the 2012 theory would have us think. It’s ridiculous to believe the Mayans could accurately predict the end of the world when they couldn’t even save their own empire from collapsing.

Rather, it simply marks the beginning of a new cycle of the calendar, like Jan. 1 marks the beginning of a new cycle on our calendar.

We have a couple ways we can go from here. The first way is to accept completely that the Mayans could predict the end of the world or the start of a new life-altering era. The second way is to deny this and say that they simply calculated out their calendar and used it as they saw fit, and that it would reset every 5,125 years, the next time being Dec. 21, 2012. And the third is that the Mayans simply got tired and figured that setting a calendar many centuries ahead of them was enough; sadly, the empire fell before they could continue to work on it.

As comical as that last option is, the most logical — and likely — option is that the Mayans simply intended for the calendar to reset. And when we reach Dec. 21, 2012, I’m going to raise a toast for another 5,125 years of humanity inhabiting planet Earth.

Ian Everett is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at [email protected]


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