Apocalypse Later!

A couple days removed from the two-month countdown to the end of days (December 21, 2012), I thought it appropriate to address the likeness of this apparent apocalypse in relation to the Mayan calendar. Let me be utterly clear, by every credible scientific account, the Mayan Calendar never predicted the end of the world.

The Maya’s culture revolved around the advancement and incredible understanding of astrology, which served as the basis of their time keeping. This ancient Mesoamerican civilization used their understanding of the constellation, especially of the sun, as the core of their complex calendar for spiritual, economic and agricultural purposes, not predictions.

The only significance of the December 21, 2012 date refers directly to the end of a 400-year cycle the Maya called bak’tun. In which no claim is made of an apocalypse but simply an ending of an era. Like every cycle of the Mayan Calendar, when one finishes, the next ushers in a new era. Maya experts and Archeologist have yet to find whether this new era brings earthquakes, loss of gravity, or zombies.

Recently a team of Archeologist excavated a Mayan room believed to serve as a “workshop” for Mayan scribes and calendar priest. The find located in Mayan city of Xultún, present day Guatemala, also gives more evidence to refute the end of the world claim. The ancient room’s hieroglyphics actually depict further dates on the Mayan calendar. David Stuart, a Mesoamerican art and writing professor at the University of Texas at Austin, helped lead the deciphering of the paintings and writings, acknowledged the apocalypse panic by simply saying, “the Maya calendar is going to keep going and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future.”

Despite the complete lack of evidence supporting any type doomsday, a significant percentage of the population buy this notion. Whether this speaks to an inability for some to filter information and separate fact from fallacy remains to be seen. What is highly visible however, is a considerable amount of people giving credit to a blasphemous claim. Evidence of this exists throughout several different social media outlets.




One comment on “Apocalypse Later!

  1. John says:

    Excellent post, Zach. Your summary of Mayan culture, when contrasted with popular perceptions of Mayans evident in your Storify, suggests one explanation for why people continue to believe the Apocalypse interpretation, in spite of what experts say. You make it clear that the Mayans had a very sophisticated if not scientific society, and that systems such as their calendar served a variety of “spiritual, economic and agricultural purposes.” Contrary to this archeological evidence, many people today seem to imagine that the Mayans must have been entirely primitive and mystical (probably since some of their more graphic practices–such as human sacrifice–seem barbaric today).

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