If you have followed U.S. current events this summer, with the endless, troubling stream of gun violence, hate crimes, and election blunders, it might seem like the apocalypse is at hand. For some, 2012 marks a major astrological event that could dismantle economic and political institutions. Still others wait in eager trepidation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, for which, yes, there is an entire dedicated section in the Huffington Post.
What’s all the fuss over December 2012 really about, and is there any truth in it? To address this question, we must go back to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the birthplace of the Mayan calendar. This is precisely where Gotham Chopra takes us in the latest episode of Holy Facts on The Chopra Well Youtube channel.
Before you run to the supermarket to stock up on canned goods and gas masks, lets review the facts. If by the end you’re still wary, then by all means stock away.
Ancient Mayans used a linear calendar, unlike our circular Gregorian calendar. Their concept of time was broken into segments of varying lengths. The tzolk’in is roughly 260 days, a bak’tun is roughly 394 years, etc. The calendar was recorded in the ancient Mayan script, which looks sort of like Egyptian hieroglyphics in the form of squat, pudgy animals. No joke – check it out.
So where does the exact date of December 21, 2012 come from? The Mayans were very precise, and there is no mistake about the date they identified. According to their calendar, Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year Long Count calendar, comprised of thirteen bak’tuns. The end of a cycle…. hence fears about the end of the world.
The fact that this auspicious and fast-approaching December day will be the end of the current Long Count calendar might cause alarm. But keep in mind that there was a similar moment 5,125 years ago, and we’re still here! That’s right, another 5,125-year cycle came before this one. So who’s to say there won’t be another one starting December 22, 2012? In fact, archaeologists in Guatemala recently found the oldest surviving Mayan calendar and it refers to dates at least 1,200 years beyond 2012. So we should be good for at least another century.
Meanwhile, 2012 apocalypse predictions have included everything from the Earth’s spiritual awakening to a catastrophic collision with a black hole. And then there are always the zombies to consider…
What we’ve gathered from our investigations:
1. Don’t throw out the Mayan calendar. The Mayans boasted an incredibly complex and culturally rich civilization. And they invented chocolate. So they were super smart.
2. Don’t worry too much about December 21, 2012. Another 5,125-year cycle is likely on its way. See this as a new beginning, as opposed to an end.
3. If you’re still worried, it wouldn’t hurt to tie up loose ends, make peace with old foes, and tell your friends and family you love them. While you’re at it, go ahead and grab an extra supply of canned goods…You never know when you’re going to want to make chili.
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