The end of the world is coming…
… it’s just late (like everything else).
So, here we go with another year that is destined to be filled with doomsday prediction lunacy. The last time this happened (in our society) was 1999; a (perfectly normal) end-of-millennium panic reinforced by Y2K — and I note that our self-proclaimed superior culture hasn’t even learned the lesson from that; many people I know haven’t stopped noting years in two digits (rather than the four they would be using if we, collectively, had learned that particular lesson).
The comment thread on Enviromint’s recent take on the prelude to the end of the world led me (thanks, Martin) to Wikipedia’s article on the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (AKA ‘the Mayan Calendar’), where, scudding by all the esoterics, I came upon this telling passage (my bold):
Despite the publicity generated by the 2012 date, Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, stated that “We have no record or knowledge that [the Maya] would think the world would come to an end” in 2012. “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, Florida.
To render December 21, 2012, as a doomsday event or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”
“There will be another cycle,” says E. Wyllys Andrews V, director of the Tulane University Middle American Research Institute (MARI). “We know the Maya thought there was one before this, and that implies they were comfortable with the idea of another one after this.“
Of course, the Maya might have been wrong about another cycle following the current one. (I’d ask one, but, wait, I can’t, because… their civilisation no longer exists).
They could have been wrong, since, after all, they were only human, too.