Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The End is When?

According to new studies surrounding the calculations of the Mayan prophecy which has foretold our doom, the end of the world may already have happened- and the worst part is that we may have missed it. It was probably one random Tuesday at 3pm while I was thinking about how long it had been since I got a haircut when it happened. But of course, the calculations have always been harder to do than most people would imagine and the end of the world is such a tricky thing to nail down.

See the following excerpt from an article on

"A new critique, published as a chapter in the new textbook "Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World" (Oxbow Books, 2010), argues that the accepted conversions of dates from Mayan to the modern calendar may be off by as much as 50 or 100 years. That would throw the supposed and overhyped 2012 apocalypse off by decades and cast into doubt the dates of historical Mayan events. (The doomsday worries are based on the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, much as our year ends on Dec. 31.)"

(end of quote)

So it's another one of those perplexing good news-bad news thing. The good news is that 2012 may not be the end. The bad news is that we still have no idea when the end will be because the first calculations were supposedly wrong- but on the off chance that those calculations are actually right, the end will, in fact, happen in 2years from now and we'll just all have to wait and see.

It's funny that so much has been put into the Mayan calendar. Some scholars have said that the calendar has been right on several other counts, just like Nostradamus, predicting the world wars, pollution and some say, even 9-11. But the problem with prophecies is that they're a lot like fortune cookies; vague, entertaining, sometimes a little spooky, but more often than not, interpretations of the things that we are inclined to believe already.

The original prophecies did not say 'world war will break out in Europe in 1914 after the assassination of the archduke Franz-Ferdinand.' They probably said something more general, such as 'war shall plague the earth for several years and leave behind a trail of destruction and human misery.' A pretty good guess from an ancient civilization that was regularly prone to the same fate years after the arrival of the Aztecs. Hardly surprising when you open any history textbook. War is a matter of fact for human history- and it's not that hard to predict.

The saving grace about the ambiguity of prophecies is that it leaves room for hope. Nothing is pre-determined or inevitable, other than the fact that we will all somehow die. We just may not all suddenly die at once in some apocalyptic scenario worthy of a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

I hope that I have time for that haircut first.

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