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Why the Mayan Calendar Ends at 2012

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Throughout the centuries, many people — from the highly-educated-but-slightly-cracked to the poorly-cultured-and-very-nutty — have been screaming that the end of our world was approaching. Obviously, these misguided fools and instigating charlatans were wrong, but that hasn’t stopped other individuals from joining in on the fun.  In recent years, another in the long line of wacky speculations that the world is going to end came to light: something scientists like to call “this stupid 2012 crap.”

Do I believe the world will end in 2012? Er, no, kids, I do not. I may be prone to drinking until I’m barely able to stand, only to crawl up on stage to sing Journey’s “Separate Ways” to the delight of a bar-full of partying Filipinos, but I’m not senseless enough to think life as we know it will cease in 2012 — not without some sort of cataclysmic catalyst, that is, such as the election of Sarah Palin into the presidency (for example).

Nevertheless, for those of you who feel that the Mayan’s Long Count calendar doohickey accurately foretells the conclusion of everything we know (you are, no doubt, the same people that thought that whole “Y2K” thing was going to be it for us), I offer up this completely logical and plausible theory.

OK, so as we all know (or at least should know), the Mayans (whom some of you keep erroneously referring to as “the Aztecs”), set up shop roughly around 2000 BC; at least, that’s about the best anyone’s been able to tell thus far. Now, picture if you will, some 1500 years down the road or so, a very young lad — whom we’ll call “Bob” for this hypothesis — has been assigned to create an entire calendar system for the whole of the Maya civilization.

Bob is as thrilled as he could be. This is the biggest honor that has ever been asked of any human being. The calendar is a revolutionary concept; one far more epic than the creation of the world itself in the early 3100s (BC)! But, being as that he did not possess a feathered quill, pencil, a weird-ass stylus-thingy, or any other variety of efficient writing utensil than the chisel at his beck and call, poor Bob had to carve out the whole calendar by hand.

Let’s fast-forward a bit. Bob goes from a virile young man to a feeble old one over the course of many, many years — and many, many big round rocks, as Bob was prone to messing up on the calendar and did not enjoy today’s luxury of an “Undo” command — all the while carving out the calendar that he had been given the nearly-holy task of creating. Why, he’s been at it so long, the very men who bestowed the honor of creating and completing the calendar have all since passed on. Essentially, Bob is now very much akin to a man who started out in the mail room of a big business, moved his way up to the top, and later became the store’s elderly janitor: everyone sees him, but has no idea that’s he’s there.

Finally, one day, after many years of toil, trial and error (not to mention all of those big round rocks), Bob finishes his assigned project — before keeling over dead. He has died from natural causes, having worked on the calendar almost all of his life. Unfortunately, the younger generation that came to follow Bob’s could never fathom his antiquated and confusing method of calendar-carving — much in the same way that Bob could never figure out why all the young Mayan boys wore feathers in their hats.

Since no one else has so much as an inkling of a clue as to what they should do with Bob’s calendar, they wheel it into the “Old Shit We Can’t Figure Out” exhibit at the local museum, much like we see VideoDisc and top-loading Betamax players in today’s antique shops. Eventually, the Mayan people begin to dissipate, disappear and/or dissolve into the stories of legend (only to have people refer to them as “the Aztecs” a millennium-and-a-half later). When the Spanish came-a-marchin’ on in many moons after Bob’s demise, they discovered a strange circular object and said “Que es esto?” — unawares that this impressive object was once the very coal that burned Bob’s fire of life for so many years.  Instead, the Spaniards used it as a big-ass coffee table.

Centuries later, our modern so-called “civilized” man has had a chance to study Bob’s calendar. In addition to how utterly complex it was for having been created in such a “primitive” time, scholars note that the calendar has an end-date. One academic speculates that the calendar’s creator probably died before he could finish it. Another researcher imagines that the creator most likely quit his job due to a wages dispute, after determining the Mayan higher-ups to have been notoriously stingy. Another intellectual claims Bob simply said “To Hell with it! I’ve had it with carving this stupid calendar and I’m transferring to another department immediately!”

From there on in, the Mayan Calendar continues to astonish historians for the extraordinary feat Bob put into it. Well, that is until some fucking crackpot comes along and says, “Oh, this means the world is going to end on December 21, 2012! You know, just like the last time it ended on December 31, 1999…and all the other hundreds of times before that!” Sadly, there are millions of people the world over dumb enough to believe him. Worse still, a small percentage of greedy entrepreneurs view this supposed “apocalypse” as a wonderful way to get rich quick, and exploit the fears and irrationalities of others. But, hey, more power to ‘em, right?

Meanwhile, an ethereal Bob sits, looking down on us: shaking his Mesoamérican head at how all of his hard work has resulted in people behaving very silly-like.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
  • http://aftertherest.wordpress.com Tumah

    Wow, great article Mr Bastardo! As I always say, “had the mayans found a bigger rock we’d be fearing 2014″.

  • John Lake

    Oh Luigi, those awful Aztecs (kidding..) those awful Mayans; they used it for a big-ass coffee table!! I’m demolished. I could mention global axial shift, due momentarily. Or terrible solar flares, already long overdue. Or either, that serpent asteroid that certainly won’t plunge us into infinite darkness as it definitly won’t collide with the ocean a few miles east of Los Angeles in 2027 (at a rate of hmmm… 13,129 miles per hour). That couldn’t be it. I could mention those things. But I won’t.

  • John Lake

    I’m always good for at least one curtain call. Some day’s it doesn’t pay to get up in the morning. East. Did I say East? I meant West!!

  • Deano

    My understanding is the grand cycle of the long count calendar basically “rolls over” every 5,125.37 years, and then starts again. There is no apocalyptic prediction actually attached to it.

    The Mayans do have (as do most cultures) an end of the world myth (floods) but that is nothing unusual and is not tied at all to the long count calendar.

    As an added bonus, most Mayan cities apparently had their own versions of the calendars, each with differing long counts etc., so the claim that there is any validity in this one caledar “running out” is just so much BS designed to sell books and crap to credulous people who can’t be bothered to look at the real science.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Or terrible solar flares, already long overdue.

    Ah, human conceit raises its wee head again, bless us.

    There are so many things that are supposedly long overdue – the next Ice Age, California’s Big One, Yellowstone erupting, Betelgeuse going supernova, another mass extinction, Amtrak etc – that one has to come to the realization that the universe is not inclined to work according to our puny human schedule measured in minuscule amounts of time.

    The Yellowstone supervolcano could have gone kablooey 10,000 years ago or it could go kablooey tomorrow.

    Or, if this massive geological zit stubbornly refuses to pop until 50,000 years from now, from a cosmic perspective this will still be as “right on time” as the taxi you booked showing up at 6:31 instead of 6:30.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    With all due respect, the same could be said of “global-warming” forecasts, the human conceit part, that is, and of course the idea that the universe just refuses to co-operate. Science, too, is part of the human conceit syndrome, however finely we choose to dress it up, and the so-called “scientific method” nothing but a human method, unless we are desirous of endowing it with magical elements because we need a sacred cow.

    Each area of inquiry commands its own kind of discipline and rigour, and science is no exception and not differentiable on that score.

  • richard wells

    Been following this blog for awhile and like what’s here. I keep looking around for “answers” about all this 2012 stuff and have come up with very little that us worth actually reading – so I say keep going! I did find a pretty cool 49 minute doc called 2012: The True Mayan Prophecy http://www.westword.com/mayan2012/prophecy and it costs $1.99 but it’s the best buck99 I’ve spent this year:) The doc has Mayans – real Mayans – discussing 2012 as well as the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu chiming in. Worth the buck99, check it out and lets talk -

  • http://insomniacentertainment.com/ Luigi Bastardo

    For further information on people trying to get rich off of the subject, see Post #7.

    :/

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Which proves exactly what – that some people will always try to enrich themselves one way or another?

  • http://subcin.com Don Alex

    And Im supposed to take comfort in the scientific analysis of some clown who uses words like “doohickey” and “thingy”? Go play with your kids, dink.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Science, too, is part of the human conceit syndrome, however finely we choose to dress it up

    Every type of human perception is…

    and the so-called “scientific method” nothing but a human method

    …unless you design against human fallibility.

    unless we are desirous of endowing it with magical elements because we need a sacred cow.

    What magical elements do you suggest are present in the scientific method?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    The magical elements are the ones we, the spectators, bring into play, by adoration.

    The only effective design against human fallibility is trial and error. If you fail, try again.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    The magical elements are the ones we, the spectators, bring into play, by adoration.

    Or scorn. But those aren’t part of the method.

    The only effective design against human fallibility is trial and error. If you fail, try again.

    Not quite there, Rog. The scientific method also says, “If you succeed, try again”.

    I disagree that it’s the only effective design, too. A mind trained to think critically comes a good second.

  • http://insomniacentertainment.com Luigi Bastardo

    And Im supposed to take comfort in the scientific analysis of some clown who uses words like “doohickey” and “thingy”? Go play with your kids, dink.

    Thanks for the laugh, Don. It’s always amusing when someone seeking “scientific analysis” neglects to see the tag “satire.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Not only the scientific method, Dreadful, any honest-to-goodness method.

    “Magical elements” aren’t part of the method, agreed. But they’re embedded in what’s commonly referred to as “scientism.” It’s against it that my remarks are directed, not the method itself. And part of “scientism” is a kind of belief that the scientific method stands head and shoulders above anything else. Nothing could be more false. As I stated before, every subject matter commands its own mode of inquiry and rules of procedure. Besides, modes of inquiry appropriate to one area of investigation may not be appropriate to others; and usually they’re not. In that sense, the “scientific method” is nothing but a rational application of human mind to a proper subject. Nothing unique about that, we do it all the time. There’s no room for adoration.

  • Chris

    amazingly this Mayan temple has ANCIENT GREEK symbols and there seems to be no reference to these symbols. The Greek key and the L for lambda is all over the temple. I believe these temples were connected with the Ancient Greek race!!!!!

  • John Lake

    #5 Dr. D.
    “I could mention global axial shift, due momentarily…”
    Not bad, eh, Doc? Think of me as the resident doomsayer.

  • Zozobra

    Did somebody say DOOM?

    I’m lovin’ it.

  • Bryan

    I have been intrigued by the dizzying turmoil of world events; natural, financial, and societal, and created this video to explore both the causes and solutions.

    It is titled: ‘2012 Mayan Calendar – A Schedule to Enlightened Consciousness’ and is in two parts:
    Part 1:The Calendar Explained
    Part 2: Intuition and the Heart

  • http://www.worldendingin2012.org Pj

    It is a complete misconception that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world
    Find out why at the above link.

  • http://www.worldendingin2012.org Pj

    Also, I hardly think Richard is going to get rich recommending products at $1.99.
    The Mayan message is more about people wakening up and realising the truth about what is going on in our world. (wars for profit, fraudulent banking system, false flag terrorism, corruption and lies, lies and more lies)
    Everything is not ok.

  • http://mayan2012.tk TMiller

    I find it all very interesting and look forward to seeing what happens

  • http://mayancalendarends2012.com Tim Buckle

    Your article, while perhaps amusing to some readers, is WAY WRONG. The Mayan calendar absolutely does predict the end of the world, and on December 21, 2012 your blog post is going to loose a lot of credibility.

    — Tim Buckle

  • http://insomniacentertainment.com Luigi Bastardo

    Nice to see someone else has a sense of humor, Tim. Your site is a funny one indeed; though I fear there will be some poor souls out there that will be crazy enough to believe you! :P