It now appears that Science Men have determined that the accepted calculation of the fabled “Mayan doomsday calendar,” heretofore believed to have set the date for The End Of The World at December 21, 2012, may be off by some 50 to 100 years.
The party-poopers who authored the new textbook Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World, argue that previously accepted conversions of dates from the Mayan calendar to the modern calendar are significantly out of whack.
The Real Apocalypse, say they, may not occur for some time. Or, conversely, it may already have occurred.
“1980,” he reminds, “was Reagan’s election.”
The new Science Man theory proceeds as follows:
The Mayan calendar was converted to today’s Gregorian calendar using a calculation called the GMT constant, named for the last initials of three early Mayanist researchers. Much of the work emphasized dates recovered from colonial documents that were written in the Mayan language in the Latin alphabet, according to the chapter’s author, Gerardo Aldana, University of California, Santa Barbara professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies.
Later, the GMT constant was bolstered by American linguist and anthropologist Floyd Lounsbury, who used data in the Dresden Codex Venus Table, a Mayan calendar and almanac that charts dates relative to the movements of Venus.
“He took the position that his work removed the last obstacle to fully accepting the GMT constant,” Aldana said in a statement. “Others took his work even further, suggesting that he had proven the GMT constant to be correct.”
But according to Aldana, Lounsbury’s evidence is far from irrefutable.
“If the Venus Table cannot be used to prove the FMT as Lounsbury suggests, its acceptance depends on the reliability of the corroborating data,” he said. That historical data, he said, is less reliable than the Table itself, causing the argument for the GMT constant to fall “like a stack of cards.”
Aldana doesn’t have any answers as to what the correct calendar conversion might be, preferring to focus on why the current interpretation may be wrong.
Now, I don’t really understand this, except that it seems that the initial estimates involved relying on something called “the Venus Table.” I do know that anyone who has spent any time at all in classical mythology will recognize that, among her many other attributes, Venus can at times be puckish, and even a tease. So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she contrived to trail her coat so as to mislead people into thinking that The World Would End on a date when it really wouldn’t.
I assume that any straggler who stumbles onto the desert of this blog is already somewhat familiar with the Mayan doomsday theory. If not, in brief: the idea is that December 21, 2012 marks the terminus of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mayan Long Count calendar. And, thereby, indicates the End of Something.
Some people think a collision with a planet or asteroid. Some think a nuclear exchange. Maybe an inadvertent release of ravenous matter-devouring nanobots. Or a Captain Trips-style let-loose of biological agents. Or that the arrogant and com-pletely irrespon-sible Science Men monkeying around with what they Don’t Know and Don’t Understand will with the Haldon Collidor succeed in sucking us all into a black hole.
Sunnier New Agers believe that we will instead be transformed into Childhood’s End-like energy creatures who will sail without bodies and as one into the great wide open. This fits with the “Potemkin Sun” theory that I related here once before:
Some years ago I received my own communique from a person said to be conversant with the ways and means of alien beings. This person, while completing post-graduate work in psychic school, was one night orally apprised of the fact that, some time early on in the Clinton administration, the sun went nova, and the earth was burnt to a cinder. However, no one here noticed this, because of the efforts of the “good aliens” (the thinnish creatures best known for their attempts to protect us from the “bad aliens,” those no-good-’uns prone to picking us up off lonely interstates, playing with our gonads, implanting chips in our brains, and then setting us loose).
In this instance, the good aliens allowed our brains to believe that the earth was still here—and so were we. They kindly threw up into the sky a Potemkin Sun, so that we could go on believing that everything was Normal. They did this, it is said, because during the Harmonic Convergence of August 1987 human beings apparently proved to be “worthy,” and almost ready for “the next step”—which involves not needing bodies. The good aliens figured it a shame to allow us all to burn off like bugs on a grill just a few short years before we would no longer be bothered by such things as roaring jets of molten flame. They will take down the Potemkin Sun, so goes the theory, when we no longer need it, when, I guess, we will all sort of join together and swirl away as energy beings, a la the close of Childhood’s End. Presumably this event can be tied into the 2012 thing, which springs not only from Mayan matters, but also from the information theory of oo-ee-oo people like Dr. Jacques Vallee, who claims that information began doubling every 18 months in the early 1990s, and will, by immutable Math Laws, at some point in 2012 start doubling a million times a second.
Something that is important to understand in all this is that at least ever since people began whining on paper, it seems that nearly every generation, the world over, has believed that it might somehow be The Last. This has been an affliction particularly of the young, who, once they awake, are appalled by all around them; and of the old, who slide, disillusioned, towards death, a-grumping that all’s Gone To Hell, compared to what life was like when they were young . . . forgetting that, when young, they were appalled by all around them.
Sunday over on the Great Pumpkin, Mark Sumner inscribed a brief, surface-skimming overview of the various Ends that have been predicted for us by Christians over the past 2000 years. Jesus, it is said—and from his own lips, in his own Good Book—predicted The End within the lifetime of those who heard his teachings . . . and though that End didn’t happen—in fact, the fabled character of the Wandering Jew, the man condemned to live until Christ comes again, had to be invented to explain the failure of The End to come within the otherwise natural lifetimes of Jesus’ contemporaries . . . his devotees have been aping him ever since.
Always, every time, this time, The End, truly, is nigh.
Sumner, of course, pooh-poohed these sacred tenders of the End-Times flame. And also, of course, did not address the fact that on the very front page where appeared his piece, regularly and rhythmically shriek frenzied, garment-rending, secular doomsayers, ululating unto the dawn, howling that we are indeed upon The End Times, because we have (for instance) Failed to adequately address climate change.
I think the most charming 2012 “doomsday” story I’ve heard arrived via some holy man from India, who came out of my radio six or seven years ago, and who was compelling enough to make me sit in the car and listen to the rest of his spiel, even after I’d arrived at my destination, and to carry on through his climax required me to broil parched in my car, in boiling-and-beyond temperatures that soon approximated those present on the surface of Venus.
He said that as we approached December of 2012—which he believed would be a New Agey, Childhood’s End, growth-and-transformation kind of thing—people would begin increasingly to see manifested before them what to them personally was holy. Thus, Christians would sight Jesus, Buddhists behold Buddha, Hindus encounter various assorted deities, Muslims bump into Mohammed, Jews apprehend the long-awaited Messiah. The nightly news would eventually be filled with reports of these sightings, he said, and people at first would be puzzled. But what it would mean is that It Would All Be Coming Together. Therefore, when we reach that world, he said, we should not be afraid.
Is it all bollocks? Probably. It always has been before. Still, I keep my ears open. Eyes, too.
What do I, personally, believe, about this end-of-the-world business? Think I’ve already addressed that. Pretty recently, too. Here.