December 21, 2012. This date has long been rumored to be the beginning of the end, according to theories surrounding the meaning of the ancient Mayan Calendar. The doomsday predictions and hype surrounding the 2012 date are likely due to a misinterpretation of the meaning of the calendar, according to Mayan scholars. Today’s Mayans, located primarily in Guatemala and surrounding regions of Mexico, have been speaking out against the doomsday myth for quite some time. They see the perpetuation of the myth as a marketing ploy to promote tourism, books and movies. The fact is the ancient Mayan calendar doesn’t really end on December 21, because the calendar is circular, representing time cycles. To the Mayans, December 21, 2012 simply represents the beginning of a new time cycle, not the apocalypse myth that has dominated mainstream culture. The calendar does not actually have an end date, but more of a reset date that begins a new cycle. In this way, the Mayan calendar is not unlike our own Julian calendar. December 31, 2012 marks the end of that calendar, but instead of dreading the end of the world, we will buy new calendars and throw New Year’s parties. The Mayans simply have a much longer calendar.
One of the theories about the upcoming doomsday is that there will be a total planetary blackout from December 23 to December 25 due to a rare planetary alignment and/or a deadly solar flare. This scenario is not only terrifying, but almost seems plausible after Sandy cut power to much of the East Coast in October, with some homes being in the dark for weeks. NASA has debunked this myth, saying that there are no planetary alignments even due to occur in the next few decades, much less the next few weeks. They have also mentioned, just for good measure, that there are no known asteroids threatening Earth either.
Yet Another Doomsday Prediction:
Predictions regarding the end of the world are nothing new. Modern apocalyptic predictions go back as far as the early 19th century, with famous dates for Armageddon being predicted no less than 11 times since 1908, including the Nostradamus prediction that the end would come in August 1999. And, of course, we all remember the Y2K hype preceding the year 2000. One would think that after so many failed predictions the population would take the Mayan calendar hype with a grain of salt. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, however, perhaps the element of total blackout scenario is striking an anxious chord with many people. After all, the fear of loss of power and technology was a prime component in the Y2K frenzy 13 years ago.
Keep Calm and Turn on the Lights
So, what do we learn from this latest Apocalyptic prophecy? Of course people are frightened of the end of days, but also, people are frightened of what they cannot control. Planetary alignments or solar flares that could knock out our power and inhibit our ability to remain wired to our computers and smartphones are terrifying because these things have become so integrated into our lives. The idea of having our electric gadgets rendered useless or destroyed now threatens our very civilization. Years ago, electricity was a luxury, but as society grew, it became more and more an indispensible element of our homes and offices. Electricity has become a necessity of life in our developed world. Frankly, we don’t know how to survive without it for long. It powers not only our gadgets but our lighting, cooking, heating, cooling, and communication. If electricity were suddenly eradicated we would find ourselves trying to survive in an ordeal we are completely unprepared for. It seems like there are always forecasts of possible disasters circulating in the media, perhaps due to our fear of the fragility of our societal infrastructure.
Doomsday predictions should be considered as just the stuff of myths and legends. They’re material for spooky themed books and TV shows. And, they’ve done well in that capacity. But, the time has come to retire December 21, 2012 as the day the Earth will end, because all evidence points to the contrary.
Even the Mayans didn’t believe the end of the last cycle of their calendar would usher in any apocalypse. Their prophecies describe events occurring far beyond 2012. There is no doubt that the Earth exists in a hostile space. But it seems, for now, the Earth and its inhabitants are not facing any apocalyptic threats. So sit back, relax, enjoy the holiday season, and party like it’s 1999 all over again.
Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc.