The End Of History

The Mayan calendar runs out this Friday, December 21, 2012. As the date approaches I hear references from all kinds of media and even personal conversation. I’ve heard well over a hundred references in the last month. I have brought it up myself, as you know. Ten years ago it felt like we were right on schedule for a big change, but as I tick off the days of this week I notice how normal everything feels. People are talking about the end of the world cynically or ironically as if to say “everybody knows this is not the end”. Yet we keep talking about it.

The end of the world probably comes along every 100 years. In the lead up to Y2K I was warned very seriously by believers. One guy explained exactly why planes would fall out of the sky at the stroke of midnight. I didn’t do the follow up research but I’m pretty sure he was wrong. However, there is something exhilarating about apocalypse myths. It’s something we can all do together.

Cataclysms happen throughout the Bible. Even though it’s their own God sending plagues and floods, they take comfort from the belief in some master plan. And they like to think that if they survive, they’re one of God’s chosen people. Even though our media is very secular today the constant mention of the Mayan end times sounds like a long echo of outdated superstitions. Didn’t the Information Age come after the Age of Reason?

If all religions petered out it would not be the end for the human sense of cosmic significance. The faculty of wonder is irresistible; people have always looked for some kind of significant design, whether it be in atoms or solar systems or internal modes of being.

Many religions are closely related to astrology, as it was one of the earliest approaches to cosmic significance. The idea that the alignment of bodies in the universe creates a harmony or disharmony seems like it could make sense. If you look at string theory or the morphogenetic field the right alignment and fluctuation of the universal system would have an effect over the whole system. But of course astrology has been written off as a pseudo-science by the popular media.

The alignment of objects in space could have some sort of effect on me at my birth, but so would the alignment of furniture in the delivery room. And it’s hard to believe that the position of Saturn had more of an effect on my personality than the socio-economic bracket I was born into by chance (from my perspective as a new human). In fact, the politics of the country I was born into probably had a huge effect, as did the climate, the medical system, how well I was taught at home and at school, and so on ad nauseum.

It’s really hard to gauge the cosmic significance of distant events. I’ve found no way to quantify cosmic significance so far. It’s much easier to find cause and effect relationships in microcosmic scales. Because the causality of our daily lives is so obvious it’s easy to think of things materially and measurably. But still we keep talking about the Mayan end of history. And if you open any newspaper you’ll find a horoscope.

The End of History is right now and it’s real. Believe that.

2 thoughts on “The End Of History

  1. The Mayan prediction was intevned after the Big 2012 Hoax was created, during the summer of 2003.The Big 2012 Hoax actually used three definitions of Galactic Alignment (since their goal is to fool people, it never hurts to have a flexible definition):1. The Sun lining up with the Galactic centre: this cannot happen. Ever. Never.2. The Sun crossing the Galactic equator: this happens every year, twice a year, always around June 21 and December 21. Every year.3. The position of the December solstice crossing the Galactic equator: this happens twice per precession period (twice per 25,800 years), and it will occur soon, but not in 2012.There is also a variant, which is that the Sun will cross the Galactic Plane. In its 200 million year orbit around the Galaxy, the Sun crosses the plane seven times. We are still moving away from the plane (we are 50 light-years above the plane), so the next passage will be in roughly 17 million years.The Mayan who made the original prediction is Jose9, the same guy who intevned the lie about the end of the calendar (the calendar does not end, it only passes a round figure like when our own calendar passed from 1999 to 2000). To make his own book interesting (about old calendars), Jose9 claimed to be a reincarnated Mayan priest he is not, he was born in Minnesota).The only true prediction that can be assigned to this Mayan calendar is that the round figure date (day number 13.00.00.00.00 in their numbering scheme) will fall on what would have been, for them, the New Year’s Day in their common calendar.What a surprise.It is just as surprising as saying that our own calendar must have been special, because it passed from 1999 to 2000 on New Year’s Day. Who could have guessed The concept of a Galactic equator did not exist in those days. The Mayans did not have much of an idea of what was a galaxy. However, that did not stop them from calculating the duration of the precession cycle (which they had as 25,626 years the modern figure is 25,800). The classical Greek astronomers had done the same calculation a thousand years before the Mayans.The best that the Mayans could have done is to determine that the position of the winter solstice would be passing in the centre of the Milky Way (the actual band of light that we see in the sky) and they would have been able to make this prediction with an accuracy of roughly plus or minus one generation (let’s call it plus or minus 15 years).But the important element is that the real Mayans (those who lived a thousand years ago) used their Long Count calendar to describe dates (and events) that would occur AFTER the year we call 4000. Obviously, the real Mayans expected neither the world nor their calendar to end any time soon.

    • There are unfortunately not enough hours in the day for me to prove or disprove most of the nonsense I find on the internet. Thanks for the comment though.

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