10 Flavors of the Apocalypse: The Mayan Calendar (Threat Level Turquoise)
Today I would like to introduce you all to our threat scale. The threat scale ranks threats to life-as-we-know-it on the below color scale according to the following factors: 45% Scientific/Academic Corroboration, 20%Consistency of Belief, 10% Understanding of Causation, 5% Proliferation of Belief, 5% Longevity of Belief, 5% Ability to Predict possible effects, 5% Likelihood of Occurring in Our Lifetimes, 5% Personal Opinion When Considering Other Possibilities. The event’s position on the scale indicates our overall belief in that event’s likelihood of occurrence.
This is where we rank the Mayan Apocalypse on the threat scale:
Not very high, right? Read on to find out why.
The primary reason why we do not see the Mayan Apocalypse as a significant threat to life-as-we-know-it is that the end-of-calendar = end-of-world theory has been continuously debunked, altered, and adjusted by academia. The inconsistencies, disagreements, and general naysaying indicates to us that it’s relatively unlikely that the “ending” of the mayan calendar has been correctly interpreted. Gerardo Aldana of the UC Santa Barbra recently published an article claiming that the GMT Constant (the never officially corroborated constant that has been used to scale the Mayan calendar to our Georgian calendar) may be off by as much as 50 to 100 years. Aldana’s process turned a critical eye, not on the archeologists, but on the astrologists and mathematicians that worked to produce the constant and called into question the variety of astrological maps that were used, again inconsistently, to develop the constant. Robert K. Sitler, another academic also claims that interpretations of the Mayan Calendar are incorrect and criticizes theorists on the grounds of grievous misinterpretation of Mayan culture. Even the likes of NASA have also challenged the validity of the Mayan calendar predicting the apocalypse on the basis that not only is the count wrong, but that the potential catalysts of the Mayan are just unreasonable.
While the Mayan Apocalypse is very popular in terms of proliferation of belief, the inconsistencies in the theory and lack of understanding surrounding the calendar itself leads us to doubt its validity. Additionally, while lots of people have expressed concern that the apocalypse will occur on Dec 21st of this year very few people have believed this for long, or in fact, would even admit to more than a minor twinge of nerves when they think about it. One major factor in this lack of true belief is that, other than the assumption that the end of the calendar round signals an apocalyptical event, there are no firm beliefs regarding this event. No one really has a reasonable prediction of what kind of event will occur or what the effects will be. Makes it kind of hard to buy into in my opinion. Of course, if it does occur it will definitely happen in our lifetimes so full points there.
Which brings me to the final element of my evaluation: I just don’t buy it. It seems more likely to me, even as a doomsayer, that the Mayan Calendar, long as it is, simply represents one round (think of it like a century) of the Mayan perception of time. Maybe there’s another stone somewhere with the next set and we haven’t found it? Or maybe the Mayans said to themselves “now that’s far enough in the future, we’ll work on the next one in a bit” and never had a chance to finish. I just feel like it’s awfully presumptuous of the Western world to assume they know what was going through the minds of people they never even had the opportunity to meet. Hell, there’s a chance that the Mayans that the conquistadors met aren’t even representative of the ancestors that gave us the Mayan Calendar in the first place. Do you think that the people who existed at the founding of the United States are representative of us today? I don’t. They even conceptualized the whole country differently than we do today (think federation vs republic). So no, I don’t believe in THIS flavor of apocalypse.
So that’s how we arrived at the above ranking. Mayan Apocalypse on Dec 21st 2012? Not likely. Possible none-the-less? Eh, the believer in me will give it a pass – it’s not impossible. Please comment with your opinion on the Mayan Apocalypse! Happy to hear more perspectives!