Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Mayan Apocalypse

Oh, people.  Please.  Get a grip.

The world is not about to come to an end.

Certainly most of you have noticed that the so-called "Long Count" calendar comes to an end on a solstice.  Solstices, those longest and shortest days of the year, were natural stopping places for pre-Christian calendars.  When your life revolved around such natural phenomena as seasons instead of the arbitrary phenomena of months, it made perfect sense to make such days special.  December 30th being the end and January 1st being the beginning of years is completely arbitrary, a human-made observance.

And observing the end of a calendar is itself arbitary.  It doesn't mean a hill of beans, not even a small mound.

The Long Count calendar is thousands of years long.  Let's write that louder: THOUSANDS.  Long Count, indeed.

When you get to the end of your 2012 calendar and have flipped over the last muscle car or Weimeraner puppy, is it the end of the world?

No.  You go to Barnes and Noble and buy another calendar.

If you're Mayan, you've seen this coming for the last few centuries, round up a few thousand slaves and build another pyramid, and have your astrologers start carving a new calendar.  That's all there is to it.

It's worth noting that even in such a long calendar as the Long Count, there are individual pages, called by researchers a Ba'k'tun.  It corresponds to about 394.something years in our calendar.  So if the world really doesn't come to an end on December 21 (and it won't), we can all get together in March, 2407 and see what happens then.  Hint: nothing special will happen then, either.

Don't flip out over the end of the Long Count calendar, all you ridiculous sky-is-falling chickens.  If the Maya were such accurate predictors of the end of the world, don't you think they might have foreseen their own demise?  Just flip over another page on the calendar.  The world isn't about to end anytime soon, and all of you who are behaving as if it might are simply embarrassing yourselves.

Get a grip.

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