Thursday, January 3, 2013

December 21st: The "Mayan apocalypse"

Happy New Year! We've made it to 2013, which means we also "survived the Mayan apocalypse." I know I'm way late on writing this, but I haven't quite gotten over all the comments and news I saw about the "failed" apocalypse and how the Mayans were "wrong" (and don't even get me started on the viral Facebook post about believing the Bible instead of the Mayan calendar, as if they were directly quoting and refuting the Mayans).

Well, here's the thing.... they weren't predicting the end of the world. December 21st, 2012 marked the end of a baktun, or a period of 144,000 days. The part about the prophesy of the "end of the world"? That was the media's creation.

NPR had a good story, "Maya Expert: The 'End of Times' Is Our Idea, Not the Ancients'" by Bill Chappell (click the title to be linked to the article), based on an interview with Maya expert David Stuart (see here for the transcript of the on-air interview).

A few highlights from the article:
"The Maya never, ever, said anything about the world ending at any time -- much less this year," says Stuart, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin." 

"It's a big deal -- if you're an ancient Maya astronomer priest," Stuart says. "But apart from that, they didn't say anything about...what will be happening." 

"Stuart and other researchers have compared what's about to happen to the Mayan calendar to an odometer on a well-driven car: The years will simply click over. If the car's odometer runs past its complement of numbers, you can still drive it." 

If you're interested, it's worth a read (or listen)!

No comments:

Post a Comment