Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stop freaking out: World won’t end in 2012, expert says

April 26, 2012


Will the world end in December 2012? Don’t bet on it, experts say. Or at least, if it does, don’t blame the Maya.

Quetzil E. Castañeda, an expert on Maya people and an ethnologist at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, attempted to quell fears surrounding the “Mayan phenomenon,” which has many people saying the ancient civilization predicted end days with its calendar that supposedly stops on Dec. 21 or Dec. 23 (even that’s in dispute, he said) of this year.

Castañeda spoke Thursday evening at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., to a crowd of about 50 with interests ranging from Latin American history to New Age spirituality.

Dispelling the misinformation began with an explanation that “anyone who says they know something about the Mayan prophecies is wrong,” Castañeda said. “For one thing, ‘Mayan’ isn’t a word.”

The correct adjective and noun is ‘Maya’ and that refers to an ethnically and geographically diverse group of indigenous peoples in the Yucatán Peninsula and elsewhere in Mexico. And yes, their descendents still live there. And no, they’re not Aztecs, though many popular culture references relating to the “Maya 2012 gurus,” as Castañeda called those drumming up end-of-the-world concern, confuse elements of Maya and Aztec culture and symbolism — and even the all-important doomsday calendar.

About that calendar. Castañeda said reading into its end in 2012 is paramount to “freaking out” at seeing the end of a yardstick. Space doesn’t end just because its measuring tool does; instead, to measure something bigger than a yard, we just move the stick farther along. So while the ancient Maya calendar does have 520-year cycles, there’s no evidence even they thought this “end” was anything parallel to the Judeo-Christian notion of apocalypse. But still, spiritualists pander to tourists in the area, touting crystals and teaching that dates of equinox have significance, though few local Maya put any faith into the ideas (most are Catholic), Castañeda showed in a film he made at the ancient Maya ruins of Chichen Itza.

John Hoopes, an associate professor in Kansas University’s anthropology department, introduced Castañeda with the idea that the 2012 pop-culture phenomenon at least provided the opportunity for a “yearlong teaching moment” for people to learn more about Mesoamerican history and culture, including the complexities of how the “gurus” affect the real, everyday lives of the Maya people.

“Westerners have created the construct of the mystery of the Maya,” Castañeda said, because it’s surprising to the European-derived ways of thinking that the Maya would create a civilization in the jungle, “where civilization shouldn’t be,” and then “abandon” it.

But the abandonment, he said, is also a myth; the Maya peoples still exist. They were just colonized by the Spanish.

In the discussion, Hoopes brought up the point that Mexico is said to be expecting some 50 million tourists to the Yucatán this year, with all the Maya 2012 hype.


Steven Gaudreau 4 years, 8 months ago

Now I'm freaking out because I've been using the word Mayan for decades.

gudpoynt 4 years, 8 months ago

:) Me too. 2012 is the end of the "Mayan" adjective.

riverdrifter 4 years, 8 months ago

Damn, now I gotta reschedule all those hunting trips. I hate it when this happens.

Soapbox 4 years, 8 months ago

יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא.

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

Approximately 400,000 people die every year worldwide. For them the world will end in 2012.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 8 months ago

check your figures. approximately that many die in the US each year just from tobacco related activity. About 56million die annually across the globe.

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

oops! yer right, one of them,"mind not fully engaged at 3 AM" moments . . .

Jeff Supernaw 4 years, 8 months ago

Also, the Mayas did not recognize leap years. Thus if you subtract all the added leap days, December 21st,2012 has already happened. ; )

EmSutcliff 4 years, 8 months ago

:O Very interesting. So if it had already happened then there would be no end of the world.

rtwngr 4 years, 8 months ago

Looks like a lot of people will be paying back those student loans after all.

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 months ago

Braid the hair before trying to shave your legs. It will make it easier. :>)

Maddy Griffin 4 years, 8 months ago

Still not doing any Christmas shopping until Dec.22. hee hee

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 8 months ago

Professor Hoopes is also a leading authority on the 2012 hoax. One positive about this hullabaloo is drawing attention to him and his research. He's a great professor.

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

Hang on to your tinfoil hats! Even if the world doesn't come to an end this December, there are hundreds of predictions (past, present and future) for apocalyptic ends for the human race! Here's one of the more humorous . . .

"According to The Church of !BLAIR!, the human race will probably be terminated at 3:28 AM (Soho, England time) 2047, SEP. 14!. The church teaches, with tongue firmly in cheek, that if the human race does not discard their plastic conformity, then the Gods will withdraw their protection. The Gods don't want us to worship them; they don't want sacrifices or even offerings. They just want us to rid itself of our excessive "Normalcy". At that point, Astro-Lemurs (extra-terrestrials similar in shape to lemurs, but with rainbow colored bodies) will attack the entire human race and beat them to death with gigantic burritos. You have been warned."

(From a source)

Of the ten most likely, only three are unsurvivable. Gamma ray burst, complete ozone depletion with resulting radiation poisoning, and Super-Nova. Now I woulda thrown in Asteroid/comet strike but what do I know . . . With the odds running one in ten million to one in one trillion of these events happening I refuse to let it run my life.

Still be glad to be your tinfoil hat provider.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 8 months ago

zHmmm..How about the imminant approach of the Andromeda Galaxy? Won't God steer it around our Milky Way Galaxy????

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

Heck, that's 4 billion years from now! Plus, depending on where Earth is on this giant pinwheel, it may turn out to be just a fantastic light show for whatever lifeforms inhabit Earth by then.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, I guess I'll just have to shoot up all this ammo on the range.

Bob Harvey 4 years, 8 months ago

Whew there is a sense of relief coming over me. I thought the first step in the ending of time was when Dick Clark passed away since he had brought in the New Year celebration for decades. I was starting to think, well played Mayas, well played.

JackMcKee 4 years, 8 months ago

I know someone who vehemently believes the world will end this year. Inbet him $1,000 that he's wrong. These people are just not very smart.

1029 4 years, 8 months ago

"Will the world end in December 2012? Don’t bet on it, experts say."

Well, duh. That's a lose-lose bet that only a sucker would make. You either lose the bet or the world is done for and you don't collect.

camper 4 years, 8 months ago

Took until 10AM to take a dig at President Obama. Sleep in? ):

Paul R Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

I just wish we hadn't burned nearly all their libraries. They were brilliant mathematicians and astronomers. This 2012 hysteria has been amazing. As I understand it, they would just start another long count and get on with their business. Thanks for the props, Math. You are picking up on things.

verity 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, that was a great loss to their civilization and to ours. Very sad.

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

Well . . . If Obama is president on Dec. 21 . . . Bush won't get blamed. . . Oh, wait . . .

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

Bush appointed the Mayas because the Koch Bros gave him all the money in the world so no abortions could be performed in 2013 and the poor won't have enough money to get onto the giant spaceship parked on wall st.

Don't take your eyes off Bush, he causes everything.

brewmaster 4 years, 8 months ago

The last sentence of the article reveals the trueth about the Maya 2012 craze.

"In the discussion, Hoopes brought up the point that Mexico is said to be expecting some 50 million tourists to the Yucatán this year, with all the Maya 2012 hype."

Now we know that its a corporate conspiracy -- (probably created by and led by Koch Industries, since they secretly own Mexico) -- to make huge profits from tourism.

somedude20 4 years, 8 months ago

If the world is not ending until December than I guess we don't have to worry about the storm tonight. Just in case the world does end, any pretty young ladies reading this should know that I have a bunker with enough food for 2 for years. Message me. Oh and I just saved 15% on my car insurance

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh, btrother, this is so funny. Especially the one about the paying back of the student loans!

Y2K anyone?? What is the next "end-of-the-world"assessments from the seven day adventists and other religious fund raising crowd?

Seriously, this is suchy a tempest in a teapot. But I guess it is a slow news day, Romney has not said anything stupid again, and the President seems to have the weekend off.

Armen Kurdian 4 years, 8 months ago

God is waiting for the Cubs to win the Series. Then his work will be finished. BTW, i really don't care about baseball or the cubs, I just wanted to post something to feel I was a part of something bigger than myself. I once was a part of something bigger than myself, but I'm not into fat chicks anymore.

Martin Shupert 4 years, 8 months ago

It would be a shame if the world ended this year. We just paid off our Prius.

RoeDapple 4 years, 8 months ago

so . . . when you need $8,000 worth of new batteries will you just scrap it out?

LadyJ 4 years, 8 months ago

Just in case, you should be prepared. I see that Cabela's has Zombie Max ammunition, guaranteed to work on Zombies. I don't think it can kill them cause aren"t they already dead? Here is the video from Hornady.

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