I’m sure many people reading this know that the ancient Mayan civilisation predicted the world was going to end on the 21st of December 2012. Thankfully those ancient Maya must have their calculations wrong ‘cos the world didn’t end!
Ha, in your face ancient civilisation.
Strangely enough though, even the Maya didn’t think the world was going to end on the 21st. Yet we as a ‘more intelligent’ civilisation, interpreting their calendar, we thought they thought they did.
Ha, in your face modern civilisation!
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about…
The Mayan ‘apocalypse’
The Maya people lived from around 2,500BC to 900AD, at which point their empire collapsed. The Maya had a calendar very similar to ours, grouping their calendar into the equivalent of days, months and years. Their calendar also had an extra metric of time, a block of 5,125 years, called the ‘long count’. The current block of 5,125 years, ran out of days on the 21st of December.
The Maya however believed that after the 21st, a new era simply starts. The calendar resets. Much in the same way we’ll celebrate the 31st of December as the end of one era and the beginning of another. I’ve never heard people discuss the apocalypse or end-of-days before breaking out with Auld Lang Syne.
In fact, this ‘doomsday’ marks the end of the 13th era. So as a world, we’ve survived 13 doomsday’s already. Go us!
Yet even without the creators believing it, the modern world has been whipped up in a media frenzy about doomsday.
Faith, the Mayan and the media
Many religions mention an end-of-days, or apocalyptic time. Whether that be to mark the start of a new era, or to rapture people to their god is irrelevant to this article. I don’t have a problem with people having faith in a system that predicts the end of the world. People shouldn’t however, believe the world is going to end and then go look for a religion that fits it. Or worse, read the world’s going to end and then just accept it.
If you genuinely believe the world is going to end, you must have come to understand it from some point or another. You’ve also done more than understand it to, you’ve adopted that theory into your worldly beliefs. The source of your information is what your belief is based on.
As an example, I believe the rapture is possible in my lifetime. I believe it because the Bible talks about it. Jesus talks about it. My faith is in those things, not the rapture itself.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that 99% of people who have heard of the Mayan date of the apocalypse did so through the recent flurry of media stories. A further 99% of those people, didn’t go to any museums or libraries to learn about it further. The majority of these people probably didn’t know the Maya existed until they read articles about the coming end of the world.
People have based all of their understandings from mainly one source, most likely one medium too. They essentially created a belief system off of the understanding the world was coming to an end. Ouch.
It’s easy to sit there and think people who believed this ‘event’ are gullible or less mature, yet as you’ll see below, people have now destroyed their lives based on this.
The media is an insanely powerful tool in any society.
No wonder James Bond tried to save us all from a media tycoon in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Yes I’ve coined a new term. There’s probably already a term for it, but I like this new one. So I’m running with it.
Below is a few stories and pictures found online showing how the Mayan doomsday event has changed people’s worlds.
French village of Bugarach closes borders
The police have had to stop an influx of people entering the village of Bugarach in France after some connection between the Mayan ‘prophecy’, the Bugarach mountain and UFO has come about. Apparently when the cataclysmic end of the world occurs, aliens will leave from this mountain and take some people with them. I actually don’t know how to even process this. Why would a south American civilisation pick a mountain in France for their escape route? Where has the idea of aliens being involved come from? All rather strange.
Bob around the world in safety
A Chinese farmer took the survival of the Mayan doomsday into his own hands, spending about $350k to build seven floating “survival pods”, or “ping-pong balls” as he refers to them as. Liu Qiyuan has spent 2-3 years building these guys, so he was well aware of the Mayan date before the media jumped on board. Gotta’ give him credit for that foresight.
Sadly I have no idea how many of the 84 seats he managed to sell, but hopefully all of them at $4.1k or greater, otherwise he’s going to have some serious explaining to do to the banks.
Made of a mix of fibreglass and steel, and holding 14 people each, I’m not entirely sure what the plan was. Ride out the 3000 foot wave he had built them to withstand (???) and then casually bob around until they found land?
Man builds ark of safety
If bobbing around aimlessly in the ocean isn’t your thing, then perhaps a nifty little boat would be better. Some guy has spent his life savings, some £100,000 to build an ark to literally ride the wave of chaos that we should have experienced.
Inspired by the 2009 film about this special date in December, starring John Cusack, many people have linked ideas from the film with everyday reality. I’m no expert in naval technologies, but my money would be on this boat not surviving any apocalyptic wave.
Panic buying in Russia
With pending doom around the corner, shops in Russia have been hit by panic buying survivalist. Demand for products have gone through the roof for candles, fuel, matches, torches, drinks flasks and tinned food. Needless to say I don’t think any amount of candles is going to stave off meteors or tsunamis, but you can never be too ready for the apocalypse (I have to say that, you never know when the zombies will rise!)
Surviving – what’s the point?
If tomorrow some archaeologists dug up ancient proof that the world was going to end soon, later to be conclusively agreed upon by dozens of experts in various fields and nations, why prepare to survive it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up surviving the fall of society due to war, zombies or man-made scenarios. What I’m not entirely clear on, is why people would try to survive a scenario put in place by a god, ancient or otherwise.
If this hypothetical dug-up proof talks of worldly destruction, decided upon by a god(s), how is buying candles and fuel useful? Will billions of other people die because they didn’t have enough tinned food? Unless the doomsday event specifically addresses that all logistics will fail around the globe, it’s unlikely to help.
By definition, “doomsday” means “The last day of the world’s existence”. So being ready for it with physical products isn’t going to be much good.
On the other hand, if the people are panic buying products because they predict a collapse of society, due to the reaction of others to a non-existing doomsday scenario, that’s another situation all together. Society collapsed for large parts of the state of Louisiana in 2005 when we saw Hurricane Katrina tear through it, causing looting and desperate mobs taking to streets after the disaster. Nothing drives the need of survival more than the fear, whether real or implied, that society is going to be destroyed around them.
I think if this hypothetical proof were ever dug-up, societies all around the world would tear themselves apart in terror…
Ironically producing some sort of horrific situation that borders on the apocalypse.
Merry Christmas 😛
A couple of sources if you wanna read around the subject:
- Panic buying Russians, The Telegraph
- Mayan Day of the Apocalpyse, BBC
- Google even changed their logo
- Qiyuan buildings floating survival pods, Huffington Post
If you like’d this rather long post, I’d really appreciate a share or like. You may think otherwise, but a lot of work was put into this. Getting people’s feedback would be lush and make it all more rewarding. You’re a star cos I know you’ve already liked it on Facebook…