I Can Explain… 2012: The End of the World

First appeared on Retirement News Weekly, Issue 30

Welcome to the last year of your life! That is, if the John Cusack movie 2012 and certain doomsaying conspiracy theorists are right. According to academics who study the Mayan calendar, 2012 marks the end of the thirteenth and last cycle of our present world. The more pessimistic of these theorists would suggest that this means calamity and the ultimate destruction of mankind. But what is the real significance of 2012 to the Mayans and the practical implications of 2012 for the rest of us? Don’t start collecting canned goods and building an ark quite yet… I can explain!

Our current calendar is divided into seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, and millennia. These measurements of time are not universal however. The Mayans measured the passing of time differently. There were days, uinals (20 days), tuns (18 uinals), k’atun (20 tuns), and b’ak’tuns (20 k’atuns or 144,000 days). The Mayans believed that there existed three worlds prior to this one, but due to Godly bloopers, it was only the fourth world (this world) that got inhabited by people. Each of the previous three worlds lasted for 13 b’ak’atuns.

This is where 2012 comes into the picture. According to the best analysis of Mayan archaeology and scholarship, our world’s final b’ak’atun ends on December 21 or 23, 2012. It is suggested that the end of this calendar would have incredible significance for Mayans. The problem with the conspiracy theories is that we’re not entirely sure what that significance would be.

Some suggest that the end of the k’atun would be a time of celebration in the same way that the 1999/2000 New Years Eve was a time of celebration for us because of the arbitrary significance attached to such a big number change. Others suggest that this would mark a time of great spiritual enlightenment for the Mayans. And others still suggest that it would mark the end of the world… or at least humanity. These theorists have not yet heard about the Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never 3D, which comes out in February of this year and proves that humanity will have been long lost before 2012.

Many argue that 2012 is over hyped and that, like Y2K and the new millennia, we’ll experience the changeover with the regular amount of discomfort and disappointment of New Year’s Eve. Whatever the outcome of 2012, the potential tragedy certainly made a decent movie.

If this is the last year, what can you really do about it? Hugging your loved ones a little tighter, couldn’t hurt. Settling old scores and finding peace and happiness in the everyday, wouldn’t make things any worse. But if you remain concerned, keep a vigilant eye to the sky, spot the massive meteorite heading towards earth, and wonder what sort of damage it could do… well… I can explain!

Happy New Year!

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