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Mayan Doomsday Prophecy, the End of an Era

In Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on December 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Over the next couple of weeks media outlets of all stripes will be running the usual, incessant of year-end retrospectives. Without question, 2011 was one of the most eventful years since the beginning of the millennium.

In the last twelve months the people of the world saw the death of Osama Bin Laden. Libya was finally freed from a dictator’s reign. Americans serving in the Iraq War are finally coming home. Suddenly, Wall Street was occupied by people other than thieving billionaires. And now, a couple of hairdos named Newt and Mitt have risen to become serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

Rather than a retrospective, however, perhaps it would be better to focus on the future. Or would it? According to some, 2012 may be last time the ball drops in Time Square.

Every few years, evangelical Christians stampede to any available microphone and do their best to frighten people into joining their congregations (and offering up their cash) in preparation for the beginnings of events depicted in the Book of Revelations. Of course, they’re not alone. Similar doomsday predictions have been delivered repeatedly by the Chinese, the Egyptians, even Native Americans. Each and every time, they have been wrong.

However, nearly one thousand years before the first words of the New Testament had been scribed, the Mayan culture ofCentral Americaused intricate calculations and primitive astrometrics to create a primitive yet precise calendar. Their culture began to emerge around 1000 A.D. in large areas ofMexico,Guatemala,Belize,HondurasandEl Salvador.

In the 1960’s, archeologists unearthed a stone tablet depicting what could be compared to the Mayan version of Revelations – the return of their god to earth and the end of the world. According to the Mayan Long Calendar, the end will come on the converted Christian calendar date of December 21, 2012. (In case you’re interested, that’s a Friday – good day for the world to end; TGIF, and all that.)

Public fascination with apocalyptic predictions may seem strange to most, but, in this case, it might also prove profitable, both locally and south of the border. Cincinnatiauthor Liz Coley has just released, Out of Xibalba (pronounced shi-bulb-a), a young adult fantasy novel about a modern-day girl thrown back in time to an ancient Mayan civilization. Through a fictional story, the book offers readers a unique look at the Mayan culture and their doomsday prophecy.

In southernMexico, officials are planning year-long celebrations intended to attract tourists to the heart of Mayan territory. According to ABC News,Mexico’s tourism agency expects to draw more than 52 million visitors to the Mayan regions alone. Ordinarily, entire country averages only about 22 million per year. Such an influx of foreign visitors will provide a significant boost to the country’s struggling economy.

While writers, film makers and travel agents cash in on this ancient mythology, fortunately, for the rest of humanity, there is evidence that dates beyond 2012 were recorded. Scientists are baffled, however, as to why people seem to simply ignore it, preferring instead to insist that the end is, in fact, nigh.

In any case, it’s probably a good bet the world will still be here on the 22nd of December so it might be a good idea not to quit work or cash out the retirement account just yet.

Scientists can certainly make mistakes. But, so far, there is no evidence to support any sort of pending global catastrophe predicted by the Maya or anyone else.

Mathematicians and related experts have analyzed the Mayan data time and again. The end of this period of their calendar is no more significant than was the change of the Christian millennia. The best advice is to sit back, enjoy the books, movies and television programs about the Mayan culture, and relax. Oh, and Happy New Year.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. For more visit http://www.gerydeer.com.