The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.
– NASA, in an FAQ about 12/21/12
I love apocalyptic scenarios as much as the next person. Actually, probably more so. I’m an ardent fan of disaster-oriented sci-fi, as well as Lovecraftian cosmic horror. In my own conceptual poetry I’ve certainly alluded to versions of the end times before, and even made a video installation that dealt with it.
There must be something alluring to us about the idea of being overpowered by some vast, infinite, unknown natural or supernatural force. I certainly intend to research it more deeply, from the perspective of evolutionary psychology.
But let’s be real. There’s one week left until 12/21/12, and it’s clearer than ever that when it arrives, the world will continue to not come to an end.
Even more or less sensible people (i.e. the majority of the Earth’s human population) not drawn in by the apocalyptic nonsense are still often confused about the facts. I was recently invited to a New Year’s Eve party with the subtitle “Everyone Laugh At the Mayans.” Presumably this comes from the misguided notion that the Mayans actually believed that the world would come to an end on 12/21/12. This is not the case. That’s just the Gregorian date for the end of one cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Their calendar then resets, just as our does every 365 days, and the next Long Count cycle ends in about 400 years on March 26, 2407. Each such cycle, called a baktun, lasts 144,000 days.
So, in other words, not even the Mayans thought the world would end next week. In fact earlier this year, a Boston University professor uncovered the oldest Mayan calendar ever, which further confirms this.
Aside from clearing up some misconceptions about this Mayan myth, I thought it would be a good idea to post a link to a NASA round-up of answers from scientists explaining exactly why the world will NOT end on December 21, 2012. Their answers sum up very clearly and concisely why there’s no reason to be worried about any looming natural or supernatural apocalypse.
As for the unfortunate but inevitable natural disasters that have befallen human civilizations for many thousands of years, completely irrespective of any arbitrary man-made calendars, who knows what city will be next?