Doomsday 2012: End of Days
Beliefs that Cataclysmic or Transformative Events will Occur on December 21st, 2012
|Doomsday 2012: End of Days
Beliefs that Cataclysmic or Transformative Events will Occur on December 21st, 2012
The 2012 doomsday prediction is a present-day cultural meme proposing that cataclysmic and apocalyptic events will occur on December 21, 2012.
A far more apocalyptic view of the year 2012 that has spread in various media describes the end of the world or of human civilization on that date.
This view has been promulgated by many hoax pages on the Internet, particularly on YouTube.
The phenomenon has produced hundreds of books, as well as hundreds of thousands of websites.
"Ask an Astrobiologist", a NASA public outreach website, has received over 5000 questions from the public on the subject since 2007, some asking whether they should kill themselves, their children or their pets.
This idea has been disseminated by numerous books, Internet sites and by TV documentaries with increasing frequency since the late 1990s.
This date is derived from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which completes 12 baktuns or 1 Great cycle equaling 5,125 years on December 21 or 23, 2012. There is also a movie called 2012 made in 2009 inspired from this theroy.
The prediction given by the Mayans about what will happen at the end of this Great Cycle is described as a rebirth of this world and the beginning of an age of enlightenment. There are also other interpretations of assorted legends, scriptures, numerological constructions and prophecies encircling this date.
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012.
This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae related to this date have been proposed.
A New Age interpretation of this transition postulates that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.
Others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with a black hole or a passing planet called "Nibiru".
Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of such cataclysmic events occurring in 2012.
Mainstream Mayanist scholars state that predictions of impending doom are not found in any of the extant classic Maya accounts, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar "ends" in 2012 misrepresents Maya history.
Astronomers and other scientists have rejected the apocalyptic forecasts as pseudoscience, stating that the anticipated events are contradicted by simple astronomical observations. December 2012 marks the conclusion of a b'ak'tun—a time period in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which was used in Central America prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Though the Long Count was most likely invented by the Olmec, it has become closely associated with the Maya civilization, whose classic period lasted from 250 to 900 AD. The writing system of the classic Maya has been substantially deciphered, meaning that a corpus of their written and inscribed material has survived from before the European conquest.
Unlike the 52-year Calendar Round still used today among the Maya, the Long Count was linear rather than cyclical, and kept time roughly in units of 20: 20 days made a uinal, 18 uinals (360 days) made a tun, 20 tuns made a k'atun, and 20 k'atuns (144,000 days or roughly 394 years) made up a b'ak'tun.
In common with the other Mesoamerican civilizations, the Maya had measured the length of the solar year to a high degree of accuracy, far more accurately than that used in Europe as the basis of the Gregorian calendar.
They did not use this figure for the length of year in their calendars, however; the calendars they used were crude, being based on a year length of exactly 365 days, which means that the calendar falls out of step with the seasons by one day every four years.
Thus, the Mayan date of 126.96.36.199.15 represents 8 b'ak'tuns, 3 k'atuns, 2 tuns, 10 uinals and 15 days.
"These ideas about 2012 and the end of the world are unfounded. Most of us don't actually believe that and are getting fed up with the hype. What do you do when your calendar ends? You buy a new one..."
–– World Religion Teacher
A viral marketing campaign for Sony Pictures' 2009 film 2012, directed by Roland Emmerich, which depicts the end of the world in that year, featured a supposed warning from the "Institute for Human Continuity" that listed the arrival of Planet X as one of its doomsday scenarios.
Lars von Trier's 2011 film Melancholia features a plot in which a planet emerges from behind the Sun onto a collision course with Earth.
Announcing his company's purchase of the film, the head of Magnolia Pictures said in a press release, "As the 2012 apocalypse is upon us, it is time to prepare for a cinematic last supper."
Many believers in the imminent approach of Planet X/Nibiru accuse NASA of deliberately covering up visual evidence of its existence. One such accusation involves the IRAS infrared space observatory, launched in 1983.
The satellite briefly made headlines due to an "unknown object" that was at first described as "possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this Solar System".
This newspaper article has been cited by proponents of the collision idea, beginning with Lieder herself, as evidence for the existence of Nibiru. However, further analysis revealed that of several unidentified objects, nine were distant galaxies and the tenth was "intergalactic cirrus"; none were found to be Solar System bodies.
The 2012 Apocalypse
Another accusation frequently made by websites predicting the collision is that the U.S. government built the South Pole Telescope (SPT) to track Nibiru's trajectory, and that the object has been imaged optically.
However, the SPT (which is not funded by NASA) is a radio telescope, and cannot take optical images.
Its South Pole location was chosen due to the low-humidity environment, and there is no way an approaching object could be seen only from the South Pole.
The "picture" of Nibiru posted on YouTube was revealed, in fact, to be a Hubble image of the expanding light echo around the star V838 Mon.
Many assertions about the year 2012 form part of a non-codified collection of New Age beliefs about ancient Maya wisdom and spirituality. Archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni says that while the idea of "balancing the cosmos" was prominent in ancient Maya literature, the 2012 phenomenon does not draw from those traditions.
Instead, it is bound up with American concepts such as the New Age movement, millenarianism, and the belief in secret knowledge from distant times and places. Established themes found in 2012 literature include "suspicion towards mainstream Western culture," the idea of spiritual evolution, and the possibility of leading the world into the New Age by individual example or by a group's joined consciousness.
The general intent of this literature is not to warn of impending doom but "to foster counter-cultural sympathies and eventually socio-political and 'spiritual' activism".
Aveni, who has studied New Age and SETI communities, describes 2012 narratives as the product of a "disconnected" society: "Unable to find spiritual answers to life's big questions within ourselves, we turn outward to imagined entities that lie far off in space or time—entities that just might be in possession of superior knowledge."
In 1975, the ending of b'ak'tun 13 became the subject of speculation by several New Age authors, who believed it will correspond to a global "consciousness shift".
In his book Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth Age of Consciousness, Frank Waters tied Coe's original date of December 24, 2011, to astrology and the prophecies of the Hopi, while both José Argüelles (in The Transformative Vision) and Terence McKenna (in The Invisible Landscape) discussed the significance of the year 2012, but not a specific day.
In 1987, the year in which he held the Harmonic Convergence event, Argüelles settled on the date of December 21 in his book The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology, in which he claimed on that date the Earth would pass through a great "beam" from the center of our galaxy, and that the Maya aligned their calendar in anticipation of that event.
Aveni has dismissed all of these ideas.