The year 2012 brings with it a conundrum for man-kind to solve: is this long-awaited year really the end of all humanity? Will December 21, 2012 be the end of the world or the beginning of another? Or is all this fear and speculation over nothing?
Speculators, alike, have been talking about this day for half a decade. A lot of the debate has primarily focused on the Maya, a diverse group of indigenous people who lived around 2000 B.C.E. in parts of present-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and northwestern Honduras, according to History.com.
Michael D. Coe, American archeologist and author, has written numerous books about the Maya culture. His own research has led him to side with the Armageddon viewpoint.
Some people believe that the Maya held the power to predict future events, including the end of the world; however, there is no hard evidence that proves this theory, according to History.com. A possible reason as to why scholars have directed their attention toward this group of people could be because they were successful in developing â€œone of the most sophisticated and complex civilizations in the Western Hemisphere.â€
The Mayas built complex cities without the use of modern technology, communicated using one of the worldâ€™s first written languages and measured time using two calendar systems.
Over the past ten years, speculation has continued to heighten as various perspectives come to the surface. As this date has drawn closer, even cultural and entertainment trends have reflected the broad array of opinions, including the film 2012,which depicted a series of cataclysmic events unfolding.
These â€œdoomsdayâ€ theories have brought about fear and uncertainty, but even Mayas, today, donâ€™t believe that December 21, 2012 marks the end of the world, Stephanie Lesar, a junior anthropologist and sociologist student at Colorado State University, says.
â€œOne of my archeology professors who conducted research in Central America said modern Mayas donâ€™t believe itâ€™s the end of the world,â€ Lesar says.
Rather, they believe it is just the end of another life cycle. The Maya civilization marked this day as the end of the 13th bâ€™akâ€™tun, a time period in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar which was used in Central America. A bâ€™akâ€™tun consists of 144,000 days, or 394.26 solar years. A solar year refers to the length of time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons. The Classic Mayas lived during the eighth and ninth bâ€™akâ€™tun. The end of the 13th bâ€™akâ€™tun marks the beginning of the 14th bâ€™akâ€™tun, according to Wikipedia.
According to the Mayas, the world has already collapsed five times; life has ended five times. The Mayans believe that the first humans to inhabit the earth disrespected the planet, so the gods wiped them out, Lesar says.
â€œThere is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012,â€ Mayan scholar Mark Von Stone said. â€œThe notion of a â€˜Great Cycleâ€™ coming to an end is completely a modern invention.â€