Today marks the conclusion of the 13th Baktun. This means the end of the cycle of the Mayan calendar that started 5,126 years ago and some are worried, the world.
Happy New Year!
The good news is that the sun did come up this morning. No asteroids fell from the sky. No volcanoes poured molten lava across the landscape. Scarcely an earthquake rendered the planet asunder.
The bad news for people who woke up today pleasantly surprised to find a planet under their feet is that the date might be off. According to the most recent issue of “Archaeology,” some experts believe that the Mayan calendar cycle started on Aug. 13, 3114 B.C., not Aug. 11.
This means the cycle won’t end until Sunday, not today. We still have two more days to prepare for, or worry about, the Mayapocalypse.
Most people aren’t expecting the world to end today, or Sunday. A Reuters survey of 16,000 people around the world found that 10 percent were worried that the end of the calendar could mean the end of the world.
People were stocking up on vodka in Russia. A disturbance in China believed to be sparked by the feared end of the world resulted in 100 people being arrested, according to a National Public Radio report.
When the world doesn’t end today, or Sunday, some people will find something new to fear.
Remember Y2K or Harold Camping, who predicted that the Rapture would take place in March 2011, then the following October?
I wonder what we’ll come up with next, maybe a comet or asteroid. I’m sure we’ll think of something. We always do.
Once upon a time, we had a reliable focus for our fears. For almost 40 years, Armageddon was as convenient as the nearest Soviet nuclear missile silo.
Since then, we’ve had to improvise a bit.
The truth is that tragedies will sometimes change our world, but the events seldom give a lot of warning.
Nobody expected the planes to fly into the World Trade Center. No one who dropped off the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary thought it would be anything more than another day at school.
The world some people knew ended in a sudden, horrible moment. Many of us will have times like that at some point in our lives.
The Maya, however, might really have a lesson for us in those times.
Those not concerned about the end of the cycle include experts on the Maya and the descendants of the people who drew up the original calendar. In the highlands of Guatemala, people known as “Daykeepers,” still keep track of the cycles laid down by their ancestors.
The modern Maya find the idea strange that outsiders think the end of the baktun means the end of everything. The world ends everyday when the sun sets and when the harvests come in, but it’s reborn each morning.
Life goes on.
Guy Busby is a writer living in Silverhill. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at guybusby.com.