DOOMSDAY 2012: QUESTIONS ANSWERED by J. Allan Danelek
Author of: 2012 Extinction or Utopia
Is 2012 the end of the world as we know it? From 2012 to global warming to worldwide pandemics, doomsday scenarios play an increasingly large role in our lives. Do any of these apocalyptic scenarios pose a real, urgent risk? Why does our modern culture continue to embrace these bleak beliefs, and how are they affecting our world?
Separating hype from truth, J. Allan Danelek scrutinizes the ancient Mayan calendar’s end date of 2012 and takes a hard look at whether it spells the end of the world—or a new beginning in his book named “2012 EXTINCTION OR UTOPIA”.
Danelek also delves into other doomsday beliefs past and present, from biblical end-times prophecies to biological warfare, and discusses the predictions of world-famous prophets such as Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce.
With piercing logic, Danelek objectively explores the apocalyptic threats that have captured our imagination . . . and reveals startling insights about what kind of future— dire or dazzling—awaits humanity.
Doomsday Prophecies Explored
By: J. Allan Danelek
In his book, 2012: Extinction or Utopia, He examines the question of 2012 and the whole sad history of doomsday prophecies through history. However, for those who don’t have either the time nor inclination to read his book, I thought I’d put together this Questions answered directly by him on the entire issue of the Mayans and their bizarre calendar and doomsday stuff in general. Of course, everything that follows are purely J. Allan Danelek’s personal opinion, so take them with a very large grain of salt.
And. as always, I’d love to hear your comments or questions concerning these issues.
2012 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- So what’s the story about 2012? Why is there so much interest in this date specifically?
It all seems to have started with the belief that, according to Mayan teaching, the world will end on December 21st (or 23rd, depending on your source), of 2012—a date arrived upon based upon the fact that their calendar ends its fifth 5,125 year cycle on that date. Such an abrupt ending, then, is perceived by some to mean that the winter solstice of 2012 is the moment when the Mayans believed the world will end or, more correctly, go through a period of cataclysmic change. What sorts of “change” this will entail is anybodies’ guess, of course, but it is taken by many to be a harbinger of disaster. Not surprisingly, then, that makes the date a major source of worry for millions of people around the world.
- Is there any validity to their claims?
There is no hard “evidence” that anything significant will occur on 12/21/12; the belief that it will be is based purely on conjecture, superstition, and faith (as is has been the case with every failed doomsday prophecy of the past). To get a better understanding of how the Mayan calender works, click here.
- How did 2012 and the Mayan calendar come into our modern consciousness?
The Mayan “long count” calendar has been known to archeologists for decades, but it never seemed to generate much interest until it was written about by an art history and aesthetics professor from the University of Chicago named José Argüelles. In his book, The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology, (first published in 1987), Argüelles writes that the ancient Mayans, a preColumbian Native American culture that flourished for nearly two thousand years in Central America before being supplanted by the later Aztecs, had figured out through precise astronomical calculations that the Earth (or, technically, the Earth’s “fifth sun”) would end at the Winter solstice, December 21, 2012, at which point a new, sixth 5,125-year cycle would begin. Now Argüelles, along with others, decided that when this occurred, all the evils of the modern world-war, materialism, violence, injustice, government abuse of power, etc.—would end with the proverbial bang, at which point the sixth Sun and the fifth Earth would dawn to a new age of world peace. So convinced of this belief was he, in fact, that in August of 1987 Argüelles initiated something called the “Harmonic Convergence”—an event that saw people from over the world (known as “lightbearers”) gather at various sacred sites and “mystical” places on the planet—in an effort to usher in a new era of peace and officially start the final 26-year countdown to the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar in 2012.
- Do the modern descendants of the Mayans believe this to be true?
As far as I can determine, modern Mayans find the whole thing a western misunderstanding of Mayan tradition and, as such, a major irritant.
- But didn’t the French seer Nostradamus predict the end of the world for 2012?
No. Nostradamus never sets a date for doomsday in any of his writings. The closest he comes to it in contained in a letter to a friend in which he stated that his predictions covered thousands of years, out to the year 3797. However, this was not a prediction that the world would end at that point, but simply a statement about how far his projections would extend.
The closest Nostradamus comes to implying a major event occuring in contemporary times is contained in Quatrain 72 (Century X) which suggests that some sort of war with a “Mongol-Lombard king” will begin in September of 1999. Nothing appears to have happened around that time that would seem to fulfil the prophecy, however.
- The famous American seer Adgar Cayce predicted doomsday for around this time, didn’t he?
Among the many prophecies Cayce made in terms of Earth changes were his 1941 predictions that between 1958 and 1998 there would be a series of dramatic earth changes that would result in “…inundations of many coastal regions caused by a drop in the landmass of about 30 feet combined with a melting of both polar ice caps,” as well as “…the loss of much of England and Japan, the flooding of northern Europe, which will happen very rapidly.”
In other prophecies, he foretold a shift in Earth’s magnetic pole in 2000 and of the destruction of Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, as well as the emergence of a new land mass appearing off the east coast of North America in 1968—all of which, of course, proved to be erroneous.
- Isn’t believing that the world might end in 2012 just a harmless pasttime?
To most people, it may be a joke, but there are a significant number of people out there who take it very seriously. According to an Associated Press article (October 10, 2009) entitled Mayan Year 2012 Stirs Doomsday Theories, Cornell University astronomer Ann Martin, who runs the “Curious? Ask an Astronomer” Web site, says people are scared; “…we’re getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying that they’re too young to die,” Martin says. “We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn’t live to see them grow up.” Such fears can result in all sort of irrational reactions, from panic-buying and putting off future plans to something as serious as suicide, especially in fantasy-prone personalities types.
- So why do people believe in doomsday prophecies?
There are a number of reasons why, but probably the most common rationale has to do with our discomfort with the uncertainties of life and the feeling that things are out of control on our planet. We live in uncertain times, which breed feelings of fear and foreboding. Doomsday scenarios, then, not only confirm this perception, but in an almost contradictory way, then turns around and offers them hope that things aren’t always going to remain as chaotic as they appear and that there is a plan and purpose behind all the insanity. To many—especially those who embrace Messianic end-times beliefs—it gives a sense that someone, presumably God, is in control and that He will ultimately rescue His creation and initiate the paradise on Earth many so desperately crave. Doomsday prophecies, then—at least those that promise some sort of utopian aftermath—are the ultimate “happy ending” and, for many people, a source of considerable hope and comfort. Even if they must endure a period of tribulation, if heaven is the end product, it is worth the price-or, at least, it is in many people’s minds. Unfortunately, it is also a type of belief system that is highly contagious and capable of attracting large number of followers if perpetuated by people who are particularly convincing.Another reason some people are so attracted to doomsday beliefs is because they frequently describe exciting and fantastic events that offer relief from the monotony of life. In effect, they are escapist fantasy—a promise, if you will, that the banalities of the world we inhabit are only temporary and that they will one day be punctuated by a truly remarkable series of events. Boredom is a powerful incentive to believe the unbelievable, if only as a distraction from the ordinaryness of life.
Another incentive for embracing doomsday scenarios is the belief that one gets from being privy to the future—to feeling that they are “in” on some great cosmic secret. It’s almost as if they and a select group of “chosen ones” have been given a special opportunity to peek behind the curtain of eternity as a reward for their intuitiveness and cleverness in figuring the puzzle out. For people whose lives are a bit on the ordinary side, such a faith structure brings color to their drab existence and inbues it with a meaning and purpose it previously lacked.
This need to maintain the illusion of self-importance and infallibility often makes such people impervious to being dissuaded from their beliefs, no matter how many times their “prophet” of choice has been proven wrong or how thoroughly the weight of evidence is stacked against them. Doomsday believers frequently believe with a fanaticism bordering and often crossing the line between faith and irrationality, making them particularly vulnerable to coersion and manipulation, especially when their leader possesses an extraordinary degree of charisma combined with an uncanny ability to convince others of their claims. That combination, when merged with a niave willingness to suspend disbelief and an unwavering allegience to their leader and/or belief system. Faith is a wonderful thing when invested in something noble, but like a two-edged sword, it can prove a deadly tool in the hands of the wrong person.
But perhaps the strongest reason of all why many people find themselves getting sucked into believing in doomsday scenarios has to do, I think, with the fact that many people simply lack the critical thinking skills so vital in determining fact from fiction. Human beings often prefer to accept ideas on a purely intuitive level rather than on a rational one and, as a result, embrace beliefs because we too often “feel” something to be true. In this case, it is perception that trumps reality, which is what makes people accept things as being “good” or “bad” based not upon the facts but upon rhetoric and hyperbole, thereby short circuiting the ability to determine truth with any degree of accuracy or consistency.
Additionally, most people do not possess the knowledge base necessary to recognize a fallacious statement when they hear one. Most people lack the historical or scientific knowledge necessary to recognize the validity of a specific prediction or possess a context within which to weigh the validity of a particular hypothesis. For example, how many have ever taken the time to study failed prophecies of the past in an effort to acquire some perspective on the subject, or really understand how likely our planet is to be struck by a killer asteroid in their lifetime?
And when it comes to Bible-based end times prophecies, how many professing Christians have ever read the Bible or studied the various competing theories held by theologians throughout history in an effort to weigh the merits of each position?
Unfortunately, it takes work to see through the fallacies, suppositions, historical innacuracies and just plain nonsense that are such a major element of end-times scenarios, which is something most people have neither the time nor inclination to pursue. As a result, most people lack a solid historical, scientific, or rational basis upon which to form their opinions, which is what makes many prone towards deferring to the opinions of others—especially if they consider them to be experts of some kind or to be endowed with a mantle of spiritual authority.
As such, if an environmentalist claims that the world will run out of energy in twenty years or a televangelist enthuses about how the headlines are demonstrating that Jesus could return at any time, many believe them without question—often without evidence to support their claims or counter arguments being considered. In effect, we are often simply too willing to accept people’s words on things, which is always a dangerous thing to do.
- Nostradamus & 2012 Prophecies
- 2012 Doomsday: Who’s to Blame? (shanepedia.wordpress.com)
- Apocalypse 2012 – How It All Began (shanepedia.wordpress.com)
- Apocalypse 2012: Panicked..doom It (shanepedia.wordpress.com)
Archaeologist Gives Speech Assuring Everyone
That Mayan Doomsday Does Not Exist
Archaeologist and ancient Mesoamerican expert Edwin Barnhart gave a speech to an audience of college students on Tuesday about the predicted 2012 Mayan apocalypse and said that it is not going to happen. Barnhart, director of the nonprofit Maya Exploration Center, spent an hour Thursday evening at the Nebraska Union on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus debunking the many modern myths and pseudoscience surrounding Mayan calendars and mathematics. People have been writing about impending cataclysms for thousands of years, he said. “If 5,000 years’ worth of generations have thought theirs was going to be the one to see the end, what are the statistical chances that we are the lucky apocalyptic lottery winners?” Barnhart said.
Yet the Mayan “Long Count” calendar has inspired countless theories ending with things such as celestial alignments, solar flares, mass mayhem and global enlightenment. All of which Barnhart dismissed with a few jokes and common sense backed by decades of research. “I think we’re playing a big game of telephone through time and culture,” Barnhart said. Mayans, both ancient and living, Barnhart said, don’t believe 2012 will be the end of the world. Archaeologists have found only two texts that specifically mention the year, and neither predict doom.
Barnhart believes 2012 does mark a time of great change and should be seen as empowering. “I think they made that calendar to try to identify times they should change before change takes them over. It’s a system in which they can be agents of their own life,” Barnhart said. “I think if the Maya were here, they wouldn’t tell you to hide under the table fearing an apocalypse. They wouldn’t tell you to stand there like a dummy waiting to be enlightened. They would tell you this is the time to take some agency in our lives and change before what is already broken breaks us.” Barnhart earned a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 and his appearance was sponsored by the UNL University Program Council, a student organization.
To read more, click here: http://journalstar.com/news/local/education/mayan-scholar-talks-the…
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