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November 2, 2012 12:11 PM   Subscribe

It's Not the End of the World: What the Ancient Maya Tell Us About 2012. The Foundation for Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies (FAMSI, previously) has a series of in-depth & visually rich presentations on Mesoamerican creation myths, concepts of time, and calendrics related to the up-coming (non)apocalypse.

Presented in PDF format.
posted by Panjandrum (27 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
[SPOILER ALERT]
posted by slogger at 12:18 PM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I see a BART everyday for some lecture on 2012: It's not the end of the world. I think it's Mark Van Stone.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:22 PM on November 2, 2012


Correction: it's the end of the world as we know it.
posted by telstar at 12:31 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I feel fine about that.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:33 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good stuff. I still love William S. Burroughs' idea that the Mayan calendar wasn't a prophetic or time-keeping device, but rather a tool built by the priesthood to control the rest of the population, and that December 21, 2012 represented the date that this would no longer prove effective, and would thus require the creation of a new calendar system.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:33 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have tried to explain to a family member approximately one jillion times that the end of a calendar is not the same as the end of time. I finally hit on an explanation that clicked for her: Look, your decades-old VCR isn't programmed to register any year higher than 1999. Does that mean

A) that the VCR programming predicted that the world would end in 1999?
or
B) that they just hadn't gotten around to programming a calendar that went beyond that date?
posted by Elsa at 12:43 PM on November 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Everyone know that the end of the Mayan calendar doesn't mark the end of the world in a literal sense. Rather, it marks the end of the Fifth World and the beginning of the Sixth.
posted by asnider at 12:45 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm personally hoping for either the Terence McKenna or The Invisibles option on that date, but that's just how I roll.
posted by Kitteh at 12:49 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've done some research on this issue And from what I understand it isn't a literal apocalypse in the sense of th destruction of humanity but a metaphorical apocalypse, the revelation of a something hidden.

Many of us have known for some time, that on december 21st it will be revealed that Jesus,JFK,Elvis,Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson and Steve Jobs are not only still alive but living in Area 51 as beings of pure energy. Their reported deaths were cover ups to hide the fact that they had become enlightened after being contacted by the discorporeal remains of ancient astronauts. These ancient astronauts had created humanity through genetic engineering and throughout the ages they have revealed their secrets to a select few.

On December 21st, their new album, recorded in total secrecy at Groom Lake AFB, drops on iTunes and they will embark on a world tour soon after. During this tour Jesus will rock out so hard he will split the mount of olives ushering in the age of Aquarius.

So it is pretty clear all these stories about the destruction of humanity are total bunk.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:04 PM on November 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


If I were a Mesoamericanist, 2+ years of the idiot demographic talking about this would probably have me longing for the end of the world and the destruction of humanity.

I guess these guys are more charitable and optimistic than I am.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:16 PM on November 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am a Mesoamericanist (though I don't work on the glyphs; those guys probably have to deal with a lot more unhinged woo from the general public). For me the main effect of all this has been that my Amazon recommendations started getting really really weird.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am grateful to the Mayans for providing me with a cute release date for an anthology of apocalyptic lit I'm publishing. Otherwise, I think the folderol surrounding this has been pretty silly and if I were a serious Mayan academic I would be so, so tired of it. These guys seem much calmer than I fear I'd be in their place. I mean, "The credibility of those claims deserves rational attention"... wow, no it doesn't, it deserves scorn and derision, but it's wonderful that they're able to use this moment to teach what is probably otherwise not a real hot topic, and is genuinely interesting in its own right.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:40 PM on November 2, 2012


DISINFO AGENT
posted by lain at 1:43 PM on November 2, 2012


"Jesus will rock out so hard he will split the mount of olives ushering in the age of Aquarius."

Well thanks- that was supposed to be a surprise. Prescience can be such a downer :(
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 1:46 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


> If I were a Mesoamericanist, 2+ years of the idiot demographic talking about this would probably have me longing for the end of the world and the destruction of humanity.

I occasionally run into my old archaeology professor (a Mayanist) around town. A few months ago I asked him how the 2012 thing was going, especially for his intro courses. His response was some near hysterical laughter followed by a sad sigh, then he changed the subject.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Phyllis Harmonic: ""Jesus will rock out so hard he will split the mount of olives ushering in the age of Aquarius."

Well thanks- that was supposed to be a surprise. Prescience can be such a downer :(
"

Join us over in postscience, it's a real upper over here.
posted by symbioid at 2:54 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't have hurt anyone to allow me just a little bit of hope.
posted by neversummer at 3:10 PM on November 2, 2012


Why do these things always focus on the crazy stuff? Who cares about whatever galactic syzygy is in fashion at the moment, or what the Olmec thought about solstices? Just tell me what I really want to know: Is Quetalcoatl coming back, or not?
posted by sfenders at 4:51 PM on November 2, 2012


'Lady Snake Lord' Tomb Discovered: Mayan Warrior Queen Believed Found In Guatemala

Tomb of a Mayan warrior queen: GlobalPost interviews the discoverer of the final resting place of Lady K'abel
posted by homunculus at 5:10 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whenever someone starts talking about 2012 and the end of the world, I pull out this this gem. It rarely convinces them but I feel better.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:44 PM on November 2, 2012


I hope Ad is right. My birthday is December 21st, and FINALLY, it won't be bum rushed by Christmas.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:56 PM on November 2, 2012


And all my Mayan knowledge is gleaned from The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Esteban, Esteban! Oooooh oo oh oo oh! Someday we will find, the cities of gold! Love that song.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:58 PM on November 2, 2012


Modern Maya societies in Mexico and Guatemala still use the calendar systems as part of their traditional religion, particularly the divination ceremonies. But the calendars are not in synch anymore - if they ever were in pre-Columbian times, which is debateable. When the date is 2 Rabbit in Yucatan it can be 11 Knife in Quiche, and 4 Hunter across the mountain from there.
posted by zaelic at 3:13 AM on November 3, 2012


apocalypse, the revelation of a something hidden.

Amusingly enough, the greek ἀποκάλυψις, apocalypisis, literally means "uncovering" and directly means the revelation of something hidden. See "Revelation of John" in the bible, which in Greek is titled "Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου", Apocalypsis Ioannou.

The whole end-of-the-world thing came later, from the aforementioned Revelations.
posted by eriko at 8:03 AM on November 3, 2012


I'm kind of hoping the world DOES end in December; it will be the only way out of paying back my 70k in student loans.
posted by happyroach at 9:58 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mayan Apocalypse Is Total Bullshit, Claim Druids
posted by homunculus at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2012


What destroyed the Maya? We have a new clue, in the form of an ancient stalagmite.
posted by homunculus at 5:54 PM on November 8, 2012


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