December 14, 2012

NEWS: Time Waits For No Mayan

The apocalypse is brain candy for people with an active imagination. One of my friends is planning a Last Supper for December 21, asking guests what they want as their final meal. I'm not sure food would be my preoccupation at the end of the world. I might be busy hugging strangers or writing my last journal entry, while stuffing cheese and bread into my mouth to stave off hunger pangs. But it's a great excuse to have a party, as was the millennium, when everyone sat around until midnight waiting for the world's computers to go haywire. Yawn.

December 21, 2012, in case you haven't heard, is the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. I don't know why we give particular credence to this prediction over others, except that the Mayans were quite clever about time. They had a sophisticated system of recording and projecting it, and left behind elegant hieroglyphs to confound and astound us.

When I went looking for scientific evidence of an end-of days prediction, though, it was nowhere to be found. Turns out that the Mayan calendar was created as a cyclical one, which resets every 1,872,000 days. It's simply "time" to press the RESET button. Even NASA felt compelled to address the issue, with this entertaining short video that was released early, even though it was intended for release December 22 (it will be very amusing if, in fact, a planet rushes out of space to collide with the earth and destroy all of our best-laid plans for the upcoming 2013).

So while we're resetting the calendar, can we just take a deep breath and remember that time doesn't actually exist? The earth turns and the sun appears and disappears, which reminds us that the planet is turning. The moon is visible when the sun isn't, and we know that the moon travels around the earth. Simple science! (If you believe in science.. you might consider yourself a creationist, but that's another blog post.)

Calling each turn a day, each disappearance of the sun a night, and breaking up the cycle into 24 hours, then regrouping those hours into weeks, months and years .... was human invention. It's a series of labels that refers to a newer system than the Mayan one. It's something that we created, not something that existed before we did. And it's just as well that we all agreed to it; otherwise, it would be just one more thing to fight over, time after time. Ho ho ho. 

2 comments:

  1. Say what they will, I'm keeping my go-bag within easy reach.
    It's chock full of all the essentials, though I still have to
    rush out for ziploc bags and a tube of toothpaste.
    Just because it's The End of the World doesn't mean
    we should stop brushing out teeth, all of a sudden.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good point, George. Manners should survive humanity, as they got very little use while we were alive.

    ReplyDelete

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