|A modern look at an ancient prediction|
|Written by Kasha Henricks, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 16 January 2012 14:11|
When most people think of the date Dec. 21, 2012, they think of the world coming to an end, but what is the truth behind it?
Sociology and anthropology professor, Kathryn Sampeck, explains the differences between how people today think of time and how the Mayans thought of it.
“They look at time as cycles, but really long term cycles. We have a really short idea of time, so it is kind of hard for us to get our head around their concept of time. We like to have precise and definite ends to things. It is sort of a crash between our concept of time and others concepts of time,” Sampeck explained.
“The whole idea of ending can mean something completely different to them than it does to us,” Sampeck added.
In today’s society, we consider time in days, weeks and years. However, the Mayans looked at time in much longer spans. Dec. 21, 2012 is predicted to be the end of one of those time spans.
“It’s the end of a cycle. It’s the end of a long span of time,” Sampeck said.
The Mayans measured time in units, such as the Baktun, which is 394 solar years. They also considered the number 13 as an unlucky number filled with suspicion. Dec. 21, 2012 is calculated to be the ending of 394 multiplied by 13.
“That hasn’t happened in our recorded history, it is a big thing, but they didn’t exactly predict that terrible things would happen. I think that it is just the predicting of an ending, that led to the idea that the world is going to end,” Sampeck explained.
David Stuart, author of “The Order of the Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012,” also agrees that the Mayans were not predicting the end of the world.
“No Maya text, ancient, colonial, or modern ever predicted the end of time or the end of the world,” Stuart stated in the book.
“They see these big cycles but things don’t ever actually really end. It’s just a way to transform into the next part of the cycle that's happening,” Sampeck said.
Sampeck described the Mayan cycles of time as something that could be compared to the cycle of a seed.
“When you plant a seed, it then transforms into the corn plant which then bares fruit, which then, you harvest that fruit and the plant dies. It is that same sort of idea of that kind of cycle.”
The Mayans did not limit the idea of cycles or time to be one-dimensional. They believed that the cycles of life had more to them than what we can see on paper.
“The Mayan’s think of time as a texture or flavor sort of influence, sort of like horoscopes but not quite, it is a little more day to day. Some dates can affect the way things go.” Sampeck explained.
“It’s sort of silly, another good point, when the Mayan’s collapsed a thousand years ago, I don’t think their calendar predicted that. Their civilizations that were around a thousand years ago don’t exist anymore,” James Skibo, professor of anthropology, said.
In the past, the Mayans have correctly predicted astrological events, giving them credibility in today’s world.
“They were very precise. They could predict eclipses particularly of Venus, Mars, the Moon and the Sun, really precisely. And they kept track of it, they knew when it happened in the past and when it would happen in the future,” Sampeck said.