End times? Most believe world will persist
December 21, 2012
If you are reading this sentence, it means the world has not ended — yet.
However, many people around the world believe that at some point today the end of all existence as we know it will occur. So, no big deal.
This apocalyptic assertion is based on a modern interpretation of the Mayan Calendar.
The Maya is an ancient civilization that flourished in Central America and is widely recognized as the only pre-Columbian culture to have a fully developed written language in the Americas.
They, along with other Mesoamerican ancient cultures in proximity, employed a Long Count calendar that believed in 5,125 year-long time cycles, one of which will apparently come to an end on Friday.
Furthermore, the Mayan calendar did not extend past Dec. 21, 2012 and as the civilization is widely recognized by modern scholars as very advanced astronomers, the theory runs that the Maya somehow divined from the stars that Earth's "use-by" date fell on Friday.
Despite the notable fact that the Mayan culture never predicted the end of the world, as has been pointed out by several archeologists and Mayan experts in the past several weeks and days, many groups and individuals across the globe have taken the event to mean some cataclysmic event will occur that will essentially end all of human existence.
This may be attributable to a disaster film released in 2009 called "2012," in which scientists match all sorts of solar activity with the Mayan Calendar date and conclude correctly that general havoc is about to be set loose.
General havoc in the form of mega-tsunamis and falling asteroids ensues, but the main characters manage to survive. Peter Travers, a film critic with "The Rolling Stone" called the movie a clinic in "cynical, mind-numbing, time-wasting, money-draining, soul-sucking stupidity."
Nevertheless, fears of end times continue to swirl as evidenced by the bevy of calls that NASA has received in the past month, with some callers asking the space agency whether they should kill themselves, their families and their pets.
In response, NASA released a video entitled "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday", which debunks most of the assertions being forwarded by fringe doomsday cults.
A quick survey of Nevada City residents Thursday morning did not reveal too many people worried that the day was their last on planet Earth.
"I haven't been stocking up," said Matthew Crowe, a Nevada City resident. "Hey, if it's all gonna end, what can you do?"
A new era
Not everyone sees the significance of the date as apocalyptic as some individuals believe the date will serve as the birth of a new era, as evidenced locally by the Birth 2012 movement taking place at the Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center at noon Saturday.
"I'm not sure (a change) is going to happen overnight magically, but I believe in the power of positive energy," said Rev. Jerry Farrell of the spiritual center. "I am looking forward to a new energy to deal with some old and long-standing problems."
Farrell and his fellow members at the spiritual center will be participation in a live Internet stream anticipated to involve more than 100 million people.
The shift in consciousness may be obvious or subtle, but the many individuals who will show up at the spiritual center for the event co-sponsored by Gather the Women of Nevada County, will be "optimistic and hopeful" the date will be auspicious rather than dire, Farrell said.
Farrell is not alone.
About 1,000 self-described shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis are gathering in a convention center in the city of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula about an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, convinced that it was a good start to the coming "New Era" supposed to begin around 5 a.m. local time Friday, according to the Associated Press.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email email@example.com or call (530) 477-4239.