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2012 SCIENCE OR SUPERSTITION
The Definitive Guide to the Doomsday Phenomenon
By Alexandra Bruce
The Disinformation Company Ltd.Copyright © 2009 The Disinformation Company Ltd.
All rights reserved.
"If you don't know about 2012 doomsday predictions by now, you don't have enough woo-woo friends."
—Dwight Garner, New York Times
CHICXULUB DOOMSDAY & THE "TAIL OF THE DEVIL"
Here's a woo-woo story for you. While working on this book late one evening, I read that the Chicxulub impact crater, the scene of the most notorious mass extinction event in history, was named after the small fishing village located near its epicenter in northern Yucatán, Chicxulub, which translates loosely from Mayan into English as "Tail of the Devil."
Moments after I'd read this factoid, a friend of my colleagues, actor Rudy Youngblood dropped by the studio and we had an impromptu cocktail party. Rudy played the lead role in the film Apocalypto, so I commented to him about how eerie it was that "Chicxulub" means "Tail of the Devil." He nodded slowly and looked me dead in the eye. He said, "They knew."
Rudy told me that he'd spent almost a year in the Yucatán filming Apocalypto and during that time he'd befriended some local shamans. They told him about a practice that has existed for ages in Maya culture, where the shamans go into deep states of meditation and as Rudy described it, they would "time travel," to see the land in the future and in the past, to lead their communities towards the most auspicious areas, for settlement, for planting, for building. The modern-day shamans told Rudy that the ancient shamans of 1,500 years ago had astrally "seen" the cataclysm at Chicxulub and that was how the village had come to be given the name "Tail of the Devil," in the Mayan language of the Classic period.
The Chicxulub impact was one of the biggest doomsdays in the history of this planet. An object about 6 miles wide came in out of the sky and slammed into the beautiful Caribbean. The impact literally shook the Earth to its core. The massive shock waves generated global earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and megatsunamis thousands of feet high. The super-heated pyroclastic dust fanned out in every direction for millions of miles, broiling Earth's surface, setting most of the world ablaze. For almost a decade, the sky was blacked-out, with a rain of ash dust and sulfuric acid, accompanied by freezing temperatures. The photosynthesis of plants came to a halt, affecting the entire food chain of whatever survived the initial blast.
Today, the crater is buried beneath a kilometer of sediments. From the ground, no one would guess that such unimaginable devastation could ever have taken place in this tropical paradise, yet the Chicxulub impact is generally viewed to be the cause the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event that wiped out 75% of all Earth's species and 100% of the dinosaurs—which brings us to the apocalypse at hand ...
THE 2012 PHENOMENON
How did fragmentary glyphs carved into the rocks of the Maya ruins seize popular imagination, spawning myriad cottage industries and a literary sub-genre?
Once you wade through the oceans of shameless snake oil and past the gatekeepers at the Ivory Towers, you may be surprised to find the concepts encompassed by 2012 to be the most vital in existence. 2012 concerns the mysterious past, present and future of the Earth and of every being upon it.
2012 has gone from being an obscure artifact from an ancient calendar that fell out of use 1,000 years ago into a mass conversation about the different ways people relate to each other and to everything else. How do we relate to the Earth and to the cosmos? How do we measure time, how do we conceive of history and of personal identity? What are our values, our ideals and our faiths? How do we countenance our personal deaths? How do we feel about mass extinction? How can we avoid mass extinction?
Contrary to the New Age mantra about "You Create Your Own Reality," of which The Secret has been the most lucrative exemplar yet, a salient feature of the 2012 mythos is this sense of a complete loss of control. This is especially evident in the weird urban legend that has insinuated itself to the meme, about a "Planet X" bogeyman that's going to barrel through our solar system and wreak all kinds of unscientific-sounding havoc.
The proliferation of books and films that contain "2012" in their titles, range from the reasonably speculative to the totally kooky but all speak to a sense that modern humanity has lost touch with something essential and that we've thus become sitting ducks. We fear that we've given our power away to the authorities and that now they won't tell us about a comet cluster that's coming to clobber us or about an imminent single-ply Earth crustal displacement cataclysm—none of which we could do anything to prevent or would have any chance of surviving—if they were really happening and should we desire to live in a post-Apocalyptic world, without clean sheets, creme rinse or Chinese delivery ...
We've been told since childhood that an asteroid extinguished the mighty dinosaurs in a single day. When we look out at our pockmarked celestial neighbors, we know that something similar could happen here again. Recent discoveries at the bottom of the seas seem to bear this out and the "Planet X" rumors probably stem from these new scientific observations. "In 1980, only 86 Near-Earth asteroids and comets were known to exist ... [today] NASA estimates that there are perhaps 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets in the general vicinity of Earth." So far, the technology to adequately view and track these potential threats simply didn't exist. With the November 2009 launch of NASA's WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), it is hoped that we'll be able to see any hazards that we've missed.
This book carefully examines the latest discoveries in astrophysics and geophysics and determines the probability of the many alleged imminent extinction-level catastrophes that have been injected into the 2012 mythos.
THE 2012 BLOCKBUSTER
2012® has been developed as a brand target-marketed to a demographic that is overwrought with dread, panic and anxiety, a demographic that is increasingly distrustful of the ability of officialdom to respond to matters of vital consequence. This demographic represents the larger number of people in the overdeveloped areas of world today.
The rumblings in the noösphere of today's mega 'burbs are summed up quite well in the 30-second preview for the ultimate "2012" product to date, the $200 million Hollywood disaster film by Director Roland Emmerich:
EXT. TIBETAN HIMALAYAS—The Highest Mountains In The World
YOUNG MONK runs up a mountainside towards a BELL TOWER at the top.
INT. TIBETAN BELL TOWER
YOUNG MONK bursts through the doors. OLD MONK rings a huge, ancient GONG. TITLE CARDS
HOW WOULD THE GOVERNMENTS OF OUR PLANET PREPARE SIX BILLION PEOPLE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD?
EXT. OCEAN RISES UP OVER THE ENTIRE HIMALAYAN RANGE, CASCADES OVER THE PEAKS, PULVERIZES BELL TOWER
THEY WOULDN'T 2012 FIND OUT THE TRUTH GOOGLE SEARCH 2012
Roland Emmerich does have a point. No government would really want to admit that they don't have the situation handled—and because scientists and universities must rely on government grants to subsidize their research, those who don't toe the line of the uniformitarianist establishment may find it difficult to get funding. Uniformitarianism "holds that the same fundamental geological processes operated in the past as do today ... originally proposed in contrast to catastrophism, which states that the distant past 'consisted of epochs of paroxysmal and catastrophic action interposed between periods of comparative tranquility.'" The so-called "catastrophists" have tended to work with fewer resources and their theories have tended to remain in the background, under a pall of crankdom.
GEOMYTHOLOGY: AN INTEGRATED VIEW OF LIFE ON EARTH
A new subdiscipline of science is emerging, called geomythology, practiced by people like Los Alamos National Laboratory environmental archaeologist Bruce Masse, who was given access to over 4,000 myths from South America east of the Andes in the UCLA database and to which he applied the same rigorous standards that he applies to his other areas of scientific study. We will take a look at the fascinating discoveries being made in the cutting edge of astrophysics, dendrochronology, marine geology and geomythology, which bring a new level of holism to our understanding of life on Earth, as their interdisciplinary efforts reveal how Earth history is human history—and that Earth's astrophysical history is also human history.
The fascinating and mysterious remains of the classical Maya civilization represent a relatively new field of study for archaeologists. The bulk of Maya hieroglyphics were not decoded until the 1980s and the job is presently just three quarters complete. Maya mathematics and astronomy amaze everyone for being more advanced than that of their Roman contemporaries and Maya timekeeping methods were perhaps their most stunning achievement.
In the 7th century BCE the Maya built magnificent pyramids, temple complexes and cities with beautiful bas-reliefs and sculptures. During the 21st century CE, the Maya also "mysteriously" built many of the McMansions in upscale areas of the United States, as undocumented workers ... Like its Roman counterpart, the Maya empire collapsed and tens of thousands have migrated to North America, but about 6 million Maya living in their traditional lands speak Mayan as a first language and in certain remote highland areas of Guatemala they still use their ancient calendrical system, in an unbroken tradition of over 2,000 years.
What is one to make of a pre-telescopic civilization that was so obsessed with keeping time, that they would carve glyphs into monuments, representing increasingly huge units of time, the largest, equal to 10,331,233,010,526,315,789,473,682,240,000 days, found engraved in a stele at the large temple complex at Cobá?
If these were just numbers, that would be one thing, but these multi-billionyear chunks are units of time.
BASICS OF THE MAYA CALENDARS
It is said that in their heyday, the Maya of the Classic period regularly made use of twenty-four different calendars. The Maya created almanacs based on every celestial body whose movements they could consistently observe and record but for everyday use, they kept time with two interlocking cyclical calendars, one lunar and the other solar. These were called the T'zolk'in and the Haab', respectively, which were synchronized to form a cycle of 52 years that was called a "Calendar Round" and which consisted of 18,980 distinctly-named dates. With everything these calendars did identify, they did not specify years, which is a bit strange for a Western mind to figure.
For longer periods or for identifying when distant events occurred in relation to others, Mesoamericans developed Long Count calendars, which unlike the T'zolk'in and the Haab' were linear and therefore theoretically infinite and never-ending. The Gregorian calendar is similar, in that it can be extended to refer to any date in the future or in the past. We will get into the details of Maya Long Count calendar in the next chapter.
Among the most mind-boggling features of Maya timekeeping are the enormous units of time to which they gave names. The longest of the named units exceeds the estimated age of the universe, according to modern cosmology and the biggest time unit discovered so far at an archaeological dig in Cobá, Mexico is unnamed and is simply called the "Cobá number," which is in the ten nonillions!
WERE THE MAYA FROM OUTER SPACE?
The impressive time units, in conjunction with the dazzling accuracy of Maya timekeeping and the mysterious abandonment of their beautiful temple complexes have helped give rise to some rather outlandish allegations among New Age entrepreneurs.
A number of enterprising entertainers have declared that the ancient Maya were actually extraterrestrials who have since returned to their "home world," a view which can be interpreted as insulting to the modern-day Maya, who have been contending with cultural oppression and genocide for over five centuries, as it is. It's almost like saying that the Romans were really from outer space and that they went back to their abode in the stars, resulting in the Fall of Rome. (Because Italians couldn't possibly have built the Roman Empire ...)
100% PURE MYTHOMANIA
Yes, these were the Galactic Maya, great civilizers of the Pleiadian beyond who brought their time science to a planet which they knew was devoid of it, and hence incapable of entering the great tournament of time traveling athletes whose wanderings and mental exploits mark the annals of the galactic saga of spiritual and mental evolution. So here on Earth they infiltrated, partook of the Olmec shamanic rites, became jaguar priests, tamed naguals, and erected cosmic temples upon which they inscribed inscrutable star histories, episodes occurring hundreds of millions and even billions of years in the past—or the future. Finally they set up their dynasties and rivalries which marked the end of their time on Earth.
It's one thing to be amazed at these massive units of time and to have a "sci-fi moment" and to wonder if the Maya could really be from this planet or even from this universe, playing with units of time that were longer than the universe is old. What in the world were they doing with units of time that had 10,331,233,010,526,315,789,473,682,240,000 days in them? I really can't blame anyone for "going there," in one's imagination, as a thought experiment, as entertainment, as fiction—but as a career?
These time units could well have been a mathematical exercise or a way to allege massive ancientness and legitimacy to the lineage of the local ruler. To really "go there" and put a shingle up and make a cottage industry out of saying that the "galactic" or "seed" ET Maya have gone home and that the Maya living in Mesoamerica today aren't the real deal ...?
I'm not saying that there hasn't been any interplanetary or interdimensional weirdness in Earth's history but there's got to be a better way to make a living than by dissing the Maya! The ET narrative also functions as a bizarre form of denial. As if our own civilization couldn't be brought to its knees, after severe economic and environmental collapse and cataclysm, followed by a violent conquest at the hands of brutal, ignorant, weapon-toting ideologues—like what happened to the Maya.
The only function that this mind-rotting ET narrative seems to serve is to distract from the fact that every single empire that has ever risen has also fallen, because empires are unsustainable. The Maya now living the traditional, low-impact way in the Guatemala highlands have since found a way to live that is sustainable. Hopefully, we'll find a way to do the same—and still keep our iPods. (Actually, I'm pretty sure they have those in the Highlands ...)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "MAYANIST" & "MAYANISM"
Mayanists are scholars who have specialized in the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Mayanism is something different, altogether. It is a blend of New Age beliefs and pre-Columbian Maya mythology. Prior to the 1970s, Mayanism was largely influenced by the works of Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg and was associated with the idea that the survivors of the "lost continent" of Atlantis could be found in modern-day Mesoamerica. More recently, Mayanism also came to include speculations that the Maya either originated from outer space or they were influenced by off-planetary intelligence or that the reason they abandoned their pyramids was to return to the stars. (We will discuss more about Mayanism in upcoming chapters).
The December 21, 2012 "doomsday" derives from the Maya Long Count calendar. The interpretation of the date's significance is based on ancient Maya belief that the end of a 13-b'ak 'tun cycle signifies the end of a "World Age" and the beginning of a new one.
Many Westerners are looking to ancient sources and to the wisdom of the indigenous peoples, in hopes of "reconnecting" with a lost "Unity Consciousness" that is poorly understood. It's ironic, considering that Westerners had almost completely stamped Native Americans out of existence. The Maya managed to escape total physical decimation and are today among the largest populations of Native American groups, living mostly in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
The incredible precision of ancient Maya timekeeping and their mysterious shamanic approach to life has prompted many Westerners to wonder whether the Maya knew or know something that Westerners don't. Many believe that ancient and modern-day indigenous cultures hold vital information that has long been forgotten in the West, ranging from how to live in harmony with the Earth to detailed knowledge about vast cosmic cycles—in particular, those related to astrophysical events of a cataclysmic order.
Excerpted from 2012 SCIENCE OR SUPERSTITION by Alexandra Bruce. Copyright © 2009 The Disinformation Company Ltd.. Excerpted by permission of The Disinformation Company Ltd..
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