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'World', in original sense, when qualified, can also refer to a particular domain of human experience.
"People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true. That's how they define "Reality." But what does it mean to be "correct" or "true"? Merely vague concepts... their "reality" may all be a mirage. Can we consider them to simply be living in their own world, shaped by their beliefs?"
Mayan inscriptions occasionally mention predicted future events or commemorations that would occur on dates far beyond the completion of the 13th b'ak'tun. Most of these are in the form of "distance dates": Long Count dates given together with an additional number, known as a Distance Number, which when added together make a future date. On the west panel at the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque, a section of text projects forward to the 80th 52-year Calendar Round from the coronation of the ruler K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Pakal's accession occurred on 220.127.116.11.8, equivalent to 27 July 615 AD in the proleptic Gregorian calendar. The inscription begins with Pakal's birthdate of 18.104.22.168.0 (March 24, 603 AD Gregorian) and then adds the Distance Number 10.11.10.5.8 to it, arriving at a date of October 21, 4772 AD, more than 4,000 years after Pakal's time.
Another example is Stele 1 at Coba, which gives a date of 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.0.0.0.0, or twenty units above the b'ak'tun, placing it either 4.134105 × 1028 (41 octillion) years in the future, or an equal distance in the past. This date is 3 quintillion times the age of the universe as determined by cosmologists.
Is the world really going to end? Did the Maya really believe the world would end?
There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012. The notion of a "Great Cycle" coming to an end is completely a modern invention.
Maya inscriptions that predict the future consistently show that they expected life to go on pretty much the same forever. At Palenque, for instance, they predicted that people in the year 4772 AD would be celebrating the anniversary of the coronation of their great king Pakal.
Of course, astronomers expect the Sun will eventually blow up into a red giant, then collapse and eventually burn out, but not for several billion years. Although the Maya did cast some predictions into the far distant future, we have not yet discovered any that reach that far. As to whether our world will end in 2012, the answer is, well, yes and no. Americans' sense of invulnerability ended on 9-11-2001. Everything is getting darker and more desperate. Wall Street is crashing. The prospect of peace in the Middle East dims year by year. Some Russian nuclear weapons are unaccounted for. Oil consumption has outstripped our oil production capability. Don't even start with global warming or overpopulation. By any measure, the world after 2012 will certainly look much different than it does today. Statistically, some significant change for the worse is bound to happen in 2012 –or in 2011, or 2013, or 2020, or whatever year you choose.
Even if we were to find evidence of actual Maya prophecies about 2012, that doesn't make them true. Apparently all of Christendom expected Jesus to return in the year 1000, for example. And maybe the most important question to ask was voiced to me by Bill Saturno, discoverer of the San Bartolo murals. If the Maya were such skilled prophets, how could they have missed the Conquest? "Didn't see that one coming, did they?" The single most devastating disaster to befall the peoples of the Americas of all time, and not a word about it in the entire corpus of Mayan prophetic literature.