reply posted on 22-12-2012 @ 09:54 AM by AceWombat04
This is my take on this entire phenomenon, as an agnostic skeptic who kept an open mind but never outright believed in the 2012 phenomenon
According to every scholarly piece of evidence I can find as a layperson, there was never a Mayan "end of the world" prophecy. Only an "end of this
cycle" prophecy (and even that's debatable) involving the brief return of one of their gods to the Earth, and then its departure three days later.
The only other thing they predicted was that their lineage of kings would survive into the next cycle, meaning in fact, quite the opposite of an "end
of the world" scenario. Even the "three days of darkness" prophecy some attributed to them is somewhat dubious.
What I suspect happened here is that disappointed millennialists, believers in the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (which has been scheduled, failed,
and rescheduled many, many times,) and other groups longing for some sort of definitive change in their lives and reality in general, as well as
longing for some form of proof of the divine or the mystical or the interdimensional, or what have you, saw this as lining up with other touchstones
of their belief structures such that it seemed legitimate to them.
There's nothing wrong with holding such beliefs, even without evidence. That's why they're only beliefs, no matter how strongly held. There are no
(or, arguably, few) spiritual or religious beliefs which stand up well to scientific scrutiny, and that's okay. Science is concerned with the
material and provable. Philosophy is concerned with the immaterial and mysticism with the unprovable. That's how it's always been, and there's
no need for anger and enmity between the two in my opinion. (Hence my signature topic, "Skeptics and Believers Don't Have To Be At Odds.")
But then, unfortunately, all manner of charlatans, opportunists, and aspiring authors and screenwriters descended upon this otherwise well-meaning -
if perhaps at times perhaps naive - multitude of people, and chose to exploit them and their beliefs or fears. And they were quite successful at it.
The number of verfiably bogus and unsubstantiated misinterpretations, rumors, and outright falsehoods surrounding the "Mayan" apocalypse (which was
never Mayan in origin in this context at all) skyrocketed under these snake oil salesmen's direction. People longing for something to believe in or
already inclined in that direction bought into it, which in turn made the opportunists a lot of money.
Then you had YouTube hoaxers and attention seekers (as well as one or two instances of people who may have been truly mentally ill) professing to have
been given messages by angels concerning 2012 about things like comets or other bodies hitting the Earth, or entering the solar system and causing
disturbance. (Nibiru, Elenin, etc.) All of these failed one by one to come to fruition (despite myriad coincidences and synchronicities pointed to by
believers as evidence,) just as mainstream science insisted they would, which should have been cause for people to be more rigorous and skeptical in
their digestion of these sorts of claims.
But many still continued to believe.
This, despite the fact that the ancient Mayans never actually prophesized anything along the lines of the sort of New Age, awakening, or climactic end
of the world scenarios popularized in books, films, or online leading up to this apparent non-event. (Though some modern Mayan elders claiming lineage
from the ancients did make such assertions.) And the fact that despite various forms of spiritualism focusing on love and compassion (something I
actually find admirable and agree with) no one ever seems to have acknowledged that the Mayans to whom everyone attributed this prophecy practiced...
HUMAN SACRIFICE. I mean, if that's not an indication that spiritual, compassionate, well meaning people might have it at least slightly wrong, I
don't know what is.
And so, here were are. Nothing has happened, and everyone seems to be experiencing some combination of relief, disappointment, elation, hope for the
future, or even outright denial in some cases.
These sorts of events have always been with us and likely always will be. The most we can hope for is for people to become more skeptical as a result
of these dates failing to produce anything out of the ordinary. That doesn't mean I don't tolerate and respect people's spiritual or mystical
beliefs. I do. In fact, I emphatically defend their right to them, and I have my own. But it does mean that when pop culture phenomena like this
spring up, people should be extremely wary and take things with a grain of salt before running for the hills (or for the next plane of existence.)
I would add that I strongly suspect that such belief is a reflection of our species' unconscious or conscious yearning to reach a new paradigm free
of the suffering we find ourselves facing at present. Perhaps only we can achieve that... not a date.