Remember eight years ago when conspiracy theories misinterpreted ancient Maya symbols and mythology and said the world was about to end? Well, it turns out that the theory is back, and now suggests that the “end of the world” is technically set to take place in 2020.
That’s because, following the Julian calendar, an argument can be made for us to be in 2012.
The number of days lost in a year due to the change to the Gregorian calendar is 11 days. For 268 years, we have used the Gregorian calendar (1752-2020), multiplied by 11 we get 2,948 days, which divided by 365 (per year) is equal to 8 years. So, technically argument could be made for us being in 2012 and not 2020.
Not that that matters, of course, but it is interesting because 2012 was the year the world was supposedly meant to end.
Based on this eight-year discrepancy, a man called Paolo Tagaloguion tweeted that with eight years missing, we are technically in 2012, and it was back in 2012 when the world was set to end.
The world ending in 2012 was a theory that was cooked up a few decades ago, where people misinterpreted ancient Maya symbology and said that the world was set to end after the Maya cycle was complete.
This was not the case, and the Maya never actually predicted the world to end.
Nonetheless, the interesting idea Tagaloguion had tweeted was quickly picked up by news outlets around the globe and was shared on social networks causing the end-of-days conspiracy theory to reawaken. (Tagaloguion has since deleted the Tweet.)
In a since deleted tweet, scientist Paolo Tagaloguin reportedly said: “Following the Julian Calendar, we are technically in 2012.
“The number of days lost in a year due to the shift into Gregorian Calendar is 11 days.
— JL Bookings (@jlbookings) June 13, 2020
This time, however, we are up against something that has divided opinions. Yes, the difference in calendars should also apply to that of the ancient Maya — more precisely to the one known as the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. This Mayan calendar ended on December 21, 2012, which back then sparked all kinds of apocalyptic speculations.
The world did not end, although with everything going on we could say the apocalypse is as near as it can get.
Back in 2012, things were pretty normal around the world, but that didn’t prevent people from saying the doomsday had arrived. That’s because people misunderstood what the ancient Maya had apparently written down in stone.
The ominous prediction—that of the end of times—was based on a misunderstanding of the Mesoamerican calendar, which did not refer to the end of the world but simply to the beginning of a new 5,125-year cycle for humanity, something that according to Mayan mythology happened plenty of times before, without dire consequences.
However, the above-mentioned difference of eight years has woken up doomsday predictions in some people, who are apparently eager to see the world in flames.
I just wonder, just how worse can it get?
2020 began with severe forest fires, threats of a third world war, locust plagues, and followed with a coronavirus pandemic that has put the world, socially and economically, in restraint.
Technically, 2020 gets as close to the end of times as it can.
But not because of the ancient Maya, their calendar, nor because of the Gregorian calendar, or anything else for that matter.
Historians studying the Maya culture have long used the Gregorian calendar (which calculates dates back since its official acceptance in 1582) to determine the corresponding dates in the Mayan calendar.
However, Tagaloguin was probably unaware that to make the correlation to 2012, academics also took into account the Julian calendar and the subsequent discrepancies caused by the change from one to the other.
The units of the Mesoamerican calendar — 20 days equaled one uinal, 18 uinals (360 days) made up a tun, 20 tuns made up a k’atun, and 20 k’atuns made up a b’ak’tun — are based on the best estimates we have from the ancient Maya scriptures.
The idea that the Maya predicted the end of times for 2012 is actually something that was introduced back in 1957 when archaeoastronomer Maud Worcester Makemson said that “the end of a Great Period of 13 b’ak’tuns would have been of utmost importance to the Mayans.”
Yup, uttermost importance, albeit not world ending.
Things escalated quickly in 1966 when archaeologist Michael D. Coe wrote in The Maya that “there is a suggestion … that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [bʼakʼtun]. Thus … our present universe [would] be annihilated … when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion.”
But as explained by Mayanist scholar Mark Van Stone, “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.”
So, relax, drink a beer and enjoy 2020, a year many argue is as close as it gets to a doomsday plot. I wonder, will this year be when we finally meet aliens? To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised.