Erroneous assumption that the Maya predicted the end of the world in 2012, is rooted in people's minds
Associate professor of archeology at the University of New Hampshire, Eleanor Harrison-Buck spent many years researching the population of Mesoamerica, studying the structure of local communities, their architectural traditions and analyzing the influence of religious ideology on their lives.
Recently, however, she paid particular attention to the Mayan calendar. Erroneous assumption that the Maya predicted the end of the world in 2012, rooted in the minds of men, despite the fact that it has been refuted by new archaeological discoveries and scientific experts.
Stories about the apocalypse in 2012 is actively promoted in newspapers, on television and on the Internet. This myth has even been adopted by the directors of Hollywood, that only adds fuel to the fire of public hearings.
According to a survey conducted in 2012, one in ten modern American really worried about the consequences that must follow the cataclysmic end of this year.
"This issue is of concern not only my students, but also the general public, and even my friends - says Harrison-Buck. - You can not even imagine how many journalists came up to me with a question: "Will there be end of the world?»
The closer the December 21, the more active scientists involved in the study of the Mayan civilization, trying to convince people that the Mayans did not predict an apocalypse at the end of this year. Earlier this year, archaeologists, anthropologists, and other areas of the investigators met in Mexico to discuss the implications of the existence of such a common myth.
The Mayan calendar is a solar calendar consisting of 365 days, which was distributed throughout Mesoamerica. According to Harrison-Buck, the Mayan calendar does not renew his - they have it complicated. They also had a shorter time ritual calendar, and the combination of these two calendars, forms a repeating cycle of 52 years and known as "round calendar».
To count the time outside of this 52-year period, the Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures have used the so-called "long" calendar. This calendar is divided into periods of 394 years, called Baktun. This calendar counts the length of time of 13 Baktun and called a "great cycle».
Researchers believe that the great cycle of 13 Baktun was to begin in 3114 BC. e., a countdown of the cycle to end December 21, 2012. This date is the end of it is the "great cycle" of the 13 Baktun.
Researchers claim that the number 13 was considered a magic number of the Maya, and the end of that period should be a turning point, but not the end of the world.
Says Harrison-Buck, the Maya believed cyclic time and space concepts. The researchers made this conclusion based on the study of Maya hieroglyphic writing, as well as the study of "Popol Vuh" - the history of the Maya. Ending a long time cycle calendar should be similar to the celebration of the New Year, not the apocalypse, as the researchers explain.
"At the moment we have no information on what events, according to the Maya, must accompany the end of a cycle, but we know that Mayans celebrated the end of calculation periods shorter calendar ... This time they have been associated with time of destruction, and with time updates "- she says.
Based on the classic Maya culture, the study of their writing, astronomy and temple architecture, dating from 300 to 900 years. n. e., we can confidently assert that they are actively interested in the events of the future, much more distant than 21 December 2012. On the contrary, the apocalyptic mood was much more common in Western Christian civilization than the Maya, as evidenced by the 1000-year history.
People misinterpret the Mayan calendar, believing that this civilization knew about upcoming astronomical catastrophes, ranging from large flares on the sun's surface, which could affect the interaction energy in the galaxy and lead to changes in the Earth's magnetic field.
"The idea of the end of the world is growing and spreading like an avalanche in the mountains, - says NASA astrobiologist David Morrison, trying to debunk the myth of the Mayan calendar in a videoconference, the recent NASA. - This idea - like a virus. There is no logical explanation as to why these disasters are to be connected with the December 21, although people somehow believe in this ».
Over the past 10 years Morison answered the questions of the public, posted on a web page NASA "Ask astrobiology." In the past few years, the number of issues related to the end of the world in 2012, at times exceeded the number of really scientific issues.
Morison is convinced that millions of people believe that the world will end in December this year; This includes even small children. And some even contemplated suicide.
"At a time when it seems a joke, the other - a mystery, there is a certain amount of people who are really convinced that the apocalypse is coming, and I believe that it is essential to respond to send us questions such as," - he said.
One of the most compelling evidence to refute the "Mayan prophecy" was found during archaeological excavations in Guatemala earlier this year. Professor Curtis Runnels of Boston University and his team found immured table in one of the landmarks of the Maya, which contained a calendar with the predictions of events dating back thousands of years after the end of the 13th baktun. Runnels said that myth in the Mayan calendar is very similar to hoaxes that have occurred in the past.
Runnels, archeology professor, lecturer on historical myths and hoaxes, recalls a similar scenario distributed newspapermen, when he was still a child. He believes that deep down, most people realize that these stories belong to the realm of science fiction, and regard it only as entertainment.
"People love the sensation - he explains. - They love secrets ».
During the last week held a videoconference conducted by NASA, a teacher from college in Los Altos in Futhile Hills (CA) Andrew Freknoy suggested that the mystery of the Mayan calendar in fact only shows how serious the problem of our society will meet in the near future - with a low level of education.
"In fact, it is very sad that so many people are concerned, many write David Morison, - he said. - It is sad that our schools have not been able to teach the younger generation of critical thinking ».
If the proponents of doomsday apocalypse know the exact date - December 21, 2012, the cause of death on the Earth and people opinions diverge. Among the most likely assumptions can be called a global cooling, a new "small" ice age.
New cooling, surprisingly, should be a consequence of global warming. According to researchers from different countries, an increase in the average temperature on Earth would inevitably lead to the melting of polar ice caps. And thus formed excess water will go into the Atlantic Ocean, including the warm Gulf Stream, "warms" our continent. Gulfstream will cease to be "warm", and the average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere fall - it will be "small" ice age. Its scale and the potential danger of scientists still argue and have adopted a single opinion.
Another reason for the destruction of the world from the viewpoint skeptic may be increased solar activity, which is recorded research centers worldwide independently. It has long been unconfirmed view that in periods of heightened solar activity on Earth occur revolution, civil war, increased the number of suicides occur natural disasters, and so on. D. What should we expect from the next increase in solar activity, no one knows.
There are other versions: the fall of the meteorite, the strongest eruption or tsunami, the collapse of the monetary system established, world nuclear war, and so on. D. However, from the point of view of researchers specializing in the Mayan civilization, the consequences are not predictions of ancient and modern human problems.