Friday, November 27, 2009

Is there historical and scientific evidence supporting a theory that the Maya had knowledge of a significant 2012 event?

Some people question whether the Maya actually knew something was going to happen on Winter Solstice, December 21, 2012. They point to a lack of specific mention in their writings and scientific confirmation. These naysayers are wrong on both counts.
The next series of blogs will discuss the historical and scientific basis of what I will call for convenience sake, the “Maya 2012 End Time Prophecy.” The conclusions reached after research and analysis surprised even me. I’ll start with this question: Did the Maya leave a written record revealing that a cosmic event will occur on December 21, 2012?
We need to first discuss why the Maya calendar date that equates to our date of December 21, 2012 has become a matter of concern as the date approached.
Basically, the Maya believed that the world around them suffered catastrophic events four times in the past and that the fifth such event would occur on the Winter Solstice, 2012 date. Rather incredibly, the events that they believed caused global annihilation in the past roughly mirror Biblical disasters such as the Flood and the cataclysmic destruction of ancient cities by fire from the sky and eruptions of the earth.
We also know from geological evidence that life on our planet was almost completely wiped out a number of times before recorded history. These events, such as mega volcanoes and asteroid and comet strikes, including ones the Maya would have knowledge of, will be discussed later.
It needs to be emphasized again that the Maya were a highly advanced and literate culture. This has to be important to keep in mind because there is misconception that began immediately after the conquest by Europeans that the Aztecs, Maya and other peoples of Mesoamerica were savages. That concept arose to justify the destruction, looting and rape of their entire civilization—behind it was Spanish lust for treasure and religious zealots.
The fact they practiced human sacrifice was perhaps the most serious charge, ignoring the fact that many pagan European cultures did the same and the Romans in fact kicked their form of human sacrifice up to a high level by pitting untrained, ill-equipped people against savage beasts and professional warriors.
One way to judge the state of a culture is by looking at how complex their language was. Like the Egyptians, the Maya had a well developed written language based on hieroglyphics, a system of mathematics and were perhaps the finest astronomers of the ancient world, surpassing cultures such as the ancient Greeks, Persians, and Chinese who made studies of the sky.
The Maya produced tens of thousands of books, a recorded history of their entire civilization. What happened to these books and from clues left behind what I believe the books contained, will be discussed in the next blog.

The above is my co-author’s response to my original blog, which now follows:

Did the Maya have a serious scientific reason for their belief in a 2012 apocalypse?

The date they picked for their apocalypse is December 21, 2012. At that time our planet, moon and solar system will align with the heart of the galactic plane, in which scientists now know a supermassive black hole resides. The Maya viewed that black abyss—which they called “the Dark Rift”—as a kind of hell world, out of which the Black Tezcatlipoca would unleash the dark demons of everlasting night, which would then descend on the earth and annihilate humankind. This alignment only occurs once every 26,000 years, which closely approximates the combined duration of the five Mayan “Sun Ages.” I say “approximates” because the precise length of each of those “Sun Ages” is not known. They come to around 5200 years each, which would equal 26,000 years. In other words, the first “Sun Age” would have roughly coincided with the earth’s last alignment with the galaxy’s core. On 12/21/2012 at 11:11 PM Universal Time earth will experience its first galactic alignment in that 26,000 period. The Maya believed that date marks the end of the Fifth Sun Age.

They Maya also seemed to know—for reasons that are still unclear—that the Milky Way galaxy was a spiraling disk and that we orbited along its edge. We know this because the Mayan glyph for our Milky Way—which they sometimes called “The Tree of Life”—is a spinning disk.

I’m not suggesting the Maya viewed the universe exactly as we do or that they had our mathematical and the scientific sophistication—only that their vision of the 2012 apocalypse was based on closely studied astronomical observations and mathematical calculations as well as mystical divination.

I’ve done a lot of national radio and some TV for this book, and many people ask if extraterrestrial beings gave the Maya these unique insights. My answer is somewhat oblique. In the end the Maya could not have inferred these insights into our galaxy from their mathematics, science or from direct observation, and these insights imbued their hieroglyphic language, their religion and their life. They weren’t irrelevant, ephemeral observations. It seems to me they gained them either through a kind of preternatural revelation unimaginable to us or someone told them. I do not see a third alternative. I wish someone would come up with one.

I also do not see how we can dismiss out of hand their End-Time prophecy, if we cannot explain how they arrived their other uncanny perceptions about the nature of our galaxy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If, for argument’s sake, these prophesies are wrong, are we wrong to brood about the world’s end?

Quite the contrary. As we have just observed, Planet Earth lives in a shooting gallery, its interior is a species-killing bomb waiting to detonate and humanity itself is capable of species-wide annihilation, including self-annihilation. We have enough nuclear weapons to destroy ourselves many times over, and the genetically-engineered plague viruses could also end civilization as we know it. We can never spend too much time planning for catastrophe-prevention and consequence-management.

Robert Heinlein said that “earth is too small and fragile a basket for humanity to put all its eggs in.” Many scientists have argued that for humanity to survive the next millennium, we must spread our species into space—onto other planets.

If nothing else, the Mayan prophesy of 2012 should be viewed as a profoundly important wake-up call, the ultimate cautionary tale.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What could the Maya have known that we don’t?

The answer to that question goes back to the basic premise of how our universe operates:

Everything operates in a circle.

What goes around, comes around.

Which means that whatever they saw . . .

Will return!

-- Could the Mayans have discerned the nature of our 12/21/2012 cataclysm?

They could have conceivably witnessed a passing asteroid, whose approach we’re ignorant of, and surmised it would return and visit its violence on the earth on . . . 12/21/2012.

-- How would the Maya have viewed such a celestial visitor?

They say all celestial objects as gods, none of whom were benign in their attitudes toward humankind. Quetzalcoatl was viewed as the friendliest, but he was defeated and displaced in the heavens by a black god of the death and the everlasting night,Tezcatlipoca. The Maya believed that when the 2012 Long-Count Calendar ran out, Tezcatlipoca would smash the heavenly gates, that he and his infernal legions would scorch the Underworld Road which leads via the constellation, Sagittarius, and scourge the earth—and their final scorching scourge would be our Last Day, the One World’s Last Day . . . 12/21/2012.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How knowledgeable were the Maya and their sister cultures?

The ancient Mesoamerica Maya-Azteca cultures were more advanced in the science of astronomy than their contemporaries in Europe and Asia. They even took astronomy into consideration how they laid out the core of their cities, placing buildings not just taking into consideration the four cardinal directions but placing obser
vatories strategically to study the sky.

No other ancient society recorded as accurate observations of celestial phenomena as the Maya (and later the Azteca) did, and they measured time with obsessively elaborate precision. Their Long-Count Calendar, which predicts our world will come to an end on 2012, was infinitely more advanced than anything the Old World had when Cortez conquered the Aztecs militarily in the 16th century.

-- Did their astronomical observations have a practical purpose?

In some regards, they did. In ancient times, the sky was an integral part of daily life – people looked to the sky not just to see whether they needed an umbrella, but for guidance on how to cross a sea, the route caravans took, when crops were to be planted and harvested, and even to predict future events.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Is humankind more vulnerable to mass extinction that species from earlier periods?

Humanity is far more vulnerable to extinction events. In the past, life on the planet only had to worry about natural disasters. But when the dinosaurs passed, the mammals were able to rise, chief among them homo sapiens – a life form clever enough to be able to engineer its own mass extinction through nuclear weapons, chemically-induced climate change and genetically-engineered pandemics.

We must fear ourselves even more than natural catastrophes.

-- What do the Maya and the Toltecs in APOCALYPSE 2012 have to teach us about coping with global catastrophe?

The Maya faced and went through almost everything that our world is experiencing today, including religiously-motivated wars, climate change which produced the sorts of drought-driven food and water scarcity which now plagues Asia and Africa, particularly India. They faced internecine class conflict fueled by escalating inequities between the ruling and the laboring classes.

They faced the same tensions that many theocratic nations face today—the eternal conflict between science and religion. As drought ravaged their croplands, their religious/political leaders demanded not technological advances and organized efforts to improve food production and alleviate water scarcity but massive sacrifices of blood and treasure consecrated to their sky gods, including en masse human sacrifices. If the Mayans and their sister civilizations had put that effort into additional aqueducts, new irrigation systems and crop diversification, they might not have gone under. Instead they cut out hearts and hacked off heads.