Apparently, before their civilization collapsed in Central America 1,000 years ago, the Mayans predicted that the world would end in the year 2012.
This is the date which coincides with the end of the Mayan calendar -- and the end of the world as we know it.
So queue up that old R.E.M. song, because youve got four years left to party like its 1999. Then -- kaboom... if you believe in what a Mayan prophet had to say 1,300 years ago, that is.
Some New Agers speculate that the Mayans were wise to the magnetic field shift of the Earth in which the positive and negative poles of our planet flip on the average of every 200,000 years
The Earth, you see, is believed to have a core of solid iron, located some 4,000 miles beneath your feet. According to National Geographic, this core is surrounded by molten iron and nickel which whips around, generating a magnetic field that protects our planet from charged particles shooting from the sun.
In other words, youre living on a giant magnet and its polarity could flip at any moment, possibly scrambling your brain or something, such as it is...
Geological evidence shows that the last time the Earths magnetic field flipped was 780,000 years ago. So, were long overdue.
Other possible end-of-the-world culprits include global warming, solar flares, a supervolcano under Yellowstone Park, and Jesus returning in a really bad mood.
Unfortunately, there are reasons to believe that those long-gone Mayans could be right. In the New York Times last year, Al Gore noted that were currently pumping 70 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day by burning coal and oil.
He also pointed out that Venus and the Earth contain about the same amount of CO2; the difference is that the CO2 on Venus is in the atmosphere and our CO2 is mostly in the ground. So why are we feverishly trying to turn our planet into Venus?
Did you know the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees?
But the thing is, people have been predicting the end of the world for eons, and were still here. If there‘s anything you can predict about prophets, it‘s that they tend to be dead wrong.
Writer Benjamin Anastas noted in the New York Times Magazine that the Jehovahs Witnesses have predicted the end of the world for 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. The Russians believed that Napolean was the Antichrist and that the world would end in the early 1800s. The Shakers said the world would end in 1792; and there was a so-called Great Disappointment among Baptists when the world failed to end on Oct. 22, 1844.
As has been noted elsewhere, the world is always ending for someone. For the Mayans, it ended around 900 A.D. when their civilization fell apart due to depleted soil and the social consequences of their bloodthirsty religion. The world ended for the Confederate South in 1865. It ended for the Jews of Europe in the early 1940s and for Native Americans in the period between 1492 and the 1870s.
But when the world ends, the survivors pick themselves up and move on.
So, stock up on pizza and beer. Lay in a supply of funny DVDs and run your credit cards up to the max. Give up dieting and exercise -- you wont need em where youre going. The world is ending in 2012 -- the Mayans said so, so it must be true.
Apologies to sculptor Edward Chesney, who is the creator of the Fireman‘s Monument in Roscommon, and not Marshall Fredericks as stated in this column last week. Chesney sculpted the 12-foot bronze for its installation in 1980, just off I-75 in Roscommon.