Why this question? So many people are asking this question lately. Such apocalyptic prophecies are told every so often by someone. They seem to misinterpret facts. This particular prophecy emanates from Mayan calendar. Mayan was a civilization in South America, extending from almost mid Mexico to the Southern tip, centered mainly on Guatemala. It went extinct about 5000 years ago.
Mayans left behind an old calendar, which is based on short and long cycles. Present long cycle of the calendar ends on Dec 21, 2012. Because the cycle just ends there, those who believe in such unusual and inexplicable possibilities believe that the world with all its life will come to an end on that day.
Disappearance of Civilizations: It is true that many civilizations have disappeared suddenly in the past without leaving any clues, of which there are several examples in history. Those that immediately come to mind are civilization around Egyptian pyramids, Mayan culture, Easter islanders, Incan empire etc. The reasons postulated for their disappearance are several theories. Such reasons are, for example, natural disasters, tsunamis, plagues and small pox epidemic, giant polar eruption, reversal of global poles, super eruption of Yellowstone caldera in US, earth to be hit by a large planet sized Asteroids or Meteorites etc.
Role of cults in such stories: Different cults have spread such apocalyptic rumors ending in many deaths, usually by suicides and killings by their security personnel raising lot of questions. One of the infamous events of recent time is that of Jonestown in Guyana, when 909 deaths occurred due to cyanide poisoning. Yet another more recent is that in France when 94 members committed suicide belonging to the Order of Solar Temple. The French government’s Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviances delivered a mass-suicide warning last year and is vigilant on such rumors. Even NASA has added a page of FAQs on their site to dispel the worries of people about this.
My take on this rather logical and simple:
- I have heard more than a dozen such prophecies and none have come true.
- I think the Mayan calendar will have its one long cycle ending on Dec 21, 2012 and a new one will start the next day, just like we do change calendars at the end of any year.
- NASA says there is no planet or Meteorites that may cause such accident.
- The Yellowstone activity is of no worry at the moment.
- The solar activity cycle is not at its height
- If the civilization was to end radiation accident seems to be one possible way with the existing and increasing nuclear arsenals. This may be started by a mad man or a group of people creating a chain reaction of nuclear bombing all over the planet. Our information about radiation is scant; it is worth remembering that Mm Curie, who found radio-isotopes only about 100 years ago, herself died of radiation poisoning.
- History shows us many civilizations disappearing, which may happen once again, but that will be act of nature or God.
- If that happens, and that is a big IF, no one will be there to discuss who believed in it and who did not. So why worry about such things?