Mayan calendar fragment. // Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Many of you undoubtedly know Dean Regas, a good friend and cohost of the show Star Gazers
on PBS. Dean offers up some thoughts on the silliness over the Mayan calendar today, which I’m delighted to share with you. And remember to tune in for Dean’s show on PBS stations everywhere.
(OK, and even as I’m sharing this with you, I must admit our staff is having our own “end of the world” party here at the office today. Smiles all around.)
Ending Superstition on December 22, 2012
By Dean Regas
The Un-pocalypse — or false Mayan “End of the World” — of December 21, 2012, is the most widespread cultural phenomenon of the year. Some joke about it, others fear it, but everyone knows about it.
There is no planet coming to destroy us, but we hold a widespread fear of the dark, unknown universe, a cosmophobia. Our reaction to apocalyptic myths reveals our true cosmic compass. What we make of the Mayan calendar doesn’t tell us anything about the Maya. It speaks volumes about us. Some look on the Maya with the same fear and superstition that pervaded the Spaniards of the 16th century. How we decode the ambiguous Mayan writings exposes in what century our mindsets dwell.
When death fails to come from the skies on Friday, I would like us to truly be 21st- century humans. If we have any doubts, make this pledge before the end of December 21 regarding the purported ends that were predicted by us (not the Maya).
“I solemnly swear that if on December 21, 2012 (Eastern Mayan Time), we are not destroyed by:
Meteors, comets, or the rogue planet Nibiru;
Super Sun storms;
Magnetic poles flipping;
The entire Earth flipping;
Earth ceasing to rotate;
Planets lining up;
An eclipse (solar or lunar);
Or Earth lining up with the black hole in the center of the galaxy,
I will be more trusting of scientists and astronomers and less taken in by superstition and doomsday charlatans.”
Let’s welcome December 22, 2012, as the dawning of a new age: an age of reason.
Dean Regas is the astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory and co-host of the PBS program Star Gazers. He can be reached at email@example.com.