Guess everyone survived Wednesday last week, eh? Went to all the wedding parties, visited all the newborn babies, signing all the important papers? Or ran your usual errands, like going to Pilates class and visiting your dermatologist, as I did?
Based on its sequence 12th December of 2012, or 12/12/12, was supposedly the last symmetrical date we’d ever see in our lifetime. First of all, there’s no 13th month. Secondly, none of us is supposedly blessed with such longevity to live through 12th December of 2112– unless the much-taunted zombie apocalypse really had some grounds (in which, “Eeeeek!”)
There are many people who find genuine delight in symmetrical numbers. Dad never missed the 1:11, 5:55 or 12:12 on the car’s dashboard clock, pointing at it gleefully while driving. I know enough people who tweet the strike of such hours, usually marked with a personal note or emoticon. Phone providers or realtors have long dealt with customers wanting to own particular digits for their personal properties.
Many people take the fancy to the next level and use those dates and hours to sign business deals, relocate, tie knots, or deliver baby—auspicious, easy to remember, or visually appealing are cited for reasons (as the Indonesians call it, “tanggal cantik” or “nomer cantik”). One of the most tweeted news on 12/12/12 was about the Alabama-based Kiam Moriya who turned 12 at precisely 12:12 pm that day– a particular birthday he had known and waited for with excitement since he was old enough to remember (it should be noted that he was born naturally, when his mom’s water broke 7 weeks too early). And despite criticisms or mockeries (I’ve heard some calling the 12/12/12 newlyweds as ‘freaks’ or parents bearing babies that day as ‘dominatrix’) I think everyone reserves the rights to schedule their private milestones.
Back to apocalypse. I’m not into the zombie euphoria, maybe because, umm, the zombies have zero appeal on this very-visual me. The hotly-debated apocalypse these days are none other than the one supposedly prophesied by the Mayan tribe, who roamed Mesoamerica, from modern Mexico to northern Costa Rica, a few thousand years ago. When the clock struck on midnight before last Thursday rolled in some incredibly misinformed people grunted that the Mayans had it wrong. Let me take this opportunity to clear up once again that, helloooo, the Mayans never said 12th of December. They said the 21st (or, considering the numerical gap between their almanac and the Gregorian calendar we use nowadays, the 23rd). Whoever got it wrong about the 12th and everyone who chose to accept it without Googling were clearly Net-illiterates, as far as I’m concerned.
Half of the world has moved into the 22nd now, and many people have either gone to celebrate or curse the Mayans– but, let’s ponder for a bit, did the Mayans REALLY mean doomsday?
The fact is, modern astronomy can calculate, calibrate and project planet movements sufficient enough to forecast a fatal collision. I trust some super genius people somewhere actually know how to somehow prevent or manage if such collision were ever in horizon– even if not in the patriotic style Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis taming a meteor with Steven Tyler wailing in the background.
Personally, I believe such brilliant efforts may not guarantee no doomsdays when The Divinity eventually decides to call us home at one swift go.
But, in the name of scientific approach, as any modern girl should do, I went on some information and knowledge search. A couple of archaeology or astronomy journals have discussed the issue at length, and here’s the summary of my learning.
First, the 21st of 23rd of this month coincides with the end of a Long Count Mayan cycle. There was never a mention that at the end of the cycle an apocalypse would ensue.
Second, the current Mayan almanac runs on about 5000-year period yet, interestingly enough, when this almanac was made a big part of it had already passed. Using our own calendar as example, though it starts on January 1st the calendar itself is made sometimes in March. There are no findings to intelligently explain why the Mayans decided to pick something in the past as the beginning of this cycle (which, as an archaeologist wryly remarked, there’s probably also no intelligent reason on the way they ended the cycle).
Third, the original almanac was engraved in Mayan orthography on supposedly humongous stone slabs. Now here’s me wryly asking, isn’t it entirely possible that the Mayans just ran out of stones to continue engraving the almanac on? I mean, it’s not like they had fancy forklifts and cool cranes those days.
As often the case, the most eloquent interpretation comes from the so-called New Age camp. The astrological Age of Aquarius, which lasts for 2,150 years in average, supposedly has just started or about to start soon depending on calculation methods. Many in this camp read it as the Mayans referring to the dawning of Aquarian Age. The world-renowned Kundalini master Yogi Bhajan pointed to November 20th of last year (!) as the full transition timing of Aquarian Age.
But hey, at the end of the day, again, I personally believe only The Divinity knows the actual end of days. Even if you’re reading this column all alive, we still have until the 23rd to find out if the Mayans got it right all along. In which case, let’s all turn off our gadgets, go out, and do something spectacular.