Mayan Calendar: The Authenticity | Teen Ink

Mayan Calendar: The Authenticity

August 20, 2012
By luudanchienbo BRONZE, Ho Chi MInh, Other
luudanchienbo BRONZE, Ho Chi MInh, Other
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime (Pardon my memory if the grammar is incorrect)

Introduction: Belief in the Mayan’s Calendar

The relics of Mayan ethnic group mostly had been found and explored in Central American and Southern Mexico (Thomas 699). The Mayans had three kinds of calendars: Tzolk’in, which measures cycles of 260 days; the Haab, which measures cycles of 365 days; and the Long Count Calendar, which measures cycles of 400 years (Stuart). These entire three calendars work together as cogwheels that activating one wheel to function will make the rest simultaneously run together (Stuart). The Long Count calendar – which spans roughly 5,125 years starting in 3114 B.C – reaches the end of a cycle on December 21, 2012 (Roach). In the belief of Mayans, in this day a flood will happen and create “destruction of an earlier, thoughtless race of people (Taube 69). Similarly, the tragedy is the consequence of the fight between Ab Muzencab – the god of bees, and Bolon-ti-ku – the representative of the underworlds, against Oxlahun-ti-ku, who is the god of sky in order to steal the sky god’s costume (Taube 69). In addition, they also believe after the flood, life will start to grow and thrive on again to begin a new cycle by the presence of standing trees (Taube 70).

Since the archeologists found out the record of Mayan’s culture through the prophecy of their calendar, the universal human society has been impacted by a lot of beliefs and explanations from both spiritual and scientific sources. Both these sources seems very reliable since it discusses right straight into the problems that people want to have the answers by giving many reasonable and logical facts that relate to the content of the calendar and to the events that happened in the reality. After studying the Mayan prophecy about the apocalyptic in 2012 based on their calendar and analyzing the explanations with evidences from anthropologists, this paper will move on to discuss different reactions and beliefs in human society towards the popular myth.

The Authenticity of Scientists’ Explanation and Their Weaknesses

When people keep on deducing the true meaning of the calendar that Mayans want to say, they should know that eventually the explanation for its meaning is still an assumption. The culture of Mayan tribe is different from currently modern people; therefore, their calendar probably contains other meaning that not just about counting down the time. According to the book “Solving the Greatest Mystery of our Time: The Mayan Calendar” written by Professor Carl Johan Calleman, the purpose of Mayan calendar is to expose the growing process of human’s consciousness (Calleman, “The Mayan”). There are nine waves of consciousness and each wave divided into thirteen days including six nights and seven days (Calleman, “The Nine Underworlds”). Based on the structure of Mayan pyramids in Central Mexico formed up by nine stages, his theory is that after hiking up the top of the pyramid, human had reached out the top of their evolution in consciousness as the way they go up (Calleman, “The Nine Underworlds”). As each stage of the pyramid is narrowed gradually, he believed that the more human evolved in their mind, the more the period of time required for this process is limited (Calleman, “The Nine Underworlds”). Even though Carl had explained a lot of details in his book that help readers relate to the human kind a lot, his arguments toward the subject is still very imaginary and ambiguous. Because of not using astronomical analysis, he does not actually prove anything authentic throughout the book except leaving a path inside each reader to make them rethink the human’s evolution and how we as humans contributed to the Earth. Because of this, his explanation is not really reasonable because Mayans are only normal people. They can create math and be good at astronomy, but they cannot predict the process of human’s growth since it belongs to natural rules. Since they were very religious and worshipping, their calendar cannot mean something that go against the nature.

On Earth, the species that seriously leaves their affection on the environment a lot definitely is the human. In the same idea of Calleman, many anthropologists believe that while people are worried about the external factors that will threaten their lives, people should be the one who look at themselves for what they had done to the society and to the universe. In Lungold’s point of view, the growth of human increases gradually and quickly from taking 16.4 billion years to only 234 days according to how the Mayan calendar works (Lungold). He believed that further to the future, the opportunities for people to have jobs will be limited since the industrial revolution keeps on thriving that has taken away many manual jobs that need humans (Lungold). This can be true because humans could also be the reason why the earth will be soon destroyed. The more people modernize their lives with thousands of new machineries, the more the environment will be seriously affected. The economic depression, melting icebergs from the two poles, the ozone layer’s hole, and environment pollution are all originated from people’s activities. All in all, when people destroyed the nature harshly, they also destroyed their natural lives.

Granted, the Mayan Calendar cannot predict the apocalyptic of human kind just by three kinds of calendars; then again, their effort in contributing their analysis to creating a whole system of counting the day is not worthlessness. Contrast to the idea of consciousness, anthropologists had shown that the Mayan Calendar actually has some “coincidence” that fit with human’s current time lines. For instance, in the Winter Solstice of 2012, the sun will align with the Center of Milky Way and the energy the sun could release will disrupt the Earth surface (MacDonald). Thus, the power of sun rays will rise gradually and emancipate its heat perpendicularly into the Earth that can significantly influence the electronic systems along with transportations (MacDonald). Based on the evidence so far, it seems that it can be very reliable since the Mayans were an expert in math and astronomy. However, this can also be the coincidence since the calendar does not say if they use for the purpose of timing or using for marking historical events. It has been said that Mayan calendar predict correctly the alignment of sun that create solar power destroying the living creatures on Earth, but there are several reasons to oppose this point of view, namely there are no records from NASA government that warn about the importance of this event. As the matter of fact, in an interview with Don Yeomans – a NASA research scientist has shown that solar storm “causes some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms” (Yeomans). In conclusion, he guaranteed that there is no important hazard that affect human’s life significantly (Yeomans).

Indeed, the calendar is one of the precious relics that Mayan ethnic culture left for the current generation; therefore, it helps contribute a lot in analyzing the rituals, beliefs, religions, and casual habits of Mayan people. Because of the marvelous construction of the pyramid in Central America along with equality in designing, archeologists are able to figure out that Mayan people are very good at counting and foreseeing. To illustrate, the Maya were skillful astronomers who kept records of the night sky by documenting the phases of the moon, recording eclipses and even tracking the movement of Venus (O’Neil). In fact, the Venus cycle was an important calendar for the Maya. Their records allowed them to predict future astronomical cycles with a great accuracy (O’Neil). There is a lot of discussion about the Mayans’ ability to accurately measure the movement of the stars, but the crux of the matter is they cannot predict whenever the star will die since they can only see the planetary movement. Without having modern analyzing device like taking sample from the real star and using chemical substances to having research on, they cannot know exactly whenever the suddenly astrological events happen.

It has been said that the Mayan tried to leave a prophecy for the next generation about the apocalypse by ending the Long Count in 2012. However, there are several reasons to oppose this point of view, namely that the Mayan Calendar just shows the end of their great cycle, as similar as the Gregorian calendar ends a year. For example, in an article of Jay Michaels on about the authenticity of Mayan prediction, Jay had reported the speech of professor Woods: "The Maya saw time, instead of being a line from the past to present to the future, like we see it, linear. They saw it as a series of cycles that just repeated over and over again. There's the answer to the real question, what this 2012 is, is the end of a cycle." (qtd. in Michaels). He also says “the Maya thought of a cycle followed by disaster, and then starting another cycle, perhaps in terms of death and a new beginning” (qtd. in Michaels). Nevertheless, he believes the Maya predicted dates as far ahead as 4,000 years from now, which they wouldn't have done if the end of this cycle was also the end of the world (qtd. in Michaels). Based on the evidence, it seems that the Mayan calendar is similar to the Gregorian calendar that modern human civilization. The only difference is the way each group of people demonstrates the time; therefore, Mayan people don’t use the end of Long Count calendar to predict the apocalyptic day in the future, but rather mark the end of a big cycle, just like the end of a year in Gregorian calendar. Moreover, the explanation is still reasonable because if the Mayans believe in the end of the world, how can they create more days after the day that ends the big cycle.

Suggested Strategies for the Human

The most important thing that human probably should do is keeping tracks on the movement of stars and the galaxy in order to find out whether there are any dangerous factors that harm the Earth. The newspapers and magazines had stated about many further risks from the outside of our world such as the solar storm, the Nuribi meteor crashing, and so on… Therefore, it is necessary to look after the safety of the human civilization by warning the people immediately and correctly the situation that citizens from all over the world are involved so as to offer more solution for rescuing and immigrating people.

Since the popular myth is not satisfactorily solved in front of the press and public, there should be “an expo” where all the opinions from both sides who agree or disagree with the myth in order to thoroughly understand the real truth. People are living in the world that contains both spiritual and scientific aspects that neither of them can thoroughly explain nor understand each other. Respecting each individual’s belief is a good and positive way to unite the people from different nations all over the world. Therefore, absorbing both ideas and explanations from both aspects will help people get to know about the myth clearly.

Last but not least, even though watching out for external factor that can suddenly attack the life of many living creature on the Earth, it is very significant to remind people for the main role of saving the world of human civilization. If people keep pollute the environment and interfere the nature rules so harshly, sooner or later human will kill themselves. Because of this reason, teaching and propagandizing are always the best method that can awake people from what they are doing that harm the environment.

Work Cited

Calleman, Carl Johan. “The Mayan Culture.” Carl Johan Calleman. 2007. Web. 21 May, 2012.
Calleman, Carl Johan. “The Nine Underworlds of the Cosmos and Their Corresponding Levels of Consciousness.” Carl Johan Calleman. 2007. Web. 21 May, 2012.
Lungold, Ian. Welcome to the Evolution. Dir. Ian Lungold. Perf. Ian Lungold, 2001. DVD.
MacDonald, G. Jeffrey. “Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?” Gannett Co Inc., 2007. Web. 10 May 2012.
Michaels, Jay. “What The Mayan Calendar Really Says.” Broadcast Interactive Media, 2012.Web. 10 May 2012.
O’Neil, Ian. “2012 Mayan Calendar 'Doomsday' Date Might Be Wrong.” Discovery Communications, 2010.Web. 10 May 2012.
Roach, John. “End of World in 2012? Maya "Doomsday" Calendar Explained.” National Geographic Society, 2011.Web. 10 May 2012.
Stuart, David. “David Stuart on the Mayan calendar and 2012 doomsday predictions”. EarthSky Communication Inc., 2012. Web. 10 May 2012.
Taube, Karl. Aztec & Maya: Myths. London, British Museum Press: 1993. Print.
Thomas, Cyrus. Mayan Calendar System. Massachusetts, G.P.O.: 1901. Print.
Yeomans, Don. Personal Interview. 22 Dec. 2011.

The author's comments:
This article is one of my research paper when I was in grade ten. I think of writing this piece after watching the famous movie "2012". Hopefully, this will help us know more about the Mayan culture and the myth.

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