The Mayans and 2012

The Mayans had a complex calculation for the cycles of time. The long count calendar ticks off the end of a cycle on December 21, 2012. This is no different from a day, a month, or a year in our notation, except longer. December 21, 2012 is 13.0.0.0.0 by that calendar. 12.0.0.0.0 was September 18, 1618. 11.0.0.0.0 was on June 15, 1224.

The notion that the Mayans have predicted the end of the world in 2012 is no different than assuming the world will end in 2012 because the calendar you purchased shows 2010, 2011 and 2012. Similarly, the world did not begin in 2010, that is merely when the calendar you are looking at starts.

Representation Long Count subdivisions Days ~ solar years
0.0.0.0.1 k’in 1 1/365
0.0.0.1.0 winal = 20 k’in 20 0.055
0.0.1.0.0 tun = 18 winal 360 0.986
0.1.0.0.0 k’atun = 20 tun 7,200 19.71
1.0.0.0.0 b’ak’tun = 20 k’atun 144,000 394.3

The long count calendar actually begins on August 11, 3114 BCE, the Mayan’s mythical date of creation, which is oddly also indicated as 13.0.0.0.0

But wait, if 13.0.0.0.0 was the beginning, might it also be the end? What comes after December 21, 2012? Well, 13.0.0.0.1 or maybe 0.0.0.0.1. Despite any alarmist’s who would like to tell you otherwise, the Mayans predicted many dates beyond the impending 13.0.0.0.0 on December 21, 2012. If we are trusting our future to the predictions of the Mayans, we will all be thousands of years in the dirt before anyone needs to worry about the end of the world.

“There will be another cycle,” says E. Wyllys Andrews V, director of the Tulane University Middle American Research Institute (MARI). “We know the Maya thought there was one before this, and that implies they were comfortable with the idea of another one after this.”