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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Presentation talks possibilities of Mayan apocalypse

    A UA professor’s presentation on Thursday discussed the ideas behind the supposed apocalypse that some feel is inevitable next month.
    “It’s still probably a good idea to buy Christmas presents this year … just in case,” said J. Edward Wright, a UA Judaic Studies professor, on Mayan Apocalyptic predictions.
    Wright, who teaches a class called Apocalyptic Imagination, delivered an hour-long presentation on the popular Mayan forecast, as part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Brown Bag lecture series. Wright covered several of the popular explanations of why the clock of human existence may be ticking.
    “Climactic upheaval, rough planet, spiritual awakening and just another day,” Wright said. “Those are four possibilities.”
    Wright says the Mayan theory is popular because it “helps people transcend fear of now and fear of death.”
    The lack of Mayan texts today due to the Spanish conquest of the Mayans is another problem with the value placed in the Mayan calendar, he said.
    “A king will arise and the planet will become red,” Wright said of an off-the-head excerpt from the calendar. Texts mention vague events and people latch onto every detail, he added. Besides believers, commercial companies have also gravitated toward the theory and run with it.
    “You want to make sure you have a vehicle for the post-apocalyptic world,” Wright said. “Thank god for the bailout of General Motors and Chevy.”
    While mainstream medias seize the opportunity to advertise, Wright said this isn’t a reason to buy into the theory of a looming apocalypse.
    “Every December our calendar ends … but the world never ends, it just starts over again,” he added.
    The Mayan calendar is based off of a relative “long-count calendar,” according to Wright. The civilization believed the rough date of Mayan creation was August 11, 3114 BCE. When the Mayans created their calendar, they situated themselves in the middle of history, he said, and that’s how the roughly speculated date of Dec. 21, 2012 came about.
    “I think it’ll cause havoc in the world,” said Shayna Walker, a program coordinator in the department of linguistics, on what she thinks will happen if the date passes without any sign of the apocalypse. “People will go absolutely nuts.”
    “There’s things that you want to look forward to and it’s something that people are wanting to know what’ll happen and this gives them an answer,” she added, addressing how this prediction cures human’s fear of uncertainty.
    “If you are powerless over what happens tomorrow, you have no clue of what’s going to happen,” UA alumnus Rome Loredo said. “But if you have an idea of what’s going to happen, you have control and people want control.”
    Theorists behind the Mayan apocalypse prediction will point to leap years and misinterpreted calculations when no catastrophe occurs, Wright said.
    “If Mayans were so smart, and so insightful … how come they’re dead?” he added, calling the theory a “dead end.”

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