UTPA community gives thoughts on the Maya predictions
Tomorrow is doomsday–at least that is what some people believe.
Over the last couple of years, word has spread that Dec. 21, 2012 could possibly be the day the world will end, due to an ancient Maya calendar prediction that swept the Internet and social media.
Some of the possible ways the world could end include the planet Nibiru crashing into Earth, a planet alignment occurring in the solar system or a polar shift taking place.
According to NASA, Nibiru (discovered by the Sumerians) was claimed to hit Earth in May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was pushed to December 2012, which linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Maya calendar.
“I think it’s just another conspiracy,” 20-year-old psychology major Rubi Blanco said. “We had the same incident a while back that the world was supposed to end, yet it didn’t. Now they’re saying that it’s supposed to happen this time. I honestly don’t believe that it will happen.”
The date, Dec. 21, 2012, corresponds with the end of the 13th b’ak’tun of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, according to an article on LiveScience.com. This calendar is only one of three developed by the Central American empire that collapsed around A.D. 900 and is only one of many units of time the Mayas used.
UTPA professor Servando Z. Hinojosa, who has studied Maya culture since 1991, explained that not even the modern day Mayas agree on what will happen on for the calendar, numerically, after the 13th b’ak’tun, but that the end of the world is “not likely.”
Hinojosa said that the Internet has given people a false idea of what is to come on Dec. 21. He explained that the prediction has become sensationalized and fabricated to a point where some people are believing counterfactual information.
Contrary to what Rio Bravo, Mexico native Cesar Rosales has heard, no planetary alignments are set to occur within the next few decades, according to NASA’s website. Even if an alignment were to take place, its effects on the Earth would be insignificant.
“In a superstitious way, no I don’t believe (the world) is going to end. But technically, an astronomical alignment is going to happen on (Dec. 21). So I don’t know what the consequences will be,” said the misinformed 21-year-old.
The website stated that each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy, an annual event that also has no consequence.
Internet hoaxes like Nibiru, also known as Planet X or Eris, and the planetary alignment caused people to phone NASA asking about the so-called end of the world.
“If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye,” the NASA page states. “Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.”
Edinburg native Dante Guerrero has read up on the subject and watched documentaries on TV about the prediction, but still believes he will wake up Dec. 22.
“(The prediction) gives people something to talk about, something to panic over,” the 19 year old said. “People want to talk, and they want to panic. They want something to preoccupy them. They turn little things into a big deal.”
While some members of the UTPA community don’t believe in the Dec. 21 apocalypse, there are people who genuinely fear the coming of tomorrow. NASA agency spokesperson, Dwayne Brown receives a flood of 200-300 phone calls per day, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.
“I think that we all need to believe in something. I think that it kind of gives us that reassurance and kind of consoles us in some way,” said Stacy Sanchez, a 24-year-old alumna. “I think that the Maya theory could be included into that.”
Several of the students mentioned that they believed the world would end someday, however, it is more likely through natural disaster or the error of humankind.
“I think that if we don’t try to take action ourselves and take care of the earth that we live in, then, yeah, someday the world is going to end through human fault,” Sanchez said.
As far as NASA is concerned, the only event that is supposed to occur on Dec. 21 is another winter solstice. As for the “end of the world,” the students stand by their beliefs that it will not happen.
“You cannot act based on the belief because what if it doesn’t happen,” Rosales asked. “The most practical thing is to just live day by day because we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.”