Photo: Mayan calendar
The ancient Mayans not only did not predict the end of the world in December 2012, but they expected the world to continue for thousands of years, Mexican epigraphist Erik Velasquez said.
The Mayans did not expect the world to end because their cosmology did not incorporate the linear vision of time that dominates the West, Velasquez said during a conference on the Mayan 2012 prophecy.
“We have an apocalyptic mentality inherited from the Judaeo-Christian tradition. But for the ancient Mayans there were cycles, new beginnings, but never endings,” the expert said during his presentation Tuesday at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology.
The famous Mayan prophecy, which supposedly calls for the world to end between Dec. 21 and Dec. 23, originated in a Maya glyph from the Tortuguero arhaeological zone in the southern state of Tabasco.
Numerous works of fiction, including books and apocalyptic films, have come out of the Mayan prophecy.
“The idea of absolute creation did not exist in Mayan culture, (they believed) that the elements that make up nature have always been present and the only thing that happens is that after so many periods, they age and get out of order, so the gods have to return to restore order,” Velasquez said.
The last reordering of the world that we know the Mayans considered began on Aug. 13 of 3114 B.C., when the so-called “long count” started, providing “a road to infinity, which has no beginning and extends through the past and the future,” Velasquez said.
The reference to December 2012 appears on just one glyph of the thousands found at archaeological sites, providing evidence that the Mayans did not expect the world to end this year, the expert said.
“They were interested in daily survival, threatened by disease, hunger, etcetera. People did not live past the age of 35, so they wanted to know if it was going to rain or there was going to be a drought, not about meteorites or nuclear wars,” Velasquez said.
The expert admitted, however, that the Mayans perhaps reached the point where they “had an idea of how the current order of the world might degenerate,” but this occurred during the colonial era, indicating that they may have been “contaminated” by Western apocalyptic concepts.