Today: Jul 16, 2024

Apocalypse analyzed

 MACKENZIE HURLBERTStaff Writer

With the supposed end of time drawing closer each day, I’ve noticed more and more people talking about what is predicted to happen.

What is really behind these apocalyptic predictions, and who actually predicted them? There are many sources out there claiming different origins of the predictions, so I’ve tried to weed out the drama and scare tactics in order to answer my original question: where did these predictions come from, and is there really any substance to them?

The most prominent prediction is the supposed apocalypse expected to happen on Dec. 21, 2012. This exact date was decided upon by Terence Kemp McKenna in the 1970s, who found out about the Mayan calendar while on a quest for hallucinogenic mushrooms in South America. He studied a variety of philosophical beliefs, such as the King Wen sequence, and eventually developed his own graph of time in curves which he dubbed “Timewave Zero.”

According to his graph, all major developments in time took place in a wave-like pattern: the discovery of fire, the invention of guns; natural disasters all were represented on this “timewave.” McKenna took his graph a step further and applied it to the future, using the bombing of Hiroshima as a reference point and the Mayan calendar as a guide wire. He arrived at the date Dec. 21, 2012, the same date that the Mayan calendar ends, and claimed this was the point of a major curve in his Timewave Zero.

While McKenna’s graph does show a convincing correlation between history’s major changes in time, he was an abuser of a mind-altering hallucinogenics. McKenna passed away in 2000 of brain cancer at the age of 53, so he will not be around to see if his predictions were valid or fluff.

Much of the 2012 apocalypse predictions are based off of the Mayan calendar. However abrupt this ending of the calendar may seem, there are no Mayan predictions of an end of the world, and the predicted apocalypse is purely an interpretation. The Mayans were talented mathematicians and astronomers, but they were not prophets. Our understanding of their calendar and hieroglyphs is limited due to the language barrier, and even Mayan scholars admit that their interpretations are uncertain (although many argue that this date only marks the end of a cycle or solstice in the Mayan calendar).

Many other apocalyptic predictions have fallen flat in the past. For example, on May 21, 2011, the world was predicted to end, and these predictions were made by radio evangelist Harold Camping who was based in California. He warned the world with bulletin boards and TV and radio advertisements. After the May 21 rolled by without any anti-Christ activity or fiery rain, Camping and his ministry became silently embarrassed. In March 2012, they released an official statement apologizing for the predictions and calling them “sinful.” He then went on to say, “We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and he will end time in his time, not ours… We humbly recognize that God may not tell his people the date when Christ will return, anymore than he tells anyone the date they will die physically.”

These failed predictions stretch far back in history, and through my research, I came across a couple especially interesting and somewhat comical predictions. One started in 1806 and was titled ‘The Prophet Hen of Leeds.” A hen was laying eggs with the words “Christ is coming” printed on them. As word spread of the phenomenon, people burst into hysteria claiming the end of the world to be looming over them. It wasn’t until one especially curious townsfolk witnessed an egg being laid and discovered it was all just a hoax.

So while the closest apocalypse is predicted to happen on Dec. 21, 2012, I wouldn’t count on that as an excuse not to purchase your Christmas presents. The Mayans never called for the terrifying end we all believed to be predicted, and as many have proven to us before, doomsday and apocalyptic predictions are not the most reliable. However, this could be your excuse to take Dec. 20 off from work. Maybe go get some ice cream and your favorite movie, or buy that pair of shoes you’ve been dying to get. You never know, the world could end on Dec. 21; it’s just not that likely considering the past apocalyptic predictions and their track record.

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