Why The Mayans Never Predicted The End Of The World In 2012 (At Least No More Than Microsoft Does For 4500!)

19 Dec

Currently, there’s an urban myth circulating that the Mayans predicted the world would end the day after tomorrow (21st of December 2012). It’s so widely known that there was even a film based on it (called, rather unimaginatively, 2012). While I’m a fan of all things post-apocalyptic, I feel this apparent apocalyptic prediction has been taken too far. The truth is that the Mayans did no such thing. Rather, the calendar calculators of the mighty Mayan Empire, like almost every human on the planet, were a little bit lazy and just picked a random year to calculate their calendar until that they thought was far enough in the future that they figured there was plenty of time for someone else to fill in the next bit. The only reason this never happened was that the Mayan empire fell before anyone else took on the job of updating it. This means it’s not a prediction, it’s just a bureaucratic glitch cause by people trying to avoid having to do more work than they really needed to.

We find the same thing operating around us all the time, and you mightn’t need to look further than your own computer for a more modern example. The last date you can put an entry into the Microsoft Outlook Calendar is Tuesday, 31st August 4500. This doesn’t mean that Microsoft programmers have any special ability to predict the end of the world or that they think it will happen on that specific date. Rather, it just means that they are lazy enough to assume that someone else will have come along and updated their software by them, and in the process add in more dates further into the future.

So what will happen on the 21st? Nothing. No apocalypse. No zombie uprising. No end of the world. When the end of the world comes, it won’t be predicted by some random bureaucratic calculation made centuries before. Instead, it will most likely come out of the blue, taking us all by surprise and leaving us unable to do anything but fight just to stay alive.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in the UK. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more.

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