We are only about 3,5 years from the end of 12 Pik (more commonly known as 12 Baktun) according to the so-called Long Count calendar (a 5125 years long cycle). According to most commonly accepted correlations between this calendar and the Gregorian calendar, this will occur on the 21st or the 23rd of December 2012. Mayanists for the most part do not bother about that date. The date (whatever one choose) only meant that we go from one baktun to another, or possibly move into another cycle. Inscriptions indicate that the last cycle ended and the new one began on 22.214.171.124.0 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u which occurred on 11th or 13th of August 3114 B.C. The common assumption is that this current cycle also will last for 13 baktuns.
Wild speculations about what will happen on this date have emerged over the years, mainly by people who have New Age affiliations (“Mayanism”). See Mark Van Stone’s informative critique of (mainly) John Major Jenkins‘ alignments between the Winter solstice sun and the dark rift in the Milky Way. Check also out Stephen Houston’s discussion of the Tortuguero monument that mention the 13 Baktun date.
I shall focus on one of these other “prophets”. This is the Swede Carl Johan Calleman. He does not believe the 13 Baktun cycle ends in 2012, but on October 28, 2011, apparently for no other reason than that the date should end on a 13 Ajaw date (not 4 Ajaw). However, this is his Cosmic cycle, not completely correlated with the Long Count calendar (because it does not fit his own made up scheme).
Calleman’s interest seems to be about different levels of consciousness related to the 9 levels of the Underworld (however, some established Mayanists believe that there were five levels, four leading down to the fifth and four leading up from it). Anyway, Calleman believes that the 9 levels are not a myth but a reality since number 9 figures in the cosmology around the world (but so do number 3, 4, 5 and 13 as well even if they are important in the Maya area as well). He believes that most pyramids in the Maya area had nine levels (some did but most of them did not have nine platform levels).
His main goal is to interpret the whole history of humans, life, the earth and Cosmos from the Long Count Calendar (mixed with some Aztec beliefs as well, never mind that the Aztecs did not use the Long Count calendar). He suggests that there are 13 time periods in a creation cycle with various durations (13 Heavens). Each of the 9 Underworlds consisted of 13 Heavens. He claims to find support for his model/scheme in science. Let us see what his scientific facts are.
The longest (and first) of these Underworlds would then be 16.4 billion years (yes, beginning at the Big Bang indeed, although Big Bang is currently estimated to around 13.7 billion years B.C.). Upon this lies the eight other Underworlds that develops a frame of consciousness for the life it creates. The next Underworld is 20 times shorter (due to the vigesimal numbering system) and hence began 820 million years ago. Calleman relates this to the emergence of complex life, not life itself though (one would expect that to be an important phenomenon but it simply does not fit this scheme). Anyway, Calleman is not correct here either since the so-called Cambrian explosion in life (when a multitude of complex life forms emerged) came later (530 million years ago). The next Underworld emerged 41 million years ago. This relates to “monkeys” (although the earliest monkeys usually are dated to around 35 million years ago and primates as such can be traced back to the earliest Tertiary period). One can wonder why Calleman ignores the emergence of mammals or the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs that allowed the early Tertiary mammals to develop, without these events we would not have any primates (or monkeys) in the first place. Calleman apparently does not follow the evolutionary important phases.
Next Underworld is 2,050,000 years ago and is apparently related to humans, but what he mean by humans is not clear. Sahelanthropus is the oldest possible hominid, 7 million years old. Australopithecus (“Lucy”) is 3-4 million years old. The genus Homo is 2,5 million years old (0.5 million years before Calleman’s Underworld). The next level began in 100500 B.C. and this is when speech apparently emerged (I did not know one could date this so accurately). However, the emergence of speech is up for debates, ranging from 50-500,000 years ago (and maybe more), but Calleman has apparently more information than others on this point.
Then, on the 16th of June 3115 B.C. (in the 6th Underworld) writing emerged (but let us ignore all facts that proto-writing actually existed before this and there is no sharp date dividing them). The 7th Underworld began in 1755 and this is when industrialism emerged (a specific date is not given so I do not know if Calleman refers to a particular innovation this year, but it probably is just a date based on his scheme). The 8th Underworld began 5th of January 1999 and is apparently the IT revolution (I believe this happened many years before). Finally, the 9th Underworld will emerge 260 days before the end date of all these cycles in 2011. This final Underworld will transform us all. Just wait two years and this transformation will have begun to change us all.
And there is more. Calleman argues that 2012 is still important but not the winter solstice in December but on the 6th of June. At this date there will be a Venus transit which is when the planet Venus aligns with the Earth and the Sun. Since this apparently occurs on the Swedish National day, Swedes have an important role in this newly transformed world. Let it be known that it it will be this Swede’s (this haecceity’s) goal to expose the fallacies of these “prophets”.
Calleman’s view of the Long Count calendar is, of course, not well attuned with established Mayanist views. To be honest, it is complete BS like the rest of the 2012 end date nonsense. The best thing one can say about Calleman’s “Maya calendar” is that it is a cinematographic and teleological view of time (see my post on Bergson and note the irony in my choice of the word “best”). This is arborescent thinking at its worst, an idea that reduces the complexities of the world to some higher transcendent (divine?) goal. It is not based on how contemporary “Maya” or ancient “Maya” viewed the calendars. I am sure we will see and hear more about this in the years to follow. Hopefully, the prophets of nonsense will be quiet on Christmas Eve 2012.
I have written several posts on Calleman’s distortions of the Maya. Here are links to them:
Calleman’s view of Monument 6 at Tortuguero.
Calleman as the alternative Obscuranist of the year.
How to exaggerate one’s importance.
Even some of the most basic and simplest facts are wrong in Calleman’s book(s).
How Calleman came up with his end date.
Logical contradictions in Calleman’s cosmology
Calleman interprets the events in the Arab world.
The Purposeful Universe: Overview
The Purposeful Universe: Hunab Ku
The Purposeful Universe: Self-organization
The Purposeful Universe: Time
The Purposeful Universe: Evolution and intelligent design
The Purposeful Universe: The periodic system of biological evolution