Still almost three years to go and it seems many
people are getting frantic about the world ending in 2012.
Supposedly, the ancient Mayans created this calendar which they let end in December 2012 and, apart from inspiring some bad movies, it also inspired people to go back to their pre-personal magical beliefs and assume that they were correct. So they panic.
In the first place, all that the Mayans predicted was the end of a long-term cycle of their calendar, after which the new cycle would start. No end of time, let alone end of the world.
Then there are several other prophecies that are associated with the Mayan calendar, such as a polarity reversal of the Earth's magnetic field, some stray planet appearing in our solar system, etc. A handy overview with reasons why all these make no sense can be found in an article on the National Geographic website: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/11/091106-2012-end-of-world-myths.html.
Still, people seem to associate current events, such as two major earthquakes this year or the economic crisis, with whatever the Mayans predicted. For me, this is all far-fetched "I want to believe" stuff. Earthquakes have happened in all periods of time, so why should these two particular ones have anything to do with the Mayan Calendar? Did all other earthquakes and crisises have an association with their predictions as well?
So why do people feel compelled to attribute current events to the Mayans' predictions?
First of all because it is being hyped for commercial purposes - similar to the year-2000 problem, which was far more technical in nature, this is yet another end-of-the-world theory that people seem to be happy to embrace.
But then why is it that people are looking for things like this to embrace? As I indicated before, these predictions are purely pre-personal, magical in nature (given the time and society that they stem from) but seem to resonate with something in today's people. I suppose it is some insecurity due to current events that makes people look for a reason. Many people worldwide have been affected by the economic downturn, which made them lose their money and jobs. Natural catastrophes have taken many people's lives. No wonder that people are thrown back into their more basic needs, which are associated with more basic beliefs. And it is those basic beliefs that may be at the same level as where the Mayan prophecies come from. Then it is understandable why these predictions find a fertile ground for people who are functioning at the same level and need something to get a grasp of the world again. Perhaps in due time, before or after December 2012, they will find themselves in a better position in life and realise that the future cannot be predicted based on a stone artifact.