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2012 Phenomenon

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The 2012 Phenomenon comprises a range of Eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship.

A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era. Others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with an object such as a black hole, a passing asteroid, or a planet called "Nibiru".

Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of such cataclysmic events occurring in 2012. Professional Mayanist scholars state that predictions of impending doom are not found in any of the extant classic Maya accounts, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar "ends" in 2012 misrepresents Maya history and culture. Astronomers and other scientists have rejected the proposals as pseudoscience, stating that they conflict with simple astronomical observations and amount to "a distraction from more important science concerns, such as global warming and loss of biological diversity".

This article has been shamelessly ripped straight from Wikipedia's article on the 2012 Phenomenon .

Transformation of ConsciousnessEdit

Many assertions about the year 2012 form part of a non-codified collection of New Age beliefs about ancient Maya wisdom and spirituality. Archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni says that while the idea of "balancing the cosmos" was prominent in ancient Maya literature, the 2012 phenomenon does not draw from those traditions. Instead, it is bound up with American concepts such as the New Age movement, millenarianism, and the belief in secret knowledge from distant times and places. Established themes found in 2012 literature include "suspicion towards mainstream Western culture", the idea of spiritual evolution, and the possibility of leading the world into the New Age by individual example or by a group's joined consciousness. The general intent of this literature is not to warn of impending doom but "to foster counter-cultural sympathies and eventually socio-political and 'spiritual' activism". Aveni, who has studied New Age and SETI communities, describes 2012 narratives as the product of a "disconnected" society: "Unable to find spiritual answers to life's big questions within ourselves, we turn outward to imagined entities that lie far off in space or time—entities that just might be in possession of superior knowledge".

In 1975, the ending of b'ak'tun 13 became the subject of speculation by several New Age authors, who asserted it would correspond with a global "transformation of consciousness". In Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth Age of Consciousness, Frank Waters tied Coe's original date of 24 December 2011,[Note d] to astrology and the prophecies of the Hopi, while both José Argüelles (in The Transformative Vision) and Terence McKenna (in The Invisible Landscape) discussed the significance of the year 2012 and made reference to 21 Dec. 2012.

In 1983, with the publication of Robert J. Sharer's revised table of date correlations in the 4th edition of Morley's The Ancient Maya, each became convinced that 21 December 2012, had significant meaning. By 1987, the year in which he organized the Harmonic Convergence event, Arguelles was using the date 21 December 2012 in The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology. He claimed that on 13 August 3113 BC the Earth began a passage through a "galactic synchronization beam" that emanated from the center of our galaxy, that it would pass through this beam during a period of 5200 tuns (Maya cycles of 360 days each), and that this beam would result in "total synchronization" and "galactic entrainment" of individuals "plugged into the Earth's electromagnetic battery" by 13.0.0.0.0 (21 Dec. 2012). He believed that the Maya aligned their calendar to correspond to this phenomenon. Anthony Aveni has dismissed all of these ideas.

Galactic AlignmentEdit

There is no significant astronomical event tied to the Long Count's start date. However, its supposed end date has been tied to astronomical phenomena by esoteric, fringe, and New Age literature that places great significance on astrology. Chief among these is the concept of the "galactic alignment".

PrecessionEdit

In the Solar System, the planets and the Sun lie roughly within the same flat plane, known as the plane of the ecliptic. From our perspective on Earth, the ecliptic is the path taken by the Sun across the sky over the course of the year. The twelve constellations that line the ecliptic are known as the zodiac and, annually, the Sun passes through all of them in turn. Additionally, over time, the Sun's annual cycle appears to recede very slowly backward by one degree every 72 years, or by one constellation every 2,160 years. This backward movement, called "precession", is due to a slight wobble in the Earth's axis as it spins, and can be compared to the way a spinning top wobbles as it slows down. Over the course of 25,800 years, a period often called a Great Year, the Sun's path completes a full, 360-degree backward rotation through the zodiac. In Western astrological traditions, precession is measured from the March equinox, one of the two annual points at which the Sun is exactly halfway between its lowest and highest points in the sky. Presently, the Sun's March equinox position is in the constellation Pisces and is moving back into Aquarius. This signals the end of one astrological age (the Age of Pisces) and the beginning of another (the Age of Aquarius).

Similarly, the Sun's December solstice position (in the northern hemisphere, the lowest point on its annual path; in the southern hemisphere, the highest) is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius, one of two constellations in which the zodiac intersects with the Milky Way. Every year, on the December solstice, the Sun and the Milky Way, from the surface of the Earth, appear to come into alignment, and every year, precession causes a slight shift in the Sun's position in the Milky Way. Given that the Milky Way is between 10° and 20° wide, it takes between 700 and 1400 years for the Sun's December solstice position to precess through it. It is currently about halfway through the Milky Way, crossing the galactic equator. In 2012, the Sun's December solstice will fall on 21 December.

MysticismEdit

Mystical speculations about the precession of the equinoxes and the Sun's proximity to the center of the Milky Way appeared in Hamlet's Mill (1969) by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Deschend. These were quoted and expanded upon by Terence and Dennis McKenna in The Invisible Landscape (1975). The significance of a future "galactic alignment" was noted in 1991 by astrologer Raymond Mardyks, who asserted that the winter solstice would align with the galactic plane in 1998/1999, writing that an event that "only occurs once each 26,000 year cycle and would be most definitely of utmost significance to the top flight ancient astrologers". Astrologer Bruce Scofield notes, "The Milky Way crossing of the winter solstice is something that has been neglected by Western astrologers, with a few exceptions. Charles Jayne made a very early reference to it, and in the 1970s Rob Hand mentioned it in his talks on precession but didn't elaborate on it. Ray Mardyks later made a point of it, and after that John [Major] Jenkins, myself, and Daniel Giamario began to talk about it."

Adherents to the idea, following a theory first proposed by Munro Edmonson, allege that the Maya based their calendar on observations of the Great Rift or Dark Rift, a band of dark dust clouds in the Milky Way, which, according to some scholars, the Maya called the Xibalba be or "Black Road". John Major Jenkins claims that the Maya were aware of where the ecliptic intersected the Black Road and gave this position in the sky a special significance in their cosmology. According to Jenkins, precession will align the Sun precisely with the galactic equator at the 2012 winter solstice. Jenkins claimed that the classical Maya anticipated this conjunction and celebrated it as the harbinger of a profound spiritual transition for mankind. New Age proponents of the galactic alignment hypothesis argue that, just as astrology uses the positions of stars and planets to make claims of future events, the Maya plotted their calendars with the objective of preparing for significant world events. Jenkins attributes the insights of ancient Maya shamans about the galactic center to their use of psilocybin mushrooms, psychoactive toads, and other psychedelics. Jenkins also associates the Xibalba be with a "world tree", drawing on studies of contemporary (not ancient) Maya cosmology.

Doomsday TheoriesEdit

Sagittarius A*, taken by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory A far more apocalyptic view of the year 2012 that has spread in various media describes the end of the world or of human civilization on that date. This view has been promulgated by many hoax pages on the Internet, particularly on YouTube, as well as on several cable TV channels.

Other AlignmentsEdit

Some people have interpreted the galactic alignment apocalyptically, claiming that when it occurs, it will somehow create a combined gravitational effect between the Sun and the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy (known as Sagittarius A*), thus creating havoc on Earth. Apart from the fact noted above that the "galactic alignment" already happened in 1998, the Sun's apparent path through the zodiac as seen from Earth does not take it near the true galactic center, but rather several degrees above it. Even if this were not the case, Sagittarius A* is 30,000 light years from Earth, and would have to be more than 6 million times closer to cause any gravitational disruption to Earth's Solar System. This reading of the alignment was included on the History Channel documentary, Decoding the Past. However, John Major Jenkins has complained that a science fiction writer co-authored the documentary, and he went on to characterize it as "45 minutes of unabashed doomsday hype and the worst kind of inane sensationalism".

Some believers in a 2012 doomsday have used the term "galactic alignment" to describe a very different phenomenon proposed by some scientists to explain a pattern in mass extinctions supposedly observed in the fossil record. According to this hypothesis, mass extinctions are not random, but recur every 26 million years. To account for this, it suggests that vertical oscillations made by the Sun on its 250-million-year orbit of the galactic center cause it to regularly pass through the galactic plane. When the Sun's orbit takes it outside the galactic plane which bisects the galactic disc, the influence of the galactic tide is weaker. However, when re-entering the galactic disc—as it does every 20–25 million years—it comes under the influence of the far stronger "disc tides", which, according to mathematical models, increase the flux of Oort cloud comets into the inner Solar System by a factor of 4, thus leading to a massive increase in the likelihood of a devastating comet impact. However, this "alignment" takes place over tens of millions of years, and could never be timed to an exact date. Evidence shows that the Sun passed through the plane bisecting the galactic disc only three million years ago and is now moving farther above it. A third suggested alignment is some sort of planetary conjunction occurring on 21 December 2012; however, there will be no conjunction on that date. Multi-planet alignments did occur in both 2000 and 2010, each with no ill result for the Earth. Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System; larger than all other planets combined. When Jupiter is near opposition, the Earth experiences a less than 1% difference in the gravitational force it feels daily from the Moon.

Geomagnetic ReversalEdit

Another idea tied to 2012 involves a geomagnetic reversal (often incorrectly referred to as a pole shift by proponents), possibly triggered by a massive solar flare, that would release an energy equal to 100 billion atomic bombs.[105] This belief is supposedly supported by observations that the Earth's magnetic field is weakening, which could precede a reversal of the north and south magnetic poles.

Most scientific estimates, however, say that geomagnetic reversals take between 1,000 and 10,000 years to complete, and do not start on any particular date. Furthermore, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now predicts that the solar maximum will peak in May 2013, not 2012, and that it will be fairly weak, with a below-average number of sunspots. In any case, there is no scientific evidence linking a solar maximum to a geomagnetic reversal, which is driven by forces entirely within the Earth. Instead, a solar maximum would be mostly notable for its effects on satellite and cellular phone communications. David Morrison attributes the rise of the solar storm idea to physicist and science popularizer Michio Kaku, who claimed in an interview with Fox News that a solar peak in 2012 could be disastrous for orbiting satellites.

Planet X/NibiruEdit

Some believers in doomsday in 2012 claim that a planet called Planet X, or Nibiru, will collide with or pass by Earth in that year. This idea, which has appeared in various forms since 1995, initially predicted Doomsday in May 2003, but proponents later abandoned that date after it passed without incident. The idea originated from claims of channeling of alien beings and has been widely ridiculed. Astronomers have calculated that such an object so close to Earth would be visible to anyone looking up at the night sky.

Other CatastrophesEdit

Author Graham Hancock, in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, interpreted Coe's remarks in Breaking the Maya Code as evidence for the prophecy of a global cataclysm. Filmmaker Roland Emmerich would later credit the book with inspiring his 2009 disaster film 2012.

Other speculations regarding doomsday in 2012 have included predictions by the Web Bot project, a computer program that purports to predict the future using Internet chatter. However, commentators have rejected the programmers' claims to have successfully predicted natural disasters, which web chatter could never predict, as opposed to human-caused disasters like stock market crashes.

Also, the 2012 date has been loosely tied to the long-running concept of the Photon Belt, which predicts a form of interaction between Earth and Alcyone, the largest star of the Pleiades cluster. Critics have argued that photons cannot form belts, that the Pleiades, located more than 400 light years away, could have no effect on Earth, and that the Solar System, rather than getting closer to the Pleiades, is in fact moving farther away from them.

Some media outlets have tied the fact that the red supergiant star Betelgeuse will undergo a supernova at some point in the future to the 2012 phenomenon. However, while Betelgeuse is certainly in the final stages of its life, and will die as a supernova, there is no way to predict the timing of the event to within 100,000 years. To be a threat to Earth, a supernova would need to be as close as 25 light years to the Solar System. Betelgeuse is roughly 600 light years away, and so its supernova will not affect Earth. In December 2011, NASA's Francis Reddy issued a press release debunking the possibility of a supernova occurring in 2012.

Another claim involves alien invasion. In December 2010, an article, first published in examiner.com and later referenced in the English-language edition of Pravda claimed, citing a Second Digitized Sky Survey photograph as evidence, that SETI had detected three large spacecraft due to arrive at Earth in 2012. Astronomer and debunker Phil Plait noted that by using the small-angle formula, one could determine that if the object in the photo was as large as claimed, it would have had to be closer to Earth than the Moon, which would mean it would already have arrived. In January 2011, Seth Shostak, chief astronomer of SETI, issued a press release debunking the claims.

Let's all hope this will Jossed.

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