Firpo Files 12-13-12
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The Mayan Myth

Why the world won't end December 21, 2012

The Firpo Files Newsmagazine

(December 13, 2012)

In a countermove to calamity howlers who say that, based on the Mayan calendar, the world will end on Friday, December 21, 2012, I'm declaring that's exactly when the world will NOT end! Granted, I'm not an expert on Mayan culture.

However, I have attempted to unlock the hidden mysteries of the ancients while studying the Mayan ruins and writings first-hand in two separate visits to Guatemala almost 25 years ago. I recall my first daytime flight over active Central American volcanoes that resembled festering zits on a temperamental landscape.   

Taking on Tikal: The pre-Columbian Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites of the Mayan civilization. In my book Search for the Sacred Name (1993) I describe my first trip there: "Tikal is in the far northern jungles. Flores is the nearest town with an airstrip. It appeared to me that nobody goes there except tourists who don't know what they're getting into, or hieroglyph hunters like me. The small twin-engine plane that somehow got us there was so rickety we gripped the arms off the seats expecting it to come apart. Once it nosed down in a violent dip causing some passengers to come up with their lunch. All of us, for survival's sake, imbibed of the spirited beverages served, but even that helped little." This small adventure aside, the focus of my attention was on Mayan hieroglyphs, and the history of written thought.

Misunderstanding the Maya: The written word is an unspoken declaration of our descent from prelapsarian glory. In other words, the need to write language was an indication that our collective psychic memory--once perfect--was fading. Oral tradition was descending into silence, en route to being a mere echo of itself. The degenerative nature of our once powerful minds was beginning to manifest itself.

This debilitating milestone apparently occurred over 5,000 years ago with the advent of Egyptian pictographs or hieroglyphics ("hieroglyph" being a Greek word meaning "sacred carvings"). As is the case with written language today, at times these hieroglyphs were an attempt to capture abstract thought in graphic form.  Such is also the case with the comparatively younger Mayan hieroglyphs. What do these tell us about their so-called end-time calendar?

"What this text shows us is that in times of crisis, the ancient Maya used their calendar to promote continuity and stability rather than predict apocalypse," says Marcello A. Canuto, director of Tulane University's Middle American Research Institute.

And Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera of the National Institute of Anthropology and History adds: "The Mayas did make prophecies, but not in a fatalistic sense, but rather about events that, in their cyclical conception of history, could be repeated in the future." The Mayan Myth revealed!

Maya Mystified: Here's why the Maya couldn't know the day of destruction: "About that day and hour of destruction no one knows," says Jesus. "Neither the angels in heaven nor even the Son, but only the Father. Just like the days of Noah were, that's how the presence of the Son of Man will be. In the days before the flood, people were going about their daily routine of eating and drinking. Men were marrying as women were being given away in marriage, right up until the day that Noah entered the ark. They didn't notice a thing until the flood came and swept them all away. This is exactly how it's going to be with the presence of the Son of Man.

"During this time two men will be at work. One will be taken along by recognizable truth and thereafter act on it while the other will be content with the status quo and abandoned to his daily way of living. While two women engage in domestic work one will be taken along by recognizable truth and thereafter act on it while the other will be content with the status quo and abandoned to her daily way of living. Stay alert, therefore, because you don't know the day your Lord will suddenly appear.

"But be aware of this one fact: If the man of the house had known about what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and prevented his house from being broken into. As in this case, you, too, prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you don't think it's going to happen, that's when the Son of Man is coming."--Matthew 24:36-44, Modern Matthew: Good News for Today--College Edition.

Peace, blessings--and survival--to all worthy ones. Amen.