Sunday, January 04, 2009
Engaged in my favorite Sunday activity of fusing my spine to the couch during a day-long History Channel fest today. At the end, I came away wondering who won World War II.
Why? Because they did the stupidest special called Nostradamus 2012 that came across as documentary declaring him a prophet who foretold global warming and predicting a global cataclysm for 2012. If that passes as History Channel fodder, I'm concerned Hitler wasn't defeated.
Sorry, but I don't buy the whole mighty prophet thing. I think he was a political satirist. (However, I will buy lunch for anyone who can start a lasting rumor that this blog predicts the future or holds secret Freemason imagery. Bonus points for claiming it cures macular degeneration and insomnia.) Their 'experts' who claimed he predicted global warming were beyond laughable. I recall years ago when the big hysteria was he predicted Hitler, JFK's assassination, and the rise of the Antichrist. Whatever.
Human beings are hardwired to find patterns. Even I have to be on guard to not attribute too much to coincidence, lest I become superstitious or over confident of random outcomes.
The best part of the show was how they explained the significance of the date December 21, 2012* (I kept hoping they would interview Geddy Lee, but no luck.) It was theorized that the Mayan culture had identified a 26,000 year-cycle when the sun would appear to rise in the middle of the Milky Way and mark a time of great chaos and conflict. This one approaching would be Leo. The last one was Aquarius. Al and I shot meaningful smirks across the room to one another. Yep. He's Leo. I'm Aquarius. Look out, universe. By the way, 2009 will be the Chinese Year of the Ox, and that's Al. Always liked their zodiac better. One thing from China I admire! What do you know. Perhaps the planet will explode soon.
Anyhoo, I don't even agree with that appraisal - some say the Mayans just meant that Y26K was a time of great celebration. And like a more recent Y2K event, any doomsday hype is seriously overrated.
USA Today on the sudden glut of 12/21/12 doom and gloom books:
But scholars are bristling at attempts to link the ancient Maya with trends in contemporary spirituality. Maya civilization, known for advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, flourished for centuries in Mesoamerica, especially between A.D. 300 and 900. Its Long Count calendar, which was discontinued under Spanish colonization, tracks more than 5,000 years, then resets at year zero.
"For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle," says Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in Crystal River, Fla. To render Dec. 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting, she says, is "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."
Part of the 2012 mystique stems from the stars. On the winter solstice in 2012, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in about 26,000 years. This means that "whatever energy typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will indeed be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time," Joseph writes.
But scholars doubt the ancient Maya extrapolated great meaning from anticipating the alignment — if they were even aware of what the configuration would be.
Astronomers generally agree that "it would be impossible the Maya themselves would have known that," says Susan Milbrath, a Maya archaeoastronomer and a curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. What's more, she says, "we have no record or knowledge that they would think the world would come to an end at that point."
University of Florida anthropologist Susan Gillespie says the 2012 phenomenon comes "from media and from other people making use of the Maya past to fulfill agendas that are really their own."
I think Al summed it up best when he noted: Perhaps the Mayan calendar stopped at 2012 because they were invaded before they could record any further dates...
The other History Channel specials I watched were on the Seven Deadly Sins. How appropriate. Right before I start my diet tomorrow...
These episodes were more enjoyable and informative. They explained who first listed eight transgressions or temptations and how Pope Gregory combined them down to a holy seven figure and declared them Sins. Gotta love those Popes. They're Infallible. Even before they knew they were.
There were lots of good tidbits and examples (I am waiting for Donald Trump's lawsuit for showing film clips of him whenever Pride or Vainglory were mentioned) of how religion and society interpreted each of the sins, etc. Now I did not see all segments, just Greed, Anger and Pride.
I particularly enjoyed it when Al came in and grabbed the remote in that "oblivious to all other's feelings" way only a man who has just bought a 52" TV can, and started seeing what else might be on. "I'm watching a show about ANGER," I growled through gritted teeth. "I don't suggest you change it." He wisely let me continue my sin-fest.
How did this famous list miss the biggest sin of all? Hypocrisy. Oh, wait, the makers of the list were huge hypocrites, that's how. My bad.
No, really, did anyone see this series? Did they fold that one in somehow? Do you agree my point? Are not hypocrites the worst of all? I don't recall it mentioned in the Greed segment, but it seems it may fit there, as a means of personal gain; an I can, you can't type of psychology. Dante threw them in the eighth circle, so I know they're important and fit in there somehow. Along with people who see prophesies in the past-tense only and seem unable to come up with a valid future prediction from either their own or someone else's writings.
Well, it's pretty late, so good night, and until next time... I predict higher gas prices!!
*Hurry! Only some 1460 more shopping days to the Apocalypse!