2012 - Science Or Superstition?/AFA

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Anthony F. Aveni

AFA: We're in the midst of a 2012 mania, being as spiritually starved as we are, and subject to such a terrible world around us, we look for explanations. And that's what motivated me to talk a little bit more about the scientific side of some of these explanations. [Talk]

AFA: I think what's interesting is that this 26,000 year period can get neatly broken down in to periods about 2000 years long - in fact, make it 2,200 to be exact - which mark the passage of the place of the Sun in the vernal equinox through successive constellations in the Zodiac. 2,200 x 12 is about equal to the cycle of precession. This has led many people to assume, with little evidence, that world ages - which are a Judeo-Christian phenomenon - connote division of the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes. [Talk]

AFA: So, we all have heard of the Age of Aquarius - that doesn't happen until 2700 AD - be that as it may, the Sun is "about to" enter Aquarius in some hundreds of years. And according to the Judeo-Christian myth, this is a world-changing phenomenon. So one could say that the ages of Man are star-fixed, according to this philosophy. That's the connection - if it be one - between precession and cycles of renovation. [Talk]

AFA: There were floods and hurricanes in the Maya area, and the idea of a watery ending to the world, pictured on page 74 of the Dresden Codex - last page! - water gushing out of the mouth of the sky! These were real experiences. And you have it in the Enuma Elish, which is the Sumerian creation myth. It is in world mythology because the world is destroyed and is recreated. And we take these marvelous stories - the destruction and recreation of the world - and then we bring them into a macroscopic focus by imagining it's the whole world that's going to end. And yes, my friends, it will end - there's no question, there will be an end of the world. Study these creation myths and you'll see that they are there for a good reason. People did experience the destruction of their world and they did rebuild it. It happened before, and it'll happen again, unless... the way to avoid it in New Orleans is to build better flood gates. And so, you see, it's participatory, isn't it? You can make it happen, but you have to work for it, you can't just lay back and do nothing, you've got to be a participant in your cosmology. [Talk]

AFA: If a stream of solar particles can cause radio fade-out, it can also affect satellite communications. But I don't think that it's going to have any large-scale geophysical effect on the Earth. And I suppose you could, if you really want to push it, you could connect with weather, but we have to remember that the bulk of the effects it produces - hurricanes, tornadoes - is entirely encased within the Earth. It's got a lot more to do with rotation and circulation of air than it does with these outside effects. But I would admit that it could have a meteorological effect. [Talk]

AFA: I think viewers have probably read about the changing in the magnetic poles of the Earth. The magnetic reversal overturns very slowly, it may take a few hundreds of years to make a complete overturn, and it's probably the case that we are in an overturn now - the beginning of an overturn - because the position of the magnetic pole has migrated some few hundred miles in the last few decades. So it is beginning to overturn. Now, the real question is what is the effect of the overturn of the magnetic field on Earth phenomenon? There could be a reduction in the shielding effect. This could have some consequence. I don't think it's known whether the consequences will be calamitous or disastrous - it certainly won't be sudden. But probably some meteorological change will take place. [Talk]

AFA: It is true that when the Sun is at the [December] solstice, it more-or-less lines up in the direction of the constellation of Saggitarius, which is close to what we would call the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, which was not determined until even later. I stress this because when one wants to argue about precision here, I could say in a very general way that the [December] solstice Sun comes through that general area of Saggitarius, whether it's conceived of as the center of the galaxy or not - somewhere between the years 1900 and 2150. To dare to pinpoint it any more accurately is to suggest that the Maya did. Any I'll go back to what I always go back to: I've got to see the evidence. And I've got to see something more than just some interpretation of an iconography on a stela. I've got to see it in the codices, I've got to see it in writing, I've got to see the numbers. If the astronomers cared about that, they would have backed it up with numbers. So one does have such an alignment, but in the crudest possible sense you could imagine. [Talk]

AFA: Worrying about some unfounded cataclysm that going to take place in the year 2012 is not a part of my world view. I just don't get it. And so I would advise you not to worry. Invest your time in feeding the homeless, helping the poor and being green. I mean, invest your time in that - not in joining some far out cult where we'll all stand at the top of the north pole on our heads to wait for the coming. Because I don't think it's going to happen - it ain't gonna happen. How's that for being specific? [Talk]

AFA: Is there going to be a cataclysm? Is it bad news for us? Or is it more like by getting together and bringing ourselves together so we can somehow make the world change. It's the latter part that appeals so much to people when they read about the Maya, because the Maya developed a participatory cosmology. It's all about human action and what you must do as a human being - to perpetuate the status quo in the universe, or to change it - it's up to you. You can do it. And here we sit with 2012 approaching and not being able to do a damn thing about the big bang or evolution. And that bothers us. We want a cosmology in which we can participate - the Maya had it. And so we look to them and say maybe we can learn something from them. And I'm all for it. I think there will be a positive outcome from the 2012 hype and mania, as I characterised it, because perhaps it will make us take our cosmology a bit more seriously - look into it a bit more, think a little bit more about the collective human consciousness, think a little bit more about what we can do to make the world a better place. That's a great message, and if that's what comes out of all this, I'm a happy camper. [Talk]