Sophomore civil engineering and mathematics major Ashley De Los Reyes said she considered the end of the world when she saw movies detailing the planet being swallowed up by shifting seas and seared by rays of hot sun. She saw the world explode on screen, portraying the upcoming pseudo-apocalypse Dec. 21.
The supposed end of the world is only an assumption created by modern western culture, said adjunct professor of health Ronda Wimmer. However, students like De Los Reyes have seen films and heard rumors that suggest the world will end Dec. 21 at 11:11 p.m. according to the Mayan calendar.
“In that one movie, ‘The End of the World,’ the world split into two and people were falling into the cracks of a split-in-half convenience store,” De Los Reyes said. “Hopefully it won’t be that dramatic.”
Wimmer said the Mayan culture used three calendars which were the Tzolk’in, a 260-day ceremonial calendar, the Haab, a 365-day solar calendar and the Long Count which ends this year. She said the end of the calendar does not imply the end of the universe.
“That’s not what the Mayans are saying. This is a transition of time,” Wimmer said. “Dec. 21 is just like the end of the 2016 calendar, the end of one era transitioning into another.”
Wimmer wrote the article “Consciousness: Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Mayan Perspectives” in Acupuncture Today, in which she further explained the meaning of this transition.
“Mayan daykeepers view the sunrise on December 21, 2012 as a rebirth, the start of the World of the Fifth Sun,” Wimmer wrote in an email. “This is said to be the age of expanded consciousness where humans are able to live in harmony with the Earth, the environment, all creatures, and the greater cosmic order.”
Still, students like De Los Reyes wonder what will occur this month.
“No one here can tell when or if it’s going to happen,” De Los Reyes said. “If it happens, then it happens. There’s a lot of things that you just don’t know out there.”
De Los Reyes said she has heard people jokingly preparing, making bucket lists and saying goodbyes.
“If the world does end like planned, people are going to go crazy the day before,” De Los Reyes said. “No one [who believes in it] is going to show up to the places they are supposed to be at. People are just going to huddle at home.”
The superstitions were sparked in popularity by the novel, “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” written in 1970 by Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson, said professor of anthropology and American studies professor Paul Apodaca.
“This triggered the scare and you see this idea resurrected again and again,” Apodaca said. “They then said 2004, 2008 and 2010. They just keep entertaining themselves.”
The theme has no legitimate concept, but is reoccurring because it is an amusement within western pop culture, Apodaca said.
“This is just the superstitions of Americans,” he said. “Americans believe that there are weird statements among cultures in the world that align themselves with the Christian apocalypse.”
Wimmer also said the myths behind the calendar are typical creations of Americans.
“We have a bad habit in the United States of interpreting things in the context of how we understand rather than learning the philosophy of it,” Wimmer said. “If people don’t understand what’s going on, they interpret it.”
Maddy Stephens, a sophomore communication studies major, said people only believe in the superstitions because the belief in the end of the world has become trendy through word of mouth rumors.
“I didn’t really believe because of the Mayans, but the fad going around makes it seem realistic,” Stephens said.
Films and media are major causes of the scare, Apodaca said.
“Media will play to a superstitious audience,” Apodaca said. “It’s a superstitious culture entertaining itself with the concepts of the supernatural.”
Lei Mokihana Hookano, a sophomore strategic and corporation communication major, said she questioned the end of the world after watching the film “Melancholia.”
“The movie was about when a comet hit the earth and it got me thinking,” Hookano said. “Everyone thinks they know what is going on, but there could be miscalculations.”
Hookano said the outcome of the world ending frightens her the most.
“I mean just thinking about the world ending is scary,” Hookano said. “It’s crazy that all the work that students are putting effort into here at Chapman could be for nothing.”
Hookano said she won’t dismiss the idea of the world ending.
“It’s always in the back of my head,” she said. “Every month we are just another month closer. I want to say I don’t believe, but I really just don’t know.”
Nick Longley, a freshman graphic design major, said he has considered the world ending as well.
“I believe in it just enough that when my mom wants me home because she’s afraid the world’s going to end, I’ll be there,” Longley said.
Wimmer said the idea of doomsday approaching is ridiculous.
“Students are still going to be paying their student loans in the year 2013,” Wimmer said.
The Mayan Legend Facts
-The Mayan calendar not only relates to planetary cycles, but also to the evolution of human consciousness.
-Dec. 21 will be the first time in 26,000 years that the sun, Earth and moon will be in alignment with the center of the galaxy.
-The Mayans believed the planets move in patterns, which have predictable influences on our environment (nature) and humans (consciousness).
-The Mayans have two concepts of time: 1) linear and 2) cyclic and/or synchronistic. Linear time is based upon the Long Count calendar and cyclic time is based on the Haab and Tzolkin calendars.
–Information compiled from Ronda Wimmer’s “Consciousness: Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Mayan Perspectives.” [/box]