Ugh, just ugh. The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History by John Major Jenkins was one of the most painful books I’ve read in quite a LONG time. But–although I had to struggle for a month to get through it– I finally finished his 30 year in the making work on Maya Studies/2012.
First of all, the one thing I appreciated most about his book was that he does not subscribe to the whole apocalyptic we’re-all-gonna-die-in-a-flaming-inferno thing. I’m really tired of hearing people say that the world is going to end and all that jazz. And apparently so is he. He points out that many of his colleagues in Maya studies and “2012ology” subscribe to the doom and gloom fatalistic point of view because it makes them more popular in the public eye. People love hearing bad news. They want to watch specials about 2012 on the Discovery Channel while stuffing fistfuls of popcorn in their faces and tut-tutting to each other.
The world has been “ending” every couple decades or since forever ago. Old news. I liked his analogy about it. His principle is that time is following cycles set down by the Mayans thousands of years ago, and 2012 is simply the ending of the 13th of their 394.5 year cycles called Baktuns. He interjects that people whom are claiming the end of this cycle is the end of the world is like saying at the stroke of midnight the world will end each day. It’s not a ending with a period, it’s more of a circular state of being.
That being said…. Damn, Jenkins. Did you really need to talk about it for 500 pages?
Parts of the book were pretty interesting. He’s been making trips to South America and studying Mayan astrology and time-keeping since the 70’s, so I feel his knowledge is credible in many ways. The Mayan mythology and creation stories were enjoyable, as were reading about his experiences on LSD. But SO much of the content was devoted to him bad-mouthing other 2012ologists and proving why he was right and they were wrong. We get it. You have been ostracized from the community because you’re not jumping on the PARTY LIKE IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD bandwagon. (Yes, he even hypothesizes about the parties that will be thrown on December 21st, 2012. Parties that he will not be invited to…)
But then things get a little incredible. He claims that George W. Bush is the infamous Mayan version of the antichrist “Seven Macaw,” come back to fulfill the prophecy that foretells the ending of a certain age of consciousness. Um… I’m a Democrat too, but Jeeze… He also goes on a bit of a rant about big corporations and how they are destroying our way of life.
Basically I feel that the whole book was a mish-mash of his different hurts within his scholastic community and a bit of a tirade against modern society. A little too much crazy mixed in with WAY too much explanation of the terribly boring Long Count system that the Mayans used for tracking time. It’s definitely a book that I am glad to be free of.
Not to say I didn’t learn anything, but the process was painful. A good quote to wrap up the whole experience is:
“Eternity cannot be found by living forever; it is found only when death is embraced.”
Eternity can also be found between the pages of this book. Reading it certainly felt took forever for me…
1 star of 5