The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean

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The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean

Marcus Delille

ANTH 1105

October 10, 2017




Theories based on the idea of the end of the world have been around for as long as mankind has been recording time. Examples of this can be seen in civilizations and cultures all over the world, and they all vary in the way the world is predicted to end. One of the most well known examples of this worldwide obsession with the end of the world is centered on the existence of the Mayan wheel of time. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology has an article written by Dr. Morna Macleod on this very subject. Titled “Mayan Calendrics in Movement in Guatemala: Mayan Spiritual Guides or Day-keepers understandings of 2012, this article begins with a look at how the the date December 21, 2012 (the final date on the longest known mayan calendar) has become a sort of cultural symbol to a variety of people all from different cultures all over the world. While some people take this date as some sort of proclamation, from an ancient society known for their mysticism, that the world is going to end, others grasp it as some sort of commercial opportunity to be exploited. The article then bleeds into an examination of how this hyper focus on such a narrow part ancient Mayan has had  a negative impact on the modern day Guatemalans that now represent the people who created this calendar in the first place. Out of every negative experience, however, there is an opportunity for a positive step to be had.

        The momentum gained from the worldwide obsession with the presumed end of the world on the Mayan calendar became a launchpad for Mayan activist to gain recognition on a global scale. According to the article, when it comes to gaining a voice for the benefit of a culture on a global scale, self representation is crucial to pushing for what is needed, and up until this point modern day Mayans have be tragically underrepresented on a global scale. Unless it was related to tragedy, massacre, or invasion not much attention was paid to Mayans on a global scale, and they were in dire need of a voice. This point is especially important to take note of because, the Mayans are the natives of central America, and like most countries that have been invaded in the past they have be exploited and abused in almost every way possible. It is for this reason why the obsession with the ending of the Mayan calendar has become so important to the revitalization of the Mayan culture.Before I mentioned that the focus on this one part of their history was to be used as a launchpad into making the Mayan voice heard on a global scale and this was an accurate description of the event. According to the article, rather than focus on how or why the world might end, Mayan intellectuals used this event as an opportunity to educate the world at large on Mayan symbolism and why the calendar may have ended when it did, and how the world at large can take lessons from this once great civilization and apply them to their own plights in the search for guidance.