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My Oh Mayan!

2012 may indeed be the end of the world as we know it

November 18, 2009, 12:00 am

 
To Mardyks, bogus doomsday fears distract from the rare “spiritual opportunity” 2012 will bring. He’s reluctant to share his theory of exactly how the stars will align to bring about this “planetary evolution.” But he says for most people—those who aren’t “tuned in”—the great date will come and go without notice.

“Human participation is optional,” Mardyks says.

While primarily an evangelist, Mardyks cops to another motivation: He wants recognition.

“I’ve had the New Age spiritual cosmic rap out there for 10 years and nobody was picking up on it,” Mardyks says. “So I decided I’m just going to come in with a different approach.”

His new approach is to launch vitriolic attacks against more prominent 2012 writers like “John Major Jerkchain”—that would be Mardyks’ name for Jenkins, the Colorado-based author who has appeared in several documentaries and been interviewed by The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek and MTV. Mardyks believes Jenkins stole his most important ideas and, even worse, mistranslated them. Back in the ’90s, Mardyks writes, Jenkins “was just another naïve kid who was way over his head in attempting to understand Maya astrology.”

The heart of their dispute concerns the timing of 2012 and the so-called “galactic alignment.” Mardyks says his alignment theory was published first, in an article for the August 1991 issue of Mountain Astrologer.

Jenkins calls Mardyks a “lunatic” who wants to sabotage his career.

“With Mardyks, I think there’s a huge amount of envy,” Jenkins says. “He has this strange notion that because he had written about the galactic alignment before I did that I derive all my work from him. This is something he pathologically asserts time and time again. All I can do is be honest.”

Jenkins credits still another author with inspiring his galactic alignment theories. Mardyks counter-claims that the other author added the theory only in later editions of his book, after reading Mardyks’.

Frankly, their feud is too convoluted to be of interest to the wider world. Hoopes, the anthropologist, thinks Mardyks “feels like he’s not given credit for an idea others have made a lot of money off of.”

It seems the only people who haven’t cashed in on 2012 are the 7 million-plus Maya in Guatemala. The US film, television and publishing industries have profited most shamelessly. Then come the small-time hucksters who hawk “bug-out bags” and “survival” kits online, and those offering answers to spiritual seekers, like the organizers of “2012 Tipping Point,” a $2,245-a-head “prophets conference” in Cancun this coming January. Its sponsors include New Dawn Magazine (“questioning consensus reality since 1991”). Jenkins will lecture on the “pole shift in our collective psyche.”

Jenkins tells SFR he’s barely broken even on his Mayan research, even with the “pretty good deal” he got from Tarcher/Penguin for his latest book, The 2012 Story.

Hoopes provides perhaps the most objective assessment of the credibility of these various 2012ers.

Alt text here

Photo Courtesy John Hoopes

University of Kansas associate professor John Hoopes traces some 2012 mania to belief in the lost continent of Atlantis and “notions of Aryan superiority.”

“Jenkins is an independent researcher, most of whose assertions are not ones that professional archaeologists or Mayanists think have a significant foundation. That said, he’s been much more diligent than others in this vein about actually reading the work of archaeologists,” Hoopes says. “There are some serious deficiencies in his critical thinking. He’s also been deficient in acknowledgement of previous publications…I think Ray does have a point.”

Mardyks’ bridge-burning style probably hasn’t helped his cause. And Jenkins’ writing is far more accessible. Hoopes has encouraged Jenkins to submit his work to peer-reviewed academic journals. But Jenkins feels academia is rigged against outsiders.

He’s not the first passionate amateur to feel that way. In an 1895 appendix to The Archaic Maya Inscriptions, an early attempt to decode the calendar, the long-dead Mayanist JT Goodman chided the California Academy of Sciences for its indifference to his “toilsome” study.

“[N]otwithstanding the princely endowment of their institution and their alertness to the scientific necessity of building a $30,000 marble stairway and publishing a $5,000 volume composed principally of their own portraits and biographies, they could not clearly see their way to any excuse for assuming the cost of printing this little book,” Goodman writes. “I retain faith in the genius of ignorance. Somewhere to-day, by an obscure fireside, sits a boy that never even saw the outside of a university or academy of sciences to whose penetrative mind these inscriptions would be as an open book.”

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