December 21, 2012 - the end of the world, or a new beginning? Scientists, philosophers, prophets, and historians have singled out this day as a day of import for our world. In 2013: The End of Days or a New Beginning?, author Marie D. Jones lays out the myths and predictions surrounding this fateful day, as well as the real-life challenges the
Earth is facing as 2012 draws closer.
The history of 2012 begins with the Mayan long-count calendar. The Maya were a great civilization that rose to power between 250-900 BCE. Their art, architecture, and scientific knowledge were the most advanced on the planet. Their Long Count calendar, which divides each date into 5 specific place values, is made of up 13
baktuns, or periods of 144,000 days. When scholars add 13 baktuns to the day the calendar started, the end date is December 21, 2012. This date just happens to coincide with a major astrological phenomenon: the sun will be aligned with the galactic center of the Milky Way.
There are many theories about what will actually happen when this singular phenomenon occurs. For evangelical Christians, all signs point to the Apocalypse, a time when Jesus Christ returns to earth to gather his faithful followers and unbelievers are subjected to several years of increasingly difficult judgments. Believers of the modern-day prophet Zacharia Sitchin believe 2012 is the year the rogue planet Nibiru will collide with the
Earth. Popular books in the past decade have prophesied a meteor strike, a collision with a comet, and the reversal of the earth's magnetic field.
A less alarming possibility, and the theory clearly believed by the author, is that rather than a calamitous world event, the actual change occurring on December 21, 2012 will be a mass shift in consciousness - a great, worldwide change in the way the human population thinks. A "new age" of enlightenment, an ascension to a higher plane, or a jump in energy levels, Jones proposes that 2012 will see a complete reversal in the way humans relate to the world around them.
Jones then spends the rest of the book illustrating why this global shift in consciousness is necessary.
Using well-known examples such as global warming, poverty, peak oil, the spread of disease, terrorism, and an increasingly aged world population, she states that change is necessary for the world to survive. She believes that the world must band together to solve these looming problems, or the end of the world will be of our own making. However, if we are able to join as one and create solutions, we will achieve the great leap in consciousness and humanity will reach a higher level of evolution.
This is, for the most part, a very interesting book. Jones distills a lot of information into a fairly short number of pages, so for the reader who is learning about 2012 for the first time, it may seem somewhat overwhelming. There are times the author seems to assume a certain level of knowledge on the part of the reader and does not explain some of the more complicated theories completely. This can lead to confusion for a reader who is trying to process the many new terms and ideas in the book for the first time. At the end of the book is a section called "Visions of 2013: Essays and Opinions," a collection of short pieces written by other writers and thinkers about their views on the 2012 phenomenon. This could have been an interesting section, but when readers realize that they all share basically the same viewpoint, it quickly becomes repetitive.
Jones is a clear, thoughtful writer with a conversational tone that keeps the reader engaged through a rather extensive amount of information. She is able to disagree with theories without disparaging them, which allows her to appear objective while still promoting her viewpoint. 2013 is an interesting book but will be most accessible to readers who have some working knowledge of the subject matter already. For novices, it may prove to be too much information too quickly, and they may want to look elsewhere for an introduction to the topic.