Directed by Nimrod Erez. US. 2008.

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Timewave Zero is the theory postulated by author/philosopher Terence McKenna that calculates the rise and fall of novelty (dynamic change) in the universe. When McKenna graphed it over time, he found that it reached infinity on December, 21 2012, the end of the current Baktun cycle of the long-count calendar of the ancient Mayas. Since the concept was introduced in the 1970s by McKenna and Jose Arguellos, speculation has been rampant as to what the world might look like when it approaches its omega point, and there have been a plethora of books and films on the subject in recent years, the most anticipated being Roland Emmerich’s film 2012 due in October. A recent direct to DVD documentary, 2012: Science Or Superstition, directed by Nimrod Erez, explores the meaning of the Mayan Calendar’s end date and what it might mean for the world and does so with restraint and intelligence. 

Talking heads discuss whether 2012 will bring a singular catastrophic event, a gradual transition to a higher level of consciousness, or nothing at all. The documentary features discussion by such unconventional thinkers as Graham Hancock, author of the major international bestsellers 'The Sign and The Seal,' 'Fingerprints of the Gods,' 'Supernatural' and 'Heaven's Mirror’; John Major Jenkins, an independent researcher who has devoted himself to reconstructing ancient Mayan cosmology and philosophy; Daniel Pinchbeck, author and lecturer who in 1994 was chosen by The New York Times Magazine as one of Thirty Under Thirty destined to change our culture; Alberto Villoldo, PhD, a medical anthropologist; and Anthony F. Aveni is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology and is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican Archaeoastronomy. 

Other speakers include: Robert Bauval, Jim Marrs, Walter Cruttenden, Lawrence E. Joseph, Douglas Rushkoff, John Anthony West and Benito Vegas Duran. Unlike some History Channel documentaries, the speakers are given ample opportunity to develop their points of view and narration is kept to a minimum. As evidence for sudden change, they point to the melting of the polar ice caps, the weakening of the magnetic field and shifting of the poles, the drastic increase of solar flares, the increase in natural disasters, and the rare alignment of the Earth, Sun, and the center of the Milky Way on the December 2012 solstice. According to this belief, the alignment is tied to the precession of the equinoxes (approximately every 2160 years, the constellation visible on the early morning of the spring equinox changes) and signals a transition from one world age to another. 

There are few voices of dissent, however, and no debate takes place about such questions as why the Mayans devised a calendar some time around 500 BC, with a back-dated ‘start date’ in 3114 BC, or what the true significance of a recurring 1872000 day cycle (approximately equal to 5125.36 years) as a whole might be. There are also no interviews with scholars of Mayan civilization or people such as Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. who has said, "For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle. To render December 21, 2012, as a doomsday or moment of cosmic shifting is a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in." Also not discussed, is the fact that the galactic alignment in question takes place over a 36-year period, and the nucleus of the Milky Way could not have been identified without high-powered telescopes which the Mayans did not have. 

2012: Science Or Superstition thankfully does not include professional debunkers, scientific or otherwise, and the word “nonsense” is not even heard once during the film, yet, while I am supportive of the ideas discussed, a bit more controversy would have livened up the proceedings including discussion of biblical prophecy, crop circles, UFOs, and the exponential growth in spirituality world wide pointing to a paradigm shift. While thought provoking, 2012: Science Or Superstition is a pretty bloodless affair with dramatics mostly eliminated, yet it is a valuable source of information and adds to the growing interest in what many forecast will be the end of civilization and/or a new beginning. Those who want to be blown out of their seats, however, will have to wait for Roland Emmerich. 


Howard Schumann
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