Monday, May 14, 2012

Mayans looked past 2012

Good to know the world isn't ending this year, according to recently revealed Mayan predictions! See The World Isn’t Ending in 2012, Or So Says the Oldest Mayan Calendar Uncovered by Boston University and other articles that broke the news on last Friday May 11th.

Actually Mayan scholars, not new age hipsters, have always said that the Mayans fully expected the world to keep going. 2012 is just the end of the 13th baktun since their start of creation set to 3114 BC. Say what? Well, Mayans were definitely advanced in astronomy and mathematics as well as spiritual insights. A baktun is 144,000 days, and that's a highly regarded number in many religions including Judaism and Christianity, coming from 12 squared, 12 tribes, 12 months, etc. As for the seemingly arbitrary start of the world in 3114 BC, this creation date might be impressive psychically if not geologically, since it's roughly the beginning of the Bronze Age. After the Stone Age, the Bronze Age signaled a shift that included the first human writings, in ancient Sumer then elsewhere. The collapse of the Bronze Age around 1200 BC was thought by Julian Jaynes to be even more significant for human consciousnessness however, since his famous theory for the breakdown of the bicameral mind says that was when the right brain - which was previously separate and spoke to us as the voice of God - began to become integrated in the modern human being. At any rate, since Mayans are really into counting by twenties, a baktun which is 20 katuns is defintely cause for celebration, but the 13th baktun can't be nearly as exciting as the 20th, which equals one piktun and won't happen until 4772 AD. Sorry, don't hold your breath!

So please do make the most of some new beginning, but don't expect too much to happen in this year alone, because life is definitely expected to continue. And let's face it, millenialism and apocalyptic predictions for the end of the old world and beginning of the new one have been going on for a very long time, and have yet to accomplish everything that was hoped for. Like a thief in the night, Jesus said! Ends of the world seem to happen at times of social unrest when people long for a new motivation and push each other to evolve, which can be a good thing if handled correctly. I know there was a big apocalyptic expectation in the mid 1600's in England during the Interregnum, a period of violent chaos between monarchies. My favorite mystic there Jane Leade was in her mid twenties and was deeply affected. Later in life she would found the Philadelphian society on the work of her mentor John Pordage, and I really like what wikipedia says about them:

"They rejected the idea of being a church, preferring the term society, and none of the members ceased their memberships in existing churches. Together, the group held views that were somewhat similar to Panentheism, regarding the belief in the presence of God in all things, and with a Nondualist component, in that they also believed the presence of the Holy Spirit exists in each and everyone's soul, and that one can become enlightened and illuminated by living a virtuous life and seeking truth through the wisdom of God."

So carry on dear world, and neither lose nor expect to subsist wholly upon your timely ideals!

Wikipedia links for further reading...

Mayan Calendar
Bronze Age
History of Writing
Bronze Age Colapse
Julian Jaynes and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Jane Ward Leade and the Philadelphians