Wednesday, October 21

The end of the world part 2

The Mayan Long Count ends around Dec. 21, 2012 but as David Stuart, a specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin points out "It's a special anniversary of creation, the Maya never said the world is going to end, they never said anything bad would happen necessarily, they're just recording this future anniversary.”

The release of the film “2012” will only add fuel to this misconception. The idea of an apocalyptic end is so Western, so Judeo-Christian, just read “Worlds in Collision” by Velikovsky to understand the origins of our deep seated fear of the unknown around us. From the Wikipedia entry on Velikovsky:

“The catastrophes which occurred within the memory of mankind are recorded in the myths, legends and written history of all ancient cultures and civilisations. Velikovsky pointed to alleged concordances in the accounts of many cultures, and proposed that they referred to the same real events. For instance, the memory of a flood is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, in the Greek legend of Deucalion and in the Manu legend of India.. . .Velikovsky put forward the psychoanalytic idea of "Cultural Amnesia" as a mechanism whereby these literal records came to be regarded as mere myths and legends.”

The end of the world as we know it, is not such a bad thing really. We go about our business thinking nothing much changes like “Groundhog day”. In reality nothing ever stays the same. It has happened many times whenever there was a cosmic leap in understanding. When things that were obvious but unnoticed suddenly caught our eye. Subtle (and not so subtle) forces have always been at work recreating the world we precieve.

In Florence Italy c. 1430 artist and architect Flippo Brunelleschi discovered how to do perspective drawing, creating a three dimensional image on a flat surface. Now an artist could create a painting with depth that mimicked what our eyes saw. While everyone went crazy using this new technique something extraordinary happened. It revolutionized the way people looked at the world, not just visually but philosophically as well. That it wasn’t until the 15th century we figured this out is astonishing but to every artist today it’s obvious. Galileo did it when he turned the telescope on the sky and confirmed, much to our dismay, we are not the center of the universe. It’s only in the past ten years that traditional medicine has realized there is a mind-body connection.

Years ago I remember my mom and sister complaining that the sun felt warmer and brighter as they dodged from tree shade to shadow. Oh come on, I thought they’re just over reacting, our family tends to be melodramatic. Sometime later I read a curious little article in which scientists were puzzled by data that indicated the sun seemed to be brighter but they didn’t know why. How many other people felt the same way as my relatives but never said anything because it just sounded crazy? As Twain put it “ A man with a new idea is a crank until it works.”

The signs of change are all around us if we look carefully. There are also signs we ignore because they seem too bizarre to be true. What will cause the next cosmic leap in thinking and bring on a new age? Global warming? The string theory in physics? The internet? It could be anything . The end of the world means the start of a new one, so on December 12, 2012 a glass to a new beginning.

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