Posts : 5365
Join date : 2011-12-25
|Subject: The Mayan Calendar: A prophecy of permanence. Sun 13 May 2012, 10:38|| |
A recent discovery in Guatemala of what has been deduced to be the workshop of a Mayan scribe from around the 9th century has given us fresh insight into the construction and application of the Mayan calendar - the same calendar which has so stupidly been credited in recent years with "prophesying" the world's end this year. The chamber's walls were decorated with pictures depicting a figure, probably the scribe himself, greeting a king. But what was especially interesting were the inscribed tables which had also been included in the display. These have been identified as base tables - calendar constants - from which further predictive analysis of calendar events could be calculated, most notably lunar phases but also other astronomical events deemed important to that society, probably for the timing of associated ritual.
What is interesting about this calendar, especially in light of current sensationalist and misinformed claims on its behalf, is not only its exactitude but also its obvious ability to predict with great accuracy cyclical astronomical events over many thousands of years. These were not a people looking to predict the end of time but in fact the diametric opposite - affirming a belief in the permanence and stability of the universe far into the future. As it turned out, much further into the future than the short period from that point that their own society was doomed to occupy.
The link below brings you to a National Geographic article about the find, and contains a zoomable pastiche of the beautiful mural in question.National Geographic: Unprecedented Maya Mural Found, Contradicts 2012 "Doomsday" Myth
Such finds of course will do nothing to dispel the stupidity currently driving a mini-industry which has made some charlatans very rich indeed and which has appropriated the unfortunate Mayans to that end, but it is satisfying to be able to help propagate the truth at times, if even in a small way.
Posts : 2353
Join date : 2011-12-27
|Subject: Re: The Mayan Calendar: A prophecy of permanence. Sun 13 May 2012, 11:51|| |
Ah, the endless attraction of eschatology, is it just a reflection of a general human inability to imagine that the world cannot go on without our personal existence in it? A kind of 'if I can't have it, no one else can either' belief?
I saw a nice programme on the Antikythera Mechanism the other night, another instance of the exactitude of astronomical prediction in the past and an interesting example of how, even if the theoretical basis is wrong as in geocentricity, on a practical level, the results of rigorous observation can be usefully employed.