Friday, November 27, 2009

Hamlet's Mill and the Mayan prediction

I'm watching a program on National geographic, they are looking at the
mayan prophecies and how the world is going to end in 2012 as predicted by
the Mayans. It's a strange mixture of Science, History and religious mumbo
jumbo from 'descendants' of the Mayans. "When the sun aligns with the center
of the galazy it will create energy that will end the world"

It is a strange mixture because this program is overlying the mumbo jumbo
on top of a description of the ancient Mayans as astronomers and technically

This story was already told in a book called Hamlet's mill that tries to explain
the reason that there are so many stories around the world describing end of
the world floods and ends of the world as cycles end. Two different things
must be kept in mind about the people that created the world destruction myths.
They were serious people that built pyramids and Empires. Your average new age hippie wouldn't know how to begin to build a pyramid, and in the same way the people that built the
pyramids wouldn't create a frivolous myth, their myths were used to transmit
information over long periods of time. The second thing to keep in mind is that
these same stories of end of the world due to flood are the same all around the

The reason the myths have to be transmitted over long periods of time is there
was no writing when the original builders and astronomers lived and worked and
the time periods discussed were very long because they are trying describe the
precession of the equinoxes. So they needed a timekeeper, an object with a fairly
long period that repeated and they called that Chronos, but literally it was the planet
saturn with an orbital period of 80 years. Saturn marks off a second hand on a massive
clock where the hour hand is the precession of the equinoxes around the zodiac.
Each hour is the 2400 year age that is occuring. (eg age of Aquarius), and the end
of an age is the end of the "world" when the old gods die and new gods take over.
Kronos to Chronos to zeus. Interesting, but if you're not living in a completely agricultural
world that risks famine if the equinoxes are mis-predicted then it's not really end
of the world stuff.

So in the end it was a pretty annoying program. Instead of highlighting yet another
society that was either influenced by truly ancient people (egyptians were in Mexico?),
or just pointing how smart the people were 2000 years ago and look at all these things
they built and observations they made, they spent an hour of my life trying to predict
how the world is going to end as predicted by the ancient Mayans.

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