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Home arrow Mystery of 2012 arrow The Mayan Mystery and the Time within Time
The Mayan Mystery and the Time within Time PDF Print E-mail
Written by I.J. Ikävalko   
Dec 05, 2011 at 08:12 AM

images/stories/mayancalendar.jpgIn 1950, Chuck Ennis, an American photographer and trekker, flew to Mexico and Central America, where he photographed Mayan ruins -- specifically he traced the exploration, 111 years earlier, of American writer John Loyd Stephens and his partner, British architect and artist Frederick Catherwood. This pair had been the first to produce architecturally accurate drawings of Mayan temples -- drawings that had been received with some skepticism in Europe, where at that time central American cultures like that of the Maya, were thought of in a more primitive light. The level of art and abstract thinking reflected in those structures were considered beyond the abilities of the mesoamericans.

But it was only after Mayan temples, artwork and their calendar had been partly "decoded" at the end of the 20th C that the real achievements of the Maya became evident. 


Along with Pablo Bush Romero, Chuck Ennis produced a "photographic record," temple by temple and ruin by ruin across four countries, showing the precise relationship between Catherwood's drawings and the reality, proving the accuracy of the record that had been created starting in 1839. 

Some forty years later, Jose Argüelles, the academic and psychedelic researcher, catalyzed anextraordinary level of interest in what is known as the "2012" phenomenon. And the key to 2012 -- nothing to do with "end of the world" speculations -- is understanding the strange (to us) culture of the Maya, and the even stranger reality of time, from within.

On a personal note, Chuck Ennis's work came to my attention by happenstance. I was talking to a neighbor, an eccentric former military cryptographer everyone called "Crow,"  who enjoys some notoriety in a central Houston neighborhood populated by oil company executives, for raising chickens on his porch. Kroh (his real name) walks with difficulty, half bent over, and represents himself as severely disabled, which is at least partly true. I say "partly," because his mind is sharp and can access coherent detail on many subjects, from how to plant a fence post in rocky soil in Wyoming, to details of Central American history. As a hobby, he makes oddly antique looking walking sticks and trekking staffs out of bamboo, decorated with carvings in a style remiscent, at least to me, of the Egyptians or the Mayans. One time, I mentioned to Kroh a little known but important photographic record of the Mayan trail of Catherwood and Stephens, and he stopped me. "Just a second," he said, disappearing into the house. Moments later he came back out carrying a book -- the Ennis book, entitled Following the Footsteps of Stephens-Catherwood: Chiapas - Yucatan - Central America. "Where did you get that?" I asked, totally astonished (the book is not exactly on everyone's coffee table, though Amazon sells secondhand copies). "My father wrote it," replied Kroh. Turns out our "Crow" is actually Resley Kroh Ennis



In all developed industrial and post-industrial cultures, time is not only sequential and linear, but it is centered on the Present. In a nutshell, we think the present is "it," it is what is "new," what "is happening" -- it is in real time, and hence we have an understandable bias about the present -- after all, our body is in the present, the body which inserts us in time, keeps us in the now, and which is vulnerable. For us, past and future are abstractions, orderly and rich, but the present is reality. 

Mayan time is different: the calendar consists of embedded or interlocking gears, with the outermost ring being the shortest units, kin, or days. Each inner ring, successively, contains more "information" within it, all the way to the center of the calendar wheel: one uinal contains all the data of the 20 days of which it consists, and this data exists in the uinal, which inherited from the next inner ring, before the uinal distributes it into the content of specific days. More, Mayan units of time are not just notches on the solar cycle, like our minutes, hours, days and so on. They are also units of meaning so that each day and solar cycle is a specific energy with specific powers and effects. Each kin (day), uinal (20 days), tun (18 uinal or 360 days), katun (20 tun, 7,200 days) and baktun (20 katun, 144,000 days, or 400 "years" of 360 days) have a specific generative character -- there is a relationship of inheritance, a parent-child relation, from the larger counts to the smaller ones. The kin are the words of which the tun are paragraphs, the katun are chapters and the baktun are books. Time is experienced "word by word" but its meanings transcend the words, they are determined in sentence, chapters and volumes. Thus from the Mayan visionary perspective the "now" is, to a great degree, received --shaped by impercebtile forces which determined its meaning and character before we read it -- like a human child receives a certain gene sequence from its parents. This informed, "genetic time" flows downward through a series of "waterfall" steps, from the source, and the now is at the end of a series of stages. The Mayan calendar is the attempt to make those generative forces visible.

Thus the Mayan calendar teaches us something we learned from physics and astronomy -- that although it may seem against reason our "now" is delayed and our perception follows on something that is received. Curiously, God in the Old Testament tells Moses that the prophet can see him, but only from behind, as God passes by as Moses watches from a cleft in a rock. From the Mayan perspective too -- like for the Australian aboriginal peoples -- the present we receive is the emanation and, in effect the past, of events nearer the creative source of time -- the source of electromagnetic energy and light. In terms of physics, light travels 300,000 km per second, which translates to about a foot per nanosecond, and this nanoscale delay rules over experience. When we shift our gaze to an object nine feet away, it takes light 9 nanoseconds to reach our eyes. Our reality is a delayed broadcast. Were the sun to explode at this instant, we would not know it for eight and half minutes. 

If events exist as "new" only at the creative source of time, the real now at the top of the pyramid, then all of nature including humans and jaguars, are the product of the power of the source. The Mayan calendar comprises a set of measures and symbols to perceive time before time, to become in harmony with the future by understanding the present. The perception of finite man in the normal states of awareness do not see this reality -- it is however accessible in states of inspiration and attunement with the gods. The real-time now as "new" exists only at the creative source of time, at the top of the pyramid. 



In view of the foregoing, it appears that it is wrong to assume that Mayans simply depicted time differently while they basically experienced it basically the same way we do. Since the basic mode of the experience of time we have in western culture is that we are "at the point," "the now," "the breaking news where it is all happening" --  we simply assume this is how time is perceived by others.

As pointed out above, we know that scientifically the present is not new. Physics, specifically astrophysics, has proven our "moment of experience" is in the past because of the the speed of light. We learned of this lag via astrophysics because astronomical distances are so huge that they render the gap evident; they reveal the space of time, as it were, from a new angle. When we turn our gaze toward the night sky, the present we are about to experience, has been traveling toward us for years - thousands or even millions of years. We are at the tail end of the train. Our modern notion of time does not take this elongated "now" or these delays embedded in the layers of time, from "local" time to "cosmic" time, into account. There are many reasons to believe that Mayan time does. The design of temples which present a four faceted, 92-level representation of the year, is just one point of reference for this view.

The idea that things have happened before, in the sense of the physics of perception, is not the same as the notion of patterns -- "history repeating itself" or that "there is nothing new under the sun." Similar things might have happened before, but not THIS exact thing. Astronomy, where even our local sun's light takes 8.5 minutes to reach us from its origin 93 million miles away, makes it evident that events we experience have a built-in delay. But while astronomical distances serve to highlight the delay introduced by the electromagnetic substrate of perception, they only help us realize that perception itself is subject to and the product of a velocity function. Seeing and experiencing is complex process involving chemical and physical events of which the the perceived situation is the result. In other words, although perception appears instantaneous by reference to the even perceived, it takes time and space to see anything -- and those previous "instances" of the information have richer data about the origin than what comes down to us filtered, in the case of starlight, by the earth's motion, atmosphere and mass. 

Thus when you consider that sunlight is eight and a half minutes old by the time we see it, it is not that our experience is invalidated -- it is that its relationship to reality around it needs to be completely reconceived.  I would argue that the Mayan system is in fact a way of parsing that concept of unperceived time, hidden time, exploring the eight and a half minute lag; whereas our system is based on the idea that cosmic time does not exist. Our notion of "now" does not take into account that time, as well as space, are wave and quantum manifestations (Planck time is composed of quanta, and Planck space is ultimately also particulate). Kroh Ennis believes that his disability was caused primarily by the high powered high frequency communications equipment to which he was exposed in the military - and if he has been unable to prove it in spite of repeated efforts in Washington DC,, it is because of our ignorance of what electromagnetic high frequency waves can do in the brain. Knowing it and proving it are two different things.

None of this means that our experience of time is wrong, or deluded --just that it is incomplete, in the same way that the perceptions of a prisoner in the hold of a ship are accurate about what is going on in the hold, but cannot map the position of the ship and all of the world outside the hold. The issue that the Mayans put before us is where is our time situated in relation to "cosmic time," the waves of energies which carry information to our senses and which contained that information before it is available for our perception, just like starlight carries information about the star, but with a huge delay because of the slowness of the medium, the electromagnetic sea, that we inhabit.












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