KEN’S CORNER: The Road to Life
By TLB Contributing Writer: Ken LaRive
How many times do you look at your wristwatch in a day? From the moment we wake up to our Mickey Mouse alarm clock, until Frasier goes off signaling beddy-by, each and every moment is sectioned and assigned a place in our lives. It’s a coffee break, an early lunch, an afternoon report (or nap), a conference call, the fight of five o’clock traffic; all tied into life like a terminal map. Men have always been fascinated with the need to tell time, and in the process, predict the future. Knowing when to plant the spring crop, burn the field, celebrate, or just have a full moon for travel, has required more and more sophisticated efforts.
No one in history was more fascinated with time then the Maya. A Sociologist might refer to them as “true fatalists”. That same future birthday, or dinner date we mark on our calendar this year is the same will to plan and predict the future. They looked ahead many thousands of years by comparing what they observed thousands of years before. It is one of the most amazing and brilliant accomplishments ever, and the precision or their efforts has remained unparalleled until this century. No culture has even come close to its accuracy, and in my humble and abbreviated way, I would like to explain it to you.
First off, the Mayan calendar is not based on what we call “pure science,” but of very meticulous observations of the sky for very long periods of time. These observations, along with a highly and specifically developed mathematics, correlated the movement of the heavens very accurately. As we know, past astrological events repeat, and by keeping a meticulous record, a Mayan priest could foretell the future (like an eclipse or the return of a comet) very precisely. But really, why all the hoopla?
Originally, early men had the need to know the changing of the seasons for the predictional movement of migratory animals (for hunting), and then later for the planting of crops, and harvest. Most who study these things, however, seem to agree that the use expanded with the advancement of religion, becoming primarily for divination and the regulation of ritual. Fear of the unknown is a great way to control the masses, as is evident in our own society today. Those who knew the key to foretelling a future astrological event could use it for a physiological advantage.
In my mind’s eye I see it something like those “cult” religions in a Conan the Barbarian movie. What great power and acclaim would a priest have who could predict precisely an astronomical event as great as an eclipse? What color and pomp would be used to intricate this phenomenon? Even with the use of human sacrifice! There was a powerful, powerful sense of duty going on here. Control of the masses? Perhaps so, but it must have taken something strongly controlling to enable a populous to build such massive stone structures without the use of the wheel, a draft animal, or metal tools. It must have been back breaking and meticulous work.
This system of measuring time is very complicated. A Mayan priest might have spent a lifetime fine tuning its varying intricacies. It is thought that there may have developed a sort of specialization within the framework of each observation. There were actually three different observational sources: The Solar Calendar, The Ceremonial Calendar, and the Venus Calendar. Each one was a significant piece in its own way, but all worked in conjunction with each other. Together, they were called “The Long Count Calendar.” Like wheels turning on wheels, it looked like the sprockets of a fantastic great machine. There were cycles, moving within cycles, endlessly rotating and moving. Every day was different, unique, and special.
About 2500 years ago the Greeks had already invented a calendar that was a bit like it. It was called the “Zodiac,” or “Road to Life.” But the idea for it is much older and is found in the shadows of prehistory all around the world. This Mayan Long Count was being introduced about the same time by a group of people I’ve mentioned before called “The Olmec.” They traveled to the Americas from someplace highly developed, and brought with them an advanced culture. (Note: Read my articles on The Olmec, Palenque, Chichen Itza, Tulum, and The Game that Invented…Sudden Death.) With time, their culture and ideas became assimilated by the Mayans. Based on the observations of the sun, moon, and Venus, each is special in their own way. Here’s how:
They measured a year as 365.24 days and divided it into eighteen months of twenty days each. The extra five was not considered days but a time where nothing should happen. The gods slept, so it was a good time to stay home. Its mythical starting point was August 12, 3113 BC, long before anybody at all was in the New World! Again, just a few minutes off from our more accurate observations of today. Now don’t be afraid here, as the calendar is said to have started over after every cycle. This cycle ends, with the destruction of the world, December 24, 2011. The last time was by flood. This time? I’ll let you do your own homework.
The Venus calendar (according to the Dresden Codex, one of four Mayan books that has survived) is just as important, and just as strange. Based on the observations of the planet it is thought that it had a great bearing on planning and implementing war. Venus’ complete revolution around the sun varies, (don’t ask me why) between 580 and 588 days every five years. Averaged, it is 583.2 days. The Mayans rounded it off to 584 so that five revolutions equaled eight solar years. This is so accurate that the error is just one day off in 6000 years! Is this astounding or what? How did they do that without time measuring instruments, or optical glass? It is such a small margin of error that it’s really negligible!
Then there was a ritual or Ceremonial Calendar based on 260 days. It meshes with the other two, and here’s how. Also measured in twenty days as was the Solar Calendar; each was represented by a god. The number 13 played a primary roll, starting anew each 13th day, so that 260 days, or 13 times 20, where the same names and number again occurred. (Another of the other four books that survived the book burnings and the ravages of time is the Book of Good and Bad Days, A Book of Fate, explained this.) So this calendar was not dependent on days, but ordained by chance, or fate. Okay, this is the key. As they worked in conjunction, one with 365.24 and the other with 260, they both repeated every 52 years, a cycle of 18,980 days. This special event was brought in with much fanfare and celebration, and was usually a once in a lifetime experience.
I can figure some of this out by realizing that the Mayan’s observations looked at the sky as revolving around a stationary earth. I believe that they had to know the earth was round. Trajectory angles could be determined by visual line of sight of the daily helical rise and set of objects. I’d say a minimal amount of math would be needed here. But these long observations, (the entire calendar) along with mathematical estimations, left a margin of error for the year of one hour and twelve minutes!
As our decimal system is based on 10 and its multiples, Maya math was based on 20. Perhaps in a subsequent column I’ll attempt an explanation of what is called positioning. I’ve never been very good at higher math, but I know that with the use of zero, this type of system (where numbers were written from top to bottom) gave Maya Mathematicians the ability to cope with super large numbers. In this “vigestimal” system, a value of the same number could go, for instance, from 160,000 to 3,199,999. This system was pure genius! Without the invention of the zero, as in all advanced cultures, scientific computation would be impossible. This Neolithic civilization (right here in America) outdistanced both Greek and Roman math! Cool huh!
Parting Shot …
From the Author, Ken La Rive – We in the Liberty movement have been fighting to take back this country for less than a decade, peacefully and with the love of God and country in our hearts. Our banner has been trampled on and displaced by a multitude of distractions, further eroding our nation and the cause for Liberty. And so, as we are pulled by forces we cannot fathom, powerful entities with unlimited resources stolen from our future, unaccountable trillions printed out of thin air and put on our backs as debt, we must formulate the most pitiful of all questions any patriot might ask in the final hour: Are we going to fight for our master’s tyranny, or are we going to demand the return of our civil liberties and Constitution? Are we going to choose The Banner of Liberty, or the shackles of voluntary servitude? Will it be a war for corporate profit, or a war to regain our ability to self govern, as the blood and toil of our forefathers presented to us, their children, as a gift? I fear that decision is emanate. I fear that any decision will be a hard one, but my greatest fear of all is that the decision has already been made for us.
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