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  • hardie karges 9:47 pm on May 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dylan, Illusion, , Maya, , , , significance   

    Maya, Illusion, and the Ruminations of the Buddha’s Barber… 

    Life has no meaning but that which we give it. We are the significance monkeys. We are the meaning monkeys. We are the monkeys hooked on happy endings and the agreement of subject and object. We are monkeys in love with our languages and out literature and our lust for languor, long slow baths and a reason to laugh, castles in the air and castles made of sand, visions of Johanna in the palms of our hands. We spin a lump of sugar into cotton-candy daydreams, and live out our lives in opposition to the obvious, that we are lumps of stuff pressed into the service of human hubris. We create concepts and precepts and conclusions with antecedents. But just because you can imagine something doesn’t mean that it’s real. And that’s one of life’s lessons, the difference between reality and fantasy, a sliding scale of solidity…

  • hardie karges 6:56 pm on February 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Maya   

    Save the Endangered Peoples 

    Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, the quaint rural Mexico that you always wanted, but it changed before you got there.  Guatemala City is nothing much more than a pit stop, but the western highlands are breathtaking.  Long inhabited by the highland Mayas from the ‘City’ west all the way to Chiapas in Mexico, the area is a piece of living history.  Emerging from the mists of history as descendants of the classic Mayas possibly inter-mixed with central Mexicans, they nevertheless maintain their ancient traditions to a degree seldom matched anywhere else in the world.  Numbering dozens of ‘tribes’ (i.e. linguistic groups) and millions of people, these are a proud people who never changed their names to fit Spanish fashion and who only reluctantly give up their own clothing styles to fit Western fashion.  Most Indian women never do, and this becomes a point of identity and pride in their ‘Guatemalanness’.  Though there is increasingly a stratum of ‘generic’ Indians whose females wear non-distinct, though very striking, Mayan garb, traditionally a woman would wear the style of her particular village, and were identifiable as such.  The related Quiche’, Cakchiquel, and Tzutuhil Mayas reside in the central area around Lake Atitlan and Quezaltenango, and are generally relatively prosperous, with tourist income, though a far cry from their former glory.  Increasingly they are fragmented culturally and their languages are mutually unintelligible from one hill to the next, forced to rely on the Guatemalan government and the Spanish language for their unity.  The Ixils and Kekchis to the north and Mams and other related groups to the west are in worse shape, maintaining traditions in a world that increasingly doesn’t care.  You can protect an endangered species from extinction, but what can you do for a culture?  I guess we should print bumper stickers that say: “Save the people!”

  • hardie karges 9:48 am on February 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Maya   

    Maya, Illusion 

    One of the great mysteries of histories is “What happened to the Mayas?”  The quick answer, of course, is nothing.  They’re still there, right where they always were.  Okay, not so much around Tikal and the other classic jungle centers in Peten, but definitely not far from the Yucatan and Guatemalan highland centers where the Spanish found them.  The question then is: “What happened to the Mayan cities and high civilization?”  The cities were probably never cities in the Western sense, but more like ceremonial centers, where people gathered and then dispersed periodically, just as they do now on market and festival days.  Civilization itself seems to go through phases, possibly in some predictable order, but the concept is so new that it’s hard to generalize.  The era of civilization occupies only a very small fraction of man’s total time as a creative, speaking, tool-using animal.  Certainly civilizations don’t just go through an early, classic, and late phase, and then just disappear.  Something else comes along.  Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia are still here long after their classic eras.  As for the cause of cataclysmic changes, disease is a good guess.  Cities were a major breakthrough for bacteria.   

    • Guatemalan Maya Health researcher 10:53 pm on February 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      You are correct, the Maya are alive and well today. Why did their cities collapse? Good question, one that we will never know. I would wager it is a combination of overpopulation, lack of resources, climate change, and cultural development. What is exciting is that the Maya are beginning again to resuse many of their historic and traditional temples.

    • Lake Atitlan 8:22 pm on March 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      You are right that the Maya are alive and well. Some are even prospering around Panajachel.

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