Mayan End of the World
From Cancuen, Guatemala, representing king T'ah 'ak' Cha'an; By Authenticmaya
The late Los Angeles-based spiritual teacher George Falcon would sometimes talk about various cultures' determination that there was a prescribed date of the world ending (the Book of Revelation being among the more famous). In particular, there is this idea of the 26,000 year cycles and what some people understood to be the Mayan prediction of the so-called end of the world on Dec 21, 2012.
I’m sure there are dissertations aplenty that could be written on this subject and I am probably not qualified to read, let alone write one of those so my intention here isn’t to try to explain how Biblical numerology fits with what the I Ching has to say or whether the Steelee C slab in the Mayan Quiriga ruin (pictured, to the right) is the same insight as Hipparchus of Nicaea’s discovery of the precession of the equinoxes. Instead, since George mentions these dates and multi-thousand year cycles, I wanted to provide the reference points so that the general reader understands that he is basing this discussion on the best understandings of these galactic scale time cycles from the greatest civilizations humankind has ever produced, including our own, without, as far as I can tell, biasing any one of those conclusions, even our own scientific one. This seems to me to be a more rational approach than assuming our truth is better than theirs at the outset.
According to ancient and modern astronomical observations, from the perspective of an observer on earth, over time the Sun's annual cycle through its different positions in the sky appears to recede very slowly backward by one constellation approximately every 2,160 years. Over the course of roughly 26,000 years, a period sometimes called a Great Year or a Platonic Year, the Sun's path completes a full, 360-degree backward rotation through the zodiac. So there is an astronomical basis for this concept of cycles--it isn't just a non-scientific or primitive view of the universe.
By Tfr000 (talk) 14:59, 14 May 2012 (UTC) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Nevertheless, one thing that strikes me as anachronistic in these descriptions of the world ending is the implicit assumption that the earth is the center of the phenomenal world. Of course we have long known that that is a silly idea, and that we are just one random little planet in a tiny solar system which is a spec among the hundred billion or so other solar systems within a giant spiral galaxy which we call the Milky Way, which is itself just one of at least 100 billion other galaxies in our Universe. And of course what we call our Universe is just what we can see and therefore is limited by the speed of light to a diameter of less than 100 billion lightyears. That Universe may be infinite in extent, may contain an infinite number dimensions and may itself be just one of an infinite number of other Universes. So what if our little corner of an infinite universe goes through these cycles. That doesn’t explain the nature of the real, infinite universe/Multiverse.
My takeaway in thinking about all this is that the whole thing is like the Russian dolls or the “Grains of Sand in the Ganges” analogy in Buddhism. George once said that we keep discovering new elements the more we look (in fact, four more were added just last year), suggesting that science is on a never ending, self-creating quest. Or, as George sometimes puts it, as above, so below. These patterns that we see of cyclicality are present whether your view is at the level of human scales or multiverse scales. And the one that is relevant to our existence and our species is the one in our galaxy which is this 26,000 year cycle that George mentions and is the one that is worth thinking about at least insofar as it relates to our physical existence. SaveSaveSave