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This diary requires a caveat because it explores the thought process behind the significance of the upcoming Mayan New Year.  The MNY is a real thing, literally written in stone. Our contemporary society treats it as merely superstition.  Since I'm writing this for the reality based community I too will treat it as superstition, with perhaps a grain of truth behind it, because the Maya obviously made a pretty big deal of it.

Most readers here are familiar with Objectivism, the Ayn Randian philosophy that individualism and laissez faire capitalism trump our pact with society:  A selfishness which is not merely protective of each person's prosperity but heralded as being morally virtuous.

Yet one of the core tenets of Objectivism gets glossed over in the quick definition, namely that

reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception
A contrasting view is that each of us manifests our own reality through the power of our thoughts, and that our sense perception is insufficient and unreliable.

I am of the latter opinion, putting me outside the loop in our "reality based community."  

In science, the Observer Effect says that the outcome of an experiment can be altered by the act of observation.   In truth, it's the act of measurement which alters the outcome.  But in psychology, a subject who knows he's being observed will behave differently. Neither of these theories actually concludes that the observer affects the experiment, but they push the limits of the Objectivist view of reality.

Taken to the furthest extreme, the observer has total control over the reality, as in the scientific explanation for Yogic mysticism. E.g. slower breathing can lower heart rate and blood pressure, and this process cascades down through the cellular level to the molecular and even quantum levels. In short, thing sync up, or "entrain" together.  Since the building blocks of our reality are quantum level vibrations, called strings, it's conceivable that our thoughts can alter our reality.

The other day I got into a discussion of the Mayan calendar with kossack Karate Explosions, who is more of an adherent to the reality based community thing than I am.

The end of the Mayan calendar has been twisted into some kind of hyperbolic doomsday, but to me it's as misread as the Tarot card of "death."  Neither one signifies the end of life, instead, they signify the beginning of a new life, a transformation.  The Mayan calendar marks a celestial alignment

signified by the solar meridian crossing the galactic equator and the Earth aligning itself with the center of the galaxy.
Life on Earth will be exactly the same on 12/22, yet if we extrapolate my notion of a cascade of entrainments to take into account celestial changes, humans are likely influenced by imperceptible changes in cosmic energy and vibrations.  Many of us have heard about, and believe in, the effects of Mercury retrograde.

To this, Mr. Explosions said "Humbug, and Hogwash."

The Maya take exception to Mr. Explosions' point of view.  Carlos Barrios, a Mayan elder, has this to say about the coming calendar end, based upon the notion of celestial entrainment.

"Humanity will continue, but in a different way. Material structures will change. From this we will have the opportunity to be more human." 
I remember the big deal made about the 1987 "harmonic convergence," and to my knowledge nothing of significance happened that day, other than the Grateful Dead played in the town of Telluride.  Being "more human" is not a measurable phenomena, but in the past few years I have observed firsthand an underground movement in humanity.  I hate to use Burning Man as an example, since stereotype and cliche have made it widely misunderstood, but for as long as I've been a deadhead I've heard about the Rainbow Warriors, who are easily mocked as lofty idealists by people who can not see past the drum circles and dreadlocks.

I once attended a very unique private party / art performance in Chicago, hosted by a couple who have devoted their lives - and their home - to this new era in humanity.  Even though they have a facebook page, I will respect their privacy and not link to it. It's an incredible, beautiful thing when the number of open hearted people gathered together passes a critical mass.  Throughout my life I've tried to surround myself with such people, and still it was a mind blowing experience. What made it special was that they were taking the movement above ground. Although they protected their space by making it invitation only, their goal was to make it inclusive and ever expanding.  I think it symbolizes the cusp that we now sit on. We have the opportunity to take a step outside of our comfort space and reach out to those who are willing to share our vision.

To believe in the significance of the upcoming Mayan New Year is to reject the Randian / Objectivist definition of reality and erode its tenet of selfishness.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

    by bondibox on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:34:37 AM PST

  •  Provide detailed proof the Maya made a big (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, wilderness voice, tekno2600

    deal out of the end of the Piktun/Baktun cycle.

    I know of one monument where it is mentioned, a Stela from the site of Totuguero in Tabasco. On that monument, the date is mentioned only briefly and does not carry any prophecy of the end of the world.

    There is no mention of the date in any of the codices, which are filled with prognostications.

    There is no mention of the cycle in the books of the Chilam Balam, which are also full of prognostications.

    We have zero evidence at all of the Maya making a big deal out of it.

    Carlos Barrios is a fraud, he is NOT a Mayan elder. He is a fraud.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:44:42 AM PST

  •  The most important point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bondibox the words you've used to convey a most beautiful idea (that there is the possibility of hope for humanity, for change for the better) that that change is possible...through reality-based observation.  Whether that change comes as a result of observation itself or an attempt as "measurement" seems like a semantical distinction without a difference. The overall point that rings true to this particular fellow citizen, based on everything seen by that change is possible and that it is only possible through observation and the awareness that comes with true observation.

    Thanks for this.

    As to whether this has any relationship to the ancient Mayan civilization and its calendar system...well...that seems academic to me (we'll find out on Dec. 22 and thereafter, won't we).

    In any case...thank you for your openmindedness in helping to do your part in trying to nurture the blossoming of goodness.

    •  What is reality? (2+ / 0-)

      One of my favorite quotes comes from William James who did extensive experimentation with Nitrous Oxide:

      "Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness."
      Recently I've been exploring the range of Christian beliefs, from Deisim to Gnostic Christianity, where the former says reality is only that which can be observed, and the latter accepting different aspects of Eastern mysticism.   I suppose in the long run it's all the same, because people who believe in mysticism can effect changes in "observable reality."

      You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

      by bondibox on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:56:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like this one better: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steven D, bondibox
        The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
        •  To use a Rumsfordism (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kestrel9000, bondibox

          or maybe it's a Yogi Berraism:

          We don't know what we don't know.

          A few years ago cosmologists were astonished to discover that the expansion of the universe is now accelerating.  Before that everyone believed, based on the best data available and and the generally accepted scientific theories, that the expansion of the universe was slowing.  Then without warning we got new data:

          In the late Nineties, astronomers were shocked to learn that the expansion of our universe is actually speeding up over time.

          In an effort to understand how the cosmos was overcoming the force of gravity, scientists theorised that there must be this dark energy pulling the fabric of the universe apart. 'This is a huge puzzle,' said Wendy Freedman, director of the Carnegie Observatories, who led the latest research.

          So now we have theories about dark energy and dark matter that in truth are merely speculative since no one can tell you what they are or has .  We suddenly learned that our understanding of the universe was out of date - again (you may recall Copernicus, Newton, Einstein as people who fundamentally changed our view of "reality").

          Astronomers have compiled evidence that what we’ve always thought of as the actual universe ... represents a mere 4 percent of what’s actually out there. The rest they call, for want of a better word, dark: 23 percent is something they call dark matter, and 73 percent is something even more mysterious, which they call dark energy.

          “We have a complete inventory of the universe,” Sean Carroll, a California Institute of Technology cosmologist, has said, “and it makes no sense.”

          In short, what we think we know about reality at any given point in time, is often wrong. This is not a reason to dismiss science or the scientific method, for we would be even more ignorant without work of scientists and the discoveries, observations and experiments and theories they have developed from those observations and experiments.  It is, however a reason to be humble about what "we know."

          "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

          by Steven D on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:54:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In your explorations, I hope you come across: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  The whole idea that this reality is only a partial (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different
         the exact basis of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Which was written soon after he underwent the Eleusian Mysteries with some significant psychedelic experiences.

        I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. The TSA would put Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad on the no-fly list.

        by OHdog on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:33:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry but I have to agree with Karate Explosions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Humbug and hogwash
    Oh, and the definition
    reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception
    is one of the tenets of Philosophical Realism, which has been around well before Ayn Rand  (it dates back at least to Plato). So I am not sure why you quibble with objectivism over that.

    Ayn Rand did not invent Philosophical Realism, and it is probably the only thing she got right in her philosophy.

  •  Objectivist Epistemology (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tekno2600, bondibox

    is much too simplistic to require invoking quantum mechanics. They believe you can directly perceive reality, as if your sensory apparatus and pre-conscious judgements and responses were transparent and universal.

  •  I think Paul Ryan's defeat destroyed Objectivism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    implicate order

    this year. Specifically, people rejected Randian Economics.

    As far as philosophical definitions of reality go, that's much less clear cut. Personally, I don't buy into subjective reality, and I certainly don't buy into astrology or other hocus pocus.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:34:21 AM PST

  •  dude, have another hit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    implicate order

    reality is heavy, man.

    oh, yeah, and this:

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:36:56 AM PST

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