Friday, December 21, 2012
According to widely misinterpreted ancient Mayan sources, the world will end today. This is a significant date because it marks the end of the Mayan "long count" cycle, but not, according to our friends at NASA, the end of the world.
It's also the date of an annual event feared by our paleolithic ancestors, but celebrated by our neolithic forebears. Sometime between the beginning of the old stone age and the advent of the new, humans learned to think abstractly, and the first fruit of abstraction was numbers and counting.
Once the annual "death of the sun" was recognized as a cyclic phenomenon which could be predicted accurately by keeping count of the days, and measuring corresponding heavenly events, the solstice became an event to be celebrated rather than a mystery to be feared.
Likewise, the end of the Long Count may well be "The dawning of the Age of Aquarius," celebrated prematurely and with eager anticipation in the late-60's musical "Hair."
What does this Age of Aquarius have in store for us? What does it mean? Nobody knows for sure, not even your hairdresser, although no doubt he or she has an opinion about it.