Friday, December 21, 2012

solstice


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.

6 comments:

Joe said...

Good new year like the new sun, Dave.

i thought you might like a look at this story someone told me about.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/12/24/121224fa_fact_foer

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

That looks interesting, Joe. I've got that issue, and I'll read it today.

Joe said...

Cool, Dave. It's ironic that the last name of developer of that language thing begins with Q, and I had a hard time finding the story because I got word of it by phone conversation. So I didn't know how to spell his name!

The only adjustment that I would make to English would be to drop the letters k and q and then make the c hard sounding all the time. I may be missing something in that idea, though.

Joe said...

P.S. the letter j would always be pronounced hard as well. The soft 'j' made it doubly hard to find 'Quijada!'

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

Joe, you got ambushed by another language. Spanish names follow the rules of Spanish pronunciation.

Key-hodda. I must say of Spanish, it's much more consistent than English.

I live on the Keem-pare Peninsula (Quimper), but I don't think there are many residents who pronounce it that way.

Joe said...

Indeed I think of 'pero.' I asked the phone conversant (archaic def.) why the developer of Esperanto didn't just pick Spanish. He mentioned that it has plenty of irregularities, too.

I'm biased, but I like English the best so far. I still think if we pronounced it right, it might be the best option, even without dropping letters. A simple alphabet is one thing that the language developers seem to lack appreciation of. It might be a disadvantage to be too smart when thinking about language.