TRAVEL THERE: CIVILIZATION HASN’T BECOME VERY CIVILIZED
I’ve dragged you along for a very long time on what was actually a very short trip. Though I traveled often enough during 2018, most of it was was totally unrelated in any way to anything cultural, historical, artistic or even intellectually redeeming. It was mostly cruise boats and outrageous buffets. Maybe that’s why my mind was so hungry to absorb what I experienced in Chichen Itza.
There is also the reality that I am worried about my own country and the times we in which we live. When I stood before the pyramid and thought of waking up one morning, as a resident of Chichen Itza, at the apex of Mayan society, I was horrified. Then a scantily clad young women, tattooed and pierced, plopped to the ground doing the splits. She raised her arms as if in joy or victory and I could not help but wonder if there were young Mayan girls in the crowd, performing similar antics, as the bodies rolled down the Serpent’s staircase. I looked around at the bored tourists, the vendors hawking their wares and watched guides making a joke of the whole site. Have we become any more civilized than the Mayans or have we just repackaged their horrors? Watch out, this is not my usual travel blog post.
Why I Am Worried
The Mayans would kill thousands and thousands of people during the celebration of one festival and they had many festivals. The scene was gruesome. Live victims would have their beating heart ripped out of bodies. Infants would be thrown into cenotes. Some victims would be beheaded. Some would be skinned alive and priests would don the victims’ skin over their own. How horrid!
Yet, our lives are also filled with death. Are our own deaths any less atrocities? Instead of willing victims giving their own lives as a religious sacrifice, we have a pandemic of suicide, especially among our youth, as they too sacrifice their life, but for some purpose few of us can begin to understand. We argue for the ill and the aged to be allowed the dignity of assisted suicide, but is there dignity in it? We argue about the politics of abortion and call it a woman’s choice, while millions of lives are snuffed out, before they even have a chance to begin. Will future generations, if there are future generations, look at our pursuit of choice, in suicide and abortion, and find it as abhorrent as throwing a baby in a cenote. I don’t know and I don’t mean to judge, but I am sure the Mayans felt as righteous and justified in their actions, as the people who promote these pro-choice agendas.
The Mayan lived violent lives, filled with warfare and death. Today we have one modern culture pursuing religious jihad, while others try to make the world safe for democracy. Both viewpoints cause death, violence and war. Children pick up guns and go to schools to shoot down other children. Our next visit to the mall might turn out to be the very last thing we do in this world. Man was and is inhumane to man! We’re like the Romans at the Coliseum and the Mayans in Chichen Itza. Death is all around us and we celebrate it on the evening news.
Like the Mayans, we’re tattooed and pierced, but also like the Mayans, we take it further. We may not bind our children’s heads to flatten their foreheads, but we have begun to engineer eggs for preferred genes. We also perform surgery on ourselves to look younger, to change our nose, our bra size and even our sex. The Mayans filed their teeth and set them with jewels. We spend our days in dentist chairs whitening our teeth beyond any natural hue and even cap them to reach what we consider perfection. Fashions change but our desire to change what we are born with doesn’t. We are like those Mayans more than we want to admit.
And then there’s climate change. To me it seems as if our priests of science could be tipping the scales. The media repeats over and over that ALL scientists have agreed, but I know for a fact that it’s not true. There’s plenty of scientists with questions about the rate, the inevitability, the cause, even the very existence, of a phenomena called climate change. So why are our politicians and media sources so intent on hiding them, marginalizing them and pretending they don’t exist. Just like the Mayan priests reporting the shrinking days, I fear our climate change priests are reporting the weather without telling the rest of the story. Are computer projections a reality or just a possibility?
Sure there’s data, but are we throwing bodies down the pyramid to reduce our carbon footprint, when these measures are detrimental to our society? The Mayan priests used the extensive scientific data they had developed to set the dates of their mass executions, when they could have instead assured their people the sun was going to come back – because it always had. Data is only as reliable as the people who are promoting it and what’s more important than the data is the agenda of the people behind it. Questioning climate change has the same result as a Mayan priest would face, if he’d tried to end the needless sacrifices with scientific data. In truth, we believe what we want and right now we want to believe we can control the universe – just like the Mayans.
I’m done. Not that I have begun to ask all my questions, but the things I would ask are likely to anger people I consider friends. I don’t know the answers to all my questions, but then, I don’t think anyone does. I just feel a tug on my soul telling me things are not exactly as OK as some would try to tell me and that they might be a whole lot worse than some predict. I promise this is my last blog of doom and gloom – at least for a while.