The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Free into the wind, your beautiful flag

I don’t think the Guatemalan flag has any issues with being light; on the contrary, I believe the flag enjoys the caresses of the Independence winds blowing through September in Guatemala.

We humans, however, we really muddle ourselves with all kinds of fixations, preoccupations and obsessions like dates. I bring this to light today because it is the anniversary of my birth. Just two days ago it was the 9 day of the 9 month of 9 year of the new millennium, 999 in short writing. Nowadays, many people abbreviate as 911 to refer to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. In Twitter some friends asked what was the significance of 999, if there were any, really. I said that I like repetitions, that’s all, because most calendars were arbitrary anyway, except perhaps for the Mayan calendar, and more specifically the Mayan Long Count calendar.

The Maya is a civilization really preoccupied with the unbearable lightness of being and masochistic on top of it all by keeping a long count which shows how insignificant we really are.

Rudy, you are really losing us here, I hear you say. Well, let me explain, the Maya kept two running calendars: a 260-day calendar known as the Tzolk’in and a 365-day calendar known as the Haab; combined the two calendars were good enough to specifically mark any day in 52 Haabs (years); more than enough to cover the average life expectancy of the time. Additionally, the Maya kept (or keep) the Long Count calendar which is divided as tuns (years), 20 tuns made a katun, and 20 katuns (144,000 days) made a baktun. The number “13” was (is) very sacred to the Maya and so 13 baktuns would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya. So it just so happens that 13 baktuns will have elapsed in December 21 or 23, 2012. By the way, we have presidential elections in 2012.

Big deal, I hear you say, all calendar dates are arbitrary. I agree with you, except once again the Maya just didn’t to calendar stuff arbitrarily. See, December 21, 2012 corresponds with the winter solstice of 2012, at which there will be a Galactic Alignment. This is what Wikipedia has about it in the 2012 Phenomenon entry.

In the Solar System, the planets and the Sun share roughly the same plane of orbit, known as the plane of the ecliptic. From our perspective on Earth, the Zodiacal constellations move along or near the ecliptic, and over time, appear to recede counterclockwise by one degree every 72 years. This movement is attributed to a slight wobble in the Earth’s axis as it spins. As a result, approximately every 2160 years, the constellation visible on the early morning of the spring equinox changes. In Western astrological traditions, this signals the end of one astrological age (currently the Age of Pisces) and the beginning of another (Age of Aquarius). Over the course of 26,000 years, the precession of the equinoxes makes one full circuit around the ecliptic.

Just as the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere is currently in the constellation of Pisces, so the winter solstice is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius, which happens to be the constellation intersected by the galactic equator. Every year for the last 2000 years or so, on the winter solstice, the Earth, Sun and the galactic equator come into alignment, and every year, precession pushes the Sun’s position a little way further through the Milky Way’s band. Continue reading at Wikepedia…

So, after we have read about 2012, 13 baktuns, 999, 911, 1821 (see date below the flag above) you would agree that we humans have a maniac obsession with the unbearable lightness of being; don’t you?

Portfolio Aside: If you want to keep an eye on the different places where the photos from AntiguaDailyPhoto show up, take a look at the Portfolio page in the main menu above. Here are the two latest samples from the Portfolio page: the cover for Revue Magazine and a photo to illustrate the Sensuous Guatemala article about the Blue and White. As always, click the thumbnails to see a larger images.

Portada de Revue Magazine, septiembre 2009 Fotografía para ilustrar los colores patrios de Guatemala

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Rudy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Shelley

    • @Shelley, thanks for your good wishes. 🙂

  • Manolo

    So, what “age” did you started on this previous 911, General Giron? I hope you had a good one, even though, as you said, time is arbitrary. In any case, what “winds of independence” are blowing through LAG? are you trying to become a Nation, like the Xelatecos?

    • @Manolo, actually you know the dissolution of the sixth state of Los Altos was signed in La Antigua Guatemala. It seems LAG has always been a major player throughout history. 🙂

  • Perhaps to an atheist a calendar may be arbitrary but for those of us who consider this year to be the two thousand and ninth anno domino there isn’t anything arbitrary about it!

    • @Mark, see how arbitrary really is “our” calendar.

      Date of birth

      The nativity accounts in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke do not mention a date or time of year for the birth of Jesus. In Western Christianity, it has been traditionally celebrated on December 25 as Christmas (in the liturgical season of Christmastide), a date that can be traced as early as the year 330 among Roman Christians. Before then, and still today in Eastern Christianity, Jesus’ birth was generally celebrated on January 6/7 (late at night on January 6) as part of the feast of Theophany,[29] also known as Epiphany, which commemorated not only Jesus’ birth but also his baptism by John in the Jordan River and possibly additional events in his life. The theory that December 25 was the birthdate of Jesus is earliest noted in a fragment of the Chronographiai of Sextus Julius Africanus in the year AD221.

      Some scholars note that Luke’s descriptions of shepherds’ activities at the time of Jesus’ birth suggest a spring or summer date, whereas December is midwinter in Judea.[30] Some scholars have speculated that the date of the celebration was positioned on 25 December in an attempt to supersede the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which also represented the “Birth of the Sun” as the northern hemisphere winter turned and the Sun began to strengthen again.[29] This date also coincided originally with the northern Winter Solstice, which was the important pagan festival of Yule and the Jewish celebration of Teḳufat Tevet.

      The Gospel of Matthew places Jesus’ birth under the reign of Herod the Great, who had already died in 4 BC. The author of the Gospel of Matthew also recorded that Herod had all the male children in Bethlehem two years old and younger executed,[31] based on a prophecy relayed to him by the magi that a new King of the Jews had been born in the town. The order’s instruction of “two and under”, along with the inference that it took Herod time to realize that the magi were not about to deliver the child to him, implies a birth no later than 6-4 BC. The Gospel of Luke dates the birth ten years after Herod’s death during the census of Quirinius, which is described by the historian Josephus.[32] Most scholars consider the Gospel of Luke to be mistaken,[33] though some writers still attempt to reconcile its account with the details given by Josephus.[34][35] (Source: Wikipedia)

  • Manolo

    Holy disappearing comments Batman! Just to pre-empt the comment about Anno Domini and the calendars not being arbitrary check this WP entry about the birth of Christ. It seems he was born “Before Christ”, a detail even my Biblia de Jerusalem timeline stated.