The Chandler & Price Pilot press

In the letterpress printing world, you have presses in many size ranges. The larger floor models have a big flywheel and a foot treadle. They are a “platen” design because two flat surfaces, the platen and the bed, are designed to slam head-on to make the printing impression. Another design is the small cylinder press, or proofing press. These can be very simple, hand-cranked, table top models, like the Nolan or the Poco. They can be fitted with paper grips and guides, rollers for inking, or not. This provides varying degrees of automation.  Larger cylinder presses were preferred for even impression, were motorized, and were very common in print shops and newspaper offices.

The small table top hand-pull platen presses were marketed from the mid-1800s onward. Some were extremely simple, not much more than pushing the paper against the inked type. And many of these were not well built, were flimsy. The Chandler & Price Pilot press is near the top of the heap, as it was solidly built, had a decently sized 6.5” x 10.5” printing surface area, two rollers, and an easy hand-pull action. There was an old style model, with more ornate castings, and a new style model — same basic design but more solidly built. There were no serial numbers so it is hard to date a particular press. The old style model is probably pre-1920. These days, the Pilot presses are very coveted and easily sell for more than $2000 if they have good rollers and a few accessories.

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My press is an old style Pilot press. Rollers are okay. I purchased it in late 2007; it was found on Craigslist near Seattle and my brother Don picked it up for me. Later, in July of 2008 I got it and brought it home to Colorado. It came with a Kelsey 3 x 5 table top press, a cabinet, drawers of type, tympan, furniture and miscellaneous items. It seems to have been used to make cards for Brier Books in Seattle. As my printing studio in Fort Collins grew, the Pilot was stashed in a corner and I didn’t actually get it set up for printing until this year. I did a few prints recently, including a book-page sized poetry broadside in Caslon bold and a few ornaments.

With a 6.5” x 10.5” chase (printing area) it can easily print a standard book page print area, which usually is no more than 5” x 9.5” — if you load an 8.5” x 11” sheet in sideways and let it dry before printing the other side. With the hand pull presses you can vary the strength of the impression depending on how hard you pull, which is actually an advantage compared to the automated treadle platen presses. But not being fully automated, it takes longer to print a stack of prints.  Nevertheless, with the basic associated paraphernalia you can do a lot with this press, including full book production, cards, broadsides, and (depending on the design) small posters.

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Thinking About 2012 op-ed

Thinking About 2012

(op-ed piece for news distribution)

John Major Jenkins. October 14, 2010

We have all heard something about 2012. The movie that came out last Fall triggered a lot of media attention. As the author of The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History, a recent book on the topic, I found myself being interviewed for a spectrum of mainstream reports on 2012, including the Sean Hannity program on FOX, ABC Nightline, CNN, USAToday, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and a bevy of morning TV programs, radio interviews and newspaper articles. I had a chance to see reflected back to me how 2012 was being processed by the collective consciousness, filtered through the “if it bleeds it leads” news machine.

In my 25 years as an author of numerous books on the Maya calendar and cosmology, with a special focus on reconstructing what the Maya thought about 2012, I have learned how to deal with sound bytes, media filters, and schlock-jock DJs. My book, The 2012 Story, came out right in time for the 2012 movie promo carnival and explicitly addressed misconceptions in the 2012 marketplace. I had an article published in early 2009 in an updated anthology of the Disinformation Company’s You’re Still Being Lied To which laid out the specific cases of how 2012 is being mishandled by exploitative writers, arrogant professional scholars, and hook-seeking journalists. I was even invited by Sony Pictures to speak and be interviewed at two press conferences for their 2012 disaster movie, including a walk down the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere, addressing an entire panoply of reporters. I took the opportunity to jump into this pool of sharks for one reason only: to try to convey the one fact that nobody in Hollywood wants to hear. And that is: there is no evidence that the ancient Maya predicted a cataclysmic doomsday in 2012.

So, what did they say about it? Can we know anything about this? Well, to answer this question one would need to study the origins of the Long Count-2012 calendar, study the related tradition of the Creation Mythology, and also have a clear knowledge of the mechanics of the calendars as well as general knowledge about Maya epigraphy, folklore, linguistics, mythology, astronomy, archaeology, and ethnography. This would be a tall order for any grad student working towards a degree. It would also be a tall order for a degreed scholar busy grading papers and worrying about tenure. Unfortunately, the very mention of “2012” has for many years been associated by academics with New Age silliness and it has been a hands-off topic for scholars until very recently.1

The years of research required for understanding the authentic origins of the 2012 date in the Maya calendar tradition would have had to have been taken up by some eccentric character driven by the desire for knowledge, ahead of the academic status-quo curve and able to venture beyond the cutting edge, where professional scholars fear to tread. That’s where I come in. Since 1985 I’ve had 2012 on my radar as a perplexing enigma. After my first three books, my goal was to reconstruct or figure out what kind of intentionality might underlie the 2012 date.  It was clear that something funny was going on, because the period ending in 2012 fell on a solstice. This circumstance strongly suggests that the creators of the calendar wanted 2012 to fall on the solstice, meaning it was an intentional artifact. By 1993 I was pursuing a possible explanation, a rare astronomical alignment that actually utilized celestial features at the center of the Maya Creation Mythology. The breakthrough for me came in 1994, when I made unprecedented connections between astronomy and Maya mythology and showed how the astronomical alignment was embedded into Maya institutions such as the ballgame, the Creation Myth, and king making rites. And, I should emphasize, there was no expectation by the Maya of an apocalyptic doomsday. Rather, an ideology of transformation and renewal was highlighted in the authentic Maya material that was associated with all period endings, including 2012.

As my work seeped out into the collective field of discussion, the details and documentation of my work and the no-doomsday evidence was left at the door while my work on the 2012 alignment astronomy was adopted and enslaved to all manner of ideas that I would never endorse. And thus we have, today, an incredibly messy stew of 2012 disinformation that I won’t claim responsibility for, but which appears to emanate from my pioneering work. Thank you to [long list of names deleted, you know who you are] for not communicating with me about the true dimensions of my work, for failing to do your own diligent research into 2012, and for distorting authentic Maya tradition in the interest of selling misleading books to an unsuspecting public.

Meanwhile, the professional scholars were incapable of rationally engaging my well-documented reconstruction work, laid out in detail in my 1998 book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, and instead chose to take immature potshots at selected snippets of my statements, culled from a wide variety of sources and forced via clever polemics out of context. Time and again they neglected to observe that my ideas derived from studying the early Maya site of Izapa, the origin place of the Long Count. What better way to discover the original beliefs and teachings than to go to the source? Here’s what I found. The two basic ideas that I put on the table in the mid-1990s are as follows: The ancient Maya believed 2012 targets an astronomical alignment. In addition, this alignment scenario was packaged with an ideology, or spiritual teaching, involving world renewal facilitated by deity sacrifice. The astronomy has to do with the sun’s alignment, on the winter solstice of 2012, with the Crossroads of the Milky Way and the ecliptic in Sagittarius. This is real astronomy. It happens only once — in our own 2012 “era” — during the 26,000-year precession cycle.

In 2006, a 2012 date in the inscription of a monument from the site of Tortuguero became common knowledge. Today, as a result of research undertaken by Sven Gronemeyer and Barbara MacLeod (on the ideology), Dr. Michael Grofe and myself (on the astronomy, presented in my 2009 book The 2012 Story and in my Society for American Archaeology  presentation of April, 2010), two things have become clear: 2012 was utilized by the Maya because of the astronomical alignment of the solstice sun and the Milky Way Crossroads. The ideology associated with the date involves world renewal facilitated by deity sacrifice. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s right. The ideas I put on the table 16 years ago, which I have tirelessly defended in the face of persecuting turf-protecting scholars and plagiarizing New Age pundits, was barking up the right tree. Actually, it was spot on. In other words, a 33-year-old non-degreed guy living in a small town in Colorado, a passionately engaged self-taught and self-funded student of Maya traditions working in isolation, figured out the solution to a fascinating puzzle that has implications more real and interesting than anything concocted by any of the doomsday pimps milking the marketplace.

Will the media pick up on this incredible, amazing story? Well, they failed to do so last Fall, when I laid it all out, clarified every misconception they threw at me, provided compelling sound bytes (such as: “the Maya did not predict the end of the world in 2012” and “professional Maya scholars haven’t dropped the ball on figuring out the 2012 enigma, because they never picked the ball up!”) and directed them to the facts and the truth. (For some odd reason I thought that’s what reporters were supposed to be interested in.) However, time and time again they seemed interested in reinforcing the doomsday fallacy, or in framing the story as “clueless New Age fools vs omniscient Phd-wielding Maya scholars.” A talented young reporter for the Toronto Star wrote a great piece about what the ancient Maya believed regarding period endings, but his editor nixed it and told him to write something about the 2012 movie. I educated an Associated Press reporter on what the modern Maya think about 2012, and sent him contact information for several Maya spokesman. He then used one of them to underscore what I’ve been saying for twenty years — that the Maya don’t believe 2012 is about doomsday — but then he portrayed me unfavorably, registering doubt on such a fundamental question as to whether the galactic alignment was real astronomy. This was in an Associated Press piece which, of course, received wide distribution.

We truly live today in an Idiocracy, affecting all levels of discourse. The Donkeystan-USA Collective has difficulty understanding the real 2012 story. We live in a media superstorm of illusion and stupidity, which is the death knell for getting past Maya calendar kindergarten. Sometimes I feel that the only hope for the truth about 2012 is that future digital archaeologists will sift through the data-byte debris and put the pieces together correctly. However, there are two years left before December 21, 2012. This is not a dire warning about time running out for the world. It’s a call for thinking people to be clear and discerning and set aside media hype. The real information is already in place. This time around, with the paperback release of my book in October of 2010 the real story won’t be over-shrouded by the irrational doomsday hype that the 2012 disaster movie generated. It is time to start addressing what 2012 is really about, what it meant for the ancient Maya, and why they thought the date was important.

The 2012 Story covers all angles, sweeps away the debris, and presents the latest breakthroughs in understanding why the ancient Maya chose this date which certainly is, as my subtitle states, “the most intriguing date in history.”

 

Notes (added August 11, 2013):

1. In fact, at the time of writing this piece (October 2010) there was only ONE source by Maya scholars that was devoted to reconstructing what the ancient Maya believed about 2012. And that was the Wayeb no. 34 monograph by Sven Gronemeyer and Barbara MacLeod, released in August of 2010. Curiously, they identified themselves as “Independent Scholars.”

 

This piece was written at the request of my publicist at Tarcher / Penguin, in mid-October 2010. It does not appear to ever have been used anywhere, although perhaps it was sent off to the various news outlets.

 

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Intentional Embedding or Quadruple Coincidence?

Parsing out the two scenarios (see previous post for the context).

Scenario number 1. The astronomers and scribes associated with the court of Lord Jaguar are working to craft his rhetoric of power. All kings need this. He is a reformer and within months of his accession to rulership in 644 AD he launched his first war campaign. He then proceeded to kick butt at lightning speed over the next five years, vanquishing four regional kingdoms. He restored the region to a semblance of its former glory, before the two wars that decimated neighboring Palenque decades earlier. In these victories, Lord Jaguar defined himself as a transformational agent, a vehicle of power and renewal. His persona was not unlike the Hero Twins who vanquished the Lords of the Underworld to pave the way for a new Era with the resurrection of their father, One Hunahpu. And in late 649, Lord Jaguar was bestowed with a priestly honor as he reframed his role as king, embracing the duties of sacrificial priest while performing a version of the Creation Myth.

By 669 AD a Katun had elapsed since his year of victory. He was approaching his 57th year and it was time for his reign and his victories to be documented in a powerful rhetorical statement. His rhetoricians knew that  they must try to relate his personal life to the larger framework of the Creation Mythos. They considered his accession date, his birthday, and other circumstances of his personal identity. They noticed that when he was born the sun was positioned at the Crossroad of the Milky Way and the ecliptic, at the entrance to the Dark Rift. They saw this as significant, because those features just happened to be part of the ancient Creation Myth.

They continued randomly casting about for tidbits of useful rhetoric. The Long Count calendar was sometimes useful. They projected forward to look for things, to the end of the 10th Baktun, some 160 years into the future. Nothing much. So they projected to the ends of the 11th, 12th, and 20th Baktuns, and so on. Finally, they noticed something about the astronomy of the future end of the 13th Baktun. It was just a happy coincidence that the number 13 was involved.  Because the astronomers had recently perfected an ability to calculate the Sidereal Year and the Tropical Year, Lord Jaguar’s scribes and priests could calculate the sun’s position on the future 13th Baktun ending, 13.0.0.0.0 in the Long Count. To their utter amazement, they noticed that the sun was positioned in the exact same position as it was one Lord Jaguar’s birthday! This was a Sidereal Year calculation. Moreover, they also calculated that it would be the date of the solstice turnabout in winter. This was a Tropical Year calculation.

They wondered at the amazing coincidence of this part of the sky being involved in a rare astronomical alignment, since that part of the sky was important in their Creation Myth and yet there was absolutely no tradition about this alignment being known to the ancient creators of the Long Count. They had accidentally stumbled upon a perfect rhetoric narrative for Lord Jaguar’s victories.

The Long Count had been being followed for over 700 years by this time. A 13th Baktun ending had already been written about by the priests of Copan, far to the south. But that was the previous 13th Baktun ending, some 3800 years earlier. Somehow, the Copan priests decided that a 13-Baktun period was important in the Long Count, even though there was no tradition about it. Well, “whatever”, thought Lord Jaguar’s priests. The may have ruminated as follows: “It is astounding that we have just accidentally discovered such a rare alignment with the new knowledge of the astronomical cycles that we have recently perfected, and that it occurs on the solstice, and at the Crossroads of our ancestor’s Creation Myth, and on the future 13th Baktun ending, that also corresponds to the astronomy of Lord Jaguar’s birthday. Such an astounding coincidence of many different threads must be a gift from the gods.”

That was scenario number one.  Scenario number 2 is that within the lore and ancient knowledge preserved by Lord Jaguar’s priests, it was known that the future 13th Baktun would have those alignment characteristics, because the placement of that date within the structure of the Long Count was intended by the creators of the Long Count. It may be that Lord Jaguar was born close to the same alignment, and that his birthday was fudged slightly for the rhetorical narrative. Or perhaps he was born on the correct day and for that reason he was seen to be divinely selected and was preferentially nurtured to take on the needed role of reformer. That would be the only coincidence, or near-coincidence, in this scenario, compared with four coincidences in the first scenario.

It perhaps took the eventual, and inevitable, near congruence of a king’s birthday with the mythologically potent solar position of the Dark Rift / Crossroads, throughout hundreds of years of the Classic Period, for the ancient knowledge to be finally stated in a rhetorical narrative of a king and preserved for posterity. Once the cat was out of the bag, the narrative complex was used in various ways in other narratives, for example on the tablet from Palenque’s Temple of the Cross (690 AD). Which scenario sounds more reasonable to you?

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Lord Jaguar and 2012

Here is an excerpt from an essay I wrote largely in mid-2010, and finalized in early 2012. The astronomical evidence on Tortuguero Monument 6 strongly suggests that Lord Jaguar (b. 612 AD) was aware of the alignment of December solstice sun with the Dark Rift / Crossroads on December 21, 2012 (13.0.0.0.0). The question arises as to where this knowledge came from, and if the alignment was embedded into the structure of the Long Count when the Long Count was invented (more than 2,000 years ago). If it was not, then Lord Jaguar’s astronomers must have “discovered it” accidentally, and the fact that it coordinates with a great period-ending in the calendar must be a mind-boggling accident or coincidence.

In fact, as I summarized in my essay, it would be a quadruple coincidence. If reason (aka, being reasonable) is a value, we are confronted with a choice between an accurate knowledge of precession during the pre-Classic versus an almost impossible to swallow quadruple coincidence.  Actually, we know through Marion Popenoe Hatch’s work that the Olmec at La Venta (ca. 1000 BC) and the inhabitants of Takalik Abaj (pre-Classic) were both adjusting for the precession of the equinoxes. So, I’m not quite sure why the idea that the creators of the Long Count knew about precession (by ca. 40 BC) is not more reasonable than defaulting to a quadruple coincidence.  Such a line of logic is probably distasteful to the scholars who continue their efforts in denying that 2012 had any meaning for the ancient Maya, which explains why the publication of my essay is currently in a holding pattern.

Here’s the excerpt:

 

Since the early 1990s, I have offered careful definitions and discussions of this  alignment process. The Milky Way’s mid-line is a very precise celestial marker that astronomers call the “galactic equator.” The body of the sun is one-half of a degree wide. With such basic parameters defined, the precessional shifting of the position of the solstice sun will take slightly over 36 years to fully move through the galactic equator.  Astronomer Jean Meeus (1997) and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory astronomer Patrick Wallace (Jenkins 2002: 249-256; Jenkins 2009: 145-146) have both calculated the dating of the alignment process. Summarizing these calculations, and applying the duration of the sun’s precessional shift through the galactic equator, I identified a minimum range for the alignment running from 1980 to 2016 AD (Jenkins 2002, 2009). In order to avoid the misconception that the alignment happens only on and precisely on December 21, 2012 (an irrational notion because precession is a very slow process), I have referred to the alignment as occurring in “era-2012” (Jenkins 1998, 2002, 2009).

Despite confused assessments offered by NASA astronomers (Morrison 2009; see summary in Jenkins 2009: 230-235) and a general distortion of the entire topic of 2012 astronomy in areas of academic treatment as well as in the popular marketplace (see Jenkins 2009: 99-113, 245-260; 2011d), the so-called “galactic alignment” under question is, properly understood: 1) a fact of astronomy and 2) occurs within a temporal range that includes the 13th Bak’tun period ending of December 21, 2012. Some critics (Krupp 2009, Larsen 2011) have suggested that the slight discrepancy between the actual year of the alignment (precisely defined) and the 2012 period-ending date of the Maya (a difference of some 14 years), is a problem for my reconstruction. However, such a critique requires that the ancient Maya astronomers could have made an absolutely precise calculation in the precession of the equinoxes projecting forward over 2,000 years (the earliest Long Count date known is from Chiapa de Corzo, dating to 36 BC). I’ve anticipated these critiques in treatments published long ago (Jenkins 1998) and reiterated recently (Jenkins 2009; 2011d; 2012; see also response to critics at Update2012.com).

In regard to Bahlam Ajaw [Lord Jaguar], the future alignment on 13.0.0.0.0 and its parallel to his birth date astronomy was either an extraordinary, albeit useful, coincidence or the 2012 alignment was an already ancient knowledge. Was the fact of the alignment of the solstice sun and the Milky Way in era-2012 intentionally embedded into the structure of the Long Count at its inception? How is it that the 2012 alignment factors so nicely into so many Maya concepts, dates, and traditions? We may want to entertain coincidence, but then we have a striking convergence of four unrelated lines of coincidence: 1) The date of the 13-Bak’tun period ending in 2012, which 2) coincidentally falls on a solstice which also 3) coincidentally happens within a narrow “alignment zone” of precession and 4) occurs at sidereal features (the Crossroads and the dark rift) that are central to the Maya Creation Mythology.  The congruence of the solstice sun’s alignment with the Crossroads on 13.0.0.0.0 in the Long Count suggests either an incredibly unlikely quadruple coincidence that was accidentally noticed by the Tortuguero astronomers, or that the alignment’s association with the 2012 period ending was embedded into the structure of the Long Count when that calendar was devised in the pre-Classic period (Jenkins 1995, 1998, 2010).

 

 

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My House

Some reflections. This is where I live:

my-house

 

It was built in 1915 and has the original windows, floors, and radiators. Great little place and I’m grateful to be here. Back in the summer of 2005, I was scheduled to speak in England, but at the last minute the flight was cancelled and there was no way for me to get there on time. The whole trip had to be cancelled. I was bummed, and to clear my head I took a drive north of Denver, visiting little towns along the beautiful front range.

I thought it would be nice to move out of Denver and live in a smaller town, closer to the country. It was a plan my wife and I had actually been talking about. So, I got online and compiled a list of houses for sale and we drove around all day, looking at places.  This one was a foreclosure house, and to our surprise they dropped the price the next week. We made a lower offer and the bank accepted. Selling our house in Denver was the tricky part, but that fell into place too (this was before the housing bubble burst). So, we moved in October 2005.

It’s a nice place, big corner lot. Half basement. Old trees. In the picture there are two little trees in front now, because the old walnut tree and two others had to be cut down a few years ago.  There’s a well and a well house. In back, half of the two-car garage was turned into an office, which was perfect for me. My wife used the long front porch as her office.

Time moves forward, people change, life throws curve balls. After thirteen years of marriage it was no longer working, and my wife moved out last year. When I took over the house, it was slightly “underwater” as they say, due to the economy and house values dropping.  It’s almost a century old, but I have an appreciation for the solidity of old things. Hardwood floors, nice hardwood doors and cabinets. Has a southern exposure and a view of the Rocky Mountain National Park off to the west.  Some upgrades and remodeling of the basement is needed, projects to stay busy with as I reboot my writing career.

It’s pretty ironic that the marriage expired as 2012 was coming to a close.  Funny how life can have a sense of humor.  When it rains it pours; a lesson I’ve learned at other times in my life. People have to not only be on the same page, they have to be in the same library! Making it work as an author is not easy, but it’s been working for over 12 years, although not without its rip-offs and disappointments in the changing field of publishing.

I did my best to offer clarity, insight, and discernment to a difficult topic, a deeply misunderstood topic that the marketplace and the pop culture has raped and pillaged and otherwise has had its way with. Now, it’s tossed aside and I’m discovering, in recent months, that many of my friends, professional contacts, and acquaintances had conflated me so intimately with “2012″ that, now that it’s passed, I’m no longer on the radar. Sounds harsh, but that’s the way I’ve been experiencing it. There are certainly some core friends who remain, but things are not the same.

Dealing with 2012-related challenges was certainly not easy. But it was the work that I was called to do, that either I selected or it selected me! In some deep way it was enmeshed with my own karmic work, and I’ve tried to grow through all the challenges, much of which revolved around how being a pioneering voice for new perspectives and discoveries will galvanize attacks and bad behavior from those who are threatened. I won’t go into detail, but somehow the marriage disintegrated in parallel to the disintegration of the world’s ability to rationally treat my work, and the 2012 topic generally speaking.  Miracles had to be pulled off constantly; responding to opportunities, invitations, event offers, critics.  I needed help, help in running a potentially lucrative career, help in managing the multiple demands of writing, traveling, speaking engagements, contracts, and promo.  I did all of that myself and it took a toll.

It was, essentially, a slow apocalypse that came to a head in December of 2012. But, as always, I’ve treated the term “apocalypse” in its true etymological sense, as an “unveiling.” Something got unveiled, exposed, and it was the illusion of things held onto even when they are no longer real. The marriage was no longer working, or “real.” And the 2012 discussion was no longer real, since the media, irrational scholars, other critics, doomsday pimps, and various pop writers couldn’t seem to approach it as a true artifact of ancient Maya thought. I had to finally accept both of those things.

Exposing illusion is a good thing. But it’s not that 2012 got exposed as “a hoax.” There was no “disconfirmation” of what 2012 is really about. (You don’t disconfirm something when the false beliefs about it don’t occur.)  Rather, we just can’t expect mass culture to embrace, as a whole, the deep implications of such a topic. It simply doesn’t work like that. The media will speak to the masses, the middle of the bell-shaped curve where all the superficial illusions live.  What DID happen on December 21, 2012, at Copan in Honduras, was actually quite astounding and affirming of the ongoing work to understand ancient Maya cosmology. But that wasn’t reported on CNN or the BBC. Do I mean the media should report something about what the ancient Maya DID believe about 2012? It wasn’t even on the radar for the news media, even the “science” media.

I used to tell a story in my presentations. Debunkers and critics of 2012 liked to debunk the doomsday angle on 2012 (something I’d already done two decades ago), and then say “see, 2012 is all a hoax.” But that simply doesn’t logically follow. It’s like proving that storks don’t deliver babies and then concluding that childbirth is a hoax!

img0033Copan Stela C

The events of December 2012, both in my personal life and in my professional work, caused me to revisit the themes of betrayal and redemption that I explored in a novel I wrote in early 2005.  It has remained unpublished but I’ve revived it in recent months as it seems almost to anticipate the things that actually transpired as 2012 came to close. Creative work can be like that. I’ve been finalizing it now for publication. It’s not ultimately about 2012 as some topic that expires and is no longer relevant, but rather the universal and eternal dilemmas and principles that inform human experience.

Beyond this new work of fiction, I have two more writing projects that are congealing into form, and three other books on the back burner awaiting release – more on these in a later post. For now, it’s a beautiful day in Colorado. I’m going to jump on my motorcycle, drop by one of my favorite coffee shops, continue reading John Cowper Powys’s biography (The Descents of Memory) and then head off into the mountains.

 

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Censorship and the Self-Appointed Stalkarrazi

In early 2013 there was an uproar around the fact that Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake had given presentations at the TED talks which were then removed from the archive of the TED talks website. It was ostensibly because of allegedly “unscientific” approaches but, as Hancock revealed it had more to do with one or two individuals whose personal ideology was threatened by the implications of the well-presented talks. In essence, they were being censored and TED was bowing to the pressures of the ideology police, who storm troop around the Internet, behaving like guerrilla skeptics.

This issue of censorship is close to my heart, and TED’s reaction to Hancock’s consciously presented and rational discussion of plant shamanism is similar to the defensive reactions of Maya scholars and the mainstream media to my efforts to reconstruct ancient Maya astronomy and spiritual teachings connected to 2012. Beyond mere censorship (as occurred to me many times on the scholarly Aztlan e-mail list and in news outlets that I gave interviews to), baseless and sometimes vicious attacks have occurred. These happened on various websites such as Youtube, Amazon, Wikipedia and, as I experienced, in peer-reviewed academic journals dead-set on defaming and distorting me personally and my work professionally.

I’m afraid this problem is much more pervasive than TED. A perhaps tacit agenda to mitigate progressive and open investigation of controversial topics is clearly pervasive in all domains of status-quo protectionism. I won’t say this is a conscious “conspiracy,” for there is little consciousness among the self-appointed “stalkarazzi” (those who wait around you, like stalkers, for a chance to pounce on anything you say or do). Rather, it’s the age-old dynamic between closed-minded fear-based ignorance and open-minded, courageous and conscious investigation of the fringes of the known. Wikipedia is a particularly effective breeding ground for axe-grinding scientific materialists who are threatened by larger cognitive perspectives and who cannot engage in fair and informed debates. See my exposé: http://update2012.com/controlling-information.pdf

It’s a sad testimony to the current state of the discourse. I can’t help thinking that much of this irrational and reactive behavior is somehow being stimulated by the opening up of the public forum via the Internet and social media networks. In these arenas, anyone can say anything. Granted, a vast amount of what transpires is barely even legible but there are also intelligent, courageous, informed, and progressive voices who are moving the discourse forward precisely because they are not repeating the talking points of the undiscerning status quo puppets. Where else is progress going to occur?

 

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New Beginnings

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This site will be the go-to place for all my various activities. It will cover the full spectrum of my writings, events, travels, discoveries, research, printing, art, poetry and song. As the spirit moves I’ll share retrospectives on the writing life, previous and ongoing research, reflections on 2012, new projects and social commentary, excerpts and readings.

It is time to expand to new horizons and to offer a larger spectrum of what I’m interested in.  I’ll still occasionally have things to say about my 25 years of research into Maya cosmology and the 2012 enigma (new discoveries are still being made!) but I’ll also be sharing many areas of research and interest that were on the back burner for too long.

What a relief! It’s a new launching, a rebooting, a fresh start – the sky’s the limit.

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