I finished reading John Major Jenkins' most recent book: The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History a couple of weeks ago. Whew! long title.
I have been considering what I could/would say about it, dealing with weather, promoting my upcoming class, etc. I guess it's time to get down to my thoughts on the book.
Jenkins does a review of the many ideas that are out there and I would say, is as objective as one could be considering how outrageous some of them are. It is useful to have his take on what's going on in relation to "2012", since he is one of the ones who originally brought it to the attention of the world.
While I could not put the book down...partly due to Jenkins' writing style and interesting way of expressing himself, I do have to say I was hoping for more new, original material. Having read all the books that are out right now myself, I did not need a review of them...but some people might. I did appreciate knowing his perspective, and, I must say, it resembles my own.
One thing is evident, Jenkins' ideas are not getting the serious consideration they deserve. He reports on an academically sponsored 2012 conference that took place last February, 2009 at Tulane University in New Orleans, where I myself worked on a doctorate in Mayan Studies in the early '80s. Many experts were on the program. But, since he is not part of the "club," Jenkins was not invited to speak.
This is one reason why I decided to leave academe. Unless you have been given the keys to the exclusive club, you are nobody. And yet, looking at the history of all disciplines it was so-called outsiders who had the most significant insights. Being basically a rebel, whistle-blower and wild woman, I figured they would probably never let me in their club and truth be told, after awhile, I didn't want to be in it anyway.
Indeed, in many cases, the outsiders were the ones who started the field in the first place. The ones who could not find answers to their burning questions in the extant realms of knowledge...the innovators, the prophets and the inspired...are the ones who move us along all through the history of civilization. Of course, they are invisible to the establishment...they challenge its very existence!
Jenkins provides a recording of part of the conference that you can listen to on his website.
The address by Anthony Aveni was particularly disturbing to me. The more he talked, the more he resembled 7 Macaw, the more he sounded like a 'poor loser'. I can hear him asking himself..."Why didn't I see that? Why didn't I think of that?" At the same time, he was ridiculing JMJ by putting his ideas in the same bin as those of Calleman or Clow.
While what Calleman and Clow have to say may have some validity....(not to me, but maybe others) but they are of a totally different ilk. Their ideas are the result of channelling, dreams, inspiration. Their work has nothing at all to do with what Mayan people alive or dead, ever thought - they made it up.
Jenkins' work, on the other hand, is based on scholarly research, observation on the ground, and communication with the other credible researchers. He has actually studied the material made available by archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists and has traveled widely. He was able to look at it all from a fresh, unbiased perspective. He had no committee to please, his tenure was not threatened. The only thing he 'failed to do,' was pay the university to sit at the feet of professors and play their game long enough to get the 'proper' credentials from them. He did not get the degrees. By the way, for what it's worth, I envision him getting an honorary PhD. from some accredited university in the near future, because he had done what no academic has done... provide an entirely plausible and well researched theory for the creation date of the Mayan calendar.
All calendars have a beginning date. It may be based on the founding dynasty of kings, a significant event, beginning of a new religion or philosophy, etc. Academics agree that there was no such event for the Mayan calendar (at least none have been discovered to date). So what was the motivating issue? To put it simply... Jenkins realized that the start date was dependent on the end date. That given the numerical system, the astronomical knowledge they had discovered, they worked backwards from an end date that would occur far into their own future.
I was struck by the genius of his discovery immediately when I first read it, for I like many others, had spent much energy trying to 'figure out' what the starting event was for the calendar.
There are those academics who do endorse Jenkins. They recognize that his research is sound and his conclusions are verifiable. They are secure beings who don't have to resort to jokes, scoffing and innuendo... like Aveni did in his presentation...in order to puff themselves up. They do not display the obvious jealousy, mean-spiritedness and down right childish behavior that Aveni does.
Rather than making Jenkins' ideas look ridiculous and unsound...Aveni succeeds in making Jenkins more credible for his professionalism.
Another new bit of info I got from the book was to learn about the inscription on Tortuguero Monument 6 which is the only one we know of at this point, that actually refers to the 2012 end date. Apparently, it is badly eroded in very important places... but nonetheless, many are at work to decipher it. Jenkins also has material on this on his website.
I highly recommend the book and due to the new material, must amend my upcoming course to include it. It is full of references, has an incredible bibliography and is well-written and interesting. (More than I can say for the academic reports he mentions as source materials.)
For those who are interested, I will be teaching my course:
Mayan Hieroglyphs, the Calendar and 2012 at two community colleges this Spring.
Starting March 13, 2010 at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California. 6 Monday nights
Then at Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa, California, starting April 8, 2010 - 6 Thursday nights.
Still working on my CD version which I plan to market as a downloadable file and as a print on demand CD. Hope to have that out soon.