I am going to try and make this critique relatively short. That should juxtapose the length of the lecture, which you’ll find is my major criticism. But the primary reason I intend to be short-winded here is that attending this lecture is the first of several events that I plan to attend relating to the Maya 2012 phenomena. That and I didn’t take any pictures.
The Belize National Institute of Culture and History, along with some partner organizations, are sponsoring several events throughout belize this year to bring awareness to Mayan Culture. Being that the “Western” year of 2012 is believed to be a milestone in Mayan predictions makes this a great time for visiting Mayan sites and learning about the culture.
Beginning the 2012 events in Belize were some lectures given by DR. Mark Stone. Dr. Stone is unquestionably qualified in the subject and his insihts were thought-provocing to a novice like me.
“About Mark Van Stone, Ph.D., G.F.
Speaker, Author, Maya Expert, Professor of Art History, Southwestern College
Mark Van Stone is a Maya expert specializing in Maya Hieroglyphs and calligraphy. Van Stone’s books include “2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya” inspired by Maya inscriptions, astronomical knowledge, math, and myth, and “Reading the Maya Glyphs”. Responding to the upsurge in interest in “the Maya prophecies”, Prof. Mark Van Stone has spent the last several years researching what the Ancient Maya actually said about 2012.”
Me & the Old Hen took a drive up to San Ignacio to hear Dr. Stone speak about the current chatter on the idea that the ancient Maya predicted that December 21, 2012 would be the end of the world. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but everytime I hear about this the old REM song ets turning around in my brain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0GFRcFm-aY
But I digress and I was going to keep this short and to the points of “the good, bad, and ugly.”
Ugly – None. Besides me and the Hen getting a lil road trip for fun, the info Dr. Stone shared with us was mostly very interesting, and helped novices like me understand a little better what all this “2012” stuff is about. Plus the professor seemed like a cool guy and for sure he enjoys the subject.
Good – As mentioned, Dr. Stone is very knowledgeable in the subject. The information about how the Maya counted dates, the numbering system, and interpretation of artifacts was very cool indeed. It is a very complex field to understand, much more so to try and explain to peeps like me. But I felt the Doc broke it down (the 2012 subject) enough for me to get an appreciation for some variations of interpreting Maya “predictions” as well as a greater appreciation for the culture/civilization itself. The numerology itself must take years of study. More good – I don’t think this December will be the end of the world. Oh yes, the slide show pics were very nice and added great detail to the lecture.
Bad – Even by Belize time, this thing started way too late. The event staff didn’t seem to be prepared. I can’t find the guy’s name right now, but the man that introduced Dr. Stone spoak almost as long as the lecture itself. He spent way too much time discussing, well, nothing, instead of making the introduction and getting out of the way. I really enjoyed the lecture about the 2012 prediction, which is why I went there, but Dr. Stone’s biggest problem IMHO was trying o put too much info into a one-time lecture. Most of the peeps there were novices like me, too much “detailed” info that would be appropriate for students put us to sleep. And there were too many pictures and stories of trees. Anyone that attended will know what I mean. Last bad comment, at the question and answer time too many audience members got religious. I think that comparing & contrasting religions and cultures makes for an exciting discussion. But the purpose of this lecture was supposed to be about the interpretation of Maya stuff.
BIG PROPS to NICH for coordinating the many events scheduled this year. I’m looking forward to getting to most of them. Next stop for me and the Old Hen’s Maya trips, -- January 21st Cahal Pechand then the Altun Ha on Feb. 18th. And don’t forget the Japanese drummers at the Bliss on the 19th…