Posted by: Johan Normark | June 17, 2011

2012: Suggested readings before you connect with your inner bonobo and become transrational

I have finished reading The 2012 Story by John Major Jenkins. Sometime in the future, most likely after my vacation, I will write two posts, one dealing with his frustrations with academia (the traditional “I think outside the academic box” tendency) and one about his use of perennial philosophy. Actually, I have least problem with his galactic alignment theory and had he just stuck to that I would not have bothered including him in my 2012 coverage. In this post I will point out his use of selective and misrepresenting readings and statements. Since his main interest is archaeoastronomy and cosmology he ignores relevant data assessed by Mayanists.

We can begin with some non-Maya issues first. Jenkins is not an archaeologist and this is seen throughout the book where he makes all sorts of non-supported claims. Let us ignore the minor parts, such as labeling the Magdalenian period Neolithic (it is Paleolithic) (p 345). More problematic is his statement that “the aborigines of Australia are noted for not developing and using tools […] Archaeologists consider tool use a sign of civilization, a development out of a more primitive state. About 3,000 years ago, tool use did begin to develop among the aborigines […] Tools and technology began to spread from group to group and then, suddenly, it stopped. The tools stopped being made.” (p 343). This is simply not true as one easily can see in this online article. The aborigines (which, btw, is not a homogenous group) has been using tools for over 30,000 years.

So what credible source does Jenkins assess to spread this misinformation? It is the New Age author Robert Lawlor who argues that “the ancient aborigines realized that tools and technology would lead them down a road to a place where the Dreamtime did not exist […] They made a rational [not transrational???] decision to not limit their minds to the domain of material objects and their clever uses, not to leave the Dreamtime” (p 343f). Now, this is simply a projection of modernist Western concepts into the ancient past where tools and technology only will lead to violence and a dominator mode of being. Lawlor and Jenkins apparently believe that the ancient aborigines knew that their stone tools in a distant future would lead them to atomic bombs and cars that will destroy “nature” (another Western/modernist concept frequently and unproblematically used by Jenkins). Nature-culture is just another dualism and dualisms have no place in Jenkins’s transrational perennial philosophy but for some unknown reason they are everywhere in the text, even in contexts when he claims to have overcome it.

For instance, when he says that “clearly, the assumptions of our mainstream anthropologists and historians are flawed” (p 351) he means that the mainstreamers (people thinking within the academic box) focus on the violent, hierarchical and male-oriented behavior of chimpanzees in order to explain the way the sapien mind works. This Jenkins contrasts with the bonobo variety of chimpanzees which is a “female-centered, egalitarian, and peace-loving, one that substitutes sexual contact for aggression as means of conflict resolution” (p 349). What he tries to accomplish here is to show that human behavior does not need to be aggressive, etc.(such as those ideas proposed by a minority of researchers today). Other chimpanzees are not violent so why cannot we be peaceful? Jenkins states that there are people living in peace and he exemplifies with Australian aborigines who in his mind rejected warfare and tool use. An archaeologist would not need to dive into the idea of a holistic universe and Dreamtime to answer why these people lived in “harmony with nature” (not a quote from Jenkins). The aborigines lived in small scale groups, often widely separated. There was little competition over the resources. More densely populated areas lead to conflicts. Here Jenkins could have read thousands of pages of research from the Maya area that people do fight wars because they lack resources (but since you find that kind of information in materialistic journals and books that pays little attention to ancient skies Jenkins will most likely never encounter these limits to interpretation that academics do have to take into account).

If one has been dealing with the Maya for decades it is hard to understand how you can come up with a statement like this: “territorial expansion, land parceling, habitat destruction and species distinction, resource drainage-all this reveals the impact of Western civilization” (p 341). I suggest Jenkins take a look at Early Classic Chunchucmil for land parceling, territorial expansion can be seen in much of research on Maya geopolitics for the past decades, habitat destruction has been documented at several sites (including deforestation at Copan), etc. For species distinction (extinction?) I suggest Jenkins look up the terms “megafauna extinction” and “Holocene extinction” and maybe he will change his attitudes to the early transrational inhabitants of Australia and everywhere else in the world.

Why does Jenkins retreat to a peaceful Australian Dreamtime when his focus is on Preclassic and Classic Maya? How does he transrationally interpret what others rationally would see as a violent situation? Regarding the famous decapitation of Waxaklajun Ub’ah K’awiil at Quirigua Jenkins believes this to have occurred when Jupiter (the king’s head) was aligned with the dark rift of the Milky Way. This event was not at all violent and gruesome for the king. In fact, “we must entertain the possibility that the Copán King went willingly into the black hole and his sacrifice was accomplice to a historically enacted mystery play” (p 273). I suggest he takes a look into Houston, Stuart, and Taube’s book on the depiction of feelings, pain, etc. People do not seem to have been too happy about being tortured and then sacrificed. I suspect the people massacred at Cancuen did not feel happy about being killed en masse. Why did people need fortifications?

Never mind these trivial issues; Jenkins has the solution for us that will set the stage for a new paradigm, just like Newton and Einstein before him. Obviously, before the winter solstice sunrise in the dark rift of the Milky Way next year we should take some LSD, like Jenkins has done himself, and invest “in our inner bonobo while divesting ourselves from chimpocracy, receiving the aboriginal Dreamtime, and opening up the transrational perspective” (p 402). However, I urge you, the reader, to consult some of the suggested readings here before you join the ideas of this perennial philosopher or New Age guru (not so much in disguise after this book).

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Responses

  1. .
    Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels,
    the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…
    the ones who see things differently… they’re not fond of rules…
    you can quote them, disagree with them,
    glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them,
    because they change things…
    they push the human race forward, and while some may
    see them as crazy ones, we see geniuses,
    because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they
    can change the world, are the ones that do.
    ~ Jack Kerouac

  2. Geniuses should be able to get their facts straight.

  3. Dr. S. T. Bononbo,Sex Therapist The Doctor Is In Please Bend Over!

  4. I dont think I will read the Houston Stuart, and Toube’s book. It is hard to believe, that the Maya people wanted to experience the World, and life, like the chimpanzees, or monkees
    or bears, etc. They were people, spiritual beings like us, and they experienced the World, and life like we do. However , just my opinion, that they were not very spiritual, and nothing spiritual about the Popol Vuh, and nothing spiritual about the Bible stories and Christianity or any new age religions.

  5. Houston and others are unrelated to the chimpanzee issue. That book is groundbreaking in many ways and is written by professional Mayanists, not 2012ers.

    The reason why Jenkins discusses chimpanzees is to show that the stereotype of contemporary male aggression comes from our biology (and hence from evolution) is wrong. The bonobo has another behavior. Jenkins do not claim that the Maya experienced the world like a chimp. When he states that one should connect with an inner bonobo I believe he mean to connect with that non-aggressive behavior that has been found in some of our closest relatives. However, the main problem is that he chooses the bonobo to prove something about contemporary people’s behavior. We did not evolve from bonobos. We do have the same ancestors as them but that goes back many million years. If he wanted to make a case he should have found our common ancestor and located non-aggressive behavior there (which would have been impossible due to the nature of the fossil record). So, it is false logic from the very start.

  6. In Gigamess’s Opinion”That They(maya) Were Not Very Spiritual And Nothing Spiritual About The Popal Vu”Opinions Are Like Assholes Everyone Has One.Mine Is Counter To His.The Most Powerful Spiritual Force Is That Of The Nine Maya Spirits, .The Bolon Ti Ku,In Conjunction With The Way(spirit) Of The Plant People i.e;Basil,Marigold,Sage,Romero,And The Blessed Grandmother Rue.Can Heal Any Malidies Of The Choul (soul)I.e;Susto,Invida,Trestesa,Pesur,And The Mal Och Or Vento.
    The Acient Megalopolis Of Tikal Is Dedicated To The Dark Nine.Their Guidance,Healing And Protection Can Be Accessed Any Where Any Time All They Need is To Bwe Summoned.Energy Is Their Language And They Will Come To you From Their Home In The Maya Mountains Of South-west Belize,Traveling On Spiritual Expressways.In An Instant.
    As For The Popal Vu If You Think All This Haecceties That Surounds Us Is Hapenstance Or Luck Of The Draw.I Know In My Heart Of Hearts That Solo Tazacol,Cajalom,Alom,Bitol,, Kukulkan,And The Governor.Spoke The Word And The Sky Was Lifted And We(bluntskop) Were Created.I Don’t Want To Engage In Dharma Diologe,These Are My Truths And They Aid Me On This Journey On The Beauty Path I Pray They Lead Me Back To The Garden.
    Regarde’
    Earth My Body,Water My Blood,Wind My Breath,Fire My Spirit

  7. Becoming Corn.
    I understand that the Popol Vuh, and the Maya calender maybe very spiritual to many people.
    For different people different things maybe spiritual.
    On the television, CNN talks about the SPIRITUAL LEADER OF ALQIDA terrorists.
    For some people alqida is a very spiritual business, and they think, their terrorism
    is a very spiritual or a holy war.
    And all the new age religions, all the Molokans, all the Jehovah witnesses and all religions think they are the most spiritual.
    And this is just my opinion.

  8. Yes.This Is True Different People Want To Enforce Their Spirituality On Others.I Guess The Nazis Were Extremly Spiritual Beings.When You Use Your Ideas Of What Is Spiritual To Judge What Is In Others Hearts,It Does Not Make For Stronger Communities.Perhaps Johan’s There Is No God But No God!Could Build A More Tolerant Place.

  9. Becoming Corn.
    I would recommend for the new agers, and 2012ers to read the SF book called; Time Snake and Super Clown.
    This book is almost spiritual.
    And I guess Johan forgot to include in his suggested reading list the Bristol Palin’s Memoirs, her book is coming out this coming Friday.

  10. GilgaI Don’t Have The Time Or Desire To Waste My Time Walkin’ Around With My Hooter Stuck In Some Book,I Was Born In The First Half Of The Last Century,My Focus Is Short Lived Sometimes My Wife Will Read Me A Book,Enjoy That.I Don’t Enjoy Being Subjected To Some Author’s Drivile,I Enjoy Short Articles That Relate to My Interests.The Last Book I Read Was Where Science And Magic Meet,.Evan Johan,Last Post Warning,Blah Blah Was To Long And Boring To Finish.But I Enjoy Most Of His Posts SomeTimes He Gets Carried Away With Perfectly Spelled Academic Jargon

  11. To much theory used as proof, as far as I know their are no recorded sites where Aboriginals killed mega fauna, no bones with tool marks or nothing, Aboriginals were conservationist, I highly dout a conservationist would kill a beast thats become rare where at one time would see them every day, then once a month, then once a year, you dont survive for 50,000 years by wiping out your food source or breaking the ecological cycle, its lazy to assume an outcome and to stop research because of a theory, science is not complete, those gaps can change the whole outcome, im sick of being told fats killing us, oh wait it salt, no its milk fats, no wait milk fats good, no it sugar, salts good again, and it goes on and on, thats how wrong science can be, even on basic diets, to many areas of science is out dated or to selective to be considered complete, take climate change, all these so called scientific bodys cherry pick stats to support their theory, thats not scientific research, only one organisation can say they have taken a holistic view and thats NASA, thats because they have many decades of observations and data collection without having an agenda, then use that data to create a theory (not a claim to be right)

    • I suggest you look up “theory”.

  12. Before you give JMJ too much credit for “his” galactic alignment theory. This is from Wikipedia: “The significance of a future “galactic alignment” was noted in 1991 by astrologer Raymond Mardyks, who asserted that the winter solstice would align with the galactic plane in 1998/1999, writing that an event that “only occurs once each 26,000 year cycle and would be most definitely of utmost significance to the top flight ancient astrologers”.[66] Astrologer Bruce Scofield notes, “The Milky Way crossing of the winter solstice is something that has been neglected by Western astrologers, with a few exceptions. Charles Jayne made a very early reference to it, and in the 1970s Rob Hand mentioned it in his talks on precession but didn’t elaborate on it. Ray Mardyks later made a point of it, and after that John [Major] Jenkins, myself, and Daniel Giamario began to talk about it.”[67]”

    I personally believe he misrepresents, as in does not yet understand, the original idea of what the “galactic alignment” involves and his crediting the “ancient Maya from Izapa” with what is essentially my idea is … well … it is JMJ. And if it is not yet obvious, the Maya didn’t practice archaeoastronomy, they were astrologers.

  13. [...] for those 2012ers who have sought the solutions in esoteric transcendent metaphysics to become transrational and have utterly failed to do so (since why are you still here and not elsewhere?), my summary [...]

  14. omg. the word transrationalism is so similar to transvestism I can’t help to notice an obscure etymological origin.


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