Thursday, June 21, 2007

appetite for philosophy

Isn't it just amazing that the ancient Mayans were so cogent about lots of stuff - astronomy, calenders, pyramid building, decapitations, etc., but they never invented the wheel. I'm not calling the Mayan Civilization stupid, just finding it curious that wheels never occured to them , as carts can carry lots of stones or body parts etc. - the Mesopotamians (ancient Iraqis) well knew. I mean, the Mayan cosmology is chockfull of cycles, the wheeling of the stars and planets and their respective gears. But they prefered to carry things around, i guess.
Maybe there is some inherent trait in the universe, that we can percieve, but fail to manifest as a tool to vastly simplify our lives; something confluencing the wheelless aboriginal central americans' comprehension of cosmic cyclical motions?
Our world could really use fellas like Homer, Galileo, and Jimi Hendrix.

1 comment:

whig said...

A search for Mayan wheel brings this:

The Maya didn't have the wheel while Europeans and Chinese did, so sometimes people kinda look down on the Maya as being less technically advanced. Well the Maya had the wheel. They used it in toys. They used it in their astrological projections. They used it in their sculpture. They used it in their architecture. They used donuts or round stones as bases for pillars. They certainly knew that the wheel rolled. But they were smart enough to not try to put it to use in their neighborhood. You see the Yucatan peninsula, if you have ever been there, is very, very, flat in general but very, very, hilly or irregular when you get right down on the ground. There is rivulets and lots of rough ground. It's all kinda level but rough, not flat, so you couldn't roll a wheel across it anyway b/c you would have to build a road…which the Maya did but they built them for walking on and they didn't put carts or wagons to use on the roads. The roads actually were stones laid on top of sand and they stretched for 100's of miles in every direction. The Maya used canoes and underground rivers as highways and they didn't use the rough terrain, the surface, for their transportation. Once you got off of one of the roads they had built, you could only walk. They didn't have horses. They didn't have lamas. They didn't have any beasts of burden. So they carried whatever they were taking on their person. They carried it themselves. And as a matter of fact if you go to Guatemala there is only hills and mountains. They can't even build a railroad in Guatemala. We can't build one today b/c there is no flat enough ground, you would have to build trestles and tunnels everywhere in order to build a rail road. So the wheel, using the wheel for transportation just was not conducive to where the Maya lived, so they didn't use it. I think it was very wise on their part to hold their civilization to the level their environment could handle. We might be well apprised to do some of that ourselves….eh ?