Stages of Historical Ages

Still Riffing as we leap over the Two-Day Abyss

The riff on the Shape of History so far:

As a framing device, the 260-Year historical age continues to structure history – at least as far as the Americas are concerned – continues to resonate with events. As I’ve stated before, this isn’t an underlying “truth” that I’ve discovered, it’s Years of thinking in terms of the waves and cycles of the Maya calendar (and so, theAbysmal), and seeing civilization from their perspective. It has taken years to sink in to this point, where it’s like I’m having a “eureka” moment as these ideas all cohere into a vivid image.

What’s remarkable about all this is that it continues to follow a particular pattern (in my personal life as much as the historical age). And this pattern, time and again, seems to work well with the number 13. Continue reading “Stages of Historical Ages”

Stay Golden, Historical Ages

260 or 256 years? It can be both!

This, apparently, is the riff I’m on as theAbysmal blog is in its last few days. Looking at history in cycles of 260 years, which to the Maya worked out to 256 years 98 Days using their Long Count Calendar. theAbysmal Calendar has a Leap Year Day every 4 years (hint: this year it’s December 19th 2016), and an exception every 128 years when we don’t have the Leap Year Day. This keeps theAbysmal Calendar Year better aligned to the Tropical Year and so the seasons. Two of these exception periods work out to 256 years. Measuring history in 256-year cycles is a way to embed the Leap Year Rule into longer measures of theAbysmal Calendar, and it approximates the Maya cycle as well (falling out of synch by a quarter year every cycle).

Although the 128-Year Leap Year Exception is a function of theAbysmal Calendar, the 260-Year Cycle developed out of the Maya cyclical view of history. It seemed most appropriate to use a calendar developed and used in what was to become the world’s first global city, Mexico City. So, in looking at 260-Year periods of history, most notably the one that has just ended, 1752 to 2012, representing the Industrial Revolution. 260 is a product of two key numbers in timekeeping, 13 and 20. Breaking the 260-Years into 13 periods of 20 Years makes it a little easier to manage in terms of periods, but could just as easily be divided into 20 periods of 13 years. At least with 13 years, we can look at the 20-Year period at the apex (i.e. the central part of the historical cycle). This is 1872-1892 CE.

Imagine each month in the image above as a period of 20-Years. We’re in period 0, Year 4. Period 6, at the apex, represents the golden age of 20 years.

Continue reading “Stay Golden, Historical Ages”

Why Everybody's More Crazier

or, how our global economics contributes to the spread of mental illness

image by Derek Hess

from the Article over at the Guardian:

What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis.

There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same: human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology. Though our wellbeing is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism. Continue reading “Why Everybody's More Crazier”

Trauma and Recovery

Trauma and Recovery – the Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman, M.D.

PART 1 – Traumatic Disorders

Chapter 1 – A Forgotten History


The study of psychological trauma has a curious history—one of episodic amnesia. Periods of active investigation have alternated with periods of oblivion. Repeatedly in the past century, similar lines of inquiry have been taken up and abruptly abandoned, only to be rediscovered much later. Classic documents of fifty or one hundred years ago often read like contemporary works. Though the field has in fact an abundant and rich tradition, it has been periodically forgotten and must be periodically reclaimed.

This intermittent amnesia is not the result oof the ordinary changes in fashion that affect any intellectual pursuit. The study of psychological trauma does not languish for lack of interest. Rather, the subject provokes such intense controversy that it periodically becomes anathema. The study of psychological trauma has repeatedly led into realms of the unthinkable and foundered on fundamental questions of belief.

To study psychological trauma is to come face to face both with human vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human nature. To study psychological trauma means bearing witness to horrible events. When the events are natural disasters… those who bear witness sympathize readily with the victim. But when the traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim and perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides. Continue reading “Trauma and Recovery”