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  1. Potter
    The Last Lords of Palenque: The Lacandon Mayas of the Mexican Rain Forest, by Victor Perera and Robert D. Bruce

    I'm reading the book above on the Lacandon's right now. The main informant is the last elder of their tribe, the last traditionalist, in 1977, he was in his late 60's. He and a number of others, in his tribe of 170 people, one of the two tribes of Lacandons, (the other Christianized and numbering 250 people) the last decedents of the true Mayan civilization, these people regularly say, that when this old man dies, the developers will come, and they will have a road, and their way of life will be over. They will no longer be Lacandons, they will be westerners. No one in the next generation has the power to protect the people.

    This was written over 30 years ago, when Chan K'in was an old man at 60. I can't help but feel... Something more then upset, and horror, and sadness together... at realizing I'm reading the last dispatch, the last history, the last contact with a civilization that died in the years it took me to find out they existed.

Comments

  1. NeuroChi
    What does anyone do when they've never heard of something that sounds interesting? Jump to wikipedia. And I did.

    Although not directly cited, it states that "the Lacandon are one of the most isolated and culturally conservative of Mexico's native peoples. Almost extinct in 1943, today their population is growing rapidly."

    I've got no information nor knowledge in the subject, perhaps with some context from the book you are reading you could look into it further, and/or if you already have, I am keen on finding out more.

    In regards to the strange feeling which I can only describe as the loss of something that was never had, I'm not sure how one could go about alleviating it other than striving to go about their way with an open mind and in search of knowledge. Needless to say this isn't the only example where a civilization has gone extinct, or a collection of knowledge has evaporated and no one was around to grab at the elements that could have been grasped.
  2. Synchronium
    The entire human race populating Earth will die eventually. If we don't kill ourselves through war or global warming, natural disasters or the dying sun will. After that extinction event, all we've ever achieved will be for naught.

    I don't find that depressing though. It's actually quite a calming thought...
  3. tripolar
    ^^^ ... and what's more, once everything turns into the tiniest sub-atomic particles, there won't be anything left with the ability to retain a record of humanity's achievements or failures. There will be no one or nothing to remember the history, art, architecture, music, people, ideas, genius, stories, humour and childish dreams.

    There will be no one to appreciate that we here and now are capable of seeing the end in a relaxed and rational way.

    Sync, I too find that more liberating than anything any religion can offer...
  4. Potter
    I am now looking at their modern history, but from what I've been getting from this book, is that the indigenous, non-western aspects of their culture were about to be lost. The larger Northern Lacandon tribe had adopted Christianity and western life styles, and that the old man feared that his people would soon join them. The people may have survived, but they are no longer the same people they were.
  5. dyingtomorrow
    I find it very sad that it's almost impossible for people in general to live and let live. The story reminds me of a quote though ...

    "You know as well as we do that the standard of justice depends of the equality of power to compel, and that in fact the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must ... Our opinion of the gods and our knowledge of men lead us to conclude that it is a general and necessary law of nature to rule whatever one can."

    -Athenian response to Melian delegation
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