Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Like Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie features the mysterious culture of the ancient Mayan civilization.
Unlike Apocalypto, the Indiana Jones movie will probably be less historically accurate & more about the mystic aspects of the culture. This is a characteristic of all the Indy movies, but especially obvious, given the subject matter of the crystal skull.
I have a general fascination with ancient history, and the Mayan people are one group that I've spent alot of time learning about in past years. Although we tend to treat cultures, nations, & empires as entities that have an actual beginning and end, reality is much more fluid than such human mental constructs. Large-scale societies don't really die out - people just continue living under new circumstances. It has been argued that aspects of the entities such as the Roman, Babylonian, and British Empires still exist today.
Case in point, when I was in Riviera Maya, Mexico, there were plenty of people who claim Mayan heritage. Unfortunately they have been regarded as second-class citizens like many indigenous groups. The Mayan people never disappeared, they still exist & are thriving, due in part to continually growing interest in their culture.
Also aiding the survival of their way of life is the widespread use of new media to preserve & transmit the perspectives of mankind's many ethnic groups. The Information Age is giving all people a voice, including people like the Mayans and Tibetans, whose voices would have been oppressed or silenced in previous ages.