We humans have an instinct for perceiving all of time and history as meaningful.
We have long been preoccupied with organizing the flow of the past, the present and the future into some grand design; whether an endless, repeating cycle, or a straight line moving forward towards some ultimate destiny and fulfillment.
That’s why so many different peoples, in different cultures throughout history, have devised so many vast and astonishing religious cosmologies, and continue to do so today.
We are the hereditary recipients of some truly remarkable ancient systems; for instance, the Zoroastrian Apocalypse and the millenniums, the Hindu Yugas, and the Buddhist Kalpas. More recently, modern western culture has taken to recycling and remodeling the cosmologies of the ancient world to our own liking, resulting in our popular, contemporary beliefs in the impending return of Jesus Christ in a Christian/Muslim Apocalypse, the dawning of the New Age of Aquarius, and the alignment of precession, the winter solstice and the galactic equator at the end of the Mayan Calendar.
While the methods, calculations, and mythology may vary, the impetus is much the same, even across the ages. We all seek meaning in time, & our destiny and fulfillment in history. We long to fathom the hidden, innermost secrets of the universe. At the same time, we can’t help but impose our own desires and limitations upon it. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Just because we desperately want to find meaning in time, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there all along. It’s entirely possible that some ultimate, driving significance is out there, aching to be made known to us. At the same time, the contending popular cosmologies differ on so many fundamental points that they can’t all be right. Somewhere, someone is guilty of pulling at least some of this stuff out of a hat.
What can be said with some certainty is that what we believe about the past has everything to do with how we live in the present and how we build for the future.
History is always with us, for better or worse, bearing in on the present moment, but our expectations for the future are too easily distorted by our ignorance of the past. So let us consider how we organize time, and how we derive meaning from the past and future. This is not some careless process, nor should it be driven by market fashions or paranoia, but by all that is eternal and infinite within us.
I've included a series of articles and links below to try to stimulate a more thorough examination of the crucial issues at stake, comparing and contrasting what we believe with what we think we know. Here you will find some of the fascinating stories about how/when the modern, western concepts of 'The New Age' or 'The Age of Aquarius,' i.e., the precession of the equinoxes and astrological world ages, came to be.
There are stories that don’t get told often enough, but they have everything to do with what we believe about the use of precession and the meaning of time in other cultures, like the Mayans, Egyptians, or Sumerians.