An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of May 8, 2016
issued from Hacienda Chichen adjacent to Chichén Itzá ruins in
Yucatán, MÉXICO

THE AZTECS

This week I finished reading Gary Jennings' monumental 1980 historical novel "Aztec," kindly left in the Hacienda's visitor library by a German guest. The Aztec civilization dominated upland central Mexico from the 1200s until the society was destroyed by Spanish invasion in 1521. Wikipedia's extensive page on the Aztecs is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec

The Aztecs didn't make good neighbors. Their foreign policy was to conquer neighboring communities and make them pay "tribute" in the form of food, luxury items, firewood, gold, slaves, and the like. Sometimes the Aztecs attacked neighbors in order to capture warriors to be sacrificed by having their beating hearts cut out during religious ceremonies. In 1487, for the reconsecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs chronicled that hearts were cut from 80,400 living prisoners over the course of four days.

It's interesting to think that though the Aztecs were unusually obsessed with human sacrifice as part of their religion, Aztec society was structured more or less like all great societies -- elites, working masses, slaves, police/military, and religions, in the context of aggressive foreign policies. One wonders whether there might be a natural law that this is how all great societies must be ordered.

If such a natural law does exist, there's a loophole enabling some of us to opt out from feeling that we're part of that society. The loophole is made possible by the Sixth Miracle of Nature, as outlined on our Six Miracles Page at http://www.backyardnature.net/j/6/

The first five Miracles established a world in which things and events evolve in a programmed manner. Throughout human history, our genetic programming has predisposed us to commit a great deal of violence, including genocide. Also, most of us seem programmed to yield to authority, even when our leaders involve us in unwise policies. The Sixth Miracle -- which here on Earth only right now is flickering into existence -- grants humans with our big brains the potential for shifting our lives from being directed by genetic predispositions, to taking control of ourselves by countermanding our gene's demands. We can live by the standards of our minds, which can evolve faster than humanity's biological base.

For example, since all great societies feed on money and power, our big brains can be used to craft lives in which neither money nor power are very important to us, and thus we can become uninteresting to those in power, and sometimes they'll leave us alone.

Since one way big governments control is by manipulating what's wanted by its citizens, we can use our big brains to simplify our lives so we don't need much from them in the first place, and therefore give them less power over us.

Another feature of the Sixth Miracle is that once a person escapes the bondage of his or her own programming, and thus no longer is part of any great society in the usual way, new insights spontaneously crystallize as part of one's evolving awareness. New insights and new knowledge enable us more vividly to behold the world around us. We see beauty and spiritual meaning where we'd overlooked it before. This causes us to fall in love with the Creation, so that sustainable living patterns and empathy with other living things spontaneously enrich our lives and make our lives more meaningful.

And, if enough of us undergo this miraculous transformation, things might turn out pretty well, despite our biological histories and programming.