Monday, July 21, 2014

Codices and Cultures

What if I just logged into this account and deleted all of my my nephew's 20+ blogs? I think that would be emotionally violent. I would never do that. My intern/nephew's blogging has inspired me. I love how much I am learning from him by having access to his thoughts. There is so much happening in life that I would like to be better at documenting it. Speaking of documenting life, I have kept journals since I was able to write. I have about 10 journals in total from childhood until the present. If my home were on fire, my journals are probably the main things I would want to grab. I would be emotionally crushed if they were destroyed. If someone else were to come across them, it might happen. Others may not see any value in them and maybe one day they will just end up in a bin. Other people's histories often end up in the bin. 

I was thinking about that during an amazing lecture on Mexican art and identity by Prof. Karina Morales. One of the things she talked about is how during the conquest, the Spaniards destroyed centuries of records by burning the Aztec, Mayan and many other communities codices:

Centuries of records, art, healing practices, traditions, history, etc up in smoke. I can't imagine the pain. The report of Bishop Diego de Landa in July of 1562 unintentionally captures the great loss experienced by the Mayan's when their cultural records were destroyed. De Landa wrote: 

"We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction."

It was not just a loss to the Mayans. The world loss unfathomable amounts of knowledge. I have known this but  today during Karina's talk it hit me in a new way. I want to keep thinking about this and how we are doing similar things, being careless with others histories and continuing to lose so much as a species. I think at least one way is tied to education:

The current world population is about 6.5 billion persons. Consequently, by concentrating primarily on Americans, psychological researchers in the United States restrict their focus to less than 5% of the world’s population. The rest of the world’s population, the other 95%, is neglected”
  (Arnett, 2008, p 1). 

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