The inspiration to create art, to philosophize and to create music feeds my fire and penetrates my soul. I am learning that consciousness is on a schedule. Before every major evolutionary change consciousness equips us with the tools to ensure our survival. There is so much power in learning and the ability to imagine another world. Imagination is sacred. Our herstories and our cultures in Mesoamerica were not static; they were ever changing and shifting in tune with the flow of consciousness. We knew the schedule of that consciousness. We knew the birth of our galaxy. We knew when life as was known will no longer be -when that fateful day would come. Everything in our everyday reality is affected by cosmic transitions and alignments and our ancestors understood this and studied these phenomenon well. The flow of cosmic energies was built into every facet of our material and spiritual culture.
What intrigues me about the studies of evolution is the question of what makes us human? What sets us apart from other earth dwellers not so we can boast in how cool humans are but rather to come back to our essence in harmony with other earth dwellers. The fascinating part about the beginning of our existence is our ability to adapt and envision new life paths. Our recent eldest ancestor developed an ability to imagine another world, another way to hunt, to bead, essentially their ability to create and affect change that allowed them to survive in the rapidly and violently evolving world. More importantly the Paleolithic human was equipped with foreseeing change and creating change. In contrast to Neanderthals who were not able to survive because they lacked the ability to imagine other possibilities. Being a warrior was their way of life. Innovation and intuition not their strongest point.
In my attempt to find sources of Paleolithic human’s existence in the Americas in standard physical anthropology, I came to a disturbing realization. I found sections on Cro-Magnon and subsections of findings in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia but I found nothing in standard texts about Paleolithic Mesoamerica. Realizing this disparity, I was reminded of similar feelings through my public education. It is apparent to me is that the accessibility of such research and information is limited. So spare me the
Bering Strait theory -I find that usually traditional U.S. public education tends to place cultures against one another and assumes that one culture, Western Culture, is superior. Why else would it be so hard to find evidence of ancient Mesoamerican knowledge and creation such as Paleolithic art?
I refused to believe these ethnocentric notions of cultural superiority and will keep on with my research. What I was able to find were eloquent articulations of my gut feeling and it was healing to me to find some form of academic validation that came to me in the term of multi-genesis. At last, my ancestors were recognized as humans participating in the same phenomenon that we call creating art fitting with the schedule of Eurocentric history. Luis Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda resonates with the voice of my intuition when he affirms that “this theory [of multi-genesis] claims that art appeared for the first time at the very beginning of the upper Paleolithic, among the Combe-Capelle and Cro-Magnon varieties of the sapiens species of [hu]mankind” and as I continued reading the article a smile drew upon my face when the main evidence of Paleolithic human’s artistic activity was the carved bone in the shape of a coyote found in Northern Mexico –the same carved bone that we saw in class. Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda’s explanation for why this art was created also fit very well with my understanding of this major evolutionary event. He states that “Paleolithic art was created when this simple mental connection, purely imaginative, became insufficient for ritual purposes of propitiatory magic, and [hu]man began to intervene in the appearance of nature.”
The practice of art is then what distinguishes us as a species. It is significant because of our role on our Earth as creators, as a microcosm of the divine that is the ancient stars of the universe. Our ability to tell stories, to make others share in our feelings, to shape the way we see the world is a powerful tool and I think this ability was not treated lightly in the Americas but seen with a great responsibility.
Perhaps these responsibilities were later outlined by the schools of Quetzalcoatl wherein divine leaders, seers, scientists and artists taught humanity of the sacred power of prayer –another major evolutionary benchmark. I think that those who outlined the role of the artist understood the power of what might now be identified as cultural materialism. The pots, jars, architecture, art, instruments of this ancient time were all used to teach something to the individual. Essentially that material part of our culture is what informs us about our culture in the way that a random magazine at a grocery store can inform us about our culture today. The difference from commercial culture, which we are very familiar with to earth based cultures is the amount of meaning that is placed in these objects.
I personally love that the artist in ancient times was also the teacher because of the didactic value of art. Artists had a close relation to the tlamatinime, which was in essence the scientist, philosopher, spiritual guide, and the elder. The one who would count the days was the tlamatinime and their role in making the culture disseminate was essential but would not have been possible without the aid of the artist. In this way, art was functional objects that had rich meanings. Art had a dual nature, the way most things in Mesoamerican traditions have –form and essence.