I saw something very interesting the other day while I was walking through the museum.
In the corridor housing the Art Institute's Amerindian collection, I noticed a round mosaic disc covered with small turqoise-colored tiles. The differently-shaded color tiles were arranged in such a way that would reveal an image to the knowing viewer.
Although some small pieces of tile were missing, a placard next to the object reproduced the design in detail and identified it as an image depicting the importance of the 52 year cycle and the longer-run cycles tracked by the Mixtec calendars.
These cycles were said to be of great importance to the Mixtec culture; their beginning and end symbolized a change in the social order and influenced their outlook for their civilization and the world.
With this in mind, it was interesting to see M.A. Nystrom's recent article at Safehaven.com regarding a similar subject, "Social Cycles and the Coming Golden Age".
In this piece, Nystrom relates some of the ideas presented in Ravi Batra's new book, The New Golden Age. He finds that many of Batra's predictions are based on a Law of Social Cycles, and that these cycles greatly influence the interaction among various classes of people and the direction that society follows.
In Nystrom's opionion, we are nearing the end of our current cycle (characterized by acquisitiveness and a breakdown of the traditional moral structure), and preparing to sow the seeds for the next. As one cycle ends, another begins.
Any opinions on how it will turn out? Have a look at this interesting article and see if it stirs up any thoughts on the future.
Update: Part 2 of this article series is now posted at Safehaven.