Scales of History

13 and 20 and 20 and 20.

Ah, theAbysmal Days, when apparently we Leap over theAbyss and my mind overflows with thoughts on the higher functions of how the way in which we view or perceive time affects the way we think. It changes our mind. Between what I’ve researched astronomy, chronobiology, body function by time of day, time of month, time of year, time of life, embodied cognition, neurobiology, story, symbol, imagination, creativity, history, and reaching back to anthropology as well as calendar systems themselves in order to come up with this. It isn’t idle chatter. It’s the result of my subconscious knitting it all together in the background, and as  has become habit, at the New Year, it presents itself for consideration.

Supercoiled DNA molecular model

In this case, it’s the shape of history, or at the very least longer measures of time. 260 seems to be at the heart of it. 13 is one sacred number to the Maya, the other is 20, which is multiplied much like we do with 10 in observing decades, centuries, millennia. I also noted that the 13 is often associated with the major articulations of the body (ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck), 20 is associated with the fingers and toes.

260? I just don’t know

the 260-Day calendar of the Maya called tzolk’in, was first developed by the Olmec, however, over time it was further elaborated and combined with other daykeeping cycles to form the Maya calendar system. When I first came across it, I was told that it represents the human gestation period (or, more accurately, estimated time between first missed menstruation and birth). Regardless of the intention, it serves as an approximation for the cycle from full moon (assumed conception time) and birth (either full or new moon) at 266 days, sometimes 40 weeks which is 280 days. Regardless, it is a symbolic association which is important here, as much as our weekday names stand for the planets, sun, and moon.


260 Days = human gestation
260 Weeks = 5 Years
260 Months = 20 Years
260 Quarters = 52 Years = human generation
260 Years = Historical Age (see image above)
260 x 20 Years  = 5,200 Years – Civilization Age
260 x 400 Years = 104,000 years – Anthropocene?
260 x 8,000 Years = 2,080,000 years-  age of Homo genus (est. 2.8)
260 x 160,000 Years = 41,600,000 years – age of modern mammals
260 x 3,200,000 Years = 832,000,000 years – age of multicellular animals
260 x 64 mill Years = 16.640 bill years – age of the sun

Anything beyond this gets into speculation, but aesthetically speaking, I prefer the Big Bounce theory over the others, as 1) I won’t be around to be proven wrong, 2) it fits with the rest of my observations about time, 3) it seems more playful than mechanistic.

With respect to 13 days, there is one thing I find quite remarkable that occurs in utero. On day 13 (or thereabouts) the multiplying cells go through the process of gastrulation, where the cells differentiate into one of three cell lines: ectodermic, mesodermic, or endodermic. These then develop and combine into all of our organ systems, tissues, and so on.  At about 20 days two tubes of cardiac tissue fuse and the first inkling of a heart weaves into being. The midway point is roughly when growth hormone levels peak. And so our very weaving of our bodies out of our mothers according to a schematic from both our parents progresses according to this same pattern. Or at least, it fits the narrative as much as the day, the lunar month, the year, the lifetime do as well.

B0003308 6 day old human embryo implanting - coloured

The other numbers, 13 and 20, also have a certain self-similarity over scale:

13 Days = Gastrulation
13 Weeks = 1 Quarter
13 Months = 1 Year
13 Years = 1 stage of human life

20 Days = heart first forms
20 Years = human adulthood

Momentary Conclusion

In the end, I think that this vision of the scales of time, or the orders of magnitude of time are a means of keeping the big picture in mind when dealing with the day to day in a manner that urges progression, development, maturation, and ripening.

I’ll let you know if this bears any fruit.

mycelium - theAbysmal Color


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