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Uncovering the Defense Mechanisms in the Maya Epigraphy

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Uncovering the Defense Mechanisms in the Maya Epigraphy D. Michele Ellis-Thomas A.T.R. Independent Study-Archeology Research Paper Introduction; This is a pilot study reviewing the psychoanalytic interpretation of some of the Maya symbolism in the epigraphy in order to determine the state of psychological development in a very general sense. For this reason, this study is hoped to be expanded upon by the professionals with the appropriate academic background to enhance any validity or non-validity of the initial interpretations. The Purpose of the Study: Much of the psychological and psychiatric literature on the topic of graphic depiction correlate to the age at which the individual experiences a developmental stage. Many individuals do not believe in stages as such due to the fact that stages imply a beginning and an ending. Development in the individual is more and likely to be re-experienced over time, due to the fact that in theory resolution is never really found as human nature re- examines most aspects of life throughout his life. There are considered to be five developmental stages in psychosocial development: the oral, anal, oedipal, latent stage and genital stage. This paper initially anticipated dealing with all of them and subsequently the author decided to focus on the oral stage symbolism and the graphic depiction one would find within this area in the Mayan epigraphy. Typically, the fourth stage of development is referred to in Freudian theory as the latent stage of development where more or less, in layman's terms, the defense mechanisms have temporarily gone to sleep until they are reawaken in the adolescent stage. At that time, the recapitulation of the oral, anal and oedipal stage development issues/conflicts are revived adolescent and resolution begins again. The author will in future papers propose to look at this stage of development in the Maya epigraphy; however as of to date, none has been found. This is not to say, that it is not there. ...read more.


One of the most difficult and elusive pictures to recreate is the way of life and the belief system of the ancient Maya civilization of Mesoamerica. Without the associative references to their art it is almost absurd to make a statement as to the conflicts they lived with from day to day. With extensive exploration at least to a certain degree, it may be possible to understand the primary defense mechanisms underlying their perception of the world around them. Understanding what psychologically underlies that belief system flourishing from approximately 200 B.C. until 1500 A.D. is the real journey. Looking at the early epigraph, again, complete examination of their graphics is not with in the scope of this paper. The ancient Maya world was a highly organized civilization grounded in a very specialized religious and mythological belief system. And, while the Maya religion is filled with myths, symbols, and rituals that offer a definition for the nature of the known and unknown world, the origin of humanity, and the purpose of human life on earth, the real truth about their survival and their evolution that is in the art and the symbolisms found in the epigraphy that give insight into their unconscious foundation. A persistent thought should be kept in the back of the readers mind as this paper is read is that the Maya civilization was a complex and very structured civilization. They build architectural structures of monumental size that were so well designed still stand today. They had a calendar and mathematical system that is still unrivaled. They cultivated enough maize to feed multitudes of Mayan. Religion was again at the hub of their daily existence and it appears that every action thought word and deed surrounded the God deities they worshiped. Into the world of the Maya 900 B.C.-50 A.D.( epigraphy observed beginning at approximately 600 B.C. to 50 A.D.), we cannot obtain individual associations, and if we could, it would most likely not be relevant to our purpose in this paper. ...read more.


Of importance is the application of this study to other cultures, populations, and settings as well. Replication of this would be valuable in order to gain more reliability of the findings for validation. What are the broader implications for this paper regarding the mechanisms used? Perhaps the implications are, as a result of the findings from this and in the future, that there is a need for inquiry into the level of psychological behavior in direct response to the circumstances surrounding Maya demise or fall. There are factors that may account for some discrepancies in my design. First, examination of the hypothesis that the major defense is incorporation is limited to the glyphs that I have access to. The author would suggest that the following is needed: 1) Devise a more sensitive method to correlate the symbols and standardize via percentages noted in the number of glyphs that have incorporation to those that do not. 2) Do it two or three times over and cross-reference comparing data to previous data. Another way to test the hypothesis is to do this several months or even years later and compare data of one tester to another. External factors and subsequent discoveries may change the perception. Further research in the following areas is recommended: 1) Social and Cultural aspects of the Maya system as reflected in the glyphs. 2) Choose a random culture to compare the defense mechanisms in the epigraphy to. These are suggestions for further study. They were formulated on areas that the author felt had a weakness in the concept and in redoing and redesigning might offer further insight in the psychological development and its impact on the Maya demise. If current research could be compared to previous research, it may account for the similar amount of incorporation found in the glyphs. In order to conscientiously examine specifics and even generalities on defense mechanisms and the psychological attribute of the Maya culture, further research should be done by adding more controls, i.e. factors including social and cultural characteristics of present day Maya, as well as their history in more present times. ...read more.

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