The land remembers, or how Freemasons and Mayans shaped modern-day basketball.

This is the 1`000th post on Contravex! New here? Check the 13-year archive to catch up!

What does the Mayan feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl have to do with modern-day basketball?

Not much if you think Freemasons never travel more than 150 miles from home!

Consider, if you will, that French Freemason Augustus Le Plongeon, the amateur archeologist who first photographically documented the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula starting in 1875i frequently travelled to New York in the subsequent years to sell pre-Colombian antiquities and otherwise fundraise for future expeditions. This, right at the same time that Canadian Freemason James Naismith, who invented rediscovered the game of basketball in 1891, was teaching at Springfield College in Massachusetts, just a short drive from Manhattan. Could the two have met at secret society gatherings in the area, the archeologist influencing the athlete to consider new perspectives? Why not! It makes a great story!!ii

I mean, is the pre-classical game of tlachtli (Mayan: pok-ta-pok) really so different from the game that LeBron James dominates today? Both use a bouncy rubber-based ball, two opposing multiplayer teams, large hard-surfaced courts, and circular goals placed high above the reach of mere mortals! Just take a look at a few of my photos from my pre-covid-pcr-scam-test-reentry-requirement trip to Chichen Itza to see for yourself. Even if you haven’t been down the NBA Top Shot rabbit hole recently like some of us tragic souls, you’ll surely see a fair few parallels between the sporting game that dominated the Americas of yesteryear and the sporting game that dominates the Americas today! Can you spot Quetzalcoatl?

Chichen Itza - 2021 - 13

Chichen Itza - 2021 - 11

Chichen Itza - 2021 - 9

While modern-day basketball fills up “history” “books” with claims that it’s the only major world sport that’s 100% Made In America, it wrongly claims that the johnny-come-lately tea-partyists did anything other than modernise an existing and very ancient institution. Tlachtli traces its roots back over 3`500 years! That, for the record, is the kind of history that lives in the ground, that the earth remembers, regardless of written records or lack thereof.iii Just as it can be no surprise that Albert Einstein invented rediscovered the Theory of Special Relativity after getting litty with a smattering of Indigenous tribes across the Americas thus altering the course of scientific discovery for centuries to come, it can also be no surprise that the most popular sport in America, and one of the most popular sports in the world, is basketball, which derives its origins from this ancient mesoamerican ballgame.

Equally unsurprisingly, like the players of tlachtli, modern-day basketball players are often framed as being “cultural heroes” while at the same time being framed as “slaves.” You might wonder how can this duality can coexist, but that’s probably because you haven’t read much Schelling.iv You see it’s all in our memories, and not exclusively our personal memories either, but the earth’s memories as well. To re-quote Proust through the lens of the land:

Car nous trouvons de tout dans notre mémoire; elle est une espèce de pharmacie, de laboratoire de chimie, où on met, au hasard, la main tantôt sur une drogue calmante, tantôt sur un poison dangereux.

Now what else does the land remember that we aren’t listening closely enough to hear yet? What else is there to invent rediscover?
___ ___ ___

  1. Le Plongeon is also credited with coining the term “chacmool,” describing a reclining statuary form that would go on to greatly influence none less than Henry Moore!

    Henry Moore Chacmool

  2. It’s certainly no more of a stretch to suggest that Walter Arensberg – who alongside his wife Louise daringly placed Mayan artefacts alongside Brancusi’s Bird In Flight, Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, and Picasso’s Still Life with a Violin and a Guitar in their iconic Manhattan apartment – was influenced in his collecter by his father, a prominent industrialist and Freemason.

    I’m hardly an expert on Freemasonry nor do I intend to be, but if you’d told me that Naismith, Le Plongeon, and Arensberg were all Jewish or Ismaili or Armenian or Lizard Illuminati, I’d tell you there was an interconnectedness to their interests, pursuits, and accomplishments! Who’s the racist conspiracist now huh? Lest we forget that information didn’t want to be nearly so free a century-and-a-half ago. Secrets and secrets societies used to be much more of a thing. And if Dan Brown is to be believed, they could well still be a thing! Though if the Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews, and Mormons can’t keep a very tight lid on things these days, I’m not sure who can.

  3. Physicists are finding that the network of energy known to Indigenous people is being proved through quantum physics: All matter is vibration; all matter is energy. The electrons are speaking to us, but physicists are just not understanding the messages

    ~Phil Duran via Elizabeth Ferguson

  4. Must things be so black-and-white or can two seemingly opposing things be simultaneously true? To take a page from Rabbi Zohar Atkins on Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854):

    Assuming Schelling is a post-Kantian philosopher and not simply a thinker who lost his way and regressed into mysticism, his thought is even more fascinating. Here is someone who writes theological treatises not because he knows what God is all about, but because he posits that human consciousness would be incoherent if God were not the way he describes. Whether or not the world is both systematic and free, in fact, we can’t but experience it that way, he says.

    Paradoxically, Schelling argues that, to be selves, we must be paradoxically split. A world with no necessity and a world of total necessity are equally untenable.

    So perhaps no choice must be made here. “Both and!” to borrow an improv (and life) truism.

One thought on “The land remembers, or how Freemasons and Mayans shaped modern-day basketball.

  1. […] sub-angles can all be blended together as in the case of the Arensbergs, who melded Duchamp and Brancusi with New York high society while also working closely with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the […]

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