Being and Becoming Human
A Maiz-based Ethos & Philosophy of Life
In Lak Ech
Panche Be
Hunab ku
et p’iz
As taught in MAS, highlighting the responsibility one assumes in learning
these ethos or concepts.
They are gleaned from the works of Maya scholar, Domingo Martinez
Paredez. They include: Un Continente y Una Cultura, El Popul Vuh tiene
Razon, Hunab Ku, Parapsicologia Maya, El Hombre y el Cosmos
Philosophical Foundation–What it means to be Human
In Lak Ech
Panche Be
Tu eres mi
otro yo
To seek the
root of the
You are my
other self
Hunab Ku
To find the
truth in the
All Part of Creation
“Movement & Measure.” The name the Maya gave to the equivalence of
the Supreme Being or the Grand Architect of the Universe.
“The Great Mystery”
(Martinez Paredez, 1970)
(Outside of Western Civilization)
Un Continente Y Una Cultura
Raza Studies
A subset of
not a subset of
Part of a
thousands of
years process
knowledge and
“This philosophy comes direct from “the cereal that was created by the ancient settlers of
the continent: maiz… yes, the maiz, that creation of the savage beast, and that thanks to
them, lies the hope for humanity.” – Maya Linguist, Domingo Martinez Paredez, 1960
Maiz: Who We Are – Where We Come From
What we are made of – Our sacred sustenance
The only food in
history created
by human
Wild grass
crossed with
Peoples of
are the only
peoples to
create their own
food, thus, own
Requires human
Maiz is civilizational impulse for Maya-Nahua (Mesoamerica) or Maiz culture
Mesoamerican calendars based on maiz – developed entire continent
Concepts predate the Maya.
Were shared by peoples across continent. Martinez-Paredez
Hul Nal Ye
Spirit of Maiz
Undergirding all: 7,000-year maiz culture
While thousands of the ancient books were burned by Spanish
priests, these Maya-Nahua concepts were not destroyed. They
preserved and conveyed today via ceremony, oral
traditions,[Indigenous] writings poetry, song and danza.
3113 BC-2012 – Maya Time Frame – Era of Maiz
De-Indigenization & De-Colonization Narratives
Map of Aztlan
1,000 years old
Mexica Story
Popularized in
U.S. 1960s-70s
Several thousand
years old. Story
of continent.
Preferred narrative
for MAS-Indigenous
Indigenous Studies
While the Maiz-Quetzalcoatl narrative is continental in scope, both equal an
effort to be seen not as foreigners or U.S. minorities. The effort to understand
In Lak Ech – Panche Be & Hunab Ku equal reclamation of a
creation/resistance culture. Effort to embrace these concepts = decolonization.
In Lak Ech– Panche Be – Hunab Ku
Concepts can
create better
human beings
& a better
world for
that will
connect us
to cosmic
energy, but
also to
struggles for
dignity &
Zapatistas rose up Jan, 1, 1994 to protect way of life – maiz culture.
1st day that NAFTA went into effect
At most profound level, these concepts – that we are all related
and all one – exist in all cultures. All strive for teaching us to
become better human beings and to take care of our sacred
mother earth. (Nahuatl: Nehua ti Nehua).
As adopted by Raza Studies in U.S. – Not Frozen Concepts
In Lak’ Ech
Tú eres mi otro yo.
Si te hago daño a ti
Me hago daño a mí mismo.
Sí te amo y respeto.
Me amo y respeto yo
You are my other me.
If I do harm to you,
I do harm to myself.
If I love and respect you
I love and respect myself.
Raza Studies-TUSD
In Lak‘ Ech
If we poison the earth,
we poison ourselves.
If we pollute the waters,
we pollute our bodies.
If we contaminate the
earth; we contaminate our
food and life itself.
If we take care of the earth;
the earth will take care of
us. If we love the earth;
we love ourselves. If we
respect the earth; we live
If we love ourselves,
we will take care of
If we love humanity,
we will not hate.
If we protect our sacred
mother, we live.
If we understand our role
in the universe,
we create.
In Lak Ech is Beyond Human Relations
It is also about relations with all life (left)
and our relation to the earth and universe (right)
Universal Golden Rule
Do unto others as you would have them do onto you
Christianity ...You shall love your neighbor as yourself Yahshua, Matthew 22:39
Bahai: Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, 71
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful
Udana-Varga, 5:18
Confucianism: Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you
Analects 15:23
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done
to you. Mahabharata 5:1517
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for
himself . Sunnab
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the entire law: All the rest
is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 31a
Sikhism: Do not create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone
Guru Arjan Devji 259. Guru Granth Sahib
In Lak’ Ech
A prescription for how to treat each other as human beings. Anti-thesis of
dehumanization & first step toward rehumanization & viewing our fellow
human beings not simply as neighbors, but as co-equals.
In Lak Ech: It is the love of others, the love of ourselves, the love of
humanity, the love of life, the love of the universe; it is who we are
Mitakuye Oyasin: Lakota Sioux – Similar to In Lak Ech
Panche Be
To seek the root of the truth – buscar la raiz de la verdad.
(Martinez Paredez 1970). To find the truth in the root(s)
Panche Be – a pursuit and a lifelong journey. Panche Be – a way of life.
Never satisfied with official truths, official histories or official narratives.
Never complacent. Always in relentless pursuit of that which is hidden
or obfuscated. Always in pursuit of peace and dignity… and justice.
journalism ethos:”don’t believe the hype” = critical thinking
Panche Be:
Pursuit of Social Justice
 Pursuit of the root of the truth
 Pursuit of social justice
 Indigenous /Human Liberation
 Defense of Raza/Ethnic Studies 2006–2012 mas-tusd
 Struggle against SB 1070-HB2281
The Forgotten Debate of 1524
To understand Hunab Ku, it should be contextualized within the 1524
theological “debate” between 12 Spanish friars & several indigenous
Sahagun, Colloquios
y Doctrina
The most notable exchange had to do with whether the Indigenous
representatives “knew God.” A friar explained: “He is the true one &
whom you call ypalnemoani, but you never really knew him.”
(Sahagun, 1944: 67).
“The Giver of Life”
In the colonial-era book Huehuetlahtolli (1991), Sahagun in 1500s explains that
Ipalnemoani is: “dador de la vida” - the giver of life: That for what we live for.
By those definitions, Ipalnemoani – the giver of life is The Creator of the Universe.
Maya scholar, Domingo Martinez Paredez, in Hunab Ku (1963: 41) connects Hunab Ku
with Ipelnemohuani
After the “debate,” priests proclaimed that Indigenous peoples were pagan, godless
& demonic. All 1500s-1800s era codices/chronicles reflect this thinking.
“Godless”: A Dark Ages Formulation
Dark Ages formulation continues in modern times:
 women prohibited from attending banquet due to
Aztec dancers (Minnesota, 2007);
 kid prohibited from learning maiz culture & Aztec
dance: because told it’s “devil worship” (AZ, 2009).
 all peoples and cultures have their own way of
explaining the universe. The idea that people are
godless is also a Dark Ages formulation.
 Through Chicano Serpentine Philosophy, (2007), elder and
Nahuatl scholar Andres Segura explains Quetzalcoatl or the
Feathered Serpent as the balance between the material and
the spiritual. He expounds on this idea: “The feathered
serpent represents the Unknowable, Unthinkable,
Consciousness of the Giver of Life, The Giver of Time and
Space, Ometeotl/Omecihuatl, God.
 Es consciencia de Dios – He/She is the Consciousness of
God” (Macias, 2007: 77).
Superstitious Minds
European friars were superstitious, championed ignorance, punished scientific inquiry. Were
product of bloody Crusades and were participants in oppressive Inquisition, including book
Auto de Fe,
Mani, Yucatan
Recreation of
Auto de Fe
At Mani, Yucatan
Psychic Shock
Role of friars was providing a theological God-given
blessing. justification for enslavement, genocide &
land theft.
Peoples humanity depended upon conversion: Even De
Las Casas – ‘protector of the Indians’ believed this.
Euros in no position to understand:
In Lak Ech-Panche Be-Hunab Ku.
Proclaiming peoples: pagan-godless-demonic permits
dehumanization - not afforded full human rights.
Martinez Paredez
Hunab Ku
 Hunab Ku is Grand Architect of the Universe & the Giver of Life;
They mathematized this concept and declared it the ‘giver of movement
and measure.’ (measure = death)
 There were no statutes or images to Hunab Ku.
 It was represented as a mathematical formula of a square (pyramid) inside of a
circle. Parasicologia Maya, P25
‘the Maya represent this with a concept of the circle and a square.
The circle is represented by the # 13, the square by the # 4.
13 represents points of the body.’
Hunab Ku, Nature, Humans, Numbers: all one. El Hombre y El Cosmos, P47
In West, God often depicted as elderly man sitting in chair or
somewhere in heaven.
The Maya conceived of Hunab Ku in mathematical, as opposed
to, metaphysical terms.
“Science was their religion and their religion was science,”
regulated by mathematics and astronomy.
(Martinez Paredez, 1970: 68)
Hunab Ku
 By most translations [limitations of European
languages], this explanation of universe is
equivalence of God: How people explain or
make sense of universe.
In English, also: “Supreme Being,” the “Great
Spirit,” “Creator” or “The Great Mystery”
Hunab Ku
 In the Nahuatl or from the peoples of Anahuac, there are several equivalencies;
Tloque Nahuaque, Ypalmenohuani and Ometeotl. In explaining Hunab Ku,
Dr. Arnoldo Vento writes In Amoxtli X:
 “Unlike the Christian model, it is not anthropomorphic. It is a scientific concept
of the building of the universe in geometric symbols and numbers that comprise
the mathematical order of the universe. It is a square within a circle.”
(Vento, 2010, 8)
Reciprocity and Balance
Vento, who has studied under great elders further explains
his understanding both the meaning and context of Hunab Ku
and similar native understandings:
 “It calls for cultures engaging in relationships of
mutual respect, reciprocity, caring for Mother
Earth and all of its inhabitants. It is integration
and participation, not a modification of Mother
Earth that provides a positive and life affirming
view. There is no hierarchical ladder, only
reciprocity and balance. Everything is part of a
circular pattern of sacred give and take.”
(Vento, Amoxtli X, 2010, 9)
Greek/Roman Gods
“The Supreme Being of the Maya unquestionably represented the dynamic
energy of the cosmos, and the unity and totality that Hunab Ku represented,
was cosmic”
(Martinez Paredez 1970:59-60).
“Hunab Ku did not belong to them.” For the Maya, Hunab Ku belonged to
everyone. Was not a Maya God. This is in contrast to those from ‘Old
World.’ Witness the 1514 Requerimiento: If no Christians, land is European.

What it means to be Human A Maya Ethos & Philosophy …