Civic Imagination

The Mud People

The story is about the origins of humanity in the sacred book of the Mayan culture: The Popol-vuh. The mayans were one of the most prolific cultures to settle in southern Mexico. It all starts when the gods decide that they need someone to adore them, so they decide to create humanity. First they create humans out of mud, but they crack and break very easily. Then they decided to make them out of wood but this material wasn’t strong enough either, finally the gods used corn to create humanity and it worked for the gods. I like to focus on the mud part because I think we look strong but we’re still very fragile. I first heard this story when I was a small kid in school, it’s a story we get taught once and then never quite remember. I think it’s inspiring because we can strive to be better and grow. The story touches on change and growth as people, as we move from being mud to being corn. 

I remember hearing this story when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I had a really good history teacher who liked to focus on prehispanic cultures. I thought it was a very interesting story at the time, funny even. The thought of mexicans being made out of corn amused me greatly. Back then I didn’t quite realized how much of a metaphor the mud and the Wood played in the story and my culture. A couple of years later I encountered the story again as one of my cousins told me about his trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. The story popped into my mind once again and I decided to really thing about it, since it was a very important part of our culture. This story appealed to me because I thought it was a good reflection on contemporary mexican culture. I thouht about the reconstruction aspect of the story and how the mud and the corn seemed to popular themes all around mexican culture. It made me think about the foundations of how we think as a country and how we often our roots. This is not a very known story since it’s prehispanic culture. History is something mexicans don’t really like or appreciate. The Popol-vuh is filled with amazing stories and wisdom but it is often left out of school curriculum. I haven’t talked about this story a lot either but I do like to talk about how folk stories. 

I think this story has the potential to push mexicans to being better since it talks about a lot of core symbols and materials in mexican culture. Since it is an origins story I think mexicans can really empathize with it, specially communities that actually have mayan roots. I think it's important to reimagine and take this core stories and exploit them with contemporary narratives, perhaps in cartoons or comics. I think it could be very useful to get mexicans on their feet and proud of their culture but also willing to be better and push themselves. 

mexican culture, popol vuh, mythology, progress. 

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