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A good idea executed poorly is of little value

One of the items I keep and hang on my wall in whatever place I happen to be working is a small plaque I acquired in Mexico at the Renato Dorfman Galeria a few years ago.  It’s a copy of a representation of the numeral zero from the classic period of Mayan civilization.  The classical Mayans were the first civilization to use the concept of zero, and they considered it so important that there was an even a god of the numeral zero.

Here are some of the ways that they represented zero:

A picture named Mayan Zero.gif. One of the zeroes looks like a football with stripes, lying on it's side. The other looks like the head of a man.

The version I have is one that would have been used on a ceremonial stone stele.  It’s a carved figure, seated on the ground, holding a sheaf of grain.

All of which is to say that the Mayans took a very powerful idea, and rendered it nearly useless by making it difficult to execute.  Too often we do this, unconsciously, in every day life.

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