A number of months ago, I received a question regarding the Aztec philosophical concept of Teotl. Quickly, this became my favorite religious philosophy; I thought it merited an explanation (and a bit of analysis.)
Typical Aztec religion prompts a mental cringe: human sacrifice, sun gods, temple stairs encrusted with blood. However, deeper research into Aztec culture reveals a high degree of metaphysical insight and cunning: the rituals were a political stunt, initiated by the brilliant leaders of the age. The primary objective, manipulation of the people, was attained through simple and effective scare tactics— pleasing the gods was paramount, and the ‘desires’ of the gods were easily controlled by priests and leaders. Yet, beneath the politics and ambition there lay a beautiful and astounding philosophical school of thought.
In the eyes of the common people, Teotl was a concrete concept— a leader-god who was ceaselessly thirsty for human blood. Yet, beneath this facade was an esoteric ideology confined to the minds of the high priests of the age; in a manner parallel to the Dao’s function as the overarching force of Daoism, Teotl acted as a uniting, underlying property of all of existence. In this respect, Aztec religion included an element of monism. Unlike the Dao, which performs no action, Teotl was believed to exist in a state of constant oscillation between polar opposites— it resided within the cycles of the universe: birth and death, day and night, summer and winter, the Dynastic Cycle.
Perhaps what is most remarkable about Teotl is its part of speech; Teotl is a verb. Teotl is neither a part of the universe nor the universe itself, but rather the universe teotls. This, in itself, may be the most accurate description of the reality itself: we may have little knowledge of precisely what is occurring and what exists, but we are aware that something is occurring. Furthermore, as Newton’s Third Law states, all actions have an equal and opposite reaction— just as the nature of Teotl is cyclical, representing the repeating pattern of initial reaction and response.
Edit: And a special thanks to justpartoftheuniverse, the then-anonymous user who posed the question that sparked my original interest.