Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hopeful Thinking - Apocalypse Means Unveiling - Saturday, January 7, 2017

Greetings and Happy New Year! This being my first column I thought I’d write about something nice and simple like the Apocalypse. I love to study word history and meanings, etymology especially. Apocalypse is an interesting one. Of course we connect it with the so-called end of the world. But in the words of the rock band REM, perhaps it’s more like the end of the world as we know it. Not incidentally, sales of that song went up 62% the week the world was predicted by the Mayans to end in December 2012.

We have a morbid fascination with the end of the world. Religion has had much to say on the subject of global annihilation. Some use it with great skill. But it in many ways that thinking is a conspiracy. Our cultural understanding of the End Times has been encouraged to think of itself as a destruction into nothingness. But there is little to theologically support this. All prophetic readings describe a recalibration, an end to the old ways of doing things. Not an end of all things, but a natural evolution away from the old rules. The prophecies are an expectation that when society reaches a critical maximum one of two things will occur. Both will mean the end of something. What shall we make it the end of? It is up to us to decide.

The word apocalypse is from the Greek word apokálypsis, literally meaning "an uncovering." It refers to the disclosure of something previously secret. In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, it is actually a good thing. It is the beginning of the age of peace. But one that comes with a few sizable bumps in the road, of course. In Norse mythology it means the final fate of the elite. Hinduism suggests that we still have another 1,086 years before the humanity again returns to its intrinsic goodness. How much of this is metaphor? How much might we learn from these messages in bottles we left for ourselves so many ages ago?

Seeing behind the green curtain is never an easy moment. But that is exactly the type of moment we are currently experiencing whether or not there is such a prophesied time as the “end of the world.” Thanks to the Internet and our species’ exceptionally clever use of it, we are in the Age of the Whistleblower. Not only that, the Internet has shown us that we literally crave knowing one another. Just look at the rampant popularity of social media. It is the literal digital expression of Humanity, warts and all. But for the first time, we are truly seeing ourselves. Big Brother is definitely watching, but he’s also being seen as well. The view is two-way and they don’t like it one bit.

We will eventually recover from this glaring look in the mirror. Society will decide for itself what it is willing to tolerate and what it will not. Have no fear. All shall be well.

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