Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Coming to a town near you-- the apocalypse

I found this article discussing the current television fad of apocalyptic-themed shows, and I thought that I would mention it. I don't watch TV, so I'm not familiar with any of the shows. The article examines the so-called end-of-the-world "preppers."

Since apocalyptic ideation is such a fixture of the paranormal set, I think that it's interesting that these ideas are moving toward the mainstream, and I wonder what it means. All mainstream beliefs start out on the edge; some radical beliefs disappear, while others are incorporated in the mainstream and become the new normal. Such is happening to the apocalypse. While I don't really "know" what all this means, I have a few ideas.

Almost all apocalyptic scenarios can be traced back to fundamentalist religious beliefs.  While science and humanism have produced a few end-of-the-world doosies, virtually all apocalyptic predictions have their origin in contemporary readings of ancient religious texts. These texts are questionable in origin, questionably translated, and woefully misunderstood by those most likely to promote them--those lacking education and a solid foundation in ancient languages. Anyone who heard George Noory's recent "Coast" interview with Dr. Ken Hanson saw this in action. The first hour of the interview was squandered by Noory's meandering questions about the "mess" in the Middle East. Noory kept pressing Hanson to agree that there was no hope for a peaceful solution and tried to pin him down on the when and how Israel and Iran would go to war. He then changed tack in the second hour by trying to steer Hanson into a contemporary interpretation of the prophesies in "Revelation" while Hanson--and most scholars--believe that the text is not a prediction of the end of the world, but a prediction of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70--which is quite remarkable in itself.

Apocalyptic fears may be part of a "design" to influence human behavior by "someone" or some thing--with a goal, perhaps, of averting real future disasters. Those who have predicted "the end" over the past century have been all wrong. But I still think that it's interesting that new predictions are continually being made, despite the failure rate. A materialist might see this as a preemptive evolutionary response to emerging conditions. A mystic (which is how I would describe myself) would see this as evidence of a grand design in human affairs.

If the world does end soon, I probably won't be here to see it. Nor, likely, will many of my readers. Climate change, which I believe to be a "real" potential disaster, should start affecting the planet in significant ways by the year 2030. I *might* still be here then, but I might not. Fortunately, a new generation will be in charge then: one that is very tech-savvy, one not stupid enough to be brainwashed by the petroleum industry, and one that doesn't watch television.

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