Ukraine’s conflict and probable nuclear-tactical assaults, WWIII, environmental catastrophes, perhaps. Is time running out for Humanity?
The idea of the end may seem fresh again, yet it has been around since some concerned Assyrian writings from 2800 BC. They forewarned that “the end of the world is near; bribery and corruption are rampant; children no longer obey their parents; every guy wants to write a book.” It sounds familiar.
Some ancient Romans thought their civilization would last no more than 120 years – a decade for each of the 12 eagles that had revealed the party’s curfew to Romulus. In 1200, lingering worry over the predictions of an Italian monk named Joachim of Fiore bloomed into out-and-out hysteria across Europe, with reports of earthquakes and other natural disturbances as confirmation of the worst. It would have been difficult to perceive the bubonic plague as a hint that events were being orchestrated soon after that.
In the modern world, making apocalypse predictions has become a high-stakes parlor game with constantly changing dates. More recently, the 20th century brought innumerable squandered opportunities with its steadfast evangelical focus. We’re supposed to die in a catastrophic flood or from a strange planetary alignment. Sheldan Nidle, the creator of a UFO cult, made one of the more remarkable (and ridiculous) forecasts when he stated that 16 million spacecraft would arrive in 1996, bringing about the end of the world. Some predicted a nuclear holocaust, comet impacts, and even the traditional Rapture. Not to mention the Mayan prophecy, but that occurred in 2012.
While prognosticating may be the domain of an eccentric, enlightened elite equally adept at moving the yardstick, the idea of the end belongs to us all. It’s one of our primary cultural obsessions. Countless films, books, television shows, and, more recently, video games have let us explore various scenarios, satisfying a point of fundamental curiosity.
I don’t know if these natural disasters are an act of God per se, but definitely, I believe in humans’ ability to destroy themselves promptly. And that it might be faith, a type of spirituality, a secular framework for evaluating values, filtering morals, and making judgments. And through which a sense of unity and belonging might be attained.
Researchers routinely find that we’re our best in times of disaster. It is a marker of maturity. I carry this particular light with a feeling approaching joy because believing, in the end, makes the present much better. We’ve all been asked what we would do if we had hours, days, weeks, or months left, a thought experiment meant to compress our passions and compassions into intricate jewels of meaning. Believing that our age’s crescendo of disaster, its heightened hatred, is the beginning of the end allows us to take those priorities out of the theoretical realm. It permits the type of emotional honesty that might otherwise be excessive. It will enable us to think, feel, and act in ways we otherwise might deny ourselves. It encourages us to be more direct, honest, and loving.
Georgios Ardavanis – 3/02/2023