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Apocalypse

The old revelations are dead. If there is a God, if It wishes to be known, It must give us a new revelation. There must be APOKALYPSIS, Unveiling of the Mystery.

Which is exactly what is happening.

Have you ever read Genesis and wonder what methods of evil those of Noah’s time must have practiced, to draw such wrath? Have you ever read Revelation and wondered what new ways of sin must be discovered, to draw a contrast with all the horrors of human history?

Well, guess what–you’re living it! The past century has been that laboratory of evil. The Holocaust, the Gulag, the Cultural Revolution, the world wars and the ravaging of nature, the grasp on the hilt of the nuclear sword–this is it. These are the abominations that herald a new message from God, come in wrath.

The Unprecedented Era is the Apocalypse, the Unveiling. The powers of God and Devil have been placed in the hands of humanity, and we tremble at the opportunity. God has hidden His Face on purpose, to test us. From this trial will burst forth fearsome equations, the final Knowledge. We live in the End Times. We are the End, each of us. We live the End. We plunge forth towards our Ordeal, our Harrowing.

(And the wonderful thing is that this works in both religious and secular sense. In the religious, if there is a cosmic truth, it will be revealed. In the secular, if there is no cosmic truth, it will be found anyway. Some system will be proclaimed as truth.)

(This is gonna be a bit of a grim one, folks. Don’t let it spoil your Monday)

Went to the museum last week. They have an exhibit on global climate change. Quite a relevant topic this summer.

The Holocene appears to be upon us. The energies we have unleashed in the past two hundred years are, outside of our intentions, warping the very earth on which we stand. The Earth’s atmospheric conditions now resemble those of several million years ago, prior to human existence. Seven billion people and more, growing constantly, shoving aside all else for our cities, our fields, our mines, disrupting all ecosystems. If all turns out for the worst, we face the Sixth Great Extinction.

And it won’t be any different from the other five.

Every so often, there’s going to be a mass extinction. It’s just how the dice tumble. It makes no difference if the medium is bolide impact, supervolcanic activity, or one oversuccessful species. All are the same thing, patterns of matter and energy.

There is nothing supernatural about humanity. We are the same, in essence, as bolides and volcanoes. The same rules of reality govern our biological behavior as govern astronomy and geology. If we put ourselves in a different category, it’s just pride talking. Our consciousness is not special.

Whatever might get wiped out in the coming centuries, life will go on. It’s difficult to sterilize an entire planet. Something will be left and it will evolve and things will continue, just like after the dinosaurs. The sun has about another billion years left before it turns into a red giant—that’s enough time to replay the entire history of life. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again. Don’t let pride of species fool you.

I’m hoping this isn’t the case. I want us to find another way as much as anybody else. But if it does happen or if it doesn’t, it will be according to the arithmetic of nature.

(It’s fascinating to think of another intelligent species, a billion years from now. By that point, there were be no identifiable trace of human culture. World geography will be completely different. But the geological evidence will be there, bizarre anomalies in the rock record. Perhaps their scientists will learn to look for it, will come to identify our population centers and perhaps a few other choice points. Perhaps they will wonder what we did, and what happened to us.)

(Written AD MMVIII, 232nd year of American Independence. George W. Bush, President of the Republic, and gasoline at four dollars the gallon.)

The night after Peak Oil, I met Nixon by the Union Station Metro stop. He was wearing a dust-tinged blue suit and trying to hail a cab.

“I’ve got to get down to the Mall,” he was mumbling when I found him. “I can calm the situation. I reach out to people. I reached out to those goddamned war protestors, but they were too bitter. I can’t stand bitter people. Where the hell is a goddamned taxi?”

“There aren’t any more taxis, Dick. There’s no more oil.”

“What? Those damned Saudis won’t cough up more oil? Goddammit, we’ll send in the Marines and take it from them!”

“Dick, the Saudis are dead. They sent us all their oil and they died.”

“Hmm. Well, let’s walk then.”

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I spent my youth in an Apocalyptic milieu. Apocalypses abounded, both secular (The Day After, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow), and religious, specifically the evangelical model of The Late Great Planet Earth and A Thief in the Night. Though my family was Mainstream Protestant, not Evangelical, I was still surrounded by this in the culture and took it into my heart. As a teenager, I thought long on the Apocalypse, and gave much thought to a movie on the subject.

But, being not evangelical, the movie I had in mind would have had little in common with Left Behind. For one thing, I wanted to make extensive use of the Doors song “The End.” I have always considered it one of the best invocations of the Book of Revelation I have ever heard, an opinion that would probably not have found favor with either Jim Morrison or Francis Schaeffer. For another, there was a extrabiblical element: The Weeper.

It’s hard to describe how I saw The Weeper fitting into this movie. Less a character, more of a symbol. The Weeper was one of the younger siblings of Cain and Abel. They saw Cain murder his brother; they wept over Abel’s corpse. From that moment, they were cursed to see every sin ever committed, trapped in perpetual sorrow, their wailing echoing to the ends of the cosmos. They were the unwitnessed witness to every horror ever performed by one human being against another: every blow, every swindle, every theft, every lie. They could do nothing, only watch and sob.

The sorrows of the Weeper would be interwoven into the film. As humanity descended into ultimate degradation, there would be odd quiet moments when the main characters could hear the Weepers’s sorrow, though they did not recognize what it was they heard. As the corruption reached its climax, the sound could not be denied, would be heard throughout the world, maddeningly.

So it would continue until the very end. The final action of Unveiling, the very last, after the Last Trump had sounded, after the dead had been raised, after Universal Judgment and Redemption , after the Remaking of Heaven and Earth, would be for Jesus to come to the Weeper and comfort them. For the first time, they would cease crying.

That would be the end of the movie.

There is no movie, of course, and never will be. I can’t say I seriously envisioned making it. But it still seems that, in a just universe, there should be a Weeper. There should be something to sorrow perpetually. The World deserves it. May the time come when the Weeper shall be comforted, and the Weeping end.

Maybe we’ve got this ass backwards. Maybe, on the Judgement Day, we will be doing the judging.

That is, God will allow us a taste of his omniscience, just enough for us to see everything we have ever thought and done, in context, to feel empirically all the effect we had on the world, to honestly see ourselves for the first time. We will judge ourselves.

Practically all of us will elect for damnation, of course.

And the task of Jesus, the Savior, will be to talk us out of it.

I don’t know what you’d call this: a music video idea, a film short, a daydream. What it is is:

The Seals have been opened, the plagues unleashed. All works of humanity lie in ruins; the bloody seas sit dry. The End is come.

Gabriel Archangel, having already blown the Last Trump and called up all the dead, tucks his instrument under his arm and announces

“Children of Earth, your Judgement awaits in the morn. Until then, as you will.”

Despite the sun and moon having toppled from the sky, night falls. This once and for all establishes that day and night are metaphysical conditions and not dependent on the earth’s rotation around a star, but at this point, no one really cares. Everyone who has ever lived is alive. They stare at each other, unsure at first what to say.

Children are innocent
Teenagers are fucked in the head
Adults are even more fucked up
And elderlies are like children

Those that died in the Tribulation are hugged by those that survived. Parents find children, spouses reunite, friends embrace each other. A constellation of campfires appears somehow, without need of lighting. People talk.

Will there be another race
To come along and take over for us?
Maybe Martians could do
Better than we’ve done

Odd as it might seem, no one dwells on the coming morning. Maybe there’s an unspoken consensus that there’s nothing to be done about it, or maybe there’s just too much past to discuss. “Why did we do that? Or that?” By the light of the last fires, much of what was one time deemed majestic now seems a bit silly.

We’ll make great pets
(we’ll make great pets)
We’ll make great pets
(we’ll make great pets!)

Secrets are admitted and scandals revealed. Nobody cares anymore. Anger flares, but soon fades. Since everyone knows that perfect justice is hours away, why argue? The truth will out soon enough. Better to enjoy the company while you can.

My friend says we’re like the dinosaurs
Only we are doing ourselves in
Much faster than they
Ever did

As the hours pass, the talk dwindles. Flank by flank, leaning on shoulders, the people watch the fire and simply are, next to each other, there at the end of all things.

We’ll make great pets
(we’ll make great pets)
We’ll make great pets,
(we’ll make great pets)

“It is just me, or is it brighter than it was a moment ago?”

“Yeah.”

With no sun, there is no dawn. Beat by beat, the sky lightens. The Children of Earth rise from their seats around the dying fires, brush off their tuchuses. Angels muster above them.

Last embraces, last kisses. “Good luck.” “You too.”

They stand next to each other, spontaneously linking hands. The sky is bright now, far brighter than any daylight. All that is old is passed away. The Children of Earth brace themselves for the revelation of justice and mercy.

We’ll make great pets,
(we’ll make great pets)

Every day I pray for the Parousia. Every day I say “Maranatha!” Every day I long that this might be the day that sees no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Yet when I do so, I am reminded that it has generally been held throughout history that the Parousia shall be preceded by a time of chaos and horror and death, not on just any random day.

But then I look at the world, and see that, if the Parousia is dependent on chaos and horror and death in the world, then it might as well come on any day as well as any other.