Fred Clark at Slacktivist begins his close reading of the third book in Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series with an explanation of why minor differences in interpretation are such a big deal. Hint: It’s about the money.
If you’re interested in the Left Behind series, Slacktivist’s close readings/critiques are don’t-miss reading.
“On that day which the Church has foretold from the beginning, when the Son of Man shall come to judge the world with fire, it is perhaps we ourselves who will provide the fire.”—Sigrid Undset, Catherine of Siena, ch. XXIX (via theringofwords)
In the last known largely unexcavated Maya megacity, archaeologists have uncovered the only known mural adorning an ancient Maya house, a new study says—and it’s not just any mural.
In addition to a still vibrant scene of a king and his retinue, the walls are rife with calculations that helped ancient scribes track vast amounts of time. Contrary to the idea the Maya predicted the end of the world in 2012, the markings suggest dates thousands of years in the future.
Perhaps most important, the otherwise humble chamber offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Maya society.
Well sheesh…I don’t know about anyone else but I was really starting to look forward to the end of the world. No more bills…no more work…no more laundry or any other pesky responsibilities. My kid will be three soon and that is like, the cutest age to go out in apocalyptic style. Guess we can withdraw those day off request forms, I don’t know if you can get your deposits back on your fallout shelters, at least you won’t have to buy groceries now, you can feast on all those canned foods you bought. Starting planning now for that Yellowstone thing…that’s gonna suck.
“In this sense, I wonder if the genre of apocalypse is the most intense because most nihilistic because most self-negating form of contemplating social existence. Apocalypse, in other words, is the ultimate “real” of our inevitable solipsism.”—The End
To regard evil as action, as a mode of behavior, a thing you do rather than a thing-in-itself, is fairly commonplace now. And yet this still does not stop us from wanting to personify the thing, to see its pitchfork and tail, and, for all too many Americans, await its final eradication by way of religious apocalypse. I’m thinking now of what might be called the American Trilogy of Evil: The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Exorcist. Rather than their scare factor or the quality of their prose (which is considerable), the genius in these three works lies in their domestication of evil. Not only does Stephen King’s The Shining focus on an evil house, but an evil hotel – a house of leisure where you aren’t even safe on vacation. Ira Levin’s gleefully creepy Rosemary’s Baby fixates on familial evil, where you cannot trust your friends or even your spouse. And William Peter Blatty’s quite terrifying The Exorcist centers on the evil in a twelve-year-old little girl. I should point out that, famously, King did not appreciate Stanley Kubrick’s film of The Shining, partly because Kubrick changed King’s decidedly more apocalyptic and American ending: the hotel explodes, turned “to emptiness, notness, crumbling.” The 20th-century American imagination most popularly envisions evil as familial, inhabiting the home, family, and child. I would argue this by far is a most frightening vision, for if evil is indeed “within us,” there are but two possible scenarios: that of the “evildoing” sibling, spouse, or child (and if this is the case, you have my sympathies), or, I’m afraid, it’s you. […]
“anarchist sub-cultures have been the vanguard of taking full responsibility for personal consumption, of ‘punishing’ themselves for drinking Cola, eating meat, using the ‘wrong’ words. It is then no wonder that some of the anarchist sub-cultures were the first to fall victim to the spectacle of self-management in the name of ‘saving the environment.’ The individualist moralism of anarchism can easily be transformed to eco-fascism,”—Introduction to the apocalypse (via alwaysabittoofar)
Apocalypse is all about change, but the change needn’t be instantaneous to be apocalyptic.
I have no idea who this blogger is, but s/he’s said it really, really well:
What do they think a collapse is supposed to look like? It seems people just cannot just cannot get past the “Zombie Apocalypse” theory of collapse. They imagine hordes of disease-ridden folks dressed in rags stumbling around and fighting over cans of petrol and stripping cans of food from shelves. That’s not what collapse looks like. It never has been. In fact, there’s very little evidence that a Zombie Apocalypse style collapse ever occurred in the historical record. Instead we see subtle patterns of abandonment and decay that unfold over long periods of time. Big projects stop. Population thins. Trade routes shrink and people revert to barter. Things get simpler and more local. Culture coarsens. High art stagnates. People disperse. Expectations are adjusted downward. Investments are no longer made in the future and previous investments are cannibalized just to maintain the status quo. Extend and pretend is hardly a recent invention.
No, what happens in a collapse is very much more subtle than a Zombie Apocalypse. Things tend to look pretty normal for the following reasons:
1.) People and Institutions are resistant to change. 2.) The system has a formidable array of resources to preserve the status quo. 3.) Sheer momentum. 4.) Creeping Normalcy 5.) Denial
This is how history says collapses go down, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Based on recent archaeology, it seems this is how the Roman collapse unfolded was well. Although images of pillaging barbarians looting burning cities sticks in people’s imaginations when they think of the fall of the Roman Empire, this was not the experience for most people according to recent scholarship. Big events tended to come down to us in the written record, but for ordinary people, it probably seemed much less dramatic. Yes, there were some famines and plagues, as there had always been. The population declined, but there were no apocalyptic battles or mass starvation. Many of the cities appear to have been continually inhabited. There were no mass graves, ruined cities or signs of malnutrition found in excavations. Most people who survived the plagues lived right through the transition from Classical Antiquity to Late Antiquity to the Medieval period with remarkable continuity, just a change of institutions and expectations. But something clearly was happening, because we know it from history. Buildings got plainer. Citizens got poorer. Trade routes shrank. Economies became local. Lawlessness increased. The old Roman Empire had been around since far before anyone could remember, and as it broke down more and more and failed to do things it had once done easily, it must have seen to some people like the world was collapsing in on them. It wasn’t, but something was happening. Much depended on who you were, where you were, what your expectations were, and how much you had invested in the status quo, both mentally and in terms of status and resources.