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Friday, December 21, 2012

END OF THE WORLD AGAIN


mark tobey, fire dancers, 1957
 


Tonight is the Eve of the End of the World. 2012. 2000. 1984. This end of the world has nothing whatever to do with Mayan anything, although it is the parallel Dec 31 of a calendar of 5,000+ years, and next day is Jan 1 of the new 5,000+ year calendar. It is not called a year, though it does have a name of its own that I don't remember. The need for Apocalypse in Christendom evidently has its beginnings in the Revelation of John the Revelator. Yes, it's the end of the world as we know it. Every day is the end of the world as we know it. You-can't-stand-in-the-same-river-twice. In the time of Y2K the zeal for apocalypse in Christendom was silly, yet at the same time made me wonder where this mania for destruction of everything came from. It's evidently as American as it is Christian. People I've known who have been zealots for apocalypse, the destruction of everybody but themselves, tend to be absolutists, wingnuts, people who think of everybody else as in their way.

Then we have the pop culture fear products from Hollywood of computer enhanced destruction of cities by tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, explosions galore, buses flying through the air, end over end, cars tumbling over each other, people screaming, pavement cracking, skyscrapers falling, the metaphorical end of the world. A woman I never suspected would be concerned about the end of the world on the 21st told me a couple days ago about her fear of what will happen. I had to double-take, but she meant it. I attempted a brief explanation that this movie 2012 is computerized fiction, a fear-based product, a marketing device. And if you want to believe something is going to happen, it's not going to be anything like in that movie, not in any way at all. I did my best to explain that it's the same as going from Dec 31 to Jan 1. Just a turn of a calendar page. The Mayan wheel is not a prophecy. It is a calendar. A calendar is not a prophecy. It is not woo-woo. It's an invention of the human mind to have a collectively agreed upon accounting of days, such that everyplace in the world calls Dec 21 this year Friday. Whatever cultures might call it something else are not in touch with our civilization yet. Maybe people on a small island of the SE Asian archipelago no white man has set foot on, people that shoot arrows at single-engine planes.

I'd like to be able to just think of it as a kind of New Year's Eve, the Eve of a much bigger cycle the annual cycle is inside with all the other cycles, from all the way around the zodiac in one year of months, each month with four phases of the moon, cycles of weeks, the weeks seven cycles of the earth's rotation, hours, seconds, nanoseconds. It can go in the other direction, macro, as infinitely as it can go micro. We're used to cycles. It's no big deal. It might be worth pouring a drink over. A sweet justification to have a taste of some fine liquor. I talked myself into it. Them that refuse it are few. I'll hush up my mug if you'll fill up my jug with that good old mountain dew. That's a good one to hear Grandpa Jones pick and sing. The song Little Maggie comes to mind; when Tommy Jarrell sings it, Maggie is sitting on the beach pickin a banjo with liquor bottles all around her. What a great scene, a hillbilly girl drunk at Myrtle Beach, off to herself sitting in the sand pickin a banjo, drinking her troubles away, liquor bottles all around her. Except today she'd be arrested. For certain when they found her .44.

It is 12 o'clock, straight up, at this moment. Happy new whatever-it's-called. I'll have a sip to that. If the world ended, it hasn't got here yet. Or it means something else. Or it's nonsense played out. Like Y2K. Bogus nonsense. Playing fear. I'd like for it not to be overcast, raining and cold wind so I could see the planet alignment in the sky. The Peggy Lee song comes to mind, If That's All There Is, we'll keep on dancing. I wonder if these fears of collective apocalypse, the harvest, amount to a longing to not have to go to work tomorrow, not have to pay any more bills, no more nagging wives, no more bullying husbands, no more impossible parents, school's out forever. I've an idea it has something to do with fear of living more than fear of dying. Dying is ok if everybody dies at the same time. It's individual dying, then, that's scary. Anyway, apocalypse is not a fix-it device. Apocalypse in the Revelation has, as my old preacher friend Millard Pruitt said, "a spiritual meaning." If the people anxious about the end of the world in one big explosion would study the spiritual meaning, they might learn something. But learning is out of the picture. Not an option. Another apocalypse dream that went poof.

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