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It's easy to hide in the end of the world

END OF THE WORLD: After the Apocalypse, you might be able to find shelter under this thing.

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We must live as if the Apocalypse has already happened.

Sorry. I've got the end of the world on the brain. That whole 2012 thing - the latest in a long line of end-of-the-world prophecies - is rapidly approaching. The Apocalypse and all its dystopian bric-a-brac is officially a pop-culture phenomenon. Last weekend, for instance, the Speakeasy Arts Cooperative on Broadway hosted an Apocalypse pre-funk party, with solar powered music and lighting, permaculture and other primitive skills demonstrations, fire dancers and lots of DJs. And drinks. Because when the world ends, we're going to need some sort of continuity to keep us from going crazy.

This Apocalypse thing isn't new. And it certainly isn't new to the art world. Worldwide, for centuries, the same themes of cataclysmic end have been explored, exploited, expanded, retold and re-fashioned for each generation. From the return of Big Daddy Jehovah to Steampunk, Apocalyptic scenarios have emerged from the shadows in nearly every culture, every age. Its subthemes have infected or been embodied in literature, art, science, politics, religion and industry. The end of the world is everywhere, everywhere. It hangs in the distance, over our futures, like a malevolent cloud. Some of the trendier themes, like Steampunk, are slightly less dystopian. At least Steampunk allows for rebuilding of some sort. Never mind the unbelievable suffering and death that would occur in the event of complete economic and government collapse.

But it's easy to fantasize about Babylon's collapse while you're sucking on its teat.

Apocalyptic scenarios exploit our most primordial fears and our most basic desires. They feed, and feed on, our fundamental prejudices. They fashion for us a world destined for destruction, corrupt beyond redemption. The only thing that can save us is complete collapse. Or so we're told.

As we fantasize about the end, a large portion of humanity remains and has remained in a state of perpetual hysteria, waiting, secretly hoping. Like some insane dictator, we dream of dragging everyone down with us into the abyss. Some create and circulate these nightmare scenarios to escape contemplation of their own inevitable end. Some are simply looking for an excuse to avoid the struggles inherent to life. Do we face ourselves and the world we've made? Or do we leave it up to God, or Kali, or the Illuminati, or some spectacular natural or economic disaster?

Resolved to wait for the end, we neglect the chances that arise each day to engage life and manifest the solutions we defer to deity or disaster - some other time, some other place. Like all ideal pasts and all ideal futures, the end of the world, ultimately, gets in the way of life itself. We are left dangling, half alive, immobilized by fear, laziness and or powerlessness. Or worse, we are immobilized because we have given up - abdicated our power to some other imaginary mega-disaster that will take care of everything for us.

Meanwhile, the United Nations proposes it would cost about $30 billion to create agricultural production and distribution systems sufficient to end world starvation and hunger.

That's roughly the same amount of money Americans alone have spent producing and consuming Apocalyptic entertainment during the past decade.

Is that clear enough?

Apocalypse - from the Greek Apokálypsis. It means "lifting the veil".

Again, is that clear enough?

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Comments for "SLOUCHING TOWARD UTOPIA: Lifting the veil" (3)

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Nicholas Roberts said on Feb. 06, 2010 at 9:28pm

where did you get the 30 billion figure for the Apocalypse industry from ?

btw, check out

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Jada-Moon Gridley said on Feb. 07, 2010 at 2:50pm

sal·va·tion (noun)
1 : deliverance from the power and effects of sin
2 : liberation from ignorance or illusion
3 : preservation from destruction or failure.

One thing I kept saying about my party: The asthetic is dystopic, but at it's heart, I want it to be about transformation and solutions. I am a believer that we can find a way to reconnect with our mother earth and recreate a way to live harmoniously on this planet. I think of 2012 as exacty what it is: the end of an astrological era and a rare astrological alignment...I harbor a hope the date will mark some fantastic, dramatic spiritual evolution of humanity...but suspect that is happening gradually, not suddenly on one special solstice.

I am so thrilled at all this event inspired. Leading up to the party, people came together for craft nights and to make art. They were generous. They shared resources and skills with each other. They turned fodder for landfills into art and fashion. Then, we all left our tvs at home and came together and danced together and watched real people from our own community entertain us with thier skills and talents...ancient and satisfying and sustainable passtimes. I couldn't be more pleased.

Thank you for your article, brings up issues we need to think about and talk about. Mental energy expended on an a disasterous finish for humanity worries me, and yes, I think it kind of lets us off the hook. We need to begin the Great Healing.

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tom quinn said on Feb. 08, 2010 at 7:39am

to unveil ,yes this is the good news of the kingdom of Jehovah.this is what jesus taught .apocolypse will be the time of unveiling the truth and the spiritual war between God and the nations.a nuclear war or any such thing is made up in hollywood.this great day of Jehovah that Jesus taught will then lead to a thousand years of peace on paradise earth for the rightous and unrightous.after a thousand years of paradise living satan is let loose and the offer is does anyone whant to go with satan now.this is the undeserved kindness of our heavenly father JEHOVAH.
this is the good news spread by the Jehovah witnesses,which is what the bible teaches.

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