Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apocalypse Revealed

The exact and ancient meaning of apocalypse is revelation.

There are of course other definitions. One definition even goes so far as to name the apocalypse a prophetic revelation, esp. concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumph over the forces of evil.

In the last few centuries (possibly from the work of John of Patmos, “Apokalypsis”, in the 13th century) the meaning seems to have morphed into a great disaster, frequently involving religion. Jews and Christians both warn of a vague ambiguous end of the world.

But caution of the apocalypse isn’t just found in religion. Varying cultures have apocalypse doomsday warnings. The Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. Having been to the ruins in Tulum, Mexico and seeing the city and the structures they built and understanding the incredible preciseness of their temples, I couldn’t help but be impressed.

But I have to wonder if maybe it was just perfect symmetry when they stopped the calendar on that particular date. After all, how many companies print calendars that far into the future? And even though we’re talking about a very precise civilization you have to believe that the Mayans had to concern themselves with the day-to-day running of their city as well as a calendar millenniums.

Nostradamus predicted a similar apocalypse around or near 2012. However, he also predicted events past that date as well.

To my mind the apocalypse is about change. Climate change, balance of political power change, population change, earth change.

Somehow as human beings we’ve evolved into a place of wanting constants in the world. And for a lot of people when the constant changes, they are unsettled. We seem to want things to stay the same unless WE initiate the change. As if we are somehow in control of our Universe. But in reality the only constant we have is that things will change.

In order to come to a place of peace with that reality, we’ve got to accept that things are out of our control. We live in a world where technological advances are staggering (What would the ancient Mayans think about computers and telescopes and space travel?) but we are still at the whim of Mother Nature...earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados can change great big pieces of the world in a moment.

So the way I prepare for the apocalypse is to embrace change. To be open to the new possibilities presented rather than the new constraints imposed. To accept with humility and grace the knowledge that change is inevitable.


ps. Of course, just in case I have a few boxes of supplies in my garage, in the event of earthquakes, tsunamis, meteor implosions, or the improbable zombie apocalypse. It never hurts to hedge your bets.


Mysti said...

I was raised by wolves, so didn't know all apocalypses end in good triumphing over evil. Not sure what to make of zombie apocalypse, where dead triumph over living, good & evil notwithstanding :)

Good news! The Mayan calendar doesn't END, it just resets, as it did every 5,000 years until the pesky Spanish guys discontinued it. Can you imagine the new year's party?

Bad news, the alignment of the sun and the center of the Milky Way (first time in 26,000 years!) will have unpredictable results on 12/21/12 at 11:11 PM UT. I might make some popcorn and sit on the roof of the smartcar...

I wonder if all this apocalypse stuff is just our ids reaching for anything more knowable than unknowable fate. The known evil, as it were.

L.G.C. Smith said...

I was raised by middle-class WASPS who were heavily invested in the status quo, but then they went through a holy roller phase when I was in junior high. Gah. All these insanazoids yammering on about the imminent Rapture and how great it was going to be, and all I could think was that it had better not happen before I was old enough to have sex. It didn't. :)

Change and love are the only constants. I prefer my life to be full of love and my books to have all the change. If only I could actually control that...but, as you said, Lisa, we can't. Fiction is the next best thing. It gives us infinite room to explore change, both as readers and writers.

Rachael Herron said...

#1 - Mysti has a smartcar??? Jealous.
#2 - I think this post has worried me the most out of all of our posts so far. I've got to make our disaster box better. :)

Unknown said...

Mysti--ha! knew i was on the right track with the Mayan calendar!! hmm, may have to get our telescope out and check out the sky on 12/21/12 :)

Lynn--so glad the Rapture didnt' take us all before you got to have sex ;)

Rachael--haha! I think Martha's post will be the one to make you worry!! i just keep buying stuff and throwing it in the garage. camping gear from when we used to camp, earthquake buckets full of necessities and food buckets from costco.

Juliet Blackwell said...

In my neighborhood we decided we'd just band together and become a marauding horde, and take all the Piedmont people's disaster preparedness stuff. Much easier that way. Either that, or I'm camping out at Lisa's house ;-)

Unknown said...

If marauding gets old, you are always welcome at my house. :) We even have a creek so we'll have running water. and lots of trees for firewood. my garden is kind of a bust though.

Sophie Littlefield said...

triscuits...my whole plan is stockpiling triscuits...

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