Do you know you’ve come to the end when you crave a new beginning?
How does it all start: “In the beginning, God created…”? And, so we read about a formless earth, voids, and “the surface of the deep”—the start of a new creation.
People can debate that moment—God, vacuum genesis, alien fungi, etc, but the truth remains that all of this that we recognize as “life,” our world, our perceptions, our senses—this all had to begin somewhere at some point in Time before we became so inextricably bound by time, that soft tick, tick, tick.
You’ll never hear a louder sound in a hospice patient’s room than the thunk of a clock’s second hand. You want more time, but at the same time, you are reminded that you are waiting for an end to the person’s suffering, your suffering, the dread suspension.
Lately, it seems, whether it is the news forecasting ominous climate change, scientists warning of asteroids, or worldwide physicians proclaiming pandemics, the world is posed for some kind of apocalyptic change.
Here are some recent films that seem to mirror our headlines:
Armageddon, Deep Impact, Knowing, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, The Road, I Am Legend, The Book of Eli, all of the Terminator movies, Escape from New York, Escape from L.A., Children of Men, 12 Monkeys, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Blindness, Waterworld, The Postman, The Mad Max series…
Of course, I did not add the films of the 70’s (Omega Man, Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, the list goes on and on). The 1950’s were concerned with an alien threat, with worldwide destruction by atomic power—rightfully, since the US marred its own reputation and humanity by dropping these horrific instruments of death on two major Japanese cities.
The world was also trying to grapple with the Holocaust and the notion that such a mass murder of a people could occur. Those images haunt us. I don’t believe our psyches have fully recovered from it, nor should they. Human beings are capable of the darkest evil, especially when operating en masse.
As the decades advanced, presidents, other prominent world leaders, historic figures were assassinated, further destabilizing our realities, jarring our day to day lives with reminders of how change can come in one drastic flick of a finger.
Religions—not just Christianity—predict an impending end. Whatever has a beginning will eventually have an end. That’s just the nature of Nature.
At times, things do feel a little played out. Our knowledge of things is exceeding our own ability to control them. Ecosystems struggle to function in a climate of greed and excess. We are starting to genetically alter food, other creatures, modifying and monkeying with the evolutionary process which so many of these same scientists claim as our beginning. Call it playing God, or not. The fact remains that the delicate laws that keep balance in Nature are being transgressed. Where and when does it stop?
Freud claimed that dreams, on a certain level, are about wish-fulfillment. Many times, mine are exactly that. Good Sigmund also claimed that our creative endeavors—that dreamy space between sleep and imagination—function similarly.
Our entertainment lately seems to crave our own end. Because of the promise of a new beginning?
To me, this is a Genesis Fantasy. We want to start over. We want to do better. We want to reinvent the structure of these messy constructs in which we grow up so confined and shackled. The world feels like it’s in a rut.
We hear it all the time. Someone said it the other day. There are only so many plots from which to choose when authoring a story. Just look at James Cameron. How many times can he mine Romeo and Juliet? Instead of being trapped on a ship sliced open by an iceberg, now they are blue and cat-like—forbidden love gets us every time apparently. Being so brazenly unoriginal gets Cameron billions of dollars. But, what else do we have to choose from?
People say that there are also only so many notes in which to compose a new song. Look at each new gadget that comes out. One button now can do about ten functions each. We’re simply piling on without reinventing.
For that matter, we’re still stuck using the wheel. Nobody has found a replacement yet, have they? You can even still buy wooden mouse traps.
Perhaps it is millennium fever. Or, religious fervor. Or, just plain old weariness with the lack of originality these days.
Either way, the world is getting tired, craving any winds of change, even if those winds are prompted by an asteroid dropping from the sky, severe climate changes, or a manmade disaster.
Me? I’m just going to quietly stock up on bottled water and canned goods. It never hurts to be ready.